Lately, I don't know what to say. In a week it will be Spring. The year is already off to a great start, but I don't feel like talking about specifics. I am entering a *quiet period*. It is time to watch the changes of the season unfold, breathe in the delicate fragrance of new blooms, and dangle my feet in the cool rushing river of life.
I'm thinking about developing a TV pilot called The Shitties!
The story chronicles the misadventures of a group of friends in their 30's whose bad attitudes have outlived their purpose. During their youth, they wore punk rock t-shirts to school and fought for independence, truth, and identity. Yet unlike the rest of their peers, they refused to move ahead as time marched on. Now, mired in the past, they erroneously believe themselves to be the same rebellious crusaders they've always been, but to everyone else their bad attitudes serve as little more than an ironic reminder of how they've missed the boat entirely.
Blinded by an overinflated sense of pride, the friends spend their time congratulating one another of their superiority over the rest of humanity via snarky bad puns and innuendo. This pervasive form of malignant narcissism further compels them to stalk and gossip about celebrities, politicians, and their peers in an attempt to shoot down "the competition" and thus, hopefully, make themselves feel better by comparison. Predictably, these attempts bomb monstrously, ending in repeated bouts of misery for the group. Despite this, nothing ever changes.
...the friends are teleported into the delusional land of The Shitties! It is a place where they discover (at first to their great delight), that everyone who lives there is exactly the same as they are! Callous! Overconfident! Proud! Pathetic! Happiness quickly turns to chaos as the forces of apathy, scapegoating, sarcasm, and jealousy clash against one another in a whirlwind dance of drama. Sewers back up. Toilets overflow. Neighbors engage in fistfights. And nobody does anything about it except stick out their fat lower lip and bitch. Fan-tastical-fun!
Do the friends burrow more deeply into their own schadenfreude? Or can they change their stubborn ways and escape from Shittyland before Social Security kicks in? Tune in and find out! Watch for The Shitties! to be aired on NBC during the fall 2007 season. Or, on LiveJournal all year long.
As a wee 6-year old, I remember getting seriously creeped out by Sea Devil.
The object of this 1972 arcade game was to "shoot the deadly sea devil until time runs out". Inside the machine lurked a scary-looking manta ray that tried to avoid the harpoon bullets. Once hit, the manta squealed horribly and flopped around in pain as blood spurted violently from its body. It was LOUD and graphic. Then a new manta would take its place and the carnage would continue.
Fun, huh? That's the kind of reality-awakening experience that leads to a life of Greenpeace activism.
I found this icky game at an amusement center for very young children. It was Penny Whistle Park of all places! Just imagine it: Mom dropping me off to play with clowns, circus rides, balloons, and SHRIEKING BLOODY DEVIL FISH! No way that would happen at your local Chuck E Cheese. What is the scariest thing in there today? Spongebob?
Sea Devil could only have been a product of the 1970's, a time of weird, wonderful, and frequently unpleasant surprises. Remember when your Saturday morning cartoons would be interrupted by horror movie trailers during the commercial breaks? Remember the tripped-out Krofft Supershows? Remember beauty salons when they were pink and ugly and smelled of harsh chemicals? Ah, those were the glory days of Sea Devil.
It was an inappropriate and gross game, but I remember putting a lot of quarters into it anyway. I guess I liked icky stuff. Didn't you?
The PC guy is funny. Afraid of spyware. Confused by technology. Overwhelmed by change. Generally paranoid. In other words, a lot like most human beings.
The Apple dude? I'm at a loss. He pretty much just stands there acknowledging how wonderful he is, yet his mind seems to be somewhere else. He must be thinking about his next shopping trip to IKEA. Or his next hair and manicure appointment at Toni and Guy. Not much to say, really.
Call me a curmudgeon, but I am now officially sick and tired of Apple's midriff-shakin', booty boppin', indie rockin', obsequiously-in-love-with-itself advertising. Look! Party in my pants! Worship my clothes! I am SUCH an individual! I have tons of MySpace friends and we're all emo!
Are we headed towards a future where all of our appliances will be the size of a thimble and painted in Dove Bar white? I think not. Last I checked, everything from bluetooth headsets to flatscreen TV's to diagnostic imaging equipment is getting the makeover treatment and not all of it is in "blandicool". Nor is it fantastically overpriced. Nor is it targeted toward gullible fashionistas with an ego complex.
Apple: Enough already. You aren't cool because you say so. You are cool because I say so. Appeal to my intelligence, please. A little is all I ask.
Nick's personal beer rankings (as of September 2006):
Very good beer:
#1 Spaten Premium (clean aroma, lemon, grassy, mild but pleasant bitter finish. Tasty summer refresher. A good baseline to start with. Best in warm weather.) #1b Weihenstephaner Original Pilsener (is a malty brew, slightly more honeylike than barley (yum), medium bodied, banana esters, great aroma and finish with adequate bitterness. Covers a lot of ground but never loses control. Packs a wallop... beware! Is best in cool/cold weather. Tastes better when not ice cold.) #2 Beck's - Like Spaten, but less refined #3 Hofbrau Munchen Original (crisp, initial slight malt aroma but no taste of it (nice in this case), more hops than Beck's and Spaten but not overdone... right at the max limit of what I like, a darn good German bier!, crisp and cleansing, need a face-off against the leaders... it may overtake them!) #4 Grolsch (best of the Hollandbeers I've had so far) #4b Peroni (like Beck's, except a bit watery. a decent beer) #4c Kingfisher (Indian beer, also like Beck's, but with a slight homebrew-yeasty attitude) #5 St. Pauli Girl (skunKAY aroma (more than Grolsch, less than Heineken), but taste makes up for it. Mmmmmmm. Well balanced Eurobrew with more body and flavor than Spaten Premium. Ranks lower for negative aroma.) #6 Paulaner Lager (similar to Weihenstephaner Pilsener but less evolved, not quite as clean or balanced but otherwise good) #7 Rahr & Sons Blonde Lager (simple light beer, honey malt, light-bodied almost watery like domestic beer but overall good quality, very drinkable and thirst quenching, light hops, best alternative for Bud/Miller drinkers looking for something better, low alcohol content)
All are crisp pilsener-style lagers that finish clean without too much hop flavor (bitterness). Weihenstephaner is particularly good because it covers a wide range of flavors that never veer off course. It starts with a slight honeylike malt flavor with banana esters and finishes with just enough hops to clear the palate. Very tasty and refreshing and is higher in alcohol content than the rest. Beck's and Spaten Premium aren't nearly as adventurous, but they make quality everyday brews that stay true to the pilsner style without any real deficiencies. Grolsch is the beer Heineken SHOULD be making... it's mercifully free of skunkiness. St. Pauli Girl would rank higher based upon flavor alone, but the funky aroma knocks it down to fifth place. Can't get Weihenstephaner Original? Try Paulaner Lager, a good alternative if you like a bit more malt flavor than the typical pils. All of these beers beat the crap out of your typical grocery store selection.
Mediocre and/or not quite hitting home with me personally:
#8 Paulaner Premium Pils (similar malt to Flensburger, quite bitter but not to Urquell levels, decent but not great) #8b Birra Moretti (Like Grolsch, but hoppy finish is somewhat astringent... not as clean. Rather bland overall.) #8c Flensburger Pilsener (crisp like fine champagne, ultra fine bubbles, some malt flavor but not excessive, medium/light bodied, clean finish but with a bit too much bitterness on the end. Very well executed but not for me. Really cute old-world bottle.) #9 Carlsberg (light almost bland flavor, not enough bitterness, like a weak & fizzy Spaten Premium, pretty bottle) #10 Victory Prima Pils (Unusual but good hybrid of homebrew/Europils flavor. Significant bitterness but appropriate for the style. Still too bitter for me personally, but an excellent choice for those seeking something different with personality.) #11 Hollandia (so-so Hollandbeer) #12 Stella Artois (it's just... beer. Doesn't distinguish itself in any memorable way.)
Victory Prima Pils tastes like a hybrid between a quality homebrewed ale and commercial pilsener. I'm not sure which it is trying to be. It also has a bit more hop flavor than I prefer, but is otherwise very good. Hollandia is similar to Grolsch, but is more buttery with an unusual thick mouthfeel that I didn't care for. Stella is OK, but unremarkable. Lacks character. The draft version I had in Banff was the "real" Stella, and is the one worth looking for.
Not digging it:
#13 Pilsner Urquell (gorgeous bottle, impressive legacy, but WAY too bitter for me) #14 Bavaria (a too-funky Hollandbeer) #15 New Belgium Blue Paddle (not like a pils, more like "Fat Tire Light" too malty) #16 Shiner Kolsch (good initial impression but too watery, lacks body, needs some work) #17 Paulaner Oktoberfest (very sweet malt bomb!) #18 New Belgium Fat Tire (same as above, but less sweet and malty, somewhat watery, some off-flavors) #19 Schell Pilsner (Wort/malt/CORN BOMB... eek! STRONG and sloppy flavor. Schell Dark is drinkable and much better.) #20 Heineken (Pepe Le PEW skunky as hell)
Urquell?!? I know this beer is widely considered to be the world's best pilsener, but I find it to be WAY too bitter for my tastes. Blue Paddle is too malty for its own good. I used to like Paulaner Oktoberfest, but have since moved away from these sweet and thick ales. It tastes like carbonated wort soup with an over-the-top maltiness factor... whew. Fat Tire (I call it Flat Tire) comes across the same way but with less refinement (is watery w/some off-flavors). Poor Heineken brings up last place. It is "the" reference skunky beer.
Still on the lookout for the perfect pilsener. Any recommendations?
Tonight, for the first time, I watched an episode of Top Chef. It is a cooking competition similar to Survivor. Chefs prepare a spontaneous meal in a crowded kitchen with only minutes to complete their task. Results are judged without mercy. Losers are sent packing, empty-handed.
Like most reality shows, I partly enjoyed and partly hated it. In my opinion, watching (nice) people flounder under stress and rejection isn't the rollicking good time it is cracked up to be. Every furrowed brow and little sneer invokes some unpleasant memory involving junior high school and class presentations. Tonight's episode gave me the willies, big time. Episode four featured a test of endurance that appeared to be next to impossible: Winning the approval of the neighborhood Junior League Association of Women.
True, the girl was shy and her microwaved quiche did not work out, but geeeeeez... talk about an icy reception. I think she should have worn a Ramones T-shirt and served up a fried twinkie. Hey, if you're gonna get voted off the (kitchen) island, might as well go out with a bang, eh?
Net gain: 16.7% in two and a half months, plus the quarterly dividend. Rock on. Why did this happen? Not counting that general investor sentiment is up since the correction in May, Xbox 360 is promising to deliver profits in 2007, new products such as Vista and Office 2007 are soon to be released, the Live service has a good chance of competing with Google & other "webware", and finally, Microsoft repurchased billions of their own stock to boost the price.
Other recent turnarounds that have done well: MHP (McGraw-Hill Publishing), SYY (Sysco), JPM (J.P. Morgan/Chase), and GE (General Electric). The latter two are particularly tasty considering that they pay a fat 3% dividend.
Does your company offer a 401k plan? If so, check if it is listed at Fund Advice.com. Paul Merriman offers great advice for investors looking to achieve proper diversification. Even if you're just getting started, Fund Advice is a great resource. Check it out!
Every time the chorus of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" plays ("I wanna f*** you like an animal"), I always wonder what kind of animal he is referring to.
Orangutan? Moose? Duckbill platypus?
It isn't a matter to be taken lightly. Animals have vastly different mating habits. If Trent assumed the form of a black-winged damselfly, the sight of his spike-studded penis would surely invoke great fear from the recipient's perspective. If he were a marine iguana, his constant leering and masturbating would probably earn him a visit from the police and a swift boot to the sidewalk. Or, if he were an ordinary honeybee, the lovemaking might seem satisfying enough until the climax, when Trent's body would fantastically explode... a fate that would please music critics all over the world.
Fun, fun, funny... that's my name! Ha ha hee hee ho ho hum, bada ba dum ba dum!
LJ is just saying hello. LJ is quiet fury. LJ is a million-billion kittens. LJ is the spoils of eBay. LJ is screaming in the mirror. LJ is looking for love. LJ is Darth Vader. LJ is good for a laugh. LJ is a piss bucket. LJ is me first. LJ is a treadmill. LJ is a new coat of paint. LJ is immediate. LJ is throwing your desk out the window. LJ is ropin' the wind. LJ is a garage sale. LJ is made of clicks. LJ is donuts and coffee. LJ is a boomerang. LJ is a laundry basket. LJ is ramblin' ramblin' ramblin'. LJ is the relief of a huge sneeze. LJ is a public swimming pool without chlorine. LJ is a smile from a stranger.
My friends aren't the best looking, nor the richest, nor the poorest, nor the brightest, nor the most ignorant. They are simply the best kind of people, period. Time tested and true.
The older you get, the less the superficial qualities matter. Clothing, money, foreign accents, bone structure, et cetera. All of that is nice but it is window dressing just the same. It may be cliche to say "it's what's inside that counts", but you know, it just happens to be true.