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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Weekend Cheer

Because it's always nice to kick the weekend off with a smile.

Happy Saturday internet.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Points to Ponder

Why is this story sandwiched between the headlines "Rosie O'Donnell leaving 'The View'" and "Sheryl Crow's toilet paper square just a joke?"

Way to douche up the news CNN.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dance, Dance Evolution

If you didn't groan at the title of this post, we should go out...seriously.

I've said it before (several times) and I'll say it again (in an annoyingly authoritative tone) - New York is the king of all things weird. There is an unending amount of weird things hiding amongst the city's permascowled citizens and Jewish delis. On Thursday, Leah and I went to SoHo with the intent of shopping for girly things. Instead, we stumbled across this place. It's the only taxidermy shop in Manhattan (score!). Finding it was like being handed the holy grail of weird. I fell in love with this store upon setting foot in the door. Then again, it's hard not to swoon when the very first thing you see is a wall of human skulls. See:

That dizzy feeling you have? It's your heart letting you know that the world is full of hope and beauty and promises and love. I wouldn't be doing The Evolution Store justice if I didn't tell you that they also carry a taxidermied baboon-type animal perched on a rock holding a human skull in it's claw. I should have taken a picture of that too, but it was hidden on a second floor enclave that was manned by some dude with a copious amount of hair product and frankly, urban taxidermy store attendants with impeccable hair frighten me.

They also sell these:

That's a replica of a tooth from a Sabertooth Cat. Back in the day these were apparently "used to stab its victim and to rip it into shreds." This is the kind of thing that simply begs to be put on a sweet-ass nylon cord, paired with this, and worn around incessantly by a sweaty middle school kid who smells like farts and listens to a lot of They Might Be Giants.

We also found a basket of these:

These are listed in the "Gifts" section of the store's web site. I love the idea that not only does the store literally have a basket full of raccoon penis bones (and more), but also that they've assigned a price of a mere $6 to each bone. I like to think that somewhere, someone sleeps well at night knowing that his store has mercilessly undercut the competition in the raccoon penis bone market. In my version of Pit, that's exactly what players will strive to do.

I came very close to buying an animal boner "baculum" for my mother since Mother's Day, like Boyfriend Season, is right around the corner! When I told her of my plan and how it was foiled upon the realization that I had no way to transport something so fragile across state lines, she just rolled her eyes and said, "God, just try to be original. Everyone always gives their mom the shaft for Mother's Day." It's funny because it's true...inappropriately, uncomfortably true.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reason #785978 Why the Internet Is Saucier Than Blanche Devereaux at Happy Hour

In the course of doing research on the stagnation of federal financial aid (seriously, I lead that sexy a life), I stumbled across this:

I had no idea it was coming up so soon.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Notes From New York

I'm in New York for a few days making my dreams come true. Within the first 30 minutes of being here, I've already sat next to a used condom on the subway and observed a pretty fantastic breakdance performance. Nice to know that not much has changed since I last time I was here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Conversations From Today

Background: My father is in town for a few days
Setting: Bob Evans, 8:39AM today

Dad: You're late.

Me: So are you.

Dad: What's your excuse?

Me: Overslept. What's your excuse?

Dad: Some sonofabitch I know lost his finger and I had to go stop the bleeding.

Me: Check and mate.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dirty South

My father is a hard person to get to know. He's brave and rough and intimidating and totally absurd all at the same time. Hanging out with him is a test of one's ability to understand exactly how complex a single person can be. My father is from an entirely different culture than myself. Whereas my stories of growing up revolve around being awkward in the suburbs and having an unfortunate amount of dark body hair for a pre-teen girl (seriously, it was bad. I refer to middle school as The Tom Selleck Years*), my dad's coming of age stories involve sitting in pool halls all night long trying to hustle bare-chested men with names like Whitey and 3D out of grocery money. I can't relate and when I hang out with my dad as an adult, it's like stepping into a parallel universe where basic assumptions such as 'nobody would think that dumping raw human sewage into the everglades is a good idea' and 'not many people take body shots before 10AM' are challenged and in many cases completely crushed. That sentiment was reinforced 8 million times over during my time in Florida, but the real clincher was the day my father, his bride, and myself arose at 6:30 to drive four hours down to Key West for the day.

We arrived at 10:30 and immediately met up with my father's friend who introduced himself as Lying Larry. Lying Larry, not surprisingly, has extra long chest hair and a touchy uncle mustache. Lying Larry runs a parking lot. Like us, he's from Virginia, but he's not allowed to go back there on account of some unpaid tickets and an unfortunate incident involving a former girlfriend who stabbed him. Lying Larry, my father, my stepmother, and I went to a bar called Crabby Dicks where the slogan is "A crabby dick is better than no dick at all." I have issues with the validity of that claim. I have even more issues with hearing that argument before 11AM. At Crabby Dicks, we were served by a bartender who was massively high on coke. I know she was massively high on coke because more than one person told me "she's really fucked up on coke right now." We sipped mango daiquiris while Lying Larry told me about how I shouldn't go to Cuba because "a girl like you would get sold to the highest bidder." That line was followed up with "Don't you know that's a compliment girl?" I did not know that was a compliment. In fact, I had no idea.

By noon, I was in a total haze, partly from the daiquiris and partly from the fact that I've never heard so many stories about people getting stabbed before. Seriously, my father knows an uncomfortable number of people that have been stabbed and we discussed each of their stabbing stories in great depth. Up until now, I thought that stabbing, like scurvy, was a fairly easy thing to avoid but apparently it's not. In fact, my father seems to be one of the few people in his social circle that hasn't been stabbed (that I know of) although he has broken his nose 26 times for reasons ranging from bar brawls to drunken one-armed push-ups. After we had exhausted the topic of stabbing, conversation switched to the size of Lying Larry's new girlfriend's breasts which he described as "tits the size of fucking planets." At that point, I was semi-drunk and became very interested in a subtitled episode of Lizzie McGuire that was playing on a television behind the coked up barmaid.

After lunch (which was surprisingly good for an institution that makes allusions to STDs in its slogan), we walked back to Lying Larry's parking lot where we met another man with unfortunate barbed wire tattoos who repeatedly touched the small of my back and kept telling me that "it's a good god damn thing you don't look like your sonofabitch dad." I did know that this was a compliment. I should also mention that barbed wire dude has also given up all of his shoes except for his robust collection of Crocs which he swears are "god's gift to the feet."

For the rest of the day, we walked in and out of tiny art galleries, where my father pulled each gallery director aside and informed him or her that the merchandise was either "pretty nice shit" or "a god damn joke." We walked through the dandelion sunshine, past giant cruise ships and sapphire waters. When the sun was setting, we began to head back to Lying Larry's parking lot. Turning the final corner, a flock of chickens scattered in every direction, creating a giant cloud of feathers that we marched through against a pink and purple sky, our car and drunken lot attendant in the background. At that point, I just started laughing...real, genuine, completely non-cynical laughter at how perfectly fantastic and perfectly absurd the entire day had been. "It's just a different way of life down here," my father said pointing to scenic shores with one arm and pulling me in close with the other. I smiled and nodded in complete agreement.

* On an unrelated sidenote, I love that Tom Selleck is holding a phone that's clearly not cordless in that picture. Maybe he thinks that we'll be so mesmerized by the 'stash that we won't realize that there's no conceivable way he is actually taking a phone call.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This Is What Happens When You Have Great Friends and They Travel to Iowa

God bless America.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Overheard On a Flight From Charlotte to Richmond

Girl: Hey, do you guys ever play that game Six Degrees of Separation with Kevin Bacon?

Dude #1: Yeah that game blows my mind.

Girl: I am, like, obsessed with that game.

Dude #2: And it's so true you know? When you think about it, we really are separated by six degrees. You can probably, like, reach anyone in six degrees. Six degrees man! [long pause] Six degrees!

Girl: Yeah, it's mind blowing.

Dude #1: It totally blows my mind.

Dude #2: It blows my mind because it's so, I don't know, true man. It's so [pause for effect] honest. It's just so. damn. honest. Six degrees...that's all there is.

Dude #1: Six degrees.

Girl: Six degrees.


It was like being verbally shiv'd right in the cerebellum. I should also mention that the aforementioned girl was also the owner of this:

pictured here retreating into its denim lair. That visual unpleasantry reared its ugly head numerous times in the airport. If you've ever wondered who that person writing down your conversations and photographing your buttcrack in the airport is, it's totally me.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Google Glory (And Other Eye Rollingly Bad Examples of Alliteration)

Since I put ads on this "eeee-leck-tronic sonofabitch" as my father would say, I've received a number of e-mails about how delightfully absurd the corresponding Google ads have been. When I put ads up, I was just hoping to buy some goats (you can read about that project here). I didn't expect that Google would come up with things far more hilarious than anything my 12 year old brain could dredge up. Here are a couple of my favorites so far. #1:

First off, you have to hand it to any ad that leads with "Like Drunk Women?" Someone at home is nodding to themselves thinking "As a matter of fact, I do." I love the above ad because up until this very second, I was totally unaware that there was a market for web surfers in search of drunk women. I love the idea that this rogue little site could potentially help connect some lonely tech-savvy dude with the intoxicated femme fatale of his dreams. #2:

Whoever wrote this ad couldn't come up with a phrase less repugnant than "Female Fishy Smell?" Really? That's the best you guys could do? It's a shame when you can say that the snappy ad for "Vaginal Odor No More" is officially the lesser of two evils. #3:

This screenshot was sent by my friend Shaun. There's nothing really to say other than every ad on this page is simply glorious. Also, what the hell is an "Older Man Men?" Can you do that now, combine singular and plural into one megaphrase like that? Is that a new rule? I imagine that whoever wrote this ad did so while stroking his soul patch and saying to himself, "I work for an untouchable internet overlord. Me thinks I shall make up my own grammatical rules rule today," then he would twirl his Snidley Whiplash mustache, cackle to the sky, and run outside to tie a girl to the train tracks. Yeah, that's probably exactly how it happened.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This is why I love the Craigslist missed connections. Thanks Richmond, you're the best.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Letter to an Ex

Dear Chris:

Two years ago, you and I went to Sweden at the worst time of the year to go to Sweden. It was dark and cold and I was terrified of the flight over, but we managed and when we got to our tiny room on our hostel/houseboat, the hour-long bus ride to the Paris airport followed by the terrifying flight followed by the hour-long bus ride into Stockholm seemed worthwhile even if we did only have 3.5 hours of daylight each morning. It was freezing in the most literal sense of the word, but that didn't stop the Swedes from bundling up and venturing out into the cold like pioneers hellbent on finding joy and camaraderie amidst the bitter temperatures and impending darkness. Those days were based on warmth. We dressed for it, ate for it, drank mulled wine in the snow-covered streets for it, ran for it at night, breathed it in tiny country shops when the wind overpowered us outside, held hands to conserve it, slept in a tiny twin bed in a fruitless effort to trap it between our bodies for just an instant until it escaped to the sea outside our foggy port window. When I think of that trip and I think of all the spectacular things we saw and did - of the Indian food we ate and the ice sculptures we saw and the sea dogs we played with and the skating we fumbled through on a bed of pure glass set directly in the middle of a city filled with pink-nosed children breathing clouds of smoky breath into the sky - it's that warmth, or rather the doomed pursuit of it that I remember with all the best parts of me. And tonight when it was unexpectedly chilly in one of the warmest places in the country, I thought about how much better it was to be cold with you and to blindly chase after a promise of perfection.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Notes on Florida

The key to surviving my family is simply learning how to shut your mouth, nod silently, and act like whatever news you've just received is as ordinary as anything you might read in the coupon section of your local paper. Not following that advice can be deadly. If, for example, you go ape shit every time you hear something along the lines of "My son? Oh the girl he's living with is still married to this other guy. As it turns out, my son and this other guy, they're related! No wonder the baby looks so much like my boy!," you will never ever make it past year one without at least one massive cardiac arrest. Surviving my family is all about using the Suzuki method to gradually eliminate your surprise reflex and simply accept that in between eating pinto beans and sipping sweet tea, yes, your grandmother did just tell you that your uncle has not two, but three, count them three, testicles. She's asking because she wants you to tell her what exactly a testicle is and she wants to know if she's ever seen one. Also, are bagels really a 'Jew food' or is that just something that people say? Has anyone invented a time machine yet? Why do eggs sometimes taste like urine?


In fact, ?!?!?!?!?! is a pretty good summation of what living with my family is like. It's one big, honkin ?!?!?!?!?!?! 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no pauses for any reason. It's like sharing a house (or co-op if you live in hippy dippy Seattle you deliciously liberal bastards) with both the funniest person you've ever met and that guy who sleeps outside of your local liquor store smelling of old diapers and mumbling about Hanoi Jane. Your only option is to take solace in the fact that you can ALWAYS rely on my family to say, do, or create a situation so eye-rollingly awkward, it will make your pre-pubescent years seem like one big trip to Disneyland...a sweaty, lonely, awkward, pimple-popping, menarche-filled Disneyland, now with training bras and hygene issues! The way Walt intended it.

The older I get, the easier my family is to deal with and sometimes, sometimes our quirkiness/total fuckedupitude comes across as, dare I say charming. Until now, my primary role has been that of cynical observer, relegated to watching the bizarreness unfold and then making uncomfortably dark comments on the side like "Oh that relative? Well, I love her, but I wouldn't NOT shoot her if given the chance."

I don't participate in either instigating or solving any of the situations my family insists on diving head first into and I hadn't planned on ever holding the awkward torch until today when my stepmother passed me a slip of paper containing the name and phone number of a woman who's supposedly my sister. She lives in Baltimore. She's 35. She's the only person on the planet besides myself that shares my father's bloodline. I didn't know she existed until about ten years ago.

It's one thing to know that you have a sister out in the world. It's another to have the phone number of a real, living person in your wallet. I have no idea whether I'm actually going to use the number. Part of me feels like it's not right to simply call someone out of the blue and turn their world inside out by introducing yourself as a sibling. Another part of me is desperate to find out what this other person is like. I do know that making that call is a potentially enormous can of worms to open, that it may very well be the emotional equivalent of clubbing an innocent woman and dragging her by the hair into my family's mind blowingly complicated situation. There's an enormous chance that this woman doesn't want to be found. I can't be the guy that fucks up someone's life by tracking down someone who doesn't want to be tracked down. I clearly must have missed the day in high school family life where they covered how to handle this subject.

For the next few weeks, I've resolved that I'm going to turn this over in my head millions and millions of times until I can look at the number in my wallet, give a silent nod, and pretend like it means nothing more than the free slurpee coupon I have sitting beside it.