Monday, September 22, 2008

Witz Pickz: Bee Movie -- A Running Diary

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

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

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

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

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

33:30 - Ray Liotta burn!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

53:00 - Bees have retard strength.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bee Cool Bitches,


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Car Trouble

I know that "Car Trouble" sounds like a movie starring Ice-Cube and Mr. Bean, but doesn't that only further my point?

My car is a disaster right now-- for starters, I haven't had it washed in probably eight months to a year, and parked it in a dusty lot for the last four months. This is an intentional move because I think it gives it that good, "don't steal me" look that I'm going for, and frankly, nobody ever differentiates by saying, "That guy drives a Station Wagon," and "That guys drives a dirty Station Wagon," (and if anything, "dirty station wagon" sounds cooler, like "Man, that guy drives really cool! PLUS, I'd be "ridin' dirty.") They just notice that I'm driving a soccer mom car-- end of story. So my car kinda looks like if Swamp Thing and Herbie made sweet sweet love and 9 months later (because in this scenario if a swamp creature and car mated, they'd follow the same birthing schedule as humans) my car-baby was born.

My windshield wipers don't remove water so much as paint impressionist art with dirt, and I'm never entirely sure that my car is going to stop when I brake (it's a little game I like to play called "Involuntary Manslaughter or Not!?")-- although I'm ALWAYS certain that they will squeel gleefully at my duress. My driver side rear tire loses air like it's selling it for crack, which makes it look like while my other three tires have been hitting the gym and staying in shape, this one's taken a month off to drink Budweiser and eat nothing but double whoppers with cheese while watching Law & Order marathons on TV (also, how awesome does that sound??). Oh, and you know those, "house noises" that you hear as houses shift and settle? Yeah, my clutch pedal has that. Maybe it's having an existentialist crisis, or maybe I'm one gear shift away from my doom-- TBD! To top it all off, one of my heat shield clamps is loose (again) and makes a high pitched metal clinking sound, so every time my car idles, children sit up in bed thinking that Santa's in the neighbordhood (yes, I realize this scenario assumes that children are constantly in bed-- but just go with it). I like to say to people who hear it, "Listen to her purr, huh?" and they like to say to me, "You cheap son of a bitch, take care of your goddamn car." I will, Dad, I will.

While I realize that my car sounds like one great big game of mouse trap at 70 mph, no one thing is enough to push me to spend the money to take it to the shop. These problems are all superficial and non-threatening. It's like when you're coughing, and sniffling, and your throat hurts, but you don't have a fever and aren't hallucinating that Tom Arnold is stealing your canned goods-- so you don't go to the doctor. Instead, you turn to self-diagnosis. Which really makes me wish I'd learned ANYTHING about cars growing up. My Dad explained to me a bunch of times how to change a tire, and in a pinch, I think I could use some context clues to make it happen, but when someone asks me, "How do you change a flat tire?" my answer is always going to be, "You call triple A." If someone asks, "Can you change your own oil?" I reply, "No, but I have $15 and they invented Jiffy Lube."

Unfortunately, when you're rollin' down a popular street with your car sounding like Marty McFly's DeLorean when it runs out of plutonium (p.s. 100% definite that neither Marty McFly nor Doc Brown had any functioning sperm left by Back to the Future III), you wish that you knew a thing or two about fixing your own car. I read a few websites and here's what the response was to the heat shield clamp. "It's a whole lot of noise, but not any type of problem. Just get in there with a soldering iron (soddering iron) and clamp it back down!" Uh-huh. I can barely operate a regular iron, nevermind a SOLDERING IRON! I primarily wear shirts based on what came out of the dryer least wrinkled and it's only under extreme circumstances that I bust out the iron and ironing board and have at it, and I'm still no good with the Bermuda Triangle part where the sleeves meet the torso (and it's time you admit that neither are you).

It makes me wonder what I did instead of learn how to do useful things like fix my car. "Can you check your own car's engine?" No, but I can tell you more than you care to hear about the show Freaks and Geeks..."Can you rotate your tires?" Nah, but I can play Say It Ain't So on Rock Band at 78% accuracy! "Can you replace your coolant?" I can drink abundantly if that's what you mean?

So until I have the money or until one more thing goes wrong that puts me into House MD territory (er-- House Associate-Degree-in-Mechanic-and-Repair-Technology), I'm gonna keep fightin the good fight, continue to raise my actuarial chances of death, and keep on giving children false Christmas hopes.

At Least One "Will Work For Food" Homeless Person HAD To Have Been A Mechanic Right? Like Even In the Army? I'd Even Take Him to Red Robin If He'd Solder My Heat Shield (...Hm, Easily the Most Homoerotic Metaphorical Non-Metaphor Witz Pickz Has Had Yet),

P.S. Yep, that was Red Robin reference was "sign-off post foreshadowing"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Witz Pickz: !!Weekend Roundup!!

Check it out, I've repackaged the "Monday Melange" as a hip new Monday segment called "The Weekend Roundup." It's gonna be the same stuff I'd write about anyway, but with this sleak new marketing, I hope to trick you into being more excited and prone to laughter than usual. Also, I forgot what number "melange" I'm on and am not even willing to make the effort to scroll down and figure it out!

On Friday night I finally figured out what to say to famous people! My friend DC Cab was in town with his girlfriend and we ended up at a wine bar that was extremely confusing in that it was swanky, but playing Notorious B.I.G. songs-- presumably for white hipsters who like to enjoy a glass of fine wine while hearing large black men demand "the loot." Or maybe people just like hearing what Biggie would do if he were in their position:

"Soon as he buy that wine I just creep up from behind and ask what your interests are, who you be with-- things to make you smile, what numbers to dial. You gon' be here for a while, I'm gon' go call my crew, you go call your crew-- we can rendezvous at the bar around two."

Oh Biggie, no you can't, the bar will be closed at two. Anyway, when I ordered a Fat Tire instead of wine and got a look from the bartender, I fought back the urge to take my queue from B.I.G. and explain to her, "motherfucking right, my pocket's looking kind of tight."

The other confusing thing about the bar was that it was theoretically a place where you bought wine to drink, but was ALSO a big, barely attended room with bottles of wine everywhere, to be sold during the day. There was a time in high school when taking things like signs, posters, ashtrays, etc. was playful and referred to as "ganking" something, not stealing. That bar was the first time since those years when I honestly felt like it would be ok to simply "gank" a few bottles of wine, and the others agreed. "Hm, should we buy a glass of wine for 10 bucks, orrrr, have these eight bottles for free?" It was almost as if they were daring us to do it because it would make us uncool. It was the same urge that hits me every time I walk past an unattended Wonder Bread truck with, like, hamburger buns in the back. I don't possibly need them, and could probably get in trouble, but THEY'RE JUST SITTING THERE! I imagine more people would get this urge and possibly follow through if they showed up already drunk. Thankfully, I never had the chance to follow through with my urge to steal because DC Cab had spotted a guy that looked astoundingly like one of the three helpers on Mythbusters.

This was because the man was, in fact, one of the three helpers from Mythbusters. Tory-- which is spelled like one of his parents wanted to name him Troy, but had a lazy eye that got out of control right as they were writing the name down. We debated what we should do about this Mythbusting Assistant, as well as what the implications were for DC Cab having accurately identified one of the non-independently-mythbusting-mythbusters. After great debate, his girlfriend went over and pretended that she was way into the show, even though she hadn't seen it before. Tory was very astounded, to say the least, and finally delivered a line he must have been saving for years, "It's not everyday that a hot chick comes up and tells me she watched my show!" and then they hugged. My brain finally clicked into gear and I had something to say to this "famous person."

ME: (stepping closer to the guy with DC Cab in tow) Sure, but I bet you get the hot chick's boyfriend who actually watches the show coming up a lot more often, huh?

Tory stared at me for a second while my words registered and then slumped against the wall. "OH MAN!" he exclaimed, dejected, but much more himself. We talked for a few more minutes, I think I admitted that I'd only seen the show a few times, and concluded awkwardly with the stellar line, "Keep up the busting!" which did attract a little more attention to our conversation, but probably not the right kind.

Saturday night we celebrated the fact that we closed the Johnson account. Woo! Johnson account! Yep-- that's an inside joke for a few of my readers. I won't make a habit of it. During this stretch we were "those guys" on the public bus, met and dismissed a man who looked like a live action version of Donkey Kong, and I told an old man that I hated us too, which made him laugh, which made me smile, which had no effect on him one way or the other. We went to a club where I danced, which is always a great idea, because I'm nothing if not born to hip-hop dance.

We bailed mid-sentence while talking to some girls because my friend declared, "I hate this girl, I hate everybody, we need to leave, fuck you Witz," which are the 14 words to my heart. We avoided the police, a fight, and vomiting in the cab, which was the triple crown for the night, and the cabbie and I became BFF. I hate us, too.

Sunday was a big tv day, which was great, because I haven't had a chance to rant about commercials lately. Fortunately, I saw some doozies. First up, was football, and so I saw this gem of a Quiznos commercial: a shot of a meatball sub and the announcer guy saying, "Too many balls on the field! NO SUCH THING!" Nothing more to say there-- I just laughed for a while. I later saw an updated version where they say, "Too many MEATBALLS on the field! NO SUCH THING!" which is still weird and confusing and funny because there should never be meatballs on the field-- it's a field on which professional sports are played. Which fattie lineman is stuffing beef down his face on the field at such a pace that he actually drops one onto the field? Even if it's not a league penalty that the referee would call, it's still not something that should be acceptable NFL behavior. Maybe Quiznos should just stick to toasting stuff.

My other favorite was with this chick who is standing in her pajamas talking to the camera. She says, "I may be in my pajamas, but I'm not going to bed-- I'm taking online classes to get my degree!" Wooow. She's gonna be all kinds of ready for the real world. Aside from the fact that going to class in pajamas was not exactly rare in college, this girl is essentially saying, "Not only am I not ready to step up and make the commitment to go to school and get a degree, but I'm one of my primary reasons for not doing so is that I really only want to wear clothes I can sleep in." That's a pretty serious level of lazy. I half-expect her to be in other commercials as we watch her life progress towards a sad and bedsore ridden end: "I may be lying naked in the shower, but I'm not bathing-- I'm looking into the endless abyss that is my life and trying to find one single reason not to slash my wrists right here and now!"

Just this morning I checked my Netflix Queue and was dismayed to discover that Bee Movie has been shipped. I have since received an email telling me the same, which is great, because when Netflix emails you stuff like that, it's like your buddy's trying to get you excited for plans you guys have later on (and that's a nominee for saddest thing Witz has ever said on this site). The problem is that I'm not excited for Bee Movie. It was one of those movies that I clicked on to add to my queue just so I remembered it existed, but without the intention of it ever making it up past spot number 30. You need some place holders at the end of your list; Bee Movie, No Reservations, and First Sunday have been really great in that respect. But now, through some sort of mishap, Bee Movie is heading towards my mailbox. When talking about my conundrum, I was informed that it's "actually kinda cute," which is clearly a ringing endorsement. "Surprisingly, a movie about bees vaguely taps into your unconscious desire to sympathize with cute creatures through anthropomorphism!" I guess I have to ask-- is it cute to watch as a dude, alone, in a twin bed, on a weeknight? Because that's my typical netflix scenario. These are the barometers of life.

Tell Your Friends, To Get With My Friends and We Can Be Friends, Shit We Can Do This Every Weekend,

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Witz DOESN'T KNOW IF HE Pickz: The Socio-religious Nature of Brisket, The Most Terrifying Balloon Experience Ever, and MORE!

Brisket. Simple enough. And yet this morning at the train station, an offhand remark by my friend "North of the Border" made me realize just how political, religious, and potentially world altering brisket really is.

North of the Border: I went to this place for dinner last night with really amazing brisket.
Witz: Cool.
North of the Border: You know who makes good brisket?
Witz: (thinks: the Jews)
North of the Border: The Jews.
Witz: Very true. And you know who else?
North of the Border: Who?
Witz: Texas!
North of the Border: Very true.
Both: Complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

This makes me wonder if that was like, God's plan all along. He was like, "We'll make the Jews have great brisket and Texans have great brisket-- they can meet in the middle." Did He do that for a lot of things? I mean, was that the same logic he used for The Middle East?

God: Hey, you guys wanna hangout here?
All Religions Ever: Uh, I guess so?
God: Done! I'm gonna go space out for a while-- and by "a while" I mean three-thousand years.

After all, the universe (and numerous religions/philosophies) is characterized by opposites. Light/Dark, Good/Evil, Pleasure/Pain, Meet The Parents/Meet the Fockers...maybe everything was created not to have polar opposites, but to have those opposites slowly move towards each other until they meet in the middle-- like socially viable, but ultimately weak-willed political candidates. Maybe brisket is a microcosm for the entire universe. Or maybe I just have too much time to think on the train.

The Most Terrifying Balloon Related Experience Ever:
About 3:50 p.m PST, yesterday, Hello Leslie and I had the most terrifying balloon related experience ever. I don't care if you've fallen out of a hot air balloon. I don't care if you've been molested by a balloon clown. This was worse.

I should have known something was up when The Balloon Guy hemmed and hawed about taking the balloons over himself. I mean, he's The Balloon Guy-- that's his thing. Instead, he pointed at the 15 inflated helium balloons rattling in the wind, that he's intertwined and tied to a pole and told me they were all mine. He then booked it to his Balloon Van and went on with his Balloon Life. "No problem," I thought, "we'll just bring them over in that golf cart." See, our only option for transportation was to walk about half a mile or to use a golf cart. Since we were in a rush, and I didn't want to look absurd, I decided the golf cart was our best bet. I loaded the balloons into the back seat and let them rest against the roof of the open air cart. Hello Leslie climbed in back as my balloon wrangler (which I'm pretty sure is not another name for a Fluffer), and I climbed in the front to drive, theoretically not absurdly.

About five seconds later, as I pushed my foot down on the accelerator, that theory went out the open air window, along with several balloons. The cart might only max out at roughly 10 mph, but those balloons got moving in the wind like there were hurricane gusts. They started flying around Hello Leslie's head and clustered forward toward the back and sides of mine. They whipped around and made hollow thwunk sounds as they careened off our faces and back into the chaos. Quickly, the chaos overtook us.

Picture this: You are walking quietly on a sidewalk. There are the sounds of birds, a slight breeze, and nothing else. A golf cart slowly approaches on the street. There's a guy in a jacket and tie, hunched desperately forward over the steering wheel like how a T-Rex would drive, a terrified woman in a dress in the back, balloons enveloping them both, and two loud, constant "AHHHHHHH!!!!" screams as they slowly pass you by and leave you back in your silence. That was us. We were rolling down the street, a cart full of multi-colored helium balloons, one dunking booth away from a street fair, scared out of our minds.

Back in the balloon hell, the balloons swirling and thumping against each other and us like a pack of angry bees, I suddenly understood what Hurricane Katrina must have been like. The balloons were gaining static as they slid against our hair and clothes, and I became obsessed with the fear that a balloon would pop right next to my ear. Then it happened-- like a gun going off to start a race, it popped right against my ear and I let out a pained shout, while making eye contact with a man crossing the street in front of us. He hustled along. Suddenly, there was another pop from the back and Hello Leslie let out a shout. If I hadn't seen Saving Private Ryan, Generation Kill, Star Wars, Rudy, and The Mighty Ducks, I might have just quit right then and there; just bailed on my vehicle, left the balloons and went AWOL. Fortunately, however, those things and the first 30 pages of Bill Clinton's presumably inspirational book, "My Life," led me to press on. We made it to the dropoff points, set the balloons up, and succeeded in our mission. Post-Traumatic Stress pending...

Currency Exchange:
For a number of years, I have classified how much I want some food or entertainment item in terms of what and how many of a thing I would kill or do to get it. Here are some more-- feel free to add your own in the comments:

-I would kill four tiger cubs for a pumpernickel bagel.
-I would kill three innocents for a milkshake and fries.
-Matt says: I would kill a bald eagle for some wendy's.
-I would kill six gerbils for a grilled cheese.
-Titan AE says: I would kill a million gerbils. For no reason. Those things are gross.
-I would de-foot fourteen penguins for a new episode of House.
-I clubbed seven baby seals and got a new Mitch Hedberg CD.
-Global Warming killed millions of polar bears. (That's my blunt global warming "fact-as-joke" joke).
-I would kick seventeen manatees for Lost to come back, get its shit over with, and be done forever.

I Would Kill Nine Attractive Mutes For Better Blog Fodder,

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: "Rainbow's End" Trailmix, Pumper-Rye Bagels, Microwave Cordiality

Trader Joe's "Rainbow's End" trail mix assumes that instead of gold, there are nuts and M&M's at the end of the rainbow. That would be useful if it was a long trip to get there, but ultimately disappointing to those seeking treasure. It's a pessimistic point of view, even for a very tasy product. Can you imagine the reaction?

TREASURE SEEKERS: AHA! We have followed the rainbow from it's arc across the sky to its physically improbable end here on the ground! We will be rewarded with GOLD!
END-OF-RAINBOW-DISTRIBUTOR: Actually, there is no gold-- BUT we do have this mix of fruit, nuts, and chocolate for you!
TREASURE SEEKERS: WHAT? No gold!? What have we risked our lives for? What have we traveled miles and miles for? What have we used all of our vacation and sick days up for?
TREASURE SEEKERS: Well-- are there a lot of almonds?
END-OF-RAINBOW-DISTRIBUTOR: Nope, it's mostly peanuts!

It makes me feel like Trader Joe's is saying, "Why would you want gold when you can have a delicious, healthy snack?" To which I would reply, "So I can afford your goddamn trail mix." What else are they selling? I bet they have "Halloween Avocados" and "Tooth Fairy Millet." Lose a tooth, gain a protein laden grain. I bet they have organic "Geltless Chocolate" for Chanukah and "Santa Presents: Tofu" for Christmas.

Pumper-Rye Bagel:
This one bagel place, Izzy's Bagels, that I go to doesn't have pumpernickel bagels. For most of you, this probably isn't a problem, but since they happen to be my favorite type of bagel, I'm gonna blog about it. Instead of the pumpernickel, they have a hybrid pumpernickel-rye bagel. What type of no-stance, weak-ass bullshit is that? TAKE A STAND! There couldn't have been an influx of people saying, "Well, I like pumpernickel, but only like...50% of a normal bagels worth. I also like Rye. Juuust putting that out there." Incidentally, I didn't realize that bagel technology had evolved to the point where we can make one bagel with two different flavors-- I guess Willy Wonka moved on from the candy business. Now I know what you're thinking-- you're thinking, "Witz, if you take this stance on bagels, doesn't that just open the flood gates for people to argue against gay marriage (two bagels shouldn't become one union), interracial couples (no explanation required), and creativity in general (all things you are in favor of)? Well, my answer is simple-- No! You're absurd for even thinking it. You're absurd for even putting yourself in a position for me to assume that you are thinking it. We're talking about bagels-- something far more important than those other issues. A pumpernickel/rye hybrid robs the consumer of both half pumpernickel and half rye. It is not a 2 in 1 product, it is an 0 for 2 product.

Cordial Microwave:
The microwave in the work kitchen shows the words, "Enjoy Your Meal," when it's done microwaving. This strikes me as a) cocky and b) rather presumptious. As for the cockiness, it's as if the microwave is saying, "Yeah, I'm pretty sweet at microwaving, so ENJOY THAT! I'm sure it's gonna be awesome." It's presumptious in that I'm probably either not microwaving a full meal OR I'm not microwaving anything that will possibly be enjoyable. It comes off as sarcastic. "Hey, enjoy your hot pocket, asshole," or "Wow, that Eating Right chicken is going to be deeeelicious! Enjoy your meal," and then I imagine it winking. It also makes me as a person look bad if I DON'T tell someone that I hope they enjoy their meal. "Oh hey, this microwave cares if I enjoy my lunch-- thanks for not saying anything to me, Witz, we only see each other 8 hours a day, five days a week! BUT I GUESS THAT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU!" Friggen microwave.

Post-Microwave Realization: I was walking back with my bowl of soup in one hand and a cup of ice water in the other and as I walked, the soup melted the ice and I thought "I'm a walking Global Warming Impersonation." I also thought, "If someone bumps into me, they're gonna have two opposite horrible temperature related reactions." This is what I think about.

They're Not All Gems...But Give Then Again, That's What They Said About Coal*,


*Not necessarily true...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Witz Pickz: Bumber-Shot

As I stood sipping a beer Sunday night, with Seattle rock group The Blakes on my left and prolific comedian David Cross on my right, it occurred to me that I have absolutely nothing to say to famous people. I was at Seattle's music/film/comedy/arts festival Bumbershoot, and a friend of mine had hooked me up with a pass for the VIP Lounge. Up until that point, I had enjoyed the free water, cheese platter, and Chapagne "tasting" from 3-5pm. Up until that point, I had enjoyed these things WITH SOMEONE ELSE PRESENT. It was only when I was left alone in the lounge that I found myself shoulder to shoulder with two "celebrities" and absolutely nothing to say-- hence the drink. I didn't even want the drink, but it turns out that even if you are looking out onto a stage where The Saturday Knights are performing, it still comes off as creepy to be an unfamous person standing alone with no obvious goals or activities near famous people.

I wish I could say that "to my credit" I didn't say anything to them because I was playing it cool, but frankly, I didn't say anything because I had nothing of value or interest to say. PLUS, I had already clapped The Blakes bassist on the shoulder and said, "Great set man" earlier in the day, so it was doubly awkward to be standing by him AGAIN. And what do you say to David Cross? "Hey man, you're funny." Wow. And you can't quote the best Arrested Development line of his back to him by saying, "Hey David, love Arrested Developement-- I'm an analrapist!" because talk like that will get you thrown out of the VIP lounge pretty quick. So what is there to say?

I had encountered this problem earlier in the festival when I walked past my favorite up and coming comedian, Aziz Ansari. I walked past him while he was hanging out with two other friends and missed the chance to say hi. Later that night, I saw him hanging out with another comedian and two very attractive, very slutty looking fans. "This is a good time to say something," my brain obviously concluded, so I interrupted their conversation to say, "Hey Aziz-- great stuff, man! (apparently my go to phrase for performers is to say "great," then fill in the ___ for what they do, and conclude with the word "man." Did I mention they let me talk on the radio?) Don't worry though, I didn't stop there, with Aziz trying to figure out what hairy intruder just interrupted his conversation. I realized that I knew the other comedian and quickly added, "You too man, you're...(like you don't know what I'm gonna say)...great, man!" I couldn't for the life of me remember his name (Rob Heubel, incidentally), which was a fun bonus moment, only outdone by our attempt at a handshake, where I'm pretty sure I ended up grasping his forearm like we were Roman Gladiators. The whole thing went over like getting home on my birthday. I'm only getting smoother with age.

After this horror occurred, my friends and I discussed what I could possibly have said to Aziz.

ME: Hey, Aziz! We're...the same age! WOO! We're the same age! I mean, you're Indian and I'm Caucasian, and you're from South Carolina and I'm from Connecticut, but we're the same age! You're a successful comedian and I did a few open mics several years ago! WOO! THE SAME AGE!

With nothing to say to Aziz Ansari, I couldn't possibly say anything to David Cross or The Blakes or Janeane Garafolo who tore past me looking like a drunken troll doll sporting cool tattoos and about 4' 8'' of aggression.

ME: Hey! The Blakes and David Cross! We're white! We're not the same age, and we're of vastly different success levels creatively, and I'm the guy alone in the VIP lounge while you are with your friends-- but we're all WHITE! Let's hangout!

As I was about to leave, The Saturday Knights played a song that immediately made me think, "This sounds like The Blakes if they were a hip-hop group." It was an innocent thought, and IT DID sound like that, but it's very rare in your life when you have a thought like that and the group you're talking about is directly next to you. You're not always able to turn to Muse and say, "You guys sound like Radiohead, but with more affordable ticket prices!" or to Bono and say, "Coldplay sounds like you when you were relevant!" After a great debate, I fought the urge to say something and simply left. Somehow, saying, "They sound like you if you were a hip hop group," and walking away sounds like the last thing someone might say to you before hiding in the trunk of your car and following you home. So I played it cool, and said nothing.

Other Bumbershoot Moments:

"Repent or Else:"
This is not the name of a Christian Hardcore band. It was the gigantic sign that a ragged looking man with cracked out eyes was carrying around outside of the festival. The sign was probably six feet tall and on a giant stake. This, in and of itself, was not unique. As I walked by the man, however, I saw that another guy was talking to him very eloquently. I looked at the guy and he appeared to be a well dressed bespectacled man in his forties-- and he was attempting to have a conversation about the man's sign. I was shocked. If there's one thing I've learned in my years on this planet, it's that YOU DON'T TALK to the man with the REPENT OR ELSE SIGN! The man made a giant sign. He has stated his position. You can't say things like, "but the scripture clearly states...(actual quote)" to him because he's THE GUY WITH THE REPENT OR ELSE SIGN! You're not going to change his mind! Now, maybe if you were the guy with the six foot tall "Do Whatever" sign, you can have a religious debate in the streets. But you can't just be some educated dude walking up to the REPENT OR ELSE guy and deciding to argue the finer points of organized worship. Hoooooly crap.

The Opening Act:
While killing time by the mainstage stands, we were treated to an opening act of sorts. Three girls, none of whom could have been over eighteen, were slowly making their way in front of the stands. Two of them were supporting a third, who was stumble-drunk and looking like each step might be her last. Just as she passed where a couple of us were sitting, she halted slightly, then booted right in front of her on the ground. THE ENTIRE CROWD SECTION CHEERED and APPLAUDED! Apparently, everyone had been watching this progression just waiting like we were for the inevitable. One of the girls was so embarrassed she abandoned her friend and ran off. The other helped her to the bathroom where she would...I dunno really-- it seemed a little late to me. The crowd then played a game for the next ten minutes that I called, "Don't Step In It, But We're Not Going To Warn You." You don't realize how easy it is to ignore vomit on the ground until you watch other people traipse right through it. Every time someone came close to it, the crowd would gasp slightly, and every time someone stepped in it, we'd all groan and break into applause. And we wonder why we can't band together to fight global warming...

Rockstar and...nothing?
The energy drink Rockstar was one of the sponsors of the festival this year, which meant that at the Rockstar stage they were giving out big cups full of Rockstar (which is mildly disturbing when it's yellow). Needing occasional energy boosts (and assuming that my body now craves the stuff), I had a few throughout the days-- and a strange thing happened. While there was no actual alcohol in the drink, my body reacted AS IF there was vodka in it. When I turned my head, things moved a little slower, I began slurring my speech (as did two other friends on mine), and I straight up felt DRUNK. This means that either a) my body noticed my intake of an energy drink sans alcohol and actually secreted stored up vodka into my system OR b) I have trained my body like a Pavlovian dog to automatically feel drunk when I taste or consume an energy drink. Both of these possibilities are perturbing, probably unhealthy, and ultimately, kind of cool.

Greatest Crowd Surfer Ever:
Once again, someone with fewer active limbs has achieved something greater than I have. During The Offspring's set, the crowd actually lifted up a kid in a wheelchair and managed to pass him (still in his chair) all the way to the front of the crowd. The lead singer saw it and laughed during the song, and everyone cheered for this kid as he made his way to the front. It was probably the single coolest thing I've seen at a concert (and I've seen a skanking midget elbow me and my friends in the stomachs repeatedly). It was punctuated after the song by the singer announcing, "That might be the single greatest crowd surfer ever!" I looked at the morbidly obese, goateed man nearby and shook my head, "No," just in case he got any ideas.

By the end of Bumbershoot, what with all the stress, and the sun, and the celebrity awkwardness, my body finally broke the promise it made when it decided I would be impervious to illness so long as I constantly pushed it to its breaking point (and drank RBVs). I got sick. Bumbershoot was fun, but by the end of the third day, I was bussing it home before Death Cab For Cutie took the stage, and was content simply to sleep on Dolan Out the Pain's futon for the next 10 hours with a powerade in one hand, and a bottle of nyquil in the other-- which they card for now-- meaning that just to spite them, I took a double dose and it was faaaantastic. It was a great weekend in Seattle, but I was Bumbershot and ready to come home.

I Realize "BumberShot" Sounds Vaguely Like Pornographic Film Terminology,