Monday, November 24, 2008

A Perfect Space for Writing...

I can't write. I don't have a desk. I have a great new place and there's a ton of space in my room, but a big empty spot that should hold a desk. In the hole where the desk should go, there's a laptop stand that's really not cutting it. It has an edge, designed to hold a computer in place, that slices into my wrists were I ever to sit there. So I don't. I need a desk to be a writer.

At this desk I don't have, there needs to be a chair. Oh, I have one now, but I don't like it. It's a "rescued piece." Not "rescued" like this-is-from-an-18th-century-New-England-barn "rescued," but someone-was-going-to-throw-this-in-the-dumpster-and-I-took-it "rescued." It's not particularly comfy and it smells of moth balls, which is probably why someone left it in front of the dumpster in the first place.

No desk, no chair, I cannot write. I need a muse--and to be unencumbered from wires. You see, I need music to provide background noise when I write. But in order to have music, I have to have my external hard drive plugged into my laptop, and that just causes wires to go in all directions. I have a cable coming in one side of the computer from the hard drive and another on the other side, which runs through the power pack to the wall. Two cords are far too many. I only have a 12-inch laptop. That cords-to-inches ratio is far too high. I cannot write in these conditions.

And as far as that muse goes, I feel it's departed. I've left traveling behind (for the time being), so I can't entertain you about eating in strange places and pooping in stranger. Nope. I eat in a kitchen now. It's sterile, with just enough small bits of rust and minuscule food stains that it's not worth writing about the sterility and it's definitely not dirty enough to note.

But perhaps my muse is exhausted--I do have two Twitter accounts, after all, and that's a whole lot of brilliance shoveled out there on a daily basis. I now think in 140-character spans. That definitely doesn't lend to full paragraphs. Or sentences, for that matter.

There are many things I have to do, in writing's stead. The weekends, for example, are full of adult-type chores. I needed to frame artwork, clean the bathroom, work out, organize my recycling, clean the dust off of my television cables, change the batteries in the remote, wash a dish, ponder buying a beta fish, watch the Florida A&M football game while simultaneously watching a MadTV re-run, change socks, remove lint from my toenails, kill a spider, stare a hole into the wall, charge my laptop since I plugged it in to write and then didn't touch it and its battery died while I was staring (unsuccessful) holes into the wall. I'm a busy man.

You see? It's impossible to be a writer. People say that all you have to do is write. Well, they're wrong. You need a desk. You need a chair. You need the perfect amount of noise and the perfect lack of wires. You need a muse, but you don't need social media. And you definitely, definitely can't be cleaning the lint out of your toes.

How do those people who write for three hours a day do it?

They must have linty feet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Urinal Etiquette...

There's a Boston expression that goes like this, "Wicked pissah, dude!"

It has nothing to do with actual urination or any sort of bowel movement, evil or not. Rather, it's something you say when you like something. Perhaps a friend's shirt is "wicked pissah." One's mode of transportation, a movie or an extra-large burrito can all qualify. Papi hitting a homah ovah da Monstah is always "wicked pissah." Whatever you determine to be "wicked pissah," it's always a good thing—a moment for celebration and camaraderie among friends.

It is important to note the pronunciation. Although the phrase is, literally, "wicked pisser," you can't just go around saying it that way. The harsh R sound at the end is dropped and replaced with an elongated, breathy "ahhhh" sound. It's not unlike the involuntary noise you make after sipping a much-needed, cold drink on a hot day. I like it. It makes the phrase sound satisyfying.

"Wicked pissahhhh."

While I've known about the phrase for a while (being from New England and all), I had no idea that there were also wicked pissers in Boston until this past week. Standing apart from the jolly, colloquial expression, wicked pissers are most certainly not "wicked pissah."

There is a certain unwritten and unspoken etiquette when it comes to the men's restroom. Guys, you already know what I'm talking about. Girls, in case you haven't been filled in, the major rules are, as follows:
  • Do not make eye contact.
  • Do not look down.
  • Do not smile.
  • Do not say a stall is disgusting. Quietly back out and move to another one.
  • When waiting in line, keep your hands in plain view.
  • Above all, never use a urinal directly next to another urinal that's currently in use unless all other empty spaces are taken.
There are other regulations, too, such as "washing your hands requires water, but not always soap" and "no smiling," but those tend to be subjective. The ones bulleted are the bathroom's cardinal law and every man who values his manhood holds to them truly.

So it was a dark, dark night when I found myself in violation this week.

I went to see the Kings of Leon at the Orpheum Theater this past Thursday. On the way to our seats, I decided to take a pre-show leak (no sense in getting up during a set, right?).

The Orpheum's bathrooms are old, just like the building. I'm not sure how old, but it had to built during an era where the man's average height was 4'6" and shoes came with brass buckles. Like all old rooms, it was small. The toilet fixtures had, thankfully, been updated. But due to a lack of space constraints, they were crammed tightly together.

When I say tight, I mean to say there were four urinals in a section of wall that was five feet across. When the Orpheum's owners redid the restrooms, they found the slimmest models on the market. Then, they positioned them shoulder to porcelain shoulder along the wall. It looked like john paneling—there wasn't so much as a crack in between each urinal.

When I got into the bathroom, there was a guy on either end of the row of four. They had done their duty and chosen the urinals furthest from each other. No matter that there was only two feet (and two urinals) separating them. They'd made the correct call.

It was my turn to chose. I had the option of picking the left-center or right-center one. I always favor the right-hand sides of things, mostly due to some slight form of OCD I've nurtured over the past 25 years, so I picked that side.

It wasn't until I'd gotten right up to the urinal that I realized just how close I was to my new neighbor. I could smell his cologne. I could feel his itchy sweater. His stubble of a beard was prickly. It was like we were crossing swords in the same toilet. We may have well been sharing pants, too. My right side completely pushed up against his left. I tried maneuvering myself to come at the urinal at an angle that minimized any contact but also shielded my unmentionables from sight, in accordance with common decorum, but it was no use. We stood shoulder to shoulder, both of us shifting weight in opposite directions and making every effort to appear nonchalant and unaware of any sort of inconvenience.

Just as I'd unbuckled my belt and opened my fly, the gentleman at the far, left-hand station zipped his and backed away. Now, not only were my compadre and I rubbing elbows (and no more, thanks to some nifty side-lean work), but we were the only two at the row of urinals.

And I couldn't go. The pressure of the situation was too great. All I wanted to do was to quickly fasten my pants and get the heck out of there, but I knew I couldn't do that. For if there's another, greater rule of the restroom than the ones I haven't listed—one that trumps all others—it's to act tougher than you actually are at all times. Soap must be applied violently. Noisy bodily functions are not to be giggled at. Hands should be slapped on pants and not just wiped. You get the point. And in this situation, a tough man had to tough it out. I couldn't back down from this pissing contest.

So, I stood there. Right arm abutting my neighbor, hand on the hose, and I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. There was a drip. Then nothing but a white flag. But still I stood, weight shifted to the left, staring straight ahead and pretending like everything was fine. In my head, I made trickling noises.

Finally, my neighbor left. I waited an obligatory eight seconds, then left, too. I washed my hands, keeping up the having peed illusion, then left the bathroom and the wicked pissers behind as quickly as I could.

Definitely not "wicked pissah."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gone Rambling...

Who determined that four hours is the danger threshold for an erection? And if you had one last that long, are you really going to make your first call be to your doctor?

While we're talking about erectile dysfunction, I'm currently teaching my two-year-old niece the "Viva Viagra!" jingle. I know this is just setting me up for Brian to give me some big time payback once my own seeds are sown (as they say), but I don't care. It's worth it. "Viva! Viva! Viagraaaaaaaa!"

The four movies I've cried at: "Braveheart," "Big Fish," "Passion of the Christ" and "The Incredible Journey."

One move I did not laugh at (or finish): "Melinda and Melinda"

Will Ferrel's only re-watchable movie is Anchorman. And even though I know every line, I still watch.

Milk was a good choice. The last bottle I bought was an old-school, glass one. I had to pay an extra dollar deposit to help encourage me to return it. But I think I'm going to keep it and drink G&Ts out of it in the summertime. How awesome would that be?

Went to Walmart tonight to get a few things for the apartment... They sell a camouflaged crock pot. So the next time you think the meat you're eating has a gamey flavor, now you know why.

I can never remember how you're supposed to spell the color gray/grey in American.

Anyone else notice that packets of Eclipse Gum are no longer perforated? The 12-pack tinfoil tray used to tear in the middle, giving you two, pocket-sized packets of gum. Now, if I buy Eclipse, I have to use scissors to snip the package into two six-packs. Unacceptable.

How do indy rock bands stay so skinny? If they're on the road touring all the time, they must go house on fast-food constantly. I thought the heroin era was over.

While we're on the subject of grown men pouring themselves into girls' jeans, Kings of Leon is now in my top 10 favorite bands. Maybe top five. I'll let you know after I go see them tomorrow.

I got those tickets for free. I won tickets to two different concerts this week via radio call-in. I've never won anything before.

I never realized how much I missed having a real kitchen until I got one back again. I am now using pots and pans that haven't been touched in six months.

This summer, I spent two months in China. And I will still eat at Panda Express.

Scotch makes me fart in my sleep. I'm serious. I went to a wedding last month, drank scotch at the reception (Johnny Black) and woke up the next morning with a green haze enveloping the entire room. The room which, by the way, I was sharing with the groom's cousin. Sorry, Jesse. I hope your singed nose hairs have recovered.

I'm planning a wedding of my own. Did you know that it costs $300 an hour for someone to stand in a tux with their thumb on the wheel of an iPod? Me and the Missus are getting screwed - and it's not the good kind.

To anyone with a Nextel. Just stop. For the love of all that's good, learn how to text. And turn your phone to vibrate.

Did you know it's cheaper to own a trailer than it is to rent an apartment? By 30%? Then again, you'd actually have to live in the trailer. I have heard possum is delicious.

I have two closets in my bedroom. They are both full AND I just donated four trash bags of clothes to Planet Aid and Goodwill. Not manly.

Santa came to my local mall on November 6th this year. The turkeys weren't even dead yet.

I love Ikea. It's the only place in the world where you have to assemble your own cardboard box. I bought two.

Friday, November 7, 2008

50 Years of Music, 1 Sentence about Sex

(This was just too good not to post. I know it's not original, but it rocked. And maybe I should start subscribing to McSweeney's? I already get The Believer.)

See the original here.


The Beatles, "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
I want to do it with you.

Marvin Gaye, "Let's Get It On"
I want to do it with you.

Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love"
I want to do it with you.

James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"
I want to do it with you.

Sir Mix-a-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
I want to do it.

Elvis Presley, "Hound Dog"
You're doing it with everyone.

R. Kelly, "I Believe I Can Fly"
I believe I want to do it with you.

Patsy Cline, "Crazy"
I want to do it with you so much I'm going fucking nuts.

Frank Sinatra, "Strangers in the Night"
I'm drunk and I want to do it with you.

The White Stripes, "My Doorbell"
Using metaphor, I want to do it with you.

Little Richard, "Good Golly Miss Molly"
I'm doing it with Miss Molly, and she's totally into it.

Duran Duran, "Rio"
I'd love to do that chick dancing on the sand.

The Beatles, "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"
I'd like to do it with you right now.

Carly Simon, "You're So Vain"
We used to do it, but then you did it with someone else, and now I'm not going to do it with you, although I wish we were still doing it.

Pulp, "Common People"
I once met a stuck-up European who wanted to do it with me.

Radiohead, "Creep"
I'm filled with self-loathing, and, though outwardly I hate everything you represent, I want to do it with you.

Kate Bush, "Wuthering Heights"
I'm an 18th-century fictional character and I want to do it with another 18th-century fictional character.

Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind"
The Man is currently doing it to you.

Elvis Presley, "Jailhouse Rock"
Incarcerated men will on occasion do it with each other.

Meat Loaf, "I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"
Hey! You won't believe what this one chick said while I was doing it with her!

Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire"
I did it with you, and now it hurts when I pee.

CĂ©line Dion, "My Heart Will Go On"
Even your death has not stopped me wanting to do it with you.

AC/DC, "You Shook Me All Night Long"
We did it yesterday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Paid to Vote (and it'll be more than ACORN will put up)

In case you've been hiding under a rock, back in a cave, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, with your hands over your ears while screaming every word to "Don't Stop Believin'" over and over and over, you'll know that today's Election Day.

I hope you're going to your civic duty (hehe, duty!) and cast a vote for Obama, McCain or yours truly. Hey, just because I don't have an on-camera SNL appearance to my credit doesn't mean I'm not qualified.

Oh, wait, yeah it does.

I wanted to take the time to point out that a fine sense of self-satisfaction isn't the only thing you can get out of participating in the electoral process this November 4th. For those of us who are more greedy, there are a whole lot of freebies out there if you're willing to flaunt your "I Voted" sticker.

For instance, Starbucks is giving away free coffee.

Krispy Kreme is giving away free donuts.

Ben & Jerry's is giving away free ice cream.

Chick-Fil-A is giving away free sandwiches.

Babeland—the adult store chain—is giving away unmentionables (and unlinkables). But at least you'll be able to work off the donuts, fast food and ice cream.

MTV is giving away free music with Rock the Vote.

And, my personal favorite, if you got a misspelled "Country First" tattoo on your lower back, New Look Tattoo Removal will take it off for free. Wa-hoo!

There's a tie for first place... get your free Doggie Poop Sacks here!