Thursday, December 15, 2005

Zathura Sucks!....I think...

Zathura
The first time you hear this title you probably think that it’s Zach Braff’s newest production company. You know, like it was his Dungeons and Dragons nickname in his gay uncle’s basement or something. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

This movie looks awful. Here are some impressions from the great ads I saw on TV this weekend -
Jumanji 2: Electric Bugaloo
Jumanji 2005: A Space Travesty
Jumanji in Space
Or
I Didn’t See Jumanji and I’m Not Going to See This Piece of Shit

Dax Sheppard stars instead of Robin Williams. Talk about Star Power! From one of the most talented actors of all time to a guy who rode Ashton Kutcher's coattails to "stardom." What was Wilmer Valderama too busy gracing the cover of STAR magazine and trying to nail every second rate "starlet" in Hollywood? (Watch out Dakota Fanning - you're probably next)

Did I mention Jon Farveau is directing? I have absolutely no problem with Jon Farveau, so I won’t say anything about that. He’s money.

Anyway, this movie looks like a piece of... Did I mention Dax Sheppard stars? I've got 20 bucks that says this movie becomes part of an all out bidding war between USA and TBS that only ends when USA gives TBS Bring It On 2 and the rights to an as yet un-named awful film. Within 3 years Dax Sheppard will be sleeping on the couch at USA headquarters with 25 cents being deposited directly into Credit/Debit account every time this atrocity airs and helps me fall asleep every lazy weekend afternoon for the rest of my life.

Anyway, I think I hate this movie but I’ll never be sure because I won’t watch it. Not that that means anything. I always said I wouldn’t watch Titanic, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t break down and cry like a little bitch when I finally did see it. I just assume that Zathura will make me cry the way that Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid did. Stay Black!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Holiday Party Etiquette Part 2: The Perfect Alibi

Continuing where I left off, here are the rest of Monster.com’s holiday party suggestions that will help you behave at your office party. Following them are my awful suggestions that will probably get you a harassment suit or a good old fashioned slap in the face followed by being escorted out of the building by security.

Monster Tip 5: If you've been a star performer in your organization this year, you may be honored with a toast. Accept the honor gracefully, but don't drink to yourself or clap when others are applauding you. Also, make a toast to the person who toasted you, thanking him for the recognition.
Let’s just get this out there: you aren’t being honored. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is. You suck. That’s life. Bubba, you’re middle-management and nobody honors middle-management. Hell, if you’re reading this, you probably don’t even have a job. You’re probably somebody I went to college or maybe high school with and if you think nobody gives a shit about middle-management, then you know damn well that even less people care about you. The closest you’re coming to having someone toast you is throwing down the 4th 10 for a jump-in-social during a game of Asshole.

Monster Tip 6: Pay attention to the time you arrive and when you leave. Even if you don't really want to attend, avoid arriving 20 minutes before the end just to make an appearance. On the flip side, don't party into the wee hours either. Coworkers and managers will notice both errors in judgment.

Jesus Christ, Monster.com is a fucking wet blanket. Snorting coke off a letter opener and banging a drunk coworker while she’s bent over the boss’ desk out of the question too? They did get one thing right – pay attention to the time you arrive and when you leave. If you’re going to murder your spouse the office holiday party is the perfect place to go for an alibi. If you’ve seen one episode of Law and Order you’ve seen them all and if you’ve seen them all you know that an air tight alibi is the only thing standing between you and an unhappy Jack McCoy. Just remember, if you have to kill a coworker, make sure you don’t get into a heated exchange during the holiday party – this is what leads police to motive and you don’t want motive if you want to waste a coworker and get away with it. For further explanation of this subject see TNT’s Drama in the Daytime.

Monster Tip 7: Be sure to thank those who coordinated the party. They likely put in a great deal of effort hoping you would have a good time. Not only is saying thank you the nice thing to do, but it also makes you stand out from the many employees who don't.

This is where Monster really contradicts itself. If you follow the rest of these tips to the “T” then you didn’t have a good time and let down the party planners. These people bought balloons and matching streamers, had to shop for all the snacks and booze, decorated the office. They put in a lot of work so you would have fun and you don’t even bother to get drunk, eat like a pig and make out with that girl from the mail room that has a lazy eye, but in all fairness, “a pretty nice ass?” How inconsiderate can one person be? Saying, “Gee, that was a super party. Thanks for the hard work,” is nice, but having sex in the handicap stall while the party planner uncomfortably uses the urinal explains how you feel in a way that words could never express.

Now that you know how to act at the party, (as Luda would say, “act a fool!”) it’s time to learn how to plan one of these little shindigs! Or box social if the mood is right.

Tip 1: Consider your employees' diversity. A Christmas party may alienate some staff. Promoting a holiday party is more inclusive.

I know what you’re thinking, Ron Burgundy, and no; diversity is not an old wooden ship. Before I go on, let me point out that Anchorman is the new Austin Powers and Austin Powers was the next Wayne’s World so you have to wonder – what the fuck ever happened to Mike Myers? Since Goldmember in 2002 he’s filmed four Shrek related projects (working on the 3rd full length as I type) and starred in the The Cat in the Hat. If you need a frame of reference for how long ago that was, Tom Cruise was still normal as far as we knew, Britney Spears was still kind of hot and not married with children to some scumbag wannabe “rapper” who looks like they just can’t get over the fact that they didn’t make the band, and Will Ferrell was still on SNL waiting to film a hit movie.

What the fuck did that have to do with diversity? I think Monster just doesn’t want you to exclude the Jews because they’ll be sad. And don’t exclude the other religions because they’ll hijack something and we’ll have to bomb the shit out of them. Messing with diversity is a no-no, just like messing with Texas.

Tip 2: Is a daytime or evening party more convenient for attendees? For employees with children, arranging child care for an evening event may be an issue. If you plan a party during office hours, however, make sure everyone can attend.

Okay, if you can name one thing better than getting smashed on the clock, I’ll give you a shiny quarter and a kick in the nuts for talking crazy. As for making sure everybody can attend, fuck that. Some people suck, which brings us to:

Tip 3: Clearly convey to employees who is invited to the party. If spouses or children are not included, make that clear.

You have to make sure that none of the losers in the office show up because that would really suck. As for spouses, you don’t want certain people there. Say you’re having a party and Katie Holmes and Beyonce’ both work in your office. You want to be very careful that Katie isn’t invited at all because she’s been brainwashed by a maniac who will just bring the party down. On the other hand you do want to invite Beyonce’ because if you’ve ever seen a Jay-Z video you know that, Jigga knows how to party. Also, you should get the feeling that Jay-Z knows some shady characters who could do you real harm if you don’t treat Beyonce’ really well.

Tip 4: Plan an event that reflects well on the company. Choose an appropriate location, control the alcohol flow and take your employees' interests into consideration.

I suggest a casino or strip club. Both places monitor the amount of alcohol you consume and are full of employees looking out for the customers’ interests and either place is a great venue for higher ups to show reciprocal generosity and feel the need to one up the people who make so much less than they do. You buy your boss a beer; he buys you a lap dance. You buy your boss a lap dance; he buys you a private show. You buy your boss a private show; he throws in the extra C-note so you get a happy ending. If this doesn’t get the company name out there, nothing will.

There you have it. Now you know how to throw the best holiday party the Tri-county region has ever seen and also how to party in a way that gets your boss to say “Hey, who is that guy!?” Enjoy and don't forget the cover up is just as imporant as the murder!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Office Holiday Etiquette Part 1: Getting Some

The holiday season is upon us and that means it’s time to fucking party, right!? You’re God damn right it’s time to party! Time to get television-throwing, arms-in-the-air-because-Limp Bizkit-is-on-the-radio, balloon-tied-to-the-mailbox fucked up! And what better place to do that than your office Christmas party? According to Monster.com, any place.
A few weeks ago I signed up for Monster in hopes to land a job that pays enough so that I can have dinner 4 or more nights a week. Since I signed up I haven’t gotten any job offers contrary to what the advertisements lead me to believe - but they have been sending me helpful little hints about how to get a job and how to keep a job if by some wild set of circumstances I actually land one where I have to shoulder actual responsibility.
Anyway, back to the point of this passage, Monster sent me some tips for how to act at the holiday party. Kind of putting the cart before the horse I think. In my opinion a job seeking website should be sending tips on where and how to get jobs before they start telling you what the perfect baked good to help land that promotion is. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the tips, but I would tweak these tips just a bit. If you follow my improved guidelines not only will you be a more popular employee but you are sure to leave an imprint in the souls of your coworkers much like that awful Christian poster that shows the footprints in the sand and has a positive message. To use the parlance of our times: “You do this stuff - ain’t nobody gonna forget you, kid!”

Monster Tip 1: Eat, drink and be merry -- in moderation. Where else but the office party can you find the CEO and the mailroom clerk bellied up to the bar together? Beware of the spiked eggnog, though. Alcohol plus you and your boss can equal Monday morning's "I can't believe I said that." If you choose to drink, do so minimally.

Sounds like a good idea right? One problem with that: Open bar, dude! As someone who likes to drink and enjoys a tasty Heineken or two I can tell you that “Free Spirits” are two of the most beautiful words in the English language when you put them together. A 6er of Heineken runs you about 8 bucks. If you have the opportunity to get hooked up to this dreamy green I.V. – do it! Get krunk! Look, your boss makes cash-money. He can afford to pass up free booze. You make 12,000 a year, you don’t have the option.

Monster Tip 2: Dress appropriately for the occasion. Klinkenberg says this rule especially applies to women who sometimes use company parties to strut their stuff. Leave anything short, tight or revealing in the closet. You've worked hard to create a professional image, and revealing clothes can alter your coworkers' and manager's perception of you as a competent professional.

Look, I don’t know who this Klinkenberg character is, but he sounds like a fag. I say, if you’ve got it – flaunt it! I know I do. Nobody’s going to stop me from wearing that little red dress that I keep in my closet for special occasions. Not you. Not Klinkenberg. Not anybody! You’ve been working your ass off at this dead end job for (insert tenure here) years now and 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (except Friday – everybody bounces early Friday) you look the part of a professional. Sex sells and that’s a fact. If Monster.com where giving you advice on how to get a date on MTV, you would most certainly be NEXT-ed and I’m not getting NEXT-ed. Not for you, not for Monster.com, not for anybody!

Monster Tip 3: Your company party may be the only time you see the president, CEO or VPs in person. Introduce yourself. This is a great opportunity to become visible to your organization's higher-ups. At the very least, don't spend the entire evening with your regular office buddies. Get in the holiday spirit and mingle with people from other departments.

Have you ever seen a sitcom? Everyone already knows this stuff. What else is Monster going to have to tell me? If I have to pee, go to the bathroom? Jesus, give me something I can use! The Christmas party is the perfect time to get with the boss’s daughter! You don’t get to interact with that fine piece ass everyday – take advantage of the opportunity of it and her. Haven’t you ever seen My Boss’s Daughter? Me either but I’m sure everything works out for Kootch in the end – why wouldn’t it for you? As for mingling with people from other departments, that works too. Other departments are a great source for hook-up material – especially since you don’t see them every day. The key is to never hook up with anyone who uses the same bathroom as you – that would be embarrassing.

Monster Tip 4: Find out who can come to the event. Spouses and significant others are not always on the guest list. Check beforehand to avoid a potentially uncomfortable evening.

This is one of the few tips I agree with. Listen to Monster – I had to find this one out the hard way. A few years ago when I was a temp at a prestigious advertising agency - which I can’t name here because of a pending lawsuit - I brought my now-deceased pet monkey, a now-deceased hooker and my grandmother to the Christmas party. Anyway, I’d only been working at the agency for a couple of weeks when the party came up and I just assumed it was “come one come all.” Long story short, Tip 1 and Tip 4 are closely related and my grandmother can attest to that. She’s now on death row and those PETA members outside the prison aren’t protesting in favor of clemency.

Coming tomorrow…
Holiday Party Etiquette Part 2: The Perfect Alibi

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Happy Birthday Junkyard Dog

I just drank 3 days worth of apple juice. At least that’s what the nutrition facts tell me. I don’t know if it’s the fact that last night I drank like David Wells on an off day, the fact that I haven’t had anything to eat yet or the 3 servings of apple juice I just consumed like a rabid Indian, but my stomach doesn’t feel as spec-fucking-tacular as I’d like. I’m putting my money on the apple juice. See that’s why I don’t buy into the whole “eat healthy” thing. Here I am, drinking a tasty nutritious 32-ounce bottle of AJ and suddenly my stomach feels like I took a scissor kick to the groin. Fuck healthy, I’m having Ben bring me Taco Bell for lunch. If that doesn’t coat my stomach with wonderful protection from badness then nothing will.

On a happier note, it’s Mike Finnegan’s birthday. I think he’s finally 21 and can legally get drunk before pissing on your local non-denominational place of worship. Just a few weekends ago the Junkyard Dog and I got into a confrontation with a chair. I know what you’re thinking – that sounds ridiculous. And actually it’s not what really happened. Actually we kicked that chairs fucking ass!
See Finnegan was walking into the kitchen and the chair bumped into him – or he bumped into the chair. I don’t really remember exactly what happened it was such a blur. I mean when shit goes down you don’t have time to sit there and take notes – you act or your good friend might be on the losing end of a fight with a chair. It would be a different story if we were on the Real World and there was a camera guy following us around. Of course we would probably have to wait for the “The S@&* They Should Have Shown” special after the season was over to even see the footage again, but that’s another story.
So anyway, I know Finnegan is ready to go at this son of a bitch and there’s going to be trouble. One thing I learned in my 4 years in Albany is that you don’t fucking fuck with Mike Finnegan without him fucking fucking with you back! So I jumped that chair before it knew what was happening. I leapt across the room and took the chair down like it was being protected by the Jets offensive line.
I wish I had it on video tape. I haven’t moved that fast in the last 3 years. I must have looked like a cat for a moment. Sure I would make a fairly large odd looking cat with a bad facial hair but that doesn’t matter. The point is I acted and that chair got knocked the fuck out! I started in on the chair and didn’t let up. I held the chair down from behind and Finnegan kicked it right in its worthless chair stomach – or at least where I imagine a chair’s stomach would be located. (I’m no chairologist nor do I pretend to be – that would be irresponsible as well as disrespectful to real chairologists.)
So after what felt like 2 seconds of unadulterated violence I was pulled off the chair by a couple of my friends who didn’t want to see things go to. far. (I don’t know how much further you can go after you’ve attacked a chair, but that’s all hindsight now.) Actually it was probably closer to 15 minutes of ass kicking – time flies when you’re dominating a chair the way I was right then. In reality I probably blacked out the way Charles Bronson does when he maliciously attacks strangers just because he thinks they might have a problem with coonskin caps.
So what’s the moral of this story? (Besides the obvious: Don’t fuck with Charles Bronson) Mike Finnegan is a man and you do not bother a man when he is walking towards a kitchen. Heck, you shouldn’t mess with Finnegan when he’s walking towards an anything! Why? Because he has friends who will attack you with the ferocity of an angry tiger with a bad attitude. I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last but I hereby pledge my undying, unwavering alliance to Mike Finnegan - a true friend who celebrates his birthday today much to the chagrin of his parents who never want little Mike to grow up. Anyway, Happy Birthday Finnegan you crazy son of a bitch. I know this can’t possibly be up to par with the time I wrote in the school newspaper that you were the World’s Best Friend, but because it’s your birthday I tried to come close.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Remembering Grant

Well, it’s been 7 years now. It’s one of those things that seems forever ago and just yesterday at the same time. It doesn’t matter how you remember it’s that you do remember. I originally wrote most of these words two years ago and had it published in the school newspaper. Now I go back and read it today to help me remember.
As I was walking to school today I remembered the stuffed buns and how I told the story on the news. It was all the other stories that I had to read to remember. I’m sure if I had sat down and thought hard I would have come up with all these stories as they were the ones that directly touched me. A couple of the things that I didn’t mention in this story was the left-handed catchers mit, patchwork cords, the Hendrix shirt, “Go Get’em Helmecke,” Grand Union and a 49ers t-shirt with a piece of paper reading “Super Bowl or Bust!” taped onto it. Those are just more things that make me smile and get misty eyed today. Anyway, here’s some of what I remembered when I was 20.

This time of year I remember how every time we got a math test back in high school, one person always received a 100 on the test. That damn kid would then have the audacity to say to the teacher, in front of the whole class mind you, that he wished the teacher would make the test harder next time because he wasn’t being challenged. If this was your first day in the classroom you would have hated the kid, until you realized everyone else in the class was laughing, mostly because of the look on this kid’s face - an ear-to-ear, “I am so clever and cute that you can’t help it” grin that you couldn’t help but be affected by.
This time of year makes everyone think of specific memories. For me, I think of biscuits and chicken and gravy. I think about corn, butter, and plastic silverware. I think of those little rolls and old school high cafeteria lunch trays, the ones with separate sections for each part of the meal. Most importantly I think about how every time this was on the lunch menu, all of my friends knew that we were in for a show. Come lunch, everyone’s favorite chef was going to walk us all through the steps one should take whenever preparing Chef Grant’s Stuffed Buns. The infomercial always ended with an “’Voila!” And that stupid smile.
I think about Global Studies. I think back to one specific class in the 10th grade when my friend grabbed the string to the blinds, which were all the way down, and yanked the string. Only one side of the blinds went up so that the shade was cockeyed as it was pulled up in haste and Grant yelled out, in the middle of a serious lesson, that there was a sniper in the courtyard that was trying to assassinate him. He kept it up the entire class except he could hardly be understood he was laughing so hard.One time the teacher got so sick of him talking and making wise comments that he moved him to the other side of the room by the door. By the end of class Grant had slid his desk all the way to the back of the class and was facing the other way smiling at the back wall. He was odd like that.
I remember a kid that moved in what seemed like slow motion at all times. He had such a slow delivery when speaking he earned the nickname “Sloth,” but he had a wit so quick that it put us all to shame.
I remember how Grant would propose to our friend Jen every day in science class, even though I wasn’t in the class with them. Freshman year, on Valentine’s Day, he brought a long stemmed red rose to school and waited to give it to Jen the minute she walked through the door. Whether he really “loved” her or just loved trying to embarrass her, we may never know, but everyone was smiling either way.
I remember when we were in junior high and we sat in the front row for every home basketball game. When garbage time came Grant’s cousin Dan would finally get in the game and Grant was his biggest fan. He showed this by counting, aloud for everyone near him to hear, Dan’s “ball-touches.”
When we finally made the big show that was Junior Varsity, there were only a couple of regular size pair shorts that had some length to them. All the rest were short shorts, the kind that remind you of a diaper. I lucked out and bought a longer pair from one of my teammates. Grant didn’t fair quite so well. He compensated by pulling his shorts down far enough to reach his knees. This didn’t help him run any faster and it didn’t make him stop smiling either.
I remember every day after school in the fall of tenth grade, while I went home because I was on varsity, the JV team would be in the pool room lifting and only one person would be walking around the school with his shirt off. And of course, it had to be the scrawniest kid on the team. The last time I saw Grant alive, he was carrying a 25 pound weight around the hall yelling to every girl within earshot. I remember him saying “Hello ladies,” as he flexed smiled because he knew he was so amusing. After that, I don’t really want to remember, but I do.
I remember everything from December 6, 1998. I remember working on my El Salvador project for Spanish class. I remember that my parents got a Christmas tree. I remember making a pizza and not being able to eat it. What I don’t want to remember is the phone ringing and picking it up and what everything that I was told implied.I don’t want to remember walking into school the next day to a building full of silent teenagers, silent except for the crying. I don’t want to remember seeing friends and teachers losing control of their emotions as we tried to come to grips with heartbreak caused by the loss of someone who had touched all our lives. We tried to understand how someone who had never done anything but make us laugh and smile could make us cry uncontrollably. Some of us, myself included, were having our vulnerability exposed for the first time. I don’t want to remember sitting in math class and staring at the seat where the kid looking for a more difficult test should have been sitting, making us laugh. Grant was never going to sit in class with us again.
And so, as I sit here 5 years later I remember Grant Richard Foster. Someone who makes me thankful for my friends. Someone who never stopped smiling and brought joy to my life along with the lives of so many others. Someone who just wanted to see that gleam, not of approval, but of love. Grant was a special person who managed to provide a lifetime full of laughs in a life that ended before it’s time.
I think about Grant Foster every day. Someone who makes me want to be a better person. Someone who makes me want to live life to its fullest and make everyone I ever meet laugh. Someone that makes me glad to just be alive. Someone who gave me a gift that no one can take away.
A gift that many people give daily. A gift of friendship. A gift of love. The gift you give someone when you want them to know that you will be there always, even when you aren’t.
I sit here, with a gleam in my eye and a tear on my check, and think about Grant. I sit here and think - I wish you were here bro.