Wednesday, January 18, 2012

31 going on 78

As a freelancer I can best describe my self as"lightly employed." Since I have my days to do whatever the hell I want I experience some things that those in the working world have long forgotten about. Much of the time I consider this to be a bonus. I don't have to wake up until half past Price is Right, pants wearing is completely optional and I get to putter around on the internet all day and not do any actual work until midnight if that's what I want to do. While those are wonderful perks there are some pratfalls that make me wish that I was stuck in an office all day so that I didn't have to experience them. Today I made an epic mistake; I went to the grocery store at 3 pm.

On the surface it really seems like I am bitching about nothing, I understand this. Let me give you some background info. The grocery store is next to Lane Tech, one of the larger high schools in Chicago. 3 pm is when those little cretins get released for the day. The entire store was crawling with teenagers. Teenagers standing around blocking all the aisles. Teenagers yelling and screaming about nothing. Teenagers getting in my goddamn way at every turn. I HATE TEENAGERS.

As one of them stood in the middle of the aisle completely oblivious to the two carts trying to get past him I had the following thought, "Goddamn whippersnappers!" I shit you not, my mind actually thought the word "whippersnappers." What the hell is wrong with me? I'm 31 years old for God's sake. I shouldn't be using that word for at least fifty more years. I like to think that I was using it ironically but I know that I wasn't. I came to the sobering realization that I am an old man at heart, I may have always been. Here is a list of my most overtly "senior" traits:
  • The majority of my clothing comes from LL Bean, most notably the corduroy pants I always wear.
  • I'm bald.
  • For the most part I drink Scotch and bourbon. If I have a cocktail it's a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned.
  • When I'm beer drinking I prefer PBR and Old Style. Remember, before this became cool our grandpas were the only ones drinking those.
  • I have serious doubts that any listenable music has been made in the last 15 years, possibly longer.
  • I still like to read the newspaper in paper form.
  • I tend to think that every athlete from "back in my day" would destroy every modern day athlete. (Walt Weiss was 100 times the ballplayer that prima donna Jeter ever will be!)
  • I assume that everyone 10 years younger than me is a blithering idiot who has never read a book. (Even though I know this is wrong I still catch myself thinking it all of the time)
  • I like plaid way too much.
  • My passport picture features me yelling at a cloud.
  • I still use a land line.
  • I complain about EVERYTHING.
I can't believe it. I was never one of the cool kids, I've certainly never been on the cutting edge of anything. Despite this I'm still not ready to admit that I am basically a senior citizen. The only real signs of youth left in my life are my bleeding heart liberal politics and my ability to tolerate cold weather. That's it. I've got to do something exciting in order to regain my lost youth! Something reckless, something dangerous! I know, I'll got to the casino. Gambling and drinking are incredibly reckless. Not to mention that I will have to venture into Hammond, IN in order to do so, that has danger written all over it. Let's go take back my youth!!

If you want to join me I'll be sitting at the penny slots hooked up to an oxygen tank. Sigh.

Friday, January 13, 2012

More like Entertainment Weakly, amirite?

Lots of things changed when I moved in with my girlfriend. Dishes get done, I wear pants more often, and I no longer listen to Refused at full volume at 2am on a Wednesday. I'm sure the bulk of people reading this would consider these to be positive changes and I don't disagree. There is one very negative change in my life that has occurred since moving in. I engage in a horrific activity that I am morally disgusted by at least 2 to 3 times a day and I have been unable to stop myself.

I read Entertainment Weekly while on the shitter.

It's not that Entertainment Weekly is a bad magazine, because it's not. It's not a good magazine either. It's just sort of there. What bothers me is that I used to have such high standards when it came to toilet reading. Smithsonian, Playboy, and the newspaper used to be my rags of choice. I still read the Smithsonian but I don't seem to read it cover to cover any more. Instead I read about what is happening in this weeks must see 2 Broke Girls or about the totally scandalous thing that Rhianna said on Twitter. I find myself reading two pages about an upcoming rom com that I have no desire to see and I hate myself just a little bit more.

If Entertainment Weekly succeeds at one thing it is that it makes me waste my time because, let's be honest, any time spent thinking about why Pan Am was a commercial flop is a complete and utter waste. Yet I find myself powerless to resist it's pull. It shows up in our bathroom every week and without fail I read it cover to cover. I read the Bull's Eye section in the back and can't help but think of a better (and usually far more crude) joke for each entry. I look at the week's TV ratings and giggle about how if it weren't for football NBC wouldn't even make the list. I go through every inane article that fawns over people and things that I neither care for nor care about, and when I'm finished I have read so little of substance that I still can't form an opinion. I read every little nugget of nonsense EW has to offer.

Actually that's not true. I skip the book reviews. I figure if I'm going to be slumming it I have to commit 100%. The thing I hate the most about Entertainment Weekly is that when it comes right down to it I don't hate it at all. I'm going soft. I find myself standing at a fork in the road. I either need to start reading Harper's, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly in a hurry before I kill every last brain cell. Or I could choose the other pass and live my life docile and content with a big, stupid smile on my face. I could spend my days idling away reading US Weekly, People, Soap Opera Digest and The American Spectator, wouldn't that be glorious? I'm sure after a month a could feel my brains oozing out my ears. I gotta head to the newsstand, if they even exist any more, and follow the lead of Brother Mouzone to pick up a Harper's. Although, for all you know I'll have my precious and vapid EW hidden inside.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This 100% free website does not meet my lofty demands!

Today I'm going to shower you with some insight into how my hateful little brain works. I wake up around the crack of ten and usually brew myself some coffee in my glorious French press. My French press is among the 7 things I will never complain about but that is neither here nor there. As I sip on my coffee I peruse the internet and start to consider what it is about life that has me particularly irked. This morning I signed on to Facebook in order to see what kind of bullshit my friends are babbling about and to possibly wish happy birthday to someone I haven't seen in 14 years. And I was overcome with rage.

Every goddamn time I log into Facebook I have to change my newsfeed from "highlighted stories first" to "recent stories first." It doesn't matter how many times I do this it always goes back to highlighted stories. I don't know what sort of arbitrary algorithm Zuckerberg and friends use to determine what stores should be highlighted but I know one thing for sure, I always miss out on one or two good dick jokes if I only read the highlighted ones. It's ludicrous that I can't change the settings for good, I want to find the person responsible for this and powerbomb them into a barbed wire fence. . . Oh God no.

I just realized something. Facebook isn't the problem here, I am. Only the world's biggest asshole spends their time bitching about the shortcoming of a website that is not only an optional diversion so that I can decrease productivity but it also happens to be free. I pay absolutely nothing to access it. Zero. Zilch. It's not as if I'm shelling out a bunch of money for something that fails to meet my expectations. If that were the case my complaint would be warranted. That's not the case here. I choose to waste away my time on this silly little website. In fact I choose to waste far too much of my time there posting links to punk songs the world has tried to forget and sharing pictures of myself in all sorts of compromising situations. Yet if I have to make one extra click per day I get huffy puffy and furious. "It took me 4 seconds longer to find out the heart breaking reality that a girl I had a crush on 16 years ago is now a bartender in Tulsa with 7 kids, THIS INJUSTICE WILL NOT STAND!" How frickin' spoiled and entitled am I?

As I was pondering this I was thinking about how pissed off I've been in the past every time Facebook makes even the most minimal changes. At least in those occasions it was other people complaining about it that incurred my wrath as opposed to the actual changes. Now I see that I have become what I hate most. It's so idiotic that I get so bent out of shape that a free service isn't exactly perfect according to my specifications. I almost feel as if they should consult me before making any changes, how lame is that? I'm one of roughly 49 billion users yet I still cry and whine inside that I don't have more input. I may have the most inappropriately inflated sense of self worth this side Chris Berman.

I just need to take a deep breath and realize that I'm getting something I enjoy for free and I should be really happy about that. It's like when someone buys you a shot at a bar and you turn it down because it isn't exactly what you wanted. I bought you a shot of whiskey to show camaraderie (or horniness) and turning it down because you prefer lemon drops is like a kick in the mouth. It was free, get off you high horse and throw it down. Next time I want to complain about a free website like Facebook I will try to remember this and settle down. Well, unless it's something really ridiculous like asking me to pay for it. . .

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I wish I was as interesting as a cab driver

Almost every time I take a cab somewhere the driver is on his phone with someone blabbering about something in a language that I don't understand because I'm an ignorant American who can only speak English, broken French, and swear words in 9 other languages. I assume that cabbies aren't just getting on the phone when they see me hailing the cab, although it would be a fantastic ploy to avoid having to deal with talkative customers. For all I know he might be reciting an old Scooby Doo cartoon in Pashto, however this is unlikely because I think "zoinks" would still be "zoinks" regardless of the translation. Often I wonder just who the hell cabbies talk to all day and night long. More importantly, how do they have enough interesting stuff to say in order to talk on the phone for an entire work shift?

I like to fancy myself a pretty interesting guy with a fair number of friends. Yet in any given day if I were to call all of my friends to discuss the events of the day (or more likely to bitch about how I was slighted by society that day) I'm pretty sure that would only fill up 2 hours, maybe 3 tops. Even if I had some new hot gossip about a friend of a friend of a friend's girlfriend making out with a shirtless Kyle Orton I don't think I'd be able to fill more than a few hours of conversation with 5 or 6 friends who might care. Somehow cabbies are on their phones for an entire shift every single day.

It doesn't matter what time of day it is either. I got in a cab at 2 last night and the cabbie was gabbing away the entire trip. It's entirely possible that at this time he was calling what my dad always refers to as "the old country." This seems like a pretty likely possibility but even with calling cards bringing down the price wouldn't his phone bill be roughly 467 times his take home pay? If he's calling locally who is up at 2 to just shoot the shit? I stay up pretty damn late but I don't want to make small talk at 2. This has led me to come to the following conclusion: cab drivers are always talking to other cab drivers on the phone.

No one else would be up and no normal people would talk for that long about nothing. I assume that all cabbies just talk to their cabbie friends who are also driving around aimlessly and bored. I still have no idea what they are talking about nor why they would bother to do so, I guess it's better than having to talk to drunk customers such as myself. Still, that's a lot of talking on the phone and I am envious. I wish I had that much material to talk about and more importantly a captive audience to listen to my ramblings. There are very few things I enjoy more than the sound of my own voice. After all, isn't that the entire purpose of having a blog?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm looking into my crystal ball and the future looks pretty infuriating

Hey! Sorry that I have been neglecting my angry little corner of the interwebs for the last couple of weeks. Don't worry, I haven't found my lord and savior Tim Tebow and chosen a less judgmental and angry way of life. Quite the opposite really. I've been chilling with the family, drinking copious amounts of booze and storing all of my hatred so that I can come out of the corner throwing haymakers in 2012. Since I wasn't doing any writing I spent a lot of time lurking around the internet reading others and it seems like everyone and their mother were making fancy lists to commemorate the end of the year. And I mean EVERYONE. I don't think there was single thing published between December 17th and January 3rd that wasn't a retrospective on 2011. You may find this a little difficult to believe but this made me a bit irate. Any moron can write about their favorite albums or things they did, in fact, this moron did that on his facebook. Luckily I have higher standards here at irrationalanger and I decided to look into the future and come up with a year's end list before the year has even started. Well, 5 days after the year started, close enough. So, without further ado I give you:

8 things that I will be pissed off about this year!

1. The NBA. We were so close to having an NBA free year. As late as early December it looked like the worst sports league of all was going to shut down for the entire season. I was ecstatic about this. I hate the NBA with a passion. Since it is the only sport that ESPN owns the rights to after the Super Bowl and before April it gets crammed down my throat constantly. I wouldn't be mad if ESPN ran itself like an actual news organization and covered the NHL but they don't. They pretend the NHL doesn't exist. And they employ Stephen A. Smith. It is clear that Bristol is the 7th circle of Hell. So instead of a nice quiet winter and spring we will be subjected to that screaming assclown along with a Greek chorus of other screaming nincompoops acting as if every single loss by the Heat is a national tragedy that must be covered around the clock. Gag me with a spoon.

2. The upcoming Snowpocalypse, Snomageddon, Icetastrophe, Holofrost or whatever we're calling it these days. It's been an insanely mild winter so far. I've lived in Chicago long enough to know that this means winter is biding it's time and will soon crank it up to 11. I don't mind that. If I minded the cold I wouldn't live in Chicago. What I mind is the incessant whining and fear mongering that will occur in every form of media. If you were to judge the situation only by reading my twitter and facebook feeds every time there is a half inch snowfall or the temperature dropped below 20 you would think the four horsemen of the apocalypse were upon us. It's weather you pansies, fucking deal with it and shut your damn mouths.

3. The untimely demise of a completely talentless celebrity and the deification of them. I'm not sure who I have my money on this year. Is the guy that played Gilligan still alive? Or maybe I'll take the Khardashian that's not on TV. The point is that someone of incredibly minor national prominence will die and people will act as if it was a crushing blow to them personally. Look, I get it, you enjoyed that one song about risque women's apparel but I'm pretty goddamn sure your life isn't any worse because Sisqo has left this mortal coil.

4. The inevitable return of Bud Lite Lime. Here in Chicago I have a little tradition that I like to do every spring to welcome the summer. Once Bell's has released their Oberon it is officially summer so I go grab a pint at the local watering hole and drink it outside. Even if it is 40 degrees out I'll sit outside and love every damn minute of it. Then I'll notice the sign going up in the bar announcing that in order to welcome summer Bud Lite Lime is on special all month long. It is around this time that I crush the pint glass in my fist and scream up into the sky much like Andy Dufresne at the end of The Shawshank Redemption.

5. Bill Simmons continuing to ruin Shawshank Redemption (and most other pop culture) references for the rest of us. Yeah, I know what I just did and I hate myself for it. I should be able to make reference to Shawshank, the Karate Kid and other movies without feeling dirty but I can't. Bill Simmons has ruined them all for us. I never would make a reference to the festering pile of human feces that was The White Shadow but even if I wanted to Simmons has already made every possible one 12,423 times. At least I know I can still make Big Lebowski references and not be stepping on Simmons turf, when it comes to those Simmons is out of his element, much like Donny.

6. The election. Do you realize that the Republican primary has already been going on for roughly 9 years? The election isn't until NOVEMBER! I am interested in politics, I really am, but I'm already sick and tired of hearing about which reprehensible excuse for a human being the Republicans are going to support. I'm sure I will rant about this in more detail many times this year but it'll be hard for me to do so without wanting to die a little inside each time.

7. Scorpions, Mitch Ryder and Ringo Starr releasing new albums this year. Are you fucking kidding me? There is a horrible lack of new bands rising to prominence in rock music these days. In the words of Lester Bangs as interpreted by Cameron Crowe's movie Almost Famous, "It's a dangerous time for rock n roll." Yet as nothing new comes out every 50+ has been (and that's generous for Scorpions) is dropping an album on a weekly basis. What the fuck?! Is there not a single band out there doing something interesting with a guitar, bass and some drums? Or do I have to give in and start listening to complete fucktards like LMFAO whose music sounds so shitty and abrasive to the ears that I'm pretty sure that it's outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

8. Last but not least, The Olympics. Good God will I hate the Olympics. The Summer Olympics blow. None of the events involve going close to 100mph on skis and jumping a couple of football fields. None of the events involve shooting targets while skiing. There will be no curling. Just a bunch of people running in a circle or swimming in a straight line. WHEEE! Sure, the steeplechase is almost as idiotic as the biathlon but they only show that for 2 minutes around 4:45 in the morning. Sure, women's beach volleyball is good to watch if the girlfriend isn't home and if I replace the commentary with a Descendants album, but that is very little to look forward to. I just had a horrifying realization. I bet the only Olympic event that will get any coverage will be the basketball because it's the only thing we're guaranteed to win since we send NBA players and. . . .

OHMYGOD! We have come full circle! I did not intend to do this, this is my greatest achievement ever. And with that I shall bid you adieu. Come by often, it looks like this should be a pretty great year for hating things.