Dec 23 2010

austin city limits

I wonder how many visitors to Austin realize that the North-South streets are named after Texas rivers.  I know because I’m really, really smart.  And because Lyle Lovett told me so.  I wish I could have found his version of the song instead of the joker above.

Anyway, this reminds me that I forgot to mention I’m in Austin for Christmas.  You might remember Austin from its prominent placement on the spite list.  Now might also be a good time to mention that one of the recurring themes of in the new year is going to be removing items from the spite list.  Bah!  Humbug.

Nov 18 2010

love’s labour’s won

I had big plans for this evening which – sadly – have been thwarted.  Both of you who are still reading may remember that back in May, I posted a list of my favorite movies in the most annoying way ever.  To wit: I embedded a hundred and one Youtube videos in a post that crashed your browser.  Well, it seems that post crashed Typepad and WordPress as well, because I got a whole lotta nothin’ when I sought it out to update and move out of the hidden archives just a few moments ago.  All of a sudden I’m feeling a whole lot less sympathetic toward Six Apart and their financial woes.

The obvious question is whether or not my stupid movie list is more important than a seriously devalued company that’s begging for millions of dollars in cash.  And the answer is yes.  Yes, it is.  I mean, it will take me several hours to re-create it and I’m a busy guy.  I have things to spite.

Nov 11 2010

this is how you end up on the spite list

Remember when bacon used to be just a breakfast food?  Me too.  I miss those days.  You can take your bacontinis, your bacon-wrapped turkey, and – above all – your talking bacon plush and you can shove them up your ass.

Sep 28 2010

jeremiah was a bullfrog

I recently became friends with someone whose all-time favorite band is U2.  As if that’s not enough, her favorite sports team is the Boston Red Sox and her favorite television show is The Wire.  One of her favorite movies is Slumdog Millionaire, which she has delivered directly to her flat-panel television via Netflix.  And I’m pretty sure she eats cupcakes while she watches.  On the surface, none of those things have anything to do with anything.  But the thing is, I have this list.

Once my friend got over her horror that I would be so petty as to A/ make a list of things I spite and B/ actually write it down, she issued a challenge.  And we all know how much I enjoy a challenge.  That’s why I’ve compiled below a similar list of things that bring me joy.  According to our initial discussions, this was only to be at least one-fourth as long as my spite list.  But my spite list consists of eighty-one items, and listing only twenty here is too easy to be worthwhile.  So I upped the ante by suggesting I exceed the spite list by at least one.  The only other stipulation was that I am not permitted to use this list as a way to make fun of her.  It’s amazing how well she knows me.

Antoni Gaudi / Arrested Development / aquariums / Baltimore, Maryland / Batman / Bill Bryson / blogging / bowling / Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band / buildings / Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid / chimpanzees / Chuck Klosterman / Conan O’Brien / crosswords / cycling / Daisy / dreams / euchre / Euskaltel-Euskadi / fantasy football / freshly cleaned sheets / game night / Games Magazine / Harry Potter books / history books / Homestar Runner / hot dogs / Iceland / Indiana Jones / Joel and Ethan Coen / Jon Krakauer / Karaoke to the Death / Kate Winslet / Lake Diane / Lake Tahoe / Lando Calrissian / Lego / Louis Kahn / macaroni and cheese / Marta / Michigan Wolverines / mimes / museums / nephews / New York Yankees / NFL / Nick Nolte / nieces / The Old 97’s / Old Town Alexandria / Outer Banks / pie / pigs / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Pittsburgh Steelers / Pixar movies / Polaroids / Prince / pug farts / Ricky Gervais / roller derby / sandwiches / Santiago Calatrava / schnitzel with noodles / Scrabble / The Simpsons / snowboarding / soup / South Park / spite / Star Wars trilogy / strange maps / sushi / swimming / szechaun chicken / Thanksgiving / Tour de France / trains / traveling / vegetarian chili / video games / water skiing / westerns / Wilco / yinzers / Zooey Deschanel / zoos

Jul 16 2010

chimps are not monkeys

I know someone who once made the mistake of casually referring to chimpanzees as “monkeys.”  And while I will grant that this is a common misconception, that does not make the statement – however casual – true.  Dabysan was the first to mention the error, and he did so tactfully.  “Actually,” replied Dabysan to to the mistaken assertion, “chimps aren’t monkeys at all.  They’re apes.  There’s a difference.”  That’s when things got ugly.

This other person – at the time – was a web designer for Conservation International, which caused her to believe that she was an expert on pretty much everything found in nature.  She was also very much a know-it-all, which caused her to believe she was an expert on pretty much…. well, everything else.  She didn’t take kindly to being corrected.  She immediately insisted that chimps were, in fact, monkeys, and that she personally worked with the world’s top primatologists who would no doubt back her up on this fact.  That’s when things got really ugly.

Needless to say, an argument ensued.  This was some time ago (okay, fine – eight years ago), before access to the internet on one’s cellular telephone became ubiquitous.  And besides, we were on a ski trip in BFE West Virginia, so we probably wouldn’t have gotten a signal anyway.  But it wasn’t much longer than five minutes once we returned home than three people sent out emails with definitive proof that there is a difference between apes and monkeys and that chimpanzees are in the former biological classification.  To this day, the person who mistakenly proclaimed chimps to be monkeys has not admitted her error.  She never will.  Ever.

I’m reminded of this story after reading about how Steve Jobs responded today to glitches in his latest precious Apple product.  This is partly because my friend the primate expert is the second biggest lobotomized Apple apologist I know, but it’s mostly because Steve Jobs refused to acknowledge his company’s error.  And there’s nothing more annoying that someone who is obviously wrong insisting that they are right.  Under most circumstances, I’d say that the quote of the day goes to’s Farhad Manjoo, who closed his piece on Jobs’ press conference with:

“What I’d prefer, since Jobs is asking, is a company that doesn’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s the ‘most revolutionary rain storm ever!’  A free case is all well and good.  Just lose the attitude, Steve.  You screwed up.  We know it.  You know it.  Just admit it.”

But that doesn’t account for the fact that Steve Jobs is the most self-righteous douchebag on the planet.  So he gets the dubious quote of the day honors for this disingenuous gem:

“We love our users so much we’ve built 300 Apple retail stores for them.”

Fuck you, Steve Jobs, and fuck your shitty fucking iPhone too.  Stop pretending you’re doing us a goddamn favor by offering overpriced consumer products.  You built your three hundred fucking Apple stores to line your pockets with the hard earned money of the stupid and gulli-  Wait a second…  Why am I ranting about this again?  The stupid and gullible deserve to be ripped off.  What the hell do I care?  I have a Blackberry.

Jun 24 2010

represent my ass

The tale of the tape on Weezer is that sooner or later they disappoint all their fans.  I was late to the party, so I thought I might be immune.  I, for one, found latter-day tracks such as “The Girl Got Hot” to be just as confessional in their own way as such revered emo classics as “Undone (The Sweater Song)” or “Say it Ain’t So.” Well, you can officially count me now in the ‘disappointed by Weezer’ camp.  What finally did me in are not insipid lyrics about a former ugly duckling made good or how awesome it would be to live in Beverly Hills, but insipid lyrics about the most insipid sport in all of sports.

Soccer can get fucked eight ways from Sunday.  I don’t need one of my favorite bands writing songs about how great it would be if my country did well in the sport’s premier tournament.  My country shouldn’t even be in the shameful tournament.  We’re better than that, and it’s a national embarrassment that we are collectively pretending otherwise.  I’m just hoping this whole thing is an elaborate joke.

[Editors’ note: Of course the goddamn video would be set to auto-play.  Don’t blame us, blame soccer.  Soccer is the scourge and we won’t be free until it is eliminated from our lives entirely.]

[Editors’ note amended:  We guess we figured out how to turn the auto-play off.  You’re welcome.  Now to tackle this ridiculous formatting problem.  Jesus, soccer sucks at literally everything.]

May 13 2010

video vault

See, this is what I was talking about.

One book you won’t find on my horrific shelf is A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.  That’s because I’m currently reading it.  Its current home is inside my backpack.  Yesterday on the way home from work, I finished the essay about David Lynch.  Since the bulk of the essay was written (or at least a literary device was employed to suggest that it was written) from the set of Lost Highway, and since I have never seen Lost Highway, I decided before starting the next piece about professional tennis that I wanted to watch Lost Highway last night.  Except I couldn’t.  I don’t own a copy of that particular film and a quick survey of the evening’s television listings confirmed that it was showing on exactly none of the hundred or so channels I receive.  If only there was someplace I could go and give somebody a few dollars to borrow a DVD – or even a videotape.

You might be thinking about now that this is going to turn into another rant about how Netflix is evil and ruining society as we know it.  And those things are certainly true.  But that’s not what this is about.  Sure, Netflix killed a once-thriving independent business – the cornerstone of our fragile economy – that happened to be a block from my home and was a temple to the art of film.  And sure, Netflix’ CEO has publicly stated that destroying such independent shrines as the one that I visited several times weekly was his corporation’s primary raison d’être.  But I’m not bitter.  On the contrary, I’m filled with a sort of…. shameful joy.  I realized yesterday that Netflix is doomed.

I didn’t know when I left home yesterday morning that I was going to want to watch Lost Highway last night.  And I sure didn’t know it three weeks ago when setting some arbitrary “queue.”  Hell, three weeks ago I didn’t even know I was going to be reading a collection of essays that included one about David Lynch.  (I know it’s willfully obtuse to state that I wanted to watch Lost Highway last night because I went to see an exhibit on parking structures at the National Building Museum last month, but I’m okay with that and I’m not going to elaborate.)  This is a problem that Netflix can never solve, and it’s why the company will ultimately fail.  Netflix decides what its subscribers will watch and when.  Oh sure, there’s a queue, but that queue can never be updated to accommodate real-time decisions.  The Netflix subscriber surrenders personal choice – surrenders freedom – for a mere ten dollars a month and no late fees.  I have faith that one day more people than not will come to the realization that they’re selling their liberty for cheap.  On that day we shall finally throw off the shackles of our tyrannic oppressor.  I can’t wait.

In the meantime I’ll be watching Blue Velvet again.  I own that one.  On VHS.

Mar 31 2010

pony express dvd

I’ll have more to say about this subject later this next month as a tough reality sets in, but this article about the link between the struggling US Postal Service and the (soon-to-be) struggling Netflix warms every last cockle of my cold and shriveled heart.  I want Netflix founder Reed Hastings to die in a fire.  Then I want all the proprietors of all the independent video stores he has driven out of business to converge on his grave and piss on his ashes.  Then I want the Postal Service to return to Hastings’ family the check they mailed for his burial for insufficient postage.  Then I want the funeral home in question to charge his family a “late fee” of sorts for not disposing of his soiled and desecrated remains because they hadn’t been paid in a timely manner.

In short, I want evil things to happen to Reed Hastings because he is an evil man who runs an evil company.  I don’t want the Postal Service to fail, but if the failure of the USPS means the failure of Netflix then I guess I’m okay with it.  This is what all those patriots were talking about when they suggest that we ask not what we can do for ourselves.

Mar 28 2010

the spite locker

Yesterday I got to thinking about all the things that other people have ruined.  There are many, many things that might otherwise be enjoyable or have some merit but for their their gross overvaluation, their ubiquity, or their fawning acolytes.  (Or – usually – some combination of the three.)  It occurred to me that this list has never been compiled in one place.  I aim today and henceforth to rectify that situation.  And so, following is a partial list of things that are not worth your time.  Consider this a work in progress.

American Idol / Animal Collective / Anthony Bourdain / Apple / Austin, Texas / Astana / bacon / Baja Fresh / Baltimore-Washington Parkway / birthdays / Brooklyn, New York / Boba Fett / Boggle / Boston Red Sox / camping / carols / Christmas / Cincinnati Bengals / Clerks / contemporary short stories / cupcakes / Dave Eggers / Dazed and Confused / Eastern Market / eggplant / Ethan Hawke / / fixies / flat-panel televisions / Foo Fighters / Frank Gehry / The Fratellis / golf / GPS / graphic novels / Halloween / happy hour / / / internet slang / Irish bars / Japan / King Library / Kings of Leon / Kurt Vonnegut / Lance Armstrong / Ledo Pizza / LOLcats / Lord of the Rings movies / Lost / marijuana / Megan Fox / Minnesota / Netflix / The New Pornographers / next-generation video game consoles / The Ohio State University / Old Town Theater / Penn State / pirates / puppies / The Rocky Horror Picture Show / Scare Force One / shorts / Six Apart /Slumdog Millionaire / The Smiths / softball / spin class / Spoon / Subway / Team HTC / track jackets / U2 / ultimate frisbee / unicycles / University of Maryland basketball / U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team / Washington Capitals / Washington Redskins / The Wire /yoga / zombies

Mar 17 2010

pogue mahone

I fucking despise St. Patrick’s Day.  So it’s ironic enough that I chose to listen to the Pogues on my way home from work.  But it’s even more ironic – if there are degrees of irony – that they put me in a great mood.  I don’t know why that is.  Maybe just being bitter and spiteful all day has lifted my spirits.  Maybe I’m subconsciously reliving the joy of one of my more epic bails.  Whatever it is, I’ll take it.  I’ve been kind of down the past few days.  I needed a lift.  Between the Pogues and getting absolutely shitfaced tonight, things are looking up for ol’ Hotrod.