Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Insanity Wrought by In-Store Plays, or, Hey I Saw These Guys on YouTube a Few Months Back

Motherfucking dueling cellists!

I’ve had to listen to this 2Cellos album at work, part of the handful of required new releases we’re tortured with. Compared to a lot of the corporate picks this one’s not too bad. Anything is better than that Mad Men musical companion or pretty much anything Willie Nelson puts out.  I know I wasn’t alone in the feeling that if I heard “Bill Bailey Won’t You Come Back Home” one more time I’d start twisting the heads off squirrels and nailing the bodies up in the rafters of abandoned churches.

These 2Cellos guys are cool.  Perhaps not that cool since that violin dude sort of did this a while back.  After all, he did do a solid Pirates of the Caribbean cover, which was fun to have going in the background while you’re working.

Actually, no, now that I think about it—-that guy has a ponytail and uses orchestral accompaniment so he’s kind of a douche.

These guys cover only songs they feel translate exceptionally well to a pair of cellos trying violently to one-up one another.  These guys are way cooler.

Plus, that YouTube video they put up—-the one that got 3 million hits in two weeks and landed them a record deal—-that shit was half music video, half the two of them cello-spasm-duelling in this creepy closed up ballroom.  They may lose points for choosing “Smooth Criminal” for their coming out video since the aforementioned David Garrett already orchestra’d that one into annoyance, but I’ll wager they made those points up in intensity, cool hair, a decent (although failing) attempt at channeling the storytelling aspect of Michael Jackson’s best videos, and demonic twitchy stare-downs.

Actually, now that I’ve mentioned demons they do kind of remind me of the guys from Supernatural.  Well, if those guys were from Eastern Europe.  And cello dueled.  Perhaps what we see as a cello cover of “Smooth Criminal” was simply a pair of demon hunters cleansing a hotel ballroom of evil.

Anyway, they seemed like pretty cool guys so I invited them over.

You know, when they weren’t cello-dueling.

They really like their Strawberry Vodka.  Didn’t see that coming.  They showed up with a case of it each and a few other mixers and what have you.  Pickled snackies.  An assortment of cheeses.  Several kinds of canned meat.

Not a big fan there of the strawberry vodka though, you get a bad brand and all you taste is cheap cherry chapstick the next day, so I stuck with my Whiskey Sours to preserve some semblance of mannish dignity.

After double-fisting a pair of Bailey’s Strawberry Martinis, Luka began to tell stories of his great-great-a-lot-of-greats-grandfather fighting off Matthias Corvinus’ sieges of his ancestral homeland of Maribor.

—Gout!—he would scream while I tried to discuss the evolution of Pokémon gameplay between the Aka and Midori and the Black and White generations with Stjepan.  Little known fact, but one I’m sure will hit the tabloids soon enough given their rising fame; Stjepan never travels without a Pokeball.  Has one on him at all times.

—They say it was the gout!  It isn’t!  Was granddad—

—He always goes on like this after a few of those martinis—Stjepan warned the first few times, with each successive warning being whispered as if for the first.

—Poisoned that King Corvinus!—

—Madôna!  Not the poisoning again!—

—It was a slow poison!— Luka whispered with an enthusiastic menace, and he held up a finger in a crooked manner to punctuate the intention of strawberry martini fueled assertion.

—Died ten years after attacking Maribor.—

—It was slow!—

—A slow death?  Like listening to you learn Chopin?—

—Oh, so funny you are—Luka groaned, rolling his eyes at the feeble attempt at what I imagine could only be described as cello humor, a form of the art I’d not run across before.

Stjepan removed the battered Croatian army helmet he wore in order to refill the two 1-liter water bottles he had strapped to its sides.  He mixed the vodka, 7up and fruit punch together in a fresh round of Ladies’ Night.  Luka rolled his eyes as his friend topped off the drink to add a little more bubbles to it.

—He like his bubbles—Luka explained, tapping at his the side of his head to denote the improvised drinking helmet Stjepan had made, and unsuccessfully whispered—I do not have the heart to tell him, his helmet Polish, not Croatian.  Break his heart.  Never drink without it.—

I showed the pair my own drinking helmet, designed for protection rather than as a hands-free boozing device, and they promised to send me a sticker to add to it when they went on tour opening for the Sergeant Stupendous and the Back Door Burglar band.

I’m not sure what such a sticker would look like given the name of the band headlining this tour, but I too promised to display it proudly should it arrive.

While Stjepan was assisting Luka in putting on his newly acquired pair of Icarus wings he’d bought from a street vendor in Cloud City, there was a small knock on the door.

As the only one not engaged in preparing to jump off my roof and defy the laws of nature and sobriety by flying, I was voted to get the door; the duelists each got a finger to the nose before I’d even registered the little knocking.

And it was a little knock.

I was taken by surprise when I opened the door, even though my door is entirely glass and I should have seen, before I saw what was waiting on the other side.

—Just going to leave me in the car all night, were you?—

—We cracked window for you—Luka protested.

—No, you broke the window—he was corrected by the little creature padding into my kitchen.

—And left you cheese curds, you have food—Stjepan pointed out.

—It is written: ‘Smurf does not live on cheese curd alone, but on a variety of shooters off a stripper’s tray.’  You two promised me a strip club, what’s the hold up?—

If I hadn’t been entirely sure when the little blue whats-its strolled into my kitchen, the thing itself seemed to have confirmed it.

—Is that really—I began to ask.

—Oh yes—Luka beamed—we have pet Smurf—

—I ain’t your fuckin pet, pizda.  Now when do I get to see some titties?—

The Smurf climbed the rungs of a barstool, from there mounting the counter and coming at least a bit closer to facing the three of us.

Luka began to flap his wings to test how secure he was strapped in.

The Smurf rolled his eyes.

—So what’s your name—I asked the ornery blue super-midget standing on my counter.

I’d never met a real Smurf before, and I’m certainly not counting that time the Second Coming of Christ (who’s name was actually Bob 2, and lives in San Diego now with his daughter) spray painted a guinea pig and tried to sell it to me for three stamps and a thimble of lime juice.

I was curious how Smurf’s were named.  Did their name choose their role in life, or did they go through childhood without a name, being assigned one when their calling was discovered?

—Man from Uncle—the Smurf replied grabbing a slice of pickled eggplant.  He gave the slice a sniff and tossed it back.  Then turning to me he lifted his leg slightly, his face contracting in a slight snarl, and he farted.—You got any bread?—

I grabbed a bag of bread and opened it, tossed it on the counter for him.  I was puzzled by his name.  And his behavior.  He wasn’t particularly Smurfish, not that I’d had much experience.  But I’d thought they were a bit more dignified.

—Your name is Man from Uncle—I asked while he made himself an eggplant and brie sandwich.

—I think I just friggin said that—he answered through a ravenously rended mouthful.

I pondered this as we both watch Luka and Stjepan make the final adjustments to the pair of wax wings.  Man from Uncle finished his sandwich and climbed inside one of Luka’s martinis to finish it off.  Satisfied for the moment he joined me in taking stock of the duelists.

—We fly now—Luka declared.

Stjepan only gave a thumbs up, which the Smurf and I responded to with shrugs.

—Roof—Luka declared, resting each hand proudly on the bottles of strawberry vodka he wore on his hips in specially made holsters.

He’d referred to the vodka before as his jet fuel, which I’d dismissed, not understanding his fascination with wax wings.  Apparently he meant it quite literally, and never used a pair of Icarus wings without this drunkard’s utility belt.

I wish I had a utility belt.

—I refill my helmet—Stjepan said, ignoring the Smurf’s eye rolling.

—We’re never getting to a strip club are we?—Man from Uncle complained.

—I’m not sure if that’s even safe—I said—I feel like one decent motor-boating would kill you.—

—I could only be so lucky.  That’s how Papa went.—

I pondered this blow to the seemingly honorable and virtuous Smurf leader as I followed the duelists up the attic stairs, Man from Uncle perched on my shoulder for the journey.  Unbeknownst to me, there was in fact a hatchway leading out to the roof of my house.

Also unbeknownst to me, my house was actually at the top of the Space Needle.

While Stjepan marveled at the view and Luka collected himself, and as I reflected through my Whiskey Sourish haze on the events of the evening, Man from Uncle Smurf turned and took a piss from my shoulder.

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Underneath (you’re still a loser)

The Evil Legion of Non-Standard Clothing Sizes Strikes Again!

I love ironing.  I think anyone who knows me has probably heard a bit about that; either from me or my friends who at turns will make fun of this near-obsession of mine or agree with its awesomeness.  And then ask me to iron something for them.

And it is awesome, I assure you.

Maybe it’s the instant gratification of the act; taking something wrinkled and unkempt and within a matter of minutes turning this shirt or pair of pants into a presentable, unblemished extension of yourself. 

There’s the satisfaction in putting on something just ironed, like pulling on a sweatshirt just out of the dryer or wearing a new pair of socks.  It’s comforting, it’s warm and clean.  If you spray on a little starch in the process it smells fantastic, it really does.  The faint, lingering aroma follows you around all day, reminding you no matter how shit your day has been at least your shirt is all set. 

It’s like Edward Norton says in Fight Club, “It’s just, when you buy furniture; you tell yourself, that’s it. That’s the last sofa I’m gonna need. Whatever else happens, I’ve got that sofa problem handled.”

So whatever happens that day, you have that wrinkle problem handled.

I said starch with caution! See what happens when you don't listen?

Just go easy with the starch; you don’t want to go too far.  Your shirts could start getting kind of shiny or some white starchy gunk can build up.  Starch with caution, my friends.

If ironing has provided me anything however, it’s the confirmation that men are awesome and women are irrefutably insane.

I should probably explain.

I had the misfortune of attempting to iron a pair of women’s pants once.  These weren’t for personal use I assure you, but as a favor to someone else.  I limit my women’s clothes to fishnets and pink dresses when the situation is called for (this is a story for another time, and I’m sure you’ll thank me if that time never comes). 

These pants were a nightmare.

I like to begin by matching up the seams and smoothing out the fabric.  I think we can all agree that’s a pretty good place to start.  This was not possible.  It was like these pants had been intentionally stitched together with the aim in mind that no matter what one did that fabric would not lay flat.  You couldn’t smooth it out, you couldn’t tug out a good starting position. 

So instead when you started ironing the fabric would bunch up and unless you were moving at a snail’s pace you’d end up rolling over an inevitable wrinkle and press that in.  Needless to say, I was not going to move at a snail’s pace.  It was early—painfully early—when I was pressed into service.  I was in no condition to be handling an iron.  I was probably in no condition even to be standing.

I wasn’t fully awake yet, and chances are I was still drunk from the night before.  All I wanted was to get back in bed.  I didn’t have the give-a-shit at that god awful, still dark hour of the morning to iron a quarter inch an hour because someone wanted to stitch these pants together in an acid induced zigzagging pattern.

Post Ironing Stress Disorder is Real

That experience threw a wrench in my ironing mojo, it threw me off my game.  I went months without ironing after that, instead using my dryer an obscene amount to dewrinkle. 

On top of my women’s ironing PTSD, I suffered some serious spray starch withdrawal.

What’s your deal women’s clothing? 

I feel like all I hear are complaints against you, and I’m just talking about women hating their own clothes—I wasn’t even thinking about the guys harboring grudges against uncooperative bra clasps or the nefarious boner-defeating button fly.

Is there a conspiracy against women waged by women’s clothing manufacturers?

It seems the majority of complaints are about the sizing of women’s clothing.  I don’t understand the number thing since that doesn’t appear to translate into anything more than the random assigning of numbers.  Guys clothes are at least named based on their measurements, there’s some consistency.  The most difficult thing a guy has to worry about is whether to go with a medium or large shirt.  What’s that take?  Five seconds of holding it up? 

But women don’t have it that easy.  While the numbers on a pair of man-pants actually stand for something, numbers assigned to an article of women’s clothing means absolutely nothing.  Take this little tidbit from Wikipedia:

“The standard sizes have not had stable names, however. For example, the dimensions of two size 10 dresses from different companies, or even from the same company, may have grossly different dimensions; and both are almost certainly larger than the size 10 dimensions described in the US standard.”

No wonder shopping turns women into raving psychotics.  I’m feeling a little unhinged just reading that. 

Style O in BlueSo, let me get this straight.  I’m a chick and I go shopping.  I go into some store that I no doubt have a special store credit card from because it offered me half a percent off when I bought a $400 purse last month, and I try on a size 6 blue dress in, let’s call it, Style O (for oh my god that dress is so hot!) manufactured by Company X. 

But blue isn’t quite my color, so I grab the green size 6 in the Y-style by Company X. 

Are you telling me, Wikipedia (and I know you would never mislead me), that while the blue dress may fit me, the green one won’t, despite them both being size 6 by the same company and the same style at that?

Does this also means that once when my estrogen fueled shopping-induced indecision kicks in and I want to try the blue dress on again (you know, just in case, even though it’s totally not my color–but it’s on sale!) if I grab a different one then I’d tried on initially… it could actually be a different size physically even though both claim to be a Style O size 6?

Maybe that’s a little extreme of an example, but at the heart of it, that’s what happens isn’t it?  I know there are different cuts, and with different materials the fabric may lay different; the size may depend on how it shrinks when you wash it and blahblahblah. 

You’re still making sizes up arbitrarily, though, I don’t care if the pants are pleated or not.

But I think it’s more than just non-standard standardized sizing and vanity sizing so fat people feel thin without actually losing weight—lazy bitches.  I think there’s a real conspiracy here.  I think there’s a smoky boardroom somewhere where only the table is lit up and all sitting around it this table are in shadow, where they plan and plot their evil garment assault on the what one can loosely define as the mentally stability of women around the world. 

I imagine the outside to look something like the Hall of Doom, complete with rockets to move the place around and lasers to protect its evil Legion of Nonstandard Clothing Sizes from common sense.

Like the Legion of Doom—and if you didn’t realize I was referencing the Legion of Doom from Super Friends, then just go away—so, like the Legion of Doom, it isn’t the chaotic sizing of women’s clothes that is their aim, that’s just the puzzle to distract the Super Friends. 

This dastardly group is no doubt funded by diet food manufacturers.   Slim Fast, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Atkins and Smart Ones frozen dinners—and yeah, I’m looking at you Jenny Craig, you bitch—I know you’re behind this.

OK, it’s like when Lex Luthor used mind control to make the Super Friends steal all these priceless artifacts.  He wasn’t after those artifacts, he didn’t care about them.  He wanted the Super Friends to turn themselves in, walking right into his trap so he could shoot them all into the sun and turn everyone on Earth in Bizarros and Cheetahs.

See?  It’s just like that.

Fucking with “standardized” sizes isn’t your endgame, you’re fucking with these sizes so everyone feels fat unless they’re some anorexic Asian tween who’s a triple-0 or -2 or however you size that shit.  Subzero sizes?  Are there really subzero sizes?  You want women to feel that fat?

Pumpkin Skirt; it's when you have to lift the fat to get to the FUPA

I’ll be the first one to tell you there are some fat chicks out there.  Check out the People of Walmart for five seconds and you’ll have all the proof you need that obesity and shamelessness are running rampant throughout the country.  (And Tweety Bird tattoos) 

There are way too many pumpkin skirts cruising around just Buffalo alone for my liking, but subzero sizing?  0000?  Really?  Just put one zero on it and be done with it.  At that point, just call them what they are:  children’s clothes.

There’s something seriously wrong with women’s clothing, far more serious than a pair of pants refusing to be properly ironed when I’m half asleep.  I’m convinced this sizing conspiracy could be the root of the general state of crazy the female species exhibits, previously believed simply to be a result of having two X chromosomes.

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