Everything is wrong with me
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
 
fantasy football preview 2005
It's the last week of August, so that can only mean one thing: fantasy football draft season!

[Non-sports liking ladies and international readers, please come back tomorrow, because this one's gonna be about sports. Lots of 'em. So beat it. And don't send me any pissy emails. Thank you.]

I've written before that two of my five favorite days of the year are my baseball (#2) and football (#4) fantasy drafts (and basketball is up there at #6). My baseball drafting went splendidly this year. In four leagues, I'm currently in 3rd, 1st, 3rd, and 2nd, and those teams not in first are within striking distance. God I am fucking awesome.

But football to me, has always been the most enigmatic of fantasy sports, precisely because of the shortened schedule, with one-tenth as many games as a baseball and one-fifth as many as basketball. You can wait all week and have a big match-up, but if Shaun Alexander wakes up on Sunday with the flu, you lose (most of the time, at least). Still, I love it.

So here's my 2005 fantasy football preview. First I'll give some draft tips and then I'll break down my picks per position, including some potential sleepers and busts.

[Please note: for the purposes of this post, we will be talking about a serpent draft, not an auction draft. A serpent draft is when players are assigned a draft status, say 1 through 10. The draft then snakes back in the following round, so that the person with the 10th pick also gets pick 11, 9 gets 12, 8 gets 13, etc, and then back again. An auction draft is what it sounds like - people bid on players. That style of draft is for losers and nerds.]

Draft Tips

1) Do your research. This may seem obvious, but if you wing it, you'll lose. Sure, anyone with a fundamental knowledge of football can navigate through the first few rounds, but what happens in round 8 when you're looking for a 3rd receiver and are deciding between Braylon Edwards and Donte Stallworth?

At the very least, visit the fantasy sections of ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS Sportsline to get a general idea of two things: what statistics players put up last year and where players are being drafting. Yeah, odds are good that Peyton Manning will have around 35 TDs and he's a high pick, but what about a rookie like Cadillac Williams? Where's he being drafted?

Go into the draft with some stuff printed out with last year's stats. That'll give you a cheat sheet to look over during the draft. Additionally, I like to highlight certain guys I like, making notes on the side. Do whatever makes you comfortable, but you should have a little bit of paperwork to refer to during the draft.

2) Lie and manipulate. If you are in a leagues with friends, constantly engage them in conversations before the draft. Feel them out about their battle plans, who they like, etc and reciprocate with information that is entirely false. The important thing is to be sincere and seem honest. A good way to do this is by saying stuff like, "You know, I don't even know if I should tell you this, but I think Chad Pennington is going to blow up this year" when you secretly think his shoulders going to detach from his body in Week 3.

Say you have the 6th pick in the first round, and you're buddy has the 5th. You really, really want Edgerrin James, but think your buddy at 5 is going to take him. The solution: talk up another player. "Dude, I love McGahee. Did you see how sick he was at the end of last year? Give him a full year and he's gonna explode. But c'mon - don't take him, dude. I'm calling dibbs on him." More than likely, your buddy at 5 will take McGahee, in the hopes of screwing you over, and you'll get Edge. Remember, the other owners in your league are just as soulless as you are, just much, much dumber. The point is, NEVER show your true hand. Flaunt your fake hand constantly.

3) Don't panic, and start or stay off the waves. Countless mistakes are made during the draft because the manager was panicking. Don't be like this. As your pick comes back to you, be sure to have at least two choices ready. This way, if the guy ahead of you takes the player you wanted, you don't make a rash decision and end up taking a kicker in the 5th round.

A good deal of draft panic derives from position runs. This happens when a number of players of the same position are selected in a row, causing owners to think, "Holy crap! All the [QBs, WRs, TEs, etc] are going! I have to get one now!" The result is that they wind up with a not-as-good player, because they jumped on the wave too late.

My advice is to either stay off these or start them. I usually stay off rather than start them, just because it's easier. But say you're in the third round, and the guy a few picks before you takes Daunte Culpepper. Then the next guy takes Donovan McNabb. If the next guy takes Trent Green or Brett Favre or someone. Then it's on. You'll see a flurry of managers selecting QBs that shouldn't be selected. In this situation, I would back off, take a RB or star WR, and wait a few rounds before taking a serviceable QB (Aaron Brooks, Matt Hasselbeck, etc).

Runs or waves most often happen late in the draft when people pick kickers or defenses. I usually completely ignore these, preferring instead to take a third RB or QB. Which brings us to...

4) Fuck tight ends, kickers, and defenses. Simply put, these don't matter very much. There's something to be said for having Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates, but if you don't get them in round 4, forget it. In a 16 round draft, I won't take these three positions until rounds 12-16. And even then I don't put much thought into it. I'd rather pick up a different defense every week and draft a young WR with a lot of upside then take the Baltimore defense in the 8th.

5) Know your enemy. When you're picking, it's important to know who the managers around you already have on their teams. For example, say you have the 8th pick in a 10 person league. It's the 3rd round, and you're really looking for a QB, but you see that a nice WR has fallen to you. Check to see who the 9th and 10th owners have. If they already have a QB, take the WR with your 3rd round choice and then get the QB on the wrap in the 4th round, following the logic that if the guys picking after you already have a QB, they're not going to take another one. This knowledge is key.

6) Think "best available". I'm all for filling out your roster positions, but at the same time I adhere to the principle of "best available", meaning take the best available player, regardless of position. For example, say by the 3rd round I've drafted two quality RBs and a decent QB. In round 4, if I see another very good RB who I think has lasted too long, I will take him over a WR that I have less confidence in. Sure, it means that I have one RB too many, but it also means that my competitor won't have this RB on his team. It's a wise decision to draft best available because it means a) you'll have trade bait and b) it's offensive by being defensive.

So there are your tips. Now onto the positions.

[Note (again): we will assume that this is a standard scoring league with ten teams playing head-to-head, the position break-down being: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, K, DEF. Both my leagues have two starting QB's, which make them more valuable, but most leagues go with one. "Sleepers" and "busts" mean that I think relative to where these players are being drafted, they will perform better or worse. If I say that Peyton Manning is a potential bust, I don't mean that I think he's going to throw for 6 TDs and 20 INTs. I mean that he ain't gonna perform like a #3 overall pick. Dig?]

QUARTERBACK

1) Peyton Manning
2) Daunte Culpepper
3) Donovan McNabb
4) Trent Green
5) Brett Favre
6) Jake Delhomme
7) Tom Brady
8) Matt Bulger
9) Matt Hasselbeck
10) Drew Brees

Do I think Manning will throw 49 TDs again? No, but he's still my number one QB. Generally I wait to draft these guys, because there are so many of them (I'm leaving serviceable QBs like Vick, Brooks, Collins, and Pennington off this list too, which should give you an idea about the depth of the position).

Potential Sleeper: Favre. First, because he's one of the fiercest competitors in the league in his "last" season. Two, people forget that he's consistently dynamite. In the last four years, he's thrown 32, 27, 32, and 30 TD passes. In the last four years, Peyton Manning's thrown 26, 27, 29, and 49. And you can get Favre three or four rounds later. Speaking of Manning...

Potential Bust: Manning. Like I mentioned, 2004 was a statistical aberration for Manning. Thus he's being drafted WAY too high for my liking. Don't get me wrong, as I said he's still my #1 QB, but I'm not taking him in the first round. I'd rather draft RBs and get a guy like Bulger in the 7th round.

RUNNING BACK

1) LaDainian Tomlinson
2) Shaun Alexander
3) Priest Holmes
4) Edgerrin James
5) Corey Dillon
6) Willis McGahee
7) Tiki Barber
8) Domanick Davis
9) Jamal Lewis
10) Deuce McAllister
11) Julius Jones
12) Rudi Johnson
13) Kevin Jones
14) Curtis Martin
15) Ahman Green

These fifteen guys should be the first twenty-two picks in any draft. And I mean that. Get them, and get them early. A few guys didn't make the list (Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, Cadillac Williams), but after that there's a steep-ass drop. And where do you take Ricky Williams? By week 10, he's rushing for 100 yards a game. You heard it here first.

Potential Sleeper: McAllister. Last year, he had 1074 yards rushing and 9 total TDs. In the previous two years, he averaged 1514 yards rushing and 12 TDs. I keep hearing good things about the Saints' new "streamlined" offense, which only makes me more intrigued.

Potential Bust: McGahee. Mother fucker is very hot right now, but I'm not sure how I feel using my 5th overall pick on a guy who's getting his first full season of work with a new QB. I'd rather take a proven guy like James or Dillon, personally.

WIDE RECEIVER

1) Randy Moss
2) Terrell Owens
3) Marvin Harrison
4) Torry Holt
5) Javon Walker
6) Chad Johnson
7) Joe Horn
8) Steve Smith
9) Reggie Wayne
10) Anquan Boldin
11) Nate Burleson
12) Andre Johnson
13) Hines Ward
14) Drew Bennett
15) Joey Porter

This is the position I know least about. The reason is that, well, there are just so damn many of them. Usually I don't dip into the WR pool until I have my solid two RBs, so by then the top tier guys are gone. I try to focus later in the draft on young 2nd and 3rd year receivers I think may break out (who I'm not listing here, because I do have a draft tonight and don't want to give away everything, after all).

A word about Terrell Owens. People are fleeing from TO because they're worried about how crazy he is. This is the dumbest shit I've ever heard in my life. The guy is a megalomaniac and rather bright. I think he may have his best season ever, just so he can say, "I told you so - now pay me!" in February. Just my hunch.

Potential Sleeper: I'm high on both Boldin and Joey Porter. Kurt Warner (and I can't believe I'm writing this) ain't that bad and he's got some good young receivers to throw to. Boldin could have a good year. And Porter...if there's one thing Kerry Collins can do, it's drink beer. If there are two things Kerry Collins can do, it's drink beer and through the long ball. And Porter is fast. Watch out.

Potential Bust: Not sure...none of these guys (or other WRs) stand out as dangerous busts. I would say that Mushin Muhammed, who put up sick numbers last year, would be a candidate, but I had a draft last night and he was probably the 20th WR taken, so people are staying away. In that case, he could be a sleeper. But probably not.

TIGHT END

1) Tony Gonzalez
2) Antonio Gates
3) Jason Witten
4) Alge Crumpler
5) Todd Heap
6) Jeremy Shockey
7) LJ Smith
8) Eric Johnson
9) Randy McMichael
10) Dallas Clark

Gonzalez and Gates are worthy of 4th round picks. Everyone else; forget about it. On the second tier, there's Witten, Crumpler, Heap, and Shockey. After that, who cares.

Potential Sleeper: LJ Smith. I don't know where Chad Lewis is, but McNabb going to need someone with sure hands. Smith doesn't have 'em, but he's long, fast, and agile - an easy target.

Potential Bust: To me, every year Shockey is a bust. All mouth and no back-up. What a cocksucker.

KICKER

Do I really have to list ten kickers? Christ.

1) Adam Vinatieri
2) David Akers
3) Mike Vanderjagt
4) Jason Elam
5) Matt Stover
6) Ryan Longwell
7) Jeff Reed
8) Sebastian Janikowski
9) Shayne Graham
10) Jeff Wilkins

Really guys, whatever. If you take a kicker before round 10, you should be beaten to death with your own penis.

No sleepers or busts here, because we're talking about idiot kickers.

DEFENSE

1) New England
2) Philly
3) Baltimore
4) Buffalo
5) Pittsburgh
6) Carolina
7) Atlanta
8) Tampa Bay
9) NY Jets
10) Washington

I treat defenses much like I treat kickers - get 'em late. However, there are two notable exceptions between the two. First, there's not much difference to me between Jason Elam and Jeff Wilkins. However, there is a big difference to me between Philly's D and Washington's D. The cream rises to the top in defense more than it does in kickers. Having said that (and this is second difference), I have little concern about taking a crappy defense. Every week, someone's gotta play San Fran, Chicago, Miami, etc. So I'll just play match-ups and pick up whoever's playing a bad team.

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So that's my fantasy preview. I hope you enjoyed it. I have a draft tonight in about three hours and I'm so excited for it, I'm just going to fucking explode. So that's how I'm doing. But please, read this words, take them to heart, and you will succeed. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
 
drugs and danger: a love story
It was a horrifying weekend. Not in the monsters/sharks/giant-homeless-guy-standing-outside-my-window-having-sex-with-bags-of-trash sense, but in a different, more realistic and tangible way. And yes, alcohol and narcotics were involved. Guess you didn’t see that one coming, eh?

First, booze. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I like to drink sometimes. I've actually been pretty good about this recently, though completely unintentionally. I would like to say that I haven’t been getting that banged up as of late, but I’m not sure if this is true, as my memory is getting very poor. I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night or how many daughters I have, let alone what I did three weekends ago. I guess I could find out by reading here, but we all know that this shit is all made up anyway.

But if I've been taking it easy with the booze over the past few weeks, that went out the window this weekend. Because there was a lot of alcohol consumption over the weekend. Tons of it. Scary amounts of it. Both nights, my friends and I didn't leave the apartment to go out until 1am after we were completely sloshed. On Friday night, I got home after 4, and after devouring a few slices of pizza and most of a Chinese child I picked up on the street, I stayed up to drink the remaining two beers left in the fridge and a half a bottle of opened champagne that had been in the fridge since we moved in. Not my finest moment.

I'm not sure what time I woke up the next day, but I didn't leave my bedroom until 6:15pm. About an hour later, I was in the shower sucking down a Bud Bomber (a 16 ounce can of Bud) getting ready for the evening's festivities. By the time the weekend was all over, my roommate Brian, in a moment of unquestionable gaiety, said, "I just want you to know, I'm proud of you."

Even so, the nights were relatively uneventful, or at least forgettable, due in no small part to all the booze. When I woke up on Sunday, my brain seemingly on fire or getting eaten by ticks that had somehow burrowed into my head while I slept, I didn't have any stories and couldn't recall much of the previous two nights. But such is life. I knew I had a good time, save for my current state of dying.

And this is where narcotics come in to play. Ever since my stress test, which proved that there was nothing medically wrong with my heart, I have been living with a little more abandon. Not only does beer taste better, but before I would have been concerned about having a dinner that consisted of eight mini chocolate donuts, some leftover cheese fries, two slices of pizza and a pudding. Thanks to the stress test, this dinner is probably the healthiest I've had in weeks.

Another thing that the stress test has breathed new life into is my drug habit. Now when I say "drug habit" I do so only to impress you. I know that women like bad guys, and so I use such a vague term so that all the ladies will think, "Geez - he's a badass AND he has a tiny penis! I want some!" But in truth I have been (mostly) clean of (many) drugs for a fair (but shorter than I'd admit here) amount of time. As long as this is understood, we can move forward.

This Sunday I was charged with picking up some contraband substances. I've always been uncomfortable with this. I don't buy any drugs, I don't handle them, I don't have them in my room or even, if possible, my apartment. I just feel like with my luck a buddy would say, "Dude, my girl's coming in to town - can you hold some of my drugs for me for the weekend?" And then that weekend, a cop would move in next door and would stop by to say hello with his drug-sniffing pet dog and would find an assload of drugs linking me to a major meth lab in Olathe, Kansas which in turn is linked to a major drug cartel from Oaxaca, Mexico. Three months later I'd be in jail giving handjobs for fig newtons while my friend got high and banged his newer, hotter, druggie girlfriend who let him film her in the shower and sell it online for a fortune. So I don't like to mess with drugs in that way.

But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and that was the case this Sunday. I didn't want to put the stuff in my pocket, so what I did was get my extremely underutilized gym bag and filled it with gym-type stuff (sneakers, shorts, pad lock, etc). I figured this would make me look less suspicious and would also generally calm me down - I'm just a guy, going to the gym. Nothing illegal going on here. Not at all.

So I took off, did what I had to do, and was on the subway coming home. No problems. I got off the train and was listening to my iPod, happy that in two minutes I'd be in the safety and security of my old apartment. It was then that horror struck.

Thanks to a couple of crazies, NYC, like other big cities, is on a heightened state of alert. This was exacerbated by the London bombings, when NYC moved to have some police officers in certain, high-traffic subway stations checking bags at random. There are only a handful of these such stations - Union Square, Times Square, etc. It just so happened that Canal Street, where I was about to exit, was one of these stations.

I saw the cops at the bag check table just past the turnstiles and I froze. It was a mish-mash of emotions, but the general feeling was somewhere between seeing a werewolf eating your cousin and watching your girlfriend have sex with 50 Cent. In that instant, my life and my future flashed between my eyes. I could see the headlines and news snippets: "Blogger Jason Mulgrew arrested for drug possession, shits self", "Internet Personality Jason Mulgrew, serving time in prison for possession, had a psycho-sexual breakdown yesterday. Mulgrew started crying before simulating violent intercourse with his mashed potatoes. He was eventually tranquilized...", "Jason Mulgrew was released from prison today after serving six months for possession. He announced that he was going into the Peace Corps, but only under the condition that he was granted a license to kill..."

I suppose I could have gotten back on the train and traveled to a stop without this checkpoint, but I didn't think of that at the time. Instead, I moved forward, trying to act as naturally as possible. I knew, from seeing these checkpoints before, that many bags were not searched. I was hoping that my chubby, affable white self would not arouse suspicion, but at the same time I knew I was very hungover, looked like an alcoholic, hadn't shaved, and what was a fat fuck like me doing with a gym bag anyway?

I turned up my iPod, straightened up, and walked through the turnstile. I headed straight for the stairs, and never looked back. When I reached daylight, I felt like I was going to cry. I hustled down Canal Street, cutting through the Chinese people and the tourists who I usually despise, and wanted to hug each one of them. I wanted to grab the nearest 170 year-old Chinese lady and say, "I don't care that you and your people are the reason this neighborhood smells like pubic hair on fire! I love you!" I wanted to grab the nearest 300 pound, fanny-packing wearin' momma from the Midwest and say, "Welcome to New York City! It doesn't even bother me that you walk slowly around the streets and stare at me like I'm a circus freak because I live above the Italian restaurant you're overeating in! Let me hold you!" It was truly a beautiful moment.

Despite the hangover, the rest of my Sunday was quite enjoyable. I relaxed, smoked a ton of my newly-acquired pot and ate almost a whole pizza. Really, what more can you ask for on the Sabbath? And speaking of the Sabbath, I'd like to thank God for making me white, chubby, and unassuming. Because otherwise, right now I'd be balls deep in mashed potatoes and fig newtons in exchange for the steepest price of all - my innocence. And $12. And twenty minutes of slow dancing. You get it.

Friday, August 26, 2005
 
mom b-day, ESPN fantasy, Corolla, emails, music (Sweat)
This week was my mom's birthday, so I sent her a card. I also got her the extravagant gift of a new light fixture for the porch, which is kind of a strange gift. I guess when people get older, they want different, more mature things. But I can't see a time in my life when I'll want a new porch light as a gift. Of course, I won't live long enough to have grown children, but if I did, our birthday gift conversations would probably go:

My son: "Dad, what do you want for your birthday?"
Me: "I was thinking, maybe some mace? Bob next door has this fucking dog that won't stop barking, so I'm gonna go fucking mace it."
My son: "I don't think you should mace the neighbor's dog, dad."
Me: "Oh yeah? Well, I didn't think I should have come inside your mother, so I guess we all live and learn. How is she anyway? Is she dead yet or is she still dating that black guy?"

But anyway, I got my mom a birthday card. I hate buying birthday cards, or any greeting cards, because they're lame. I'm actually hoping to start my own line of greeting cards, and I bet if my potential business partner could just STOP TAKING BONG HITS FOR ONE FUCKING MINUTE we could make some serious cash with this.

So for my mom's b-day, I picked out a card that had two little girls on the front, with their backs to the camera. They're wearing white dresses and one is leading the other by the hand. It's a lovely little image. On the inside, it says, "Thanks for always being there. Happy Birthday!" It's a classy little card, meant for one woman to give to another woman, maybe her sister or a friend. But I gave it a little personal style by changing the front image of the card just slightly, writing "Jason" under one of the little girls and "Mom" under the other little girl. Sweet.

I don't know if my mom has gotten it yet, but I wonder what she thinks when I do shit like that. All she ever wanted was a normal, well-adjusted son, and I'm sending her birthday cards intimating that we're both little girls. What a fucking weirdo.

Anyway, again, happy birthday mom. I know you say you don't read this, but there's no need to lie about it. And my god, I'm sorry. Truly, truly sorry.

*************************************

When I got home from work last night, I caught the fantasy football special that was on ESPN. Basically, Chris Berman moderated a mock draft of ESPN personalities and Nick Lachey. And it was the most worthless hour and a half of my life.

First, because of the complete lack of fantasy football knowledge. I have my two main football drafts next week, so I was hoping to get a little more information. I was sorely disappointed, because these assholes had no idea what they were talking about. It was only an eight person league, but what the hell is Julius Jones lasting until the 4th round? I should have known it was shit when the Buffalo defense was taken in the 3rd, but I stayed with it. What a mistake.

Second, a major part of fantasy drafts is the shit-talking that goes on during the draft. This show tried to create some of that, most notably with Steve Young going after Mike Ditka, but the result was so uncomfortable I had to put it on mute and look away on several occasions. Also, the other owners couldn't bash the players themselves, as they work for ESPN. So in a real league, people might make disparaging comments like "Kurt Warner sucks and his wife looks like a busted lezbo", that didn't happen here.

So I'm thinking of doing a fantasy football preview next week, or at least I'll let you know how my teams turned out, because I have to have some sort of backlash to this program. Wish me luck.

*************************************

Last night, I watched a little of the Adam Corolla show on Comedy Central, "Too Late with Adam Corolla". I love Adam Corolla, but I don't know much about him, so I guess it's more like infatuation. I do know that back when he and Jimmy Kimmel hosted "The Man Show", I used to plan my Wednesday nights around it because it was so fucking awesome. However, I'm not much of a late night talk show guy, so I haven't seen much of Kimmel's or Corolla's new shows.

Corolla's show wasn't bad. His monologue was very up and down, but he had a dynamite joke (which is the purpose of me writing this). He was talking about how the government warned that terrorists would be posing as homeless people, so he had a suggestion that would counter that and reduce crime: give police uniforms to every homeless person ("There'd be a police presence everywhere!").

Anyway, check out the show if you get a chance. Not too shabby.

(I thought this section would be much funnier before I wrote it out. Oops!)

*************************************

I got some interesting emails this week. The first comes from Morgan from Denver, who offers some Bang Bus insight:

Dude -

I hate to spoil it, but I think Bang Bus is fake. I know, I'm sorry. I was broken up when I found this out as well. I was looking for something interesting to watch one night and stumbled across an "adult" site that we had signed one of my friends up for with his parents’ credit card while we were in college. Since I was the bastard behind the joke, I remembered the login and it was still active. I went to a video that had some sort of plot to it (school girl who forgot her book in a classroom and went back and got railed by janitor and teacher) and started being dirty. I looked and noticed the girl was the same girl from one of the Bang Bus videos. Maybe she just wanted to start her porn career, but it severely damaged the credibility of the Bus in my eyes. I would hope those girls would never come out in public again (except to bang me). Sorry for the awakening.
As if this didn’t suck enough, Alex at "Fuck Your Couch" (who does excellent sports-related work on his blog) totally de-bunked my "Bang Bus is real" theory:

Sorry to rain on your parade, but the Bang Bus is unfortunately fake. I was as crushed when I learned as you are now.

Here's a quick synopsis on how it goes down: http://www.local10.com/news/3927246/detail.html

And here's a more detailed version (actually kind of a fascinating read): http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2004-10-14/feature.html
So that goes to show you how much I know. Perhaps I should pay more attention to the dialogue and the drama in the scenes and pay less attention to the booby sex and subsequent facials. Oh well.

Also, if you read that second article, you may never watch porn again, or in my case, at least for another twenty minutes. But while we’re being misogynistic, here’s an email from Jeff in Savannah, GA:

Have you seen this yet? I don't know about you, but I think the only way this could be any cooler was if the background was, like, a living room or something and you could throw her into sofas and lamps and stuff...

http://www.izpitera.ru/lj/tetka.swf [safe for work]
I don't really have anything to add to that, except that it made me laugh pretty hard. Let's just move on before I say something that disqualifies me from ever being in a relationship with a woman again.

*************************************

Six Songs:

"Don’t Walk Away Eileen" Sam Roberts
I like this song, but I feel like I would LOVE this song if I heard it in high school. That probably doesn't make any sense, but I really don't care - it's Friday.

"Coin-Operated Boy" Dresden Dolls
Sure, it's about a minute and a half too long, but it's a pretty awesome fucking song. Sad, scary piano rock.

"Gravity" Sara Bareilles
If any of you ladies reading this right now can do this on the piano, email me immediately. We're going to move in together, so you can sing and play the piano while I smoke bowls and play with your hair. It will be a beautiful little existence - promise.

"If I Could Talk" The Lemonheads
I hated this song when it came out, but I came across it recently and have been listening to it non-stop. Weren't this guys, like, the first hipsters, or am I totally wrong?

"Booze Me Up And Get Me High" Ween
If I were in a band, I would close every show with this song. A better boozy, sing-along, I can think of none.

"Gonna Make You Sweat" Keith Sweat
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for Great Moments in Jason Mulgrew's Sexual History, brought to you today by Keith Sweat

Back in college, when I actually made out with girls, my friends and I had a competition. This competition was to make out with a girl to the weirdest song possible without her stopping or saying, "What the hell song is this?" You had to bring a girl home, put on some music, and make out with her to, say, Primus' "Winona's Big Brown Beaver" without her questioning the song. Also, it had to be a FIRST TIME make out, meaning girlfriends or occasional hook-ups didn't qualify. Immature, yes, but totally awesome? Definitely.

One night, I was at a party in the mods, which basically look like housing projects but serve as party central on BC's campus. This was my senior year, which was, sadly, my sexual peak. I was dating a girl long distance at the time, but we had an unspoken "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it came to hooking up with other people. Or at least this is what I believed and what I was operating under.

So anyway, I was at this party and I noticed this girl from across the room. She was pretty good-looking, but definitely attainable, and I could tell she was an underclassmen. We kept sort of making eyes at each other but I really didn't know what to do. I asked the party hosts who she was, hoping to find a mutual connection for an introduction, but they didn't know. And I had (and still have) no game, so I couldn't go up and try to kick it to her. So for a good two hours we just made eye contact. Very mature.

But finally, she walked in my direction, as if she was looking around for someone. She then came up to me and said, "Hi, have you by any chance seen a blond girl, about this tall?" (presumably her friend). I assumed this was fiction and her way of initiating contact, so I blurted out, "No, but I've been trying to think of something to say to you to break the ice for about two hours now, so I'm glad you finally did it."

Money. So fucking money.

The gods had smiled upon me this evening, for she made a face that gave the "Ohhh!" look, as in "Ohhh! That's so cute - let's make out right now!" and sure enough we were making out in the kitchen of the party in less than ten minutes. Shortly thereafter, we were fumbling back to my dorm room through BC campus, necking all the while. I was on a roll, so I knew this was as good a chance as any to win our weird song competition.

I already knew what song I wanted to use: Keith Sweat's "Gonna Make You Sweat". First, because of the obvious: it's a song about a guy making a girl sweat, presumably from some sexual act. A simply preposterous basis for a song (not to mention the guy's name is Sweat - get it?). Second, because of Keith Sweat's incredibly whiny voice, which I can barely listen to, and the cheesy early 90's synth. And third, because every fifth word in the song is either baby, girl or yeah. Here's the first "verse":

Oh baby
Give it to me now girl
Yeah, there's nobody here baby
But me and you, yeah girl
I wanna pull down the shades, dim the lights
Do what I wanna down to you yeah girl
Tell me now baby
I think you're trying to play hard to get girl
Oh girl before the night is over
I bet, I bet I can make you sweat girl
I mean, did they even write that before hand or did the producer say, "You know what Keith? Just go into the studio and wing it. No one's gonna listen to the words anyway."

Anyway, so we made it back to my place and went into the bedroom, where my roommate Joe and I had a couch. We were sitting on the couch smooching (the girl and I, not Joe and I) when I made my move and said, "I'm going to put some music on." At this point, we were both pretty drunk, so my only hope was to put it on and rush back to the couch to resume making out before she had a chance to process and respond to the song.

And I did just that, but I did it too...vehemently. I put on the song and then literally dove back to the couch to start kissing her again, so that she couldn't object to the song. But my lunge - and the weirdness of the song - freaked her out and she asked what I was doing. I said "Nothing, nothing" and tried to go back to making out, thinking I was still in the clear because technically she didn't question the song, just my antics. All I had to do was get through the song without her saying anything about it, and I would win.

Alas, it was not meant to be. I tried to kiss her after I told her nothing strange was going on, but she stopped me and said, "What is this song?" Game over. I tried to make fun of the situation and said, "What, you don't like Keith Sweat?" but she looked at me like I was crazy, so I got up and put something else on (most likely something like Phish's "Waste" or some other lame make-out song).

She stayed the night but nothing much happened and I never saw her again. I actually called her a few days later to follow up, but I think putting Keith Sweat on and then jumping at her squandered any smoothness my "I've been trying to think of something..." line built up. Oh well.

That was the closest I ever came to winning the competition, and after that experience generally threw in the towel. Who actually won, to this day, is embroiled in controversy. My buddy Joel supposedly made out to "Dead Flag Blues" by Godspeed You Black Emperor, which is about the most angry and scariest song of all-time. My other buddy Greg supposedly made out to the Super Mario Bros. theme, which I think personally tops Joel's song. But this songs are so ridiculous that none of us could ever imagine a conscious woman making out with a strange guy while they played. And of course, we were operating on an honor system, because it's not like their could be people in the room as witnesses. I suppose we'll never know the truth.

So that's my Keith Sweat story. And now it's time for the weekend. Joy.

Thursday, August 25, 2005
 
innovations in pornography
Understatement of the year: there are lots of different types of porn. I'm not talking about guy-girl, girl-girl, guy-girl-girl-girl-guy, or guy-girl-bear-hammer. Nor am I talking about the various fetish porn movies out there, like S&M or feet stuff or people dressed as mascots or people doing animals or that weird movie I saw that my uncle was in with the naked aliens on the trampoline.

I'm speaking almost in thematic terms. Perhaps two examples will help. Two "reality-based" porn series (which means a number of movies released by the same company with the same theme) are MILF Hunter and Bang Bus.

"MILF", for those not in the know, stands for "Mom I'd Like to Fuck". Each one of these movies starts with our protagonist, henceforth known as the Guy, in an everyday situation, i.e. at the beach, at Wal-Mart, at the supermarket, at a bar, etc. Randomly, the Guy will run into a hot woman, most often a little older, and then he'll F her. Thus, the MILF Hunter series.

This is all supposed to be a coincidence, but of course it's not. The women are actresses, not hot moms shopping or getting their dry cleaning (in one movie, the mom getting done asks, "Are you the MILF Hunter?"). One thing I don't understand about this series is that it's never explicitly clear that the women are, in fact, mothers. Most of them are a little older (tops early 40's), but many are hot twenty-somethings. It's not like the Guy's doing a chick while her baby sleeps in a crib or her toddler watches cartoons, so what justifies the "MILF"?.

Still, the MILF Hunter series works and is very popular. Not particularly my bag, but at this point I think I've seen all the free porn on the internet, so I occasionally "rough up the suspect" to the MILF Hunter series.

The second somewhat thematic reality-based porn series is the ever-popular Bang Bus. As you can probably guess, the Bang Bus consists of three guys - a driver, a cameraman, and the guy who does the chicks - driving around in a van picking up chicks and f'ing them. Unlike MILF Hunter, I think I actually believe this is real. The reason is that they don't just randomly drive around to pick up hot 20 year-olds. How it usually unfolds is that the Guy (a different guy from the MILF Hunter series of course) meets the chick at a club the night before and does her. Then he and his buddies (the cameraman and driver) pick her up the next day and film them as they have sex in the bus.

What makes it more credible is that these chicks are mostly spring breakers who REEK of whore. In porn, there are two types of starlets: girls who consciously want to make porn and do it for a living and sluts who are skanks and get off on the idea of being filmed (essentially, the professional vs. the amateur). And if I know anything for studying porn for the past thirteen years, it's that these girls are amateurs.

That, in a nutshell, is the Bang Bus series. Both MILF Hunter and Bang Bus have been money-making machines and have dozens, possibly hundreds, of movies out. There are imitators (most notably Street Blowjobs - you can figure out what that one's about) but these two are the most popular and most successful.

Well I have an idea that could join the ranks of MILF Hunter and Bang Bus. I feel like I should get this copyrighted or trademarked before I lay it on you guys, but we're all friends here (save for any of my ex-girlfriends reading this), so I'll just put it out there: Tourist Porn.

Now bear with me...

Every day when I walk around my neighborhood, I see at least two dozen doable, good-looking or attractive girls pouring over the NYC subway map, looking at street signs, and discussing and pointing. It occurred to me recently that these women could be an endless source of sexual escapades.

For one, they're overwhelmed by the megapolis that is New York City. They're either in from Ohio, Kansas or Oregon or all the way from Germany, South Africa or Thailand. And they're looking to get the most out of the big city during their short time here. What better way to enjoy NYC than with an experienced New Yorker who's lived in the city for almost five years and has drank at nearly every bar (and pooped at 60% of them)? Also, it's not necessarily a bad thing that this new friend is quite famous in some circles, is it? At any rate, they are vulnerable. And that is an extremely sexy quality.

Second, think about your sexual mores when you're traveling. When you're in another city or country, everything is consequence free ("Sure, I'll get drunk and have sex with this fat chick with the one ear - I'm in Prague for Christ's sake!"). Part of traveling is meeting new and strange people and trying to have sex with them. It's always been this way. When we're anonymous in an unknown land, we get a little braver and more adventurous and we do, in fact, wind up banging a fat chick with one ear (it was actually more like an ear and a half).

The basis is there, and I think Tourist Porn would be a great idea. I'll set it up: attractive guy and cameraman are in New York City, walking around the streets with high tourist concentration (SoHo, Little Italy, Times Square, etc). The team approaches a group of attractive or semi-attractive tourist girls, who are struggling with a map. After giving the girls directions, the guys explain that they're making a documentary about the social and historical development of New York City.

The chicks, naturally, eat this up (normal looking guy + artistic streak (filmmaker, musician, writer) = FULL BASEMENT ACCESS). After small talk, the better looking guy suggests meeting for drinks later. The girls agree. The stage is set.

Exemplary boozing follows. The girls are comfortable and relaxed, because the guys have earned their trust (little do they know that if all goes according to plan, they're going to be naked on a dining room table with a hot dog up their butt in an hour). I don't need to bore you with the rest of the details - boozing at the bar, an invite to come back to the guys' place, more boozing, turn the camera on, start making out, then finally some doing - because you get it.

[And if they are reluctant to be filmed having sex, which is entirely possible, they can be easily convinced. Perhaps with "So, you're from Romania, huh? That's cool. Do you know what 'opium' is? You don't understand? Ok, then smoke this - it's an American cigarette - very good for you" or "So, Korea, eh? That's cool. Are you interested in some American candy? I know it says "Oxycontin" on it, but don't worry. That's just another way of saying 'delicious' in English. Here - take three!"]

I ask you: how could this not work? It's perfect! There'd be minimal effort on the guys' part and no serious production costs and you'd have girls that were a) vulnerable, b) a little crazy, and c) exotic! Movie titles could be "Cammie from Poland" and "Some Chick With A Weird Name from Vietnam"! It's all there! Someone get on this!

Alas, I can't do this myself. My lack of sexual organs, or rather my lack of sexual organs that inspire others to touch them, restricts my porn-making ability. However, I'm willing to be the brains behind the operation. So if anyone is interested in participating, please let me know. And for the stag, if you look like Marky Mark, well, you're already hired.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
 
the early years of internet dominance
I'm miserable today, so I'm going to take the easy way out.

About three years ago, my roommate Brian and I had an idea. We wanted to take our love for booze, cheesy '80's bands, and tasteless humor and combine it into something. So we got an idea.

We decided to start a website about us, Jason Mulgrew and Brian Powers, the greatest musical duo of the 1980's. It would be somewhat autobiographical, but pushed 20 years back (i.e. we started making music in 1983, not 2003). But of course, the rest would be fiction, sort of like Spinal Tap meets Behind the Music but done by two drunks who have little talent and even less ambition.

There was initially a lot of excitement for the project, so I enlisted by buddy Griff to design the site (Site Guy Brendan and I were still in our falling out stage at this point). I wrote up some stories to put on there, and our old roommate Ben, who had just gotten a digital camera, was enlisted to take some pictures of Brian and I. Also joining the team was our friend Brendan, who was to narrate the site in a Kris Kristofferson-type voice.

But as you might expect, it went nowhere quickly. The first setback was when Ben went bowling, got drunk, and while rolling fell in the middle of the lane, crushing the camera that was in his hip pocket. So no more pictures. Then Griff, who lived in Idaho at the time, became practically unreachable. So no more updates. Then Brendan, pissed by the waning enthusiasm, dropped out. No more narration. The good news is that by the time this all happened, Brian and I didn't care much and were more focused on how quickly we could get through a fifth of Absolut as part of our pre-game routine (answer: no idea - we were bombed).

This rudimentary, partially completed, completely unedited, and mostly unfunny website has been up for almost three years now, and Yahoo web hosting has been taking $11 per month out of my bank account to host it for the past 30 or so months. I just learned this recently when I actually looked at my bank statement, and, as you might expect, I was not happy about it.

So I checked the website recently to take a stroll down memory lane and I re-learned quickly what I knew back then: it stinks. It's weird, it's not funny, and seeing it in my current state (Lord of the Internet) makes me uncomfortable. It's so bad that it's really quite embarrassing.

Yet, I'm miserable and since it's cost me over $300, so I'll show it to you all. All I can say is that make sure the volume on your computer is turned up. It's ruined if you can't hear Brendan's spoken-word intro. And there are no curses, so it's safe for work.

Enjoy. And please, don't judge. I was young and confused then. And my hair was even worse than it is now. I look a lot different now, but Brian looks exactly the same.

www.powersandmulgrew.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
 
Sizemore does it again
I can talk about a lot of stuff today. The wedding I went to on Friday night, the surprise party I attended on Saturday night, or how I had to call out sick yesterday because I had the worst insomnia attack I’ve had in ages on Sunday night/Monday morning, but all of this takes a backseat.

Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Sizemore is selling sex tapes of himself. Yes, beater of Heidi Fleiss, user of the Whizzinator, and drug addict par excellence is now officially a pornographer. This is like Christmas, my birthday and my wedding day all rolled into one (with a special Sizemore twist, of course).

From philly.com, the source for all my entertainment gossip:

TEMPLE grad Tom Sizemore has gone from roles in "Black Hawk Down," and "Saving Private Ryan," to homemade porn.

The 43-year-old actor is now starring in a number of hardcore sex videos, online at xxxtom.com.

The videos show Sizemore engaging in sex acts with various women, and also acting very strangely while throwing around a football with naked women, cursing the L.A.P.D., and discussing his financial woes, saying he's "down to a million and change."

A company called XPays, which also put the Paris Hilton sex tape online, released the footage.

Sizemore will likely get a cut of the profits, says AVNOnline.com.

Sizemore's manager, Bob DeBrino, told reporters recently that the actor secretly taped his sexual liasons because he suffers from a disease called priapism, which enables him to have sex up to nine times without stopping, by causing a persistent erection.

Sizemore is currently in a California rehab facility after pleading guilty to using drugs while on probation for beating his ex-girlfriend, Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss.
I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

...

Ok. Let’s begin.

All I can say is that you must, must, MUST go to the site www.xxxtom.com. It is not safe for work, so either take a risk or view it at home. But I’ll tell you that nothing that I write here can top or even come close to that site in terms of comedic value. There are no words to describe the horror, shame, astonishment and above all humor on that site. Nothing I can write can capture it. I can only promise to do my best. But it still won’t be anywhere near as good as xxxtom.com itself. Trust me.

Because it’s not safe for work, I will attempt to give a brief synopsis of what you’ll find at xxxtom.com. First, if you’re thinking that these tapes are Paris Hilton/night-vision style, you’re wrong. This is hardcore pornography filmed with the intention of distribution. Sizemore’s manager said he "secretly" taped these liaisons, but there’s nothing secret about them. It’s him, hanging out with OK-looking naked chicks, and then doing them – all the while mugging for the camera and saying ridiculous things. This is 100% intentional. And 100% insane. And I fucking love it.

I’ve written before about my fascination with Tom Sizemore. Both my roommate Brian and I are huge Sizemore fans. Not so much because of his acting, but more because of his drug abuse, sexual habits, and general insanity. If this stupid blog gets me any sort of writing gig, I hope it’s writing Tom Sizemore’s biography. I’ve been writing this on the side for about two years now, so I’m hoping for some sort of spectacular death that only Sizemore can pull off (elevator fire, meth lab explosion, beaten to death by four prostitutes, etc) to finally wrap it up.

But in the meantime, this sex tape escapade is great fodder for my biography. I don’t really know where to start on this one, so I’m just gonna dive right in.

First, one of you has to buy this for me. It’s $34.20 per month, and I think that’s pretty reasonable. You can either give me the password or just email the movies. Either way, I have to have them in order to study them to learn more about the psyche of Tom Sizemore. I watched the samples and was both disgusted and astounded. My favorite line is when Tom turns to the camera and says, presumably referring to his relationship with Heidi Fleiss, "I didn’t hit her, alright? I shit on her." That's just too awesome for words.

[Actually, don't buy it for me. Instead, donate the money and I'll buy it myself. I prefer this method because I'm afraid that eight of you will buy me these Sizemore movies, and no self-respecting person should have eight memberships to xxxtom.com. Not even me.]

Second, where do we go from here? At one time, Tom Sizemore was a respected actor. Then he started doing drugs. Then he went to rehab, which didn’t work. He started dating Heidi Fleiss and beat her. He was doing more drugs and for a while was living in a garage in Whittier, California. He’s broken the conditions of his rehab and parole numerous times, most recently by getting caught using a device called the Whizzinator to pass a drug test. And now’s he making porn.

Two questions:

· When/how will this all end? I mean, seriously, Sizemore’s got to have only one, maybe two years left in him. And like I said, when he goes, it’s going to be something else. I can see it now: I’m sitting at home, hungover on a Saturday afternoon watching football, when there’s a special report break-in and Brian Williams says, "This just in from Beverly Hills, California – actor Tom Sizemore is standing on Wilshire Boulevard throwing grenades and feces at tourists. So far, there have been fifteen confirmed casualties. We’ll get you more details as they come in, but one thing is certain: no one’s going to walk away a winner from this scene. Back to you, Greg."

· Where are Tom’s friends and family? Doesn’t he have anyone in his life to say, "Listen Tom, you probably should try to straighten out. Beating Heidi Fleiss was one thing, as was all the missed court dates and relapses, but I’m not so sure you should be in the porn business in your condition." There’s no one around to tell him this, or even suggest it to him? Really?

Third, what must it be like to be Tom Sizemore’s manager? Think about it: while his colleagues send press releases detailing their client’s new baby or new book, this guy is talking to the press about his client’s priapism, which "enables him to have sex up to nine times without stopping, by causing a persistent erection." I do not envy this guy. Imagine him running into one of his peers at some trendy LA restaurant:

Celebrity Manager: "Hey Bob - how are you?"
Sizemore's Manager: "Good, good - how are you?"
CM: "Oh you know, same old. Busy, what with Halle shooting three movies at once. You?"
SM: "Pretty busy too. Tom just had a gunfight with his neighbor's son, so there's a lot of damage control to be done there."
CM: "Oh, um, that's great. Well, you see you later!"

Fourth, "priapism"? How come I have never heard of this before? I did a little online research and found that it’s a legitimate condition. There are several causes, one of which is drug-related. What drugs cause priapism, you ask? Funny enough, drugs used to treat psychotic-type illnesses. I wonder if Tom Sizemore has any of those in his system? Additionally, there is a connection between priapism and marijuana use. Good for you, Tom. Good for you.

Lastly, for all the reality shows going on, WHY isn’t there one about the life of Tom Sizemore? Who’s dropping the ball on this one? What would you rather see: Tommy Lee going back to college or Tom Sizemore fighting some girl on crutches over a Marlboro Red? Hell, I’ll storyboard the first four episodes right now:

EPISODE 1 ("Pilot"): Tom is released on parole on the condition he stays clean. Show follows Tom on his first day of freedom. Tom talks about his sobriety and his confidence in it and goes shopping for some new clothes. Tom goes to use the bathroom but doesn’t return. By the end of the show, two cameramen and the boom mic guy are dead and Tom goes missing for eight weeks.

EPISODE 2 ("Redemption"): Tom is tracked down to a church in Mexico. Too much LSD has caused him to have a mental breakdown of sorts, so he’s been spending time volunteering in church in an effort to become a Eucharistic minister. During a service, Tom drinks too much wine and starts screaming "Blood of Christ! Blood of Christ!" and yells the n-word and other racial epithets for seven hours before having a mild heart attack. Another cameraman is mysteriously killed.

EPISODE 3 ("Return"): Tom returns to LA because his agent has gotten him an audition for a Dentyne commercial. Tom bombs the audition and sexually assaults both the female reader and a nearby fern plant. For the remaining twenty-two minutes, we follow Tom around as he breaks into cars to poop and/or pee in them. Twenty four hours later, Cadbury Adams USA LLC, the company that makes Dentyne, files for bankruptcy.

EPISODE 4 ("Revenge"): The show opens with Tom in Vegas, getting thrown out of Caesar’s Palace. In the next scene, Tom is participating in an exorcism with special celebrity guest/drunk fuck-up, Ryan Adams. The two then spend the rest of the show doing cocaine at a rest stop, until Ryan dies. Tom uses the restroom, then steals a Snickers bar. End of Season One.

Thursday, August 18, 2005
 
tv, laundry, waiter, books, music, Lindsay
I don’t watch TV. When I do, I get all my TV from ESPN, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and A&E (and NBC!). At any given point in the day, I can put on one of these channels and become completely engrossed in whatever’s on.

Last night, I flipped on A&E to the show "Inked". In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s about a tattoo shop in Las Vegas. No, not in Miami. That show is called "Miami Ink" and is pretty much the same show as "Inked". But there's one major difference: one is in Las Vegas and one is in Miami. So you can see how they're totally unique.

That’s something I never understood about TV: the duplication of ideas. Both TLC and A&E have tattoo shows. A&E had "Dog the Bounty Hunter", and HBO had a bounty hunter show. I know there are tons more examples, but I can’t think of any (slight hangover). An old-school one is "Married With Children". A great show, which a few years later the WB ripped off as "Unhappily Ever After" – and it ran for an astonishing 100 episodes. Fox will shortly be coming out with a series called "The War At Home", which is "Married With Children" but Al, Peg and the kids are younger and there are "Real World"-style confessionals (at least all this was in the pilot script). What gives?

I feel like I should pitch a few shows ideas like:

- "So they’re like a Mafia family. And the dad is like, the head or something. And he’s all stressed out and seeing a therapist and there’s a lot of Italian machismo shit. Their home base? A sausage factory. That’s where the dad’s office is, and every night he and his cronies get together to throw back a few sausages and talk about 'the family'. I know, I know – it’s pretty great. That’ll be $240,000 please. Oh, and they’re all in the Klu Klux Klan."

- "It’s a show about six young people in NYC. One is a ditzy waitress, one is a anal-retentive chef, one a flaky masseuse, one an airhead actor, one a wise guy, and one is brutally and completely handicapped. We're talking tubes and wires and shit shooting out of him. I’m mean, he can’t even think he’s so messed up. Thoughts? I’ll willing to take notes or suggestions, but I think we have at least 8 seasons right there."

- "Basically, it’s how a New York City stand-up comedian comes up with his material. His friends are kooky and the situations even kookier, but it’s not really about anything. So I guess you can say it’s about nothing. Nothing and the stand-up’s insatiable desire for the blood of prostitutes and crank."

- "So they’re an all-black family, right? But we’re not going to make them urban or poor or anything like that. We’re going to make the dad a doctor and the mom a lawyer. And there’s gonna be a bunch of kids will all different personalities. And now the kicker: they are all terrorists. Crazy, anti-American terrorists. They fucking hate America and want to topple it. What do you think?"

I’m about 90% sure I can sell one of these. I’ll keep you informed.

**********************************

There are few material things that I possess that are special to me. I have a lot of books, but I don't really care about them. They're there only to impress any women who I might bring (read: drag) home to my apartment. I have a lot of cds, but they're not "special" to me. The music is, but the discs are just more shit to leave around my room. My guitars are kinda special, but I really don't play them that much anymore and like the cds they've fallen into the "clutter" category.

But one thing is very special to me: my bed. The bed (mattress, box spring) itself isn't great, but its combination of pillows, sheets, and blankets sure are. It has taken me years to get the bed where it is now: a perfect mix of comfort and colors. 600 thread count light blue sheets, six pillows (two thin, two medium, two firm), a dark blue comforter which kind of accidentally almost matches my curtains.

And so I love my bed. At various times it has been my refuge, my friend, and even [whispering] my lover.

However, I'm not big on the whole "washing my sheets" thing. It's not because I'm trying to be disgusting, but it's just always turns into a big project - you have to take the sheets off the bed and the pillows, take them (with the blankets) to get washed, pay a fortune for the lil' Chinese lady to wash them, then pick them up and put them back on. How laborious. I'm exhausted just from typing it.

But this week I sucked it up and took my sheets and blankets to get washed. Not so surprisingly, disaster struck.

As I mentioned, my sheets and pillow cases are a gorgeous light blue color. They are 600 thread count, which means they are comfortable and expensive. At first, after I shelled out the money for them, I was disappointed. I thought such a high thread count would change my life, make me more confident at work, financially more sound, and more desirable to the opposite sex. Sadly, it did not.

However, I grew to love them. There's nothing like crawling (or, in my case, falling) into bed when you've had the AC pumping for ten hours, so your sheets, pillows, and blankets are cold and lovely. And it all starts with the sheets.

Yesterday, I went to pick up my sheets from the lil' Chinese woman who works at my neighborhood laundromat. When she saw me, she said "Uh-oh" and then began trying to explain something to me. What followed was a good five minute stream of what was I guess supposed to be English, but I couldn't get any of it. She could have used smoke signals or morse code and I probably would have gotten a better idea of what she was trying to say.

Eventually, I picked up that she was apologizing for something. I guessed that she somehow fucked up my laundry, but how can you fuck up laundry? I started thinking that maybe she washed something red in my whites, turning them pink, but I don't wear or even own anything red. I kept saying, "Um, I don't understand - I'm sorry!" and tried giving her the money, but then she started miming what she did. She grabbed the bottle of bleach that was sitting above a washer and pretended to pour it in the washer, then took out my bed sheet. What was once baby blue was know an ugly, piss yellow color. Sweet.

I was pissed off and fought the urge to pull the New York yuppie, "You are poor and I am not! Do you know how much these sheets cost! You could feed your family for a week for what I paid for these sheets! God damn it! Have you heard of the internet? Do you know who the fuck I am?" routine. And even if I wanted to, I couldn't reproach her; it'd be like yelling at a desk for all she'd get from it.

So I swallowed my anger as she effusively laid on the sorry's and walked me to the cash register. The good news is that she charged me full price - $30 - for destroying my expensive and once nice sheets. So that was awesome.

I got back to my room and put the sheet on the bed. It no longer matched anything in the room and was now a yellowish color. It was the color of use and stain and piss and nasty. Additionally, there were splotches all over it, presumably from the bleach. So what I now have are yellowing sheets that look like there is piss or semen all over them. Fucking A.

The lesson? Never wash your sheets. Either you can ruin them or the Chinese lady at the laundromat can. And hell, you paid for them, so you should do it yourself.

**********************************

If you haven't seen the newly redesigned Waiter Rant, get there already. And if you don't read Waiter Rant, then you should. It will make you think twice next time you say to a waiter, "Another two minutes and I was gonna come back there and fuck you in the ass" next time he doesn't bring your wine quickly enough.

**********************************

The last six books I read:

"A Long Way Down" Nick Hornby
Mr. Nick delivers again in this book about four different people whose attempted suicides brought them together. Very readable and enjoyable, but I have one complaint: empathy, or the lack thereof. I don't think that you have to fall in love with or empathize with every character you read about, but that's what I believe Hornby was going for here, but it doesn't work out. When I met Jess, I wanted to punch her in the face. When I left Jess, I wanted to punch her in the face. Is it the book or do I just have an anger problem?

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

"The Historian" Elizabeth Kostova
641 pages about a young girl trying to understand her father, her father dealing with a curse, and the legend of and search for Dracula. I'll break it down for you:

- First 300 pages: "This book is incredible."

- Second 300 pages: "This book is getting kinda long."

- Last 41 pages: "This is the worst ending ever. I can't believe I just wasted six weeks reading this."

Only recommended for Dracula or Eastern European history buffs (like me).

Rating: 5 out of 10.

"Puffed" Bob Flaherty
A story about two brothers who go searching for pot in the biggest blizzard to ever hit Morton, Massachusetts. Awesome. I don't even know what else to say about it, other than I read it in about three sittings and will probably read it again in year or two. Highly recommended if you're looking for something fun and quick.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

"The Comedy Writer" Peter Farrelly
From Peter Farrelly, one of the guys who brought us "Dumb and Dumber", "There's Something About Mary" and a whole bunch of other movies, "The Comedy Writer" is the story of, well, an aspiring comedy writer. A good read, with an interesting view of LA culture and the entertainment business, but you'll be a bit disappointed if you're looking for something on par with "Dumb and Dumber".

Rating: 8 out of 10

"The Book of Illusions" Paul Auster
A man loses his wife and two sons in a plane crash and then becomes hell-bent on destroying himself with alcohol and madness - until he discovers the mystery of a silent film star's secret life. Sounds somewhat familiar, but my reason for destroying myself with booze and depression is more like there's no more rice pudding or "The Simpsons" is a rerun. To each his own, I guess.

I suppose I enjoyed it, but only for the depressing stuff. The silent film star stuff was not only boring to me, but also contrived. Things seemed forced, so much so that with 50 pages left I knew what was going to happen, and I was right.

Rating: 4 out of 10

"Hellfire" Nick Tosches
I'm not sure if I should review this because I still have 20 pages left, but whatever. When a book is called "the greatest rock 'n' roll biography ever", well, that's a lot to live up to. But I'll be damned - it does. I didn't know a thing about Jerry Lee Lewis before I read this book, except for he did "Great Balls of Fire" and married his 13 year-old cousin. And now I know so much more, namely how fucked up he was for a very long time. Not written in the typical bio sense ("This happened...Then in 1964...Later in December..."); almost poetic.

Rating: 9 out of 10

**********************************

A word about our Six Songs section, before we get into them.

I get many emails from you all recommending songs to me, some of which later end up here. However, I do not give proper credit to those who recommended the song(s) to me. That's not because I'm bitter and selfish and want to take credit for finding your songs myself. It's because it often takes a while for a song to transform from reader recommendation to "Six Song" recommendation. When I get an email, I'll usually quickly download the song and then immediately bury it in my "New" iPod playlist, with about 250 other songs. By the time I get to listening to it and get to liking it, the email it was recommend in is buried beneath a crapload of other emails. And the jm.com email doesn't have a search function like gmail, so once it's buried, it's buried for good. So that's why I don't credit readers anymore. Too many emails. It doesn't mean I'm not grateful though, so keep them coming.

Six Songs

"Do the Whirlwind" Architecture in Helsinki
What a weird fucking band. But if this doesn't get your foot tapping, then something is wrong with you.

"Middle of Nowhere" Hot Hot Heat
I hate this band. But all they had to do was release a happy-poppy song that I heard about 350 times on the radio while driving around LA to get me to like them. Oh well.

"Summertime" The Sundays
Does liking this song make me much less straight? Absolutely. Do I want to go skipping through a park on a sunny day when I hear it? You betcha. Should I just pretty much throw in the towel and come out of the closet now, especially since I'm asking and answering questions of myself and just wrote "you betcha"? Yup. Pretty much.

"Stay" Jodeci
From ages 12 to 18 or so, this was my favorite song. I remember those confusing early teen years, listening to this song over and over again, and imagining making love to an elegant black woman while it played. Those were the days.

"Fascination" Human League
Just a weird, enjoyable 80's song. Don't judge me.

"Turkish Disco" Fugazi
I know very little about this band, and what I do know scares the shit out of me. However, this has got to be one of the coolest bass lines ever. My roommate Brian downloaded it about a week ago, and since then I'm spent most of my free time inventing a dance to it. When it's ready, I'll premiere it here. And of course I'm lying.

**********************************

And because I may not post tomorrow (taking a half day to go to a wedding - and anyway, this post and Monday's are huge), I wanted to leave with you something memorable. So I give you Lindsay Lohan being incredibly hot and busty (this is safe for work).

This is a skit she did when she hosted SNL back when she was curvy. I saw this for the first time last night and watch it three times in a row before, well, you can guess what happened. Then I watched it three more times this morning, causing me to be late for work. I mean, I don't even know what to say. So I'll just stop. And watch.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
 
the Motley Crue concert: a lesson in moronocy
Last night, my roommate Brian and my friends Brendan and Joey "attended" the Motley Crue concert at Jones Beach on Long Island. I say "attended" because they didn't actually go to the concert, but rather took a boat into the waters just outside Jones Beach Theater, hoping to be rocked out.

And it didn't work. Like, at all.

This all started a year ago, when Brian and Brendan (not to be confused with Site Guy Brendan, whose apartment was actually broken into last night - I'm not sure if he's ok, but the important thing is that the website is safe) went to a Rush concert in Holmdel, New Jersey. I declined this invitation, mostly because, well, Rush sucks. However, I passed on what turned out to be a "life-altering" experience.

I forgot that music was only part of the concert experience, and when Brendan and Brian came back from that Rush concert, they were changed men. They stood in the pouring rain to watch the show, but more importantly, to watch the antics of Rush fans, who are apparently a fascinating and unique group of people. The number of private jokes spawned between the two of them combined with the number of references to the concert between them in the presence of others has got be a world-record. They hang out all the time, but every time they're in the same room, it's "Remember at the Rush concert when that dude peed himself during Neil Pert's drum solo?" or "Remember at the rush concert when Geddy Lee went off during 'The Trees' and people were so mesmerized that forty-three of them actually ascended to heaven, rat tails and all?" The point is that since then, Brian and Brendan have been feening for another ridiculous concert to go to together.

So their next big concert project was Motley Crue. The plans for this project were hatched almost as soon as the tour was announced, but this time there was an interesting twist, thanks to Brendan's cousin Joey.

Joey is a tremendous guy. He was one of the first guys I met when I moved to NYC back in the summer of '01, and he, Brendan and I had some crazy times back then, most of which I can't repeat here because Joey is now a New York City police officer. But I digress.

While on the job (sometime in the spring I think), Joey banged up his foot and has been out of work in therapy or something. So naturally, he did want anyone out of work for the summer would do: he bought a boat. Sadly, I have yet to see this boat, but I hear it's a real beauty. Nothing special, but something upon which that you could take a few ladies, liquor them up, and then say something romantic, like "You look so beautiful against the water and the moonlight" or "Your hair smells of the sea" or "TAKE OFF YOUR FUCKING SHIRT RIGHT NOW OR I WILL THROW YOU OFF THIS FUCKING BOAT - NO ONE KNOWS YOU'RE HERE! BY THE TIME THEY FIND YOU, ALL THAT WILL BE LEFT IS STINK AND TEETH!"

So the plan for the Motley Crue show was this: instead of getting tickets to the show, Brendan, Brian, Joey and I would get on his boat, go out to the bay just outside of the stadium, and have some beers and listen to Crue being Crue. Sure, they've never done this before with other concerts, but this was Motley Crue, and times called for extraordinary and unique measures.

[Legal disclaimer: Joey, from the start, was to be excepted from the drinking activities. Apparently, the NYPD wouldn't be too happy about it if one of their own got a DWI for driving his boat after a Motley Crue concert. Fucking Nazis.]

Yesterday, the day of the concert, we were all set and pumped to go. I'm horrified of boats and water and fresh air, but I knew that we'd have a lot of booze, and that of course makes everything better. However, at the last minute I got railroaded at work - one of those "Sure, we've known about this for a week and a half but we'll show it to you for the first time at 2:30pm on the day before it's due, so get on it" dealies - so I couldn't go. Rage. Rage. Rage.

Turns out, not being able to go was not as bad as I thought it would be. For starters, they could not move the boat to the concert area for over an hour. From what I gathered, Joey's boat is docked by a canal. There is a small, rickety bridge over this canal. They had to go under this bridge to get to the concert. Apparently the tide was too high, so that the boat could not fit under the bridge. So the three of them sat in the boat, by the dock, for OVER an hour, eating sandwiches and drinking beer and most importantly, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Sorry I missed out on that.

However, they were not fazed. Eventually the tide went down and the were able to clear the bridge, by about three inches. They were psyched and off to the concert they went.

They stationed the boat as closely as they possibly could to the arena. Apparently, they didn't miss any of the concert, as they didn't hear anything coming out of the open/outdoor arena of Jones Beach. So they kept listening to the radio and drinking beers, carrying on and having fun. They one of them realized it was getting late and turned down the radio to make sure that the concert hadn't started. They heard off in the distance, a faint muffling of sound and the muted cheers of fans. The concert had started. And they could barely hear it. Sweet.

From what I learned, the next two to three hours were spent hanging out on the boat. The three of them did a lot of things - drink beer, smoke cigarettes, piss off the side of the boat - but what they most certainly did NOT do was rock out to The Crue. On land a few thousand metal heads were having the time of their lives, while these three morons were out to sea (literally and metaphorically).

At the end of the evening, Joey was kind enough to drive Brendan and Brian in the city where they parted ways. In retrospect, they had a good time, saying that it was fun even without actually hearing any live music. In the words of Brendan, "Who doesn't love a boat ride?"

My reaction? Suckers. Weeks spent planning this and no one thought about whether they would actually hear the music? I mean, isn't that kind of important? Instead of three guys going to a concert, getting drunk, rocking out, and gawking at the weirdos present, the evening turned into three mostly sober dudes hanging out on a boat in the middle of a bay in near-silence, with homoerotic undertones galore. Actually, I'm not sure about that "homoerotic undertones" thing, but I know these guys personally, so I wouldn't put it past them.

I'm just glad that I wasn't there. I would have been complaining like a mother fucker, which would have led to me getting all worked up, which would have led to a panic attack, which would have led me falling off the boat. Such is life.

But still, I'll make sure to tag along on their next concert "adventure". I'm going to the Journey website now to see if they posted tour dates.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005
 
uncomfort
Saturday was, by almost all accounts, the most uncomfortable day of my life.

First and foremost, this is because of the unconscionable heat that has been gripping New York City. I don’t have the statistics to back this up, but this has got to be the hottest summer on record. At the very least, it’s the hottest summer I can remember. Of course, summer is usually the time when I up my drug/alcohol intake, so I really don’t remember much of past summers. There was that summer when I was a kid when I got hit by a van full of paraplegics. That summer in high school when my Uncle Rick when on a bender and, long story short, I "fell" into the Delaware River after a card game. And that summer in college when I thought I had genital warts but it was just some old macaroni and cheese that got stuck on my bird. So summers are a blur.

But this one, for certain, is really fucking hot. I stress this because the heat is the backdrop for the entire day, and the root of all the crap (literally) that followed.

This Saturday started like most Saturdays do – with a hangover. I didn’t go out Friday night, because I had a long week of work (and got bombed on Wednesday) so I ordered in and planned to take it easy. After dinner, I had some vodka on the rocks. I don’t usually drink this unless I want to get super messed up, but I didn’t want to get super messed up on this night. I don’t know...I guess I thought I was being sophisticated or something: here I am, in my NYC apartment, a successful young man enjoying a vodka on the rocks. Nevermind that a few hours before I was sitting in a bathroom stall at work for an unprecedented twenty-two minutes in an effort to kill time. Successful indeed.

The first vodka rocks was tough, and it took me over a half hour to drink the four ounce drink. The second one was easier and took half the time. The third went down even quicker, despite being twice the size of the first. By the time the fourth rolled around, it was like I was drinking really cold Poland Spring that made me feel great and handsome. In a little over an hour, I was bombed and alone in my apartment, stumbling to the bathroom while VH1 Classic roared in the background. And yes ladies, I am available.

Exhausted, I passed out. Because I didn’t properly eat, hydrate, and asprinize, I had a pretty bad hangover the next day. This is the context in which I started by horrible Saturday.

I had big plans for Saturday. I had to buy a suit, I had dinner plans with some old friends from college, and I had a few parties to go to that night. Realistically, I didn't have much hope to accomplish these things, but I had big plans. And that has to account for something.

But as I mentioned, it was really, really hot out. Brutally hot. Heat stroke hot. I-leave-an-air-conditioned-room-and-I-want-to throw-up hot. The humidity was so thick you could almost touch it. I had soaked through my shirt about ten seconds after I walked out my door, my balls were making a sloshing noise while I walked around, and before long my entire body was wet. This happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure if I didn’t piss myself, as the sweat rolled down my legs. Gross.

My first mission was to buy a suit. I have a wedding next weekend, and I only own three suits:

* An excellent gray one that was expensive and makes me look like a sexy, sexy mother fucker. But this suit is wool and can’t be worn in hot weather, unless there is an EMT on hand at all times.

* A navy suit I got in college from an uncle that lost a bunch of weight. I forgave the insult ("Hey, I’m no longer fat, but you still sure are – you want one of my old suits?") because I was in college and needed a suit for job interviews. Despite the fact that it’s a hand-me-down AND double-breasted (which is about as old-fashioned as you can get), I wore it to a wedding recently. I knew the wedding was going to be a rowdy one and whatever I wore would get messed up, so I went with this one. The result? Merciless ball-breaking by my friends (Me: "Hey, do they have crab cake appetizers?" Friend: "No. You know what they also don’t have? Double-breasted suits, because it’s not 1985.")

* A black suit that I bought three years ago for like $150. I’ve never worn it, and dug it out my closet recently to find it has FIVE buttons on it. Unless I’m going to the Vibe Awards, I’m never going to wear this suit.

So I needed a new one and went to a large NYC department store to get one. Clothes shopping is one of my least favorite activities. If possible, I try to buy all my clothes online. I know my sizes, so why not? I don't really care if it fits right, because either way it's not like I'm going to look good in my Banana Republic button down shirt. I'm going to look like a fat guy with no sense of style who shops where everyone else shops.

Suit shopping is even worse than clothes shopping. This is because there's a lot more at stake. Suits are expensive and you're going to have them for years. It's a purchase that would make anyone nervous. Fortunately, I don't really give a shit about this. My goal was to go there, but a nice, normal suit, be out of there in a half hour, and then get home to the air conditioning to, of course, rest for my big night out.

[Please note that by "rest" I mean "drink lots of vodka red bulls with lots of ice".]

I got a quick measurement by the Puerto Rican queen holding down the fort in the suit section and found the suit of my dreams: a snazzy little black number with fine pinstripes (black + stripes = slimming!). I took the suit off the hook and tried on the jacket, which fit well. As soon as I muttered a "Hmpf" of approval in the mirror, the sales guy was upon me.

Sales guy: [in thick Spanish/homosexual accent] "It looks very nice on you."
Me: "Thank you."
SG: "Let me see."
[Sales guy steps in front of my body and begins tugging on the jacket, his face not six inches from mine, smelling strongly of the finest colognes that Latin America has to offer]
SG: "That's better. Would you like to try on the pants?"
Me: "Sure."

I had no problem with any of this, as I am not homophobic at all. I have many faults, but my ability to get along with gay people, minorities, the elderly, kids, or anyone else that is not mid-20's white Irish Catholic is one of my main (and only selling) points. So I wasn't weirded out by his aggressive behavior, because he's a sales guy and I have a lot of gay friends. Also, as I've mentioned, my brother is bisexual, so it's totally cool.*

He took me to the dressing room and said, "My name is Juan. Let me know how it fits." Seconds later I was in the pants and feeling like I looked pretty good. Seconds after that Juan had barged into the room with a tape measure and was kneeling in front of me, one of his hands planted on the floor holding one end of the measure and the other hand extending the tape measure up my inseam to my crotch, dangerously close to the goods.

"32", he said, meaning that was my inseam. I was grateful I suppose, but that was information I already knew, not something that I needed a slim Latin man to gracefully - nay, sensually - drop to his knees before me to tell me. I didn't know what to make of the situation. Was it me? Was I being homophobic? Or was it Juan, who seemed to linger just a lil' too long with his left hand a hair away for my inadequate bird and gentlemen, looking up at me and saying "32" again?

Either way, the whole situation was uncomfortable. I said "thanks" and he asked me about the fit, the feel, whatever. He stood up and went to walk out of the room, but not before he turned to me and said, "It is a good suit. Stripes make a man look strong."

Well.

That was my cue to leave. Juan was a good-looking man and if I were drunk enough I probably would have let him have his way with me, especially if I needed a ride home, but that was not the case. I paid for the suit and was shortly back on the subway platform, where the temperature was approximately 131º.

By the time I got home, I was convinced I was having a heat stroke. And this was not because of my hypochondria, which has been kept in check since my stress test. When I got home I crashed on my couch and was so sweaty I could have nearly slipped off it. I drank a liter of Gatorade and a liter of water and tried to regain my composure. I retreated to my bedroom and the air conditioning and, having spent enough energy to last me a week, fell asleep.

***************

Soon it was time for dinner, and I was up, showered, and ready to go. I was there with some college friends, two couples, who were in town visiting and who I rarely see. Joining us where some other college friends who live in the city, who I also rarely see.

And I don’t mean this to slight anyone at the table, but it was kinda uncomfortable. This is not a fault of the other people there, but rather the result of my own neuroses and shortcomings. But every time I hang out with people – people my age, my peers, people I have known for years – it becomes more and more apparent than everyone else is more of an adult than I am. All these people in serious relationships, engaged, or even married, those in grad school pursuing advanced degrees, and those far along in their jobs – all of them seem way more ahead of the game than I am. And it’s not even close.

Yet it wasn’t that long ago that me and the guys at the table were drunk and stoned out of our minds, throwing a mattress into a tree off our deck or making up songs about how two of us fucked the girls next door or running from cops because we were drunk and stole a jug of gasoline and were attempting to write "Poo" in the middle of Commonwealth Avenue so that we could light it on fire and watch our flaming "poo" from the roof of our building.

But things change very quickly after college. People grow up awfully fast. The same guys who wouldn’t necessarily have a problem spending a night in jail for a good laugh now concern themselves with things like lease agreements and mortgages. The same guys who once pondered such important questions like, "I wonder if it’s possible to shit in a condom so I can leave it on Tom’s bed?" and "Both Jay and I fucked Kim in the shower – does that mean we fucked each other?" are now consumed by the traffic on the Mass Pike and fret about planning a barbeque for their new neighbors.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not guilty of getting older and thus lamer. My hangovers are exponentially worse than they were five years ago, so I don’t go out as much during the week anymore. Next month, I will (hopefully) be promoted to "senior" analyst, something that makes me a little horrified ("Hi, Jason Mulgrew, Senior Analyst"). And I care about stuff like government and crap. Sometimes, at least.

But overall I don’t get it. Not only that, I don’t think I’ll get it for a long, long time. So there’s no need to dwell on it here, I suppose. Sigh.

I should point out that the meal was delicious. I got the crab cake appetizer, which was good, but the winning appetizer belonged to my friend Sarah, who got some goat cheese salad with bacon. I had never had goat cheese before and MY GOD. So, so rich. I got the sirloin steak for my main entrée. Delicious.

But as people were getting dessert and coffee, something started happening down below. The minute I felt it I recognized it and knew where it would lead and what it would do to the rest of the night. The machinations of a monstrous poo were under way.

I tried to resist to keep up appearances at the table, but it was soon obvious that this would be a losing battle. The restaurant was comfortable, but I began sweating bullets. This is nothing new to me; my battles with my spastic colon have been well-documented here. However, since I was in a mature setting, I decided to do something mature. Instead of sitting at the table waiting until my colon exploded all over the restaurant, I excused myself and went to the bathroom. I figured I'd get it out of the way right away, since I knew I'd ultimately have to poop.

I don't mean to gross you out with the details, but I would say that particular bowel movement was "strong". I've had worse, but I've had a lot easier too. And I wound up being in the bathroom for a very long time, because when I walked in I saw that there was only a little toilet paper left. The bathroom was a single bathroom, so I couldn't hop over to the next stall and I didn't want to risk the embarrassment of walking out of the bathroom to ask the waiter for more t.p. Fortunately, after a good deal of searching, I found another roll of toilet paper under the sink. When I finally wrapped everything up, I came out to find my table finished with dessert and coffee, waiting for me so they could go. Smooth.

We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I headed uptown to a bar for my buddy's party. I'd been to the bar before and it's ok. The party was to be on the roof of the bar. Normally, in any other summer, this would be nice. However, not this summer and not tonight.

When I got to the bar, I felt good. I thought I had defused a potentially dangerous situation by going to the bathroom right away. Sadly, I was mistaken. Very badly mistaken. I got a beer and had about four sips before it hit me again. My belly started churning, and it was on.

I tried as well as I could to hold it in. While I was fighting it back, I went to scope out the bathroom to see how poop-friendly it was. The answer? Not very much. The bathroom had one stall and two urinals. It was very small - maybe 6x6, and it had an attendant in it. Also, though the stall door closed, it didn't lock. Ouch.

I finished peeing and doing my recon work and went back out to join the party, determined to beat this thing back with sheer will and determination. Thirty seconds later I was pushing my way through the crowds to get to the bathroom, about to succumb to the overwhelming might of a great poo.

Now, friends, I don't consider myself an expert on a lot of things. I know a lot about being a fantasy sports, but I wouldn't say I'm an expert. I know a lot about being an Internet Quasi-Celebrity, but I'm not quite an expert on that either. And I know a great deal about beating off in the laundry of my freshman dorm, but would I call myself an expert? No.

However, I consider myself an expert on pooping and all things poo. I have had some tremendous bowel movements over the years, far surpassing the work of my peers in this department. Some have been good, some have been bad, and some were just downright traumatizing.

And the poos that I experienced for the rest of the night certainly fit into this last category. My first round was one for the ages: a fabled poo-wipe-poo-wipe again - all in one sitting. The famed double poo. When it was over, I was dizzy, and how could I not be? I spent about ten minutes in a hot, crowded bathroom, my life draining out of my heinie, bent awkwardly as I tried to wipe and simultaneously use my other hand to hold the bathroom door shut for unruly bar patrons looking to use the bathroom stall I was in.

I stumbled back to my friends, noticeably shaken and sweaty. I tried to carry on, drinking my beer, oogling women, acting naturally. But after about ten minutes it happened again. It's a horrible situation: trying to play it cool, feeling the stomach knot up, hearing it growl and yelp, like someone has reached inside you and is shaking everything up. Try focusing on the conversation about your buddy's new apartment when you're certain that something inside of you is dying, and it's not going down without a fight.

And so the same incident replayed itself: hot bathroom, holding the stall door, double poo. It was not good. Not good at all.

After I wrapped up, I left the bar. I made no effort to say goodbye and just took off. I could not be in a bar or social situation in the state I was in, so I caught a cab back home. As the cab sped throughout the streets of New York City, I took in the scenery with my glazed-over eyes and wondered if I had been finally defeated by poo. It seemed that I was.

I got home and spent the rest of the night drinking Gatorade and water in various stages of sweaty nudity, running to and from the bathroom. I would describe more of it, but I simply don't remember much. But I do remember that it was very, very...uncomfortable.

Sunday was better. I stayed inside in my air conditioning all day, but opened my windows to get some air when thunderstorms rolled over the city. This was refreshing and therapeutic. So I played with myself. And then I slept. Repeat.

And now, two days later, I think I'm finally fully recovered. It was a long, weird day, and this is a long, weird post, and I have very little interest in providing a good ending. So I'm just going to stop now. That is all. Thank you.

*The first three sentences in this paragraph are entirely false. The last is entirely true. Thank you.

Friday, August 12, 2005
 
my chilita experience
I’ve been living in Little Italy/Chinatown (an area of Manhattan I’ve christened "ChiLiTa") for over two months now, so I figured it was time to take a minute to reflect on my experiences. And so below are some things I’ve learned about myself, my new apartment and my new neighborhood in the past few months.

[To clarify going forward, Little Italy is really just one street in Manhattan, Mulberry Street, that runs from about Prince Street down to Canal Street, about six blocks. There are restaurants and trattorias just off Mulberry Street, but the area surrounding - nay, engulfing - Little Italy is Chinatown. I live just off Mulberry Street, so that when I walk out my door, one block west is like a cheesy version of Florence and one block east is like a Beijing street fair. And yes, it is as weird as it sounds.]

Check your windows before you move in. My living room windows, as well as the window in my roommate Brian's room, have bars on them. This is great for safety but terrible for something much, much more important: air conditioning. Since he doesn't like the heat and it's just plain unsafe for me to be in temperatures above 80 degrees, Brian and I spent most of our time in the apartment the first two months figuring out how we can get an air conditioner in there. We have only given up on this dream just recently.

But before giving up, many a hair-brained scheme were hatched. When I first saw the bars (AFTER we signed the lease), I thought, "This is not a problem. I’ll just get a torch and weld the mother fucking bars off. How hard can this be?" There was another reason I wanted to do this: it would prove to myself, my female friends, and my father that I am NOT, in fact, homosexual. Nothing screams "I’m straight" like welding with a torch, you know?

With that in mind, I called my dad.

Me: "Dad, we have bars, like iron gates, over our windows and we want to put in an air conditioner."
Dad: "You can’t."
Me: "Well, how about this? I was thinking of welding them off."

Waits for telephonic high-five from dad or at least "You go get ‘em, son!"

Dad: [heavy drag from cigarette]: "No."
Me: "What? Why?"
Dad: "Jas, have you ever used a blow torch before?"
Me: "No. I don’t think I’ve even seen one in person. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them on TV though."
Dad: [silence for approximately fifteen seconds]
Me: "Hello?"
Dad: "You can’t do that. No."

So then Brian and I thought that we’d just suck it up and buy one of those portable air conditioners, the ones that look like R2D2. This idea was disregarded almost immediately, since the cheapest one costs about $450. I love the cool air as much as anyone – hell, I need the cool air as much as anyone – but $225 is a lot of money. That’s like a whole night of drinking right there.

And so because Brian and I didn’t think to look at the windows before agreeing to lease the place, we’ve spent the last two months in pools of our own sweat, rot, and poo. Well, not those last two. But definitely the first one.

********************************************

Check your doorbell before you move in. Most apartments in NYC have an intercom/buzzer system. Someone buzzes, you say, "Who is it?", they answer and you let them up. My apartment does not have this. In fact, my apartment does not even have a doorbell. I wasn’t sure how one could live in a building without a doorbell. After all, how do visitors drop by? I'm on the second floor, so it's impossible to hear someone knocking on the caste iron door downstairs. Thus drop-in visits by friends and, more importantly, food deliveries seemed impossible.

I remedied this by getting a wireless doorbell. The problem is that the only place where the receiver picks up the signal from the buzzer is, naturally, in my bedroom. So when someone rings the doorbell at the front door, it buzzes in my bedroom. Sweet.

The wireless doorbell lasted for about two weeks. One Tuesday morning, I was awoken by the doorbell ringing. I didn’t answer, because I couldn’t think of anyone who’d be ringing me at 6am. Eventually, it stopped. Then twenty minutes later it rang again. Again, I did nothing, and again, it stopped. This happened about fifteen more times over the next two hours. While this was going on, I laid in bed, wondering what was greater: my conviction that owning a gun is bad or my desire to get a gun and shoot it over and over again out my window at whomever below was ringing my doorbell (grabbing my bird in the process, of course).

When I finally went outside to go to work, I figured it out: the doorbell had fallen off the doorway to the ground, and somehow landed in the middle of the pavement. Chinese people, as will be discussed later, go to bed around 9pm and wake up at 4:30am or so. So they had been walking over the doorbell in the middle of the sidewalk for hours, setting it off in my bedroom. So I picked up the doorbell and threw it down the sewer. No more doorbell.

And so deliveries and friends, when they come, have to call my cell phone so I can go and let them in. I’ll deal with it, because I’m not getting another one of those stupid fucking doorbells.

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Check your local garbage schedule before you move in. One of my favorite perks of living in Little Italy is the food. Well, not really, since the food generally sucks. But I needed a way to open this one.

Restaurants produce trash. Lots of it. And Little Italy is a high traffic area, so the trash can’t be left piling up. After all, what would all the lovely tourists from Kansas City and Des Moines think? So every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, private (at least I think they’re private) trash trucks come to pick it up. At 1am. Very loudly.

So three nights a week, just as I’m falling asleep, I am jolted awake by garbage trucks and garbage men yelling at each other. Ah, the charms of Little Italy. It’s just like Firenze, only much angrier but much less sexually aggressive.

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Closet space is important in your new apartment. There is no closet or pantry in my living room. I didn’t realize this before we moved in, but I did shortly afterward. And I thought, "Closet? Who needs a pantry or a closet? I’m a guy – that shit isn’t important. That kinda crap is for gays. And I’m not gay. At least when I’m sober."

Wrong – closet/pantry space is important. Do you know where I put my cereal? On the stove. Know where my pasta goes? Not in the cabinet, since there’s very little space there and it’s filled with pots and pans and other crap that I barely use. No, boxes of pasta, granola bars, chips, and all kinds of other crap go on top of the fridge or more likely on the floor next to the fridge. I imagine this is where jackets will go come wintertime, and by January we should be living in a full-fledged flophouse. I’m looking forward to being evicted.

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There are no "normal" grocery stores in Chinatown. I'm not big on food shopping. I usually order out, but when I do make food, it's simple: sausage, chicken, meat, pasta, chili. That's about it.

And when I go shopping, my list of needed groceries is not complicated. In addition to the above mentioned items, I keep it simple and get stuff like ice cream, Gatorade, eggs, butter, cheese, and of course Magnum condoms to impress the hot aspiring actress working the register. So I don't even really need a full-fledged grocery store. Most of these items can be bought at your local neighborhood deli/bodega, open 24 hours a day.

But there are no deli/bodegas in Chinatown. Not a one. The most "normal" local store is four blocks away, which in Manhattan terms is very far, as it seems every block has one bar, one deli, and one Duane Reade. And that store closes at 7pm. Again, a rarity in Manhattan, where you can buy a car (legally) at 2am if you wanted to.

And I have no idea what 70% of the stuff sold in Chinese grocery stores is. Sometimes I can make out the basics, like rice, noodles, and water. Otherwise, I got nothing.

This number jumps to 90% when we talk about the stuff sold in the outdoor markets. My roommate Brian and I have a running joke that goes something like this:

Brian: "Dude, I'm going out to get some Gatorade. Do you want anything?"
Me: "Yeah, can you stop by that outdoor place on Mott Street and get me some of that tree bark-looking shit?"
Brian: "Oh - thanks for reminding me. I wanted to grab some of that stuff that looks like inside out frogs. Need anything else?"
Me: "Now that you mention it, in addition to the tree bark, can you get me a half-dozen of those things that look like spiny testicles? I wanted to make something special tonight."
Brian: "So Gatorade, tree bark, inside out frogs, and spiny balls. Got it."

The end result of all this is that I have cooked a legitimate meal a grand total of two times since moving into the new apartment and things like yellow Gatorade and microwaveable macaroni and cheese are equivalent to cigarettes and porn mags in prison ("Dude, I'll trade you one three handjobs and eight packets of soy sauce for one frozen pizza").

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I am pretty sure that Chinese people eat Chinese food for breakfast. Yes, this sounds like a stupid statement to make, but you get it. When I walk to the subway at 9am, I see Chinese people in line at or hanging around metal food carts ordering or eating what appear to be pork dumplings. I love Chinese food as much as the next guy, but I’m not so sure about dumplings at 9am. Part of me is disgusted by this, but part of me looks on enviously and thinks, "You know what? That's pretty awesome. Good for them."

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Some Chinese people are real old. You will have a tough time convincing me that some of the elderly people in my neighborhood are not 200 years old. I love old people and have always been comfortable around them, but I swear to you that some of the Chinese people walking on my street at 7am carrying bags have got to be at least 150 to 220 years old. Good lord. I don't know if it's a Chinese thing or what, because it seems like you have people in their 50's, their 60's, their 70's and then their 130's. Weird.

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It's important to break down language barriers. In Chinatown, there are always Chinese people handing out flyers, usually for cell phone stores, in Chinese. They’ll be standing in the streets, shoving these flyers in the faces of everyone who walks by. However, they don't do this when they see white people. They'll pull the flyer away when the see a white person approaching, then run it to the Chinese guy behind him to shove it in his face.

I always got a kick out of this. It was as though I was a member of the Tsar's secret police and those handing out the flyers were Socialists, and so when I walked by they retracted their flyers to give to a more sympathetic person. Eventually, I started having fun with it. I'd approach one of the flyer people and they'd move away from me. But I'd keep approaching and take one of their flyers (all in Chinese, remember). I'd look it over for a little bit, shake my head in disgust, and then hand it back to them and walk away.

The reaction is priceless. The first few times I did it, the flyer person would stop in his/her tracks, study me reading it, then look at me shocked when I give it back and walk away.

I love messing with the Chinese. This is just my way of getting General Tso back for all the gastrointestinal distress he's caused me over the past twenty years.

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I swear I'm not racist. I think by now the Chinese Students Union at NYU is drafting a letter of reprimand to me and is also emailing their chapters at universities across the country to do the same. But I promise you I love the Chinese people. Hell, I've said many times on this site that I've been trying to make out with an Asian girl for years to no avail. So that goes to show you that I'm not racist - the Asian girls I've tried to make out with are. So there.

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There is no late night pizza in Little Italy. Ironic, isn't it? From 10am until about midnight, you can have your pick of about twenty different over-priced and crappy pizza places. But after midnight, there's nothing. As a matter of fact, there's nothing in Chinatown either. The 24 hour diner that delivers has been a staple of my NYC experience up to this point. Sadly, this is no longer.

To combat this, Brian and I have been ordering pizzas before we go out. When the pizza arrives, we put it right in the fridge, so that when we come home, alone and drunk, we can destroy it. Though not ideal, it's probably the best solution I've ever come up with in my personal or professional life. And yes ladies, both of us are single. And geniuses.

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Little Italy is scary at 3am. For being so lively (read: overcrowded with moron tourists), ChiLiTa is a scary-ass place late at night. I lived in cities all my life, in Philly, Boston, London and New York, and I have never felt as unsafe as I do in my new neighborhood at night.

It's a complete ghost town when it's late. All day long the streets are packed and alive, but from 1am to 5am it's completely dead. The stores are closed and no people are around, but what irks me most is also the complete absence of traffic. Even at the latest of hours, you can see a cab or other cars buzzing around the streets. Not so in Little Italy. It's dead quiet. Eerie. Every time I walk home with fifteen Bud Lights in me I'm afraid that I'm going to be attacked by a gang of Asian youths looking to rob me of my cash and my innocence.

And yes, I am a pussy. Thank you for pointing that out.

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"Authenticity" is important in Italian restaurants. Just a quick note to all the restaurant managers in Little Italy who hire "Italian" waiters to be authentic: Good sirs, believe it or not, there is a difference between Italian and Costa Rican. I know that the waiter serving me is not from Umbria. I know that he is more likely from Tegucigalpa. So let's just dispense with the charade, shall we? Thanks.

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Beauty helps. One of the features of the Little Italy restaurant is the in-your-face host who stands outside the restaurant and attacks defenseless tourists with menus. Then begins an awkward ritual wherein the tourists look at the menu and the host starts the manipulation process, ensuring said tourists that his gnocchi is best gnocchi on Mulberry Street.

Typically, these host are douchebag guidos. Pushy, gelled, and ready to sell. To me, the worst kind of human being. I wouldn't eat at any restaurant that has some greaseball guy with sunglasses outside who comes walking up to me gesticulating and saying "bella" over and over again about my lady friend. If I had a lady friend and if I actually ate at these restaurants, of course.

But one restaurant - just one of the thirty or so - has figured out that maybe people don't like the pushy guido host ramming a menu in their face. So this restaurant has stationed two attractive young girls outside, acting as hostesses. And the results have been astounding.

If you watch the flow of traffic on the street, you can see how people will literally run away from the pushy guidos hosts and into the waiting arms of these girls. And I'm not just talking about men here; women do it too. The guy hostess come shooting out of the restaurants blathering on about specials, while these two girls maintain a calm and pleasant demeanor and everyone comes to them, like harpes of Little Italy. It's amazing, precisely because it's so simple and yet so effective.

And really, it's only a matter of time because I do something to make them feel awkward. Stay tuned.

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Overall though, I love the new neighborhood and apartment. They have their quirks, but I'm getting used to them. As long as there is a liquor store nearby and I can get pizza delivered, everything will turn out just fine. Probably.

[Have a good weekend]


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