Monthly Archives: October 2010
I want to play a game. Imagine that you’re riding down the highway on your way to Wal-Mart or somewhere. You get off the exit and you’re on one of those four-six lane roads about to make a left turn to get to the Wal-Mart. Standing on the island/grass median is a homeless guy. What does he look like?
I’m curious if the homeless guy I’m imagining looks like one that you’ve seen before. I’m gonna be David Blaine on this one. Does your guy have on a long sleeved shirt that’s dingy but not torn? Does he have on jeans that are technically dirty but they kinda look neat at the same time? Is he wearing Sauconys, New Balances or some of those cheap Nikes that you’d only find in Rack Room Shoes? Finally, is he holding a cardboard sign with black lettering?
I only ask because I’m noticing a lot of similarities in homeless people along the highway. It’s leading me to believe that there is a Homeless Depot somewhere that sells begging supply kits. Think about it: How is it that every homeless person on the highway has a cardboard sign. Why is the lettering so perfect? It’s almost like they used a stencil or something. How the hell did they get the edges of the sign so neat if they cut it from an old box?
Now I don’t think homelessness is funny. I just don’t believe most of the people on the side of the highway are really homeless. If you live in the woods, why are your shoes so clean if it just rained yesterday? One day I was on the bus and this guy got on the bus, folded up his sign, pulled out a wad of ones and then sat down. He pulled some scrubs out of his bag, and put on his hospital employee ID badge. And no, I’m not making that up.
So I wonder where this Homeless Depot is. I bet their floral department sells all those half dead roses that you see people selling on the side of the road. The lime green and neon pink cellophane paper is probably their bread and butter. Speaking of the rose guy…how the hell do they get there? Who’s supplying them. They usually have that bucket with like four bouquets, yet an hour later after selling three, the bucket magically refills. Someone is re-upping their flowers.
Hell, this thing may go deeper than we can imagine. What if this is like a growth program like the Boy Scouts. You start off selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the side of the road for your “fundraiser” and then graduate to roses and finally you become your own man and can get your own cardboard sign. If you don’t pay your dues though they probably make you get out there with a shirt and tie and a bucket saying that it’s for your church.
This is some Illuminati type ish. I’m scared. lol
So I had been looking forward to the Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity ever since it was announced. I saw it as a way for a few hundred thousand people to band together to form one big middle finger pointed at the media and the fear-mongers. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy the rally as I’d hoped. Metro got in the way.
If you’re reading this from outside the DC area, you probably aren’t familiar with the metro. It’s our transit service. While funded by various governments, Metro gets its real power by feeding off the souls of the adults and the happiness of small children. So today, they made me their appetizer.
In a normal world it would take just ten short minutes to get from my station to the Smithsonian station where the rally was being held. Knowing the wiles of Metro the way that I do, I got to the station an hour early. Train after train after train was packed to the point where no one could get on. I don’t mean “comfortably.” I mean period. There were people’s shirts sticking through the doors. It was packed.
After 30 minutes of watching sardines go by I decided to just catch the bus. That would get me there in 20 minutes. Three different bus lines converge near my house. Not one bus would stop. Why? They were packed too.
Now you could look at this as “well it was a really popular event, there was nothing they could do.” Don’t! Metro sucks! They could have run more trains, buses or something. No, they had that stupid schedule today all the while running their dumb permanent “track advisory warning.”
So I ended up walking the five miles to the rally. By the time I got there, I was in no mood to stand up. I stayed for a few minutes and then tried to go home. Alas! Same problem going home. Apparently other people wanted to leave too.
Okay, so as a wedding present my mother decided to give us her old car. People with money give you new stuff. Poor people give you what they have. Still, we appreciated it. So we drive the thing from DC all the way back home to NC. No problems. The next day I drop the wife off at work, fill up the tank and then head to my own job. I get to a light and a guy pulls up beside me.
“Hey buddy, you got water spewing out the bottom of your car!”
It’s some snaggletoothed guy who looks drunk so I’m like, “Thanks” and I keep driving. I’m thinking to myself, “the old ‘water spewing out of the car’ trick. Not today buddy.” So I drive further and come up to another light. I look down and notice that the gas tank that I just filled up is now 1/4 full. That’s when that nerdy brain of mine starts working. “Water is clear. What else is clear? Gasoline!” I pull over and turn off the car. I get out and low and behold, there is a big puddle of gas under the car and I notice that I’ve basically made a huge trail of gas leading up to where I am.
So I pop the hood, notice that the gas valve came loose from the engine and I put it back where it goes. Problem solved. I fill the tank back up and go on my way. That evening I call the shop to see if they can squeeze me in the next day to fix the loose hose. The guy tells me I can come in tomorrow but he thinks they should tow me in because “riding around with a loose gas valve is dangerous.” Once again, my smart brain tells me, “the old we need to charge you $80 to tow your car when you really could just drive here yourself trick.” I decline and tell em I’ll be there tomorrow.
I get up the next morning, get in the car and put the key in the ignition. Now, I’m not stupid. I know that there is a chance that the guy was sincere and maybe riding around with a loose gas line in something that makes sparks and small explosions every other second is probably a bad idea but I was broke. I had about a hundred bucks in the bank and couldn’t afford the tow PLUS the dealership was like a mile from my house downhill. At most, I could pull to the first stop sign and coast the rest of the way there.
So I say a little prayer, turn the ignition and BAM. I see a flash of light, hear this loud ass noise and the car lifts up off the front wheels a little bit. In my mind, I’m officially dead. I see the wedding playing out, all the hours I wasted playing Sega and Playstation and I’m back to my childhood days starting freeze tag with bubble gum bubble gum in the dish…
Then I realize that I’m not dead. I open my eyes to a bunch of black smoke and flames coming up from under the hood. In one movement, I unlock the door, open it and land on the sidewalk about ten feet away from the car. Then I think back to every summer movie where a car blows up. That’s when the nerd brain cuts back on (yeah the nerd brain didn’t come in handy a few minutes ago when I turned the key, but never mind that now). I start wonder if the car will actually explode if the engine keeps running. Can fire travel through the fuel line into the gas tank? So time slows down while the people in my head decide whether or not to risk diving back into the car to turn off the engine. After putting it to a vote, I turn the ignition off and run up three flights of stairs back into my apartment to call 911.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“My car is on fire. Send a fire truck to 1505 Du…”
“Please state your name.”
“Huh? My car is on fire. I need a fire truck at 1505…”
“Sir I need your name.”
I give her my name.
“And what’s the emergency?”
“My car is on FIRE!”
“What’s your address?”
“Sir can you spell the street name please.”
“WHAT!? Listen, my car is on fire. It’s next to apartments. They could catch fire. I really need…”
“Sir, I understand that there is a fire, but I need you to spell the street name.”
“And you say that there is a fire here. What kind of vehicle is it.”
“It’s a Dodge Acclaim.”
“Please spell that sir.”
“WHAT THE HELL. LOOK I NEED YOU TO SEND A FIRE TRUCK”
“Sir, please don’t use profanity.”
“And what color is the vehicle sir.”
“I don’t know what color it is now. What color flames are!”
“Is it burgundy sir?”
“Someone already reported that fire sir.”
I hung up on her.
I go back outside and sit and watch my car burn. The fire has consumed the entire front of the car but the passenger cabin is still intact. A guy comes running out his apartment towards me. I tell him that I’m alright but I notice that he isn’t coming to help. This son of a bitch, gets in the car next to mine, peels out of the parking space and drives down the hill and parks his car, then runs back into his apartment without saying a single word.
The fire truck shows up. Rather than try to put out the fire, they try to open the car doors. I yell out, “Here are the keys!” They look at me, turn around and take an axe to the windows. They then stand there talking for a few minutes (maybe congratulating each other on breaking the windows for no apparent reason) and then spray down the engine to put out the fire.
So then the fire chief pulls up and tells me that he’s with the arson department.
“Is this your car?”
“Did you start this fire?”
“Huh? Uh no.”
“Is the car in your name?”
“No it’s in my mother’s name. She gave it to me two days ago.”
“Do you have a reason to believe that your mother may be trying to harm you?”
“I’m going to need your mother’s contact information.”
He goes on to tell me that it’s possible that my mother rigged the vehicle. Rrrrrright.
So the wife and I sit outside on the stoop and marvel at the charred remnants of our wedding present all the while being thankful that I’m still alive when the phone rings.
“Hi, this is the management office for the apartment complex. We’ve been informed by the fire department that your vehicle caught fire. Is that true.”
“Yes, thank you for calling, but everyone is okay.”
“Uh, that’s good to know sir, but that’s not why I’m calling. Your rental agreement states that no resident may keep a dilapidated, non-working or vandalized vehicle on the property. You must remove the vehicle immediately or we will tow the vehicle and you will be responsible for the charges.”
You know, part of me wants to tell you what I said in response, but even I have profanity limits for this website. Plus when you put that many curse words side by side, it really doesn’t make a coherent sentence.
Anyway, they towed the car and we moved outta the apartment complex. Charges against my mother (the criminal mastermind) were never filed.
So here’s the third and final installment of my tribute to the 25th anniversary of Back to the Future. I went to see it in the theater this past weekend and today I went and bought the blu-ray. It’s geeky, I know, but it’s one of those childhood things that you can’t (and don’t want) to outgrow.
It all started one day back in kindergarten. My friend Anthony noticed my very rough drawing of a car and asked me if it was a time machine. The thing hardly looked like a car, but the square in the middle with the words flux capacitor beneath a big Y gave it away. He told me that it was his favorite movie and we decided to build a time machine together. First, we decided that we needed to watch the movie a few more times and write down the stuff that Doc Brown said during the scene at the mall parking lot. You gotta love five year old logic: Knowing a movie line for line would somehow grant us advanced scientific knowledge.
As the year went on, I eventually came to know the movie line for line and my interest in building a time machine fueled a passion for everything science related. This continued long after kindergarten and actually up through high school. Throughout my elementary school years, I immersed myself in anything that seemed smart: reading the encyclopedia cover to cover, learning meaningless facts and watching a lot of PBS. It didn’t make me a lot of friends, but, on the flip side, it kept me out of trouble…well, that kind of trouble.
I’ve electrocuted myself about ten times. I’ve blown out the power to the house at least three times and my grandmother had to rescue me from being struck by lightning more times than I can count. Back then there were no warnings at the beginning of movies and tv shows, not that it would’ve deterred the scientist in me. I way too many stories that I can share in one post, but I’ll give you one example.
You know those stands that musicians use to hold their sheet music? I once got a hold of one. I ripped the part that holds the book off. I took a hammer to an old lamp shade and hammered it to the point where it would fit perfectly (upside down–think satellite dish) atop the music stand. I then took a broken television and stripped the rubber shielding off the power cord. I wrapped the wires around the metal music stand…Then I took it outside right before a thunderstorm and placed it in the yard. My goal was to see if I could get lightning to strike the stand, power the tv and blow the glass out of the screen. I was seven.
That was insanely dangerous and stupid (albeit kinda cool), but if only you knew how many books I read on lightning, electricity and conduction before I had that bright idea. It’s a wonder that I’m still alive. Still, all silly ideas aside, you have to appreciate a movie that can make an inner city second grader hike to the library by himself and check out science fair project books when his school didn’t even have science fairs.
Last week my family got together and out of the blue my aunt asked, Do you remember when you were little and used to quote movies by heart? What was that thing that you used to say that I thought was so cute? Being 28, I don’t particularly enjoy entertaining old people with my childish wonder anymore so I told her that I didn’t remember. Secretly though I wanted to stand in the middle of the living room and say,
No this sucker’s electrical, but I need a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 jiggawatts of electricity I need. Doc, you don’t just walk into a store and buy plutonium, did you rip this off? Of course, from a group of Libian nationalists. They wanted me to build them a bomb, so I took their plutonium and gave them a shiny bomb casing full of old pinball machine parts. Come here, I’ll show you how it works…
According to CNN Sony has retired the Walkman cassette player. No surprise here. The thing became obsolete over a decade ago when portable CD players came out. Still, I feel the need to eulogize the device that made public transportation bearable.
Back in the late 80s/early 90s, the Walkman was what the cell phone is today: Something you never leave the house without. I guess before I continue I should be honest, I never had an actual Walkman. That’s the official brand name of Sony’s device. I had some knock off piece of crap made by JVC, GPX or some other knockoff brand you’d find in Radio Shack, Nobody Beats the Wiz and Sam Goody.
It’s funny too, because GPX and other knockoffs always came with shitty headphones that either snapped in half, lost the spongy ear cover or only worked in one ear unless you held the cord in a certain position. Some, like the one pictured, had a radio on them that got crappy reception but was still better than the tape player itself.
Cheap ones didn’t have rewind so you had to take the tape out, flip it over, fast forward a few seconds, flip it back over, play and repeat until you got to the part of the tape you wanted to hear.
As long as you didn’t run, hold it sideways or move too fast, your tape would probably survive the trip outside and back home. Every now and then though (Every other day) you’d notice the music starting to slow down and sound garbled. You had a split second to hit stop and save your tape from the walkman. Then you had to pull the cassette out and sowly pull the ten miles of tape out of the machine. Next, you’d get a pencil, roll the tape back up and from that point on that one section of the tape would sound messed up.
Despite the hassle of protecting your tapes, the Walkman served its purpose. It gave me something to listen to on my way to school. Of course back then the pickings were slim. Unlike today, there was no “playlist.” Hell you got 60-90 minutes of music and if you were like me you copied your songs off the radio. Sometimes, on a “good” tape, you had no commercials, no DJ and all of the songs started and stopped correctly. On a “bad” tape, maybe you didn’t hit record in time. Maybe some songs cut off prematurely because you accidentally taped over them or you reached the end of the tape. And of course we all had that tape where you couldn’t go past a certain point because the machine would magically eat the tape beyond that part.
Now that I think about it…good riddance Walkman! lol
When Father’s Day rolls around I expect a damn statue to be erected. My wife thinks I’m joking. Come next June, if there’s no statue then I’m retiring from husbandry and fatherhood. I’m technically what you call a stay-at-home-dad, but around these parts I prefer to call myself a housebitch.
Today I got up and went grocery shopping. We don’t have a car so that means that I had to hoof it. I got my little old lady cart and walked a mile up the street to the farmer’s market. Along the way I saw that the video store was having a fire sale, so I looked through about a thousand movies for something that might (AOL keyword: MIGHT) keep my three month old’s attention long enough for me to cook, clean, breathe and eat. No sooner than I’d gotten home and dumped the produce on the counter, I had to go back out to the real grocery store.
I dragged my old lady cart another mile down the street to the Giant. I spent a half hour in there (most of it in line) and then made the trek back up the mile-long hill to my house, all the while pulling my sleigh full of food. I put the groceries away and then went back out a third time to go to the CVS to buy diapers. Being the bastion of hell that it is, CVS didn’t have any in her size so I had to walk another damn mile to the other CVS where they did have her size.
After four hours, I’m finally home and sad to see that the NFL decided to start the games without me…again. And just think, this is the weekend. Imagine what my weekdays look like. So yeah, next Father’s Day there better be a damn ten foot tall marble statue erected in the park. I want a parade and rose bearers to lead me to it and when I get there, there better a feast in my honor. Oh yeah, my wife and daughter aren’t invited. I’ll bring them a plate though.
I had a great time at the movies yesterday. I never expected more than a handful of people to show up, but the theater was actually full. People cheered as the credits rolled and took turns yelling out lines from the film. The atmosphere was great and for once I didn’t feel like such a dork for loving the movie so much.
Now I just have to find a place for this free poster.
It’s a little known Black History Fact that I’m a super geek. Sometimes I hide it well, other times not too well and sometimes I flaunt it proudly. Today is the latter. I’m on my way to see the theatrical re-release of Back to the Future, my all-time favorite movie.
Prior to my decision to become an underachiever, I had the crazy idea that I’d someday build a time machine. Of course I was about five at the time, but that didn’t stop me from watching the movie every single day after school. I had to analyze each scene if I was going to successfully build my flux capacitor out of a broken lamp, cardboard paper and toilet paper rolls (don’t ask). As a result of repeated viewing, I still know the movie line for line twenty years later.
So, if you happen to be reading this morning and find yourself in the DC area, come on down to the AMC Georgetown theater and enjoy the (only) 12:30 showing.
Life is full of irony.
I spent all of high school in love with two different girls who I had no doubt were out of my league. On the last day of twelfth grade, they each (separately) signed my yearbook with something along the lines of, I always had the biggest crush on you. Have fun in college!
That pretty much sums up my skill with women. I could never pick up on the signs, you know? If only I’d known back then that a wedding ring would solve all of my problems. Like most new husbands, my wife had to remind me to put on my ring those first few months. I felt lucky as hell to have landed her, but the idea of wearing a ring just didn’t register with me. I kept forgetting it. Now, in her mind the wedding ring is a small round shield to protect me from the wiles of loose women. God bless her naive heart.
In the seven years that I’ve been married, I’ve learned that a wedding ring is less of a shield and more of a worm on a hook. It’s as if women have their own special grading system when it comes to men. The sole on a man’s shoes can tell you if he’s got a car, his hands tell you what kind of work he does, but a wedding ring…
A wedding ring is like a certificate of authenticity. Combine the wedding ring with a simple question like, How long have you been married, and a woman has all the information she needs. When I say I’ve been married seven years, that’s like saying “I’m a good man, with obviously a good job or credit considering the store and part of the city that I’m in. I must not have any major flaws because some woman has chosen to stay with me for seven years. That must mean that I’m either romantic, loaded with cash or endowed in other ways.”
Now for all the power that the wedding ring has, nothing compares to the stroller.
Let me share with you, dear friends, the ballad of the Graco stroller.
If the wedding ring really were a shield like my wife naively thinks, then the stroller would be my sword. Pushing my three month old baby in her stroller while proudly wearing my wedding ring is like dipping myself in gold and standing on a pedestal. I’m a Black man who speaks proper English, is married AND takes care of my kids. When I walk by a playground or the baby section of target, I feel like a crippled gazelle limping alone at night through the savanna.
Maybe the women are wearing camouflage or maybe my eyesight is just that bad where I don’t see them lurking in the bushes on a sunny day, but it shocks me everytime when a random woman jumps up out of a manhole like an urban Vietcong and dashes across four lanes of traffic to ask me what time it is, how I’m doing, how old my daughter is or where the closest store is.
Irony- Women want you when they shouldn’t. I love my wife, but if I EVER figure out how to get this flux capacitor working, I’m going back ten years and I’m buying a cheap wedding band from the mall and a stroller from Babies R’ Us.
It’s nice to be admired, but I have to remind myself
In my previous post I talked about the need for parental reform. Since that is pretty much a pipe dream right now, I have some ideas that would look nice in my perfect world:
Right now any old person with a vagina or a penis can have a baby. I think that is totally irresponsible design by the manufacturer. I mean guns are fine if there are no children in the house, but what about the homes with little kids? Well since some of us are just little kids with adult reproductive systems, maybe we need a gun lock. So…
Edict #1: All people must be sterilized at birth
Now I know what you’re thinking? How can we continue as a species? I’m not talking permanent sterilization, just the temporary kind. Perhaps the technology doesn’t yet exist, but I’m sure the folks at Orthotricyclin and Apple (and maybe a little Google) can come together and make something that’s effective yet reversible. It’d be cool if you could control it with a smartphone, but that’s another story.
So okay, no one can have kids all willy nilly. What about when they want kids? Well, wanting isn’t enough. I hear the gears turning in that big naive heart of yours. You think that if people have control then they will only have them when they want them. You’re so cute for that thought, but you’re wrong. No, no. We need regulation. You have to be 18 to smoke, 21 to drink and 25 to reproduce. Even then, you have to first go downtown to the Office of Child Production Services and get a license.
Edict #2: The Office of Child Production Services
No one under 25 is allowed to reproduce, period. Even at 25 each mate must present:
- A college diploma (work history may be considered)
- Two pay check stubs
- A copy of your mortgage or lease
- A recent credit report
- Bank statement
- Statement of intent (500 word minimum)
Candidates will be screened carefully over a one year period during which their ability to parent will be considered and compared against current parental benchmark data. Once approved, the reproductive organs will be reactivated and procreation will be authorized for one pregnancy. Following delivery, the organs will be deactivated once again.
So now what do we do with people who actually have kids? Good question. The answer? Not a damn thing. That’s right…
Edict#3: There are no incentives for having children
Right now, we try to help families out. It’s a nice thing to do, but a lot of people take advantage. A shit-load of people take advantage and we end up with dead beat parents and kids without a future, so no more incentives. When you treat having kids as a luxury and not as a God-given right, you expect a little more responsibility.Things that are gone with the new system:
- Child Support- You came together to make the child, you work together to keep it alive. There are no mediators anymore.
- Tax Credits- You had em, you pay for em.
- Food Stamps- See item the first two statements.
- Section 8/ Low Income Family Housing- Again, see statements one and two.
So what can we do to make sure people don’t just abandon their kids? That’s where Google, Apple and the implant folks come in…
Edict #4: Implants for everyone!
Each child and parent will have a chip implanted into their cerebral cortex and guess what? Those chips will be linked. When the child feels hungry, a timer will start. If the child’s hunger is not satiated within a predetermined amount of time, an electric charge will be sent through the pain receptors of the parent’s brain 5-10 times the magnitude of the child’s hunger. The same goes for feelings of cold (no clothes) hot (no a/c), and abuse (it really does hurt me more than it hurts you). Since we’re big on cracking down on perverts, anyone making sexual contact with a child or family member will have their implant emit a charge powerful enough to fry his brain…completely. No warning shots on that one.
Finally, I know there is one thing racking your brain: How does this relate to school reform?
Edict #5: Adult luxuries are linked to child performance
All tests, quizzes and report cards will feed into one system run by the Office of Child Production Services. This system is also linked with all banks, credit reporting agencies and the ACH payroll system. When a grade of C or lower is picked up by the system, a notice will be sent via email, postal mail and text message to the parent. If the grade is not brought up by the next period applicable punishments will be made to the parent including but not limited to:
- Payroll garnishment
- Suspension of cable television services
- Reduction of credit score in 80 point increments
- Automobile Repossession
- PTO loss
- Denial of any non-generic food purchases at grocery store
These are but a few of the ideas for the new society. Next time we’ll discuss the optional adultery deterrent system built into the implant.