Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Serendipity is as serendipity does

Ooohhh, you’re all in for a treat today!

I’ve decided to branch out; see just what I can do with this whole blogging thing. To that end, when my good Myspace friend Jen approached me about doing a co-blog, I decided to get down with the get down.

The main reason for doing this? Because Jen is a great blogger, a great writer and very skilled at opening up conversations and tackling tough topics, (like sloppy kissers and gels that are sold to tighten vaginas. If she combined both those topics into one blog she’d probably have her own talk show by now). It was (get ready for the cheesiness) an honor to be asked to co-blog with her. I just about creamed my pants. Twice.

Then we just had to decide what kind of co-blog to do. Harkening back to my old journalist days, I thought that we should both review movies; the twist being that we pick movies for each other that we normally wouldn’t watch ourselves, (unless the chance of getting some poontang was involved –in my case at least-). I picked Kids (1995). She picked Serendipity (2001). That’s right people, I was forced to watch a romantic comedy. Oh, the horror.

Serendipity stars John “I can’t do a non-romantic movie to save my life” Cusack, Kate “The patent leather-wearing vampire” Beckinsale, Jeremy “Droz” Piven, and a bunch of other white people who aren’t as funny as they think, (little bit of trivia for you: Leo Fitzpatrick, the protagonist of Kids, actually has a scene in this movie. What a coincidence!)

Now, typically I’m not a fan of rom-coms, (as we in the biz like to call them) because their premises are so farfetched. And, of course, this one is no different. It starts off with Cusack and Beckinsale accidentally meeting at Bloomingdales’ while they’re both trying to buy the same pair of gloves, (which is weird because she wants to buy them for a guy and he wants to buy them for a chick.) They’re both in relationships, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing a moment and going out to eat ice cream, (did I mention that it’s December? Why do people eat ice cream in the winter?)

They share a wonderful evening together, but Beckinsale’s character, (Sara) says that it was the wrong time for each other to meet and refuses to give him her number. Her thought process being that if fate really wants them to be together then it will set everything up for them. She sees signs in everything, which, for some reason makes her more endearing to Cusack, instead of revealing her for the psycho chick that she is. She makes him put his name and number on a five dollar bill and she puts her info in an old book. The plan is to send those bits of information out in the world to see if they come back. Brilliant right?

A few years later they’re both on the verge of marrying other people, but can’t get that one glorious night out of their heads. So, they stupidly decide to risk or lose everything they have, (and they both have good lives) to find each other, though their last encounter was years in the past and amounted to just a few hours.

The whole movie is just them looking all over NYC for each other and arriving someplace mere seconds after the other one left. It gets really annoying. Finally, in the end, both of them just blow off their significant others and find each other just before the credits. It’s very heart-warming. (Could I have used the word “other” any more in this paragraph?)

As far as rom-coms go, it’s not too bad, (it’s no Along came Polly, or Failure to launch, is my point). I especially like how they don’t spend any time together at all except for the beginning and ending of the movie. That way they get to avoid the whole cliché that most rom-coms have, (you know what I’m talking about, the relationship is based on some kind of stupid lie, or hidden secret, and when the truth is revealed one person leaves the other and it takes some near-insane act of romance to get that person back, usually involving running through an airport) and I could groove on that. But there’s just one huge glaring problem for me when watching this. Mainly, it’s the fact that both people were so willing to flirt and perhaps cheat when they were already in relationships. Also, (and this is something I’ve learned in life) if somebody is willing to dump another for you, then what’s to stop them from one day leaving you for somebody else? Stealing somebody from another person is no way to start a relationship. I don’t trust women who bounce around, always looking for the BBD. That’s ungroovy. Basically, the people we’re supposed to identify with in this flick are nothing more than would-be cheaters.

But enough of my rambling, go read Jen's Blog. The words of a better writer. She has a very interesting take on the movie she had to watch. A movie she’ll never forget. Oh, and a little hint for the guys out there, as crazy as it sounds, Kids is a great date movie. Don’t ask me why, but it always works. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007

This goes out to the unemployed slacker in all of us

Today is a very special day for me. Today is Friday, April, 20th, otherwise known as 4/20/07. And what makes this such a special day? This is the last Friday I get to experience as an unemployed slob, for my new job starts on Tuesday.

How come nobody warned me about how energy-sucking and depressing it is to try and find a job? Everybody I talked to made it seem like all I needed was a bomb-ass resume and the rest will take care of itself. WRONG!

As I was leaving the army last September, I was fortunate enough to take a three-day class wherein they taught outgoing soldiers how to write resumes, dress for interviews and respond to interview questions. Sadly, most of those soldiers leaving were infantry guys, which means that they don’t have the frontal lobe capacity to deal with work outside of the military. If you want to use your infantry skills in a non infantry-related job field, you’ve got very limited choices. Basically you can choose to be a cop, (which is what most soldiers go for) or you can be a mercenary, an assassin whose skills can be purchased by anybody with large sums of cash, (ex: Blackwater and Aegis.) Because, when you get down to it, the ability to kick in doors and shoot innocent people only applies to those two jobs. You can’t go to the Gap and put on your application that you can shoot a person through the eye at 200 yards, it just won’t help in the retail business.

I’m a little luckier off. Since I was a journalist and public affairs dude, I have a few more options when it comes civilian employment. Meaning, I can be a journalist at all types of different newspapers. Yet I don’t want to be a journalist. Five years of that, two of which were spent in Iraq, is enough of a journalistic endeavor to last me awhile. I wrote hundreds of stories, took thousands of pictures and interviewed everybody from the lowliest private to the current president of Iraq. Time for a break from that nonsense, I say.

But that cut out a whole bunch of options for me. What kind of writing can I do if it’s not for a newspaper or magazine? (Honestly, I have no clue!)

So, once the money I saved up from Iraq was gone, and I was living, (albeit not in the manner I’m accustomed to) on unemployment, I figured that it was time to hunt for a job.

I spent months looking, (a month and a half really, I guess) for any job that had to do with writing. I networked, I posted my resume on all those job sites, (including Craigslist, possibly the dumbest idea I’ve had since joining the army in the first place. Using Craigslist led to about a million spam emails, all involving working in America for British companies and sending them money for some reason) I talked to people, I made phone calls, I stood on the side of the road with a “Will Write for Food” sign. I did it all.

Let me not bore you with the many, many failures I’ve dealt with. Including the time I thought I was going to be interviewed by a marketing and ad agency, but it turned out that I had to spend the day with some tool, going from business to business in strip malls somewhere in Virginia, trying to sell Papa John’s coupons to the proletariat. That’s right, I enjoyed a day (in what turned out to be the most uncomfortable penny loafers ever created by Satan) as an unwanted, unloved solicitor. I feel even worse for the guy I was observing, he has an MBA and had to do that garbage. I had never felt so lied to in my life. So, in that vein, if any of you are ever in VA, don’t go work for Sky High Marketing, it’s a bunch of bullshit, same goes for Seam Marketing in Baltimore. Don’t thank me, I’m just doing the public service these blogs were intended for.

Eventually I got a job. I’m going to be the entire marketing department for a company that sells waterproof keyboards, (they’re cooler than they sound.) I’ve got to get people excited and interested in waterproof keyboards! Excited yet? They’re keyboards! And they’re waterproof! Sand-proof too! Type rambling manifestoes at the beach! Play Sims online while going over the Niagra Falls! I’m sure there are other things you can do too!

My only regret is that gone are the days of getting up at noon. Gone are the opportunities to drink heavily whenever I feel like it. Gone also are the days spent in front of the t.v. watching naught but cartoons. Hmmm, now that I think about it, that might not be too bad. Sure I lose some freedom, but I will be gaining money. And, if I ever miss those freedoms, I can always just quit. I mean, finding a new job can’t be that difficult, can it?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Guys Night

A few months ago, I had an idea. While this isn’t rare in itself, it was actually a pretty decent idea, which made it stand out in my mind. If you recall, a few months ago I was saddened by how my friends were all drifting away from me because they had girlfriends and shit and only I was staying true to the bachelor lifestyle (i.e. beer for breakfast, a shower every couple of days and being on a first name basis with the pizza delivery guy).

My readers all gave me great advice, some of which I still vaguely remember, (something about wooden shoes maybe? Was there an ocelot involved in there somewhere? I don’t remember). But I decided on another approach. I invented Guys’ Night.

The purpose of this night should be fairly obvious. Every other Thursday, we men would get together to engage in some kind of manly activity, (you know, like playing pool or doing body shots off each other, regular guy stuff!) and would be able to bond in that way. It became a chance for guys to get away from their slavemasters, I mean girlfriends, for a few hours a night and enjoy the good old days of male camaraderie.

Sadly it didn’t work out very well. Some people (you probably don’t read my blog anymore since you don’t comment, but this is about you “Blank”) didn’t understand the concept of guys’ night. There was too much whining and complaining. Some guys took it for granted as an activity to do until something better came along. Some guys only hung out for a little bit because their girlfriends gave them a curfew.

I felt bad that these guys didn’t understand the reasons behind Guys’ Night. I was saddened that they saw it as a chore more than an opportunity for a bunch of friends to hang out together without the inherent drama that people with vaginas bring.

But the worse part was how nobody could be bothered. People didn’t want to help me set these Guys’ Nights up. And they blamed it on communication problems. People weren’t getting my texts or emails or whatever. Nevermind that communication problems such as these had never occurred before, or that those are always the lies I use when I don’t want to talk to people, (as my father told me time and time again, “Never Bullshit a Bullshitter”). They wanted to participate, they wanted to complain when things weren’t perfect, but they didn’t want to help. Much like that story about the chicken (Henny Penny?) who wants to eat a cake and all the other talking barnyard animals are down with the idea, but none of them help her when she tries to make it, they only show up when it’s time to eat.

I’ve always been loyal to my friends. Friendship means more to me than, say, the in-flight Kosher meal. It’s always bros before hos in my world, (which may be the problem). Years ago, when one of my best friends had a night of wild, orgasmic sex with my ex girlfriend, where I’m sure he pleasured her repeatedly and satisfied her in ways I never could, I didn’t end our friendship. I just sulked and drank heavily for many months, (what would you have done? Going for a revenge murder is still an option, I guess.)

The point is this, I always try to be there for my friends, but these days I’m noticing that a lot of them aren’t there for me. Not all of my friends are worthless; mind you, just the majority. For example: friends I have had for decades, friends that I thought I had been through a lot with, promised to send me care packages while I was in Iraq. Of the dozens of people who promised to send me care packages, maybe three people did. And it’s not like they had any good excuses. Hell, I was in Iraq for two years! Years people! That’s plenty of time in which to mail some shit off. Is it too much to ask to expect people to send you toilet paper and toothbrushes like they promised?

I’m giving up. I’m drawing my circle of friends tighter around me. Many are going to get dropped. People who I thought would always be around have proven that the only times they ever did come around was when they wanted something.

If you know me in the real world and you think this might apply to you, then guess what? It does. I don’t have the energy to keep up with a bunch of useless friends anymore.

MOTTO: Everybody sucks.

(Insert humorous wrap-up sentence right here, if possible. Or, failing that, one last remark telling friends to go screw themselves.)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Night Live (or why the theater is dead)

My head felt hot. Very hot. A few thousand degrees at least. Sweat poured off of me in thick, sticky waves. My armpits alone were creating more moisture than the Amazonian rain forest sees in a year. Under the table my hands were systematically pulling the gaudy pink napkin apart, thread by thread. I wasn’t aware of my hands’ destructive appetites. They were operating without my permission and knowledge, fueled by instinct to partake in an activity that would help calm me, (there’s nothing more calming to me than breaking shit). My eyes kept darting all over the room. I looked at the other patrons, I looked at the exit, I looked at my family members trying their hardest to appear like willing participants. I looked at the actors. I looked at the empty plate in front of me, wondering why they didn’t serve meatloaf at the buffet that night.

Suddenly I couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped up, bumping the table and spilling water on people, and ran out the room. I just wanted a break, but I was pointed in the direction of the bathroom, the bartender incorrectly thinking that the look of anguish on my face was due to a full bladder. It wasn’t. The cause for my pained visage was something much, much worse: Dinner Theater.

Why did I do it? Why did I go? Don’t I pay attention to myself? I told myself that I can’t handle live performances of any kind. Did I think I was lying? What kind of idiot am I?

Such are the wages of love. It was my mother’s birthday. My sister and I decided on dinner theater. That decision confirms my theory of a history of severe mental deficiencies on both our parents’ sides.

Ahhh, the joys of dinner theater. More specifically, a “murder mystery.” Sounds exciting doesn’t it? You get the opportunity to enjoy prime rib and suspenseful acting at the same time. Sounds like a dynamite idea to me! But then, once the performance starts, the flaws become obvious.

“But Joshua,” you’re thinking right now, “sure you have a phobia of live performances, but dinner theater can’t count! The actors have done it so many times that it’s all elementary to them by now. No Worries!”

Yeah, right. Except for two things. Two things that can make or break any live comedic performance, (that’s right, it wasn’t just a murder mystery, it was a comedic murder mystery. Because there’s nothing funnier than being stabbed in the back by your own half-brother.) and those things are:

1. The improvisational skills of the actors

2. Drunken audience members who think that they’re better actors and funnier than the people we all paid to see.

I think you can see where I’m going with this. If you’re not funny, then don’t try to be. If you can’t think quickly on your feet, then stop trying to be Triumph the insult comic dog. It becomes even worse when the actors have memorized their lines and scenes by rote. Just one terrible joke bomb, stinking up the place, throws them right off their marks. Suddenly they can’t remember what their lines are. And since it’s live they don’t have the option of yelling cut and having the script girl give them their lines. No, all we can do is sit there in uncomfortable silence while the actor struggles to remember just what the hell they’re supposed to say. Still sounds like fun doesn’t it?

Then, when you throw in the drunken audience member who has to give his two retarded cents at every possible moment, everything is complete. A night of total awkwardness. A night of people sneaking glances at each other wondering when the funny part is going to happen, and trying to figure out how much fake laughter is required for each joke that falls flat. A night to remember, truly.

Happy birthday mom.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

If you’re going to heed the words of one movie critic this year…

…That critic should be me. Especially since I’m a regular person (like you!) with no training in how to critique movies and I only review movies I haven’t seen yet. Time to get started!

The Reaping (R): This movie is about the million dollar next karate kid as she tackles signs of religious significance around the world. She probably tests things like statues of Mary who cry blood and faces of Jesus in fried chicken grease. Naturally, she sees only cheap chicanery every time, which leads her to not take shit seriously when the Ten Plagues go down. The movie is filled with frogs, blood, locusts, dead babies and all types o’ wild shit like that. It looks like the plot is for her to somehow thwart God by stopping the plagues, while simultaneously punching Moses in the throat. Blasphemous? Maybe. Entertaining? Could be. Any ninjas or boobies? Doubtful. I think I’m gonna pass on this one. I’m sure the movie will be just as “scary” or “suspenseful” on my dvd player is it is in the theater. Next!

First Snow (R): Guy Pierce, best known as the dude who’s name I forget from Memento, stars in this movie as Jimmy, some kind of salesman of the shady variety. While stuck in the middle of nowhere due to car problems, (how many thousands of movies start with somebody being stuck in the middle of nowhere because of car problems? Isn’t that too clichéd by now?) he decides to get his palm read. The (male!) fortune teller, tells Jimmy very little other than a few vague things about success from Dallas and that he’s going to die. Jimmy has until the first snowfall. After that, something bad is going to happen. What is this bad thing? I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that Piper Perabo plays his wife. She also seems to end up in a lot of movies about lesbians. So that’s a plus in my book. Movie still looks stupid though. I question the intelligence of releasing a movie about the beginning of winter in the middle of spring. Next!

Grindhouse (R): Sike! I saw this joint as a special screening on Tuesday suckers! It’s tight. Two movies by two acclaimed (not the same as good, mind you) directors for the price of one. Violence, nudity and zombies. Not to mention a good soundtrack and the ever wonderful Rosario Dawson, (who will have my children one day. I swear it!) how can you lose? I recommend this one. Go forth and watch!

Are we done yet? (PG): If you had any intentions to see this movie, kill yourself now and save me the effort. Was there a big clamor to see more terrible kids movies starring Ice Cube? Did anybody ask for this sequel? And what the hell is wrong with Ice Cube? Does he have an agent of any sort?

Agent: Okay Cube, here’s the filming schedule. Today we’re going to film Friday 4: Craig vs. the pot cloud that ate L.A.

Ice Cube: Sounds good. Then what’s after that?

Agent: A guest shot on The Wiggles.

Ice Cube: Noice!

The Hoax (R): Richard Gere plays some guy who tricks his book publishers by saying he’s got the definitive biography of Howard Hughes, (this time not played by Leo deCaprio, or however you spell it). Gere, with the help of Dr. Octopus, (looking extremely flabby) cons the company out of a million dollars. Eventually everybody finds out the truth and they end up destroying half the Pentagon and making it look like a plane crash just to cover it up. I have to tell you, Gere is way too old and I can’t take him seriously enough to continue with this review. If you like movies that are slow and about books, then go ahead and knock yourself out with this one.

That’s enough for this week. Now get away from the computer and go function in society!

But, before you go, the third round for Rice T.’s humor blog contest starts on Monday. So get ready. Check out this link below, it should get you there. I’m participating in round three, and I’m allowed to beg my readers to vote for me. But I won’t, instead I’m just begging you all to read the entries and vote for whomever you like best. If it’s me, I’ll appreciate it, if it’s somebody else, I’ll appreciate it too, (just not as much). Laugh on you crazy diamond!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Veracity

There are those who fill fit to question. There are those who fill fit to doubt. Let me clear such doubts and questions from your wee puny minds right now.

People are always asking me, “Josh, did you really do any of those things you’re constantly alluding to on Eighty-Four Glyde, or is that just a pitiful attempt to pull in more readers?” To which I respond with a two-handed bitchslap to the face while wearing more rings than Radio Raheem.

It’s funny, because I don’t need to lie about myself in a blog, my real life is interesting enough without the fiction or hyperbole. Or sure, you can assume that blogs where I talk about an army of Were-Joshuas, or my autobiography about growing up in Pago Pago, or wherever the hell I said I grew up, are fake. Those are for the humor factor.

“But Josh, what about your being homeless, adventures in the Bermuda Triangle, ability to speak French fluently, your old band career, your heavenly skills on the piano, your masterful way on the saxophone, your God-like abilities in the kitchen, jail time, your escapades again secret collegial societies, your being a Kentucky Colonel, embarrassingly small genitals, run-ins with the law, legendary parties, time spent living with a stripper, the full-ride scholarship for swimming that you turned down, having 16 jobs including being a repoman in college, your time as a prolific high school fence, your successes as a world-renowned photojournalist, your misadventures in that pesky old war in Iraq, celebrity family members, etc?”

Well, as far as you’re all concerned, those are just rumors and legends that I circulate to promote my mysterious and mythical nature. Pay them no mind. Don’t worry about it. Live in the here and now. My past is as uneventful and boring as it exciting and adventurous.

***

On another subject, I’m pleased to announce that yesterday was the start of, (no foolin’) Mustache Month! What’s fresh hell is this, you ask? It was something I created my last tour in Iraq as something to do to relieve the boredom that is the constant threat of messy, exploding death. It’s quite simple. Starting the first of the month, all the way to the last day, you grow a mustache. What makes it fun is if you’re like me and you can’t grow a decent mustache to save your life. Then the whole month is spent with a depressing, wispy thing on your upper lip that draws attention to itself and causes much embarrassment. Tom Seleck and swarthy Europeans make it look so easy!

It was a successful event last year, (though the follow up Shave Your Head Month didn’t fair as well.) so I decided to do it again this year. So far, my malleable friends are the only people I’ve gotten to do along with this, but I’m sure it’ll make its way around soon enough. So, men, women, if you want to, (and if you can) why not grow out a mustache? There are dozens of different types and none are off limits, (though I’m sure the Hitlerstache will not be amongst the styles chosen) and most of them are ridiculous. If you’ve got a sense of humor about yourself, then the whole month will be more fun than picking up chicks at abortion clinics. Join me, won’t you?

***

And to finish off, here’s my shoutout to all my month of March subscribers. I’d like to thank: Gina, G3N3RIC, Linsay, Cavepimp has Brain Damage, Poo Poo Panda, Greg-SpAsTiC, mish: the martini man, hoozat lady, Moronic Mark, Amykins, Evan, Caroline, www.qelqoth.com, Lee the Square Cracker, Ok, Now what? Kristin, Someone you used to know, The Adventures of 2Hermanas, Fantasy is not reality, April and nightofthecomet, for all subscribing to Eighty-Four Glyde in the month of March, either in 2006 or 2007. Good looking out, all of you.

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Oh wait, one last thing. Rice T is doing his famous humor blog contest again, (new month, new chance to lose). This time it’s broken down into three rounds, instead of one big-ass round. I don’t think that readers will be voting this time, just judges. But if readers are allowed to vote I just want to make sure that you vote for whomever you feel is the funniest. I personally won’t be included until Round Three, which I think is later on this month. Go check out http://www.myspace.com/randomricerants, to see more.