Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reader Request Winner: The Time That the Apple Company Accused Me of Peeing on My Computer

Okay, so I nagged y'all via poll and you voted. The winner was probably predetermined because "The Time That the Apple Company Accused Me of Peeing on my Computer" has the phrases "pee" and "Apple company" and "accused" in it.

Let's begin.

Part I: In Which We Introduce the $1200 bottle of Three-Buck Chuck.

Monday, June 27, 2011

We Have A Winner!

Okay, so "The Time that the Apple Company Accused Me of Peeing on My Computer" won decisively, which was to be expected--I mean, the title is just so weird.

I think the only reason I was hesitant to post that story was because I'd told that story in person so many times. If you were a friend of mine who lived in Minneapolis around 2007-2008, you not only had to live through stages of the story with me, but you got to hear the story, like, more times than you probably wanted to. But but but! There are others out there who haven't heard it! AND SO I WILL TELL AGAIN AND HOPEFULLY TELL WELL.

But I want to put a decent amount of energy into the post (yes, the story involves urine--well, no, actually, the story involves no urine that I knew about, ONLY THE ACCUSATION OF URINE) but to give you the full context would probably take awhile, although the punchline is sort of spoiled in the title.

And right now I am sick. "I'll baby-sit your sick child!" I said. "I never get sick!" I said. "Okay, I'm sick, I can still do stuff!" I said. "I'll just take some cold medicine!" I said. "I can still drink!" I said.

This cold or whatever it is--it's the Terminator of colds. It's the Terminator paparazzi robots in Britney Spear's "I Wanna Go" video:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Awww, people on YouTube are so sweet!

I used to be on the board of a lovely little theatre company in Minneapolis: Off-Leash Area. As part of my brief stint on the Marketing committee, I uploaded some clips of their old shows onto YouTube, under my account. Almost immediately, I actually got some nice comments about a clip, which was actually the first show I ever saw by Off-Leash Area. It's a little show about the artist Philip Guston, called "Philip Guston Standing on His Head Standing Philip Guston on His Head."  Now, of course, someone has added to the nice comments, "Guston is rolling in his grave." Awww, sweet!

Watch the clip here.

The other day, I woke up, checked my email, and discovered that someone had commented on a clip of the show "Border Crossing" -- "the worst video ive seen on youtube by a long way."

What a nice way to wake up!

And...really dude? This is the worst thing? On YouTube?

I think the part where they form the spider-creature is pretty cool.

I love the internet, but I think Zach Galifianakis gets it right a little.

Anyway, Off-Leash area now has their own channel, with lots of interviews about the shows they put together in garages (their own car garage and other peoples' garages as well -- they do a tour, now). It's definetly not the worst thing on YouTube, by far.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I aggregate Writing is Hard stuff

Becky Tuch, of The Review Review (to which I contribute; you know, just FULL DISCLOSURE and everythin') recently wrote a post called "Writing. It's Hard." I really liked it. In the comments, I wrote "I'm share this on facebook, blog, etc. IMMEDIATELY"--apparently so excited over the post that I typo'd (I meant to write, "IMMA SHARE this").

Anyway, as a wriiiiiiter I of course have a special fondness for "Writing. It's hard" posts/articles, because they make one feel a little less alone/crazy. So I thought I'd aggregate of a few of my recent and/or easily accessible via web favorites.

1. "Writing. It's hard."  This is, like, so true for me! Except for the part about "For years, you've been getting up at six-thirty." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

2. "Peter Bognanni writes a blog post." Sample quote: "But then I couldn’t help thinking about how I actually work when I write. And how random and strange and totally un-process-like it is in every sense."

3. pamie, "Eyes on the Prize." Sample quote:
"One time I had gotten out of the shower having finally figured out an ending to a chapter, and the only thing I had to write on was an ATM receipt that was in the pocket of the clothes I’d been wearing before I got into the shower, and the only implement I had was my index finger, dipped in my own blood from a cut I’d given my shin with my razor in the shower.
It had better be the best damn chapter in the novel, because I wrote it in shinblood."

Sort of gives a new meaning to that oft-repeated quote about "Writing is easy. You just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." In this case, "Writing is easy. You just cut yourself shaving, get struck with a good idea, and write out said idea on an ATM receipt in shinblood."

Speaking of typewriters. 

5. Referenced previously, Zadie Smith "That Crafty Feeling."

6. I had to. Yes, I have a problem. Even though this clip doesn't have my favorite lines: "If I'd known it was real, I would have done another pass" and "If I were a psychic, do you think I'd be writing? Writing is hard." (No worries: I transcribed that on my facebook page.)

7. Holy crap, I almost forgot this

8. ETA: continuing in the funny vein, Jason showed me this.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

For the record

So, I've solicited YOUSE GUYS opinions on what my next blog post should be. Here's what I can gather about what folks seems interested in, so far:

Here are the most popular posts, in order of popularity. Unsurprisingly, the post Pamela Ribon tweeted comes in at a clear number one. The others are a little more puzzling.

Really Real Inspector Hound

Wot I Wrote about Wot I Didn't Write: Minneapolis Star-Tribune book review of the The Free World by David Bezmozgis.

I also fulfilled a long-held dream last night and finally saw Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound. I'd read the play before and even suggested it to my college's summer stock company, UNCO (which I think, sadly, doesn't exist anymore. Am I wrong about this? I hope so) -- as  a friend of mine was going to be directing and was looking for suggestions. And they actually did a production of it! Which I did not get to see, as I never got to be around for/participate in UNCO, as I always had a summer conflict. (This has always made me sad).

So, despite my fannishness of the play, and the fact that I was extremely indirectly and casually responsible for a production of it coming into being, I'd never seen it performed.

And it was well worth the wait! As funny as the play is to read, it's much, much funnier performed (obviously); anything confusing about the script makes perfect (albeit, absurdist, dream-like) sense in production; AND it was done very well by The Rogue Theater company, who have a great track record and put up this extremely cool-looking sign on the Historic Y building:

If you're in the Tucson area, see this immediately! The also open with another (very short) Stoppard play called New-Found-Land.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Things That Are Sad and Signs of Life in Norway to Cheer You up

Hey, I reviewed the Spring 2011 Virginia Quarterly Review for The Review Review. 

Here, I detail my feeling-y feelings about reviewing literary reviews and problems I sometimes encounter therein.

After the review was all done and published, I found about this, which I had had no idea of before. It makes things in my review echo uncomfortably -- but also, not really. Blergh. I'm glad I didn't know about any of that beforehand. THINGS THAT ARE SAD.

I guess, for once my obliviousness helped me out.

To cheer you

Monday, June 13, 2011

Signs of Life: Montreal Edition (Really Old Pictures of Not-Food)

I made another (terrible) attempt at Paintbrushing some pictures, with all due acknowledgment of my rip off inspiration by my girl crush fellow blogger hyperbole and a half.

This is a building near(ish) this guy's apartment in Montreal:

Seems fairly inoffensive. But let's look more closely at the French, shall we?

Sauna mixte = Sexy times!

Extermination = BUGS!

So let's look at this picture again:

Um, I dunno?

Blogger -- after briefly deciding that my Cee-Lo/Fiddy Cent post "didn't exist" -- has now decided that I posted it yesterday, instead of a month ago. 

I don't know. I'm sorry.
I've been fiddling with the blog -- the layout, the fonts, etc. -- so this is apparently the consequence. 

I eloquently, cyber-ly shrug.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

50 Cent Gets it Right

Way back in the summer of 2010 (we sure wore some embarrassing outfits back then, huh?), sjculver sent me a link to Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You" -- in the spirit of, "Hey, if you're in a bad mood, this will cheer you up!" She even reviewed the song and her feelings about it here.
Of course, we all know how this story ends: Cee-Lo releases a cleaned-up version of the song called "Forget You"; Gwyneth Paltrow covers the song on Glee; they perform it at the Grammys; Cee-Loo Green goes on to be a judge on NBC's The Voice*. A law is passed, whereby radio stations are required to play "Forget You" every ten minutes. The song is still a top-selling song on iTunes.

*I'm super-aware of this, as I watch NBC's Thursday comedy night, because I am a pretentious twenty-something. NBC knows that I'm sneaky and that I fast-forward through the commercials, so they even pop ads for The Voice at the bottom of the screen, so that I cannot possibly avoid them -- and even if you're as sneaky and accurate with the fast-forward as possible, you're still going to catch a little bit of a last ad before the show comes back, which is inevitably for The Voice. I feel like writing NBC some kind of letter saying, 'I respect how important advertising is [er, obviously, I have adsense on my own blog and I'm going to see how it works and how I feel about it; the jury is still out] and that you as a network are hurting right now and need ratings; I'm a total fan of your comedy programs and want you to have other, highly rated shows to make more money for you so that Parks and Recreation can stay on. But I am never going to watch The Voice. This is no offense to the show; I'm sure it's fine. But reality-show talent contests are maybe the one form of debased entertainment I don't get into. No judgment! It's just not my thing! And it's never going to be! So can I sign some kind of contract attesting to the fact that I've seen X number of ads and they have had no effect on me, and that I promise to be a good consumer and watch or buy something else? And then maybe I don't have to see the judges of The Voice giving my the "V" sign on the bottom of my screen?'

Anyway, on The Colbert Report, Colbert questioned Cee-Lo about the lyrics of "Forget You", asking some questions I'd wondered, too. Is the song addressing the man who has taken the "girl you love" away from you ("I see you driving 'round town with the girl I love and I'm like, 'Forget You' ") because it seems to change from that initial form of address to addressing the actual object of the love herself ("I guess he's an X-box and I'm more like Atari, but the way you play your game ain't fair"). Anyway, Cee-lo didn't seem to have the answers to these questions, explaining that the song wasn't in any way autobiographical (so who it is addressing is sort of a moot point).

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Cee Lo Green
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

And indeed Bruno Mars came out and said that he and Cee-Lo Green wrote the song in two hours, which goes a long way to explain the incoherence in the point of view in the song and the fact that Cee-Lo Green doesn't seem particularly emotionally attached the lyrics.

So, I get that we're not supposed to take the lyrics very seriously. We're supposed to shout "FUCK YOU!" at the top of our lungs and enjoy the consonance of "I'm sorry I don't own a Ferrari" with the saucy twist of "But that don't mean I can't get you there!"

But the lyrics still bug.

I'm a Simple girl

My mom said she found my last blog "excessively moralistic." Keep in my mind that my mother is a professional moralist who believes in moral realism. So a moralist told me I was being excessively moralistic.

The last blog is also very long; I know! I put some stuff behind a jump and cleaned it up a bit and cut a little. So hopefully it's a little easier to read.

I also tagged all the posts -- so if for some reason you want to read only The Nervous Chef entries, you can now do so easily.

And I changed the blog layout to -- wait for it -- "SIMPLE."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rage Distorts Creative Title Abilities: The Eurovision Song Contest Entry

Some time ago -- actually, (gulp!) this was nearly a year ago -- my parents were both highly amused over a New Yorker article on the Eurovision song contest and kept pressing me to read it.

I think my parents simply enjoyed the article as they had not thought about the Eurovision song contest in a long time, and it made them nostalgic about living in Europe/being European. Which is fine. But I simply couldn't stand this particular article, though I didn't take the time to deeply analyze why.

For your reference, most famous product of said contest:

When my parents asked what I found so objectionable about the article, all I could articulate was that I found it too condescending. It's all very well to write about something you affectionately find tacky or awful, but there's a fine line being light-heartedly snarky and simply being a patronizing ass.

Recently, a few things have brought the Eurovision song contest to my attention again, and I decided to write a blog about these new perspectives. But in order to do so, I had to go back and read the article online (bless you for your amazing online archives, New Yorker).

Reading the article again, I got so angry that a) my jaw actually popped, due to my unconscious clenching of it; b) at one point, I grabbed two chunks of my hair and pulled, causing myself physical pain. This article actually made me try to pull my hair out.

Anyway, here it is. It was so anger-making that it derailed my entire post, which was simply going to be a few links to different perspectives on the Eurovision contest. Instead, the other articles and links and perspective will be incorporated within this rant. You've been warned: it's a rant. I'm about to get all polemical up in here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Signs of Life: Window Display Fail

1) I know they were going for a "set up for a proposal" but it just looks, at a glance, like the window display is for a regular old pair of house keys. This is confusing. I genuinely expected the post-it to read, "Sorry for the mess, we've had a break-in and the thief tauntingly left the keys to the store behind."

2) The big set of keys kind of make the ring -- no slouch in the sparkly department -- look tiny in comparison. The reaction to this potential proposal set-up would be, I feel: "Ooooh, keys! -- Wait, look, a ring! Oh. It's kind of small. No, no -- I mean, it's nice. But not as big as these keys, you know?"

3) Wait, is this imaginary person proposing to SOMEONE THEY HAVE NOT YET SWAPPED KEYS WITH? This seems like a bad idea. Someone tell them they are rushing things!

4) Again, I don't mean to be so picky, but -- any important announcement/question: a break-up, a proposal, a firing, a declaration of terminal illness, whatever, should not be declared via post-it. "Hey, there's half a Subway sandwich in the fridge": sure. "Let's be together always?": Not so much. Not a case where you want to say it with office supplies.

5) The message on the post-it itself: "Come and go as you please but stay with me always." This is confusing. Do they want me to come and go as I please or stay with them always? WHICH ONE IS IT?

6) For example: What if I left for Bulgaria for like several years? Would that be okay? "Hey, I'm back!" "But you were gone for several years!" "Yeah, I went to Bulgaria. You said to come and go as I pleased." "But I've married and had children with another in the meantime." "But I said I'd stay with you always!" "But you left." "But you said come and go as I pleased! Jeeeez, mixed signals, much?"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Montreal, Part Deux!

My basic reaction to Montreal:

These hearts are outside the Fine Arts (sorry "Beaux Arts") Museum (Musee des) where this guy and I saw an exhibition of contemporary surrealist art called "The world is blue like an orange" (which we went to full of skepticism but it turned out to be awesome).

So I'm doing post #2 about Montreal, even though this guy claims not to read anybody's blog, as they are all "masturbatory." I tried to explain that my blog is not masturbatory but rather narcissistic and insecure. Subtle but distinct difference.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It Lives!

I have a short story up on The Fiddleback. It's called "Witness My Hand and Seal" and you can read it here.

And because you should never say that I didn't give you nothin', here's some pictures of Montreal Food.

It's Poutine! This type of Poutine is called L'eau a la Bush. I don't know if that means it subscribes to the Bush Doctrine or what. This Poutine comes with steak, oignons, and champignons. That's steak, onions, and mushrooms, for those not familiar with all that Frenchy Froggy Montrealy funny business:

Poutine is now such A Thing that they serve it at Burger King all over Canada. I saw this sign in at the bus station in Barrie, Ontario:

This is Poutine a la Mexican, and it is not from Burger King, but rather from the Secret Menu at Frite Alors:

Yeah, that's Salsa. Viva la Mexican et la Poutine!*
*I'm from everywhere.

Poutine looks really gross, huh? And I went to eat it after 1) Eating a smoked meat sandwich; 2) Then going to hot yoga. So I was like, "Non! Non! Le Gravy and le cheese curds on les frites make me sick! I desire only le side salad!"

Then I took a bite and discovered that it was, as this guy puts it, "Not un-tasty." Quite the reverse, actually.

More on smoked meat sandwiches, Montreal, thoughts, and sunshiney mornings, coming soon!