Monday, February 25, 2013

Ohio

Nobody is from Los Angeles. Everyone comes here from someplace else. Oh sure, a handful of people claim to be native-born, but I think that's just because it would be too incredible to admit they were really delivered here by unicorns from Narnia.

So, at any type of social gathering in L.A., whenever you're meeting new people, the inevitable question always comes up (hence its inevitability): "Where are you from?" I hate that question.

It's not because I'm not ashamed of whence I hail or anything like that. It's just that talking about my lackluster origin is tedious to me, and as soon as I tell people I'm originally from Ohio, the next thing out of their mouths is invariably, "Oh really? Where in Ohio?" Like they're fucking Rand McNally or something. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were an expert in Midwestern geography all of a sudden.

They're probably expecting that I'm going to name a big city in Ohio that they've heard of, like Cleveland, or...um...er...I'm sure there's more, just give me a minute...

No, I'm from a small town most people wouldn't know.  I tell them as much, hoping they won't feel the need to keep pressing, but that only seems to make them more insistent. So I say, "I'm from Chillicothe," which typically elicits a blank stare and maybe one of those Scooby-Doo "Ar-huh?" sounds that's like confusion and a question all rolled into one utterance. Then they admit that they've never heard of Chillicothe, to which I reply, "No shit. I tried to tell you."

"What kind of name is Chillicothe?"they might ask. So then I explain it's Native American. (Or is it "Indian" again? I think they actually prefer Indian now, presumably just to screw with us for taking their land, killing the bison, and giving them all syphilis. They're so petty like that. What was I talking about? Oh, right.) The name Chillicothe is an Indian term. It means "capital city," but whenever people ask, I like to tell them it means, "Thanks for wasting my time. Couldn't you tell I wasn't interested in getting into this whole big thing with you?"

That's usually followed by the question I really hate: "I have an aunt in Dayton. Is that anywhere close to Dayton?" No, it's not close to Dayton, you knuckle-dragging imbecile. I mean, maybe in cosmic terms, but no. Ohio is kind of a big state. It takes 3-4 hours to drive from one side to the other.

I swear, I think people don't have any sense for distances. I was at a party not long ago and I happened to say that in all my years living in Los Angeles, I'd never made it up to San Francisco. The guy I was talking to was flabbergasted. He acted like the city of Rice-a-Roni was right in my back yard, when really it's closer to a six hour drive. You might as well chastise a person living in Tallahassee, Florida for never visiting West Virginia. "Are you kidding? It's right there, just halfway up the length of the entire coast."

When I meet people at parties and ask them where they're from, if they say any state other than Ohio, I just let it go and don't probe any deeper. You know why? Because I don't fucking care. All we're doing is making small talk. If I could skip the whole rigmarole, I would. Maybe I'll just start telling people I'm from Narnia, and I came here on a unicorn.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pope? Nope.

In case you've been living inside a cave, the big news out of this past week is that Pope Benedict plans to step down at the end of the month, citing health reasons, making him the first Pope ever to give up being Pope for Lent. Also, if you've been living inside a cave, how do you have the Internet?

This is disappointing. I took Latin in high school and German in college so, there for a minute, I thought my entire life had been spent grooming me for an audience with this specific pontiff. Not anymore! There's no way I can get to Vatican City by the end of February. Do you have any idea how much last minute airfare to Rome costs? Me neither, because I'm not even committed enough to this bit to Orbitz it.

I don't think God was too happy with the decision either, because lightning struck the Vatican just hours after the announcement. And that's not a bit--that actually happened.

Speaking of atmospheric phenomenon that could be interpreted as divine retribution for our many sins, did you happen to catch that meteor that exploded over Russia, injuring an estimated 1000 people? Because apparently living in Russia isn't already punishment enough.

Finally, if you're a fan of synergistic cross-promotion (and who isn't???), you'll be happy to hear I also addressed the Pope's announcement in the bi-weekly webcomic I write, Squid Pro Crow. You can check out that installment here: http://www.squidprocrow.com/2013/02/15/popeful/.

Monday, February 11, 2013

how to write an online dating profile that doesn't make you look like an imbecile

The Internet--repository of knowledge, porn, and cat videos. (Depending on your kinks, those last two might be the same thing.) And with sites like match.com, eharmony, and okcupid, it's where the 21st century world comes to date. Sorry, 20th century world--you don't matter anymore. You knew this was coming. Now slink away and enjoy your transistors, automobiles, and Polio vaccines.

Still with me, 21st century? Fantastic. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, it's time to get out there into cyberspace and get yourself a date, like the Good Lord intended.

But not so fast! First thing's first: You need to write a dating profile that will make you seem like an attractive prospect and--perhaps more importantly--not a complete buffoon. Here are some pointers:

1) Own it.

It's not 2004 anymore, when online dating was about as socially acceptable as the clap. Everybody does it now. You don't have qualify your profile with, "I'm new to this" or "I'm still not sure about this" or "What's the Internet?" You don't have to say a friend put you up to it. We don't believe that's true anyway. And don't say, "Might as well give it a shot and see what happens." That goes without saying. That's called dating. If the "most private thing you're willing to admit" on okcupid is that you're on okcupid, it's time to get over yourself. This is where dating is going in 2013. You're not special.

2) Avoid cliches.

No one cares that you work hard and play harder. And you're not really "up for anything" unless that includes juggling razor-sharp machetes or midnight strolls down Skid Row. Everybody is "down-to-earth" as long as the law of gravity is still in effect and they're not a pilot. Yes, most people don't use "their, there, and they're" correctly, but you're a tool for pointing that out. Say something original.

3) Know your audience.

Girls don't like it when guys post a lot of shirtless pictures. Oddly enough, when the situation is reversed, guys don't care so much. Know your audience. And speaking of pictures...

4) Post a picture (or two or three).

Looks aren't everything...but they're also not nothing. You wouldn't date one of those pig doctors from that "Eye of the Beholder" Twilight Zone episode, no matter how charming they were or how much your mother wanted you to date a doctor. So don't expect your match to be less shallow than you--give them a halfway decent chance to see "the goods." One photo probably doesn't paint an accurate picture, unless maybe it's taken by Annie Leibovitz. Digital cameras are really easy to come by now. You probably even have one on your phone. So get a friend or a roommate to take a few shots. Make sure they're close enough to make out details (like your gender, for instance) and that you're not obscured by a shadow or something. It's awesome that you love to ski, but if your face is covered in goggles and a scarf, I can't tell that you're not the elephant man, so I don't care.

5) Grammar

Notice how that was the first point that didn't have a period at the end? That's because "Grammar" isn't a sentence, stupid. I suppose for the purpose of symmetry, I should've made it a sentence, such as, "Use correct grammar, you elementary school dropout." Nothing is a bigger turnoff than when someone can't be bothered to put at least as much effort into their profile as they did their sophomore composition essay. (Spoiler alert: If you failed your sophomore composition essay, you're probably going to fail at this, too.) And while we're on the topic of making an effort...

6) Making an effort is a two-way street.

One of the biggest complaints I see on girls' profiles is that guys don't put any effort into their messages. They say things like, "Hey" and "'Sup?" like eharmony is charging by the letter. I get it. It's disheartening to spend a lot of time personalizing a message that, statistically, will very likely go unanswered. So I propose the following corollary to the ladies: if a guy does manage to string a few thoughtful words together for you, do him the courtesy of a response or shut the hell up about it.

That should be enough to get you started on your online dating adventure. Good luck, and go get 'em!

Monday, February 4, 2013

in which I quit plagiarizing myself and review a 50-year-old movie

Okay. Full disclosure: What I've been doing so far is taking entries from the old blog, reheating them, and serving them back up. But now, I've not only mined the old blog clean, I've even fracked it (something that would be frowned upon in the Battlestar Galactica universe) for every last drop of precious ore. From this point on, I'm working without a net. Or Frankie. (Ask your grandparents.)

Regardless, I think it's going well so far. Or maybe it isn't. I can't be 100% sure because I still haven't decided what my specific goals for this blog are yet--only my more general goals of fame, money, and power. (Okay, last joke from the old blog. Promise. Also, if I can get through the rest of this entry without any more parentheticals, that would be awesome.)

Anyway, I recently went to the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA, which is a museum in Los Angeles and not a 50-foot creature poised to destroy Japan like it sounds. I'm a huge fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, at least in principle, so I loved seeing all the movie props they had on display from the ape costumes to the ship that looks like a giant sperm hurdling through space. Yes, the ending of that movie is confusing as hell and one day, when I'm in a safe environment surrounded by friends, I definitely want to try whatever drugs Kubrick was on when he made it. But the whole thing is so artfully shot I could watch it again and again.

The museum also had artifacts from other movies in Kubrick's oeuvre, like Malcolm McDowell's costume from A Clockwork Orange, the typewriter from The Shining, etc. I was reminded of the great works this master director has created and I was inspired to re-watch some of them, a process which I began recently by renting the classic Dr. Strangelove.

Now, I really wanted to learn to stop worrying and love this movie, but I've seen it twice now and I still don't get what's so great about it, which assuredly puts me in the minority. It's just that most of the film is so subtle, I find it's hard to tell that it's supposed to be a comedy. Which is fine if that's what you're going for, but then peppered throughout are these brief moments of absurdly satirical genius, making the overall tone of Dr. Strangelove feel really uneven. A dark comedy about the cold war arms race seems like a no-brainer--I mean, what's not funny about mutually assured destruction? But, while the statement it makes about nuclear proliferation is definitely on point, as a comedy, I just don't think it consistently lives up to its potential.

And I'm sure you're like, "Thanks for the timely movie review. While you're at it, what did you think of Citizen Kane?"

Don't get me started on Citizen Kane.