The Shittiest Job I Ever Had…

Yesterday, Gawker Media posted an article about how recent college grads can’t find entry-level gigs at “real” jobs, instead having to suffer through a gig at Starbucks, or the Gap or the like.

Boo hoo.

Since I posted this to FB, with a comment about how everyone—except those lucky bastards with Mom and Pop’s help—will probably have to work a shitastic job now and then to fill in the employment cracks that happen to all of us, it got a heap of responses from other hardworking folks, who I know have had shitty jobs.

Thanks for the love!

Now, I have had a ton of shitty jobs. And when I say shitty, I can literally say shit-tay, because I grew up on a working farm and shoveling literal shit—cow shit, pig shit, horse shit, you name it—was part of the regular protocol. Additionally, I “walked beans,” which in Ye Olden Days before soybeans were blasted with chemicals meant that we walked between the rows cutting out the weeds by hand. No shit.

Mike Rowe gets paid a lot for shoveling shit. Most people do not.

Since then, I worked in the local diner, where I was subject to the verbal abuse of the chain-smoking, welfare mama owner and her baby daddy who somehow scrapped enough together to mortgage it—they didn’t like kids with the booksmarts, let’s put it that way. I also worked in the local bar and grill, grocery store, then took that shit to college where I worked all four years, slinging sandwiches, coffee and Chinese food to other privileged college students. I also worked a stint in a glass factory, which is the second most loathed job I’ve ever had: it was hot, dirty, dangerous, boring-as-fuck work that sure as hell ensured I was headed back to college.

But this is the absolute worst fucking job I have ever had. I know you’re not supposed to do this, burn bridges with former employers, blah, blah, blah, but fuck it. Truth be told, we all have these war stories, and they’re phenomenal to share—everyone’s got that horrible boss they love to hate.

This gig was post 9/11. I was unemployed for about six months, but what seemed like forever, walking around Chicago, looking at all the tasty treats I could not buy until I shuffled back to my apartment to watch the Style network until I could pass out. One day, I remember I was down to my last $5. I was on the corner by a deli and really hungry and I thought, “I can go in there and buy a turkey sandwich. Or I can buy a pack of cigarettes.”

I got hours and hours of satisfaction from that pack of Parliaments.

Anyway, I digress. The economy was so bad, I couldn’t even get a gig serving coffee or waiting tables—I showed up at one restaurant opening that was hiring 100 people for front of house—2,500 people showed up for that interview. I finally, finally got a fucking job offer at a PR/Marketing agency. As a journalist, going to the Dark Side was not something I necessarily wanted to do, but at this point any job was better than continued living off the House of Visa, which is much, much less forgiving than the House of Mom and Dad.

The PR agency was where I would be confronted with two immense forces of evil: my boss, the VP of the agency, who was dubbed “The Beast” and “Monster” by my coworkers (more on that later); and our biggest client—McDonald’s.

We literally had someone who was our "Ronald McDonald coordinator" who would schedule his appearances. There were three FT Ronalds and one PT Ronald in Chicagoland. There were Ronald conferences yearly in Vegas, where all the Ronalds nationwide convened (I would've KILLED to see this one). Getting rid of this creepy character is probably one of the smartest moves McD's made--but made me sad for the Ronalds. They really were nice guys underneath that makeup.

I’m a pretty coherent worker and have never had any major issues with any employer—I get shit done thoroughly; I listen to directions and I learn fast. And I remember everything. The first two months of this gig went pretty well, no hassles. My co-workers, who pretty much ricocheted between two emotions every day—trembling with fear and rage—warned me that my first attack was nigh.

Oh, and they were right.

I was out with a client, scouting spots for an installation. It was the last step in negotiating a major project that my boss had been working out with this guy for months. So you’d think that one of the biggest aspects—the budget—would’ve been worked out early. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone getting into any business prospect without discussing, “So, what kind of budget are we looking at?” from the get-go.

The guy turns to me and goes, “So how much is this going to cost anyway?”

I didn’t know. And being a journalist and not a PR smoke-screen blower of bullshit (I learned this is an absolutely crucial part of the gig later on…trust), I said, “ Let me give The Beast a call and get right on that.” (I did not call her The Beast to the client, but for the story’s sake, I will refer to The Beast as The Beast from here on out.)

When I called The Beast, all hell broke loose. She began screaming at me over the phone, introducing what would become one of her signature lines, “WE TALKED ABOUT THIS!” When I knew that we very clearly had not. She was so disorganized and delusional, that she would literally imagine conversations in her head that she had with us, that she never actually shared. I would be in meetings with my coworkers where she’d bust this out on all of us, and we’d be sitting there, shaking our heads, like “What the fu….???” How can three people not remember the same thing? Impossible.

So, she basically screamed at me for about 10 minutes about how I ruined this account and what a moron I was. I got off the phone, politely told the client that she would be in touch regarding the final contract, finished the gig, and rode the bus shaking all the way home.

It only increased with intensity and egregious behavior from there. I watched this 6-foot-tall, middle-aged monster stomp and yell and berate her way through our office every day—and everyone was a target, even the lowly interns who were getting paid next to nothing. I told people it felt like navigating a minefield that changed—daily. You would have everything done, think you had all your bases covered—and BLAMO—she would crazy-think up something and attack. It was like working with a feral animal—and she did smell bad, so there you have it.

She also worked all the time and expected you to do the same, being there at 9, 10 p.m. on a Friday night. “Oh, what? You want to be off by 7 to go to that concert you bought tickets for? God, well I guess I’m the only one who works here.”

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we were running a major holiday fund-raiser, and just concluded its launch event. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, our offices closed at noon. We did all the post-event wrap-up, releases, etc., however she left a huge list of completely unnecessary tasks to be done before holiday. Then promptly left the office. I was left with one of our interns, who The Beast had already berated into tears earlier, and we were frantically working thru the list, when the intern turned to me and said, “I gotta leave, I am going to miss my flight!” It was 2 p.m. and I was like, “You gotta go. Just go.”

I think I left like three uncashed checks we had received in the mail that day for that charity in a folder, to be deposited Monday after Thanksgiving.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, I walked in at 9 a.m. and could not even sit down and take my hat off before The Beast came raging into my office, screaming at me about how I could leave three checks undeposited, probably worth about $100 total, over the weekend—this continued for probably about 15 minutes. Not only was this horrible, but also proof that she basically was rifling through our desks at night, looking for stuff to yell at us about.

The Beast’s abuse was so fast and furious and every day, that honestly I can’t remember every single detail, and quite frankly, it was all the same—WE TALKED ABOUT THIS… usually prefaced a tirade of gigantic proportions about some miniscule detail, that no, we did not talk about. She had no regard for others. Another career low occurred when she made me continually harass the PR person for a Chicago Bull who was supposed to appear at an event for us—but had JUST BROKEN HIS LEG SEVERELY and was facing the end of his career. I told her, “You know, the Tribune is reporting that his circumstances are pretty bad, that it’s going to be months before he can walk. We should probably take that as a sign that he won’t be participating in our event next week.”

“CALL HIS PUBLICIST! I DON’T CARE! He committed to this event!”

The Beast was notoriously cheap, too. The Worst Combo—she would buy used baby clothes for co-workers who had babies and give to them at baby showers, and ask us to chip in as the office gift. After the first time she pulled this, I refused to go in on office gifts, saying I would get my own gift, because it was so embarrassing.

After a year and half of such abuse, I was finally up for a raise. She took me to a nice lunch and proudly touted my “$1,500 raise!” like it was a huge deal. I’m sorry, but an extra $50 after taxes each month is not a big deal. Shortly after, via a coworker who was really great at e-mail snooping—The Beast left her e-mail open and often would ask us to rifle throught it if she was at meetings to find stuff for her (before BlackBerries, folks)—found an e-mail from our finance director that I was approved for a $3,000 raise. So, she was withholding the other $1,500, to pounce out a year later as my “second raise,” therefore pretty much fucking me out of my raise and my next raise to boot. I think she made close to $300K a year just to put stuff into prospective.

In addition to all the Ronald McDonald prepping (seriously demeaning shit, folks); McDonald’s product launches, charity events, corporate this or other she drug us out to—yelling at me why we didn’t get more coverage for a local McDonald’s charity drive with Chicago media on the DAY THE IRAQ WAR BROKE OUT—I was chain-smoking, teeth-grinding and binge-drinking my way to early menopause. Instead of hiring professional laborers to set up event sets and stages and such, she would make us physically haul heavy-ass shit in hot weather to save a few bucks while she would sit around in her clean clothes and kiss McDonald’s executive ass.

After a year and a half, I finally got to move on…which was great, but I was so beatdown I could barely rejoice. Shortly after, I ran into one of our former clients who hinted that they were looking for better representation. I started greasing the wheels at my new agency to steal The Beast’s most prized client. And I did it. The greatest satisfaction I got was one day discovering that that McDonald’s account did indeed move over to my new agency. I imagined The Beast throwing her hands in the air, cursing my name. It makes me smile to this day.

Back to now. Everyone’s moaning about the economy, but the truth is the economy and job market has been incredibly unstable since 9/11. Sorry, kids, but there it is. Every company on the planet—whether they were really affected economically by 9/11 or not—used it as an excuse to lay off employees, hang the threat of perpetual layoffs over the ones they kept, cut benefits and make them work more hours. How’s that for fucking patriotism?

These practices have pretty much been the status quo among American Companies since 9/11, no matter what anyone says, along with a lot of Bush Era legislation that continued to fuck over the working folk and cut benefits—and that’s been the better part of the past dozen years that have sucked for you, American Worker. The recent economic brou-ha-ha has just been the latest round of what will be a continued downslide of the American Economy. As Suze Orman says, companies won’t be creating jobs in the future—you will need to create your own job.

And I fucking love me some Suze Orman.

Suze! All tough love and common sense. I love her!

So recent college kids? Welcome to the show. You may have to serve some coffee, but here’s hoping you never have to deal with The Beast.

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Girls! Girls. Girls?

Like everyone else with HBO, or the ability to get on Pirate Bay, I have viewed the much-buzzed-about new series, “Girls.” “Girls” is about four early 20-something white chicks, presumably from privileged-enough backgrounds that they can walk around the city and sit around their seemingly decent apartments smoking cigarettes and weed in their fashionable consignment shop wear, bitching about their lives.

If you'd see this on a park bench, you'd flick your lit cigarette at it.

Dear HBO,

Do we need more shows about entitled white kids? Or are we all good now?

Thanks,
Me

I want to like this show. Really. Seriously. It has the capacity to be good, but somehow the private-schooled, unpaid internship, finding yourself in north Brooklyn (aka Williamsburg and “Greenpoint,” as we learned last night, which is essentially the same thing with more Polish people and delis) preys on Every Little Thing I Fucking Hate About New York.

Way to go HBO. You’ve managed to make yet another precious show about NYC. See “Bored to Death,” the twee, adorable adventures of one Jonathan Ames (who is actually a decent writer), which has since been cancelled.

First thing: If you’re going to write about New York and its neighborhoods, please get your details right. The bars Weather Up and Washington Commons are in Prospect Heights, not Cobble Hill. Two completely different fucking neighborhoods—kind of like getting the Villages mixed up. BTW, both those bars suck.

Moving on… I don’t know what bothers me most about this show…the fact that it smacks of insider privilege from the get-go. Creator/Director/Writer Lena Dunham’s own history begins the problems: in addition to her own very precious background (artist parents, Oberlin), she got the series through her first indie film, “Tiny Furniture,” which means she was a film-making and being bankrolled instead of actually working through some shitty, unpaid internships, whilst living in some rat-infested studio in Bed-Stuy.

Indeed, Dunham does exhibit talent for her medium—her characters get in very New York-y type situations, say funny, clueless things—but, I guess after years of living in a city, struggling to pay bills and survive with a shred of dignity instead of waking up with female condoms on my doorstep, I’m tired of hearing this NY story: Rich kids move to city; “struggle” through demeaning jobs (not really); don’t get what they want; repeat.

One of the show’s promo clips even shows Dunham saying to herself in the mirror: “You are from New York. You are automatically more interesting than other people.” Or something like that. People actually believe this shit about themselves, it’s just that this joke isn’t funny anymore. Especially when you’re surrounded by these kids.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am incredibly suspect of anyone who hasn’t had to have a shitty gig at least once in his or her lifetime. To this effect, the most annoying character in Episode One, Mr. Brooklyn—the overeducated, non-stop talking, vintage sweater-wearing know-it-all—spits out something along the lines of “You guys have no idea what problems are. I have $50K in student loans,” whilst mixing up some opium tea. If Mr. Brooklyn is your Common People Touchstone, you got fucking problems.

Is it the incessant whining about their miniscule problems? Endless self-absorption? Or inability to make decisions and stand up for themselves? I don’t know. All I know is that I had to have more balls than this at 22.

So, TV, enough with these Entitled White Kid NY Stories. Here are some shows I’d like to see:

1. Kenny Powers takes over managing his hometown Wal-Mart.

2. The Norma Rae story gets a 21st century facelift—factory workers (oh, wait, are there American factories left?) who make a few bucks above minimum wage on the night shift get into silly antics, meth.

3. Overseas volunteers near some refugee camps navigate 12-year-olds with semi-automatic weapons, diarrhea and teaching people how to use female condoms. It could be called “NGO.”

4. “Johnny F.: Pool Boy.” A 30-something man who services pools in the Hamptons’ raucous experiences with Real Housewives, exotic pets, marble saunas and diaper sex.

5. “The Young Ones: The New York Years.” Find four fuckwits trying to pay their rent in NYC: a bike messenger, a wannabe chef who’s slinging sandwiches at a greasy spoon, a truck driver and an unemployed. Throw together in an unheated, bed-bug ridden, industrial loft in East Bushwick. Make one of them sleep behind a sheet in the corner of the apartment and pee in a bucket. Repeat.

Or just bring back Roseanne.

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Frustrated, Frustrated, Feeling So Castrated…

It seems, over the past few weeks, that many of my pals are feeling incredibly frustrated. Whether it be with their living situations, gigs or projects, they are feeling blocked. Trapped. As frustrated as Newt Gingrich with an all-weekend freebie pass to a cathouse in Nevada that he can’t use right about now.

I don’t know if this is the ides of March’s fault (ugh, March, you’re gone, but you always tend to be the fuckup of the year); the year of the Dragon, or the fact that it is 2012, and we are all going to die in a fiery hellball of cumshots from the heavens heaved by an angry and vengeful evangelical God by EOY. But it sucks.

To brighten your end of week, here I present, people who have had a more frustrating week than you:

1. Axl Rose. Man, can’t this guy get a break? I mean, can’t a likely bipolar meglomaniac date a shill of a 20-something in Lana Del Rey, who hasn’t heard the rumors about his alleged supermodel-beating tendencies? And can’t he just accept an invite into the Rock ’n’ Roll Retirement Home in Cleveland? No, Axl cannot. Most rockers abandon their youthful, angry ways with age, but not Axl. Hold on to that hate, Axl. Hold on.

2. Now that he’s all but secured the Republican nom, Mitt Romney has more problems with women than a coked-up Ike Turner. Good luck with all that as your party keeps on keeping on with its We Hate Women Campaign 2012.

"Uh, what's the Lilly Ledbetter Act again?"

3. Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen, is now extremely frustrated as her eunuch of a husband will be pouting around their home in his sweater vests, glued to Fox News, talking incessantly about what might have been.

4. Ugh! Maintenance. I remember, back in the day (the ’90s) when a little trim with a scissors every now and then was all it took to get action ready. Today, ladies, not only must you pluck, wax and wane, but you must also make sure that your ladybits are not an offensive color. Truly, this is another banner Worst Week yet for foreign vaginas. It is only a matter of time until “Twat Wars: Tallahassee” becomes a new series on TLC. Take a look at this, courtesy of Jezebel who broke this stateside, as far as I know:

5. Jobs! Do you have one? Does it suck?

6. Dave Grohl is also having one hell of a pesky week. That scamp Courtney Love is now accusing him of acting inappropriately toward her daughter. Honestly, Courtney, between the whole catty remarks, Nirvana catalog fights and other nonsense, can’t you just let it go and leave poor Dave alone? You rival only Axl Rose in holding onto petty resentments from the ’90s. On second thought, how’s your vagina holding up? I bet it could use some bleaching.

7. This, once again, is the worst week ever for Hootie and the Blowfish as they found out, yet once again, that they continue to be completely irrelevant as Lollapalooza announced its summer lineup of Black Keys, Black Sabbath and Jack White.

Hootie, now appearing at your local Cracker Barrel.

8. If you live anywhere around North Korea, this is a pretty shitty week for you, too. Supreme Leader—don’t you just love it when little insecure men go all aggro and give themselves names? Isn’t it cute?—son of that last asshole will prove that he is every much the asshole that his father was and shoot off a missile. Shooting your missile off to demonstrate your masculinity is so Cuba Missile Crisis, circa 1962. Come on, it’s 2012, Kim Jong-un, lighten up and bleach your vagina!

Mmm…who else is having a pretty bad week? I think this about sums it up. Now, let’s check in on those who are universally blessed, and who always have awesome weeks no matter what:

Anthony Bourdain, James Franco, Suri Cruise, George Clooney, Mark Zuckerberg, Jon even though being overly handsome can be tiring Hamm, and anyone who attended the NYC Pulp shows from what I hear, and Jarvis Cocker. Of course, anyone with any sense would like to be Jarvis Cocker for a day.

If only Jarvis were God...Or is he? Mmmm....

As for next week, I hear the moon is to join forces with Pluto in Capricorn, which is really going to fuck up your finances. Good luck with that!

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The 8 Dumbest People in Pop Culture This Month (And One Really Smart One)

1. Anyone who paid money for the new Madonna album, MDNA. OK, this technically puts it into the hundreds of thousands along dumb people lines. I have loved Madonna for ages and ages—actually still do. I, too, grew up grinding and grinding to “Like a Virgin” and wearing my sister’s training bra as a top before I even knew what virgin meant. But if you absolutely must purchase mediocre party songs, buy them made by someone under 30, will you please?

2. Levi Johnston. Christ. He’s like the K Fed of Alaska.

levi johnston

Please google image "Levi Johnston shirtless," lose your lunch. You're welcome.

3. Oh, Rick Santorum. You are that annoying party guest who lingers by the Ritz and fake spray cheese when the last mini-van has pulled out of the driveway.

rick santorum

"Uh, where's your plunger?"

4. Anyone who will pay money to see that “American Pie: Reunion” movie. Nope, still not funny.

american pie reunion

This promo shot for the movie begs the question: In what West Hollywood dumpster did they unearth Tara Reid?

5. Kim and Kanye. I don’t know what fresh hell is to be revealed to us through these two mashing their body parts together, but it’s probably a good sign that, indeed, 2012 is the end for humankind.

kim and kanye

It's so shiny!

6. Kirk Cameron. As a child, I had two major Teen Beat fueled crushes, and like most American women, one I’d defend to this day—River Phoenix would truly be in Johnny Depp territory by now—and the other? Eh, in every life a little Scott Baio must fall. My Scott Baio was Kirk Cameron, that lovable buffoon on “Growing Pains” with his goofy big nose and gangly limbs, getting all bad grades and charming the ladies. Well, Kirk has grown into a tremendous douche, and while most of the time, his Christian Campaign has been mildly amusing and ignorable, he’s now getting into Crazy Land territory with his stupid, stupid documentary “Monumental,” and even dumber comments on gay marriage. Hey, Santorum, can you pass the spray cheese?

7. Frat Boys. I will never, ever leave an opportunity on the table to kick frat boys while they’re down. And this month is no exception with the Dartmouth scandal being the latest in WTF to explode out of a misogynist, classist, racist system that requires insecure business majors to pay major bucks to make friends and live in a house that constantly smells like feet and jizz. Nothing will convince me that these assholes aren’t headed for careers at Goldman Sachs—and will easily eclipse my life’s earnings in their first-year bonus. But, hey, they ate vomit in college. How cool!

8. That “Is Anyone Up” guy. I’m all for turning a quick buck on the Internets—and support our right to porn—but this is just mean. And loads of bad karma. Also, folks, Don’t Take Pictures! You know it’s going to end up online at some point.

Well my, my, what a Pigdog.

9. And one smart guy, Drew Magary of Deadspin, who truly inspired great levels of writerly jealousy in me this week, using a word in GQ magazine I have never seen before, or if I had, forgot it existed: Pigdog. Yep, pigdog is such a brilliant use of two derogatory terms that it gladly joins the canon of other great words that are becoming, unfortunately, overused, thus lessening their great power: dickbag, douchebag, etc. Welcome, pigdog, to my vernacular. I look forward to working you into many conversations in the coming weeks, before you get all tired out by May.

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10 Things Steven Tyler Ruined For Me

OK, OK, he butchered the national anthem last weekend before the Patriots/Ravens game, but Steven Tyler has been mucking up a lot of bizness for everyone for quite a while.

All that said, as he rambled up to the song’s albeit gritty, screeching climax, lest we forget that most rock singers really can’t sing to begin with…to sound remotely good they typically rely on their sideman’s ax (cue Joe Perry), an extravagant light show and the fact that their middle-aged audience has been pounding Jager bombs since the babysitter showed up.

This is what Insane Clown Posse fans grow up to be.

Also, Tyler is on another little shitshow we like to call “American Idol,” which also launched last week, squashing the hopes and dreams of thousands of mediocre to completely untalented teens who think that this may be a real career path for them, can I get a ‘Mer-Kuh, fuck yeah?

Here’s a quick recap of 10 things that Steven Tyler has ruined for me:

1. Last month, “O” the Oprah Mag, featured a very special interview with Oprah and Tyler. In it, the two strolled hand in hand next to his home in the New Hampshire woods, talking about drugs, getting off drugs, being bored, being bored on the road, finding redemption, and getting on “A.I.” Thanks for ruining my February issue of “O.” I was looking forward to another 3,000 word cliched expose on finding my true spirit, not a print recap of your “Behind the Music” special.

I am always amazed when worlds collide like this, like Stephen Hawking meeting Pamela Anderson, or Bill Gates having coffee with a Kardashian.

2.Once upon a time, before I started developing decent taste in music, there was a land. A land next to Omaha, Neb., where Aerosmith was a-coming to town with Jackyl (remember those idiots with a chainsaw?) opening. I had to go. It was the concert experience of the season!

And so, we purchased our tickets with our meager minimum-wage salaries, and I duly requested the night off work weeks in advance of the protocol. Even though I was attending school full-time and pretty much pulling close to 35-40 hours per week in work, my manager gave me shit about this. I had to swallow a ton of shit, in fact. For one lousy night off, I had to hear about my uppity need to go see Aerosmith. “Ooo, I guess someone has no work ethic…instead they need to go see Aerosmith..” And on and on this went.

I thought, this better be one hell of a fucking show.

No matter. A small amount of shit to take from a small-town, SuperValu cokehead, non-deoderant-wearing manager is a tiny sacrifice to go see the rock ‘n’ roll. We drove to Omaha. We sat up in the nosebleeds. We pretended to like the Jackyl guy swinging his chain saw around. Then Aerosmith came on. It was Ok. The End.

Which was probably one of my first lessons in overhyped, expensive, shit-eating things that you are told will be the Ultimate Experience Ever (see also Disney World; Nascar events; Super Bowl) you will want to do, and when you get there, you realize that you really need not ever do that again, a la David Foster Wallace style.

3. Dodge Truck Commercials (see No. 4).

4. Steven Tyler ruined Vegas Whores for me. Years later, I was reviewing the Aerosmith show in Las Vegas. Now this was some sort of re-re-invented Aerosmith. You know, past the drugged-out, spacy ’70s, past the whole Run D.M.C. ’80s resurrection, past the ’90s party jams for dumb boys resurrection. You know. Resurrected.

The entire show, I shit you not, was a commercial for Dodge trucks. Aerosmith signed some big sponsorship deal, and although I’d seen Microsoft banners and the like plastered all over the backstage at Rolling Stones, etc., never before had I seen the commercial become the actual concert. Dodge was everywhere, dripping from the ceiling, dripping from the stage. At one point, Aerosmith even busted out the song they wrote specially for a Dodge commercial while the ACTUAL DODGE COMMERCIAL played on a large screen behind them.

But the worst? The gave out these little glowy red keychains with the Dodge insignia on them and people were fighting tooth and nail to get a hold of them… the bathroom was a frenzied scene of botoxed Orange Co. moms and former strippers scraping their two-inch talons toward one another to grasp them. Women who were once enthralled to score some free stale coke and a nearly expired condom in the bathroom were now clamoring for Dodge glow-in-the-dark keychains. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life.

Also a testament to how easy it is to dazzle the idiot eye of American consumers.

5. Scarves.

6. Liv Tyler. I think I could have possibly enjoyed you somewhat as an actor-thingy. But your dad’s molesty-type use of you in his rock videos put the kabosh on all that.

Two careers jettisoned by a creepy old man's idea of a roadtrip. RIP Alicia Silverstone's career.

7. Run D.M.C. (Just kidding! Nothing will ruin “It’s Tricky” for me. Nothing!)

8. My dream of becoming a grayed-out, drugged-up version of a crazy old rich person. Yep, you’ve ruined that completely for the rest of us.

9. Man boobs. Man boobs on fat bloke? Pure comedy. Man boobs on scrawny bloke? Tragedy.

10. Love in an elevator. You just try doing it now without hearing that song in your head.

What to do? What to do? Count my piles of money?

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2012! Let’s Do This Shit!

It’s Jan. 2. Have you scraped your hangover off yet? No? Good, let’s get started.

This is it*. The year before the end of the world on Dec. 21. Or just a major shift in universal powers that be—or, What Will Oprah Do Next?

A friend G-chatted me the other day: “What a change for you from last year… no ‘he’s really smart, I want to go home with him…,’ yelling at Eurotrash, etc.” Yes, dear reader, last New Year’s Eve was my third and final breakdown over the course of two months in New York City, the first of which started with Halloween and a very intense fight with a cab driver over whether he could have me arrested or not.

I spent this year’s NY’s Eve on a road trip to Elma, Wash., to buy a rebuilt motor for a Datsun. We ate delicious cheeseburgers and milk shakes bought from a roadside stand, then casually hung out with some fine Templeton Rye whiskey (Iowa made!) until I made it until, oh, all of around 11 p.m. I can barely stay awake past 10:30 anymore. I like to still blame the Mono, but really I just like sleeping a lot.

This suits me just fine.

I haven’t given you a recap of my year, so here goes the abbreviated version. Like that SOB Kim Jong Il, let’s put 2011 to rest:

January: Sucked. Cold. Did a lot of sobering soul-searching.

February: Went to Nicaragua. Introduced to Sponch. Learned best saying every, “Thank you for you.”

March: Nothing happened this month.

April: Nothing happened. Again.

May: Begin massive move planning mode—book flight, make apartment-seeking calls, begin purging of shit not moving cross-country.

June: More move shit…Go to beach houses a few times. Realize that this is probably only one of two things I will miss about East Coast, the other being people. Something about summer demands feeling hot by an ocean or bay in a bikini, drinking margaritas and listening to stories of how hot MILFs in the Hamptons try to hit on pool boys…

July: Fly to Seattle to look for place to live. Have mini-breakdown on first day. Then buck up and find space. Fly back…Spend rest of month suffering through record, sweltering heat but enjoy last few stellar hockey games with Mega Touch and score a goal during my last game. Spend week at beach house, working in my swimsuit. Do not miss city.

August: Fly to Seattle for reals! Sit in empty apartment for a few days, but like a woman possessed to make it, I have a very aggressive list of Doing Shit and proceed to Get Shit Done. Apartment is furnished, several Meet-Up groups are joined, Mt. Rainier hiking excursion completed, searching and finding of a bicycle is also finished.

September: Days are gorgeous. Work early, get done early, go outside hiking or biking for three hours or more every day. New apartment is great—no noisy neighbors. “Like being on vacation…” I tell a friend. Begin and conclude dating: Meet the Man**. Could not have created a better one—smart, funny, creative, fixes and makes shit with his hands. Has the cutest fucking dog on Earth, too, so it’s like I got a two-for-one: Man + Dog.

Gizmo!

October: Good times are continued…Having fun biking around town, eating at new restaurants (food is awesome and fresh here), among other activities. Slammed by Mono at End of Month.

November: See Mono.

December: Finally over the Mono, but getting caught up on other stuff that was put aside in November. Also, go home to Iowa to see family. Get ready for New Year and new goals: Write more and pay more attention to this here blog; get some bigger project(s) off the ground; spend more time outdoors; learn how to scuba dive; go to Alaska; find a house. Realize that I haven’t seen a rat since I left NYC and how much it fucked with my psyche. Sigh. Relax. Realize that I am happy.

The End. Every happiness to you as well in 2012.

*I don’t believe this is really it, much like the aforementioned Rapture. For the sake of this entire blog, however, let’s pretend that it is.

** I haven’t mentioned much about him, because despite the over-sharey nature of this here blog, that is something I prefer to keep fairly private and respectful. But here are three things I learned during my short-term dating life in Seattle: No. 1: Ladies of the East Coast, men are plentiful, educated, nice and considerate for the most part here—they will take you out for a proper date, talk to you like a person (not a one-night conquest) and then ask you out properly for another… No. 2: Did I mention they’re hot? No. 3: Oh, fuck it. See No. 1. I was man-less in NYC for six years. I met my man in six weeks here.

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’Mer-Kuh! It Has Something to Do With Stephen G. Bloom’s Iowa…

Last week, I trekked homeward to Iowa, where I spent the better part of my first 24 years of life and couldn’t wait to get the hell out the entire fucking time.

I’m still the hell out.

This is Iowa, for those of you who think it's "Idaho." Christ, you'd think East Coast Elites would know their geography by now.

In case you hadn’t heard, Stephen G. Bloom is the University of Iowa J-School prof (full disclosure: I went to U of I, took some journo classes. I think I even had this guy, but I forget) who wrote the article in the Atlantic that caused quite the stir across the state—enough to warrant death threats and hiding out for the holidays.

It also warranted this pussy-ass apology from the University’s president—I mean, you gotta keep bodies coming thru the school, right?—and a heap of articles, this one a pretty fair assessment of what’s going on by my writer friend Jen Wilson.

Seeing’s how I just spent a week in Iowa during what is one of its least attractive months of the year—like catching Gwyneth Paltrow the day after the Oscars stuffing her face with Big Macs and farting like mad—I thought I’d comment on a few of Bloom’s observations.

And, of course, add a few of my own:

1. “…potluck dinners (casseroles are the thing to bring)”: I can’t remember the last time I ate a casserole. In Iowa. This is probably my biggest problem with the article.

2. “The state is 91 percent white…”: True. And Scary. One of the biggest arguments against Iowa not leading the political presidential pickin’ charge is that it’s hardly representative of the United States. Walking around Iowa is like visiting an Aryan Nation convention—if an Aryan Nation was moderately to severely obese and considered a new sweatshirt its “good” outfit.

This was just too funny to pass up. Also, if you enter 'white people' into Google images, Ashton Kutcher is one of the first images to crop up. And, uhum, also from Iowa.

3. “Not much travels along the muddy and polluted Mississippi these days except rusty-bucket barges of grain and an occasional kayaker circumnavigating garbage, beer cans, and assorted debris…and today, Keokuk, is a depressed, crime-infested slum town. Almost every other Mississippi River town is the same; they’re some of the skuzziest cities I’ve ever been to, and that’s saying something.” The degeneration and abuse of the Mighty Mississippi is a tearjerkin’ sight indeed. One of the most majestic, jaw-droppingly gorgeous rivers in the world has been beaten, abused and put out. It’s a lot of farm run-off, agri-business dumping its chemicals, etc. And those river towns. Christ. The signs should read: “Come for the Meth. Stay for the Unplanned Pregnancy and Domestic Abuse.”

No explanation needed...

4. Iowa’s pretty fucked up politically. (paraphrased…I’m tired of quoting here): Yep. You got the same old politicians, to use a regional phrase, older than dirt; “rabid” Republicans to the West (where I grew up); Liberals to the East (where I went to University); and a bunch of religious idiots fighting tooth and nail to oust the justices who legalized gay marriage—probably the one and only decent thing the state has done in the past decade. Show me an Iowa Republican, and I’ll show you a redneck who can barely read. At least where I’m from, most of these so-called Conservatives don’t read the paper or follow events, and Obama is still referred to using the “N” word. I’m not kidding, people.

5. Here’s a bunch of other shit about Iowa that Bloom mentions that makes me sad: “economically depressed,” “culturally challenged,” “few minorities,” “no sizable cities,” “almost all the corn Iowa farmers grow is feed corn…it’s meant for pigs, not humans,” “empty storefronts,” “flourishing Wal-Marts,” etc.

6. “So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations…” Granted, this is Obama’s famed quote from a speech in San Fran, and it’s argued he’s talking about western Pennsylvania, but here’s the truth, whether Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, or anywhere outside a major metropolitan area: It’s easy to get your ire up if you don’t understand something; or if something confuses you; or if you just don’t want to open up your mind and take a listen and maybe learn something. Republicans paint this as “Being American.” It’s just being Plain Stupid.

7. And this takes us to…. “Coastal elites love to dump on Iowa…” Look, I’ve lived all over, and now on both coasts. Really, except for election time, coastal elites don’t spend much time discussing Iowa—or any other state. It’s also about the time I figure you all get ruffled about us coastal elites getting married after our gay sex orgies and Free Abortion Wine and Botox Parties. (Actually, those both sound pretty fun…). Also, I can tell you that I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of idiots, morons and the clueless wandering around New York City, Chicago and elsewhere’s, spreading their ignorance and hate. You can have a smart conversation and good meal with good people just about anywhere. Just try. No place is all shit—or a fucking bed of roses. Just ask Bon Jovi.

8. Religion. Oooo, boy. This is the BIG one. I’ve touched on this a bit, and man, do I not have time for someone if they bust this out as reasoning in a discussion about politics, government or rights. Separation of Church and State, remember that? Iowa is pretty damn religious, but like most shit, it’s dying with the old folks. Most of the younger folk aren’t into the fire-and-brimstone—Iowa did legalize gay marriage after all—so there’s hope yet. My mom kept bitching about all the right-wing assholes she goes to church with, and I said, “Maybe I should buy an ad in the local paper, offering free abortions for anyone who needs one?”

Abortion, God, Murder. Goddamn, if that isn't a great band name.

9. “Those who stay in Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in education) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth…” Just watching a waste-toid walk from his house to his truck to grab a half-drunk bottle of Mt. Dew in my parents’ once-sweet little hometown made me want to cry. While there are hardworking folk in rural communities, the scourge of meth and unemployment has left an army of resource-sucking mouth breathers in its wake. Ask anyone. It’s a sad, difficult, complicated state of affairs that has to do with economics, policies, government, education, ambition…

10. Oh, and I’m not moving back either.

All told, it was a fair article. But the truth is hard. It’s like all those messy little lies we tell each other—and ourselves—every single day to get by instead of getting at the crux of the problem because getting off our asses and fixing problems is hard. Also, nearly impossible in many cases (see: recent documentary Gas Land if you want a good dose of hardworking, honest Americans getting fucked by Big Business and Government. Side note: Dick Cheney has to be the biggest dick on earth…and why is it that most guys named “Dick” are actual dicks? Ever wonder about that?).

What a dick.

Iowans have a hard time staring at their state through all the hog crap and corporate corn because, damnit, it ain’t Grant Wood’s Iowa any more. But, really, nowhere in America is…those images of little pink houses for you and me? Bull. Shit.

Thought I'd end this on a nice note...Go Green!

Happy voting!

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Is it Possible to be Too Nice? (Aka Vegans Suck)

Last night I attended a holiday party. Now this shindig wasn’t fancy, everyone was supposed to contribute something, which is no big deal. The economy’s still in the shitter, and there hasn’t been a decent crab puff since 2006, so expectations are not that high.

So I show up with my bottle of wine (food and drink were assigned by alphabet), and I was STARVING. This party started at 6 p.m., so there really wasn’t proper time to get dinner before, hence I was relying on this to feed my face for the evening. Or at least until I could leave.

Lest I sit my bottle of wine down and survey the offerings: And dear readers, let me tell you, I have never seen the likes of this before… Practically everything on the table—and I mean everything—was labeled. And labeled “Vegan: Beans, carrots, celery, some MSG-free sauce” or “Vegan: No dairy, eggs, or sugar! Enjoy!” I frantically searched the deli-bought salads, the trays of apps, the home-baked platters “Mac and Cheese—No Cheese. Vegan Friendly!” for anything that looked remotely appetizing.

Smear this on your crackers. De-lish!

Nothing. But someone deigned to bring a plate of brie and crackers and, man, I dug into that like there was no tomorrow. But woman cannot live on brie and crackers alone.

When did this happen? When did being fucking Vegan rule the Earth? What’s next? We all move to Oregon and start a farm collective/tattoo artist academy? I mean, vegetarians I get, but this spread was an affront to eaters everywhere. I’ve been to parties with plenty of folks flashing their V cards before, but certainly nothing is labeled like that—and it certainly doesn’t rule the table. These asshats need to be tied down and forced to watch an Anthony Bourdain marathon.

Mmm...De-lish!

Look, people, here are the rules of the party potluck. There must be at least three or four serious foodies in attendance who will praise and celebrate a delicious meat-n-cheese sampler. Slider sandwiches—turkey, mini-hamburgers, pulled pork—of any kind are always winners.

Also, enough with the labeling. We aren’t 5 years old. Let’s have some dignity here. Make a Vegan section or Veggie section, but I’ve never been to a party before where shit is labeled to the nth degree. That’s the fun of the potluck—stick it in your mouth and see what it is! It also spurs on conversation around the table among awkward strangers—“ Do you know if this has meat in it?” Etc.

That said, enjoy your holiday parties. Just don’t label your shit like an idiot. And for God’s sake, factor in that there will be some Non-Vegans at your party, whether you like it or not.

I drink my own urine.

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‘Mer-Kuh: WTF?

I don’t need to go on huge diatribes all the time. Once in a while, I want to post just some brief, tasteless thoughts. This continuing series will be called ‘Mer-Kuh: WTF? from now on.

Today, we will focus on that trainwreck of a human being, Herman Cain. I can’t believe this guy is still around–he’s like the kid caught with the cookie dough all over his face in the kitchen at 2 a.m. who’s like, “What cookie dough?”

'If you come back to my campaign bus, I'll show you what this finger can do.'

I, for one, have had enough of “Sticky Fingers” Cain and his antics. I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s begin with this:

I think the number of women who claim to have been harassed or boned by Cain is up to five. According to the New York Times, the latest is a 13-year affair. Note to Cain: 13 years. Dude, why? Maintaining long-term partners defeats the purpose of having an affair to me, which is all about The Strange.

Anyway, the Times Go-To Republican on the matter is none other than my home state’s idiot governor, Terry Braindead. Really, Times? No one else picked up their phone? I don’t care if Iowa does its thing first, do we really care what this guy thinks?

Moving on, why anyone would vote for someone who ran such a substandard, disgusting pizza franchise for a decade is beyond me. I’m in the camp of I Don’t Care Who You Do, but you better have done something cool with your life before you run for the big gig of running the free world.

And to close ‘Mer-Kuh, WTF?, I have a question: The fact that black Republicans, and female Republicans, and gay Republicans exist…hell, any Republican who isn’t a middle- to upper-class, well-off white man, is beyond me. Will someone explain?

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Fuck the Kardashians (And Other Revelations I Had While I Had Mono)

Hey, you there! Yes, I’m back after a few months. There are many reasons I’ve been gone so long, but perhaps the most recent—and worst—is the fact that I had mono.

Yes, mononucleosis.

Now, there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who have had mono. And those who haven’t. The ones who have commiserate appropriately, for it is truly one of the most vile, hateful viruses on the planet. The ones who haven’t say stupid shit like, “Ooooo, who have you been kissing?” It is those people I would like to punch in the face.

Mono is the fucking worst. The. Worst. Well, the worst of the stuff that eventually goes away. I’m not saying it comes close to anything considered serious, but work with me, people. After weathering the worst physical breakdown I’ve ever had—chills, wild temperature swings, fevers and night sweats, vomiting, a sore throat that felt like swallowing razor blades, not sleeping more than an hour at a time, etc., for weeks on end—I had a few revelations while I was down and out.

Here they are:

  • I was in line at the Walgreen’s with my basket filled with Worthless Over the Counter Shit That Doesn’t Work when, in my misery, I looked up and saw every magazine cover plastered with Kim Kardashian’s face—the “just married” face, the “oversized sunglasses in the airport face” and, of course, just her standard dull-eyed, blow-up doll face, asking inane questions like “Fake or Real?” “Kim K. Files for Divorce from Kris…What went wrong?” and so forth and I found myself enraged. Not just annoyed, full-on rage. First off, WTF? Didn’t this bitch just spend $2 million and like 67 hours of E! programming getting fucking married? Is this all an orchestrated publicity stunt to further pull in the American public into the dumbed-down world of shopping for platform heels, slathering on Mac lip gloss and doing cheesy paid appearances in Las Vegas? (Uh, I’m firmly in the “yes” camp).

I'm at a loss as to who would wear the "I'm with Stupid" T-shirt.

  • Like 3.2 million other viewers, I, too, succumbed and watched the “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” premiere last night. And like 3.2 million other people I saw such gems as “Oh, my God! You just fucked up my pedicure!” and Kris Humphries constantly whine about getting to the gym by 8 a.m. Has anyone been seen reading a book or newspaper on this show? Ever? I really would like to know.
  • After being housebound for a month, I would like to cancel my cable subscription.
  • If you are ever seriously ill and in need of going to a hospital, may I ballpark what an overnight stay and a few IVs will cost you? Seven grand. And if you still think universal health care is a bad idea, may I say, Fuck You.
  • I believe the newest intelligence test comes in the form of that slapped together celebrity shitshow called “New Year’s Eve.” Once upon a time, some Hollywood asshole figured out that if you smashed enough A-Listers into one incredibly trite, pull-at-the-old-heartstrings, Rom-Com-A-Roma, aka “Valentine’s Day,” you’d make millions of dollars off the poor, sad, pathetic lives of middle-aged cat women and sorority girls everywhere. They were correct. And now, they’ve packaged that into that most loathsome of holidays, New Year’s Eve. If you go to see this movie—hell, if this movie even appeals to you—you are a fucking moron. Plain and simple. You should not be allowed to vote, have children or work anyplace but the DMV. Oh, and get another cat, why don’t you.
  • Speaking of morons, even if he is the biggest male bimbo in the world, why is Ashton Kutcher just continually getting hotter?
  • Those fucking Muppets. I mean, when Miss Piggy is featured in a fashion spread in InStyle magazine, someone should really lose their fucking job.
  • I wanted to do this one while I was probably face down in my own Campbell’s chicken soup puke, but Penn State football fans who were protesting the ousting of Joe Paterno over the sex abuse scandal, you guys get a double-triple fuck you. It’s truly a sad day when a sports empire takes precedence over the abuse of children. Then again, you’re probably the same kind of folks who don’t think that everyone should have health care.

Hey, I’m better, bitter as ever and hungry for some more trash talk. It’s good to be back.

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