I HATE COFFEE

I HATE COFFEE

Today, for the millionth time, my boss made me go down the block to get him a cappuccino from Starbucks. (We have a fancy coffee maker in the office, but it’s not not fancy enough for my boss.) I’ve long since realized that even if I act grumpy and annoyed when he asks me to do this, it’s not going to stop him from asking. But I still act grumpy and annoyed anyway.

What made today worse was the fact that after going all the way there and coming all the way back (about a ten minute trip), I walk into the conference room to give it to him and end up tripping and dropping the damn coffee all over the floor.

And thus began a downward spiral of degradation. Let’s chronicle the factors which contributed to my shame, shall we?

  • I had to apologize and try to play it off as if it wasn’t utterly humiliating. “Oops. Wow, look what I did! Boy, that sucks, huh? Har har har.”

  • My boss begain wiping off his pants as if to imply that the coffee had somehow splashed up on him (which would have been impossible based on where I dropped it).
  • The receptionist quickly appeared with a roll of paper towels, and also reminded me that the carpets had just been cleaned last week.
  • I had to get down on my knees and dab up the relief map of foam spread across the carpet while my boss continued working just a few feet away from me.
  • “Wow, that looks really nasty!” my boss said.
  • I asked him if he wanted me to go back for another cappuccino. He, of course, said yes. He didn’t give me any money for the replacement coffee. (Moral sidebar: since I dropped it, should I have to pay for it? Or since he’s the asshole who makes me get it, should he accept that an occasional dropped coffee is the price he has to pay for the convenience of making me his coffee boy, which is not my job?)
  • I had to return to Starbucks, where of course the employees remembered me from ten minutes earlier, and explain why I was back again so soon. They don’t hear “I dropped my coffee” very often, I can tell you that.
  • There was confusion about whether I should be given a free coffee. I said I was perfectly willing to pay (my own money), but for some reason every employee in the store seemed to get involved in the debate before a verdict was reached.
  • They comped my coffee.
  • And then I had to come back to the office again, hand my boss the second coffee and explain that they gave it to me for free.

My boss isn’t a total jerk. Whenever I get coffee for him, he offers to buy me one, too.

But I don’t drink coffee.

SCHWARZENEGGER… OR SPAM?

SCHWARZENEGGER… OR SPAM?

Here’s a fun game for readers 18 and older. (The rest of you can play one of these instead.)

See if you can tell which of the following quotes are from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s now-infamous 1977 interview with Oui and which are subject lines from spam I’ve received in the last two weeks.

1. “I really dig your body and I want to fuck the shit out of you.”

2. “Please plead your case as to why you need to lick me down there.”

3. “Instead of staring at the ceiling I figure I might as well find somebody and fuck.”

4. “Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs.”

5. “This guy thinks I’m a girl. Wait ’till he sees my package. “

6. “We had girls backstage giving head.”

7. “This guy started fingering me on the dance floor.”

8. “Some think that they don’t have a big-enough cock, so they can’t get a hard-on.”

9. “I was an innocent boy from a farm town.”

10. “If she’s a good fuck, she can weigh 150 pounds, I don’t care.”

————————————————–

ANSWERS: #1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 are all Arnie. (To be fair, #1 was taken slightly out of context, as it was spoken as a hypothetical. Arnold’s quote is as follows: “If a girl comes on strong and says, ‘I really dig your body and I want to fuck the shit out of you,’ I just decide whether or not I like her. If I do take her home, I try to make sure I get just as much out of it as she does.”)

I TRY MY DARNEDEST NOT TO CORRUPT A CHILD

I TRY MY DARNEDEST NOT TO CORRUPT A CHILD

Anyone who thinks four-year-olds are not sexually aware has not met Chloe.

Chloe is Drew’s goddaughter, child of his best friends Margaret and Christian, whom he sees every week and who loves Drew like an uncle.

Chloe loves me, too, but more like a boyfriend.

Yes, she’s got what we call “a case of the Jerrys”. This weekend, Drew and I stopped by Margaret and Christian’s for a dip in the pool, and when we got out, Chloe raced through the house after me and threw open the door to the bedroom where I was about to get changed back into my dry clothes. “I just want to watch you,” she said.

“But I need to get changed.”

“Okay. I just want to watch you.”

She stood blocking the door, eyes wide, smiling innocently. I said about a hundred different things to get her out of the room. She said the same thing over and over. “I just want to watch you.”

So, I realized two things at that moment. One, somebody needs to have a talk with this girl. And two, it should be somebody other than me. I’m generally reluctant to give any Big Talks to someone else’s child, especially one where there are so many sticky issues involved. If you don’t say it right, the kid could get some warped message about body image and shame or who knows what. I don’t know what. I’m not a parent. I don’t know how to give these talks. When I have a kid, I’ll talk to them, but there’s a reason I don’t have kids yet, and it’s because I’m not ready to give these talks. So I got Drew to distract her, ran back to the bedroom and changed faster than I’ve ever changed in my life. (There are no locks on any of the doors in their house.)

Now, you might think, as I did, that there can be only one Awkward Moment of Budding Sexuality per child per day. Wrong. Apparently, these things come in clusters. Only a few minutes later, as we were baking cookies, Drew came up behind me, hugged me and kissed my neck.

Chloe burst out laughing. “He’s not a girl, silly!”

Okay, this was a talk I DEFINITELY didn’t want to have.

Margaret’s jaw dropped. Chloe had known Drew her whole life, but clearly, this issue had never come up before. Margaret didn’t waste any time explaining to Chloe that “sometimes, boys marry boys”.

It was hard not to imagine what it would be like if Drew and I did have kids someday. Would it work in reverse for us, with us having to explain why some other families had this person called “a Mommy” in them. Or that when they grow up, they might want to marry someone of the opposite sex, and that that was perfectly okay. We would have to give a lot of big talks in our house, and I’d have to be ready for that.

Drew was much better at tackling this issue head-on. He decided to demonstrate. “I love Jerry,” he told Chloe, “so I’m going to give him a kiss.” And he kissed me.

Chloe just watched, a little puzzled, a little jealous, a little disinterested.

I guess it wasn’t really what she wanted to watch me doing that day.

I’M SURE THERE’S AN ALLEGORY FOR THE MIDDLE EAST IN HERE SOMEWHERE

I’M SURE THERE’S AN ALLEGORY FOR THE MIDDLE EAST IN HERE SOMEWHERE

Interesting internet find of the day: Some Bay Area smartass played Radiohead music for a fifth grade class and had the children draw their impressions of what they heard. Result: some very disturbed and annoyed children.

Drew and I saw a sneak preview of School of Rock at the Grove on Saturday night, but the real show came before the movie started. Some stooge came in, put a bunch of paper towels down on two seats and asked the strangers sitting further down the row to watch the seats for him. Cut to: 25 minutes later. The theater is packed, the movie is about to start, and the guy still hasn’t come back. The seat savers are tired of shooing everyone away for a complete stranger, so they take the paper towels off and free up the seats. A man and a woman sit down, unaware that they are on contested territory. And then the Paper Towel Man, who I would assess to be certifiably insane, returns and sees that someone is in his seats.

Bedlam ensues.

The couple refuses to budge. They didn’t see any paper towels. There’s a standoff. Paper Towel Man implores the people he put in charge of his seats to take his side. They refuse. They didn’t even know if he was coming back – how long did he expect them to hold the seats? Where’s Judge Judy when you need her? Quiet chatter among the spectators (i.e., everyone within five rows) seems to me to deliver a clear consensus: if you want to save seats, at least one person from your party has to be there. The insane man hovers over the couple, insanely. Quiet chatter among the spectators delivers a new consensus: when you’re fighting against crazy, crazy will win. The couple comes to this conclusion on their own and eventually moves, taking single seats in different rows. Then we all sat back and enjoyed the movie.

If you only finished reading this piece hoping for a review of School of Rock, here you go:

Three stars.

… AND THIS IS MY GIRLFRIEND’S BOYFRIEND

… AND THIS IS MY GIRLFRIEND’S BOYFRIEND

On Tuesday night, I went with Drew, Victoria and Gavin* to see a showcase-type thing called “Mortified” in which people read aloud from various things they had written when they were teenagers. We all agreed that the best ones were the woman who shared her diary of the three and a half months she spent in England and the guy who made notes on how to do Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance. Overall, it was a very entertaining show, and if you live in LA, they’re doing a few more, so you should definitely check it out.

But here’s the weird part. After the show, we were hanging out outside the theater and we all wanted to tell the show’s creator/director how much we enjoyed it. It just so happens Drew knows him (Drew knows everyone), so he introduced us. We complimented the guy and exchanged nice-nice for a minute or so, then he invited over a woman whom he introduced as his girlfriend.

Okay, perfectly natural. So we’re talking to both of them, and then she invites a guy over and introduces him as her boyfriend, Drew. (Not to be confused with my one-and-only boyfriend, also named Drew.) And then the show creator, his girlfriend and her boyfriend all continued talking to us as if this was all perfectly normal.

As soon as we got in our car to leave, it was the first thing we talked about. Was someone lying? Or had someone maybe used “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” in a more casual sense than it seemed? Or perhaps this was some weird new form of urban polyandry we would soon read about in all the trend-setting magazines…?

As the one with a connection to the guy, we sent Drew to investigate, and he fired off an email to the apparent woman-sharer (mad props to Drew for having the guts to write this):

so, the big topic of conversation on the ride home:
“when [guy's name] introduced us to that woman, didn’t he say, ‘this is my girlfriend…’?”
i reply, “yes, i think he did.”
so we were totally confused when she, in turn, turned to the guy next to her and said, “this is my boyfriend, drew.”
i think we were all kind of floored — like maybe you were some sort of a Mormon or something.
but if we worked it out correctly, we think the woman you introduced us to last night was your girlfriend’s best friend…who happens to be dating a guy in a green shirt named Drew. right? close?
i think you said your girlfriend had known the other girl since grammar school or something, but since we hadn’t been completely trashed during the show, we still were a little baffled.

[Note: Nobody said any such things about grammar school when I was around. I think Drew was being overly polite and diplomatic and hoping to give him an easy out to an awkward inquiry. You might say Drew didn't want him to become "mortified".]

So this is the response Drew got in return:

“Ha.
Sorry to disappoint. This hebe is definitely not a mormon. That girl was actually my girlfriend’s twin sister (they’ll be performing a song written in 6th grade next week). Please alert the gossip hounds as to my mundane sexual lifestyle.
I just read your email aloud to my girlfriend. She died laughing at the thought of you guys debating in the car ride.”

Twin sister? Okay, well, thanks. That clears everything up. No, wait. It makes things twice as confusing. Huh?!?!?!?

So did he mistake the sister for his girlfriend? If so, wouldn’t she have corrected him rather than accept the “girlfriend” label? (i.e., “I’m not Tina, I’m Mina!”) Why would his girlfriend die laughing at the news that her boyfriend couldn’t even tell her apart from her sister? Or if he’s not admitting to mixing them up, how does he explain why he called her his “girlfriend”? We heard “girlfriend”. Does he call both twins his “girlfriend”? And what did he mean “hebe”? Can we trust someone who misspells his own self-deprecating racial slurs?

I guess this is just one of those mysteries for the ages.

* This marks Gavin’s first official appearance in the blog, a moment he has long hungered for and simultaneously feared. See, I didn’t bash you, did I, Gavin? Welcome aboard!

OUTSIDERS

OUTSIDERS

Okay, it was cute when Arnold announced he was going to run for governor. The thought of him saying boneheaded things and passing dum-dum laws and basking in the neverending media attention he’d get sounded like a fun way to mark time until the next real election. But now that the election is less than two weeks away and he’s got a real shot at winning, I’m scared. No, not scared, mad. Who does this guy think he is?

Believe me, I understand the frustration people feel with career politicians. They’re either boring wonks (Gray Davis, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman), incompetent dopes (Davis, George W.), unlikable weenies (Davis, Cruz Bustamante, all Republicans), or corrupt scumbags overly reliant on special interest money (everyone). Many of them are driven by a sense of entitlement, a lust for power, or pure slimy, grimy greed. Even when I agree with their politics, I sometimes find it hard to support them. Something is wrong with our electoral process when we have candidates like these in election after election. But are outsiders really any better?

Sure, outsiders think outside the box, and there’s a benefit to that. Sometimes there are creative solutions to common problems that people who deal with those problems every day just can’t see. But you know what? The box isn’t so bad. A lot of the answers are in the box. Outside the box, there’s a little bit of inspiration and a whole lot of craziness. Remember Ross Perot? Not a box-thinker; not a man I’d want anywhere near Washington, D.C.

What makes Arnold think he’s qualified to be governor? Or, for that matter, what makes Wesley Clark think he can be president? Neither of them has any political experience, which shows constantly as they campaign. They flip-flop on their positions, make stupid campaigning faux pas and dodge questions that they don’t know how to answer. None of that hurts anybody, but what’s really scary about these novices is what might happen when they get in office, when they have actual power to screw up more than just their own public image. There’s a reason there are such things as career politicians, why people like Al Gore spent their whole lives training and preparing and learning before trying to move into the executive office. It’s because neither the presidency of the United States nor the governorship of California is an entry-level job.

For all the flaws career politicians may have, what character traits would make a person with no experience think that they should hold one of the highest political offices in the country, or the world? What kind of person says, “Well, my acting career is over, so I’ll be governor”? Or “Time for a career change. I think I’ll be President”? If either Schwarzenegger or Clark really wanted to serve their country, they’d start small. They’d run for a local office first — hell, at least start at the House of Representatives like Fred “Gopher” Grandy did. If they wanted to make the world a better place, they’d train themselves in their newly chosen profession and work their way up. Nobody applies to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company if they’ve spent the last ten years washing cars for a living. Now replace “CEO of a Fortune 500 company” with “Governor of California” and “washing cars” with “pretending to be a robot from the future”. Does that make any more sense?

Fine, Clark was drafted, so maybe his problem is just believing his own hype. Schwarzenegger’s problem is that he’s all hype. Outsiders running for high political offices aren’t motivated by a desire to serve the public or to fix the problems other politicians supposedly created. They don’t know how to do those things. They’re motivated by ego and hubris and self-delusion.

Is that really better than the motivations of the people they’re trying to replace?

MUSIC

MUSIC

Music used to be the thing that made me feel hip. It was the one thing I knew more about than everybody I knew (okay, TV shows, too, but that’s another blog entry). But these days, things have changed. Today, music makes me feel old and out of touch (TV shows, too, but that’s another blog entry).

I had a huge scare today when I went over to Billboard.com and realized that I knew more songs on the Adult Contemporary chart than the Modern Rock chart. Yes, I’ve heard the new Phil Collins song. No, I don’t know “Bottom of a Bottle” by Smile Empty Soul. Checking the Hot 100 was even more terrifying. Jay-Z seems to perform on at least 75% of the songs, and I’ve never heard a single one of them except for that damn Beyonce song, which will be echoing uncontrollably in my head until the day I die. (There should be a law banning songs for being too catchy.) Is Jay-Z planning any collaborations with REM or Rufus Wainwright so that I might finally appreciate his ubiquitous handiwork?

The whole chart is full of names I don’t recognize. Chingy? Murphy Lee? The Ying Yang Twins? Who are these top ten hitmakers? What does “Damn!” by YoungBloodZ Featuring Lil Jon sound like? How did it become the #11 most popular tune in the country without me ever hearing it? I remember when “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora was #11. I knew that song by heart!

Not only do I not recognize these artists, but some of them don’t seem to recognize each other. A song called “Into You” (currently #5) is credited to “Fabolous Featuring Tamia or Ashanti”. What do they mean Tamia OR Ashanti? Does even Fabolous himself have trouble telling today’s cookie cutter R&B divas apart?

I’m not trying to slam hip-hop, only hip-hop I don’t recognize. What happened to Ini Kamoze or Kriss Kross? Okay, their last hits were a while ago, and maybe they’ve gone their separate ways, but why aren’t they getting in on this collaboration bonanza? Why not Jay-Z Featuring Kriss, or P. Diddy Featuring Kross or Ashanti? Did I miss the dueling Kriss Kross solo albums? Talk about wiggity-whack!

The last time I felt like I had my finger on the pop pulse was when I bought Hanson’s debut album the day it came out. I was one of the first to get hooked on “MMM-Bop” and one of the first to uncover their true gender identity (they’re boys). But it would seem their days of harmonizing and home schooling are far behind them, and the Hanson boys have surrendered control of the pop charts to P. Diddy and his many, many, many friends. Come back, Hanson! We need your squeaky-voiced songs of adolescent glee. Oh, wait. They’re older, too. Their voices have changed, and they’ve cut their hair. Hanson have moved on; I haven’t.

When pop radio stopped playing music I liked, I moved over to alternative, but now that’s full of stuff I don’t like either: ponderous metal, shitty rap-rock hybrids and lame punk wannabes. Realizing that some of my favorite bands, like the Beautiful South, Danny Wilson, Pet Shop Boys, Blur and yes, even REM, were bigger in England than over here, I wondered if maybe I was more in line with British music tastes and had been born in the wrong country. But then I found this site, where you can look up the U.K. chart positions of any song. Sorry, but I can’t live in a country where “Lay Your Hands on Me” by the Thompson Twins didn’t even crack the top 10, and where the Go-Go’s and Corey Hart had no hits at all. (Well, technically, the Go-Go’s lame 1995 comeback attempt “The Whole World Lost its Head” went to number 29, which doesn’t help England’s case in my opinion.)

So I live in the past. Yes, I ran right out and bought the new Bangles album yesterday. (And yes, there’s a new Bangles album, for those of you who were unaware of that fact, i.e., everyone except me and the Bangles.) Early review: it’s pretty good. The girls are older, but the music sounds the same as when they were walking like Egyptians or walking down your street. They don’t get as much exercise these days, but they still like to fall in love. It’s good music, and it’s familiar.

And that’s very comforting to me in my old age.

A MINOR MYSTERY BSOLVED

A MINOR MYSTERY SOLVED

Now I know why someone was googling “springsteen franken lie!”

I just accidentally stumbled across a reference to Sprinsteen plugging the book at a recent concert. (And just for fun, here’s another amusing plug of the book, courtesy of alfrankenweb.com.)

I still don’t know why they used the exclamation point.

ISSA’S $1.6 MILLION MISTAKE

ISSA’S $1.6 MILLION MISTAKE

Darrell Issa’s back, and he’s saying stupid things again.

Now he thinks voters should reject the recall — you know, the one he started and paid $1.6 Million of his own money to fund.

See, with two viable Republicans running against one viable Democrat, Issa finally did the math and realized that his $1.6 Million investment is about to buy him a more well-liked, more liberal version of Gray Davis.

Oops.

Of course, if this were really about punishing Davis for his ineptitude, the top priority would be ensuring that Davis was removed from office. Thank you, Darrell, for revealing that was never your top priority.

What Issa really wants at this stage is to pressure Tom McClintock into backing out of the race in order to ensure a Republican victory. All of a sudden, the absurd guidelines for this stupid recall, which allowed Issa to push it through in the first place, are working against his goal of installing a Republican in Sacramento.

Best case scenario at this point: Davis is recalled, Bustamante wins and then EVERYONE agrees California’s recall laws need to be drastically revamped to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Otherwise, what’s to stop Issa from trying to recall Bustamante for his “ineptitude” six months from now?

A sense of common decency and restraint, you say?

Please…