Month / December, 2002

Winter Solstice Party

So, my beautiful girlfriend, and Risa, her very fun roommate, are having a non-denominational holiday party this year celebrating the winter solstice. This will be my first Winter Solstice party and I am very excited by the prospect of attending. Past solstices featured my girlfriend drunk, gatherings of various characters with stories I have heard much about, and the introduction of turducken.

I guess you can see why I’m so excited.

This solstice party will be their 4th and it differs only in that I will be handling the music this year. With the addition of my iPod I can create a custom playlist of music and have it play the entire party with out having to change a single CD. There is now the pressure of what music to play. I don’t want to choose the wrong music, but what to choose?

The girls have given me a list of various musical requests all the way from the Ramones, the Replacements, Daft Punk to Sheila E. There is a hell of a lot of ground to cover between them. I was just wondering, if you had a song (or group of songs) that you would choose, what would they be?

Christmas In Hollis by Run D.M.C. is on, but I need some help.

Little Schemer

Now, I’m not one of those screw the system, give it to the man, rebellious types. I’ve never been the guy who got the watch free because of the promotion. Never knew somebody who knew somebody. I always pay retail, not because I want to, but because I have to. I even have trouble accepting free samples from people on the street corner. I’m kind of a docile little chap, brought up by a very polite English father and one hell of a German Mother. Don’t get me wrong, I can assert myself if I have to, but often I don’t have to… I usually never have to… I put myself in places where I don’t have to.

I deplore confrontation.

This being said, I’m not a moron and I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth… whatever that means. I purchased a coat two years ago from Lands End, after my roommate Rob had purchased it, because I was so impressed by an all down reversible jacket for $68. Rob, of course, had purchase the best color, yellow & black, and I was left with an all right color combination of olive & black. The color had always bothered me. The olive was really dark and basically looked black in most lighting situations and didn’t have the same punch Rob’s had. The reversibility was basically lost.

I had stuffed the coat away in storage all summer, intending to forget all about it and just buy the latest model when the winter struck. Typical American disposable culture I guess, but then it got cold (and cold fast), I panicked and donned the jacket to stave off frostbite. The utility of the jacket had won over the selfish regard for style I had imposed.

There I was, once again wearing the hideous jacket.

On my way to work a week ago, however, as I unzipped my pocket to get access to my gloves, the stitches gave out on my pocket zipper. Crap. Now I had a hideous broken jacket. Well, at least I could buy a new jacket without feeling completely guilty. Unbeknownst to me, Lands End, much like their competitors, L.L.Bean, offer an unconditional return policy on all of their products. If you are not satisfied, in anyway, by their products you can return them for a refund or replacement. I had figured that two years was too long to take advantage of this guarantee, but as I was ordering the new jacket, my sales person said, "oh, we can replace that no problem."

I was shocked. More because the sales person had suggested it than anything else. With a few questions they had sent a brand new jacket, in a completely new snazzy Orange & Dark Blue color, for me and their only request was the previous jacket to be returned. I didn’t technically get anything for free. I didn’t technically get any promotion. No "Man" was screwed, but sometimes…

Sometimes you are reminded that not everybody sucks.

The image above is a digital representation of me from LandsEnd.com in the demi-ass-cover model I received

Fingers Crossed

Well, it’s about that time to go on home and prepare for an insane weekend ahead. This weekend I have been roped into acting in a movie for my friend Jay. The movie is great, but this time of year, the last thing I want to do is have a half-dozen crew members examining me through a camera lens, whilst saying things like…

“He needs more make-up”
“He’s so pale, can we use a filter?”
“Wow, she looks great… He looks pretty good”

thanks.

The up-coming months will be a mix of fear, stress, and general anxiety. The sources of these various attributes can be as simple as spending time with my family or buying christmas presents. The last thing I need is additional stresses from outside sources.

I want to hide under a rock.

What might make the whole thing oh so much more enjoyable is that, come Monday, the Metropolitan Transit Workers may strike. Walking from Brooklyn to Union Square in December may not sound like a fun idea, but let me assure you it really wont be a fun idea at 8 in the morning. I understand there are things that are wrong in the MTA, but pissing off your ridders is not the answer.

Why do people have to make this so difficult?

I am speaking to both the City of New York and Transit Workers here… Let’s stop the bullshit, charge me the $2 a ride, to pay for all your faulty republican rhetoric, and let’s get on with our lives.

Weekend Reading

The Next Echinacea

When it rains in Manhattan, you avoid it. If you’re going anywhere you take the subway and do whatever you can to stay away from the rain. Unless of course you have to go a few blocks away, then you take a cab. Unless you are a true New Yorker, then you walk. I walked. I got soaked.

There is a point at which rain is transformed from an inconvenience to a full on nuisance. The point, for me, is when my socks get wet. When your feet get wet and cold it is almost impossible to keep that cheery disposition you’ve fostered all day. When your feet get wet, your mortality looks you in the face and says “You are the biggest pussy, grow a set!”

Yesterday I had to get my cheap, I like to think frugal, ass over to a photo shoot 6 blocks way on 20th Street. It was not me getting photographed, thank god, but I was assisting the direction of the shoot to suit the clients ‘vision’. I decided, with shoddy umbrella in hand “hey it’s pouring outside, but I’m a New Yorker, it’s not going to phase me.”

It phased me.

I got to the photo shoot, complaining to myself like a five year old begging my mother not to take me to the dentist (You know the flailing irrational style that embarrasses child and parent alike). I walked into the studio drenched from my knees down and got out of my wet jacket and winter gear.

“I hope I don’t get pneumonia from all this rain.” I say as I pull off my scarf. The assistant to the photographer, who I had met before, leans over to me and says, “If you don’t want to get sick, you need to take lots of vitamin C, Zinc, and eat McDonalds.”

Vitamin C

Zinc

McDonalds

“McDonalds?”

“Well, I can’t back this up with any scientific evidence, but whenever I feel like I’m going to get sick I eat a BigMac, or any other fast food beef product. I think it has something to do with all the antibiotics and hormones they give the cows, but I never get sick.”

“Really? You’re pulling my leg here, right?”

“No, even my friends eat McDonalds when they start to get sick and it sorts them right out.”

I thought this was fascinating. After the shoot I went over to Burger Kind ordered a Whopper and had fries just to finish whatever it was off.

I now feel like shit, but at least I know what it was that did it to me.

Knitting Factory

Yeah, I knit! You got a problem with that? How about I take this needle and…

Seasonal depression is in the wings and this year, as with last winter, I am without cigarettes and would rather not start taking anti-depressants, so I thought, on the staunch advice of my girlfriend, to start knitting.

It’s a bit of a blow to my manhood.

then again, I was never much of a macho man to begin with, more of a Daniel Striped Tiger, but knitting? That is dead feminine. My grandmother knit. My Mother Knit. Now I knit.

last Friday, at the Loose Fur concert, I whipped out my wool to show my friends Steve and Amy my newest project for my sister (To be honest, made me show them). Steve remarked…

S “Um, Ben, You’re knitting.”
B “Yeah, isn’t it cool?”
S “I think we need to go play a game of baseball and have a few beers.”
B “Can I bring my Needles?”
S “To the game?”
B “Yeah, I need something to do in the dugout.”

Amy thinks it is fabulous.

I then had a thought, or more accurately expanded on an earlier thought I had, if my single male friends started knitting and went to a knitting circle, or even a knitting store, they would get snatched up by a women in no time (the sane ones at least). And more to the point, when guys are single they go to sports bars, or stay home and play Playstation2. When women are single they take an art class, or learn to knit. Guys sit and fester, while women improve themselves. This is, of course, a gross over generalization, but think about it…

Would you look for a mate at a bar (who drinks a lot), or at a painting class (who is creative)?

Knitting is really relaxing. You can only do passive things while knitting, like talking, or watch tv, if that’s your thing. The reward of seeing a scarf materialize in front of your eyes is huge, and the feeling you get when you receive an item made for you from somebody… It is like wearing a constant reminder of someone’s feelings about you.

Now see if a GAP sweater made by a Chinese worker for 49 cents gives you the same feeling. (and you always wonder why you feel like a bastard in that Old Navy fleece, that’s just how Ting Zao feels about you)

Mondays

You ever get the feeing that somebody has changed your coffee to decaf and everybody else knows it, except you?

Welcome to my life.

Things happened today… I know they did, but there is nothing I can write about it. I rode the subway, I worked, I might go to yoga, but there doesn’t seem to be anything worthy to write about. Maybe I need to relax.

I think I’m using the wrong multi-vitamin. It makes my pee fluorescent yellow. That’s probably it.

Snoop Dogg – Tha Shizzolator

A Simple Question…

I know I said I wouldn’t kvetsh about things on this site, but sometimes you have to look in the face of reason and wonder why it grew that mustache. I have a pet peeve that infuriates me. It happens every so often when I go to a website to fill out information about myself and the question always arises…

What state do I live in?

Well, what a simple question that is. I can answer that in two letters, thanks to the United States Postal Service’s State Abbreviations ,

… There, all done.

However, somewhere along the evolutionary path of web design a ruddy pimple faced programmer decided that he could, not necessarily should, create a listing of all the states in the union, so no one would ever have to enter in another two letter abbreviation ever again.

The problem inherent in this system is this, It is a hell of a lot more of a pain in the ass to go rooting around a listing of states than to enter in two letters. Not to mention, that if you are filling out a form you can tab from one field to another and enter information, but once you get to a list all bets are off and you have to once again grab a hold of your mouse to root for your state. What makes the insult oh so much more of an insult is that once you’ve found your state you inevitably have to type you zip code directly after it.

This stupidity in function drives me crazy, because although it only takes 5 seconds to find my state, it takes 4 seconds longer than it used to. And if you add up all those lost 4 seconds worldwide, I could take Fridays off and no one would even mind.

It’s trickle-down people… trickle-down

Improving on Nature?

Is it a Bird? (yes)
Is it a Plane (well, not exactly)
No, it’s TURDUCKEN!

Over the last few months we, at Fun Time Tree House, Inc., have been monitoring a cruel and dangerous eating activity, that has it’s made it’s way up from the south to us northerners.

Turducken
(link 1, link 2, Google)

The basic gist of the turducken is this; you take a de-boned chicken and stick it into a de-boned duck, which is then inserted into a de-boned turkey. Between each layer of carcass is a stuffing layer (cajun and pork) which supplies you with additional pieces of more animals. The massacre is then inserted into an oven and cooked for 15 hours in hopes to kill the micro bacteria that have been uncovered.

And the jews are afraid to eat pork?!

At the end of the stuffing and cooking ordeal you are left with mass grave of 4 distinct animals, which I wager had never seen each other in their past lives, let alone be packed inside one another. It’s bioengineering orgy of flavor and texture that produces one hell of a main course.

It’s America people, land of invention and innovation. We are lucky enough to be around to see it.

Can you please pass the thighbrestwing?

Damn iPod!

For my 25th birthday, my parents decided that as a gift they would give me an iPod. I’ve wanted one of the little chrome and white things for a while, but I hadn’t fully grasped the control the little thing would have over my life, or how obsessive I would get over it.

dumb-ass.gif

20GB of music (roughly 4,000 songs) is a lot of music. Way too much music it may be said. 4,000 songs is hours of music. Hours of music that I will probably never get to enjoy, for fear that If I listen to one album, it will be a waste of money. If I listen to each track, in about 15 days I will have listened to everything.

Funtimes.

I’m slightly ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) which roughly translates as, having too many choices is my downfall. I’m also slightly OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) with a splash of TMD (Technology Meddling Disorder) the mix creates a superhuman with the attention-span of Ruth Gordon and the technical prowess of my grandfather.

ruthgordonth2x2.jpg

(Side Note: My grandfather wears two digital watches on both wrists, because he watches two television programs each day. He therefore needs two alarms to alert him to when his shows are on television.)

When is too much music, just too much?

On my computer I have 7588 songs (21 days 1 hour 11 minutes of music). I became compulsive with my friend Justin, another technical Meddler, to assemble the ultimate collection. Most of the albums I own and have encoded into my computer. I’m not a Napster user, because of my OCD which makes me encode all my music at a certain bit rate (160 kbs) and with the same encoder (iTunes 1.1 or higher). I am so obsessed that I hear imperfections in other peoples music that I’m not sure is there or not. I have actually gotten MP3’s from friends and then bought the album to create my own MP3’s. I actually buy more CDs now than I used to, so I guess I’m what the record companies love, a psychotic listener.

Not that I’m not extremely happy about owning the little bastard. I’m growing to love my little iPod and the freedom it brings. I just hope I have enough time to listen to 4,000 songs in my lifetime and don’t get fired because of it.

Happy Holidays from Apple & Will Ferrell

-Not related at all to the above entry we at Fun Time Tree House, Inc. would like to send congratulations to A Day Late and a Dollar Short on their wedding anniversary and for the publishing of some of the soppiest e-mails I have ever had the privilege to read. Funnily enough, I have the exact same e-mails from college. Funny how falling in love works.