Thursday, January 24, 2013

Down With the U.K. (again)!

Here at the PCPPP campus ideas flow like a nice sturdy box of wine down a river flowing with wine. Between Pat, myself, and the steady stream of young, attractive, and unpaid interns we have revolving through here on a weekly basis, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of the flowing ideas. Not to mention keeping track of which boxes of wine are empty and which still have some idea juice in them.

Our blog post writings typically consists of one of us creating a shared Google doc and starting out on a topic idea. We then take turns writing back and forth on it until it is crowned complete. It is then handed off to one of our young, attractive, and unpaid interns who dictates it into a recording device and makes four copies of the recorded blog post, two of which are moved into two separate safety deposit boxes at two different banks found in two different cities. The intern then destroys one of the remaining recorded copies along with the computer they read the original Google doc off of. The last recorded copy is given to another intern who then transcribes the recorded copy back into a new Google doc. When the post is finally scheduled to be published a third intern copies the contents of the new Google doc into Blogger and publishes it. At that point the third intern is destroyed. I mean layed off.

But where was I? Oh yeah keeping track of ideas. We’re not good at it. For example this post. Today I looked into my shared Google folder and noticed an empty doc with the title “Down With the U.K. (again)!”

According to Google docs, Pat created and titled this document. I have a vague memory of discussing some ideas with him while we were at a local drinking establishment one evening long ago. I don’t recall all the details but I think it had something to do with the fact that after watching the opening or closing ceremonies of the Olympics I felt like England was trying to take credit for the Cosby Show. But again the details are hazy.

Pat, do you recall what this post was supposed to be about?

Pat: I’m not sure, exactly, but after the number of times you mentioned “Google” in the intro, I feel like it should be about the power of name recognition and underwriting in small-scale humor blogs (we ARE small scale, right?). had something to do with the Olympics. You didn’t like the opening. Or the closing. Or the fact that other countries won medals. Or something like that.

Was Cosby in the ceremonies? I don’t remember that part. Was he on the flatbed truck with Madness? On the bus with Fatboy Slim? Dancing with Eric Idle?

Remember Lisa Bonet? I REALLY liked her in “Angel Heart”...much more so than in the Cosby Show.

What were we talking about?

Christian: She was great in “Angel Heart”! Or was it that she was naked in “Angel Heart”? It’s one of the two. Mickey Rourke was in that too right? He should have been a regular on the Cosby Show.

But yeah I’m pretty sure England tried to take credit for the Cosby Show during one of their Olympic ceremonies. I did an internet investigation into it and found that during the time of the Olympics someone did tweet this:

“WTF! The British think they came up with Cosby? I don’t think so. Siri, who created Bill Cosby? Damnit Siri I don't want any Jello. #twitter”

But upon further investigation it turns out it was me that tweeted that, so I’m really not that much closer to proving it.

One other question I have is why is there an “(again)” in the post title? I understand the whole “Down With the U.K.” part of it but do you remember why you added the “(again)”?

Pat: SO many questions! I get a little flustered, buddy. Can we do one at a time?

Lisa Bonet naked? Definitely! But I appreciated her for her acting abilities.

Mickey Rourke? Never on Cosby, to my knowledge. Probably best that way. Rudy was just so innocent...I don’t know what Mickey would have done to that precious little psyche. Wait...are we talking Mickey a’la Diner or Mickey a’la The Wrestler? Kinda’ makes a difference.

Cosby? Are you sure you didn’t mean “Crosby”? I only ask, because I frequently find myself forgetting which one of the CSN & Y fellas is British (and which one is Canadian is a whole other...oh, don’t get me started!), and I wonder if you got David mixed up with Graham, and if you did I BET that was darn near frustrating enough to cause you to tweet angrily. Think that might have been the case?

Again? Well, heck, that one’s easy. Have you forgotten about that revolutionary grudge you still carry around with you? Oh geez...I remember the last time you and I went out to eat, and you nearly Hulked the table when I thought of ordering bangers-and-mash! Who knew you had such a vehement hatred for the Brits? Not me, I tell ya’. But I learned my lesson, and from now on it’s nothing but Phó and Sauerkraut and the like when we sup together.

Christian: They were the ones that did that Revolutionary War thing!?!?!? Then down with them indeed! And now they think they can just steal The Cosby show along with one of the members of Crosby Stills Nash & Young! I don’t think so.

In fact I’m going to start a petition right now to get the Unites States to succeed from the United Kingdom. I don’t care if we have to go to war over it. This has to be done! Pronto!

When are we meeting for drinks again?

Pat:  Umm...I think we already did succeed from the Brits. Just look at our dollar compared to their pound, or pense, or tuppence...or whatever the hell they use to buy things. Oh, and our teeth. Look at our teeth, too. Total success!

Christian: OK, I just had one of our young and highly attractive interns point out to me that I accidentally said “succeed” instead of “secede from the United Kingdom”. I’m sure this was a failure on Google doc’s spell checker or something. Needless to say the intern has been fired.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Define 12 Items or Less

I don’t like grocery shopping. There I said it. I don’t like it at all. And it has nothing to do with the multiple cease and desist orders that the Nabisco corporation has filed against me. Which I don’t want to get into. OK fine, let’s just say they’ve grown tired of my enthusiasm for Nutter Butters and even though they claim to have no affiliation with the Keebler Company they refuse to let me know if they have any information as to whether or not Keebler elves really do exist. Pretty sure they do.

No, I mostly don’t like grocery shopping because I pretty much find doing anything else more fun and exciting. So as you can imagine I try to get in and out as fast as possible and as we all know, check-out line selection is key to getting out of the store in a hurry. And what are the prime lane selections? The 12 items or less lanes of course.

Thus the 12 items or less lanes are the most desirable yet the most exclusive of lanes. You must have 12 items or less. But what’s the expectation of how strict we should be with this “12 items or less” designation?

For example, by doing some creative counting and going with a very vague yet correct definition of “items”, I’ve gone through one of these 12 items or less lanes with what some people may see as 30 plus items. However I only saw 11.

12 is such a loose term. And what about that old saying that less is more?
Confusing isn’t it?

Pat, what’s your take on the strictness of 12 items or less? Do you ever “take advantage”?

Pat:  Well, before I start on this one, let me throw a question your way. If you buy twelve beers, does that count as one item or twelve? Does it matter if they’re all sealed in a box?  

By the way, the person at the grocery store seemed to think it did.

Christian: You beat me to my next point. Yes that is what I consider part of my “creative” counting. If you buy a 24 pack of beer in a box you would expect that to count as one item right? Definitely not 24. And I would also say the same holds true for a 6 pack of beer. You have (1) six pack of beer.

Now let’s say I have three separate bottles of beer. We all know that the important thing with rules is that the rules stay consistent. So along the same lines I have (1) set of three bottles of beer. Thus one item. Same goes when I’m buying six Butterfinger candy bars. Those six Butterfingers are one item in my book. One delicious peanut-buttery item.

Are you telling me you’ve had checkers that disagree with this logic?

Pat:  I haven’t played checkers in a long time. Do you often play that in the grocery store? Where, might I ask? Oh! Probably the feminine products aisle. There’s always lots of room there, ‘cause it’s only got women and creepers.

As a former grocery store employee I just wanted to mess with you, as we far preferred the moniker, “Checkout Aisle Attendant”. Keep that in mind the next time you call the person in lane 4 a “checker”!

And yes, I have had such people make a stink. But they only do that if you’re a stinker and they don’t like you. Otherwise, do you really think they care? Is THEIR day getting delayed because you have more than the allotted items? Play it cool and you could probably get through those lanes with, like, FIFTY items!

Christian:  They don’t care? Are you sure? I would assume the checkers...uh I mean the Checkout Aisle Attendants that are manning the regular checkout aisles wouldn’t care. Especially those poor saps that are manning the Family Friendly aisles. Those people seem like they’re gonna snap at any moment.

But I always assumed that the stores put their top notch most dedicated checkout aisle attendants in the 12 items or less lanes since these are the lanes specifically designed for speed and efficiency. Basically the Navy Seals of Checkout Aisle Attendants.  

I don’t have any science to back this theory up nor do I know anything about the training these checkers go through but I imagine the 12 items or less checkers go through some kind of military grade training. With that kind of dedication I would assume they would care if you grossly violated the 12 items or less rule. And that they might physically or at least emotionally harm you if you did.

Have you been emotionally harmed? Why didn’t they like you?


Pat:’ve got me thinking on this one. I never thought about the idea that only the best employees would be granted access to the quicker checkout aisles. I always kinda’ assumed those aisles were for the...slower employees. Y’know, the kind who can’t really deal with more than 10, 12 or 15 things at one time. They also can’t do that pat-your-head and rub-your-tummy thing. And if that’s the case, do you think they’re really going to be counting your items? Accurately?

Here’s a thought. What’s the one family of grocery items that makes appearances least often in the quick checkout lanes?

Christian: Rifles?

Pat: I’d be willing to bet it’s produce. And you know why? ‘Cause all that produce gets rung up with CODES (psst! It’s CODES that run the world, man!). Attendants have to remember all of the individual codes for every piece of produce that comes through their lane. Think the store manager is going to entrust that task to someone who can barely handle more than 12 things at once? I don’t think so. Myth busted!  

Christian: I hadn’t thought about that. Maybe you’re right. Maybe grocery stores do put their idiots at the 12 items or less lanes. That would explain how I got through that lane last night with buying  4 boxes of cereal, 2 packs of salami, beef stick, 3 Butterfingers, 3 boxes of Triscuits, a deli sandwich, beef stick, milk, beef stick, 17 cans of beer and 5 bottles of wine, which of course was just 2 items: food and alcohol.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Who Doesn't Like a Parade? I Mean Besides Me.

I hate to rain on everyone’s-liking-parades parade, but I have never really cared for parades. Not even as a kid. I just don’t see what’s to like about watching a bunch of slow moving vehicles covered in paper mache drive by, followed by a marching band playing songs from the catalog of most overplayed radio songs of all time. But maybe I’m in the minority here.

Pat, how do you feel about Parades?

Pat:  Nope, I don’t like parades. Too many people.  

Christian: To me it has nothing to do with the too many people (Although I’m not a fan of that either). It’s the standing there watching unexciting things slowly move by you that I’m not a fan of.

If you were to remove the “too many people” factor, then how would you feel about parades?

Pat: “too many people”? Not sure. I think I’d opt to criticize the too-slow-moving aspect of parades!

Christian: So what could we change about them that would make them more appealing?

Pat:  Running bulls?

Christian: Pat. I seem to always be able to count on you to come up with same absurd idea that makes no sense logistically and is so far out there that one wonders if you are even putting any thought into it, but then you come up with an idea like adding running bulls to parades and all of sudden you’re a genius!

Yes, running bulls! I am totally down with this.

The marching band people, who we would make dress all in red, would have to run around avoiding the bulls. They could jump onto the floats for safety but man alive I bet those bulls would really tear through that paper mache! The floats would be like giant slow moving piñatas.  

We would probably need to set up some walls around the parade route to prevent the bulls from charging into the crowd. But that’s just a minor detail.

My only concern is that bulls are much faster than parade floats so, as a spectator, once the bulls finished running by all I’m left with to watch are some slow moving vehicles covered in shredded paper mache and a bunch of maimed marching band members.

Any thoughts?

Pat: That’s a perfect description. So...I don’t get it. What’s the problem?  

I could be talked into going to a parade like that.  Not sure it would be appropriate for the kids, but it’s so hard to tell these days, what with the wars and the news and the TVs and such.

By the way, it’s technically “papier mâché”. I wouldn’t be the kind of dick-head who says that, but now that we have international followers, I think it’s important to be sensitive to the finer points of the languages our fans might speak.

Christian: Are you sure? “Papier mache” sounds pretty French to me. You’re not suggesting that the French invented parades are you? And how did you put all of those squiggle and dash things over the letters? I thought I was the computer expert here.  

Pat:  Oh, I must have forgotten to tell you that I got a francophile computer. It specializes in queer linguistic symbols. It also requires a daily break for espresso and a cigarette.

And how dare you insinuate that I would disparage our friends in France by suggesting that they invented the intolerable parade?! We all know that was done by the Dutch!

Christian: Damnit! Stupid Dutch. I don’t want to over generalize here but they are continuously ruining everything in existence.  

*quickly checks blog stats and notices some hits coming from the Netherlands*

Wait! I mean the Dutch are awesome! I love their windmills and their overall Dutchyness. Did they really invent the parade?

Pat: I assumed so. Why else would they have those abundant “coffeeshops” lining all the streets in Amsterdam? I just assumed it was to help while away the hours spent watching parades. I could be wrong.

Maybe it was the Belgians.

Christian: Damn those stupid Belgians. Again, I don’t want to over generalize here but they are a major contributing factor to anything and everything that is wrong or has ever been wrong in everyone’s lives.

*quickly checks blog stats and notices no hits coming from Belgium*

And I stand by that opinion 100%. It makes complete sense that they invented the parade. How typical.

Anyways, back to our new parade format. I think we should also attach some fireworks to the bulls that are triggered to periodically go off and maybe some priests also running around performing exorcisms on the bulls. The bulls wouldn’t really be possessed, that part would just mostly be for show. What do you think?

Pat:  Moving exorcisms? On fast-moving, flesh-goring, firework-shooting bulls? Oh dude! Throw in some scary-ass clown throwing out free, partially unwrapped candy and you’ve got me front and center on the sidelines!

Christian: I think we pretty much hit this touchdown out of the park. With these modifications everyone will love parades, adults and kids. 

Just look at the excitement on that little tyke's face!
Don’t forget to get some candy, champ.

See, when we put our two minds together there’s no problem created by the Belgians that we can’t solve.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why, Yes, I Think I WILL Follow My Dreams!

I’ve routinely annoyed my wife over the past few years by reminding her that, if she ever finds herself at a loss for Christmas or birthday gift ideas, I will gladly accept a gift certificate for lessons for either Marimba or Taiko drums. Kinda’ joking, but kinda’ serious. Like when I make fun of other guys wearing tank tops (when really I wish that I could wear them too).

Little did I know that my mother-in-law caught wind of my secret desire to learn how to pound wooden planks with big mallets. On my last birthday, she surprised me with two lessons with a marimba teacher.

At first I smiled, and said “thank you”.

Then, realizing how ridiculous marimbas and their players are, I guffawed and laughed. Maybe even chortled.

Then I thought about the possibility that I could actually unabashedly pursue a lifelong dream, eschewing the fear of appearing like a total dork.

So I did it! And I think my life may have changed.

Christian, have you ever pursued such a lifelong dream?

Pat? Not yet...but you just wait!

Christian: The other week I had a dream where I could instantaneously spawn a taco in my hand whenever I wanted to but then I was suddenly in my second grade teacher Mrs. Lawrence’s classroom, but was still an adult. She kept calling on me to spell “Guggenheim” which I couldn’t get right but then I woke up so I went and looked it up and figured out how to spell it.

Is this what you’re talking about?

Pat: No. Not at all. Are you on that anxiety medication again? If so, let me know if there’s anything I can do.

No...a dream, like when you want to do something with your life more than what you’re doing. ‘Cause you feel...inadequate, I guess. THAT kind of dream.

Christian: Oh. No, the only dream I had to fulfill to make myself feel adequate with my life - as you put it - is giving up on all those other kind of dreams that you’re talking about. And I think I’m almost to the point of fully accepting that none of my life dreams are going to come true which makes me feel alot better about things. That and alcohol.

But tell me more about these marimba dreams of yours. How many lessons have you had?

Pat:  Well, I had exactly two. And in those two lessons I learned that I, apparently, possess super marimba skills. So, really, those two lessons for me were like twenty three lessons for a common marimba player like you.

Y’ know, when you’re good at something, you just gotta’ hop on that horse and see where it takes you, whether to the pasture or to greener fields. I think I got lost in an analogy there.

Anyway...I like it. I haven’t invested in a dashiki yet, or taken a traditional Shona name, but I won’t rule either of those out.

Christian: Two huh? How is it that you know you have super marimba skills? Are you just assuming you have super marimba skills or has someone told you that you have super marimba skills?

For example, I have always felt that I have tremendous teeth brushing skills but no one has ever told me that so how do I know I’m right? Actually, I have never had a cavity so that’s how I know I’m right. So maybe that’s not a good example but you understand what I’m saying.

Pat:   Well, that’s easy. My teacher told me. His name was Kite, and he was really tall and REALLY skinny and kind of pale. And he wore sandals with his khakis, so you could really see his long toenails. And he had long thinning hair around the sides of his head, accentuating his balding dome. Kinda’ like Gallagher...remember him? And those crazy watermelons? That was funny.

So yeah...Kite said I was really good. And he would know. He’s like a marimba expert.

Christian: Kite sounds like an upstanding fellow and I guess he would know. So were the lessons at some professional studio? Were there other marimba prodigys taking lessons with you or did you take individual lessons?

Pat:  So many questions. Umm, no there were no other prodigies in the room. I was the only one. There were some lesbian women (not an assumption, by the way--they told me right off the bat) and a young kid. He really sucked. And the younger lesbian was better than the older lesbian.

In terms of the practice space, define “professional”. It was in Kite’s basement. I had to walk through a dark door, cross through the dark and damp basement, and enter a room on the other side.

Re-reading that last paragraph, I’m not sure I would recommend such lessons to my kids. Or take another one myself. that dark basement room, surrounded by Kite, lesbians and untalented youth, I felt like I came alive. Like Frampton.