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Wildly Exaggerated: March 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Boozy Monday #1

Sigh. I hate Mondays, don't you? Going back to work is such a drag, and everybody's tired and/or in a rotten mood...YECH. So today I've decided to start a new probably-not-at-all-regular feature in which I provide you with one of my favorite recipes for an alcoholic beverage with which to relax after your hard day's work! For the inaugural post, I've chosen the Big Girl Happy Drink (recipe© Clyde 2002, name© Kerri 2002)! The Big Girl Happy Drink is one of favorite drinks of all time, because it enables one to drink a hefty helping of whisky without having to make a series of hideously contorted faces! The secret lies in the spicy ginger ale which burns so much you don't even notice the burn of the whisky on your throat. As an added bonus, ginger is good for your tummy, and you're gonna need that later. So! Without further ado, here's the recipe for the Big Girl Happy Drink in the traditional 3 parts:

Part I: Safety Precautions
"It's all fun and games until someone gets emotionally devastated!" - my grandma
1. Buy yourself a cheap pay-as-you-go phone that is INCAPABLE of sending text messages.
2. Program in the contacts:
  • 5 local taxi companies
  • any free community shuttles for lushes such as yourself
  • any family or friends who would be willing to give you a ride and/or bail you out following "The Incident"
  • your favorite mental health professional
3. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you to include contact information for exes, coworkers, or your boss!!!!
4. If you know yourself to be the kind of person who gets hammered and orders 50 pairs of pajama jeans off TV at 3 in the morning, you should also destroy the phone's keypad, leaving only the navigation buttons to call numbers you've already programmed in.

Congratulations! Now you have a Drinking Phone*!
*Patent Pending

5. Put your regular phone, with all its texting capabilities and dangerous contact information, in an envelope addressed to someone you can trust to send it right back to you at a safe temporal remove of 5-6 weeks, like the Dalai Lama. Then drop it in any United States Postal Service-approved outgoing mail receptacle!
6. Throw the ignition keys to all available motorized vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles, Hoverounds, etc.) in the nearest naturally-occurring large body of water.

Part II: Mixology
"I've never SEEN someone make such a mess!" - my Home Ec teacher
7. Obtain a bottle of Maker's Mark® Handmade Premium Kentucky Bourbon Whisky. If you use anything OTHER than Maker's Mark® Handmade Premium Kentucky Bourbon Whisky then you deserve what you get! Seriously, dude, don't cheap out on me.
8. Obtain a chilled 6-pack of Blenheim Ginger Ale. Gold Cap will do you just fine, but if you have some sort of vendetta against your digestive tract, you could always spring for the Red Cap.
9. Hm. Now that I think about it, you might should've done steps 7 & 8 *before* you threw your keys in the Pacific. My bad!
10. Get a massive glass and pour the two liquids in it until you've reached your personal optimum combination for maximum whisky with minimum discomfort.

Part III: Benediction
Now that we have made our drinks, let us give thanks with The Drunkard's Prayer, which our friend Amy Hernandez taught us to pray one time when recounting the story of her harrowing walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Inebriated Pedestriating, shouting:


Amen. And cheers :)




What was I talking about? Oh right - so basically, I'm hating Google pretty hard right now. Their new UIs suck, right across the board, and I'm sick of "sending feedback" and never seeing anything fixed cuz they're way too busy trying to figure out how they can profit from owning my entire life. I was in the process of developing a snazzy new fully functional webiary cage for myself anyway, and now Imma step up that process! And THIS blog will soon magically transform…into a snazzy Wordpress blog! OoooooOOOOOH! AaaaaaaaaAAAAAH! HOW EXCITING HOORAY FOR CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN I CAN FORCE ON YOU!

I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to preserve the old posts and comments, but I'll probably tweak the appearance, which might make things go wonky for a bit. And before I can do anything, I have to finish sizing shelf liners and arranging the furniture in my new bit of virtual real estate, so I'll be surprised if this stuff happens in less than a month. I just want to prepare you in advance so you can get all the whining out of your system now and start preparing for The New Blog Order.

I'm hoping to set the current URL to point to the new site so this will impact you somewhere between "very little" and "not at all", but given Google's general tendency to scream "MINE!" and bite anyone who tries to leave, that may or may not be a problem. But whatever happens, don't worry; we'll get through this together.

*big bear hug*


Friday, March 23, 2012

Alternate Title: One Nap at a Time

So I've been working on a novel I actually want to write for the last few weeks, and it's basically sucked my brain dry of any creative juices. But I don't want to neglect this here blog, as I have it on good authority that people do periodically stick their heads in to see if it's still alive.

It is. I promise.

So rather than try to write something original today, I've opted to bring back the ol' "as interpreted by..." fairy tale, which was last seen back in September. But this time, I'm tackling my favorite fairy tale of all time:

Sleeping Beauty
as interpreted by Kimberly "Snoozin' Kinda Pretty If You Squint Hard Enough" Welsh

Once upon a time, there was benevolent king who was beloved by all his subjects with the notable exception of an evil witch because hey! You can't please all the people all the time. Also the witch hated anybody being happy for any reason. She was like the religious right of the Middle Ages, except she did believe in science. But what they called "science" back then was actually alchemy, which turned out to be a total load of horsecrap when it came right down to it. ANYHOO! One day the queen announced she was pregant, and since Wendy's drive-thrus hadn't been invented yet, the king knew he was up a creek without a paddle when she started getting cravings! He decided to appease her by promising to hold the First Known Baby Shower once the kid was born, and the entire kingdom was invited *PROVIDED EVERYBODY BROUGHT PRESENTS*.

So the catering staff was summoned and some nice finger foods were laid out and all the king's subjects poured into the main hall bearing gifts under threat of death. FACT: if you don't have a volcano for your subjects to appease, a pregnant woman is the next best thing. It was a joyous occasion and the queen was thrilled with all her gifts, even the duplicates, because everyone had brought the receipt so she could exchange those for store credit at Heir Apparents to the Throne 'Beith' Us. Mostly it was just cute bibs and flannel footsie pajamas (because castles are very drafty), but the king had wisely asked some magical fairies to act as godparents and they gave her some bitchin' stuff! The only real hiccup was when one of the fairies wanted to grant her "the gift of beauty", and the queen was all "What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?" and the fairy was like "Nothing! I'm just sayin'. She'll just be even more beautiful!" But the queen was like "Whatever. I know what you meant." Luckily the king was wise in many things, so he said, "Give the kid a break, dear. She has my hideously bulbous nose!", which was a good point, so the queen backed off. It looked to be a glorious day indeed, but some people just CANNOT leave it alone so of course the evil witch showed up.

She burst into the main hall and shoved past the last fairy to give the newborn princess her "gift", which was a actually A CURSE (oh snap! see what she did there?) that would cause the child to die by pricking her finger on a spindle, thereby creating the first known case of hemophilia. But the last fairy had yet to take her turn, so she distracted the evil witch by tearing off her weave, then rushed forward to half-reverse the curse so the child would only fall into a deep sleep rather than dying, because we can't be killing off the title character, now can we? Even J.K. Rowling knows that. The fairy declared that the princess would only awaken to a prince's kiss, which says a lot about women's rights in this era, since everyone is basically agreeing that unless she has a boyfriend, there's no point in her ever waking up again.

After the party, the king made another wise decision to outlaw spindles throughout the kingdom and everyone wisely complied. Well, everyone except this one old lady because she was hard of hearing and the Sonic Ear also hadn't been invented yet. Occasionally someone would tell her she was supposed to get rid of her spindle, but she would just yell, "'EY? WHAT'S THAT, SONNY? I'M SUPPOSED TO GET FREUD'S THE EGO AND THE ID FOR MY KINDLE? IT'S THE 16TH CENTURY, NUMBNUTS!" Frankly, by this point the people had grown tired of "hasn't been invented yet" jokes, so they just left her to get arrested and executed. It was an unfortunate coincidence that the old lady lived and worked in a tower within the castle for reasons that the Brothers Grimm didn't bother to explain so why should I? The point is: after her sixteenth birthday the princess was wandering through the halls looking for her bauble or whatever rich kids do, and she saw the old lady spindling(?) So she stuck her head in the door...

"Pardon me, old hag, what is that?," she asked.


"Oh!," said the princess. "A 'spindle', you say? May I try?" She stepped forward and motioned toward the machine in an effort to make herself understood.

"YOU WANNA DO IT?" The old woman shrugged. "YEAH SURE WHY NOT." So the young lady took her place at the spinning wheel, but just as she reached out for it, she pricked her finger and passed out. The old woman panicked and hobbled to the window calling, "HELP! HELP! OH, HELP! ALSO: I DIDN'T DO IT!" So every quack in the country was summoned to treat the unfortunate girl, but the king was wise enough to recognize that trepanning and leeches weren't the way to go here. Instead, it was decided that the entire castle should be put to sleep in order to spare them the pain of going on without their princess. The king's loyal subjects, who never really saw the princess on a daily basis, politely agreed to this plan because they were too nice to point out that they would be perfectly fine going about their lives without her spoiled little butt using up all their tax dollars to buy more baubles. So the people were gathered once more in the castle, and the kind fairy godmother magically installed flat screen televisions in every room so she could play a Grey's Anatomy DVD. Soon everyone was fast asleep.

Many years went by, and before long literally every major character on Grey's Anatomy had slept with every other major character, such that it was now only a "medical" drama in the sense that everybody had a venereal disease. In the meantime, a handsome prince came through the nearby forest with his hunting party, but he drew to a halt as he got close to the castle.

"Hark!," he said to his entourage. "Do you hear that? It sounds like... Yes, it sounds like a series of unrealistically attractive people whining about their love lives in a hospital! But I can't...quite...make it out..." He craned his neck further toward the castle. "It's being partially drowned snoring! By Heaven, I would swear someone up on that hill is suffering from sleep apnea!," he shouted. He grabbed his medieval CPAP machine and raced up the hill at a canter to rescue the snoring victim and also to find out what had happened on Grey's Anatomy.

Arriving inside the castle, he was shocked to find room upon room of sleeping peasants and servants. The stillness was eery, and he had to hold mirrors to their faces to check that they were breathing. After some time, he came upon a room where only one person slept - a beautiful princess who appeared to be roughly his age (she'd been asleep a hundred years but it's really true that sleep keeps you young!). Thinking back on a letter he'd read in an issue of Ye Olde Cathaus, he decided to try to make out with her. He leaned over her gilded bed and pressed his lips softly to hers.

Suddenly her eyes opened and she sat bolt upright, banging her forehead into his.

"OW!," he yelled. "That hurt!"

"Well well well," she said, wiping his spit from her face, "If it's not the Handsome Pervert! I was ASLEEP! Do I even know you? GUARDS!"

At that very moment, the last episode of Grey's Anatomy played on the DVD and it went back to the menu screen. The sound of the same two bars of theme music repeating over and over annoyed the sleeping masses into wakefulness, and they heard the princess's cries of distress. Within minutes, the whole of the kingdom had come to her aid, and the prince was being dragged down to the dungeon, where he would be made to inscribe his name on the First Known Sex Offender Registry. Meanwhile, the fairy godmother rushed back to the castle to make sure everything was OK. When she arrived, she magically created Listerine because HELLO KINGDOM-WIDE MORNING BREATH, and they all lived happily every after.


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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crimes Against Suspension of Disbelief

Forgive me, Twitter followers, for I have sinned. I have become utterly and completely obsessed with the #hemyneumantrial, and have subjected you to weeks of endless prattling on about it, though the vast majority of you probably didn't give a crap. But now the trial is over, which means that you won't have to hear about it anymore. Unless there's an appeal. Or unless more information comes out. Or unless you keep reading this post, because I'm about to give you...

My Review of "EVERYBODY Has to Stand Up: the #hemyneumantrial" brought to you by Nyquil: the trial time sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so you can snooze right through relevant testimony before deciding a man's fate medicine!
by Kimberly Welsh, Exaggeratress in Chief

February 2012 saw the beginning of one of the most gripping dramatic web series murder trials in recent memory. Hemy Neuman was being tried for the November 18, 2010 murder of Rusty Sneiderman, a shooting which took place in the parking lot of Dunwoody Day Care just after Rusty had dropped his son off for the day. In the intervening year and a half, the community at large had learned that Neuman was Sneiderman's wife's boss (draw a diagram if you need to), and that he and Mrs. Sneiderman were potentially having an affair. Now that you're caught up on the background, let's look at the trial itself...

Leaving aside necessarily poor production values and disappointingly conservative camera work, the biggest obstacle between this trial and greatness was its inconsistency. Indeed, I believe this will be held up for generations to come as an example of what happens when two conflicting production teams are left to bicker over the same project, though we must give credit where credit is due - Judge Gregory Adams' direction was a valiant attempt at fluidity and effective pacing. District Attorney James and Assistant DA Geary handled Act I ("State's Evidence") and Act III, Scene 1 ("Prosecution's Rebuttal: the Revenge") with dignity and aplomb, giving them the feel of an expertly edited documentary. I attribute this to the fact that, by and large, they took the courageous risk of using real people who were telling the truth to tell their story. The notable exception here is, of course, Andrea Sneiderman (née Greenberg and hereafter referred to as such because it irritates me to use the same name for her and the innocent victim) with her scenery-chewing Bobble-Headed Unsympathetic Confrontational Sarcasm™ approach to her role, but the DA made even this dramatic abomination fit, through a graceful and seamless mise-en-abîme, by which the very fact that she was acting paradoxically added to the realism of the other testimony. Honestly, the only other fault I find with this portion was the ham-handed advertisement for Coldwell Banker on the witness stand - highly incongruous, in an otherwise very serious scene.

But in Act II ("Defense Evidence"), viewers were subjected to a jarring shift in tone, from the world of the sober, truthful documentary to a parade of spinning pyrotechnics and flashing lasers, framing a tale of passion, 12-foot demons in the guise of 80s pop culture icons, domestic violence, globe-trotting, and the sordid story of two people who made the perverse decision to watch "The Goodbye Girl" voluntarily! At times, I wondered if this was indeed the same mini-series murder trial! At best it was confusing, and for most viewers it proved downright disorienting. In addition to the lack of continuity, a remarkably inept casting made this portion all but unwatchable! I must've heard acting teachers say it a hundred times: if you cannot actually make tears come out of your eyes, DO NOT ATTEMPT A FAKE CRY ON STAGE! And if I ever doubted the wisdom in that, there was no shortage of poorly-acted defense witness testimony to drive home its point. Meanwhile, the majority of the witnesses called to testify on behalf of the defense came across as confrontational, indignant, arrogant, and (in some applicable cases) utterly biased and unprofessional. Overall, it was a disappointing mishmash that meandered aimlessly, though I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge Dr. Marx's brilliant comic turn in Scene Two ("Cross Examination"). Well done, Dr. Marx!

What we saw in Act III was largely more of the same - gritty, believable reality from the Prosecution and an imaginatively written but poorly acted psychological thriller from the Defense. Act IV brought significantly more drama as the action mounted to its climax. The monologue of Attorney Doug Peters was difficult to watch, owing to the frustration of seeing a clearly accomplished performer with great potential so harshly constrained by the gaping holes in the plot he must advance. Thus it was ultimately District Attorney Robert James who stole what was left of the show after Andrea Greenberg's jaw-dropping performance. His speech, and his visual aids, were set to reveal the surprise ending: this was not a psychological thriller or a true-crime reality show, but an honest-to-God murder trial.

A man is dead. And all the belligerent witnesses, fanciful demons, and friendly Coldwell Banker agents in the world can't change that fact. I honestly think most of the people who watched this trial so obsessively (like me) did so because we were so appalled that anyone would expect Neuman's story to be taken seriously - that's what was funny. The death of Rusty Sneiderman wasn't funny. At all.

In his statement at sentencing, Hemy Neuman began by saying that no one had won; "everybody lost". I can certainly see where he was going with that, and there's no doubt he was standing in a room full of sad people, all of whom had lost something. But Rusty had lost more than anyone else, and there was only one thing anyone could still offer him: justice. And his family, with the help of the DA and his team, got that for him. It's a hollow victory, to be sure. But actually, Hemy: Rusty won.

So rest in peace, Rusty. And rest in peace, #hemyneumantrial hashtag. And rest in peace, this horrible, horrible story.


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Saturday, March 17, 2012


In the last few weeks, I've felt exponentially more optimistic about life in general. Maybe it was finally getting enough sleep. Maybe it was the Girl Scout Cookies. Maybe it was the discovery of a K-Cup I can finally love. Maybe - maybe - it had something to do with the meds that balanced my brain chemistry so I didn't feel *quite* so much like lying on the couch until I starved to death. WHO CAN SAY?

The point is, I was flying way too close to the sun, so I did the only reasonable thing I could do. The only thing that would bring me back down to the level of abject misery on which the rest of the country lives 24/7. I did the thing...that could irretrievably destroy a good mood.

I called Customer Service.

I love Customer Service. I love everything about it. I love the dystopic sound of a robot on the verge of tears as it starts every sentence with "I'm sorry..."! I love the even more dystopic sound of the human being who finally picks up where the robot left off, terrified, knowing I'm already seething as she reads from a script that requires her to thank me for literally everything I do or say in the course of our conversation! But the thing I love most is that the end of a Customer Service call is never really "Goodbye", but merely, "I'll call you right back, even more pissed than I already am, since you've routed me to this dead-end and refuse to fix my problem". 

It all started when I decided to switch from AT&T to Comcast, because I wanted faster internet, and Comcast could give me that *plus* a more useful cable connection for less! Wonderful! I signed up online, which was super great, because who's gonna give me better customer service than ME? Nobody, that's who! And I can prove it! The process of finalizing my order with Comcast involved a quick little live chat with a New Account Specialist Or Whatever. He informed me that my number could be ported, but not yet, because AT&T needed to "release" it. I was assigned a temporary interim number, to be replaced with the old one once it was free. So I called AT&T!

Here's what you experience when you talk to the AT&T Robot:
ROBOT: Thank you for calling AT&T! I see you're calling from [your phone number, read out in a slow voice that takes only ten short minutes of your life]! Is that the number associated with the account you are calling about?
ROBOT: Great! Now can you tell me, in a few words, what it is you're calling about today?
ROBOT: You can say "I want to sign up for U-Verse TV" or "I'd like to order another U-Verse box"
ME: (muttering to myself) Really? Can I also tell you where you can shove U-Verse?
ROBOT: It sounds like you're calling to set up U-Verse! Is that correct?
ROBOT: (long pause) Now can you tell me, in a few words, what it is you're calling about today?
ROBOT: You can say "I need technical support" or "I'd like more information on U-Verse"
ROBOT: Hang on while I get more information... It looks like AT&T just received a payment from you! Would you like to hear the details of this payment?
ED NOTE: This is by far the dumbest part of the whole stupid spiel. Obviously they've done this because most people are calling about their bills(?) but if you're going to assume that's why I'm calling, WHY DID I HAVE TO TELL YOU WHY I'M CALLING? Also, I don't know what the rest of you people are doing, but when I make a payment, I already know the details of that payment. Because I made it. I don't need it read to me. I'd also like to point out that in two days, I called AT&T FIVE TIMES, and I got to hear the "recent payment" crap EVERY SINGLE TIME. 

So when the robot first passed me to a person, I told her what I needed and she gave me a different number to call. She conveyed the number with an air of authority and unshakeable confidence, so it never crossed my mind that this might not be the right number. I thanked her, hung up, and called the number. I'd provide a transcript here, but I can't. Because the robot at that number only spoke Spanish. I let it run through its options, waiting for the English equivalent of the standard "Para Español, marque el numero dos!" message. Nothin'. So I hung up and, figuring I had misdialed, tried again. Same result. I began to wonder if the friendly AT&T lady had somehow gotten the impression that I spoke Spanish, despite my accent-free English in our entirely English-language exchange. Finally I gave up and called the standard AT&T Robot back. We went through the same song-and-dance as before, in which he read me my phone number in the same amount of time it took to build the pyramids, asked what I wanted twice, didn't know what the hell I was talking about, offered to read my last payment aloud to me, and finally offered to hand me off to a human being. When the AT&T Robot picked up this call, it was 5:57pm. By the time he offered to hand me to a human, it was 6:01, and instead of hearing a human, I heard the Robot saying, "We're sorry, this office is closed for the day. Please try again tomorrow." 

So I did. I tried again the next day. I let him pat himself on the back for knowing my number, I yelled gibberish at him when he asked what I needed (makes no difference to him!), he told me I had recently paid an obscene amount of money for this crappy service as if this information might come as a surprise to me, then connected me to a person. I told this person that I needed my number liberated for porting. She said, "Please hold while I connect you". There was a click. Silence. Another click. Silence. Click. Hold music. Click. Silence. Click. 

ROBOT: Thank you for calling AT&T! I see you are calling from...

So we did it AGAIN, with me now screaming unintelligibly at the Robot, who moved unperturbed through his script, not registering my bloodboiling rage because why would he? He hasn't listened to a word I've said EVER! This time, when the human picked up, I was ready. "DON'T HANG UP!," I yelled before she could speak, like a kidnap victim who's finally gotten through to an ex-friend who is now her only hope of rescue. I explained my request once more, but this time I added, "I have talked to your robot four times, but he DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO HELP ME! And the last lady I talked to just gave me back to the robot. Please. Please. I don't want to talk to the robot again." (Yes, I literally said this. That is how crazy Customer Service makes me.)

Fortunately, this nice lady was able to help me, insofar as she could tell me that the number is free for porting, and Comcast has their info screwed up. In other words: Call Customer Service! And I will. As soon as I get approval to quadruple my psych meds. 

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You Turn Right at the WHAT Now?

For years, I've driven through Midtown Atlanta for a variety of reasons, and more often than not, I exit the freeway and enter the city via 17th Street. And in the course of these years, I've seen this one landmark at least 200 times. And each time I see it, I think the exact same thing.

It's part of the exterior design of a restaurant, you see. And this restaurant is always busy, it's been there for years, and I just googled it to find that every review site shows it having an average of 4-5 stars. It appears on numerous "Best Of..." lists as well. For these reasons, I am absolutely certain that the food is wonderful, the service is friendly and helpful, and the ambience is unbeatable. I don't know that firsthand, because I've never eaten there. I doubt I ever will. This is partly due to my being a massive cheapskate, partly due to my not especially loving Thai food, but mostly due to this landmark they've erected. Actually, I may be the only person in the world who would call it a "landmark", but it's so unique! So unignorable! So far in the forefront of my mind! Because people are always eating there, and it is always busy and I don't know how that can be, because

Image shamelessly yoinked from the in-depth (and very complimentary) review at Atlanta Restaurant Reviews

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Wii're Not Gonna Take It.

Fun fact about me: I like to ask for awesome things for my birthday, receive them, then tell myself I'm not allowed to open them until I do some God-forsaken chore. As a result, I don't start raving about birthday gifts til months after the fact.  Personal record: the Neato XV-11 I received in early January and finally unboxed IN JULY. (The chore was cleaning my room. I still hadn't done it, but more than 7 months just seemed ridiculous.) (Also: the Neato XV-11 is highly recommended.) Anyway! This year I asked for a Wii! And I got it! In January!

Naturally, I did not open the box until 2 days ago (when I finally got rid of the chest of drawers which had substituted for an entertainment center for the past five years).

The Wii is part of my Master Plan for Living Room Domination, which is exactly what it sounds like: my personal mission to reclaim my living room from all the crap and junk mail that buries me over and over again. Sometimes I look back at the pictures I took of this place while I was still trying to decide whether to make an offer, and I sigh wistfully at all the space, the shiny floors, the unobstructed windows... It is my dream that someday I might show those pictures to someone else, tell them "that's my condo", and have them actually believe me. So in anticipation of opening the Wii, I culled my electronics collection. I donated my DVD player and my VHS player (yes I still had one, though I hadn't touched it in 10 years), and gifted my Xbox 360 to my brother. My reasoning was as follows:
1. There is not a single Xbox game I have any interest in playing. I was just using the Xbox for Netflix, Hulu+ and DVDs. But...
2. I don't need the Xbox for DVDs, because I have a PS2. And obviously I won't be getting rid of the PS2. I lived 19 long, boring, tedious, joy-deprived years without Crash Bandicoot. I don't intend to lose him again now.
3. The Wii could do Netflix and Hulu+ and do it wirelessly ("Xbox 360: because everybody loves having ethernet cords running all over the damn place"), and there are quite a few Wii games I quite like. And it can play some old Nintendo games from my childhood! And the menu screens play soothing elevator music, which I also quite like! And if - God forbid - my PS2 should someday go on to a better place, the Wii could be THE home base for internet-based TV, games, and DVDs!


The Wii doesn't play DVDs. I'm sure I'm the last person on the face of the Earth to learn this, but give me a break - it was hard to justify buying one when I still had an Xbox and a PS2, so I'm just now getting around to it. When my beloved Flight of the Conchords Season 1 Disc 1 failed to play after the 3rd try, I sat down at my laptop and, chiding myself for asking such a stupid question, typed "Does Wii play DVDs?" Imagine my astonishment! My consternation! My disappointment! My RAGE! ...when I learned that no, it does not. I did some additional looking around and came across a number of articles claiming that the Nintendo corporation essentially felt that a DVD drive on the Wii would be overkill because "there are already so many other components that play DVDs", citing not only other game consoles and dedicated media players, but laptops, desktops, and...oh wait those are all the things that play DVDs. This is the Dumbest Corporate Decision since Suntory handed Kim Kardashian a Midori bottle and took her picture* (YES I AM STILL MAD ABOUT THAT), and I will give you both reasons why:
1. "We aren't gonna do this because other people already did it" is just bad business. That's like Pepsi saying "Nah, let's not introduce a crappier version of every single product Coca-Cola makes." It's unheard of! And I bet people will read this and say, "Um, I believe it's COKE that copies PEPSI, stupid Atlantan Coke freak." And I will say to them, "Oh GO DRINK SOME PEPSI TOILET WATER!" And they will threateningly brandish a Mountain Dew pop top at me and yell, "DON'T MAKE ME CUT YOU!" And I'll grab a frozen Coke and be all, "You try it and I'll give you a brain freeze you'll NEVER forget!" And then they'll be like, "Did you even see Pepsi's Superbowl commercial? Do you have any idea who you're dealing with?" And then Elton John and Flavor Flav will come running up, and the three of them will start coming at me like a West Side Story dance sequence to kick my ass, but then I'll snap my fingers and a bunch of bloodthirsty polar bears will rush them and when all the screaming dies down, the polar bears and I will sit down with a Coke and they'll put their paws on my shoulder and we'll watch the Northern Lights, BITCH!

What was I talking about? Oh right: the Wii. My point is that businesses are supposed to try for customer loyalty and a cornered market. The [theoretical] ideal Wii consumer is a person who says, "I'm buying a Wii, and I'm not buying any other console or media player, because the Wii can do everything I need!" Then you've got the revenue from the initial purchase and you have that customer cornered for any number of services you can dream up to roll out in the future! Instead, they said, "We won't make our product do all the things it could do, because people can buy someone else's product for that." Thanks man! That's a great idea! I'll just get an Xb...OH WAIT I NO LONGER HAVE ANY USE FOR THE WII WHATSOEVER. Business FAIL.

I guess my other point, to a lesser extent, was that we're supposed to have multiple products that do similar things. The fact that you can say "Mello Yello is Coke's version of Mountain Dew" or "Sierra Mist is Pepsi's version of Sprite" or "Aquafina is Coke's version of Dasani and by the way THEY ARE BOTH 'WATER'" is not "proof of a redundancy in the market". Rather, it is the purest form of American capitalism, tapping into our cultural DNA's tendency toward irrational "My Team is Better Than Your Team and...What Did You Say I WILL KICK YOUR ASS!" behavior and using it to screw all of us out of our money. Just like politics!

2. The Nintendo people are absolutely right - we have a lot of products in our homes that play DVDs. Until 2 days ago, I had a DVD player, an Xbox, a PS2, and 2 laptops, and all of those things could play DVDs. I guess that's probably why my mindset, here in 2012, is: if I see something that has a DVD-sized slot on it and can be connected to a screen, I assume it can play DVDs. Or at least, I used to make that assumption. But the Wii people took a world where one could reasonably say "Everything already plays DVDs!" and used that logic to create a world where we say instead: "Everything plays DVDs...except the Wii." Way to go, guys! Way. To. Go.

*Seriously, are crappy decisions the new "in" thing for Japanese executives?

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

On Helping My Brother Move

ME: You're giving him my headboard?!?
MOM: Well you didn't want it, and he needs a headboard...
ME: OK fine. But he's gonna have to put his own notches in it!
MOM: *is not amused*

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Who You Callin' Beautiful?

A few years back, my favorite beauty-product mecca made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: membership in something they called the Very Important Beauty program. All I had to do was spend $300/year there, which is what I was already doing anyway. As a member, I get special deals, offers, and samples throughout the year. It’s very nice and I’m not complaining, but I’ve never felt 100% comfortable with this program. For one thing, if I really believed myself to be beautiful, I probably wouldn’t spend $300/year on cosmetics. They don’t want me to look in a mirror and think, “Beautiful!” They want me to look in a mirror and think, “Needs improvement!” For another thing, all the emails they send me start with something like “Hey there Beauty!”, which I can’t help reading as sarcasm. It reminds me of the day on the middle school bus when the 8th grade girls started calling me “cool girl” and complimenting my outfit while their friends were putting boogers in my hair.  That’s a flashback I don’t need. But I’ve always heard you should never criticize something unless you have a solution, and luckily that’s just what I’ve got! I hereby officially propose the creation of the VIP (Very Insecure Person) program. Let me break it down for you…

Instead of a sexy font calling me "Beauty", all VIP communications will be written in purple comic sans, and the salutation will read: “Hey there Annie Average! How was the tub of cold fried chicken you had for breakfast?”

As a VIB, you are occasionally invited to special pre-sales for the latest seasonal colors and formulas. Rich teenagers and amazonian glamour models in designer dresses mill around oohing and aahing at “jewel tones” and “prismatic colors” at 30% off while house music pounds out of the speakers. As a VIP, you would be occasionally invited to special after-midnight VIP-only shopping hours, where regular women would wander in wearing huge t-shirts, hospital scrubs, and mud masks. The soundtrack would be all 80s soft rock, anti-aging products would be 40% off, and there would be free milk and cookies in the back.

As a VIB, you get free samples of things like hot new perfumes, whatever bronzer Jennifer Aniston’s currently endorsing, or the hot pink lipstick that looks AMAZING…if you’re a tan, skinny 18 year old model who lives in Miami. Let me tell you: I have no use whatsoever for hot pink lipstick. As a VIP, you would still get samples, but they would consist entirely of either the latest high-tech way to violently rip out body hair, or value-sized tubs of Face Caulk® Facial Crevasse Filler.

VIBs get a special treat on their birthdays - usually a birthday-cake scented bath gel. Fun! But VIPs don’t need fun; we need functional. So every year we would get a bottle of Wide Load® Fat-Eating Concentrated Sulfuric Acid Soak instead! It might not smell like cake, but it will allow us to eat our birthday cake without feeling guilty, which is much more fun than just having cake-scented armpits.

New initiates to the VIB program are given a 10% discount off any one purchase, so they can use it to buy the hot new mascara made with gardenia essence and real dolphin tears. But the VIP demographic will tend to be buying such big-ticket items (the Beauty Cocoon® At-Home Face Transplant System - only $2,000!) that 10% is more than the store can afford to lose. Instead, people like me will get an XXL t-shirt that says “I TRIED, OK?” and a coupon for 50% off their next purchase at Dairy Queen.

I truly believe this program is in the best interests of everyone involved - I’d be spared the paranoia of constantly being called “beauty”, and the store could rest easy in the knowledge that I’ll remain sufficiently insecure to keep them open for years to come. I hope to see you all at the 2am Everyone’s a Beauty in the Dark Sale & Pajama Party!

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Not Very Nice Quiz: Are You a Brick Wall?

It's the not-at-all eagerly awaited return of the Not Very Nice Quiz! Today, we will be conducting an in-depth psychological test to determine whether or not you (yes, YOU!) are a brick wall. Enjoy!

1. You've decided to raise money for herpes awareness by swimming through shark-infested waters in a replica of Lady Gaga's meat dress! You tell 3 different friends, and each of them has the same reaction: "That is in the top 1 worst ideas I've ever heard." How do you respond?
a) My life coach said I'd face naysayers like you. Dream killer!
b) Wow, you guys are so jealous. Seriously, it's pathetic.
c) You really think so? Can you maybe explain why you think it's a bad idea?
d) I'm so glad you agree about what a great idea it is! Thanks for supporting me.

2. You met the GREATEST GUY on vacation in South America! He's cute, young, foreign, and rich! You mass-email your friends to tell them all about it, and one of them writes back suggesting you Google him IMMEDIATELY. Something about a girl who disappeared in Aruba or whatever. What's your next step?
a) Roll your eyes. She's so bitter about relationships; she's probably got him confused with a different Joran Van der Sloot.
b) Google him! Your friend has your best interests at heart and...OMG! He looks so hot in these pics!
c) Google him, freak out, thank your friend, call the cops, and GO HOME immediately.
d) Terminate the friendship. If she can't be happy for you, then she's not a real friend anyway.

3. It's Christmas vacation time!!! Hooray! As you go to board your flight home, the gate agent informs you that your carry-on bag is far too large and will have to be checked. Whose fault is this?
a) the gate agent! What a bitch! Why can't she just be cool and let you get on the freakin' plane?
b) the ticketing agent. You were standing right in front of her with that bag! If it's so far outside the acceptable size range, why didn't she say something then and save you this hassle at the gate?
c) you hate to say it,'s yours. You had plenty of chances to check the size of the bag. You could've asked any number of people at the airport.
d) who cares? This bag WILL be coming on the plane with you. It's not about assigning blame, it's about finding the right person to scream at to get your way.

4. Is anthropocentric climate change real?
a) No. I haven't really looked into it, but Glenn Beck says it's fake, which is good enough for me!
b) Um, I think you'll find that climate change, like Santa Claus, is a theory, not a fact! Duh.
c) Probably. Modern science requires a HUGE quantity of data to say anything for certain, but most scientists who aren't on retainer with Exxon agree that it's real. And even if we aren't 100% sure, we should take the steps to curb it anyway. Surely nothing but good can come of diversifying our energy sources and doing what we can to keep our air and water clean, right?
d) No because it snowed in Alaska last week. SO MUCH FOR SO-CALLED "CLIMATE CHANGE"!

5. Oh noes! Your job is being eliminated due to outsourcing! Whose fault is this?
a) Your stupid dumb boss who didn't fight hard enough to save your job. What a jerk!
b) Damn foreigners.
c) It's a complex issue which reaches far beyond your own company and into the most basic laws regarding corporate behavior in the United States, including but not limited to the very concept of the fiduciary duty to shareholders. Bottom line: no one is going to reverse any of this in time for you to keep your job, so best to just get on with the search for a new position!
d) OBAMA (if you're a Republican) or BUSH (if you're a Democrat)

Mostly A: Yeeeeaaah. You need to work on looking beyond what you want something to mean and seek out some objective reality.
Mostly B: You're not really a brick wall, but you tend to only get halfway to the truth of the matter. Just try to ask a few more questions and dig a little deeper.
Mostly C: You aren't a brick wall, but you already knew that, since you have at least some superficial contact with the real world.

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Love is Stronger Than Kim Kardashian

Today I'd like to tell you about one of the longest, most fulfilling, and most fruitful (specifically: melon-y) relationships in my life: my relationship...with Midori. I discovered Midori shortly after my 21st birthday - a simpler time, a more relaxing time, a time when I believed there would be more to my future than endless decades just biding my time waiting to fall into the gaping black maw of death. We were all so very young then. And Chili's was offering something they inexplicably called "Meltdown Floats", which were essentially little test tubes of designated fruity liqueurs that would be brought out with your margarita so you could add them to the margarita. I always thought it would be more appropriate to call them "Here, Mix Your Own Damn Drink". But I digress (often and with gusto). So I learned early on that Midori takes an ordinary margarita and makes it a magical candy-flavored journey to a land where fully functional inner ears are for losers. And in the intervening years, I've learned that Midori can do much the same thing to Sprite. Or seltzer water. But I still like it best in margaritas.

Now, lest you believe the hype of my Twitter account and/or this blog, I should point out that I'm truly not the alcohol-soaked lush I pretend to be. I like booze, but that's largely because it's still kind of a treat for me - I don't drink every single day, so I see it as a special occasion! This is also why my last Midori purchase was on July 4th of last year, fully 9 months ago. In fact, there's still a little of that sweet green nectar in the bottle, but it's not enough to make a full midorita. Plus I'm trying to run up my credit card bill at the moment so I can earn more reward miles and/or murder the bothersome party of my choice*. So I figured, "What the hey! I'll pop into my favorite boozitorium and pick up a bottle of melon-flavored bliss!"

This is pretty much the only liquor store I go to, so I know exactly where the Midori is. I went straight to the shelf where my emerald green love awaited me...and I froze in my tracks. Because I saw this:
Blurry photo due to enraged shaking/screaming "AWAY FROM MY BOTTLE YOU OVERINFLATED AIRBAG!!!"
In case it's not clear (and why would it be, as that may be the blurriest picture ever), that's Miss Kim Kardashian, endorsing MY booze. I was livid. I was confused. I mean, I believe in voting with my dollar, and I would love nothing more than if hiring that woman as a spokesperson was guaranteed to lose any given company at least 10% of its usual revenue. But could I walk away from Midori? After all we've been through? I agonized. I stood in the aisle, staring at the bottle, thinking, "If I pick that bottle up, and I take it to the counter, and I pay the man, I will be a person who has bought a thing that Kim Kardashian told me to buy. And people might see it in my fridge! And they might think, 'OMG she bought something because Kim Kardashian told her to?' And then I won't have any more friends!" It was a serious dilemma, to be sure. Thank God grade school had prepared me for this moment: the moment I looked Kim Kardashian in the little bit of her face that was still visible around all the eye makeup and said, "Kim Kardashian! Imma buy this bottle of Midori, but I'm gonna do it because I want to! NOT because you told me to!" And I needed to tell all of you that, because if you come to my house and see the Midori in my fridge, you need to know the whole story.

*This is a reference to the ongoing trial of Hemy Neuman, who did his murdering less than 2 miles from my house, so I've been watching the trial with great interest. Basically, on Thursday, a Psychiatrist Who Actually Expects To Be Taken Seriously After This Is All Over testified in front of God and everybody that Neuman didn't know right from wrong when he shot Rusty Sneiderman 4 times at point blank range, and this was due, in part, to the fact that "he had $75,000 in credit card debt". By this logic, if you owe Visa at least $75k, you can kill whoever you want and not be held responsible. Therefore, MOMMA'S GOIN' SHOPPING!

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Don't Drink the Water Eat the Queso

I've been back from my vacay for a couple of weeks now, and while I don't want to turn my whole blog into a travelog, I had two pictures I wanted to show you. Be warned that they depict the Best Thing That Happened...and the Worst Thing That Happened. I'm gonna do the Worst Thing first, so take a moment to brace yourselves:
DON'T LOOK AWAY! We have to confront these things.
Sigh. I had Mexican food for lunch one day every day. And on the day when I ate at this place...I mean, I'm not gonna name it because the people were incredibly nice and the margaritas were the best I've had, but...but...

THERE ARE ROOT VEGETABLES IN THE QUESO! WHAT? Seriously! I ordered queso, and I got carrots and radishes. RADISHES! Is this a Mexican restaurant, or a Beatrix Potter story? As you can well imagine, I was appalled. And naturally, I got up and stormed out immediately. *OR* I only ate some of it and just ordered another margarita and wouldn't have been able to "storm" anywhere without falling over. Who can remember?

OK, deep breaths. Let's switch to happier thoughts, shall we?
What are you doing...the reeeeeesssst of your life? North and South and East and West of your liiiife....
My Dream Vacation Fridge. See, I bought this bottle of wine because what'm I supposed to do? NOT have a glass of wine no further than 6 feet from my bed? But it's a rosé (oh shut up you snobs), which meant it had to be chilled. I figured this was going to be a pain in the ass, so I was so happy I nearly burst into tears when I found that my room fridge had a custom-made wine slot! Right there in the door! Not only that, but as you can see in the picture, there is also a dispensing slot for fermented liquid yeast drinks, if you wanted to drink those for some unfathomable reason. At this point, I'm seriously starting to question the footprint and energy use of my massive 2-door fridge/freezer. What is it all for? All I need is this tiny booze-slot fridge. I guess what I'm saying is: I've finally found love. Happy March everybody!

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