Thursday, August 27, 2009

Keeping It Real.

My old buddy Matt has always had the brilliant talent of cutting through bs when talking to people. I appreciate this on so many levels but mainly because a) The truth can be hilarious and b) I feel like he's sort of the last of the Mohicans in terms of being honest about what's going on in his life.

These are weird times. If you're not trying to find yourself (I was under the sofa cushion all along!) you're trying to find your calling, or career path, or soulmate, or cause, or purpose, or anything that you can use to talk about with confidence when you run into people who want to know what you're doing. And it seems like everyone our age is constantly working on finely tuning the answers they give, so not only do they sound important, but you usually have no idea what they're talking about.  

-Do you ever hear from so-and-so?
-Oh, yeah, just saw her the other day.
-What's she up to?
-Um, I don't really know. I think she's either like making or buying all of the money that goes into Canada? I'm not sure. It has to do with money, and computers, and I think she said something about babies.

Anyway, whenever I hear from Matt I remember how great it is to know someone who refuses to sugarcoat things. This is from our conversation:

Me: So are you liking that new job?
Matt: No. I hate it. I go in, do 20-minutes of data entry and then surf the internet until I go home.
Me: And it's full time?
Matt: Yeah. It's a lot of internet time. Last week, after watching every available YouTube video on the topic, and I learned how to make cheese. If I wanted to, I could make cheese.  I know everything there is to know about making cheese.
Me: Wow. But maybe make a few test batches before serving your friends Internet cheese.
Matt: I don't need to. My cheese would be awesome. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Well, That's Not Normal.

My cousin was telling us that the other day he saw a man walking down the side of the road carrying a giant pig's head. It turns out that man was our uncle.  

This is how Jonny described it:

"I was driving near Grandma's house, and some guy was walking down the road carrying a giant pig's head. Then I saw my mother walking about 10 feet behind the man with the pig's head. So I turned around."

The "pig" is in fact, a wild boar. And it has been mounted to a wall. And it has been named Harvey. And it was purchased for $20 at--I kid you not--at a taxidermist's yard sale.  (I'm sorry, but I seriously want to write a book called A Taxidermist's Yard Sale.) 

A buddy of mine made an excellent point upon hearing that taxidermists have yard sales by saying, "Sure, you have to get rid of the product. Taxidermists are kind of like car salesmen in that respect.  You can't stack 'em." 

It was such a valid argument that I almost thought it made everything OK. But then I decided, nope. It's still effing weird.  

Apparently my uncle wanted to buy a falcon too, but my aunt said she wouldn't help him carry it home, so he didn't. 

If you've never seen a wild boar head in person, it is INCREDIBLY scary. Honestly. I have a picture of Harvey but I don't actually want it on my blog so you'll just have to take my word for it.  However, this was my sister's face after seeing it for the first time, if that gives you any indication of how creepy it is. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Scariest First Day Of School Ever.

Wealthy people who are headed to jail now have the option to learn about what they should be expecting behind bars thanks to a growing field of experts known as prison consultants. Time Magazine reports that people such as Bernie Madoff and Plaxico Burress have hired these prison coaches to learn how to handle themselves while incarcerated. 

Note: Burress is going to jail after shooting himself in the leg with an unlicensed gun he put in his sweatpants. I know nothing about guns but I know TONS about sweatpants. Anyone who has ever tried to put their ipod in the waist of their sweatpants knows how big of a moron this guy is. 

Anyway, prison consultants charge $100/hr for phone consultations, $150/hr for webinars, or for $20,000 a person can sign up for a 100-hour course. I imagine the course is divided into these fundamental units of prison education:
-Shiv Making
-Economics. Namely, learning the USD conversion rate for a pack of cigarettes.
-Intro to Rec Yard Culture
-Art Appreciation
-History of Eye Aversion. A look at historical figures from Ancient Egypt to modern times who managed to always keep their heads down.
-Viticulture & Enology: How to make toilet wine.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It Makes For A Pretty Lame BBQ.

In the latest "I'm an idiot" news, this was my end of a phone conversation with a potential roommate the other day:

-Sorry, a what?
-No, I'm single.
-What's that? Oh, a grill. Uh, no. I don't have one of those either. 

Friday, August 21, 2009

My New Favorite Story.

I was handing Sabrina my coffee the other night so she could dip part of her cookie into it and she goes, "Get your filthy hands off of it! I want to hold it!" and then smiled like I should know what she was talking about.

"What are you talking about?"
"You know, like that lady from the gum story."
"What gum story?"
"THE gum story. The lady on the train. I've told you that story, right?"
"Um, no."
Bugging her eyes out as wide as she could, she smacked the sofa cushion and yelled, "I've never told you the story about the gum lady?!"
"Oh my gosh! I'm so excited! This is my favorite story to tell!"

OK, so I have to say that typing this story out will strip it of most of its dramatic integrity.  The best part was the way Bri told it.  But this will have to do.  For the part of the old lady, it's important to know that the voice Sabrina used was a cross between the Lord of The Rings "Precious" character and a frog.  Also, she swears that all of this is 100% true. As follows in Brina's words.

I was sitting on the train across from a girl in her early 20's and at a stop an old woman wearing layers and layers of clothes and a babushka on her head got on and sat down next to her. The girl took out a pack of Orbitz gum from her bag, grabbed a piece, and put the pack back in her bag when all of a sudden you hear, "Can I have some gum?!"  The girl looked up to see who was talking to her and again you hear, "Can I have some gum?!"  She turned to the old woman to see if it was her voice coming out of the babushka and said, "Sorry? Do you want a piece?" and the woman goes, "Yeah."

So the girl once again takes the pack of gum out of her bag, opens it up, reaches for a stick, and the woman starts to scream, "Get your filthy hands off of it! I want to hold it!"

By this point everyone on the train car was watching.  Slightly confused, the girl handed her the pack of gum and the old woman quickly started to touch every piece before finally grabbing all of the gum out of the pack and throwing the box on the ground. Hesitating for a second, the girl simply leaned over and picked up the empty pack from the floor.  

The old woman, now holding all of the gum, opened her own bag and reached around inside before pulling out a huge clear plastic bag.  A huge clear plastic bag FULL OF GUM! She dumped all of the new pieces into the bag and put it away. When the doors opened at the next stop, the old lady got off the train.

I have a theory that everyone in the world likes to be offered gum, so I think that's why I enjoyed this story so much.  But maybe it was just the funny voice Brina was using.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Karianne And Pat's Wedding.

My cousin Karianne is basically the sweetest person in the entire world and conveniently, she just married one of the sweetest guys.  Pics from their wedding last weekend.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Second Amendment.

Thanks to a newfound obsession with protein shakes, my little sister has taken to challenging random beefy strangers to flex-offs.

When she starts to pull cars with rope, we're having an intervention to get her back on regular fruit smoothies. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Watch Your Step.

Guests and servants leaving a room after seeing the Queen of England will no longer be required to walk backwards. The longstanding royal tradition of never showing your back to the Queen was lifted for safety reasons after Her Majesty redecorated most of Buckingham Palace using an M.C. Escher design motif.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Buck Melanoma. Moley Russell's Wart.

Not her wart. Not her wart! I'm...I'm the wart. She's my tumor. growth. My...uh, my pimple. I'm Uncle Wart. Just old Buck "Wart" Russell. That's what they call me. Or Melanoma Head. They'll call me that. "Melanoma Head's coming." I'm...uncle! Maisy Russell's uncle!

Writer and director John Hughes passed away yesterday. When my family talks about "the classics" we're referring to films like Uncle Buck or The Great Outdoors or Ferris Bueller's Day Off. And while it's quite common for my father to forget my name when he's talking to me, he somehow remembers every single line from Christmas Vacation.

My sisters and I grew up watching John Hughes movies on repeat. We memorized entire screenplays just by rewinding funny scenes and playing them over and over. Quoting lines to each other was always a road trip game, or just a guaranteed way to make someone in our family laugh out loud. As we grew older, random quotes from his scripts became code. I've had entire conversations with my sisters using only lines from John Hughes films.

I was talking to Sabrina about it and she agreed that his writing truly shaped so much of what we find funny. And she made an excellent point by saying, "We thought our family was normal because of his movies."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Moving Too Fast.

I was on the phone with a customer service rep the other day and just before hanging up I said, "OK, thanks. Love you."

I do this more often than I'd like to admit.

I'm so used to slowly enunciating my commands into the phone for robot options, that when I actually speak to a human, I slip.
"Yes, this is a real person you're talking to."
"Oh, sorry."

And it wouldn't be so awkward if I just hung up. "Love you!" Click. It might give them a chuckle. But I never just leave it. If I happen to say "love you" I immediately start to explain the error.

"Sorry, I didn't mean that. I don't love you. I don't even know you. But I mean, I'm sure the people who know you love you. I bet you're a really nice person. You have a very nice speaking voice. But that's not like a line or anything. Like, 'Hey, nice voice, why don't you call me next time? Press # for more options.' Right? And I don't even know what that means. It was supposed to be like a menu options joke. It didn't make sense. Anyway...umm...thanks again for your help, and uhh, have a nice day."

It wouldn't be so bad except there's a very strong possibility that for quality assurance purposes, my calls may be recorded.