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Monday, February 28, 2005

"What is it that Meatloaf won't do for love? my sister asked me.

"You have to listen to the song," I told her. "He says it at the end."

"Mom told me that it was a mystery."

"It's not a mystery. He says it at the end," I repeated.

"Yeah. Mom tends to say that things are a mystery when she doesn't really know the answer. Wait--so what won't he do?"

"I'll never forgive myself if we don't go all the way (pause) tooooniiiight. I would do anything for love, but I won't do that," I sang.

"That's it?" she said.

"That's it."

She seemed frustrated. "That doesn't even make any sense."

Uptown Girl

Today I had the worst grocery-buying experience ever.

We've been having trouble with our car, so after a few failed attempts of getting that bad boy started, I gave up and asked my sister if I could borrow her bike. She kindly said yes, and soon I found myself strapping on her helmet and throwing my leg over the side of the bike. The helmet was a little small. Imagine a rat wearing a thimble on its head. A rat whose longish hair jutted out from the sides of its thimble awkwardly. Before I got on the bike, I tilted it to the side to read the make and model. It was "Wilderness" brand's "Screaming Eagle".

So I rode to the grocery store, which only took about seven minutes. I locked the bike up and started shopping. On the way there, I remember thinking to myself that I should only buy the necessary things, because it would be a pain in the ass to carry a lot of bags home. Somehow within the first fourty-five seconds of browsing, I managed to forget this, and soon my cart was filled with two three-liter bottles of juice, a bag of apples, a large jar of peanut butter, and various other items. I paid for my items ($88.70), which sparked a realization: I am an idiot. $88.70 is way too much to spend on groceries that you plan on taking home on a bicycle.

I tried to organize it anyway, and I shoved the apples inside my backpack (which I thankfully had the foresight to bring), and balanced the remaining six bags divided evenly across the handlebars. I have news for those of you who think otherwise: carrying heavy groceries on bike handlebars is not the best way to obtain adequate steering on a bike. When I tried to veer, I jerked. When I tried to go straight, I veered. I made it about two blocks, managing to only run into a light pole with the bag containing corn chips, a bag of cookies, and a loaf of bread.

Then, as I crossed a busy intersection, one of the large juices burst through the bag and fell into the street.

"Fuck!" I said. "Fuckshit!"

Once I crossed the street, I parked the bike and picked up my battered juice. I shoved it and the rest of the contents of the torn bag into my backpack, which then weighed about thirty-five pounds. I made it the next few hundred meters without incident, but when I got to the home stretch, the coveted but very small jar of salsa I bought ripped through a bag and tumbled along the street next to me. I accidentally rolled over it with the bike.

"Dammit!" I cried. "Damn it to hell!"

Somehow the salsa didn't break, and I shoved it in the backpack as well.

I got back on the Screaming Eagle and started pedaling. I passed two cute girls who were walking across a single-lane bridge who gave me a look that you would give a retarded puppy as I struggled to climb up the bridge's incline. I resisted the urge to make a self-deprecatory but humorous comment. Upon passing the bridge, two old people stared at me as I swerved past them.

After about twenty minutes of travel, I made it home, and I treated myself to two apples and some peanut butter.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Scene 1, in which Larry & Mike attempt to explain a role-playing game to a semi-attractive female. Chris and Ralph look on:

Mike: You see Samantha, Magic: The Gathering is an exercise in complicated game theory that deals mostly in strategies using math. . .

Ralph: That's not what it says on the box--see, it says that it's a game "set in a post-apocalyptic world in which you play different characters (wizards, elves, dragons, etc.) against each other."

(Here, the collective screams of anguish are heard from all the RPG players around the world whose hopes were riding on the ability of Larry and Mike to describe the game to a semi-attractive female without sounding nerdy.)

Samantha: Did you hear something?

Larry: Uh, no.

Ralph: These guys are squaresville, baby. Now let me tell you about a real man's game--Risk!

Mike: (muttering to himself) Our face. . . compromised. . . in front of semi-attractive female. . .

Moral: There's probably no cool way to explain RPGs to girls.
In his Christian Rock: Blessing or Blasphemy? Terry Watkins discusses Christian pop music and its place in Christianity. His exploration of the popular Christian group dc Talk is particularly revealing:

On their album "Free At Last", [dc Talk] do a cover of the Doobie Brother's song (in case you don't know — a "doobie" is a marijuana joint) "Jesus is Just Alright".(to (sic)DC (sic) Talk Jesus is "still alright") Webster defines "all right" as 1) well enough 2) satisfactory (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1977 p. 31)

Let's get something straight dc Talk! Jesus Christ is not "alright"! Jesus Christ is NOT 1) well enough 2) and satisfactory! Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings!

DC Talk's newest release is called "Jesus Freak". In Music News, April, 1996, Toby McKeehan,(sic) says:

"'Jesus Freak' is obviously a throw back phrase. It was a negative phrase back in the late sixties, and early seventies. If you were a 'Jesus Freak', that was people talking down to you. We've chosen to take the OPPOSITE approach and say that, that's something to be happy about. The word freak, I actually looked it up in the dictionary as I was writing the song. The third definition in the copy of Webster's I have says the word freak is a noun, an ardent enthusiast. It simply says you're a sports freak, it just means you love sports, your an ardent enthusiast. You can label us Jesus freaks."

Why is it when these so-called CHRISTian groups do mention the name of Jesus it's in a degrading and mocking manner! Trying to degrade the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus Christ into a "freak".

The Jesus DC Talk "raps" is a hip-hopping, rapping, groovy, "just alright" — FREAK!


The Jesus Christ of the Bible is NOT a hip-hopping, groovy, "just alright" — FREAK!

Quit sacrificing your children like "innocent lambs to the slaughter" to these C-rock "stars" "which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves!" (Matt 7:15)

You say, but these Contemporary Christian Music stars say they're serving the Lord! They sound so sincere!

Do you know who said the following?

"If we continue on this path, respectable, industrious and honest, if we fulfill our duty faithfully, it is my conviction, the Lord God will continually help us in the future. He will not leave respectable people in the lurch indefinitely. He may test them, but in the end He lets His sun shine upon them and gives them His blessing."

Billy Graham? Jack Van Impe? Billy Sunday? Dwight Moody?

All I can say is that I'm pleased that someone is finally putting out the word that dc Talk is made up of a bunch of baby-eating heathens who hate Jesus.
I heard the 1990 Van Morrison/Sir Cliff Richard duet "Whenever God Shines His Light" tonight.

"Van Morrison can make anything sound cool," I said. "Here he's using metaphors with light and dark in reference to God's love and it still sounds pretty cool. The music is pretty crap, though."

I listened to the song a bit more.

"Sir Cliff Richard seems to have the exact opposite gift. This man could make anything sound lame. I mean, he could be talking about riding a motorcycle into a lion's mouth and stabbing his way out with a sword, and I would be like 'This guy's a pussy.'"
When I was about ten years old, I saw a program on television that detailed the symptoms of kids who had sleeping disorders. Some of the kids walked in their sleep, some spoke, some were even violent. Concerned parents contacted doctors who video-recorded children in their sleep to get a better insight into their troubled lives.

I'm not sure exactly what my thought process was after watching the program, but obviously the conclusion I came to was "sleepwalking is cool."

I would wake up in the middle of the night, drape my sheet around my shoulders, and stalk down the stairs,taking care not to be any louder or quieter than I would be if I were actually sleepwalking. My eyes would usually be half-shut, but in such a way that I imagined them to look shut to other people.

"My God, he must be sleepwalking," they would say to themselves upon seeing my late-night tours.

I would make a couple of laps around the house, and then settle underneath the stairs, where I would pretend to fall asleep until someone saw me.

"My God," I imagined them saying to one another. "He must have sleepwalked his way down here, and then fallen asleep under the stairs."

Sleeping underneath the stairs wasn't nearly as comfortable as my bed, however, and I usually got sick of laying there with my eyes half-open after about fifteen minutes and returned back upstairs to my room.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

When You Dance You Can Really Love

As I was walking to work this morning, I passed an old man in a fisherman's hat who was driving a bright green station wagon. He stopped short at the intersection for me when he noticed me coming, even though I was about eight feet from the street. He looked confused and a little alarmed with the situation.

Then when I got to work, the first customer was an older couple who wanted to check their e-mail. The old man instantly had trouble sending a message.

"I got my e-mail back," he said. "And now it won't send again. Won't this computer send e-mails?"

"It looks like there's a space in the e-mail address. You can't just have a blank space in an e-mail address. Try using an underscore."

He did, and it sent.

"But they gave us the address over the phone, and they said there was a space in it," he complained.

"You can't have a blank space in an e-mail address. If your friend said there was a space, I'm sure they meant an underscore."

A puzzled look came over his face, and he asked me to turn down the music, which was playing Travis' The Invisible Band at a barely-audible level.

I'm not afraid of getting older--in fact, I'm looking forward to it. As a man, I'm pretty much assured of the fact that I'll only grow better-looking as I age (at least until I hit the "very old" wall, and then I become "a cute old man", at which point I won't care about looking good anyway, because I'll be too busy shitting in my pants and telling stories about "the old days"). I remember being told that high school was supposed to be the best days of my life. This is an egregious lie. Every day that I've lived past high school has been better than life between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. I'm less stupid, for one thing. I have a much greater understanding of the world around me, I get laid more often, and my butt has received far fewer whips with a wet towel since those days have gone by.

I don't agree with Neil Young in his statement that "It's better do burn out than fade away." Mine is a more measured take on life--there's always more to experience, more to learn, more to do--and as long as you can stay healthy, you can be around to do it. At the same time, though, I must admit that I am afraid of getting old. I don't want to shit my pants and live in the past. I don't want to be unable to take care of myself. I don't want to smell like mothballs and cough syrup. I don't want to look forward to trips out to the grocery store every Wednesday because I've been in the house for the rest of the week, my seven cats the only company I have.

Part of my grim outlook on getting old, I'm sure, comes from the fact that I've never had any positive elderly role models. My great-grandfather, who, from what I understand was a nice guy, died when I was about twelve. My grandfather on my father's side was such a creepy character that most of the family stopped having contact when I was a small child. Hardly any member of his family attended his funeral. I never met my great-grandfather on my mother's side. My grandfather on the maternal side is an equally disturbing character, and although he's still alive, I couldn't tell you anything more about him besides the fact that his name is Bobby and he was involved in professional taxidermy at some point in his life, and still may be today.

The older women in my family are better, but still offer little in terms of a shining example of what old people can accomplish. I knew my great-grandmother as the woman who yelled at me with her neck-warble and stinky cigarettes when she lived with us for a brief period in my adolescence. She died after a lingering bout with Alzheimer's (which I used to call "Old-Timer's") disease, and after doctors amputated an infected leg.

"Did you know they cut off my leg?" she asked me once. Her leg had been gone for several months. There are few things more depressing than the idea of waking up every morning and having the shock of seeing your leg missing. It was there yesterday, wasn't it? Was I in an accident? Where the hell am I? Why do I smell like mothballs and cough syrup? Oh, right. I'm old.

I'm aware of one hundred-year-old men who run marathons, septuagenarians who ride their Harleys across the country, and great aunts who hold down multiple jobs--I just don't know any of them. My greatest inspiration to grow old gracefully comes from, strangely enough, one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami.

In his Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words, Harvard Professor and Murakami translator Jay Rubin re-tells Murakami's thoughts on physical health and writing:
"I've heard it said a million times that fiction comes out of being unhealthy, but I believe the exact opposite. The healthier you make yourself, the easier it is to bring out the unhealthy stuff inside you. . . ."

". . . You've got to have physical strength and endurance," [Murakami] said, "to be able to spend a year writing a novel and then another year rewriting it ten or fifteen times." He decided he would live as if each day were 23 hours long, so that no matter how busy he might be, nothing would prevent him from devoting an hour to exercise. "Stamina and concentration are two sidess of the same coin . . . I sit at my desk and write every day, no matter what, whether I get into it or not, whether it's painful or enjoyable. I wake up at 4 a.m. and usually keep writing until after noon. I do this day after day, and eventually--it's the same as running--I get to that spot where I know it's what I've been looking for all along. You need physical strength for something like that . . . It's like passing through a wall. You just slip through."
Murakami is often described as looking as much as twenty years younger than his actual age--fifty-five.

Upon first reading this, I remember agreeing to myself that physical health is so closely related to mental health. Murakami isn't all that old, but he has served as an admirable figure who takes his physical and mental health seriously. His is the model that I'd like to follow as I grow older.

A lot of people say that a fear of old age is really a fear of death. I suppose it's true that I don't want to die--I enjoy life too much to feel otherwise. But I don't know if it's true that I fear it. I can accept the fact that I'm going to die someday--what I can't accept is the idea that it's inevitable that I'm going to live as an old person who can't experience life or do things for himself.

The thing that I do love about life is the promise of possibility. With each day that I wake up I have the option of listening to a new album, reading a new book, exercising, meeting new people, spending time with those close to me, or any other thing that I desire to do. I don't have to become a stinky old codger; I don't have to be confined to a wheelchair; I can eat my own food and own my own house even after I pass the age of eighty; I can swim and travel and read and fight and love and fuck and write and feel for as long as I allow myself to. Life gives me the possibility to do these things; it is with that possibility that I feel hopeful for my days ahead.


Friday, February 25, 2005

"When you feel something very strongly and you encounter something that so closely aligns with your own feelings, it makes you value--probably overvalue--that thing," Lan said.

"I'm always very pleased when I see a movie, and then look up what A.O. Scott or Ebert says about it and find that they use a very similar phrase to describe the way I felt about it. It's like confirmation."

"It's the same with girls," Lan said. "When I see a hot girl and I overhear some dude saying that she has a "hot ass." Then I know that I know what I'm talking about."

"Yeah," I said. "You just think to yourself, "Got that one right.""
I remembered a conversation to Lan we had about religion during a road trip to Missouri.

"Remember that? When we ate at--what's that shitty Southern restaurant that you love so much?"

If he had been eating pretty much anything, and that includes a roast beef sandwich, it would've shot out of his nose.

"BRAUM'S! Or something! Or are you talking about Cracker Barrel?"

"Cracker Barrel!" I said. "But Braum's, the ice cream place! Remember that?"

"It's not shitty! But Braum's--"

"That waitress looked like she wanted to kill herself."

I am not exaggerating. This was a chain of ice creameries that exists, as far as I know, only in the rural South. It was filled with only the most unsightly and shoeless customers in the area, and the staff looked as if they'd spent recent days ingesting TV dinners and/or being beaten by their husbands. Good ice cream though.
"An argument is the endeavor to make other people believe, and act in accordance with, our view of the facts."

Frank Wilson Cheney Hersey, English Composition 80 (1921).

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Who Do U Worship

One mildly sarcastic statement that a lot of people in the service industry make about long-winded customers is that they want their order, not their life story. Of course, this is always said to a co-worker.

"So then the lady starts talking about how her son is in college somewhere. I mean, I want your order, not your life story, you know what I mean?" they say.

"Yes, she surely doesn't need to tell you her whole life story--you only need the order. Ha ha."

Recently, much to my chagrin, a woman actually did attempt to tell me her life story.

"Oooh, I think I'll have a glass of wine," she began. "But I've already had three drinks tonight. Should I have another one?"

"Well, I--"

"The first one I had was a vodka and tonic. That was just down the street there. What's that place called? I can't remember. Anyway, the second one was a white wine. It was quite nice--made in Hawke's Bay, I think."

And so on. I made my escape pretty early on that one, the result of the conversation being that she would think about which wine she would drink for a minute before making a decision. As I busied myself with other activities, I would periodically look up to see if she was ready to order. It took her about eight minutes. I approached her table.

"I'm very good at determining which is a good wine and which is not," she told me. "I want a wine that isn't sweet. Which of these isn't sweet?"

"You'd probably be best off with a chardonnay," I told her.

"That's correct," she said.

"Well, we have three chardonnays by the glass. This one is my favorite," I said, pointing to one of the wines on the list.

"I'll have this one," she said, pointing at one of the wines I didn't suggest.

"Would you like to taste it to make sure?"

"Yes. Yes I would."

So she tasted her first pick, and didn't like it. Then I brought her the one I originally suggested, and she said

"Oh, this is delightful! Very nice! I'll have that!"

Great idea! I resisted the temptation to put one of my ass hairs in the glass.

It took her another fifteen minutes to decide on what to order, and she of course asked about nineteen questions about the size of the scallops on the salad, what kind of cheese, exactly, was used on it, and where it originated. After she ate, her plate was cleared, and I was set to bring her the bill. She still had some wine in her glass, so I didn't rush her. Just as I walked by though. . .

"Excuse me! I need a dessert menu!"

"Here you are."

"I thought that girl over there would bring me a dessert menu when she took my plate, but apparently she didn't feel like doing it."

[Silence as I stare at her, unsure of how to respond to her comment.]

"Oh, pay no attention to me. I was left by the bus today so I'm in a bad mood. I had to walk an hour into town."

"Right. I'll just give you a minute to decide on dessert."

But it was too late. She trapped me in her clutches, and I was unable to escape without assistance. She told me about how the bus driver, "that bitch," left her, on purpose at the bus station, which forced her to walk an hour into town--and she's a fast walker. From there she told me that she was born in Nelson but lived in Christchurch most of her life. She told me about her son who is in University. She told me about her job in real estate. She told me how her father passed away just a few years ago. She told me that she and her husband split up some years ago, and he is now seeing "some woman." She made several references to the fact that she thought she was old, and felt embarrased about it. She couldn't be stopped.

I can't be sure, but I believe it was somewhere between the story about her beginnings in Nelson and the stories of her son that I began amusing myself with that game where you try to get the little string-attached ball into the little wooden cup. From there, I picked up an old issue of New Woman that was lying around, and leafed through it for a good fifteen minutes. Good article about Posh Spice and David Beckham. I think it was around the second day of her story-telling that I finally started working on her head with a jackhammer. By that time, I'd already attempted firing off flares to elicit some kind of rescue, and my efforts to physically beat her up failed. She was like some kind of verbose superhuman with skin like The Incredible Hulk. Bullets bounced right off her.

The woman wasn't even really that old--I'd estimate she was somewhere in her late fifties. Still though, any time I come across someone who is the slightest bit older and exhibits signs of craziness, I think about what my Dad mentioned to me after we discovered that my grandmother had been saving opened cans of cat food from as far back as the Wilson administration:

"It's like when you get older, every little neurotic tendency you had when you were younger is brought to the forefront and multiplied by a thousand."

If this is the case, I'd like to thank Hunter S. Thompson for doing himself in before he destroyed the world in a fit of senility. The least we can do is fire his ashes of in a cannon, as were his wishes.

I ended up getting away from the woman by denying that anyone bring her any food or water for the nine days that her stories went on. Fortunately, because of my larger stature and my generally good health, I managed to out-live her.

You were a worthy adversary, Palaverous Middle-Aged Woman. I salute thee.

Chatty Old Woman: 1940 (Approximately)-2005
We will never forget.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Added a review of the 2002 film Pumpkin to the "Movies" section.
From Aphilslife:
I love you

How often do you find a heart that never lets go
How often do you find a love that never fades
How often do you runaway from home
but you always find your way back
and the key is always open

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Killing An Arab

"I liked your rendition," said the semi-attractive Asian girl. I had just finished singing a karaoke version of Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" for a packed house at a cruddy dive bar.

"Ha ha, thanks," I said. Bob Marley's "Could You Be Love" was playing, and we were in that awkward position where we were kind of dancing together, but not really. We were facing towards each other, but it wasn't like we were holding hands or freaking or anything like that. Suddenly, a lanky white guy stepped in between us and started actually-dancing with the semi-attractive Asian girl. It was clear that he knew her--maybe he thought he was "saving" her from me, maybe it was his girlfriend--the gist was that he saw our almost-dance and decided to put a stop to it.

It reminded me of the first time I visited Barcelona, Spain. I had just graduated high school and I was on a one-month blitz around Europe with my best friend at the time, JT. We only stayed in Barcelona for about five days on that trip, but we went clubbing nearly every night. I expected there to be lots of exotic Spanish girls around, but being the typical tourists we were, we picked the touristy nightclubs, and as a result the inhabitants of the club were a group of white girls from the Midwest and a gaggle of slimy Indian and Pakistani guys. My suspicion is that an evolved trait of slimy guys is that they're particularly crafty in devising ways to get close to that which they cannot have otherwise--namely, girls in black stretch pants and slinky tops. The particular method these guys used was to creep in behind the girls when they were dancing in a group circle, and bump and grind until they were discovered and eventually shunned. Apparently the methods that slimy guys use to freak on hot girls is not race or ethnicity-specific--I'd seen the same tricks used back home. Clever? Yes. An unpleasant surprise when the freak-ee inevitably turns around only to find Hassad the sweaty, silk-shirt-wearing yutz pelvic-thrusting his way to an erection? Yes.

The club's makeup was like a crappy piece of coconut-centered Valentine's Day chocolate--white in the middle, and brown completely surrounding it. These girls, who were in truth pretty unspectacular, had become like Mecca at prayer time.

Here's where I become more of a hypocrite than the dope-smoking sluts who doubled as Eucharistic Ministers at my Catholic high school. JT and I knew we weren't like Hassad the slimy Pakistani guy--these girls might actually want to dance with us (after all, we're white). Adapting to the situation, we developed a method in which we used the clever but bound-to-fail technique of our competitors to our own advantage. Anticipating the disgust of the girls, we would find a guy who was shaking his groove thing all over some unsuspecting girl, wait until the moment where she realized he was there but was unsure of what to do, and dash in between the pair like a knight in shining armor, saving her from a certain groping. The girl would be so relieved to see us, we reasoned, that she would let us grope and gyrate to our heart's delight. It worked pretty well, although we did piss off a number of brown people in the process.

This memory opened the file on a similar but even more clever method of shimmying your way into a girl's heart, and more importantly, pants. A friend related a story to me about the summer he lived with a bunch of young and irresponsible friends. Two of his friends concocted a version of "Good Cop, Bad Cop" that involved one of them pretending like he was really drunk and trying to randomly approach a girl and start trying to either kiss or grope her. The Good Cop would then break up the party, and apologize to the victim.

"Oh, I'm so sorry--my friend here is really drunk. Don't pay any attention to him. My name's Dan, what's yours?"

The plan only backfired when the Bad Cop came on to a girl who accepted his advances eagerly and denied any assistance from the Good Cop. The two ended up banging in the back seat of Bad Cop's car. It was then that they realized that their method was what is known as "foolproof".

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Added a review of Van Halen's eponymous 1978 debut to the "Music" section of the site.

Also updated the "Links and Recommendations" section to include my homie Joey Honey's blog.

I "recommend" that you go there now and "click on all the advertisements" so I can "make some money."
From the New York Times:

"Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays.""

One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong

Hey, you know that part at the end of Leonard Cohen's "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" off the album Songs of Leonard Cohen where his hums turn into an odd frantic and ragged wailing? Isn't that kind of funny?
I have always been pleased with the idea of knowledge as a inclusive force that has the power of bringing people together. It seems to me that with the more you learn, the more you'll be able to discuss with other people and the more you'll understand about what goes on in the world around you.

I was once hanging out with a girl who was into a bunch of ambient electronic music, a genre I'm not all that familiar with. One night, while hanging out at her house, she put on a band I'd heard of, but knew little of. I hopped up and looked them up on-line.

"You don't have to know everything," she said.

"I don't have to do anything," I told her. "But I want to know as much as I can about everything. The information is right here--why wouldn't I?"

I do believe that it's in everyone's best interest to learn as much as they can. More knowledge is always better.

Despite this belief, it's become clear to me that knowledge has the power to alienate as well as unite.

"Who sings this song?" I asked my sister.

"Neil Diamond," she answered correctly. The song was his 1968 hit "Sweet Caroline".

"I wonder if ZD knows that," I said. "ZD, who sings this song?"

"How the hell should I know?" she said.

"It's Neil Diamond," I said. "One of the most famous singer-songwriters of all time."

"Could be fuckin' Elvis for all I know--but I'll take your word for it."

There are two ways in which knowledge has alienated me from ZD. The first is that she considers me to be a pretentious asshole--this isn't the first time I've aptly used her as an example of how little one person can offer the world. The second is that I now think less of her because she doesn't know who sings "Sweet Caroline". I'm not sure if it's fair to use "lack of pop culture knowledge" as a reason not to care for someone--after all, there are probably things that she could teach me about things that I don't know much about1. Regardless of the permissability of my feelings--it happens. Many people tend to have less respect for people who can't adequately discuss things like politics, sports, music, current events, relationships, etc.

RA and I were having a beer at a local pub.

"That guy back there was so ridiculous!" he said.

"I was this close [I hold up my thumb and forefinger to show a space that isn't very big] to just saying 'Excuse me, I have to go because you're a belligerent drunk'."

"I usually just walk away in those situations. If you were to say that, he'd probably get angry because he doesn't understand what "belligerent" means, and then you'd have a fight on your hands."

"Fuck that guy--I don't care if he is a fisherman."

Again--the fact that I have the vocabulary of the average American sixth grader and someone else doesn't is a factor that could potentially get me into a fight.

The weight of knowledge is heavy indeed.

1How to have a terrible, terrible haircut, for example.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Hi Megan,

You are getting married, and you're five months pregnant.

When we were about sixteen, I thought you were the most amazing girl in the world. We started off as friends, and we were just that for about two years. Then, on New Year's Eve 1998, we got drunk and played truth or dare in a hotel room with a group of friends. The end result was you and I fooling around in the big sweaty hotel bed. After that, we began an illicit relationship that no one could know about because I dated a close friend of yours as a freshman, and she would've been insanely jealous even though you and I got along much better than she and I ever did.

It could have never worked out--we were never really made for each other, and there were too many factors working against us at the time anyway. Still though, I look back on the late-night phone conversations we had and the times we went to Sonic to get a Route-44 Strawberry-Limeade slush as some of the best times of my youth.

At our senior retreat, I participated in that part where we all were given the opportunity to give a final statement or a thanks to a person or persons who made a difference in our time at St. Pius X high school by making a poorly-thought-out speech about how wonderful you were, and ended up breaking down in tears in front of our entire class. You came up and hugged me, and made me feel less stupid.

When we graduated, you were given the honor "Ms. Panther", which means that you were basically the best all-around female student. I think that some of the girls were jealous, particularly your aforementioned friend who would have been jealous of our short-lived but nonetheless exciting romance, but even she was proud of you.

Then you went to school at St. Mary's, and eventually Notre Dame. You studied dilligently, and took a heavy course load, as well as keeping up with what has been your biggest passion--acting. You also made a lot of friends and drank a lot of red wine and vodka martinis, I imagine.

Then, near the end of college, you told me that you met a wonderful guy. His name is Tom, you said, and he was unlike any guy you'd ever dated before.

Our conversations have been pretty limited since high school was over, but as we both know, that's just what happens sometimes.

When we spoke today, and you told me that you had some news, I was expecting you to say that you were getting married. I didn't expect the pregnancy. I think that if any of my other female friends our age told me that they were pregnant, I would have winced, and then given a half-hearted congratulations. When you told me, the only thing I could think was that your child would be among the luckiest to come into the world.

You will be an amazing mother. Your children will be the bright, cultured, kind, and productive members of society. You won't spoil your children; you'll love them as only the best mother can. You'll do only what's best for them, you'll make every decision as if it were the most important, because you know each decision matters.

You will be a cool mother. You will be the mother that says "If you're going to drink, I want you to do it at home, where I can keep an eye on you." You will let your kids test their limits, but you'll always keep an eye on them to make sure they don't go too far. You will be friends with your children, but they will always know that what you say goes.

You will be the hot mom that picks her kids up from school in her cool car.




The Song Remains The Same

From The New York Times:
The majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, said subjecting more earnings to the payroll tax amounted to a tax increase and was unacceptable. His comments came a day after the publication of newspaper interviews in which Mr. Bush left open the possibility of lifting the earnings cap as part of a plan to put Social Security on permanently sound footing.

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert joined Mr. DeLay in distancing House Republicans from the idea. Their quick and negative reaction underscored the difficulty the administration is having in moving forward with its plan to overhaul Social Security, the issue Mr. Bush has put at the top of his domestic agenda and made a test of his political clout.

So now the question is, if you were to pick sides based on who is the lesser of two evils, which side do you belong to?

There's no doubt that DeLay is one of the scurviest of scurvy dogs on the right, but the times in which I've agreed with the president have been few and far between as well.

It's pretty clear that DeLay (and Hastert, for that matter) has only the interests of the richest of the rich (ie, his constituents in Sugarland, which is one of the wealthiest districts in America) in mind1. He's got no love for Social Security as a system, and the moment that the administration comes up with a plan for privatization that doesn't involve upping the amount of pay that can be taxed for social security, he'll get right on board.

On the other hand, anything that throws a rod in the gears of privatization is a good thing in my book. If nothing else, this will make the president realize that his GOP congress isn't just going to take his suggestions and run all the way to the bank with them. (This is, after all, Bush's last term.)

Clearly, it's not a question of who to side with on this particular method of Social Security reform, it's a question of the bigger picture. Does social security need to be reformed? Yes. Is the best way to reform the system crippling it with privatization? No2.

This may be the only time in history that you'll find me agreeing with Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert. No, I don't think that it's a good idea to increase earnings subjected to payroll tax, but only because I think the swift passage of this series of reforms is even worse.

1"How do people like DeLay sell themselves convincingly to anybody but the wealthy?" a friend of mine asked after reading the above article.

"DeLay's thing is that he doesn't have to convince anyone but the wealthy," I said. The 22nd Congressional district of Texas is one of the richest in America. So he can be as radical as he wants, as long as he doesn't reneg on cutting taxes at any cost."

2There's way too much to get into on the basic reasons why Social Security privatization is a terrible idea, but luckily, Princeton professor of economics and international affairs Paul Krugman is an economic genius, and has smashed all arguments for it into smithereens. Additionally, you can hear a Q&A session between Krugman and Michael Tanner, director of Health and Welfare Studies at the Cato Institute, here.
I have always felt like an effective way to do an impersonation of someone is to verbalize their description or their recognizable actions in a mocking tone.

"Hey! Look at me! I'm Hillary Clinton! My husband is Bill Clinton, the former president! He got a blowjob from Monica Lewinsky and I'm a senator that represents New York!"

"Hello, I have extremely large breasts and it's clear that I'm not wearing a bra. I'm that lady who came into the pub and bought a bottle of wine from Chris tonight. Look at my huge breasts!"

"Yahoo! I'm George Bernard Shaw! I'm one of the most erudite writers of all time! I received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925! I can do the charleston!"
A woman who ate at the pub tonight was wearing a shirt that read "A Little Bit DRAMATIC", but was reasonably attractive otherwise.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

My initial comments on the unsightliness of female stretchmarks, a mention of it by a friend on her journal, the ensuing spontaneously-formed mutually self-supportive gaggle, of the kind that appears like magic when any woman is theoretically criticized for her appearance, and my inevitable defense (see bottom of gaggle of comments) are all events that took place yesterday.
I've developed a habit of answering people I disagree with in an over-the-top manner that either agrees or disagrees with their opinion in such a fashion that they are unable to determine if I'm serious or not.

"How did your date go with that girl?" asked my roommate.

"Not much to tell. We saw Finding Neverland."

"Let me guess," she mused. "She started gushing about how hot Johnny Depp was and it made you feel insecure."

"Ha ha," I laughed. "Actually, I agreed with her, and we spent the remaining hours after the movie debating whose cock we'd rather suck--Johnny Depp's or Viggo Mortensen's."

"Right," she said, making a face.

On another occasion, I debated the placement of the espresso machine with a bossy co-worker.

"I think it would be a really bad idea to move the coffee machine," she said. "It looks so much better over here."

"I disagree," I told her. "Moving this coffee machine would probably be the pinnacle in human civilization, and that includes modern medicine and travel."

"Well I still think it looks better here," she said.
Added a review of Ben Harper's 2003 release Diamonds On The Inside to the "Music" section.

Also added a review of Finding Neverland to the "Movies" section.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I was once "just friends" with this girl whom I wanted to see naked. We were hanging out one time and ended up fooling around.

"How did this happen?" she asked. "I never expected this!"

That makes one of us, I thought but didn't say.

Band On The Run

As I was writing the previous post, I wanted to check and make sure I was spelling the word "chihuahua" correctly. One way of doing this is using an actual dictionary. Another way of doing it is using an online dictionary. Yet another, less reliable way of doing this is by "googling" the word and seeing if it comes up with that thing that says "Did you mean: chihuahua" The latter method was my method of choice on this occasion. In the paid advertisements on the right side of the screen came this helpful suggested site:

Chihuahua Secrets
New Resource Reveals Amazing
Chihuahua Secrets! $17.77

I want to know what secrets about chihuahuas could be so amazing that someone would be willing to pay $17.77 for them.

Secret 1 Chihuahuas are actually very small humans.
Secret 2 Chihuahuas will secretly impregnate you while you sleep by simply rubbing against you. They have a unique genetic design that allows them to do this, and you should be very careful that you are not impregnated by one of these very small humans. Lock them in a cage at all times, especially while you sleep.
Secret 3 An additional reason to keep your chihuahua in a cage is that it is probably dating your daughter, and has plans on impregnating her on prom night after they have a few glasses of champagne together and dance to "C'mon And Ride It (The Train)" by The Quad City DJ's, and not by just rubbing up against her in the genetically-superior method it has for reproduction that was mentioned in Secret 2.
Once, when Lan and I were at Waterloo, they were playing some kind of Paul McCartney compilation.

"When I hear this, it makes me wonder what the hell people are talking about when they say they wonder who was the real genius in The Beatles," he said. "I mean, Paul certainly has a gift for melody, but his lyrics are just too sappy; he's just such a romantic."

I give you exhibit A:
You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs.
But I look around me and I see it isn’t so.
Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs.
And what’s wrong with that?
I’d like to know, ’cause here I go agaaaaaaaain

I love you, I love you
I love you, I love you

Catchy? Yes. Unforgettable chorus? Yes. Possibly written by a retarded chihuahua? Yes.

Paul reportedly wrote this song in answer to his critics who said that he couldn't write anything but love songs. My guess is that he heard that and thought to himself "I'll show them!" and then he wrote this song and thought to himself "Oh wait a second, this is kind of a love song, too," and then thought, "Fuck it, it's really good, I'll just go with it."

Maybe I'm not giving him enough credit--maybe he did it out of irony. Delicious irony. In that case, maybe he is the genius that many people think he is, but everything he did was ironic, in which case he should be heralded as some kind of champion of irony, or something.
Here are some equations I've recently devised:

Being an asshole (read: honest) + loner = more writing, less booty, more sexual frustration

Being a kowtowing sucka-ass nigga + saying anything to get the booty = less writing, probably more booty (although booty = not guaranteed), less mental frustration

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

"I'd like to order dinner as well," the chunky American guy with the baseball hat said.

"Sure, just grab a menu there and have a seat, and someone will take care of you. What's your surname? I'll start a table tab for you."



"OK, great."

Later, for no reason, I drew a picture that looked like this:

I showed it to my sister.

"What the hell is this?" she asked.

"Culk rhymes with hulk," I said. "In fact, they have most of the same letters."

"So what? Is the guy angry or something?"

"No, I'm just saying--"

Then I stopped because it appeared that my message wasn't getting through to her. I had an idea.

"Here, look at this."

"I get it," she said. "But what does that have to do with anything?"

I pointed to the venn diagram. She walked away.

Some people, huh?

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest

The Office may be one of the funniest shows ever aired on television.

I first saw an episode of it about eight months ago, and thought it was funny, but I ended up cringing more than I laughed. A friend of mine had the same complaint when we originally saw Meet the Parents some years ago. "It's just too embarassing. I didn't think it was funny," she said. I originally thought The Office was very funny, but I didn't think I could take it in anything more than small doses.

Then, a couple of nights ago, my sister got the complete second season on DVD from the video store. Upon getting home from work, I got myself a snack and put in the DVD, thinking to myself that I'd watch one or two episodes. I watched one. Then I watched another one. By the time the second one was over, I knew I was in it for the long haul.

I did watch all six episodes in a row. I did watch all the outtakes. I did watch all the deleted scenes. I did watch the video diary on the show. I did stay up until four thirty in the morning in order to achieve this.

At one point, just as the second episode was ending, I realized that I had been watching for the last ten minutes with both palms slapped against my forehead in embarassment.

This show is not just good because it depicts many of the ridiculous scenarios that take place while working in an office. It's good because it achieves everything it sets out to do, and it's completely self-aware. It never takes itself too seriously (even as a comedy), and it always goes appropriately too far enough to get the laugh that you didn't know was coming. Their use of deadpan expressions in the face of absurd situations is so good--I don't know if I could ever film some of those scenes without laughing (on the bloopers reel, it showed twenty-five attempted takes of a scene in which the actors simply couldn't stay in character).

The show ends perfectly, and in pretty much the only acceptable way. The resistance by the writers and directors to make it end up the way we might want it to shows good judgment and maturity that many sitcom creators don't use.

"Neil Canterbury. The Canterbury Tales."

"Yes, I've heard that one before."

"By Chaucer."


"And Shakespeare."

Taking dictation from the scene doesn't do it justice--it's absolutely insane.
"There's a note here in the incident log that says that we shouldn't throw the coffee grounds into the garbage can because the garbage bags rip," RA said.

"Yeah, I noticed that. They've never ripped when I pick up the bags," I said.

"Yes, EJ's [who wrote the note] just going to have to live with it--I'm sure the bags probably rip because of the dozens of heavy wine bottles."

"Maybe the confounding factor is that EJ's hands are made of knives--is anyone going to consider that angle?"

"Ha ha," RA said politely. Then he wrote a comment down in the book.

"Are you inquiring about the knife-hands?" I asked.

He didn't answer.
"Take this advice Chris," my cousin told me. "Sleep with as many girls as you can before you're thirty, and then settle down with a good woman. That way you can always have those memories, and you'll be less tempted to stray when you get married--you'll know the consequences by that time."

I considered his advice as he took a bite of turkey.

"Oh--and always make sure you wear a condom."

I'm still trying to decide whether this is advice that's worth taking. I mean, it doesn't feel nearly as good with a condom on.
"Boy, you know what?" Lan asked. "I wish porns had less "porny" sounding names."

"Hm," I said.

"Like you see a file or a DVD--Butt Cream--there can only be one possibility."

"Yeah, that's true," I said. "But I can't think of any good alternatives."

"They should have literary titles!"

"That'd be good," I said.

"Like Entry Through The Rear."


"Wait. That still sounds porny."

"A Midsummer Night's Blowbang," I suggested.

Lan corrected me. "Chris, you're falling into the same trap as I am. How about like iPod Promotional Commercial Cumfest?"

"Ah, but maybe the file or video rental charge would just print Midsummer Nights. . . and no one would be the wiser."

"Well, maybe it's for the best that they're named that way," he concluded.

There lies about forty seconds of time in which we did not solve the dilemma of porns having names that are excessively "porny".

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Added a review of The Pretenders' 1984 album, Learning To Crawl to the"Music" section of the site.
To The Rude And Annoying Kiwi Woman Who Ate At The Pub I Work At Last Night:

First of all, I'd like to say thank you for being a guest at the House of Ales. I hope your meal was satisfactory. I'm pretty sure it was; you ate everything on your plate, and then sopped up the juice with a small piece of bread when you were done.

When you finished, you snapped your fingers at me in order to get my attention. Thank you for that. Many people would have simply waited until the person who was serving them came by (which was not me), or approached the bar, but you decided to "make it happen" as they say, and you knew that with a snap of your fingers, I would be at your attention. I approached your table, and you pointed out an error on your bill (which I did not ring up). Instead of making a query about the error, you simply demanded your two dollars back.

'I'll take my two dollars back, thanks,' you said, in your shrill, nasal voice. I wasn't sure there was an error on the bill, since the special salad you ate was actually listed for thirteen dollars, and that's what you were charged. I nearly suggested that instead of bringing you the two dollars, I would instead split your head open with a hatchet, but I ended up grimacing and retreating behind the bar to discuss the matter with the shift manager, a nineteen-year-old girl with a nice decolletage, but little else in the way of redeeming features. It turned out that she wrote on one of the six specials boards outside that the salad was actually ten dollars instead of thirteen dollars. She was also the one who took your order and waited on you earlier. Remember her? She was the one with the nice decolletage. I suppose you can be forgiven for thinking that I was the one taking care of you--after all, I did pour you a glass of our finest house chardonnay earlier when you called out 'Excuse me! I'd like to order a drink now!' while I was making a latte for the older gentlemen who was waiting patiently at table eight.

I'm pleased that you were able to recover your two dollar coin with the help of our shift manager. May I suggest that you put it towards some kind of surgery involving lasers that might be able to explode your heart and kill you instantly?


Christopher Zane

One More Cup of Coffee

I was talking to a girl I once dated briefly.

"I'm hanging out at the house right now," she said. "I'm waiting for this new guy to come over."

"That's cool," I said. "What's he like?"

"He's nice. He's pretty funny. He's thirty-one."

The girl in question is nineteen.

"Please see a therapist," I said.

I re-told the conversation to Lan.

"She sucks so much," he said. "She's like the grounds at the bottom of an old cup of coffee."

"Yeah, she's like--well, she's like the grounds at the bottom of an old cup of coffee. You're right."

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Goodbye Toulouse

There was an American woman who came into the pub with two British guys.

"Where are you from?" she asked.
"Texas," I said.
She made a face not dissimilar to one that would be made after eating a sour apple warhead. "Oh, Texas. I bet you really like it here then."
"Uh, yeah, it's nice here."
"Texas is a hellhole. No wonder you wanted to get out of there. What part of Texas are you from?"
"Houston, originally."
"Oh. Houston's not all that bad, but I was down in Laredo before, and it was terrible."

As she continued berating my home state, Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" crept into my mind, and slowly began to overwhelm her.

"You know, if you're really looking for a nice place to live long term, you should try Canada. It can be really---I HAD A FRIEND WHO WAS A BIG BASEBALL PLAYER BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL."




"I mean, it can be a bit cold, but the people are very--NOW I THINK I'M GOIN' DOWN TO THE WELL TONIGHT, AND I'M GONNA DRINK TILL I GET MY FILL. Some of the towns have brilliant scenery--AND I HOPE WHEN I GET OLD I DON'T SIT AROUND THINKING ABOUT IT, BUT I PROBABLY WILL."

"Have a nice day."

RA and I were listening to AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long".

"Has anyone actually ever been knocked out by American thighs?" he asked.

"My friend had his rib cracked by American thighs once," I told him. "He was going down on his girlfriend, and she got so excited she ended up kicking him or something, and it turned out that by the end, one of his ribs had been cracked."

"Yes, but was he knocked out?"

"No, no I don't think he was."

"Then my skepticism remains."
"I had this safe back in Auckland," my boss said. "I got it from a safe wholesaler who was going out of business. It cost me $250.00"

"That's a pretty good deal," I said.

"The week after I got it, I had to get it serviced. The repairman came in, took one look at the safe, and he asked me how much I paid for it. I told him I paid $250.00. Do you know what he said to me next?"


"That safe is worth $8,000.00."

"Incredible," I said.

"You bet it was."

"So what'd you do, sell the safe for $8,000.00?"

"No, I kept it."

"So what you really had was a $250.00 safe and a story."


Friday, February 11, 2005

On The Time I Was Nearly Late To The Radio Show Because I Was Stuck Scraping A Dead Cat Off The Ground In The Middle Of The Worst Part Of Town

It was around 6:30 P.M., and I was jotting down an outline for the radio show that was to start at 8:00. Suddenly, an instant message arrived.

FattyMcCupcake1: hey what are you doin
QCusack: Just preparing for the radio show.
FattyMcCupcake: i really need a ride somewhere. its an emergency.
QCusack: What's going on?
FattyMcCupcake: i need to take my cat to the vet and no one else can take me
QCusack: Where do you live?
FattyMcCupcake: ill call you and give you directions
QCusack: Yes, but the radio show starts in an hour and a half and I need to prepare...
FattyMcCupcake: it wont take that long i promise you wont be late
QCusack: OK, call me.

So she called me and proceeded to explain the situation. You see, she desperately needed to take her cat to the vet, and no one else could help her. Her mom lived in a shack with "the black people" on the east side of I-35, and didn't have a car. No one else could help her, she's had the cat since she was little, she really appreciated me doing this for her, and she swears that she'll pay me for gas if I wanted her to.

I should explain my relationship with this girl. I met her online through a well-known online personals website. I met her once before for "Weird Wednesdays" at the Alamo Drafthouse, and found her to be less atractive than her online pictures made her out to be, annoying, and not very smart2. In conversations subsequent to and during our first meeting, I found that she: (1) Worked at Goodwill; (2)Had no idea who her dad was; (3) Didn't live with her mother, as she was "unable" to provide for her daughter; (4) Had poor music taste; (5)Was argumentative, jumped to conclusions, and was a poor conversationalist.

All these reasons and more led to frequent sighs and the wish that I was less compassionate to her desperate need to pick up her sick cat and bring it to the veterinarian. After our brief telephone conversation, I calculated the time it would take for me to pick up Fatty and do what she needed to do. I figured that if traffic was good to me, I'd still have some time to prepare for the show. My frustration slightly subsided.

When I got to her house3, she was waiting in the driveway for me.

"Where's the cat?" I asked.
"It's with my mom," she answered.
"So we have to drive to the east side of 35 to give pick it up?"
"Yeah, I thought I told you that!"
I gripped the steering wheel. "No. No you didn't."

[Upon arriving on the east side of 35:]

"OK, where do we go from here?"
"I don't know," she replied.
"You don't know where your mom lives?"
"Well, I think I do. Can I use your phone?"

We finallly get there after twenty minutes of driving around with some of the worst verbal instructions I've ever received in the absolute worst part of Austin. And her mom actually does live in a shack in the back yard of a black family. The shack looked like it was built by Corky from the hit sitcom Life Goes On: It was built from scrapwood and metal; there were large holes on all sides of it; inside, there was an old army surplus cot, and not much else. Her mom emerged from the shack. She was wearing what looked black dancer's tights, but they were faded to grey and had holes scattered in all places4. She accompanied her pantswear with an oversized Van Halen t-shirt, and no shoes or socks.

"Hi Chris (I had spoken to her on the phone a moment before), I'm AJ's mom," she said.
"Nice to meet you. Where's the cat?"
A pained expression crossed her face. "Oh, you might have seen it on the way in. It's out there in the intersection."
"Oh, mom! How long has he been out there?"
"Probably about five days."
I had to interject. "Wait. So the cat is dead?"
"He got hit by a car last week."
"Why do you need to take him to the vet?"
"So he can be cremated."
"This is beginning to sound like this isn't an actual emergency."

After some fumbling about for something to put the animal into, the girls eventually found a garbage bag. I smelled her pet before I actually saw it, and it smelled awful. It had been run over dozens of times, and had been reduced to a form that was only vaguely recognizable as a cat.

The following phrases could be heard over the next twenty minutes:

"Chris, how are we going to get this into the bag?"
"I don't know, but if you do get it into that bag, there's no way that bag into my car."

"This is not right. I can't do this."
"It's your cat! I'm not doing it!"

"Just scrape it up with the aluminum. I'll hold the bag."

"You're going to need to find a box or something. Because seriously, that bag is not going into my car."
"I think I'm going to throw up."

So they put the cat into the bag, the bag went into a large tupperware box, and the box went into my trunk. It could still be smelled from the front seat. As I drove hurriedly to the vet, they speculated on how they were going to pay for the cremation.

"AJ, how are we going to pay for this? I don't have the money to pay for it."
"I don't know mom, maybe the black people could lend you some money."
"Don't call them that."
"Why? They are black."
"But you still shouldn't talk about them that way."

This was particularly strange to me because neither one of them had enough money for a place to live, let alone a luxury like having your cat professionally burned to ashes.

Finally, we arrived at the vet. I actually was low on gas, but rejected the twenty dollars Fatty tried to give me. After she tried again, I took five from her and sped off.

I got the the radio station five minutes before the show started, and frantically started the show in an unorganized manner.

1This is actually her real AIM name, but she no longer uses it, so I feel like it's OK to publish it. However, I don't really care if she did still use it, for reasons that you're about to read.

2Regardless of whether or not she was "just nervous" or something, it was easy to see that I didn't want to have anything to do with her again, and had been trying to avoid her ever since our initial meeting.

3Well, it wasn't actually her house, it was the house of some old family friend, who, she reported, kept trying to sleep with her.

4Including the butt.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

This Could Be The Night

I had a strange, semi-lucid dream last night.

In the dream, I was walking down the street of a run-down tenement neighborhood as the sun was going down. It could have been New York. I remember thinking to myself (in the dream) that I should be nervous, because I was in a bad part of town and it was getting dark, but I felt relatively confident and secure that nothing would happen to me.

As I passed the obligatory abandoned cars and broken bottles, I saw a figure leaning against a light pole just ahead of me. He was wearing a hat and a dark suit, his face obscured from view, as he was carefully carving some wood with a knife.

As I approached him, he stopped working and looked up at me. He was a cool-looking guy, but he had a strange expression on his face--I couldn't tell what he was thinking. Impossible to guess his age, he had a goatee and rough-looking hands.

"I'm gonna whittle you into kindling," he said under his breath. It sounded like a train wreck in slow-motion.

I walked on, hurriedly. As I walked, I began to get nervous. I stuck my hands in my pockets and looked down, hoping to avoid any further conflict.

Suddenly, Pablo Picasso ran across the street and began walking alongside me. He was a short little bald guy, about five foot three, and he struggled to keep up with my longer strides.

"Hey-a! You there!" he chirped at me. I ignored him. He would have been comical if I wasn't alone in such an uncomfortable situation.

"Hey-a! I'm-a talking to you!" I kept walking, not looking at him after my initial shock. He stopped to speak.

"I'm-a gonna break you up into teeny leetle cubes!" he screeched. "Tiny leetle cubes!" I kept walking, leaving him behind.

"TINY LEETLE CUBES!" He yelled, frustrated.

I turned around.

"Hey, shutup." I paused for a minute. "Asshole." I don't think he heard me.

Then I walked away. A minute later, I passed some attractive young ladies. I tried to give them the eye, hoping they'd notice me and be down to party. They resisted my stare.

"Asshole," I heard the blonde one mutter.

As I neared the edge of the neighborhood, a car came roaring up. It was an Cadillac El Dorado. The car stopped next to me. I looked inside. It was Pablo Picasso and the two attractive girls.

"Hey-a! Asshole!" Pablo Picasso said to me. He had a strange, slightly hypnotic look in his eyes.

"Yeah! Hey, asshole!" said the girls. I frowned. The car drove off, lurching forward with a roar.

'Some people try to pick up girls and get called asshole,' I thought. 'I guess that never happens to Pablo Picasso.'
Added a review of Frank Zappa's 1969 release, Hot Rats, to the "Music" section of the site.

Southern Man

Bought the following albums today, for the following prices:

Neil Young, After The Gold Rush, $9.99 NZ
Neil Young, Tonight's The Night, $9.99 NZ
Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures, $9.99 NZ
Joy Division, Closer, $9.99 NZ
The Who, A Quick One (titled Happy Jack in The States), $16.99 NZ

As I walked out of the store, I grinned to myself, feeling as if I had just gotten away with something.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Updated the "Movies" section of the site with two new reviews: A Very Long Engagement (2004) and Risky Business (1983).

Also, did you know that Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) from the hit sitcom Perfect Strangers (1986-1993) is in Risky Business? He plays a high school kid who is swindled by his friend Tom Cruise into spending a lot of money on hookers.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What's New Pussycat?

From Piero Scaruffi's A History of Rock Music:

The British media made rock music fashionable. If rock music had remained the music of Dylan, Fugs, Zappa and Velvet Underground, it would have remained a cultural phenomenon with a huge impact, capable of producing artistic masterpieces and generating intellectual debates, but, most likely, it would have never captured the imagination of the masses the way it did during the late 1960s. In the USA, rock music had been perceived as a revolutionary event, very much related to a generation gap (between the "great" generation and the "hippy" generation) and to an ideological gap (between the Establishment and the underground). In Britain, rock music, while not reneging on those premises, morphed them so that they could appeal not only to juvenile "delinquents" but also to the bourgeois masses. In other words, rock music in the USA wass antagonistic, hostile, conflictual, whereas, in Britain, rock music made peace with society at large. Thus it became a commodity, destined to become, like cinema, one of the arts that exerted the strongest influence on the costume at the turn of the century.

I'm glad rock music became commodified. I'm glad it took off commercially. I'm glad it "made peace with society at large." It's probably true that if rock music remained an underground phenomenon, there would have been a greater number of innovative, limit-pushing bands, but nobody would care. Instead, we have an enormous amount of shit that has to be waded through in order to find good music, but it's that huge pyramid of shit on top of which the existence of those good bands lies in the first place. If it weren't for more commercially successful rock bands, "alternative", "low-fi", "indie", "emo", and "shoegaze" would all be terms that had nothing to do with music.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Very annoying:

When you look up a word, "eponymous" for example, and get the following:

e·pon·y·mous - adj.

Of, relating to, or constituting an eponym.

What the fuck! I could've figured that shit out. Now I have to look up "eponym," which really isn't that difficult since it's right next to "eponymous," but still. . .

I Go To Work And Unexpectedly Meet NBA Coaching Legend Phil Jackson

I really didn't want to go to work yesterday. I just came off of a three-day weekend work binge: I work about ten hours per day at the internet cafe1, and then walk around the block to my job at the pub.

When I get to work, it's not that busy, so I wipe stuff down, pour beers for a few people, and talk to my co-workers. At one point, my boss called me over to show me the horrific job he did at organizing the walk-in cooler.

"Looks pretty good, huh?" he asked.

"Amazing," I said.

Walking out, I saw the backs of a couple that could only be American. The woman was wearing tight jeans and had very blonde hair. The guy was very tall and was wearing jeans, flip-flops, and a button-down long sleeve with a small hunter-green-and-white checkered pattern.

I walked behind the bar and stood around in case my co-worker needed any help. Then I looked up and saw that the American guy in the shirt was none other than NBA coaching legend Phil Jackson.

I peed in my pants, in a style not dissimilar to dedicated marathon runners.

"Hello," he said. "I'm legenendary NBA coach Phil Jackson."

"H-h-h-h-hello, Phil," I said.

"Call me Mr. Jackson," he corrected.

"Yes sir!" I replied.

Then I danced a dance of glee, and he threw some spare change at my feet, laughing heartily on his way out.

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" he said.

The End2.

1Admittedly, my duties at the internet cafe pretty much consist of me doing what I'm doing now: sitting around in the heat and screwing around on the computer.

2I actually did meet Phil Jackson though. A less-stupid account of that meeting can be found here.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

She's A Jar

"Girls' opinions are always unicorns and rainbows anyway," Ben said.

We were talking about why he couldn't hang out with Lan anymore. Lan and Ben's ex-girlfriend apparently got into a discussion of some sort, and Lan ended it in what is often a typical Lanian fashion--he called her a "fucking Nazi." This was obviously said in jest1, but Ben has a tendency to take things like that more seriously than say, a jelly donut or a coffee table would.

"Girls' opinions are always unicorns and rainbows anyway2. So if a girl starts talking about unicorns and rainbows, you can hardly look at her and go, 'Unicorns and rainbows!? You stupid bitch!' even if it is pretty stupid."

At the time, I took this as gospel, because it seemed to fit with my typical experience of women's opinions. I didn't really have a defense for Lan calling her a fucking Nazi, except to say that I'm sure he was joking, and not to take things like that too seriously.

Later though, I re-told the conversation to my sister, and she seemed perturbed.

"That's one of my greatest fears," she said. "That people will treat me differently just because I'm a girl." She then went on to tell me a story about how she was hanging out with a boy she's currently dating and his friends. They got into a soccer game, and the boys played extra nice with her: the goalie took a smoke break when she got close to the goal, no one defended her, and they gave her the ball even when she didn't really deserve it, much like a university that uses affirmative action gives a minority student with poor test grades admission to their school. She was frustrated--she didn't want them to coddle her just because she's a girl (in fact, she didn't want to play in the first place because she worried about this very problem).

"I mean, they didn't do that shit to the Swedish guy, and he sucked just as bad as I did," she pointed out.

RA got involved in the conversation, and I brought him up to speed.

Meg wanted clarification. "When he says 'unicorns and rainbows,' does he mean that he thinks women are more idealistic?"

I thought for a minute.

"I don't know about that, but I would say that women in general are less realistic."

"Those are two very different things," RA said.

"I know, that's why I made the distinction."

"I don't know if I agree with that," RA replied.

"I do. I'm not saying that all women have their head in the clouds, and can't make decisions about the world we live in--I'm just saying that if one gender is more based in reality, it's men. We're wired differently: women usually have a higher level of emotional intelligence and can communicate more clearly, but men think more logically and make more rational, realistic decisions."

Meg chimed in, "As true as that may be, I don't want a guy to not tell me what he thinks just because he assumes my thoughts are going to be stupid. I always want to be treated equally."

"And with the exception of sports, you probably will be. This is because you aren't stupid like other girls are, and that is because you're related to me."

Then she kicked me in the calf.

Rewind to about eight months ago. I'm sitting in a nice restaurant with Lan and CF (a girl). I ordered the grilled salmon, which was delicious.

CF said, "Lan, do you make a lot of girls cry?"

Seeing exactly where this was going, I thought to myself 'After Lan tells her that he does (which is true), she is going to tell him that he shouldn't be proud of that.'

I looked at Lan, waiting for his reply.

Straight-faced and with out inflection, Lan spoke one word.


"That's nothing to be proud of, you know."

Lan and I looked at each other and said simultaneously, "I knew she was going to say that."

"Which is why I answered the question simply and as straight-forward as I could. I'm not proud of it; it's just a true fact that I probably do make more girls cry than the average man."

Ironically, Lan probably makes more girls cry than the average man simply because he follows the philosophy that my sister's soccer opponents didn't--he treats people and ideas based on merit, not on gender. However, as MO (a friend of Lan's and an acquaintance of mine), once said, "That's no way to get laid." True again, but then this turn of events got me thinking that if the case is that we have to "endure" womens' unicorn/rainbow/why-children-should-rule-the-world theories in order to get laid, then women are really no better off in terms of garnering respect based on merit from their gender-opposites than they were at the beginning of time.

Then I wondered if perhaps the problem isn't that men don't respect women because their ideas aren't rational, but if the standards we apply for handing out respect are imposed by men, for men, in an all-too patriarchal society that caters only to the male ego.

Then I was distracted because I hadn't jerked off that day yet, and settled down to some internet pornography, which I found quite satisfying.

1But, as Lan says, all jokes are only made in half jest. However, Ben's ex-girlfriend is Korean, and I doubt the Nazis would have accepted her in the party, had she been alive at the height of their popularity. So how true could that joke actually be? I mean, maybe they'd accept her now, since they're probably hurting for members, but who really gives a shit?

2"Well, not always," Ben said later. "But in certain areas they are."
Added a review of Coldplay's 2002 release A Rush of Blood to the Head to the "Music" section of the site.

Also, became frustrated when a list I submitted to McSweeney's Internet Tendency was rejected.

Additionally, I ran out of milk, and am not able to enjoy a nice bowl of cereal at the moment.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A Conversation With A Woman Re: Whether Humanity Would Be Better Off If Children Ruled The World

She looked out to the horizon thoughtfully. "The world is so crazy, I sometimes think we'd all be better off if we let the children decide things."


"They're not like adults, they still have imagination and creativity--they haven't been weighted down by the troubles in the world."

"I don't know," I said. "Children are basically animals until they're socialized."

"You must dislike children, and that's really sad, because children are the future," she replied.

"That's not true. I like kids alot, but lets be honest, not a single one of them would refrain from murder unless they were too stupid to figure out how guns work. I mean, kids are fantastically manipulative, but I still think they're pretty amazing, the way they learn things, etc."

She sighed at my stupidity. "Well, maybe when you have a kid of your own you'll change your mind."

My asshole clinched up with annoyance. "You mean change my mind about them being animals? I hope I don't fucking change my mind, because then I'll basically be raising another one of the destructive little nihilists that seem to rule the planet nowadays."

"You're going to be the worst father," she said with the utmost empathy and compassion.

"Why, because I would love my children enough to want to teach them how to control their animal natures?"

(Sullen silence.)

"You are such an asshole."

"Does this mean that you're not going to be licking my balls later?

16 Shells From A 30.6

From The Economist:

“INTELLECTUAL” is hardly the first word that springs to mind when you contemplate George Bush. . . .

Yet for the past few months this paragon of good ol' boy common sense has been infatuated with a book about an abstract noun by a Jewish intellectual. Mr Bush recommends Natan Sharansky's “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror” (Public Affairs) to almost everyone he meets (including Condoleezza Rice, who mentioned the book during her opening remarks at her Senate confirmation hearing). Nine days after winning re-election he spent over an hour discussing the book in the White House with Mr Sharansky himself. The meeting must have sounded extraordinary, given Mr Sharansky's thick Russian accent and Mr Bush's Texan drawl. But by all accounts they got on famously.

Mr Sharansky's message comes down to three points. First, “realpolitik” is bankrupt. America cannot go on coddling tyrannical regimes like Saudi Arabia because those regimes invariably try to buy stability at home by exporting hatred abroad. Second, democracy is the best insurance against aggression. Third, the world really is divided between good and evil.

There are few things that irritate foreign-policy types more about Mr Bush than his Manichean view of the world. His infatuation with Mr Sharansky suggests that he is not likely to be any more “sophisticated” in his second term. Mr Sharansky not only sees the world in black and white terms—good versus evil and free societies versus “fear societies”, with a bunch of “realists” dithering in the middle. He has also earned a right to such Manicheanism during his heroic years as a Soviet dissident.

There are nevertheless two substantial criticisms that can be made against the Bush doctrine, criticisms all the more telling for Mr Sharansky's presence on the freedom ticket. The first is that democracy is unlikely to promote peace if it is coupled with a burning sense of unresolved injustice. For Mr Sharansky, Palestinian rage is something that is artificially created by Palestinian and Arab elites as a way of keeping themselves in power. So turning Palestinians into democrats is a necessary first step to turning them into peacemakers. But Palestinian rage is also surely rooted in a sense that they have had their country stolen from them (not least by Mr Sharansky's settler friends). Democracy may simply give them another mechanism for expressing that rage: hence Hamas's success in municipal elections. If Mr Bush is serious about tackling the Middle East, he should choose a mouthpiece who is a bit less partisan.

The second is that you cannot spread goodness around the world unless you hold yourself to the same standards. Mr Sharansky has lost some of his moral authority because of his relative silence on the sufferings of the Palestinians—and not just among pampered Europeans but also among fellow Israelis, who know what it means to live in a tough neighbourhood. When Mr Bush talks about freeing captives, the rest of the world looks at Guantánamo Bay.

The trouble with Mr Bush's new doctrine is not that he has naively embraced freedom and democracy, but that he hasn't embraced them tightly enough.
The sequence of albums I will listen to today while working at the internet cafe is as follows:

Wilco, Being There
Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey
The Doors, L.A. Woman
Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones
Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy
The Jam, Compact Snap
Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues
The Cure, The Head on the Door
Van Morrison, Moondance
Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Abbatoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus

That should just about do it.

Friday, February 04, 2005

On The Time I Visited My Girlfriend Away At School With The Hopes Of Getting Laid, Only To Have An Unattractive Overweight Girl Try To Rape Me

We all have our important firsts--our first love, our first kiss, our first "time"--these are usually pleasant memories that we can look back on and enjoy in our golden years. There are, of course, the unpleasant firsts--our first fight, our first breakup, our first time being pantsed in front of the whole school by Robbie Miller on the day we wear our underwear with the holes in it. This is a story of an unpleasant first.

As a child, I was quite naive--innocent and friendly to all, always believing that all things could be worked out through discourse and compromise. Of course, I went through a phase when "reality struck"--my first fight was around this time, as was the first time I truly realized that life isn't fair when I wasn't voted or even nominated for class favorite1. Still though, I kept, for the most part, a sunny disposition. It was this very same outlook on life that I had in mind when I started going out with Liz during my junior year in high school. Liz was one grade higher than I was, very attractive, and Cuban2. She was a petite girl, but very well built, and had strikingly exotic features. We got together near the end of the school year, when she was preparing for provisional summer courses for entrance to The University of Texas at Austin. When she left to start school, we were pretty convinced that we loved each other, so we decided to see it through and try to make it work.

The first time I went to visit Liz, I was very excited. I had never been to Austin on my own, and was quite looking forward to seeing my girlfriend again (it had probably been about three weeks or so since I had last seen her). I drove in on Saturday afternoon, and had plans to stay for the night before having to go back home for work on Sunday. Liz and I had some dinner together, I met some of her friends, and we got ready to go to a party that night. We drank a few beers in a nearby dorm room, and then headed to the party, which was being held outdoors behind what was probably a fraternity house, although I can't be sure as I write this. The details on the next hour or two of the story get hazy: I drank some very cheap beer, Liz drank some very strong punch that was served out of a garbage can, and I recall us making out in the middle of a crowd of people, and then sitting down on a ledge and making out some more. I was quite hopeful that we would sleep together that night, especially since this particular "first" story took place before the actual "first time" story. At some point, Liz and I decided to go back to the dorm and "spend some time together"3, but as we walked home, it became clear that she was much more drunk than she thought she was. In fact, she could barely stand up, let alone walk. I ended up carrying her to the front of the all-female dorm, and she made her way inside to let me in the side door, since technically, I wasn't allowed inside. I sat outside for about thirty minutes, and I wondered the following things:

- Was Liz passed out on the hallway floor?
- Was Liz puking in the lobby bathroom?
- Was Liz being arrested for public intoxication/minor in posession?
- Was I going to be having sex tonight after all?
- Is there a toilet or a discreet tree nearby that I could urinate into?
- Where the hell is my car?

Luckily, she finally showed up, and the two of us staggered into the elevator and into the dorm room. She told me that she sat on the couch in the lobby and fell asleep/passed out for a few minutes, before remembering that I was waiting outside. When we got into the closet-sized room, Liz went directly to the toilet and threw up all seven glasses of trashcan punch she had ingested over the last two hours and fell into bed. In my limited capacity, which was clearly not as limited as hers, I attempted to console her, give her some water, and leave a garbage can next to her bed in case she needed to vomit again. The next thing I remember, someone was knocking at the door, and woke up and stumbled to the door. It was Vanessa, a friend of ours from high school (who, incidentally, I fooled around with once before I heard that she was into all kinds of ridiculous drugs like cocaine), who wanted to come by and make sure Liz was okay, and probably to take a ride on the C-Train even though I wasn't interested in her anymore. She got Liz a cold compress and tended to her, while I relaxed on Liz's roommate's bed. Vanessa left, and I think I slurred out a word of thanks to her.

An hour of sleep or so later, there was another knock on the door. This time it was Eliza, a friend of Liz's who I met earlier that day. Eliza was an overweight white-trash party girl who tended to drink a lot and gossip even more, according to Liz. Picture Violet Beauregarde in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, after she chewed the gum that tasted like a meal and turned into a giant blueberry. She was fatter than that, and she didn't have any blueberry juice inside her that I was aware of. The only other thing I knew about her was that she was arrested earlier that summer for getting drunk and breaking into Barton Springs pool one night and having a skinny dipping session with some friends, and then eating nineteen pounds of stovetop stuffing and a ham hock.

As I opened the door, she immediately started into a monologue about how her roommate was fucking her boyfriend in her room, and she needed a place to stay for awhile, and could she stay in our room? I didn't really care, since I was going right back to sleep, so without saying a word, I turned around and got back into the roommate's bed (I was fairly concerned that Liz would have vomited all over her sheets). Eliza was babbling about some guy named KC who was "being an asshole" to her that night, and apparently wanted my advice. I tried to stay with the conversation, but I the combination of my lack of interest, lack of sleep, and consumption of Milwaukee's Best and Natural Light put me on a one-way trip to snoozeville4. When I left her, she was sitting in the desk chair near the bed, and I was laying in the roommate's bed.

More blank space exists in this part of my memory, but the next thing I recall is waking up to Eliza's legs wrapped around me, and her crotch grinding into my hip. Startled, I looked over at her.

"What are you doing?!?" I demanded.

"Oh, sorry," she said.

I remember thinking to myself that she had just said the stupidest thing that could be said in response to a demand for why someone was grinding their crotch into another person's leg. Shocked and more than a little disgusted, I got up and went over to Liz's bed. Observing the vomit on her chin and the trash can by the bed, I took the none-puke laden route: a spot directly next to her on the floor. It was very uncomfortable, but I didn't think that I would be followed, especially with such close proximity to Liz.

Oh how I underestimated you, Eliza. Most people would have given up after a disgusted refusal like the one I served to you, but not you. I have repugnance for your personal appearance, but a great respect for your dilligence and work ethic in attempting to force drunken teenage boys to submit to your elephantine desires.

Instead of more prudently taking the hint, she did, in fact, get up off the bed, and lie down on the floor next to me while I slept. It is also a fact that when I woke up, she was again rubbing her crotch against my leg, although this time she was also licking my face in the same fashion that she probably licked her dinner plate earlier that night. Long, upward strokes of her tongue painted my cheek, and her chubby nether-regions humped diligently against my pant-leg.

"What are you doing?! Cut it out!" I whispered fiercely.

"What, you don't like that?" she asked innnocently. Gross.

However, being the nice guy that I was:

"My girlfriend is right there. "We"5 really shouldn't do this." How much more easier could I make it for her to realize that I wasn't interested? I suppose I could have done what I would do nowadays, which would be to chop her arms off with a hatchet, but I wasn't nearly as resolute a person then as I am now. I got up and went to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, I splashed some water on my face, and whispered to myself in disbelief,

"Is this really happening? What the hell is going on?"

When I came back in to the room, she was passed out on the roommates bed, which left me the floorspace next to Liz's bed, or the puddle of puke that my girlfriend slept in. I again chose the floor, and stealing a pillow from Eliza's bed, made myself comfortable as far away as I could from her. What happened next? You guessed it: when I woke up again, she was in her usual place, doing the nasty with my femur, only this time she was on top of me, crushing me into the small corner that existed from the joining of the bottom of the bed and the floor.

"Eliza," I grunted, shoving her away with all my might, "I really don't think we should be doing this." Gasp. Pant. Struggle. Bench-press. Repeat.

"She doesn't have to know about it," her big fat lipstick-smeared mouth said. "Do you have a condom?"

"No, I don't. Eliza, I really don't feel comfortable with this, I think we should stop," I told her. Finally, in a manner not unlike Superman throwing a ten-ton boulder into space, I heaved her off of me, and went back into the bathroom. This time I sat on the edge of the bathtub for about ten minutes, cursing the day I was born with my winning combination of boyish good looks and Cary Grant-like charm. When I returned, she was again sleeping in her non-leg-fornicating location: the roommate's bed. This time, I decided to put an end to it, and voted with my feet for sleeping in the oral excrement my girlfriend left in the space next to her in the bed. I was left unmolested6 for the remainder of the evening.

In the same way that I used my best skills of negotiation and diplomacy with Eliza because I was too nice to do otherwise, I didn't mention anything to Liz about my little rendezvous with death, because, as I legitimized it in my mind, Eliza was drunk and may not have known what she was doing, or something. A few weeks after my visit, I got a phone call from Liz.

"Oh my God, guess what?"


"Remember Eliza? That girl you met when you came to visit? It turns out that she does this really weird thing when she gets drunk where she tries to force herself on guys--she tried to make Monica's boyfriend have sex with her when she was drunk last weekend."

"...Somehow that doesn't surprise me."

I told Liz the story, and in her fiery Latina way, she told Eliza off, with what I imagine to be wild hand gestures and rapid speech.

Liz and I broke up shortly after the storied event took place, but I did take away one piece of wisdom from that situation:

Never let your girlfriend drink to much of that damned trashcan punch, lest you not get laid and instead be aggressively courted by a creature only seconded in size to the Michelin Man.

1This led to my "first time I realized that Democracy sucks" story.

2Which I interpreted to mean "a hot-blooded demon in the sack."

3By which I mean "penetrate vaginally."

4Mayor of Snoozeville: Sleepy Floyd.

5Quotation marks added to show that I wasn't actually involved in the decision to stimulate her genitals with any part of my body.

6 When I use the word "unmolested" I use it with both definitions of the word:

1. Not interfered with, disturbed, or harmed.
2. Left alone by big fat girls who were previously using their gorilla-like size and strength to get a piece of the sweet sweet Zane love.