Monday, August 25, 2008

Witz Pickz: Closing Ceremonies

Both my birthday and the Olympics were over before I knew it-- and I mean those both literally. Apparently the Olympics closed last night while I was watching The Bank Job and eating a tuna fish sandwhich and the ill-advised BBQ Baked Lays (meaning the chips, not post-coital hippies covered in A1 sauce). I can't believe that closing ceremonies were last night, although it does make more sense than my previous belief that my roommate was listening to a National Anthems mix CD. The entire Olympics seemed like a blur to me, with a whole lot of obscure events taking place during primetime and the main ones happening either early in the day or between 11pm-1am. Here's how my Olympic experience is summed up:

"Sychronized WHAT?? That's too many divers. Bah-- ping-pong. Fencing, that could be cool. Nope. The trampoline is an entire sport now? Michael Phelps is supposed to be good. MICHAEL PHELPS IS OLYMPIC GOD. Michael Phelps can't talk so good. Chad Johnson on Michael Phelps (paraphrased): "I know five dudes in the ghetto that could beat Michael Phelps right now, but they ain't in the Olympics..."Male gymnasts are ripped, but make high-fiving look gayer than Lance Bass doing a Richard Simmons impression. Female gymnasts look eight. Chinese female gymnasts ARE eight.Is this the paralympic marathon? No-- it's what? Speedwalking?? You gotta be shitting me. Really-- two chicks who grew up playing beach volleyball in California turned out to be really good at beach volleyball? They must have had a really tough life. Chad Johnson on Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh (totally made up): I know four ho's in the ghetto who could beat Misty and Kerri's 108 beach volleyball win streak-- but they're not in Beijing..." Lolo Jones is kinda cute and inspirational, I hope she (starting gun BAM!)-- SADDEST MOMENT EVER. Horrible runner knew she could do it even though in reality, she still couldn't, it was just that other people couldn't more. MORE DIVING!? Pole vaulting was cool when I was little and didn't question it's validity. Thanks ESPN Bottomline for ruining every basketball/baseball/softball game that I wanted to watch. I wonder when the Olympics end. The Bank Job. Tuna and chips.

And now they're over. I guess the real problem was having time to watch and buying into the "Olympic Spirit" which, as I mentioned, still kinda freaks me out. It seems like if the "Olympic Spirit" is rooting for your "people" unconditionally, then WWII had a whole lot of Olympic Spirit. Regardless, I suppose I will miss them, and wish I at least knew they were ending.

Not entirely unlike my birthday.

You see, my birthday was on Thursday, and while I originally intended on writing a post that day, full of half-amusing, half-depressing witicisms, I ran out of time to do so and therefore get to deliver this baffling birthday fiasco tale instead.

The night started out like any other only more so. Dinner with friends, drinks. We went to a mexican restaurant and I realized early on that strange and confusing things were afoot. While some pitchers of margaritas were making their rounds, a double of tequila showed up out of nowhere (read: I didn't hear anyone order it for me) and I took the obligatory birthday shot (to my credit/detriment without gagging). This made me think about bday parties at other places. I mean, tequila seems to be the go to birthday shot, right? If you're at a dive bar, maybe Jager. But what about at a Sushi place? I suppose sake bombs. Thai? Indian? I have a tough time imagining a group cheering mightily for someone to drink their pint of Birthday Kingfisher Beer.

The next oddity was a few drinks later and came at the tail end of the dinner portion of the evening. Fireworks arrived. Well-- one firework-- a sparkler really. If my memory serves, it arrived with thirty-five mexicans and one very white waiter who's name I don't know, but believe I referred to as Brad. They were all clapping, seemingly for the sparkler that was making its way down to the ice cream it was sticking out of. I had to assume that's why they were clapping, because it would be ridiculous for them to be clapping for me to blow out the sparkler, since it was A FUCKING SPARKLER and the sparks were burning bright and mighty, keeping me well outside the candle blowing radius. We all maintained our positions, therefore, well after it was socially comfortable to do so (kind of like a slow clap at a baseball game that builds up to a frenzy and then the pitcher steps off the mound and you don't know whether to keep clapping insanely fast or just give up). So the thirty-five mexicans, Brad, and my friends all stood around clapping while I watched the sparkler with a half-smile on my face, content to see what would happen next, and entirely confused as to what was happening currently. Eventually, I decided that it was time somebody showed the (dwindling) sparkler who was boss, and leaned my face into the flame, giving it one swift shot of air. It went out immediately, and there was silence (possibly because I wasn't supposed to blow it out, but probably because it's pretty awkward to clap in celebration after JUST having clapped for over a minute).

Seeing that I was clearly primed, we all went into the bar section where some karaoke came on and apparently some more drinks were had. This is where the third baffling occurrence took place. It was baffling in two parts: the first part was when my friend and band-mate Ensomniac told me that he put in a special birthday karaoke request that I would know all the words to. When I pressed him, he informed me that it was a song by My Chemical Romance. It's important that you realize here that there is no reason for Ensomniac to believe that I know any words to any My Chemical Romance songs.* I have never listened to My Chemical Romance around him. I have not quoted My Chemical Romance, nor suggested we go to their concert. I do not have a "Black Parade" tattoo; temporary, henna, or otherwise, and I don't wear eye shadow. So it was particularly confusing when I heard that I was going to have to karaoke to it. Then the music started playing and here was the second baffling aspect. It was a My Chemical Romance song that I had never heard before-- AND what's more, my band had clearly ripped off a number of the riffs from it, because it sounded exactly the same as one of our songs. My Friend Formerly With A Pool Now With A Patio clapped me on the back and informed me that it was, in fact, our song. Technology Wow.

We then karaoke'd to our own song, which means yelled into a microphone basically, while everyone else in the bar stood by, not knowing what the song was. It was a very surreal experience, and if we'd intended it to be performance art, I'm sure some critic would hail it as some really deep, avant garde shit. On the plus side, it was our largest audience ever, and the waitress seemed to genuinely think it was cool. On the down side, it was one of the most self-indulgent, potentially lame, super embarrassing things we have ever done in public. Also, it was AWESOME.

We sang another of our songs, I was fed more drinks, called my roommate a Puma, and I believe I berrated one of my friends about the importance of sober self-transportation (on a related note, I checked in with people the next day to make sure they survived, and learned the lesson that texting, "U alive?" is not a good idea when there is any chance that they might not respond. Dead people do not text back "no," but live people do fail to reply to texts. I'd be better off texting, "If ur dead im going to take ur $ and apt like we talkd about unless u text that it's no longer ok." Then we'll find out who's dead or not). After that, my memory becomes one big game of Blackout Bingo, if the rules of Blackout Bingo were that you drink until you no longer remember or care that you are playing bingo. The next bit unfolded like a scene out of the film Memento or The Bourne Identity. Somebody hugged me, I drank something and-...

COP: Sir! Sir!
ME: Huh? (I look around. Two cops are shining their lights in my eyes. I appear to be just down the street from my home, but have no idea how I got there).
COP: Sir, where do you live?
ME: Um, right up that hill.
COP: Where do you live, sir?
ME: Uhh (I can't for the life of me remember my new address, but this seems like a bad thing to tell the cops. I don't know if I'm in trouble, but it doesn't appear that I'm NOT in trouble, so I play my cards close to my chest. Saying, "I just moved here," sounds both like I'm going to rob the place, and like what a homeless person would say about wherever it is they pass out for the first time. Instead I say...) I dunno, but it's right up there (nice).
COP: Uh-huh. Do you have ID on your or anything? (this would have been the best possible time to have had a Burger King Kid's Club Card. "Why yes, I do!")
ME: Riley Road! Uhhh (my brain pulls at my eyes and my eyes make everything dance)...614 Riley Road!
COP: Sir, please get in the car.
ME: Nono, it's alright, I'll just--
COP: We're gonna take you home, sir, just get in the car. (It would have been so much easier if they had just offered me candy)

So I get in the car and enjoy the brief ride back to my apartment. The plexi-glass separates me from the driver, which is good, because if I probably would have started babbling about getting motion sickness in the backs of cars if we hadn't been separated. Instead, I hope out at my stop (which happens to be the only stop on this public transport) and am shocked to find my key in my pocket. I wonder if this is what my boss meant when she said, "Just don't drive yourself home if you're drinking." I slip the key into the door, enter the building and-- wake up in the morning-- shirt on, pants off. Nice. I find several calls from The ATX, who was also there, and while I feel like I want to throw up, I can't seem to.

See? Just like those movies. The Bourne Identity makes so much more sense when you understand that Matt Damon was just drunk off his ass the whole time. Jason Bourne was just an alcoholic who knew kung-fu. That's a character we could connect with on a global level.

JASON BOURNE: I'm drunk as hell, where's my bed?
BAD GUYS: We blew it up. And we're gonna kill you.
JASON BOURNE: Whaaaaat? Fuck that-- I know kung-fu.
BAD GUYS: Just get in the car, we're gonna take you home.
JASON BOURNE: Man, I am WASTED and belligerant.
BAD GUYS: Good. Let's keep up this dynamic for three films.
JASON BOURNE: Can that chick from the white girl dancing movie inexplicably be in it?

As I put the pieces back together, things became more confusing. We apparently went to a second bar where I was handed numerous drinks-- which had to have been the same dynamic as laughing while getting a dog to lick up some spilled beer. I then got into a taxi with My Friend Formerly With A Pool-- it was a love taxi. Christmas lights, romantic mood music, plush seats. This is where the call from The ATX happened. Apparently, despite staying with me, we left him at the bar. I was then dropped off IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE. I don't know if I went inside or not, but I apparently let gravity take it's course and wandered about a half mile away again where the cops found me. I don't know if I was babbling incoherently, walking erratically, or passed out on the ground ("awesomely" if I have to use an adjective for that too), but something attracted the cops.

(in the morning)

The ATX: How you doin?
ME: Alright.
The ATX: You threw up last night down in the bathroom.
ME: Nice! (explaining why I don't have to now-- what a champ)
The ATX: Yeah, I stepped in it when I got home and had to pee.
ME: Yikes.

The ATX got in by throwing rocks at the window of the girl who came out with us and lives with me. So while that sucked and he was locked out, as he himself said, "I've never gotten to throw rocks at a girl's window before, so that was kinda cool."

So I have to assume that I probably went searching for The ATX when I realized he wasn't home. I wasn't stumble-drunk, I was on a mission-- a quest if you will. I was Lolo Jones, in search of gold (i.e. The ATX and/or a place to throw up), and the cops were my ninth hurdle (the one she tripped on). Neither one of us might have won, but we certainly gave it our all-- and that is the true Olympic Spirit. The Olympics, my birthday-- these things come and go, fade away (or disappear entirely from memory), but in a day, a year, 18 months (until Vancouver), whenever-- the Olympic Spirit will rise again, and we can look to be champions. You can cue the National Anthems Mix CD now.


* Despite this photo proof
taken after my friend's wedding
when we all belted out the entirety of
"Welcome to the Black Parade"
know...the one where they go,
"We'll caaaarry oooon, we'll caaaarry
OOOOooooonnnnn..." a lot.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pickz: Shy Bladder Fiasco and Kitchen Encounters

I don't have a shy bladder. I don't. That might be too much information for you, but if so, you're probably new here and you should know that I'm about to go one step further. I have a bladder that will ocassionally wait for my go ahead if someone sidles up nearby, which I like to think of as a "danger instinct" kicking in. It's like my bladder is saying, "We can do this, OR you can kick this guy's ass first." I like that. But it's certainly not shy.

So you can imagine my confusion, shock, and chagrin to find myself in a Shy Bladder Fiasco. You see, a couple of weeks ago, I was in the office and thought, "Hell, I don't have anything better to do, let's see if I have to pee." THAT'S how bored I was. "I'm not sure this is gonna happen, but let's give it a test run and see what turns up." I don't exactly work on Wall Street. Well, it just so happened that just as I sidled up to the urinal, one of the major higher ups walked into the bathroom. I wasn't quick enough in my zipping up, so instead I just stood there, willing myself to action while this guy two silent urinals over started makin' water music. I stood there awkwardly in my silence until he was gone. I was now the guy in his mind who stands silently at urinals. I should have at least said something like, "Whoah! I just totally spaced out," and zipped up. I'd rather be presumed high than bladder shy (which sounds like a Snoop Dog lyric). End Act One.

Act Two happened yesterday. This time I DID have to pee and walked into the bathroom ready to roll. Right as I was Battle Ready, however, the same guy walks in and over to another urinal. This time I freeze up. Straight up performance anxiety. "C'moooon, c'moooon!" I think while I stand once again in the deafening silence-- that is except for the glockenspiel-ian plinking over at urinal number one. I wanna tell him that, "This never happens to me," but I know he won't buy it. The minute he leaves I'm back to normal, and I almost want to shout out to him just so he knows. I want to shout, "Wait-- look what I can do! Look what I can do!" Before I do, however, I remember what I asked my parents when I was little-- and what they told me:

LITTLE WITZ: Mom, Dad...where do sexual harassment suits come from?
MOM: Hmm...I think your father should handle this one...
DAD: Well, uh, you see Witz, when a boy realllllly likes a girl--
MOM: --or a boy!--
DAD: --right! or a boy! When a boy likes one of those, but that person doesn't like them back-- and the boy makes repeated inappropriate or offensive workplace advances or repeated behavior, that boy can be sued for sexual harassment.
MOM: Listen, Witz. Your father complicates everything. Here's what you need to know: Never call someone back into the bathroom to listen to you pee-- even if it's so you can prove to them that you can pee. Ok?
LITTLE WITZ: I guess so...

So I remained silent as he exited the bathroom.

Act Three-- today. JUST as I'm zipping up, he walks into the bathroom. I zip, flush, wash my hands. It comes off, at least to me, who is now paranoid about the whole thing, as very suspect-- like I probably heard someone coming and zipped up just to pretend I was done, when nothing had actually happened. We exchange hellos as I go to wash my hands and I ask how he's doing, "Well, I don't know," he replies confusingly, "How are you?" and I feel like he HAS to be referring to my ability to urinate in public. My initial response is to say, "Me? Oh, I dunno, how about GREAT! Yeah, that's right, I just peed! There were like, pff, I dunno, twelve dudes in here, just peeing together, no problem. Yeah, no shy bladders here..." but realized that aside from the homo-erotic undertones, it was also a bit too much information. I should have just told him, "Eh, read my blog later, you'll find out," but instead I simply said, "Good," and finished washing my hands and drying them off like I was compensating for something else-- which I suppose I was.

Kitchen Encounters:
An odd thing happened to me in the kitchen at work. I was waiting for some pizza to reheat (which would be a great literary detail to give you insight into my life. "He was the type of guy who would reheat pizza for lunch.") and all of a sudden a guy walks up to the water container and sorta huffs/growls at it. In my head, I thought, "I wonder what this guy is huffing about?" At least I'm pretty sure I thought and didn't say that outloud, but the next thing I know, I'm being told what's so upsetting. Parts of this conversation are real and parts are what I thought in my head. See if you can spot which is which:

GUY: You know, this cup thing is unbelievable!
ME: Huh?
GUY: The tiny plastic cups! What was wrong with the paper cups?
ME: Oh yeah-- that's...
GUY: Infuriating!
ME: Yep.
GUY: Ya know-- THESE cups are biodegradeable too! (pointing at the cardboard cups nearby and making a face not unlike Jack Nicholson in The Shining) Why not just use these?!
ME: Yeah, haha, I actually do.
GUY: Not these stupid plastic cups.
ME: (trying to win favor) Yeah, the plastic ones probably take LONGER to bio-degrade!
GUY: And the thing is, you just KNOW that someone feels good about themselves for using these new cups.
ME: Pff-- those assholes.
GUY: Like, because they're "Earth Conscious."
ME: Despicable fucking pieces of low-life shit.
GUY: It just makes me so angry!
ME: you gonna shoot me or...I mean, can I go eat my pizza now or...are we done here? (and this is where the complete 180 kicks in)
GUY: (calmly) I guess there are bigger things to complain about than which cups we use. (and he leaves).

I wait a few minutes because I'm pretty sure it's like in a movie when you think the bad guy is gone and then all of a sudden they pop out and stab you somewhere unfortunate. When that doesn't happen, I grab my pizza and taking a cue from my GPS Device thinking say, "Well, if I'm meant to die by angry cup guy while eating my reheated pizza-- so be it." Not to give away the ending, but I survived. Actually, that is the ending. I survived.

Insert Funny Quip Here,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Witz Pickz: Monday Melange III

I think I'd be ok if I never heard anyone say, "I HATE Mondays!" ever again. In fact, I'm sure of it. And it's not because I'm not big on complaining-- case and point right here-- it's that EVERYBODY HATES MONDAYS! Whenever I hear someone say, "I hate Mondays," it always sounds like they are personally affronted by Mondays, and that the rest of us couldn't possibly comprehend. Inevitably, whoever they are talking to says, "Me too," as if to prove that they're in on the horror as well. It reminds me of conversations that went like this when I was in elementary school:

YOUNG WITZ: Yeah, definitely! (read: No, I will never see that movie)
FRIEND: It was awesome!
YOUNG WITZ: Yeah, it was! (read: But, I still want to be friends)
FRIEND: What was your favorite part?
YOUNG WITZ: Oh man-- uh-- I dunno, what was yours? (read: Shit shit shit)
FRIEND: Probably when the dude pops up from the pit and just rips the guy's face off.
YOUNG WITZ: Oh, yeah! Me too! (read: I still want to be friends, but now you kinda freak me out a bit)

No matter how good your job is, nobody is a fan of going from doing nothing, staying up late, and waking up late to suddenly waking up early and having to focus for 8+ hours a day. We're all aware of this.

GPS Devices:
Whenever I'm being guided by a GPS device, I always assume that the Female Computer Voice is leading me to a back alley where her buddies are waiting to rob me. Either to my credit or stupidity, I still follow the directions, making me either extremely brave or horrifically idiotic. It just always seems easier to say, "If being led to my doom by a GPS voice is my destiny-- so be it," than to explain to my passengers that I cannot follow the directions because I don't entirely trust the motives of the device. It doesn't instill confidence.

What also doesn't instill confidence is the fact that whenever I ride in someone else's car with GPS, they never seem to have any idea where they are or how they got to or can return from, that point. All human navigation skills go out the window in favor of the digital map, meaning that if it were to break suddenly, we would be entirely lost. They also seem dramatically offended when I try and gauge where we are or how we can get somewhere. "Witz, we have the GPS-- it's ok!" I guess when you spend $200+ dollars for a map, you get a little defensive.

Thoughts and Happenings:

Chumbawumba is fucking prolific! They seemingly have 10+ albums and are a folk band. I guess they weren't kidding about the whole getting back up again thing.

On the train this morning, in a four seats facing each other setup, I sat diagonally from someone else and hoped my intimidation level would keep people out of the other two seats. One person ended up sitting opposite me and promptly moved after one stop. Then he got off the train entirely-- so consider him intimidated. One stop later, a small, unassuming asian man sat down in the same seat. He remained there until we all got off the train. I have no choice but to assume, therefore, that I am both greatly intimidating when I want to be AND that unobtrusive asian men feel safe when they are around me. Nobody sat in the seat next to me, so clearly my intimidation worked there. Also, I had a back pack on that seat.

It turns out the best way to get me to give you change is to be a 300 lb scary looking bald dude who stares at me with unblinking eyes in a Burger King right up until he asks me for coffee money. Under those circumstances, I will most certainly hand over my 56 cents in the hopes that you will stop looking at me like you just remembered I threw your puppy out of a skyscraper and laughed about it (I realize that simile is a little tough to identify with and needs some backstory-- I mean, why the hell were we both in a skyscraper? And why did you have your dog there? And if you WEREN'T there, why was your puppy there, and how the hell did you find out about it-- especially the part about me laughing?! Maybe before you stare me down, you should try and figure out if you aren't just having a little mental breakdown, and combining my face with the time your dog died as a child with scenes from The Dark Knight. Long story short, I don't even have access to a skyscraper and I never have).

"Generation Kill" is actually a very well done HBO miniseries about the war in Iraq, but I'm afraid that, like myself, most people are going to take away one major thing-- the language. It would definitely make my day more exciting in the office. I constantly want to tell people to "stay frosty" when they should be ready for action-- perhaps while addressing envelopes. People should "have my six" at all times and these goddamn "whiskey tango (white trash) motherfuckers" need to stop RSVP-ing after the response deadline. And I sure as shit wanna be "oscar mike" when I'm "on the move" at the end of the day. Especially today-- because I HATE Mondays...


Friday, August 15, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: E'erbody In the Club Goin' Broke

If you don't want to go to a club on a Wednesday, don't leave your credit card there on a Saturday. That's the lesson I learned this week.

There were two things on my mind when I ran out of the Element Lounge on Saturday night-- a bathroom and a taxi. Unable to have access to the former, I was contented to easily acquire the latter, leaving both thoughts of my credit card, and the credit card, itself, in the bar. It was only when I got home that I realized what I'd done.

You can tell that I don't go to clubs too often because my inital thought was, "Oh well, I'll get it tomorrow." Turns out that SUNDAYS aren't prime business hours for clubs. Same goes for Mondays and Tuesdays. So it was Wednesday night at 9pm that I rolled back up to the Element Lounge, this time in a "walk of shame" hoodie instead of a "big night" collared shirt. It the sober midweek hours of the night, I took in a little more of the surroundings-- Adult Video Store next door, a bus stop loaded with sketchy travellers, and lots of homeless people. One of which started talking to me as I approached.

HOMELESS MAN: Yo, man, what's up?
ME: Nothin."
HOMELESS MAN: Spare a buck?
ME: Sorry.
HOMELESS MAN: Yo man, you want a sensual ma-ssage??
ME: From you?
HOMELESS MAN: No, son, I ain't givin' you no ma-ssage! Right there man! (he points to a shady sign I hadn't seen before right above what's looks like an alley leading to steps. The word "Massage" is lit up by expiring bulbs.)
ME: Ohhh, no, I'm good man, thanks.
HOMELESS MAN: Aight, aight-- you lemme know.
ME: I'll do that.
HOMELESS MAN: (just remembering something) Hey! Can you spare a buck?
ME: Sorry man, I don't have any cash-- I'm going here just to get my credit card back!
HOMELESS MAN: (totally understanding) Ohhh- aight aight, you a good guy, aight.

So there ya go. Endorsed.

After waiting outside the locked doors for 15 minutes, and after knocking on the windows to see if anyone would answer (cause I'm sure they don't get that a lot...), I called them until someone picked up (which I figured out meant I had to press 1 for VIP Reservations and not 4 for Left Credit Cards). It turned out that their event was cancelled so I was shit out of luck until last night. So I went back, and...

HOMELESS MAN: Yo, man, spare a buck?
ME: Sorry man, I, uh, actually am here to get my credit card that I left on Saturday (I like having the homeless feel informed of my actions)...

That exchange and explanation worked like a snap on Wednesday. As it turns out, this homeless guy was a bit more lucid than one would think, and that excuse doesn't go over two nights in a row.

HOMELESS MAN: Oh, aight, aigh-- wait! Man, you said that shit already! That's cold. (he waves his hand at me and walks away, shaming me. As I watched him walk away, the thought crept into my head that it's the second time I was shamed by a homeless guy in the last two weeks-- which can't be step in the right direction.)

This time the door is open and I'm able to walk right inside and up to the bar. "Hi, I need to, uh, sign for my bill from Saturday..." I say slightly embarassed to the same bartender who served me all Saturday night. My embarrassment quickly dissipated into horror as I stared at the bill-- 75 dollars.

" this the 'Asshole never closed out his tab' bill or is this ACTUALLY how much I spent?"
"Haha, nope, it's how much you spent."
"Ah-- no wonder I forgot my card..."

Before everyone assumes I'm a raging alcoholic, let me make some excuses. First-- drinks are probably pretty expensive. Second-- I bought a few drinks for other people. Third-- I'm white and Jewish-- dancing in public for me is like track and field for Stephen Hawking. But most importantly is the fourth excuse-- The bartender. This girl was the peppiest, happiest bartender I've ever been served by. She was the Safeway Veronica of the club world. She was a friendly asian girl who would put on a semi-serious face to take your order, and then when you ordered, she would suddenly react as if it was the best decision in the world, spin around like she was wearing roller skates, and move as if she was dancing while she mixed your drink. It only got more mesmerizing as the night went on.

This time, instead of spinning around and getting me a drink, she spun around and handed me a pen. Signing away more money than I've spent on groceries in the last few weeks, I realized how horrible it is to pay for fun you had five days ago. It's like eating a doughnut while you shop at a grocery store and then having to pay for the bag when you get to check out. Only roughly 75 times more expensive.

And now, here's what I imagine a PSA against drinking would be like:

MUSIC PLAYING -- "E'erbody in da club gettin' tips..."

BILLY: (clearly drunk) Wooo! Da club! Yeah!
ROBBIE: Billy are you drunk?
BILLY: You know it, WOOO!
KAREN: Billy, you don't have to drink to have fun.
BILLY: Huh? What are you talking about. We're in da club...
BILLY: So..."e'erbody in da club is getting tips..."
ROBBIE: I'm not.
BILLY: You're not?
ROBBIE: Nope. This is water.
BILLY: It is? What about you, Karen?
KAREN: 7-Up.
BILLY: 7-up and whiskey?
KAREN: Nope. Just 7-Up.
BILLY: Wait a minute-- wait a minute. Hey-- You-- are you getting tips?
STRANGER 1: No way, man, getting tips is for losers with no future.
BILLY: What about you?
STRANGER 2: Pff-- nah-- I'm hydrating.
BILLY: So NOBODY in da club is getting tips?
MC HAMMER CAMEO: Hi Billy. I'm former MC, current religious leader MC Hammer. It's just a song, Billy, you don't have to drink in the club. It's actually cheaper, more healthy, and more memorable if you don't.
BILLY: But I'm white and Jewish-- I need some social lubrication!
MC HAMMER: Do you? Maybe it's not your dancing or your heritage that's the problem. Maybe you need to take a look in the mirror and find out what's really the problem.
BILLY: You mean my nose, don't you?
MC HAMMER: No, Billy. I mean your confidence. Dancing comes from the heart-- not from alcohol. And THAT'S how you can become 2 Legit 2 Quit. (smiles at camera and gives the 2 sign).
BILLY: I was wondering how you'd work a 2 Legit 2 Quit reference in there.
MC HAMMER: Me too, Billy, me too....
(everyone starts dancing)

New Motto: E'erbody In Da Club Takin' very-tiny Sips,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Witz Pickz: The People We Meet...

I ran five miles in a sweaty t-shirt yesterday and woke up feeling like I'd been suckling a litter of ferrets all night long. So that's where I'm at.

I've made a new best friend at Safeway (and if that one sentence doesn't sum up why I'm going to end up sad and alone, I don't know what will). Her name is Veronica and she works at the sandwhich counter. She's probably around fifty, short and weighty, and while I'm not sure exactly where she's from, I've narrowed it down to either Mexico, Turkey, or Armenia.

The thing about Veronica is that she is utterly outwardly joyous about her job. She smiles when you step up to her and asks how you are doing. She laughs at the subtleties of the deli process, and smiles like she's figured out the riddle of life, and it's a really good punchline. She smiles and nods her head when you are done, seems genuinely thankful when you say, "Have a good night," and truly wants you to have a good night too. And yet the thing that makes Veronica really stand out in my mind is that more than anything else, she seems to want you to have pepperoncinis on your sandwhich.

Whether you order a sandwhich that includes them or not, she'll push the issue with a very happy smile. She's made three sandwhiches for me, and each time, I've ordered something different and before closing the sandwhich, she's looked at me with caring eyes and suggested, "Ehhh, maybe some pepperoncinis...?" The first two times I politely declined, and she backed away laughing a little, doing a mock, "Ok, Ok, no pepperoncinis!" This last time I had her put em on there just to make her happy. "Ehhh, maybe some pepperoncinis?" she asked? "Yeah, absolutely!" I replied, and watched as she bubbled and smiled and nodded, saying, "Good pepperoncinis," and piling them on for me. Rereading that accurate description, I want to ensure you that Veronica is not simply one of the mentally challenged employees that grocery stores sometimes have bagging. She's just very into pepperoncinis.

It has crossed my mind that maybe there's something in pepperoncinis that she thinks will specifically benefit me. Like maybe she takes a look at me and says out loud, "Ehhh, maybe some pepperoncinis--" and then finishes in her head, "--to make your nose smaller?" Maybe where she comes from, pepperoncinis make you taller, help you sleep, and easily remove wisdom teeth. There's also an outside chance that she laces the pepperoncinis with something and she's high as shit all the time. That explanation actually makes way more sense. Suddenly you're all like, "Great-- all it takes to make Witz happy is having some foreign chick on ecstasy make him a sandwhich..."

For whatever reason, I'm glad people like Veronica exist. It beats the hell out of the other Safeway skeazy mustachioed sandwhich guy who EVERY TIME YOU ORDER A SANDWHICH says, "Wow-- I wonder how many calories are in this!" LOTS-- but I'm the kinda person who is purchasing a SANDWHICH at a GROCERY STORE instead of buying the ingredients and making it myself, so maybe I have enough that I'm dealing with.

Gym Guy:
After that aforementioned running at the gym, I was at the water fountain (the good water fountain, which means the one out in the hallway, not in the gym. This is the same type of thinking I employed in kindergarten-6th grade when I'd come in from soccer and hop into the line for the "good fountain," sweating profusely while some a-hole behind me starts counting to five) drinking lots of water, when a large, built dude steps up to the tiny fountain next to me. His headphones are still on blasting music, but it takes a second for the music to clear up and reach me while we drink. Right as I'm swallowing some water, I hear the chorus of everyone's favorite democratic party anthem: "Don't stop-- believing!" The dude was listening to Journey. I choked on my water, laughed without being able to stop myself, and shared a momentary look with him. My look said, "Journey? Really?" and his look said, "Just because I'm listening to Journey doesn't mean can't kick your ass." Touche.

Standing Room Only:

From a baseball game over the weekend with my friends...

ATTENDANT: Please stand closer to the seats…
CLARE: But not past the yellow line, right?
ATTENDANT: No, not past that.
NICK: You're sending me mixed signals—I don't know how you feel about me!
ATTENDANT: Just stand a little closer.
CLARE: Just the tip. She's saying just the tip.

Dare From A Reader:
I dare any of your readers to browse weight-lifting websites at work, then convince anyone that catches a glimpse of it that they aren't looking at gay porn. Can't be done.

...These are my readers...
(right, J-Kow?)


Monday, August 11, 2008

Witz Pickz: Political Dream Encounters and Olympic Update

The other night, I had a dream where I was walking through my kitchen on the way to the television, and got stopped by Barack Obama, who may or may not have been fixing himself a snack. It was obvious from the way that he was looking at me that he had a misperception of what I'm like, and started talking to me as if I was a super conservative troubled teen. He introduced himself and started outlining his policies, and I kept nodding my head without paying much attention, trying to act interested, but really wanting to say, "Dude-- it's cool. I'm on board." For some reason, in the dream that felt rude, so I just let him talk, and eventually said thanks and went to watch TV. The thing that interests me most, however, is the fact that Obama was outlining his policies IN EXTREME DETAIL. Now, while I know what Obama is about, I can't claim to be an expert on his stance on all of the issues-- especially not to the degree that he was talking which was essentially delivering well thought out stump speeches. WHICH MEANS that he must have just been saying things that I know that I would want. It probably went something like:

OBAMA: Now, as you might know, I'm a huge proponent of Grilled Cheese and Tater Tots on Fridays. I think we need to take this out of the academic cafeteria world and bring it to everyone, everywhere. You know how Bush talks about Freedom? That's gonna be me with Grilled Cheese and Tater Tots.
ME: I am very pleased with this.
OBAMA: As far as where I stand on gas, well, I want to give that to you for free.
ME: This is a very good policy.
OBAMA: People ask me, "Barack, how do you feel about speeding tickets?" And I tell them-- I say, "Who cares if you're speeding as long as you're driving safely? I believe that it's the unsafe drivers, NOT the speeders, who should be pulled over. Sometimes driving faster is safer.
ME: I have very similar beliefs.
OBAMA: On the count of three, I'd like us both to say how we feel about making monkeys legal, affordable pets. 1...2...3...
OBAMA: FOR IT! Ha ha ha. Awesome.
ME: Hey, Obama?
OBAMA: Yes, Witz?
ME: Are you the same person as The Rock?
OBAMA: Maybe, Witz...maybe...

The same night, I had a dream where I met John McCain, shook his hand, and thought, "John McCain has very soft palms." In my dream, I then wondered how that would go over for the country. Would McCain shake some other leader's hand with his soft palms and make the United States look weak? It certainly seemed possible. Then I woke up and realized that some people ACTUALLY vote based on things like that. Yikes.

Regardless, the fact that I had these political dreams is unusual given that not only hadn't I been watching or thinking about polical anything, but I HAD been watching ANACONDA beforehand. Which means that my brain actively decided not to dream about snakes despite watching a movie entirely about snakes. Big win.


Sychronized Diving: Do you think someone saw two people plunge identically side by side to their death and thought, "That. I want THAT to be a sport." How else could something so ridiculous have been conceived?

"Diving is tough, but it'd be tougher if two people had to do the same thing at the same time." "Should we blindfold them, too?"
"No-- that'd be a bit much."
"Good point."

Or maybe someone was diving and someone else was like, "That's easy," and they were like, "I'd like to see you get up here and do it," and then they did...AT THE SAME TIME...and someone else saw it and made it a sport, leaving the door open to judges to say years later things like, "They weren't THAT together." If you said something like that under any other circumstances, you would get your ass beat by anyone that heard you. "See how that one's foot was slightly more pointed than the other one? They weren't THAT sychronized." And inevitably, people at home start to say the same thing. We could never in a million years do what they're doing, but all of a sudden, "They didn't make a similar enough splash," and, "He closed his fist slightly more than the other one."

And yet despite their athletic feats of tandem descent, all I could think the whole time I watched was, "Couldn't they do this while showing me less of what their penis looks like?" I mean, they weren't even regular sized speedos, it's like they shopped for them Baby Gap. I wonder if at some point the two synchronized divers went up to their coach with one regular sized speedo and one tiny speedo and while they stood near naked together asked him, "Which looks less gay?" and received a long blank stare in response.

One NBC Announcer: Why do they get in the showers right after they get out of the pool?"
Other NBC Announcer: Well, they do it because the water in the pool is kind of cold, and they want to keep their muscles loose and also just have some fun!"

Michael Phelps: If you ever wanna feel good about your lack of achievement, learn a little about Michael Phelps. The guy gets Olympic Medals like he finds them in the bottom of cereal boxes, but last night they had a little special where they informed us that all he does is swim, eat, and sleep. And repeat. That's all he's done for at least the last four years. What kind of life is that? It made me feel a little sad and almost pity him a little, knowing that someday that would end and the first 30 years of his life would be gone. No more medals. Hopefully, someone will track him down after the Olympics, slip a beer in his hand, change the background Wayne's World style from a pool to a beach, and he can enjoy a more normal "swim, eat, sleep" experience.

"Witz, what do you do on a daily basis?"
"Me? Work, gym, eat, sleep. Why?"

Men's Gymnastics:
Is it weird that while I saw the Chinese Men's Gymnastics team do their floor routines (I know that part's weird, but lemme keep going), and I thought they were unfathomably strong, I STILL think that I could probably beat them up? I mean, not if they started doing the twirly whirly shit, but if I got a punch or two in, I think I'd be ok. What I'm trying to say is that if I was able to run up behind a Chinese Men's Gymnast and punch him in the back of the head before he turned around and hurricane kicked my face, I think I could do some real damage...

If John McCain's Dream Handshake Was More Like Sychronized Divers (Young and Strong),
I Might Dream Vote For Him,

Witz Pickz: Olympic Grab Bag

The Olympics are here-- meaning that it's that special time when once every four years we all wish we were from a poor, third world country so that it really meant something to us when our country won a medal. Without that desperate, genuine nationalism, I just can't quite get into the Olympics like I'd like to and used to. It's like I heard Patrice O'Neil say on the radio, "The reason why America is great is because we don't need to get excited when our athletes win a medal." Or so I thought-- here are some Olympic moments and realizations:

Women's Volleyball:
I'll tell ya what, I didn't care one bit about the women's volleyball game on Saturday-- right up until I was running next to a Japanese man at the gym who very much did. I was casually watching the game, vaguely hoping the US would win the tight match, and actually had the thought, "I wonder if this guy next to me is way more into the Olympics than I am because he might be from another country (he was walking briskly on a treadmill while wearing a white v-neck t-shirt, which historically, for me, means he's not originally from America.)" My thought was almost immediately confirmed when Japan slammed down a point and he pumped his fist. Yep-- he was into them. I started feeling bad for rooting for the US since he obviously cared more than I did-- and that's when he let out a victorious, shrill laugh when the US team served the ball out of bounds, giving Japan a point. I'm ok with someone cheering for another team, but not when they laugh at my team's mistakes. And while I don't care about volleyball, support all the athletes of all the nations in the olympics, hate Ford commercials, don't care that Budweiser was bought out by a foreign corporation, and rooted against the Yankees in 2001, I was suddenly very into America. It was on.

The US team scored a big point and I smiled. The tension suddenly grew between us, and I got a shot of adrenaline that got me running faster. I watched the screen intently as I ran (which, yeah, made me a little motion sick...), and was genuinely excited when the US rattled off a bunch of points (you see, they subbed this ONE girl for this OTHER girl, and the NEW girl got everyone pumped up and was high fiving and shouting and slapping people, and-- see, I was INTO IT!). When the US scored their last two points, I actually got choked up, and had to fight the nationalistic and comedic urge to turn to the dejected Japanese man, do the fake victory gallop on the treadmill and shout, "Wooo! U.S., baby! Can't do THAT with a Wii remote!" And that's when I remembered the words of my scumbag sophomore year high school history teacher: "Nationalism is the one word to remember when talking about the World Wars-- Nationalism."

Goalies have very little impact in the game of handball.
After an hour of play and over 30 goals scored per team, it is possible to tie.
Handball was probably invented in somebody's basement when they were ten.
The existence of Handball proves that BASEketball might one day be an olympic event.

George W. Bush:
Did anyone else see when the President randomly came on TV to talk with Bob Costas? It came out of nowhere and from what I could tell, just made everyone feel uncomfortable. He had to answer a series of questions that he obviously knew were coming, but still managed to stumble over his words and give answers that were vague and sometimes, not even relevant. At one point, he almost even kind of berrated us/Bob Costas, which was unnerving because Bob Costas is like 4 ft 3 and looks like a turtle. It all felt a lot like in Generation Kill when one of the officers gathers up his group and tells them, "We need to remember who the real enemy is-- The Enemy!"

You'll feel alright watching gymnastics right up until one of your roommates walks in on two of you sitting on the ground, eating bread, and watching fifteen year olds vault. When he says, "What's up guys?" and you have to answer, "Not much, just watching...gymnastics..." Then things don't feel quite as ok.

The Olympics Lose Some of Their Charm...
...when you realize that you will never achieve what these people have achieved by the age of 16-25-- not without cheetah legs at least.

The Olympics Gain Some of Their Charm Back...
...when you remember that the ski jump exists, and muse on how that possibly became a sport. "AAHHHH, I'm falling horribly down a mountain! AHHHH there's a cliff! AAAHHHHHHH I-- landed it and am gonna do this over and over again and get others to join me and then we will compete to see who launches to their near-doom the best.

Heritage Nights:
On a sports related note, I went to a baseball game yesterday and was a little surprised to hear that the SF Giants are having "Heritage Nights," where each night, one of six heritages will be celebrated-- there are only six heritages right? I mean, otherwise, it might be a bit awkward to celebrate them wouldn't it? The nights kick off with Irish Night, Italian Night, and African-American Night AKA Socially Uncomfortable White Minority Night. What's weirder is that they actually compare the nights in the descriptions, saying that Irish Night is, "Arguably the most anticipated and successful special event of the Giants season...The giveaways at this event are always the most sought after..." Then the Italian description is essentially, "If you're Italian, you might like this event." The African-American one informs us that, "The package includes more then just a $20 discounted Friday night ticket with proceeds going to a local community group charity - it also includes a seat in the African American section of the park." WHAT?? The African American section of the park?? Is this the same marketing group that they had in the '50's? "Ride to and from the game on the African American section of the bus! Get drinks from the African American water fountains! Watch your favorite players play in the African American League!" Poorly phrased, Giants, poorly phrased.

After the three big Heritage Nights, they set the bar pretty high, and with Jewish Night on the horizon, they clearly needed to ramp things up-- so what did they do? Welp, they scheduled the upbeat "Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Night" first followed by the always uplifting, "Missing Children's Awareness Night." That'll get people psyched up for the Jewish Heritage Night. Don't worry though-- not only do you get your ticket for the game, you also get, " a unique gift that one of the fans created themselves." Oh yeah, that doesn't sound cheap at all. The SF Giants are a multi-million dollar organization, and they're giving out Suzie Weinstein's homemade "Challah If You're A Giants Fan" t-shirts (which I guess is better then the abstinence themed, "Jesus Is My Third Base Coach" t-shirts. I also wanna get a bumper sticker for the carpool lane that says, "Elijah Rides Shotgun." Any of these religious jokes hittin'?).

"Are you going to Jewish Heritage Night?"
"Why not?"
"Anytime people start rounding up Jews, I get a little nervous..."

The series rounds out with India Independence Day Celebration Night and Latino Heritage Night, but to be honest, not really many jokes there other than some how they could say, "ARRANGE to be there!" or, "More like LatiYES!" but nobody needs those jokes.

Michael Phelps Makes Lance Armstrong Look Like Tanya Harding,

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Fast Food Justice, and the Cell Phone Shakes

Every now and then, when I'm feeling particularly optimistic, I'll think, "We really got something here, with this whole legal system thing." Then I'll read an article like this and wonder how we're all still alive:

"PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) -- A New York man who pleaded guilty to murder in Oregon in exchange for buckets of fried chicken will get calzones and pizza to go with his life sentence."

You know what they call that? America. Apparently, Tremayne Durham, 33, of New York City, decided that he wanted to be an ice cream man and bought an 18,000 dollar truck (that is one of the most ridiculous sentences I have ever typed). He then decided that he DIDN'T want to become an ice cream man, but the company refused to refund him his money. I have to believe ice cream truck companies get a lot of this and that's why the no refund policy is in place. At least 90% of their orders have to be from people making "one night mistakes." They can't be having all their orders returned to them the next day-- when you make that call, your money is theirs. Obviously, what they really need to do to avoid such problems is institute either a question policy or a "Beetlejuice policy." The question policy would be, "Thank you for calling Ice Cream Trucks n' Stuff. Are you currently intoxicated in any way, either by alcohol, drugs, or major life achievement? If no, press 1. If yes, please press 2 for the 'Beetlejuice Policy.'" Then it'd go to the Beetlejuice policy that goes like this:

"Do you wanna be an ice cream man?"
"Do you wanna be an ice cream man?"
"Do you wanna be an ice cream man?"

Boom. Done. Sorry mister-- you ice cream man now. Unfortunately, that policy, nor any return policy was in place for Mr. Durham, who went on to kill a former Ice Cream Truck Company employee while trying to find the owner.

Anyway, Tremayne Durham went to trial and as part of his plea bargain, he demanded KFC chicken, Popeye's chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, carrot cake and (yes) ice cream-- thereby taking great strides to firm up the stereotype that black people love fried chicken. The judge, in a brilliant comedic move (and pretty lazy too) agreed to the request, including the addendum that once he pled guilty, he would receive calzones, lasagna, pizza and ice cream (AGAIN!). Apparently, he was alright going to jail for murder, but he wanted, "a break from jail food." I'm not sure he'll actually end up getting any of the food for himself, but I am pretty sure he's going to win the Most Raped-edest Inmate award. While everyone else is eating sketchy stew and stale bread, he's gonna sit there with KFC and ice cream? He might as well get a "Shiv Me" face tattoo. I wouldn't even WALK BY a jail with a cookie-which, and Tremayne wants Popeye's...unbelievable. I guess that explains why the defense firm is willing to pay for the food-- they probably figure that it won't be for very long.

Now let's talk about the other part of the equation-- the part where our legal system bought a guilty plea for food stuffs. Isn't that some form of coercion? I mean, I think by this point we're all assuming Tremayne is a bit tubby, but even if he's not, you can't say, "Ok, we'll buy you food, but you have to admit you did it." That either means that they don't have enough evidence against him in the first place so they're buying his plea, or it means that they just want to go home. Either way, I don't feel great about it. And doesn't this set precedent for homeless people to just knife someone and get hooked up? Could I commit a lesser crime and maybe get some free Stacy's Pita Chips? Those suckers are expensive. "I'll admit to stealing that car, but I want to be sentenced to community service and get Dunkin Donuts Coolattas." I bet that'd backfire dramatically.

E.T. Finger:
There's still time to get in on a pool-- I still can't feel my finger! Special thanks to J-Kow for giving his medical opinion-- let's have more of that!

Cell Phone Shakes:
If I DO have one legal case in the works, it's for the cell phone companies. Recently, I've started feeling my cell phone vibrating even when it's not, leading me to look absolutely nuts when I reach for my phone and very unwanted when it turns out nobody called in the first place. It's the cell phone equivalent of saying, "Good," when someone asks, "What's up?" or saying "Bless you," when NOBODY sneezes. Awkward all around. So either it's mental and I'm always awaiting someone calling me, OR I'm actually developing a physical tick or muscle twitch thanks to my phone being on vibrate. Or maybe it's like how people say, "Someone's talking about you," when your ears are burning. Maybe, "Someone's utilizing their cell phone minutes to discuss something involving your name." Probably not though.

You can't spell, "Witz Has Muscular Dystrophy Without H-Y-P-H-Y,"

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Witz Pickz: Other People!

So as it turns out, other people are funny too! ("Oh my god, he thinks he's funny, that's so pretentious!") So, for today's post, I've got a few clips and anecdotes from people I know.

My New Hand-Me-Down Twin Bed:

HELLO LESLIE: That bed's spider infested. Did I forget to tell you that? Oh-- and I killed a carny on that bed! A toothless carny. Maybe you saw the stain?
ME: Well, I guess that eases my concerns about urine...


DELIA: Due to an unfortunate convergence of an overly-dark haircoloring incident and no time to get to the stylist, I resemble Snape. And since we decided today that Brian and I could easily pull off a passable Hall and Oats...I may need a makeover.

"You Got A Beautiful Face:"

Heff and I, after listening to a Mac Lethal song that begins, "You got a beautiful face..." began improvising the line to each other as much as possible. Here's what we came up with:

ME: When I think about your apartment I'm like, "You got a beautiful space."
ME: If you were a knight and we were getting ready for battle I'd be like "You got a beautiful mace."
HEFF: If testicles werent so inherently ugly I could say "You got some beautiful grapes"
ME: If I were an alien, and I met you as the sole human ambassador to my species, I'd say, "You got a beautiful race."
HEFF: If we ran a marathon togetherI'd say, "You got a beautiful pace."
ME: If you had a back patio with a lounge chair I'd say, "You got a beautiful chaisse"
HEFF: If you put coke in all your weed I would say, "You got a beautiful lace"
ME: If we ended up eating dinner at a catholic family's house and you were put on the spot, I'd back you up by saying, "You got a beautiful grace."
HEFF: if i were a cannibal I'd say, "You got a beautiful taste."
ME: if we lived in 14th century england and you took in an attractive vagabond, I'd say, "You've got a beautiful waif"
ME: If you fell down and slid on concrete, I'd say, "You got a beautiful scrape."
HEFF: If a foreign dignatary thought Bush would have any idea what he was talking about he could say, "You've got some beautiful states..." only he would mean like Colorado and California...not Kansas...definitely not Kansas...
ME: if you were a private investigator with an attractive client, I'd say, "You've got a beautiful case"
HEFF: if josh beckett were better looking I could say you have a beautiful ace
ME: If I enjoyed your window dressing home decor I'd say, "You got some beautiful drapes"
HEFF: i have one that you cant put online. If you were a prison inmate i could tell you "You got some beautiful rapes..." Repeat - do NOT put online.


When I heard that Titan AE was flying Delta over the weekend, I was shocked. First, I was under the impression that Delta stopped being an airline YEARS ago, and second, as an airline, Delta is ghetto as heeeeeeeeellll. If Virgin America is the Santa Monica of the flying world, Delta is the Compton. She wasn't convinced. Upon her return, she told me her story-- here are the highlights:

She was supposed to meet her sister and dad in Florida. On the way, it was her family that had all the Delta fun. Their 6am flight was straight up cancelled, and I'm thinking it's because the pilot forgot where he parked the jet the night before when he had a few too many drinks. Why else do EARLY MORNING FLIGHTS get cancelled? That's called an "alarm clock cancel" because the whole crew said "Fuck it" and hit snooze.

Once they got on the plane, they ended up having to wait to actually take off-- but you'll never guess why. Go ahead, guess a few times in your head. I bet you said, "Medical emergency?" Maybe even, "Freak Zooquarium mishap?" NOPE. It's because THEY FORGOT TO FUEL THE PLANE. Yup! The plane-- forgot to fuel it. Totally spaced out.

"Yo, man, you got a few bucks for gas? We gotta fill up the plane and I'm broke as hell."
"Man, this entire airline is broke as hell!"
"Well what are we gonna do?"
"I'll tell ya what, here's a few bucks-- but don't go to Shell or Exxon-- take it to Arco, make sure you pay cash so you save some cents.
"Ok cool--"
"--and then cut it with 50%."
"That works?"
"I guess we'll find out!"

Eventually, they got some fuel in there and made it to Florida. But the fun wasn't over. On the way BACK, it was Titan AE who learned why Delta was the cheapest flight she could get.

After boarding her plane and awaiting takeoff, the pilot came on to announce that there was an engine light on. Aside from that being the last thing you ever want to hear when sitting on a plane, what the pilot said next couldn't have been much of a comfort. He told them that, "The plane will fly with the light on, but for legal reasons," they couldn't take off until it went away. By "legal reasons," he of course meant, "So we aren't sued for gross negligence and borderline genocide when all of our passengers plunge to their firey dooms aboard our vessel of unsuitable standards." They waited for 45 minutes before the pilot told them that, "the light is still on, and a mechanic is coming to check it out." What they had been doing to solve the problem previously is a mystery. Were they just tapping on the light hopefully every few seconds? Was somebody kicking the side of the plane? Had somebody RESEMBLING a mechanic been working on the plane up until then? I bet at least one person on the crew said, "This is why we can't put so much water in our fuel!"

After some more wait time, the pilot came on to announce that, "We're going to turn the plane off and turn it back on again-- like your computers at home." AWESOME. Did they take out the engine and blow on it, too?? Maybe it's just me, but I don't EVER want my aircraft of mass transport to be compared to my home computer. My home computer can't run iTunes and Photoshop simultaneously, the "w" key is hit or miss (which is like, the worst expression to use when talking about keys on a keyboard it turns out), and when placed on my lap, it feels like I just stuck my crotch in a waffle maker. I don't like the idea that halfway across the country, a plane might just crash because they tried to open Limewire while watching Weeds on Also, condescending to your passengers is probably not the best thing to do when there's a chance (remote as it may be) that they will survive the trip and can report you to the FAA (to which the FAA would casually reply, "Oh, yeah, Delta's ghetto as heeeeeeeellllll."). Anyway, just to show how absurd all technology is, the reboot worked, and they finally got on their way.

When the plane landed, they were 30 minutes early, which led to this gem, that I've heard far too many times, "Alright there, looks like since we got here 30 minutes earlier than expected, we're gonna have to wait on the tarmac for our gate." You know how long they waited? THIRTY MINUTES. You know why? BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO GET THERE. I don't understand why planes are constantly arriving early or ending up late or making up time in the air. And I'm more confused by how this shocks and surprises them every time. If you get there 30 minutes early, leave 30 minutes later. If you know you're gonna be 30 minutes early, get on the horn and let the tower know, so there's a gate open SOMEWHERE. After a 9 hour flight and a longer day of travelling, nothing is worse than sitting in a plane when you finally land at your destination (except when you have a connection to catch, but you miss it while sitting in the plane).

But I think something else is up. I think Delta's running a kind of "coyote" program-- you know, the guys who run illegal immigrants across the border? Delta will fly you to your destination, but then they're gonna hold you on board until you shell out a few hundred more dollars. Cuz what are you gonna do about it? You don't even have letter openers or 3.1 oz of lip gloss.

It was during this time when she received the cherry on top. A baby (probably drunk off malt liquor that Delta serves) vomited on the wall in front of her, and she had to just watch as it made its way down to her bag. "You probably want to move your bag," the lady told her, in the cramped confines of the plane-tomb that had been sitting on the ground for 30 minutes. "They're called condoms," she probably wanted to reply. No quip would stop the inevitable.

And yet despite all this, when I asked if she finally believed me that Delta is ghetto she told me simply, "I will say, though, that Delta has the tv monitor thing like Virgin in the seat-- AND they have good snack options-- cheese crackers, biscotti cookies, and peanuts. I had cheese crackers." This is why we can't have nice things.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Witz Pickz: Social Awkwardness (Again...and again...and again...)

I'm gonna go ahead and skip all the preamble about what I did this weekend and just go straight to: You are not going to BELIEVE what the Mongols are still up to!

Yup. The Mongols. While talking with a special forces army medic Saturday night, I learned that the Mongols a) still exist as a nation and culture and b) are still up to their old tricks. Apparently, despite my belief that the Mongols existed only in textbooks and the game Civilizations, The Mongols are part of our coalition over there, and apparently provide solid support that can't be said for some other nation's troops. "What do you mean by old tricks, Witz?" By old tricks, I of course mean brutal killing. Now pay attention, because here's something you're not gonna see on Generation Kill: While the medic's group was under attack by local militia and the US troops were taking cover and returning fire, The Mongols turned headlong into the attack and charged back at them. They then killed and began beheading their victims at which point the US troops stopped cheering and had to do a little, "WhoooOOOOOOOaaaaaahhhh THERE, boys! UNCOOL. VERY UNCOOL." NO RBVs FOR YOU!! They're like the drunken frat guys at a wine tasting. Someone needs to sit down, invite Mongolia to Burning Man, and get ready with a camera, because something AWESOME (slash probably tragic) would be about to happen. Freakin' Mongolia...

MAIL INVADER (note the pun):
Speaking of murderous invaders, I had to go attempt to pickup some mail from my old apartment the other day and due to a series of bad decisions, became VERY suspicious looking VERY quickly. First, I mistimed my car exit to converge with a current tenant, leading me to a "just slightly too far behind" door holding situation. Since I didn't have a key and she did, I had to hurry a little to try and catch up and ended up getting to the door right after it closed. That's the moment that you're supposed to shrug and reach for your keys-- only since I didn't have them, I just sorta stood there while the girl looked back through the glass and saw that I didn't have keys. I decided it'd be too weird to knock at that point, and the girl might think I was stalking her, so I flipped open my phone and proceeded to call my voicemail and act as though I was calling someone who lived in the building. Not surprisingly, nobody answered to let me in, and I was forced to make the "Where the hell is Tony!?" face, even though Tony didn't exist at all. I waited for someone ot come to the door coincidentally and let me in, but it didn't happen, and I started getting a mirgraine from my acting. This was the point I decided to WALK REPEATEDLY AROUND THE BUILDING in the hopes of timing my walk with a new entry.

This new plan didn't account for the fact that there was an asian woman apparently collecting dirt from a work site outside the building while her husband watched from a balcony. They clearly saw my actions and it was clearly becoming weird fast. It's important to note that a lot of the residents in the building are foreign and many speak little to no english. One time this was so much the case that a woman holding the elevator began speaking Cantonese to me, as if I had any idea what she was saying. I just optimistically assumed that she was saying, "Do you want to get on this elevator and go to your floor and I'll take the elevator when my husband finishes bringing in our stuff?" and so I kept repeating, "Yes." Anyway. When it was clear nobody else was showing up to help me out, the woman approached the door with her dirt and keys, I took the leap.

"Excuse me, I used to live here and need to check for old mail, would you mind letting me in?"
"Do you mind letting me in to check my mail? I don't have a key..."
"Mmmmmnnnnn, ok," she opened the door, then turned to me as we entered, saying, "But you no get me in trouble, right?!" Which really is roughly translated as, "I'm going to let you in, but don't murder anyone or steal anything, ok?" And that's a deal I can roll with. At the same time, it made me feel fairly better about moving out. I mean, you can't just ask an intruder not to intrude. They're not gonna tell you what they're up to. Was I supposed to say, "Ooph-- here's the thing. I totally see where you're coming from, but I've got some duct tape and pliers in my bag that aren't gonna maim themselves, know what I mean?"

We then parted ways after an elevator ride that even to me felt like her Last Seen Photograph, and I was at my old room. I knocked on the door, preparing to awkwardly explain how I used to live there and do they have my mail, but nobody is home. I knock again and wait. Nothing. I then take a look around before sticking my eye up against the peep hole to try and reverse see into the apartment. Empty. Fortunately, the same can't be said for the elevator that opened up just in time for four people to see me staring into the room while squeezed up against the door like a dog humping a leg. Fortunately, I stayed calm enough to inform them that, "My mail might be in there." That went over like a fat guy flying Southwest (if you're fat and have to buy two seats, how does that work when there's no assigned seating?? Is it implied? If somebody tries to sit next to you because they think the plane is full do you just say, "Oh no, no-- I'm fat!" or what? If someone DOES sit next to you do you get your money back? How many snacks are you rationed? Do you get two drinks? Is it like having an invisible friend, only instead of invisibility, your friend is actually just your own morbid obesity?? So many questions...). Assuming the authorities would be on their way shortly, I ran down the stairs and back out to my car, passing the asian woman digging dirt again and thanking her-- knowing as I did that she'd hear four people talking about the weird guy who they caught rubbing up on a door moments ago. Looks like I won't be getting any lost mail anytime soon.

That's How I Roll Now,

Friday, August 01, 2008

Witz Pickz: ZooQuarium!

I've been saving this up for a special day and if today isn't that day, I don't know when it will be. I've officially survived a move and two days of 6am wakeups on a floor with assorted blankets (including a super fun dream this morning when I dreamt that I was woken up by people outside my house at 4:30am to help them move-- then I woke up and it was 5am...) and now the weekend is finally finally finally here. Woot.

When I was in Cape Cod for J-Kow and K-Rey's wedding, we thrice drove past a myserious building with a single sign advertising its existence: "Zooquarium." ZOOQUARIUM! IS IT A ZOO? IS IT AN AQUARIUM?? WHO KNOWS!? We were unable to discern any actual details, because a) we didn't have any time to spare and b) the building was the zoo/aquarium equivalent of a men's bath-house. A giant warehouse, no windows, vinyl siding, painted tan, with a long driveway and a marsh surrounding it. I was pretty sure that if I knocked on the door three times and slipped five bucks through the grate, then I was gonna get blown by a seal. Either that or it was the worst mafia front ever. Like, they bought the building and had to say what it was besides, "Meth Lab" and managed to come up with "Zooquarium," because one of the higher ups wasn't so bright and no one wanted to correct him.

I finally decided that I had to find out what was behind those metallic doors. In my mind, the place was a complete riddle-- full of mistreated animals in ridiculous situations. As The Color Thiel Part 2 said, "What, do they like, put cheetahs in water?" I couldn't honestly say no. Maybe the schtick is simply to mess with animals and place them in unsuitable habitats. Maybe monkeys are in sand pits and fish are in trees. Maybe the king of the jungle ain't so mighty roaming the arctic tundra. Maybe penguins ain't so cute when they're sweating like crack addicts in the rainforest (though Surf's Up would argue vehemently against this point). The title should just be, "Zooquarium: Come See Llamas On Waterslides." I'd do it-- in a second (wasn't that the plot from Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken 2?).

I needed to know what this place was so I searched online. The first thing I'll tell you is that when searching for "zooquarium" you don't need to write anything else-- there's only one. The World's Largest, Longest Operated, and Lone Zooquarium is on Cape Cod, Massachussetts. The website is not entirely unlike the building. The header for the page that usually says things like, "ESPN" or "Witz Pickz" simply says, "zoo." Like that. Lower case. "zoo." The slogan also skirts the issue, simply saying, "It might just be more fun than the beach!" I understand that Cape Cod is a location with beaches, but beaches aren't necessarily fun so much as relaxing. They don't even take a stand and say, "More fun than the beach!" They're basically just saying, "You might enjoy this more than the beach if you aren't that into beaches and are really into animals or whatever it is that we have!"

From what I can gather, there is a petting zoo farm style and an aquarium with "fishes, and lobsters and crabs..." which sounds suspiciously like what you find in the ocean, very nearby. Then they mysteriously say, "Don't forget to wink at the lobster...he may just wink back!"
Am I gonna get banged by a lobster at the zooquarium? The whole place is full of mysterious inside joke-like references and one liners that I just don't get. Without ever really telling me what the zooquarium is all about, they seem to push simply how FUN it is. Check this out:

"What's the most important part of the zoo???
Why it's having FUN, of course. Why don't you click on the peacock below and then print it out so you can color?"

Do they think that 6 year olds are cruising their website? Even if that was possible, they'd have to spell ZOOQUARIUM. Does the fun at the Zooquarium rely mostly on printable at-home activities??

The answer is no. Checkout these special events that I can't believe I have to miss:

"August 30, 31 -- All Reptiles, all the time." Yup. They fuckin' did it. All of em. All the time. Start running, but it won't do any good. Reptiles. Everywhere. The Zooquarium claims to have the full set.

"October 31 -- Boo at the zoo! What hapened to ZooQuarium? It’s haunted for the day!" First, let's note that it's not THE ZooQuarium. It's simply ZooQuarium. Which means I can officially nickname somebody ZooQuarium. Someone sweaty and out of control. Aw crap-- it's me when I drink red bull. I'm ZooQuarium. Anyway, I love that ZooQuarium acts like people frequent the place so much that they'll be baffled when they go on Halloween. "What the hell happened to ZooQuarium?? This isn't what it's normally like!" Here's the pitch, "Kids are sure to enjoy wearing their costumes to the zoo and getting some treats as well as a few tricks along the way." Kids are CONSTANTLY wanting to do OTHER things while at the zoo. Forget seeing monkeys, they wanna see monkeys while dressed as Spiderman! I wanna know what the liability is like when a "Ninja" decides to battle a tiger.

For real answers, I'll just have to check the "Photos" and "Zoo History" links right? NOPE! Because they are conveniently, "coming soon!" Shocking. Regardless, I can't wait to get back to Cape Cod so I can go. I imagine it will be a lot like in Beverly Hills Cop III when Eddie Murphy sneaks behind the scenes at Wonder World and finds the counterfeit money ring. If nothing else, a ZooQuarium death is probably a good death.

Rumors of My ZooQuarium Death Were Greatly Exagerated,