Monday, November 22, 2010

K-mart Still Sucks

I returned to K-mart a couple of weeks ago for more essentials -- soap, shampoo, toilet paper, mouthwash, etc. Not surprisingly, they again asked me to donate money to charity during my checkout experience. However, it turns out that they changed their strategy. Rather than waiting until after they've told me the total bill for my purchase to ask me to donate to a charity, they asked me prior to scanning anything.

A sneaky maneuver by K-mart -- trying to solicit a charity donation from me before I know how much money I'm about to throw their way. On top of that, they leave the question open-ended. No longer are they simply asking for $1, they're just generally asking if I want to make a donation.

Despite the trickery, I still turned them down. And the cause that made me look like a jackass this time: children's cancer research. "Do you want to donate to support children's cancer research?"

Me: "Nah. It's OK. I'm good."

Last time, it looked like I hated premature babies. Now it looks like I hate kids...particularly kids with cancer.

But that's not all. K-mart added an extra step before you pay. They ask you to answer a survey question on the card reader:

Q: "Did you know your K-mart pharmacy offers year-round immunizations?"
A: "Yes/No"

As I hit the "No" option, all I could think of was that I wish there was a smartass comment section where I could write, "I do now, and I love kids!"

F you K-mart.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicks Dig Tony Parker

I read the following quote on CNN regarding Eva Longoria's decision to divorce Tony Parker: "On tonight's Extra, Longoria is expected to provide more details to Extra's Mario Lopez. According to a statement from the show, Longoria tells Lopez that she found 'hundreds of text messages' from a woman on Parker’s phone, and that this woman was revealed to be the wife of one of Parker’s teammates." [Source]

I believe Ali Landry divorced Mario Lopez almost immediately after they were married because she discovered Mario was constantly cheating... What better way to tell the world about your impending divorce to a cheater than talking about the details to a divorced cheater? (If he was dressed as AC Slater, that would be a better way.)

On another note, did we really expect Tony Parker to be faithful? He was 25 when he married her. Yes, she is extremely attractive, but let me say it again -- he is a 25-year-old NBA player! And he's a good-looking fellow. And he's a three-time NBA champion. And he has a French accent. And he has tons of money.

To say "chicks dig him" would be an understatement.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Kids Are Not All Right

"A lot of girls are like, 'I'd never be able to do what you did!' And I tell them, 'I never thought I'd be able to do it, so don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.'"

So inspirational, so empowering. What did this girl do? Did she take a stand against a major injustice? Did she rise up from meager beginnings to become a huge success against all odds? Did she fight for her right...to paaaaaaaartaaaaay?

You're not that far off if you guessed the last option. The quote was given to People magazine by Catelynnn from the hit MTV reality show, Teen Mom. It was in reference to giving up her daughter for adoption.

In case you're not following, I'll spell it out for you. When she said, "I never thought I'd be able to do it, so don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try," she was referring to the decision to give up her daughter for adoption.

When you hear, "Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try," it's usually associated with an inspirational and/or positive subject. Examples of appropriate situations to invoke this phrase include:
  • I lost two legs in the war and didn't think I'd ever walk again. But I rehabbed nonstop for two years and with the help of amazing advancements in prosthetics technology, I was able to finish my first triathlon. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
  • I've been blind since birth, but I really wanted to be a lawyer. So, I worked tirelessly on my education, and I graduated with honors from Harvard Law. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
  • I thought I was afraid of heights, but my girlfriend wanted to go skydiving with me for her birthday. I care about her so much and wanted to make her birthday wish come true, so I jumped out of that plane. It was so much fun. Once I left that plane, there was no fear in my body. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
This is not an appropriate use of the phrase:
  •  I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend when I was 16, and I became pregnant. On top of that, I come from a white trash family who wouldn't be able to help me raise or support the child, and I was on the verge of flunking out of high school. I realized I probably wasn't fit to properly raise my child, so I gave her up for adoption. Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something until you try.
I'm a sporadic watcher of Teen Mom. I don't follow it religiously, like I did with the greatest MTV reality show of all time, Laguna Beach (OMG so much drama). But if I'm flipping through my channel guide and see it's on, I will watch. It is so fascinating.

First of all, to loosely quote Old Guy, MTV is scraping the bottom of the barrel for its reality programming. 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom...yikes! It's quite interesting.

Secondly, it's the single greatest tool ever made to promote abstinence. I'm 27, and it even scares me.

Lastly, it's just simply entertaining. Deadbeat dads, GEDs, teenage arguments straight out of a Cops episode, botched marriage proposals, parents who are in and out of jail. And since I've only caught a small percentage of episodes, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

At first I felt bad about getting amusement at the expense of these poor girls, but then I realized something: they CHOSE to do this show. They're doing this for the money. They're doing this so they can raise their kids and pay for college. Basically, they're strippers.

You could also compare the girls to sweatshop workers. The people who work at sweatshops do so by choice. Nobody forced them to work there. The labor market pushed them there. If there was a better job available, they'd do it. But since there isn't a better job, the choice is to work at a sweatshop or don't work and starve.

These teen moms just graduated high school. What the hell are they going to do? Waitress at the local Ruby Tuesday's or fold clothes at their local Abercrombie & Fitch for $9 per hour? Hell no! They're taking the MTV money and People magazine interviews. I know what I'd choose.

Someone needs to put food on the table, and these girls are taking charge. And it's all for the better. From what I've seen, the guys on this show are a disgrace to humanity.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cool Vest, Justin Timberlake

This post doesn't have much to do with JT's vest. On my Google Analytics reports, I noticed I received some traffic from people searching for "ne-yo hat." I figured I'd continue to ride the celebrity clothing wave. However, this post does have a lot to do with JT.

Remember when Justin & Britney were the hottest celebrity couple? Justin was the face of *NYSNC, which was sitting on top of the world with a slew of hits. Britney was the virgin queen of all the female solo acts.

Two former Mousketeers, one another's first loves, ruling the pop world and happily cuddling and holding hands until their wedding night, when they would have a majestic romp in the sack. Except it didn't work out that way. Britney cheated (gasp!) on Justin, supposedly with Wade Robson (of The Wade Robson Project, obviously). That innocent little Mousketeer ended up being a backstabbing little... Wait a second. She was lying the whole time? I knew she wasn't a virgin!

JT was heartbroken. What was he going to do? How could he recover?

Well, he released Cry Me A River and showed Britney that The Wade Robson Project ain't all that. And you know the rest. JT threw on his futuristicsexylovely vest, and conquered the world.

I was thinking of JT because I heard Cry Me A River on the radio. It brought flashbacks to when everyone was freaking out about the meaning of the song. The girl at the end of the video looked just like Britney. Was it or was it not her? Was this a big F you to Britney? OMG... I can't handle not knowing!

In retrospect, it's easy to say that the girl was supposed to represent Britney. It most definitely was a big F you. He's an artist. An artist's work usually reflects his current mood. His first and only true love threw his heart in a blender, and he wanted to say something about it. Picasso had his Blue Period; JT had his "F you, Britney" period.

I began to think back to my own past. I remember being totally head over heels for my girlfriend in high school. The experience and emotions associated with that first love are intense. A rollercoaster ride is an apt description -- ups, downs, twists, turns, a funny feeling in your stomach.

At that time I thought she was it. The One. Together forever. We'll graduate from high school and college, get jobs, buy a car and house, get married, have a family, etc.

Obviously, it didn't happen that way. She dumped me. I was a hot mess. We were supposed to end up together!

Luckily, I went to college that fall. My mind quickly realized there was a whole wide world of opportunity out there. Look at the huge campus -- what awesome buildings! Look at all these cool classes. Italian Renaissance Art! That sounds so interesting. If I like it, perhaps I'll consider art history as a major. Fraternities! Wow! You mean they give you lukewarm Milwaukee's Best for free? Frat guys are so nice. What fun parties! Look at all these hot girls! There ARE Asian people in Michigan! Yikes... I think I just got The Feva.

The world didn't end, and the sun rose again. I had a ton of amazing experiences, and I met a bunch amazing people. I graduated from college, I traveled, I lived and worked in a few cities, and I was even a male model (kinda). Now, I'm living and working in NYC. It's funny now to look back on that whole situation,and how my life has transpired. I didn't have a vest with magical powers that allowed me to conquer the world like JT, but I can easily say I'm happy with the way my life worked out thus far.

(Side note: I want to be clear that I have no hard feelings toward the ex. I'm just reflecting upon the emotions and thoughts I had at that time. She actually tracked me down on FB last year and is happily married with a kid. I'm totally happy for her. By no means do I want to give the impression that I'm bitter or resentful.)

So what was the grand purpose of this post? It's Music Monday, baby.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Inception Theories Explained

I saw Inception twice within a 48-hour period. I'm obviously a fan. I've never been this engrossed in anything. I've read hours upon hours of message boards and blogs and held discussion after discussion with friends and co-workers about this film.

This post isn't for making a case for why this is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen or calling out moronic movie critics who seemingly panned it only because they couldn't take the extra effort to understand the film or open their mind to the infinite possible interpretations in this fantastical world. SPOILER ALERT: STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM.

I'm writing this post because I want to spur the same type of conversation that I've been reading about on other websites. I'm going to analyze and give my explanations at the most simplistic level. I'm not going to attempt to validate or invalidate all of the myriad theories regarding the movie, though they are very interesting. Even though I feel the story and most of the loose ends came together for me at the second viewing, there are still a few lingering questions. I'm not necessarily going to answer them, but I'll put them up for discussion. If you don't agree with what I have to say, have alternative thoughts or notice I'm just plain wrong, please leave a comment.

I tried writing a cohesive story around this subject, but I found that the easiest way to address this was to do a Q&A format. So, here goes nothing. I recommend listening to the musical score while reading.

Q: Was the end scene where Cobb finally meets his kids reality or a dream?
A: I believe it was reality. If you follow the film at the simplest level and just try to understand it based purely on what was on the screen and how the story developed, it makes a lot of sense if you believe the top ultimately falls at the end. I understand there are a multitude of theories for both sides of this argument, and you can dive really deep into alternate meanings, symbolism, etc., but just looking at what was presented on the surface, it was hard to believe the end scene was a dream. 

Q: Who was dreaming in each level of the Fischer mission?
A: Level 1 was Yusuf. Level 2 was Arthur. Level 3 was Eames. The 4th level was limbo.

Q: What is limbo? 
A: Limbo is the deepest level of subconscious. It's just pure subconscious and populated only with the dream remnants of anyone in your shared dream who has been to limbo before. This is why you see the remnants of Cobb and Mal's world when Ariadne and Cobb go to limbo to find Fischer and Saito. 

Q: How do you get to limbo?
A: You get to limbo two ways: 1) by dying in the dream while under the level of heavy sedation Cobb's crew was under during the Fischer mission and 2) voluntarily by going into deeper dream levels. Both of these are proven by 1) Saito and Fischer ending up in limbo after dying on the 3rd dream level and 2) Cobb/Mal's experimentation and Cobb/Ariadne going into limbo to find Fischer and Saito.

Q: When Mal and Cobb were in limbo together, how did Cobb know he was dreaming, and how did Mal lose track?  
A: It seems as though Cobb and Mal shared the top as their totem, but Mal refused to see it for its purpose any longer. She loved limbo and her life there, and that is why she locked it away (not spinning) in the safe. By locking it away, she was removing her last and only clue that would let her know she was in a dream. Cobb knew better, and that's why he tried inception on Mal. He planted the idea (spinning the top in the safe), and because of his experience and how he used the totem against her, he was adamant on not letting other people touch his totem.

Q: What was the inception that Cobb had tried before?
A: The inception was on Mal, and it was the spinning of the top in the safe. As I mentioned, Mal had no desire to return to reality and wanted to stay in limbo. She created her childhood home and the safe within the replica dollhouse to represent the deepest part of her subconscious. When Cobb wanted to go back to reality but needed to convince Mal, he planted the idea that their world wasn't real by spinning the top and locking the safe. Because it was the first time he'd tried it, he didn't realize the idea would stick in her mind and "grow like a cancer" even when they awoke in the real world. That is why she thought she was still in a dream and wanted to kill herself to supposedly get back to reality. In her head, the top was always spinning, and she would never be in reality.

Q: Why was Saito so much older than Cobb when they met in limbo? 
A: Remember the rule of time in dreams -- the passage of time increases exponentially the deeper your dream level. Saito died in the 3rd level while protecting Fischer's body, and Cobb drowned in the 1st level when the van went into the water. Time was moving so much faster for Saito than Cobb, and Saito died before Cobb. So, Saito had even more time to age.

Q: What happened in the final scene when Saito picks up the gun? 
A: One theory is they shot themselves or each other to get out of limbo. However, I believe the sedative simply ran out. Saito and Cobb awoke as they were making their descent into LAX.

Q: Why did Cobb go to find Saito? Why didn't he just leave him in limbo and wait until they both woke up? 
A: Saito was lost in limbo. He had no idea he was in a dream. Saito thought that was his reality, so he would not remember the agreement once he woke up. Cobb had to find him to remind him of why they were there so Saito could honor the agreement once they woke up.

Q: What was the significance of Cobb dropping his totem on the bathroom floor after awaking from the chemist's (Yusuf's) basement? 
A: It allowed Saito to see the totem for the first time. It would be the catalyst to trigger the verbal exchange between he and Cobb and remembering each other in limbo during the closing dream scene when he's an old man and Cobb is dragged from the beach.

Q: Does the wedding ring theory hold true? 
A: As far as I could tell, it did. The wedding ring theory holds that Cobb wears his wedding ring in the dream scenes and flashbacks. When he's in reality, he is not wearing a ring. He was not wearing a ring when he was talking to his kids, when he was being chased in Mombasa or at the end scene. This is another reason why I believe the top ultimately fell over at the end. 

Q: Do the kids age? 
A: Yes and no. The kids do age because there is a scene in the sequence where Ariadne sneaks into Cobb's dream and he's taking her to the different levels of his elevator. There is a scene with the kids at a younger age. In every other scene with the kids, they are the same age and wearing the same clothes. This accounts for the credits having two different actors for the kids at the different ages.

Q: Is there any significance or symbolism to the names "Ariadne" and "Mal?"
A: It appears so. In Greek mythology, Ariadne helped Theseus exit the Labyrinth. In Latin, "mal" means "bad." I think the connections are obvious.

Q: What do levels of the elevator represent? 
A: It seems simple enough -- the levels appear to represent the highs and lows of Cobb's memories with Mal. The top levels were his best times, and the bottom levels were the lows. As Ariadne descended, you saw the dollhouse, the train and the hotel room in the lowest floors. 

Q: Was Miles the father of Cobb or Mal?
A: I believe Miles was the father of Cobb. I can't imagine Mal's father would've been so pleasant with the person responsible for his daughter's death.

Q: Was the chase through Mombasa by the Cobol henchmen real?
A: I believe it was. Firstly, I believe in the wedding ring theory, and he wasn't wearing the ring. Thus, it was reality. Secondly, if those were projections chasing Cobb, everyone in those scenes should've been projections chasing him. However, it was only the Cobol henchmen.

There were a lot of other questions that I can't even posit an answer. Check them out, and weigh in: 

Q: How did Miles end up in LAX? How did he know he was supposed to pick up Cobb? Was he ever apprised of the plan? 
Q: What happened to the grandmother? Was it Mal's mother or Cobb's mother?
Q: How was Fischer's mind already militarized against extraction? How common or well-known is extraction in this world? Is it something for which he would've prepared?
Q: After Saito drops off Cobb and Arthur from the helicopter, he asks Cobb to take a leap of faith (regarding being able to return to the U.S. to be with his children). Just before Mal jumps off the ledge, she asks him to take a leap of faith (die to get back to reality). Is there something deeper here?
Q: Is it possible that Cobb, not Fischer, was the target for inception?

There are innumerable questions and theories for this movie. I could go on and on, but I'm going to stop it there, and let you guys chime in.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Britney Hits Baby One More Time

Who knew I'd be able to play on the title of Britney's first hit single twice on my blog? Today, I read a story on WWTDD, via The Sun, that Britney is under investigation for alleged child abuse. From The Sun:

A source said, "He claims the first really shocking incident was when she came marching into the pool house at her mansion and demanded his belt. He handed it over but then followed her into the main house and claims he witnessed the alleged incident."

Flores also accused Britney of feeding the boys food they were allergic to, including shellfish. Child protection agency workers tried to quiz her last week, but she had left LA for a few days.

This is a joke. Right? You can report people for "child abuse" for spanking your kid with a belt? This is crap. I'm just going to put it out there -- if/when I have children, they're going to get spanked for disobeying me. I'm 100% for this type of child-rearing. How is a child going to know if he did something bad if all you do is lecture him? Britney's kids are three- and four-years-old. If she says, "No, Sean Preston. You cannot walk into the dirty public bathroom with your bare feet, like mommy," do you think he's going to understand? Hell no. That's where spanking comes in.

I totally got spanked when I was little, so I tried very hard not to cross my parents...except when it came to drinking. I crossed them many a time when it came to that. In any case, my mother, an amazing woman who doesn't look a day older than 35, was from the school of corporal punishment.

Once while we were living in California, she tried to spank me with her slipper but missed. She decided not to pursue me, so I, the victor in this situation, taunted her: "neh neh neh neh neh neh, you didn't get me," as I'm sticking my tongue out at her and waving my hands in a mocking fashion.

Awwwww shit. Hell hath no fury...

There was another time when we lived in Michigan, she said to me in Filipino, while waving the stick with which she was about to hit me, "Dapa!" At first, I had no idea what that meant, either because I had never heard it before (because I was mostly an angelic son), or I had simply forgotten it because I rarely spoke Filipino anymore. In any case, I didn't do anything, and she was getting even more angry with me. She yelled it a couple more times, while ominously waving that stick, but I still didn't do anything. Finally, she just asked me why I wasn't doing anything, and I replied that I didn't know what that meant.

Suddenly, a smile came to her face, then a laugh. My fear turned into laughter. An endearing mother-son moment. Surely, I was off the hook! But, sadly, no.

She explained to me what it meant. Loosely translated it means, "Get your ass down, face to the floor, because I'm about to hit you in the ass with this wooden stick!" Yup. Didn't disobey her again after that.

My mom wasn't the lone enforcer; my dad got in on it too. He hit me with a belt a couple of times, but I could tell he didn't really want to do it. He would spank me with the belt while I had my jeans on. That doesn't hurt. I would just say "ouch" and pretend it hurt, just to give him the impression that it really was teaching me a lesson. I have a feeling my mom made him do it. This is a man who has only yelled at me angrily about twice in my life, and once was to tell me that I sucked following an extremely poor performance after a futbol game.

(Just to be clear, I have no issues with the way my parents raised me. I think I turned out somewhat OK. I'm glad they were able to pass down such awesome parenting tips.)

Regarding the alleged feeding of food to which Britney's kids are allergic, that's not cool. If she did that, then lock that crazy woman up. Otherwise, leave her alone.

(Side note: Britney's antics make you forget how hot she used to be. Almost hard to believe the image is only seven-years-old. Awesome.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Am Old: Part 1

Editor's note: this is the first installment in yet another completely sporadic series, which surely has little hope of going beyond three parts.

The Vulture blog posted an article yesterday about the 25th-anniversary release of the Back to the Future trilogy on Blu-ray. My first thought, "I don't have Blue-ray. Oh well." My second thought:

"Holy shit! Back to the Future is 25-years-old?!"

I know I'm not that old -- I'll be 27 in August -- but I do feel that old. I feel like I'm crossing that line where I'm just not that cool anymore (not that I was ever all that cool before). For example, about a year ago I watched MTV one morning because they actually play music videos at that time. When the song name and artist came up, I honestly had no idea which line was the artist and what was the song. I changed the channel because I felt so defeated and confused. I changed it to CNN so I could watch the news.

Another example, last week on the way home from Six Flags, Brando, The Rainmaker and I  were discussing The Smashing Pumpkins. Apparently, they're going on tour this summer; I had no idea they even reunited. In the midst of our conversation, Sanrio, a 2009 college graduate who was in the car with us said, "Who are The Smashing Pumpkins?"

I said, "Seriously?"

Brando and I started rattling off the hits: "1979," "Today," "Disarm," "Tonight, Tonight" and "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."

"When were they big?"

"Early to mid-90s."

At that point, we started playing a few of the songs on iPhones to see if anything rang a bell. She had never heard any of the songs. They didn't even sound vaguely familiar.

Brando and I just looked at each other in disbelief. How could this girl not know any of these songs? It's The Smashing Pumpkins! It's Billy Corgan! We totally felt like our parents trying to explain the cool music of their day. "The Smashing Pumpkins were so awesome! That double CD was so good. You don't know Mellen Collie & the Infinite Sadness? 1979 was the best song. Tonight, Tonight was such a good video." Riiiiiight.

Time really does fly. There was a moment when I was 8-years-old (it was 1992) sitting in my grandparents' living room with my parents, aunts and uncles, and one of them asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember saying I wanted to be a scientist and invent stuff, specifically hoverboards and the flying cars from Back to the Future: Part II.

I was so hopeful and ambitious (and a huge geek -- scientist?). Now, not so much -- I'm just another drone at an ad agency. Sweeeeet. What happened?

Monday, June 21, 2010

First of Summer

Happy summer! In celebration of the summer solstice, which marks the official kickoff for the upcoming hot and humid nastiness, I figured I'd post a song for Music Monday. Today's video is from a Filipino band called Urbandub. The song, appropriately enough, is called "First of Summer."

No deep or interesting thoughts from me today. It's just a nice coincidence that it's Monday, it actually is the first of summer and this was one of my favorite songs from when I was working in the motherland four years ago. I still consider that time one of the happiest, most fun times in my life (I saw Backstreet Boys live from the 2nd row, so how could it not be), and this song brings back good memories. Have a good week.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Announcing the World Cup

The day is finally here. The greatest sporting spectacle in the world is upon us, and I'm particularly excited this year because ESPN finally decided to listen to its audience and get some legitimate announcers. As a bonus, the worst announcer ever, JP Dellacamera, "has been relegated to ESPN Radio for the World Cup." Praise the heavens!

The only mistake ESPN made in its announcing teams was keeping John Harkes. He's the only member of the six-man rotation who calls the game "soccer." No, I'm not being a snob who thinks it should be called "football." I usually say "soccer" because that's what I grew up saying and what everyone in America uses, though I do often switch to "football" in the presence of other players. I think we naturally say it without really thinking. It's like when we put our hands in our shorts to keep warm during the cold-weather season -- just a natural reaction to being in the situation.

In any case, I feel it's going to be weird when he says "soccer" when every single one of his counterparts will be saying "football." Also, he just has nothing of value to say. During last night's NBA Halftime Show, where they did a short segment to promote the World Cup, Harkes said, "Landon Donovan  is the Steve Nash of the soccer world." Really?

This is a stupid comparison, indicative of the type of rubbish we'll hear from him for the next month. Steve Nash has been a superstar year-after-year in the top league in the world for his sport, and he has been officially recognized as the best player in that league -- twice .Landon Donovan had three unsuccessful stints in the Bundesliga and "conquered" the MLS, which is akin to conquering your college's intramural league when you have the talent to start for the varsity team.. To his credit, he played well during his 13-game loan spell in Everton.. Maybe it shows he has the potential to excel in a full, grueling Premiership season.

However much I dislike John Harkes, he's not as bad as JP Dellacamera. He just won't shut the hell up, and he knows it too. Regarding the American proclivity to speak to much versus British minimalism:

"I'm not sure that it's a style difference as much as a cultural difference. Let's say British announcers and probably those in other countries, too, I think they talk less than American announcers. I think they talk more about their particular game they're calling than other games. There's not as much storytelling, not as much promos."

We tuned in to watch a game, not to listen to a puff piece about how some player grew up playing barefoot in the streets of Rio using only a ball made out of old socks. ESPN should continue to relegate him until he's working darts competitions.

Despite all of my bitching, I am very excited for the next month. I hope the Ivory Coast is triumphant, but it would be interesting if Argentina won -- Maradona has promised to run naked through the streets of Buenos Aires if victorious.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sperm Shoes

I'm a big fan of Sky Mall, the in-flight magazine well-known for hawking everything from pool vacuums to garden bridges, as well as the latest offerings from Brookstone and Hammacher Schlemmer. Who doesn't want The Telekinetic Obstacle Course to pass the time?

On a recent trip, I was flipping through the magazine to check if Sky Mall still sells a hot dog cart because owning a hot dog cart intrigues me. As I was flipping through the pages, I came across an ad for the most ridiculous product I have ever seen -- Gravity Defyers.

The most glaring thing is the logo. It looks like sperm. It's on the side of the shoe, and it's used as the "g" and "d" in the logo lockup. Who designed this? Was the decision to use this logo unilateral? Was there not an employee who said, "Hey, Mr. _______. We shouldn't do this. The logo looks like sperm?"

After the logo, we need to examine the claims from the print ad (my comments in italics within parantheses):
- Feel Like You're Defying Gravity... GUARANTEED! (I always wanted moon shoes when I was a kid. Maybe this is my chance.)
- Imagine not being tired anymore... Imagine being pain free and filled with energy... Stop Imagining. (Aren't there drugs for all of the things just mentioned?)
- Should G-Defy be banned from Athletic Competition? They might be considered an unfair advantage. (I have no words.)
- Genesis of Athletic Excellence... Go from the weekend warrior to the daily champion at your gym and on the street. ("On the street?" Like, for street fights?)

Lastly, the shoe design is horrendous. The sneakers look like they were leftover models from 10 years ago. It's as if Payless and Skechers sold their shoe surplus from last decade to these guys, who then decided it would be a great idea to stick sperm on the side of the shoe. Honestly, I'd rather wear Shape-ups. I don't even want to get into the casual shoes.

Friday, May 07, 2010

K-mart Sucks

I've been a frequent visitor to the K-mart in Astor Place over the past week. I just moved into my new place, so I've been shopping there for starters and essentials, such as blinds and paper towels. I'd estimate I've been to K-mart about six times since last Thursday. It's not because I'm inefficient -- I have lists. It's because I purchased some large items, which required me to make multiple trips to lug everything home.

Overall, it's been a fine experience. I'd prefer to go to a Target, but that's probably just because I'm a snob. K-mart is somewhat ghetto (they have layaway!), but it's the only game in town. The closest Target is at the Atlantic Avenue stop in Brooklyn, and I've experienced just way too much baby-mama drama there.

In any case, each time I pay, the cashier asks if I want to donate $1 to a charity. Sure -- I just spent a shitload of money, but that doesn't mean I have an extra $1 for this charity. I'm not Ebenezer Scrooge. I give money at church (though I don't go that often), I donate to people's charity 5Ks and bike rides (don't start hitting me up for money -- I'm not rich), and I've even raised money for charities myself (it's not too late to donate to Minds Matter!).

For the past week, they've been requesting donations for a charity that helps premature babies. Now, I think this is a very worthy and noble cause, and I commend this charity for what they're doing. However, I don't want K-mart guilt-tripping me into giving an extra $1 after I just spent $90 on a 10-piece set of T-fal pots and pans I'll barely ever use. (Side note: does anyone know the difference between T-fal and Tefal?)

I have no problem with K-mart trying to help mankind. I think it's great that they're trying to do this, but they shouldn't do it so publicly and use social pressure to try to guilt me into donating. They ask me at the cash register, while there's five people in line behind me. After I've just gone through the pain of seeing my bill pile up, they put salt on my wound by asking me to throw in an extra $1 for charity, as the people in line are watching and seemingly judging me.

K-mart cashier: Sir, do you want to donate $1 to help premature babies?
Me: No thanks.

If you were standing behind me in line, wouldn't you think I sound like a selfish jackass? This happened at least six times this past week. I felt extremely awkward every time.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

State of the Burrito

I haven't blogged in over a month, and I sincerely apologize. I didn't forget about you. Trust me. I've just been excruciatingly busy. I've been staying late at work several days a week, so my brain is way too fried to think of anything clever to write. I've also been heavily occupied with a project for Minds Matter, so that takes time out of my nights. I took some time to fill out the U.S. Census. Killer. I traveled a few weekends, so on top of not being able to write on the weekends, my weak and aging body needs the early part of the week to recover. I started a restaurant list, which has over 100 restaurants I want to try in NYC. I write short reviews and rate each restaurant -- it's like my own personal Yelp. (Email me if you want the spreadsheet, and I'll send you the link.) I've been steadily attacking this a couple of nights a week, so that cuts into quality writing time. Lastly and most importantly, I've been looking for a new apartment. As many of you know, an apartment-hunt is a time-suck of epic proportions -- much worse than completing the census. To exacerbate the situation, I made the big-kid decision to live alone, so I don't even have a roommate to help me with the search. This sucks a lot.

I know I'm making excuses, but I'm in a poor situation right now. The fact that I haven't been able to write anything of substance has been killing me. A few years ago, I went through a similar phase, where I would apologize for such long breaks between posts, and when I would post something, it would suck immensely. I don't want to put you through that again. Rather than half-ass a couple of posts each week, I'd rather wait for things to clear up and creative inspiration to come flowing back to me.

I'm hoping things clear up in the coming months. I'll be done with my apartment-hunt in the next 2-3 weeks, and work should be easing up -- nobody likes working in an office when the weather is nice. All of my favorite TV shows are starting up again as well, so that'll hopefully help inspire me.

That's where I'm at. I hope you'll be patient. Even more than I love The Dirty Burrito, I love my loyal readers. Hang with me. I'll be posting regularly in no time.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gold for Mediocrity

Last week, one of the stories the press wanted us to get excited about was the prospect of Apolo Ohno becoming the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian. He was attempting to surpass fellow speedskater, Bonnie Blair, who won five gold medals and one bronze throughout the 80s and 90s. Ohno got his seventh medal this past weekend, a bronze in the 1,000 meter short track competition, bringing his medal tally to two gold, two silver and three bronze.

When I first heard sportscasters saying, "Tune in and watch Apolo Ohno go for history," I thought he was going for something awesome, like his seventh career gold medal. Instead, I was completely underwhelmed when I found out he was just going for a medal of any type, just so he could reach that record. I refuse to buy into this hype. I understand NBC needs to create interest for their telecast, but why are they, and the rest of the U.S. media, OK with glorifying mediocrity? Why should I be excited that some guy lost his competition?

Think about it -- this guy is happy because he "won" third place. This doesn't happen in other sports. They eliminated the consolation game in the World Cup because nobody gives a damn about who gets third place. Look at the picture above. He's holding up seven fingers like he's Michael Phelps. Congratulations! You got your fifth medal for losing. For all of the hype Ohno and his 90s grunge bandana receive, he is a pretty overwhelming underachiever. Is he really supposed to be, as the NY Times refers to him, the "U.S. King of Winter?"

On the flip side of things, there is Shaun White, who is universally accepted as the best in his sport and has exceeded all expectations. He was expected to defend his gold medal in halfpipe, and,with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he did so in crushing fashion. Even though he already had gold secured, he went on his second run as if winning the competition depended on it. White nearly got a perfect score and landed an insane trick that he invented. That guy is clutch and deserves everything he gets. As my friend, Brando, said that night, "I want to be that happy."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I Need A New Roommate

My roommate, Old Guy, has decided he wants to get his own apartment in NY. Why, after three glorious years, he would want to leave me...I have no idea. I'm baffled; it's the end of an era. In any case, I hate moving -- it's time-consuming, labor-intensive and costly. Besides, you know how many boxes I'm going to need just for my shoes and t-shirts?

In an effort to avoid moving, I am looking for a new roommate. The lease starts on May 1, but I need to renew by March 1. We can discuss rent, lease term, etc. if I've deemed you to be a solid lead. I'm open to living with a guy or girl. Please let me know if you're interested, and feel free to forward to any non-sketchy people who you think will be interested. If you wouldn't want to live with him/her, please don't torture me by recommending him/her to me. Also, I realize some of you don't live in NY, but being a global society, I figure you might know someone.

Here is some info:

Apartment
- It's a 5th-floor walk-up. Don't be scared. It's only tough the first couple days. It's good to climb stairs. Compliments on how nice your ass looks will start to roll in. You won't even need EasyTones.
- 1.5 baths. We won't have to fight over the toilet. You know this is very important.
- Hardwood floors
- Excellent property management company. They are very responsive and have immediately addressed the very few issues we've encountered.

Location
- East Houston (between Orchard Street and Allen Street)
- I'm located in the LES very near what Kramer dubbed, "the nexus of the universe." There are tons of restaurants, bars/clubs and shops.
- I live right above Russ & Daughters, and Katz's is a block away. It's perfect if you're into lox, babka, deli sandwiches without cheese, and all those other Jewish goodies.
- I'm above an American Apparel, so if you're into purchasing high-priced, simple clothing, you win. Also, they have a few hot employees.
- One word: Libation.
- Ray's (pizza), Philly's (cheesesteaks) and Bereket (Turkish) are a block away, and I'm pretty sure they're open 24 hours. Welcome back, Freshman 15!
- OK. Libation was a joke. Forgive me.

Surrounding Neighborhoods

- You're a hop, skip and a jump away from the East Village and Alphabet City, which both also have tons of restaurants, bars/clubs and shops.
- You're a ten-minute walk from Nolita and about twenty minutes from Chinatown, Soho and NYU (college chicks!)

Transportation

- Trains: The F is just across the street. The 6 is 10 minutes away on Houston. The N/R/W is 15 minutes away at Prince & Broadway.
- Buses: The M101 is around the corner and will take you straight up 1st Avenue. The M15 is across the street and will take you down to Chinatown and the Financial District. The M21 takes you crosstown via Houston.

Miscellaneous
- Wii with two guitars for Guitar Hero. Chicks dig it. Trust me.
- I have two Nerf guns, so we can battle each other.
- I'll let you use my skateboard, mainly because I'm hoping you'll know how to teach me how to ride it properly.
- I have an autographed Hanson CD. Also, a chick-magnet.

Me
- If none of the aforementioned items is enough, I've been told that I'm somewhat tolerable and mildly handsome.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Things I Learned from Saved by the Bell: Part 2

I'm back with the second installment of my sporadic series, "Things I Learned from Saved by the Bell."

I always liked The Cutting Edge. I'm not quite sure why. I just remember renting the video when it came out and watching it over and over and over. That ridiculous move where D.B. Sweeney hammer-throws Moira Kelly into the air and catches her is...ridiculous. I have no other words to describe it. Because I was about 10-years-old when I saw it, I just let it slide.

Over the holiday break, The Cutting Edge was on TV. You better believe I watched it...at least up to the New Year's Eve party scene where they're face-to-face and gazing deeply, longingly, yet awkwardly into each other's eyes. As I was enjoying every moment of the first half of the movie, I came to a sudden realization: Moira Kelly reminded me of Stacey Carosi.

(Quick Aside: I will refer to The Cutting Edge characters by the actor names because that's just how I know them. I always knew the actor names, but can't remember the character names. I will refer to Saved by the Bell characters by their character names.)

They're from the East Coast, spoiled daughters with single fathers, look very similar and treated their men like crap before eventually falling in love. The entire relationship between Moira Kelly and D.B. Sweeney was exactly like the one between Stacey and Zack. Here is how it went down:

- D.B. Sweeney and Zack come into a new situation and think they're all that and a bag of chips because of their charm and/or minor league hockey skills.
- The spoiled daddy's girls get all bitchy and start raining on their parade. "Toe pick!" "Get to work, Morris!"
- The guys mess up by either voting for an ex-girlfriend in the Miss Liberty pageant or sleeping with a figure skating competitor.
- Daddy's girls get pissed because they think the actions of the guys reinforce their preconceived notions, but really it's because they're falling in love but don't yet realize it.
- The guys embark on quests to make it up to the girls because they feel bad, but really it's because they're falling in love with them, though they don't yet know it. They do this by attempting to excel in figure skating or winning an ATV race on the beach.
- In these acts of redemption, the Daddy's girls realize they're in love with the guys. They start making out with the guys, who think "Awesome! I'm making out with the boss's daughter." D.B. Sweeney had the extra thought, "I just hammer-threw a girl on figure skates and caught her...HOLY SHIT!"

The greatest scene in the history of figure-skating romantic comedies:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My Decade

Flying into New York at night is quite a cool scene. Seeing the bustling metropolis, brightly lit and showing no signs of slowing, from that aerial view is pretty awesome. It gives me a sense of excitement but also a sense of calm because I know I'm home. There's no other place -- not in this country, anyway -- where I could be happy. I love it here.

A decade ago, I never even imagined I'd be here. I was a junior in high school in Rochester, a quiet suburb in southeast Michigan. My biggest concerns were passing my AP classes, getting a killer ACT score and getting into the University of Michigan. My long-term plans consisted of graduating from the U of M business school, getting married (probably to a white girl because that's all I ever saw where I grew up) and starting a family back in Rochester. I was way off.

I didn't even get into U of M business school. I still have nightmares of Econ 101 and Accounting 271. In Ann Arbor, I discovered that Asians do exist in Michigan. That's when I became afflicted with The Feva. As for marriage and starting a family -- if you know me now, you're probably laughing out loud at that image.

I stopped trying to have a plan and just decided to go with the flow. I ended up living and working in L.A., Minneapolis and Manila before coming to NYC. I started this blog out of boredom and hatred of my situation in Minneapolis, and so I could write about my thoughts on Laguna Beach. While I lived in the motherland, I was a body-double for a Filipino action star in a print ad, almost drowned while whitewater rafting, sea-kayaked to lay out on my own personal island, was in a minor earthquake, sat second-row at a Backstreet Boys concert (though highly enjoyable, I'm still *NSYNC for life), met Manny Pacquiao, the greatest fighter of our generation, and got fat...really fat. I can't help that Filipinos make amazing food.

Now, I'm coming up on four years in the city. When I moved here, I said I'd only stay for two. I've met tons of interesting, diverse people and enjoyed a multitude of amazing experiences. I have no idea how much longer I'll stay, or even where I'll move next. The only thing I know is I'm going to continue to make a concerted effort to not get hit by a cab again. I'm really excited for the next decade. I only hope it's as eventful as the last one.