Sunday, January 30, 2011

strange things are afoot at the circle k

Hey people finding this page for reasons I can't understand:

If you're interested in following my continued shitty, boring, yet well written adventures (and you're going to want to because I'm moving to China), then please check out the blog's new home at Wordpress. Update your links and bookmarks already, dammit:

http://alerttheaudience.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

locational hiatus

Hey friends. We've moved the official page to http://alerttheaudience.wordpress.com.  It looks prettier.  Sorta.  See ya there.

Monday, December 6, 2010

the paper anniversary

A lot can happen in a year.  The last year of my life has been defined by a college degree after nearly not graduating, a parade of crappy jobs, four months of unemployment, an English teaching certification, the near death of my writing career, the stagnation of my music career, and for a very short while there was enough cheap whiskey and cheaper women in my life to make Hemingway think I was being a little slutty.

Why do I bring this up?  Because exactly one year ago today, I started this blog.  After a couple beers late at night on December 6th, 2009, I decided that the world needed more of me than they already had.  Since then I've written nearly 200 posts, and this page has seen over 20,000 views.  I've made some enemies here and some unlikely friends, and one time this gay adoption agency got a hold of one of my posts and I nearly went viral (that was an exciting twenty-two hours).

I write this not to pat myself on the back, but because I can't believe this horrendous charade has gone on for this long, and that you're all still falling for it.  This blog isn't much more than an offensive internet diary without all of you, and for that I'm truly thankful.  I hope you all continue to stick around in my little corner of the web.

And speaking about which corner of the internet I've made my own, I got sick of looking at the ugly Blogspot backgrounds, so I'm moving the blog to Wordpress, for at least a little while, to see if I like it.  The address is alerttheaudience.wordpress.com, so update your bookmarks.  Don't want to lose you guys now, after all we've been through.

So that's really it.  A lot can change in a year.  In a way, I'm proud that this blog has become a monument to the fact that nothing ever really changes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

yippee-kai-yay

As the banner change might indicate, it's that time of year again.  It's cold as hell in New Hampshire but it refuses to snow, I stop washing my hair so it can do that Heatmiser thing all the time, I try to convince my family that getting them "love" for Christmas is better than me buying them presents, and ABC Family pretends that we want twenty-five straight days of Christmas programming, including all the awful shows they pad it with (cut the shit, ABC Family, we all know the last week of programming before Christmas is the only one worth a goddamn in that festival of bullshit).  I generally like Christmas, but holiday themed TV and movies are generally on my shitlist.  There's only so much you can do with that lore, and it takes a truly incredible effort to not be terrible.

What I'm trying to get at is that we could just MAKE Christmas movies, and people do all the time.  But it takes about ten "Four Christmases" to get one "Elf" (the exchange rate gets even worse by the way; it takes forty "Christmas with the Kranks" to equal one non-burglar scene from "Home Alone").  That kind of videological terrorism is taxing on the holiday spirit.  I mean, "Jingle All The Way" is fun in that "bad Arnold movie" kind of way, but at its core it's a very dark and unsettling movie.  Trust me, watch it some time and really pay attention.  After seeing it I'd sooner hang myself than go caroling.

There is a cure for all of this though, and after you've seen the Santa Clause 2 and enough claymation to make your eyes bleed, I have a suggestion for your holiday movie watching consideration.  It's my personal favorite Christmas movie, a 1988 classic known as "Die Hard".

I hear you already: "You're wrong Tim, Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie!  You crazy!"  Well FUCK YOU.  IT IS TOO A FUCKING CHRISTMAS MOVIE.  It takes place literally on Christmas Eve at the world's worst Christmas party (and given the extent of the movie's epicness, I'm willing to bet it spills over past midnight, therefore making it Christmas Day), there's a Santa hat on a dead German henchman, and "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC is played about a minute and a half into the movie.  That's Christmas as fuck.

Let's think about this objectively for a second: it may not be the most overtly Christmas-y or yule-centric movie, but it still qualifies as one and it's probably the best action movie of all time.  That can be debated on a visceral level, but not on a cleverness level.  I have yet to see a better written and acted action movie, ever.  Even subsequent Die Hard movies can't do it (and a couple of them are crimes against cinema, but that's not the point right now).  I mean, come on!  Bruce Willis in his prime, Alan Rickman before he spent a decade wasting his character acting genius on Severus Snape, and Carl Winslow buying Twinkies!  HOW CAN YOU LOSE? (Trick question: you can't lose.  It's awesome.)

So this holiday, when that basic cable screening of Fred Claus is pushing you to the brink of insanity, stop, take a deep breath, put down the gun, and revisit this classic.  You'll be glad you did.

And if you haven't seen Die Hard yet, get the fuck off my blog and don't come back until you have.

PS: I haven't gotten a chance to say this, but a very Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish readers!  Have some latkes for me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the alaskan pipe line

Nothing is more engrossing to watch than a car accident. There's something morbidly captivating about it that just can't be escaped. You don't want to look...but you end up gawking at it for a half hour, because you just can't find the power in yourself to look away.

I guess that's what drove me to watch the pilot episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska. The Palin Obsession is at an all-time-high, and this is its highest peak, unless we have the misfortune of a Palin presidency in 2012, which this show desperately wants. What I mean by that is that Sarah Palin's Alaska is essentially a long, serialized political infomercial for the obscure wolf-hunting governor turned political juggernaut. Yes, in another attempt to control her public image, Sarah is out to show us her down-home, "real" American side by exploring the wild beauty of Alaska, intercut with an annoying amount of "Real Housewives" style confessionals.

The first "adventure" in the premiere is Sarah and Todd taking their daughter Piper and their niece McKinley to go salmon fishing (yes, the girl is named McKinley, like President William McKinley, that's good parenting there). That sounds pretty innocuous, right? Right...unless the Palins are knowingly taking their ten-year-old children into the middle of bear country. And that's fine for a bit, because there are no bears, but then a bear shows up. So what do you do when a bear shows up? Encourage your daughter and her cousin to keep fishing for salmon as long as they don't hook the bear? Of course! I can't believe I never thought of that. How about when a second bear shows up and the two bears start fighting? Sit around in your shitty tin boat and talk about how "cool" the situation is? Awesome, you're two-for-two. About how many bears do you think it takes for the Palins to finally get the hint that they should leave the area they refer to as BEAR COUNTRY? If you guessed five or six, then you win. Your prize is the condom Bristol should have used when getting tickled like a Teletubby by Levi Johnston.

Speaking of Bristol, I've never felt more sympathy for a human being I've never met than the amount of sympathy I have for sixteen-year-old Willow Palin. That girl is just going to snap and become a heroin addict one of these days. Here's what she's got going against her so far: first off, she's a middle child (literally the third of five). I can't imagine life as a politician's daughter is easy, much less the cub of the Mama of all Mama Grizzlies, but since Gov. Palin thought that they needed a TLC camera crew following them around, she's now the unwilling star of a reality show. Then to top it all off, Bristol is this girl's older sister. That means she's paying for every last one of Bristol's mistakes, i.e. the baby. From her behavior on the show, it seems that all she wants to do is live a normal teenager's life and her attention whore mother is preventing that in every way possible. Willow, if you're reading this, when you're 18 give me a call. I'll come save you.

Other stray observations? The whole show is complaining about how Sarah's political life (specifically her attachment to her Blackberry) is taking time away from her home life, but she shows no inclination to actually leave the media circus and be a better (or at least more attentive) wife and mother. Also, a recurring theme is how much Sarah dislikes the invasive author who moved in next door to write an exposé on the family, but doesn't stop for one second and think about how the TLC crew is invading every part of their lives anyway. And speaking of this being a "show", there's no way they aren't feeding lines to her children, and at the very least they're definitely coaching Piper on what to say. You. Don't. Talk. A. Bout. An. Y. Thing. In. A. Chop. Py. Way. Like. This. Un. Less. You're. Try. Ing. To. Re. Mem. Ber. Your. Lines. And Piper constantly talks like that. There's no way a nine-year-old is already using the vocal cadence of a stroke victim. Nine-year-olds have more stream-of-consciousness than a goddamned James Joyce novel (and I should know, I was a very bizarre nine-year-old once upon a time).

So...I guess that's it. If you want to watch the blowup doll version of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz and her "To Catch A Predator"-looking husband trying to appear common from their Alaskan mansion and exploit and ruin their children's lives while trying spin it all into a positive right-wing political message as the Scarecrow attempts to run for president, then Sarah Palin's Alaska is sure to be your new favorite show.

Also, Sarah, honey, taking an hour and a half to climb a rock face that's maybe at its worst a 5.3 is not triumph over adversity. It's you being a wuss. And a dumb, but tenacious wuss at that.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

loko en la cabeza

If there's anything that America secretly loves, it's censorship. We've banned books, and movies, and TV shows, bleeped swears, and took all the zest out of a certain Cee Lo Green song so it could be played on the radio. We're a free society, until we run the risk of offending someone. Then it's a black bar censor party. I guess that's sort of tangential to the recent ban of Four Loko and Joose (which I totally called back in March when it turned me into a hyperactive drunken maniac who woke up in a stranger's Connecticut apartment), but it's a nearly identical ideology: that we can't be trusted to regulate ourselves.

Once it came into the limelight, it stood no chance of remaining in most markets. It became to energy drinks what Myspace was to the Internet in 2004: young people liked it and started doing insanely stupid things with it, and since the whole phenomenon confused older people, it becomes inextricably linked to the stupidity and abuse. Then your grandparents ask you about "that damn Five Crazy" during a visit and you have an awkward conversation about it that doesn't move past the Fox 25 Undercover talking points they saw three nights ago on TV.

They nicknamed it "blackout in a can", and it didn't occur to them that those being most affected by Four Loko did not give a fuck. Yeah, you can slug one of those fuckers like it's an Arizona Iced Tea, but if you're buying Four Loko in the first place, you're probably trying really hard to get Batman and Robin drunk that night.

What was really missing from this scenario was reason. The perception was never that people were getting too drunk by drinking (in this instance, Four Loko), it's that Four Loko was getting people too drunk. Where's the ban on Bacardi 151? Or selling Red Bull mixed drinks at bars? Those can get you pretty fucked up, right? There's not and there will be no ban, because the "problem" was Four Loko.

It never occurred to anyone during all of this that maybe we should be having a discourse as a society about our alcohol traditions. I mean, American researchers determined that drinking makes you live longer, but British researchers claimed that alcohol is more dangerous than heroin. It's hyperbolic, certainly, but there has to be something to that. And then there's the odd notion in this country that when you're 20 years and 364 days old, overnight you will become adult and responsible enough to consume alcohol. I'm nearly 23, and recently I drank enough at a show in Allston to act like a complete douche for no discernible reason. I was drinking PBR tallboys, should we ban Pabst for my actions? No, because it wasn't the beer that made me an asshole; I was already an asshole. Beer was merely a conduit for that behavior.

Here's the thing: until we start having that conversation as a culture, it's going to get worse. Someone is going to make a drink even more "diabolical", and we'll repeat the cycle again, possibly with more casualties the next time it happens. I, for one, am really excited about alcoholic whipped cream. Once I've put a can straight to my face and I'm drunk as hell, I can do whippets until my nose bleeds. And when I die from that, we can all lose our minds and blame the manufacturer and ban it.

If we aren't going to have this discourse, then we need to accept something we have done everything in our power to eliminate: natural selection. Natural selection came to a screeching halt sometime around modern civilization, because smart people lived and then invented the technology to keep dumb people alive. If we're going to keep pretending that alcohol doesn't exist until you're 21, then I think natural selection should make a comeback. Wanna drink four Four Lokos in an hour (I call that the "Four by Four")? Fine. The gene pool won't miss you. We can't have our cake and eat it too, America. Either start acting responsibly, or shut the fuck up and let Darwin in a Can take its course.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

addition, subtraction, substitution, and other math related jargon

I think for this generation, and for generations to come, our Everest is going to be finding a career. We've proven that as the middle children of history we can hold down menial, minimum wage service industry jobs like no one's business, but getting a real life job with our degrees has been tough. I know a few people who are doing the Lord's work with their bachelor's degree, but the majority of people I know are working at sub shops or crappy places like that, or have retreated to grad school. After being laid off after five months of being a golf cart hygienist in Goffstown, I hope to finally count myself among those doing something they went to college for.

I'm not sure if I've talked about it much here (and I don't feel like reading to figure it out), but I've been embroiled for the better part of a month in the application process to become a substitute teacher. It took that long because I had to go get fingerprinted, I had to find three of the very few people who will still give me a good reference, and then after realizing I didn't have a Social Security Card, I had to apply for another one, which took a week in and of itself (bonus trivia: we found my old one after, and apparently I got my hands on it when I was very young and wrote "TIMOTHY" on it in huge backward-ass letters, so it's for the best that I got a new one). Then I handed in my application (after almost losing my new Social Security Card in the parking lot on a rainy day, which meant that a very annoyed secretary had to photocopy a wet SSC), and waited anxiously for a call for an interview. I got it Monday and was to interview with a principal at a Manchester high school today at 9AM.

Everything was falling into place except for one thing: I had never had a real interview in my entire life. All the jobs I've held have basically asked me "Okay you're not a drug-addled dickhead who is going to sleep on the job, right?" and then given me employment. I've never had to actually convince someone that I'm as awesome as I look. It's like a beauty pageant for the unpretty. Actually, I'm going to revise that. It's more like a dog show. Give them your pedigree papers, speak when asked to speak, and if your rolling over is impressive enough, then you get a job.

Thankfully (after basically breaking into the locked down high school because I couldn't find the front office entrance. If you walk briskly in a shirt and tie at a high school, kids just let you in the building without thinking twice) my interviewer was not one of those interviewers. He was a really nice guy, the consummate professional. He sat me down and started by asking me why I wanted to become a substitute (I gave him a decent answer, but not a good one. For some reason it was the only question I was unprepared for. Way to go, Tim), and then looked at me, and said (and I'm paraphrasing), "You know you're fucked, right?" I told him I knew, but didn't like to think about it. Because, my dear readers, if I am let onto the substitute teaching list, my profession is going to be walking around with a "kick me!" sign on my back. I'm a professional target, a patsy for students to take advantage of because I'm not their real teacher. I'm the proxy step dad to thirty kids every day. To drive that home, while I was waiting for my interview, a young woman (with the most severe ADD I've seen in my life, it was unreal) had been sent to the office because she had had a tiff with her substitute teacher that day. The girl called the substitute "a dumb cunt". This is my new reality.

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? I am this much closer to a real job and can stop having to tell people that I wash golf carts when rich, entitled white guys are finished with them. What do I want for Christmas? The fortitude to not lose my mind, day after day of psychological terrorism from high schoolers. Do you think that fits in a stocking?