Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Witz Pickz: The Mile High Club

It's 2009 and I started the day giddy because I finally own a laptop that I can viably use on an airplane. You see, I'm flying to Boston, and my previous laptop sounded more like a jet engine than the actual plane's engine. This made me vaguely nervous about actual plane engines, but also made it impossible to turn on while flying, especially when the battery life lasted about as long as it would take me to say, "No, it's not a bomb per se..." This video is a pretty good metaphor for my old computer's effectiveness in life:

Man Electrocuted On Train - Watch more Funny Videos

My new laptop, however, is sleak, has a great battery, and is incredibly silent. Whichs brings us to this:


For some people, The Mile High Club means having sex on an airplane. For me, it means blogging from 35,000 feet. We play with the cards that we're dealt. I'm currently on a plane, on the internet, blogging about being on a plane on the internet-- and it's awesome. In fact, everything is. I feel like Jon Stewart's character in Half Baked: "You ever look at the back of a one dollar bill...ON WEEED?" You ever talk on gchat...ON A PLAAAANE? You ever watch House...ON A PLANE!? You ever make longshot sportsbets...ON A PLANE? I HAVE.

I was talking to my sister, who just had oral surgery, when we had the idea:

Witz: How's your mouth?
Switz: I look like Tim Allen in The Santa Claus.
Witz: Hahahahaha
Switz: Not even exagerating. Skype?

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod-- can we do that?? Is it possible to Skype On A Plane?* I mean, it's a phone call, but it's not TECHNICALLY a phone call because it uses the internet. I'd be on a plane, on a computer, on the internet, on Skype, making a call back to the ground. I wanted to do it, but was concerned that the plane would explode, along with my mind. My face contained a combination of fear and endless possibility:

We both logged into Skype and attempted a call. As it tried to connect, I felt all powerful. If this worked, we'd be achieving things that astronauts have only dreamed of. More importantly, I'd be able to say, "Putting the SKY back in SKYPE," (which is waaay better than their poorly received niche marketing slogan "Putting the K-Y back in SKYPE."). Ultimately, the call failed. Maybe it was our connection, maybe it's still possible, but at that moment I remembered that we are not Gods, we are but humans. Even astronauts have dreams.

Having said that, here are some things that I would like to type, that I don't imagine anyone has ever typed from a plane:

Whoops a daisy

The bass tabs for the chorus of "Dammit" by Blink 182:

And finally, the lyrics to The Final Countdown by Europe:
"We're leaving together,
But still it's farewell
And maybe we'll come back,
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We're leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?
It's the final countdown...
We're heading for Venus and still we stand tall
Cause maybe they've seen us and welcome us all
With so many light years to go and things to be found
I'm sure that we'll all miss her so."

Ya know what, maybe I have joined the Mile High Club, because if this isn't masturbation, I don't know what is.**

We Fly High, No Lie, You Know This, Ballin,

*The dramatically underwhelming sequel to Snakes On A Plane.
**I do know what is.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Soy Sauce Disaster!

Life can change in an instant. One moment, you have all the soy sauce you could ever possibly need, and the next moment...just some empty, shattered glass.

What happened was this: I had opened the refrigerator to get almond butter for my toast and orange juice for my glass. As I lifted out the juice, the entire door shelf gave out and everything fell about 18 inches to the cold, lifeless tile. The salad dressings were ok. The parmesan cheese was ok. Unfortunately, the door also contained a bottle of soy sauce that would make Costco say, "Who would ever need that much soy sauce?" Which is why, as the absurdly brittle glass shattered on the tile, and an ocean of salty dipping sauce began taking over my kitchen floor, my first thought was, "I'm going to need a lot of sushi."

My second thought was more reasonable, and involved paper towels, so I put that thought into action and stopped the flow of soy sauce with a series of paper towel walls. I took pause as two thoughts went running through my mind. For the first time ever, I had the opportunity to think, "Holy shit, Bounty paper towels are just as effective and absorbent as they advertise," which is a real solace in this world of lies and uncertainty. My second thought was, "My toast is getting cold."

Now here's the thing about the toast-- ordinarily, I would just make more toast and not think twice about it, except these were my last two pieces of bread and if I didn't eat them, well, who knows where my next jail-themed breakfast would come from (You see, lately, my daily routine has been a lot like being in prison; I eat bread and drink water for breakfast, then I go to the gym for a while, and then I pray that I don't get raped in the shower-- and most days I don't. So, not getting to eat the toast for breakfast would really throw off my routine, and who knows what kind of chaos would then ensue). I went to my toast and felt the slight warmth still emenating from the grains. I looked back over my shoulder at the New Orleans-like disaster and my makeshift levees keeping the soy sauce from flooding the rest of the floor. In that instant, I knew what it must have felt like to be a Katrina Relief volunteer, and with a last glance at my toast, I turned to the soy sauce and headed once more into the breach.

It was crazy: paper towels, sponges, anything I could get my hands on to soak up some of the liquid (actually, it was just paper towels and sponges), salad dressing stranded in a sea of soy, waiting to be rescued, cleaned, and given proper care and shelter. Parmesan cheese, too far gone to be saved, given a proper burial (I threw it like a jump shot across the kitchen into the trash can-- made it!), news of its death passed along to its next of kin (there was another parmesan cheese container still in the fridge-- the first one was pretty much empty, so it wasn't that big a deal. It was like a really really old person with a terminal illness dying in a plane crash-- sad, but not exactly tragic, and just because there's an air-jet right above your head doesn't mean you can fart like you're doing yoga in your basement when in reality you're in the middle seat of a plane, Old Person-- it's called Karma). Glass was everywhere, danger lay just beneath the surface, a looter went by stealing clothes (either that or my roommate got his laundry out of the dryer), rioting a bare minimum. It was crazy.

Eventually, the mess was cleaned up and everything was as it appeared before. Except, the refrigerator shelf is still poorly built, glass bottles still exist, and while we might feel at ease for the moment, we all know it could happen again. As for me, well, I finally went and ate my toast, and you know what? It tasted even better because I had-- no, you know what, I can't do that. I can't. The toast was cold and awful and even after I slathered it with almond butter, it was still cold and hard and I'll be honest, I'm a little cranky because of it. That's usually how you know you've done the right thing.

I Can Never Predict the Impact Spilled Liquids Will Have On Grout, But I Am Always Terrified That the Impact Will Be Irreversible and DISASTROUS,

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Witz DOESN'T Pick: BBBFF (Best Buy Best Friends Forever)

Best Buy thinks we're friends. I bought a laptop from them online and immediately received an email saying, "Thank you for your purchase." Cool. You're welcome Best Buy. Forty-five minutes later they sent me another email saying my laptop was ready to be picked up. "Oh hey, thanks Best Buy, but I already knew that. I appreciate the head's up, though." A few minutes later I got another email: "Look What Else You Can Get At Best Buy!" Stop the push-- you look desperate.

Then, today: "Thanks for picking up your order." OH MY GOD, GET OFF MY TIP, BEST BUY! What else was I gonna do, just leave my new laptop sitting in your store? Please stop emailing me. We're not friends, alright? I'm just using you for your products. There, I said it. I'm sure you're a great store and have tons of camcorders and Wii accessories, and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who will appreciate and love you for those things, but I'm just not one of them. I needed a laptop, I'd had a few drinks and there you were, just hanging out in front of me with what I needed on sale. We're not friends. I'm not gonna call you, but if I do, it will be after 10pm, wondering if you're still open and yes, that is a booty call.

I always find it weird when businesses try and be your friend. First of all, friends are people, not companies. If someone asks me who I'm having over, I'll never say:

"Oh, you know, the usual: Nick, James, Ryan, Best Buy--"
"--Best Buy's coming?"
"Weird, what about Circuit City?"
"I don't want to talk about it."

And yet companies keep trying it. Radio Shack has an ad right now that says, "Our friends call us "The Shack." No, they don't. YOU call yourself "The Shack" and that's weird. There was a kid in my college who told people freshman year, "Call me Captain." It wasn't a nickname he'd had before, he just wanted to be called "Captain.".....
Besides, Radio Shack sounds outdated to begin with and calling yourself "The Shack" doesn't make you sound any cooler. "You want the top electronic items on the market? Come to the small, teetering, shoddily built hut." actually contains this entry:

shack –noun
1. a rough cabin; shanty.
2. Informal. Radio Shack.

That's not somewhere I want to shop, nevermind be friends with. You remember that game M.A.S.H.? You remember what happened when you got the "S?" Yeah, you were pissed, because you were living in a shack. Not to mention you were upset because you ended up marrying the girl who was only on the list in the first place because she was the one playing the game with you. You know, hypothetically. Anyway, nobody wants to associate themselves with shacks. That's like how Circuit City went out of business when they implemented the ill-advised and short lived advertisement, "Our friends call us "The C Word."

Blockbuster is a perfect example of what happens when a business tries to be your friend. They were like, "H-hi! W-want to watch a movie?" and we said, "Eh, maybe. Can I borrow this?" and they said, "Yeah! B-bring it back whenever, it doesn't matter, I won't charge you for it or anything if it's late..." and then they never had any movies in their stores. They tried to get us back with their movies in the mail, but at that point, Blockbuster just looked sad and pathetic and Netflix was standing in the corner acting cool, not caring what we did.

Netflix knows what's up-- they don't act like your friend, they act like a drug dealer:

"Yo, whatchu want?"
"Um, The Watchmen, Fighting, The Go-Getter--"
"Slow down man! Look-- just make a list for me, I'll get you what you need."
"Alright...hey, do you have Funny People?"
"Not yet man, but I'll get you some of that when I do. Cool?"
"Yeah, that sounds good."

Then, they get us into shit we never would have tried on our own. They're all, "Hey man, you liked 'Monsoon Wedding'? You're gonna effing LOVE 'Ashtanga, NY.'"* It's no different from, "Hey man, you liked cocaine? You're gonna effing LOVE crack!" They don't try and be your friend-- they keep it professional. And every now and then, Netflix leans in and whispers in your ear, "I might be your drug dealer, but I know you better than anyone else on this planet," and you don't say anything at the time, but you keep going back for more-- because you know that it's true.

I'm Not Gonna Call You Chuck**,

*Incidentally, there are an inordinate number of movies Netflix thinks I'll love based on my enjoyment of Monsoon Wedding years ago.

**You're in charge of my fucking money, dude! I don't want "Chuck" running my shit, I want Mr. Charles Schwab MANAGING my FINANCES.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Witz Pickz: On Twitter!

@WitzPickz is now on Twitter!!!...and I feel like an 80 year old man, because I don't have any clue what that means. You see, I swore I'd never use twitter-- when I asked someone what twitter was a while back, they described it by saying, "It's like a status message on facebook." Ohhhhh, so all the worst parts of humanity condensed and delivered right to my web browser-- excellent. I just don't need to share my every thought or movement, nor do I have any interest in knowing when every individual person I know eats a bagel, hates Mondays, or encountered someone they thought was hot. Nothing personal, I just don't care if you, "needs a new tube of toothpaste," or are having, "Lunch, YUM!" So I missed the whole introduction to Twitter when I was culturally supposed to get it and now don't understand a damn thing.

In order to get a better idea of what I should do, I talked to my friend The ATX (who helped start the company and if you think I know what they do, you're crazy) and a few other friends:

ME: So what should I twitter?
THEM: Tweet.
ME: Excuse me?
THEM: Not twitter-- tweet. It's called a tweet.
ME: That doesn't sound like anything I would ever want to be associated with.
THEM: Well, that's what it's called.
ME: I don't think I ever want to be accused of "tweeting."
THEM: Whatever. Just write about what you're doing.
ME: I'm sitting here naked except for a towel talking to you about twittering...
THEM: Why are you only wearing a towel?
ME: Can we please stay on topic??

ME: So how do I get people to read my stuff?
THEM: You write funny stuff and then, hopefully, they follow you.
ME: But not in the way that usually gets me arrested?
THEM: No...
ME: Ok. But how do people find me in the first place?
THEM: Start following some comedians and hopefully they'll follow you back.
ME: Right. Wait-- what?
THEM: What?
ME: Why the hell would anyone remotely famous follow me back? I'm just some dude who thinks they're funny and wants to know what they had for breakfast...or how they feel about Mondays...Aziz Ansari doesn't care what I'm up to.
THEM: Because you tweet and then you get retweets.

THEM: ...Yes...
ME: Tweets and retweets?
THEM: ...Yep...
ME: Is that some kind of joke? Like, "Tweet and Retweet went to the mall. Tweet got mauled at the Rainforest Cafe and died-- which one's left?"..."Retweet."..."Tweet and Retweet went to the mall..."
THEM: See, that's the type of thing you could tweet!
ME: Strictly twitter humor.
THEM: For a guy who thinks twitter is self-indulgent, you're doing a pretty good job right now.

That was yesterday. Since then, I've tried to figure out what to--...oh god, fine...what to TWEET-- but it's tough. I decided I needed to get into the right frame of mind, which meant going full tween (never go full tween). I threw on some candy jewelry and headed down to Starbucks where I got a caramel frappucino which I pronounced "carmel" because I wanted to really immerse myself in the character. The barista asked if I wanted my "Treat Receipt" which I thought was just a regular receipt with an unnecessarily specific adjective attached, but it turned out meant that I could get ANOTHER drink after 2pm for only two dollars. I told him, "LOL, totes!" and proceeded to drink my frappucino, whipped cream and all. As of right now, I still don't feel any more comfortable with Twitter, but I do feel a great deal of shame...and I guess that's somethin'.