Archive for the ‘youtube’ category

Embellishment — Writing’s Favorite Condiment

August 18, 2008

I was reading an old post (actually the last one but I’m a lazy bastard and my last post was almost 2 weeks ago) about how I always break or damage or lose my phones, and I was listing some examples of how these things happened.  I mentioned that once my phone was run over by a truck.  I began to recall that episode in my head.  I remembered the truck being yellow, and fairly small. It had black dashes painted along the side and a lit sign on top with glowing numbers.  The driver looked like one of the bad guys in True Lies.

It was a taxi cab.  A small regular sized taxi cab.

Had I forgotten this minor detail? No and no.  No I did not forget, and no this detail is not minor.  But I didn’t lie on purpose, either.  I was just writing, lost in my own thoughts and madly orchestrating my fingers to weave a web of words on my keyboard, tangled or otherwise.  In my writing trance superfluous details such as facts are sometimes usually disregarded.  I’m actually surprised that I didn’t go for a little more.  If I could do it over, it would have read as follows:

So I was backwards-worming down the street and my brand new phone that I bought like 12 seconds ago slipped out of my pocket and onto the 10-lane highway.  Cars were blazing by for almost a full minute, but amazingly my phone remained unscathed.  When the light changed I forward-wormed back out onto the street to get it, but just then the train that runs above-ground in my neighborhood careened off the tracks and plummeted 50 feet right onto my motorola RAZR just as I was leaning in to scoop it up. I easily could have died and I would have (and according to many, should have) but fortunately (unfortunately according to those same aforementioned people who feel that I should have died) Arnold Schwarzenegger saw the train racing towards me through the air and charged and tackled me while yelling Get DoOoWn before his rabidly gutteral Austrian gargle was drowned out by the train exploding directly onto my cellphone.  Luckily no one was hurt.

  My version would be called “Little Falafel Boy”.

You see how I skillfully toe the line between reality and fantasy?  This is a master at work here, folks.  Here’s a tip for you newbie bloggers (upstart novelists, screenplay writers, journalists, court reporters, etcetera) — don’t over do it.  Por ejemplo, I could have said that when I went back out onto the street to get my phone, I backwards-wormed, just like I did before when I was crossing the street.  Yes, backwards-worming is more impressive.  But if I was backwards-worming when I was walking down the street then naturally I would have to do the opposite whilst backtracking.  Turning around just so that I could backwards-worm in the another direction would be just plain ridiculous.  Furthermore, backwards-worming twice in a row would be so shockingly impressive that it would detract from the excitement of the derailed train (for those of you who disagree, SCREW YOU because you have clearly never seen me backwards worm).  That’s why organized religion stinks — the scribes who wrote it just went way too far.

That’s just the name of the game folks.  The blogosphere gets boring when people only wanna pretend to know about politics or regurgitate whatever they read in the paper that day.  We gotta spice this shit up.  My blogging name is Zuér.  My real name is Leslie.  See that? Sex[iness] sells. That’s why I put this picture of myself on my about page — I look dead sexy there, and if I didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this right now.  FACT. You see how when you saw my picture you said to yourself, “god DA!mn this dude looks smokin hot”?  That’s exactly what I was going for.  And I got it.  Why?  Cuz I gives you what you want.

Here’s another fact — my blog audience has increased in size by 300% since I learned how to embellish (from 1 to 3 regulars).  It’s elementary.  Chapter 1 of How to be a Playa (which I also wrote). 

On a serious note, I’m always honest in my blog other than when I’m going for a laugh.  If you read this post and didn’t realize that it falls under this category, well, then, shame on me.

This was a delightfully painless Monday after a great weekend. Have a great week!

The holy-crap-its-already-August Round Up

August 4, 2008

The summer is flyin by, and I’m not happy.  Gotta make the most of it while we can, folks.  Ive been trying to, but that’s only part of the reason why Ive been seriously slacking with the posts…believe it or not, Ive actually been busting my ass at work.  Despite my best efforts to evade acknowledgment and remain anonymous in all aspects of the company other than the payroll, word got out that I actually exist and have the capacity to tackle a larger workload.  Sons of bitches…

Here’s another patented ramble to update you on my life, and ruminations on everything relevant (to me) outside of it:

•Just back from a weekend down on the Jersey Shore, where I stayed at my friends awesome beach house.  Saturday was a fucking monsoon and I got kicked out of the water because the sissy lifeguards were afraid of the raging lightening.  Wimps.  Sunday made up for it though…started the day early and got in plenty of sun, and my arabian skin did great under the pressure (I only used SPF 8 sunblock).  Came back to work today lookin extra crispy, wearing white to accentuate the contrast, which made all the home-bodies in my office hate my guts.  Mission accomplished.

•Reading Things Fall Apart right now.  It was assigned in college but I Sparknote’d that biatch.  My friend Andrew gave me a spare copy and I thought I should actually read it, being it’s a classic and I haven’t read any other books set in Africa.  More to come on this.  No spoilers, please.

•I lost my phone in a  taxi after it fell out my pocket.  No one called or tried to return it.  I hate that.  Ive found phones before and went to crazy lengths to get it back to the owner.  Feels pretty crappy, cuz I know someone found it…  Ah well, I have insurance cuz I know I always lose or damage my phones; the list is pretty impressive.  I’ve dropped a phone down a sewer grate, in the toilet, in four feet of snow and couldnt find it, one fell on the street and got ran over by a truck…I could go on for a while.  That’s why I am the only person in the world who has no interest in an iPhone…I know Im gonna lose that shit in a week.  Not much of a gadget person anyway…long as I can make a phone call and it’s smaller than the one Zack Morris used to pull out of his ass in Saved By the Bell,  then I’m all good.

•SPORTS. Ok, plenty of quick thought, cuz each is deserving of it’s own post…  Brett Favre is a selfish bastard and the Packers are assholes for now declaring that he can compete for the starting QB job, after all this freaking talk about being committed to Aaron Rodgers.  They totally gave in to this drama queen.  They drafted Brian Brohm because Favre said for the 716th time that he was definitely hanging up his helmet.  He put the Packers in such a bad spot, and for that reason alone they shouldve had the stones to move on.  Federer is losing his #1 ranking, but is still the best player in the world.  I think he’s gonna bounce back in a big way, and people are nuts for prematurely predicting his demise.  Manny to the Dodgers is good for both teams. He is gonna play great there (a motivated Manny is the most dangerous hitter in the league), and the Red Sox dont deserve the negative backlash theyve gotten since the trade.  That team won 2 championships because of team chemistry, and Manny gave up on them and called out management on a daily basis.  Francona is the best skipper in the league and he needs respect from everyone in his clubhouse.  They gave up a lot, but in getting Jason Bay and ridding themselves of a clubhouse cancer, theyre a contender that will only get better.  Team USA basketball is looking great in their tuneups, and D-Wade is STRAIGHT UP NASTY.  Do not sleep on this man!!  He lost some luster in the eyes of many the last two years because of serious injuries, but somehow he looks more explosive than ever and has been their #1 highlight reel so far (and he’s a only sixth man).  I’m not afraid to say it: USA Basketball is gonna dominate the Olympics.  Write it down, bitches.  Ron Artest to the Rockets?  I’d be lying if I said I’m sure it’s gonna work, because Artest truly does deserve his rep as a headcase.  But the conditions are as good as they can be, as he’s playing for a coach who he actually respects, in a system he can benefit from, will be asked to contribute offensively and handle the ball at times, which will make him happy since he’s always clamoring about not being utilized offensively, and Shane Battier can come off the bench as a top sixth man who can play multiple positions.  The Rockets are my fav team after the Knicks, and, if by some strange turn of events the Knicks do not win a championship this year, I want the Rockets to go all the way.  T-Mac is too damn good to never get out of the first round. 

•McCain is a dirty bastard and his attack ads are ridiculous.  Trying to knock Obama as a leader by comparing calling him a celebrity in the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears?  That shit is weak.

What a loser.  Later y’all.

George Carlin & Co: Open Up [your fuckin] Eyes

July 18, 2008

I was watching videos of George Carlin on youtube and man, that dude was a genius. RIP man. The great satirists just have a skill for cutting through the bullshit and explaining things to people in a way that not only makes sense, but is also funny as hell. And it’s not just about politics — it’s about all of the many forces and waves tugging at and crashing around us that try to move us, shape us, scare us so that they can then be the ones to comfort us, and turn us into sheep so that they can herd us into cages locked the second we let others think on our behalf.

But the greats like Carlin and Bill Maher and Jon Stewart clear the fog a bit. Not to say you should believe whatever it is that they say, but if you listen, youll notice that theyre not telling you what to believe, like your politicians, parents, teachers, and priests (rabbis/imams) do; theyre telling you to open up your eyes and start thinking for yourself.

Here are a few great clips i came across:

this one explains why I am a francophile:

More videos to come, but I have to leave the office before they make me do work.

ciao

Making Sense of the NBA Off-Season

July 14, 2008

First off, sorry for the hiatus…life has been hectic.  But no matter how busy things get, Ive always got a finger on the pulse of the sports world, especially the part of it that interest me most: the NBA.

Its hard for me to write about sports in a coherent way, because I get excited and have too many thoughts about the same topic.  So, here goes:

The Clippers have to be bummed about losing Elton Brand, big time.  Sterling was trying to shake his image as the tight-wad owner by signing Baron Davis to a big deal (though impressively shrewd), and after he did that no one thought Brand would seriously give up the chance to play with a top PG.  Brand didnt even really get more money than what was offered.  I understand business is business and Brand has to look out for himself, but Im disappointed by how he handled this because since he got the same money than LA was willing to give him, he must have had other reasons for leaving for Philly, probably cuz it was a competitive playoff squad last year without him and figures to be a conference contender with him…but i think he went out his way to make the Clips think he was gonna resign and encouraged them to sign another player who he could contend with in LA, and after they did what he asked for, he still bolted.  I’m not hating him for playin the game, but when he does youve got to call him a playa. Maybe Im biased cuz now Philly is gonna dominate the division that my beloved Knicks will serve as a doormat to.

Yes, Philly will dominate the Atlantic because Toronto is overrated and NJ is in it for the green, not the gold.  The Toronto trade of a TJ Ford, one half of the most productive PG platoon in the league for a broken and beat up Jermaine ONeal who is making something like $42 million the next 2 years alone is not a good deal.  TJ Ford is agreat player and they couldve gotten more for him.  If ONeal returns to full strength and plays the defense he was playing a few years ago, then the trade will have been a good one, but I think that it way too improbable for the Raptors to bank on.  

NJ traded Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlin for the SOLE pourpose of cashing in on his popularity in his native country of China and opening up the market in order to lure LeBron in 2 years.  Pitiful.  So now they have Yi, no Jason Kidd, no RJ, and a player in Vince Carter who will be in the first year of a rich multi-year contract…oh yea, he’ll play with tONS of trademark tenacity.  They have some decent rookies but they are still gonna stink it up for a while.

I like Washington giving Arenas his money because you never have to worry about his motivation to play hard — he’s too cocky to let his rep suffer.  To think…Rashard Lewis got a contract worth $15 million more than Arenas.  That is nuts.

Bur Lewis’ Orlando squad was good last year and will be better with newly signed and underrated Mickael Pietrus, who can guard the perimeter and shoot the 3-ball.

Dallas gave Dasagna Diop something like $30 million to resign with them. ¿¿¿WTF???  The dude does nothing but block a shot or 2 a game and he gets $30 million? I dont get that. Nor do I understand the Bucks giving Andrew Bogut $72.5 million (!) to stay in Milwaukee, and then trade Yi and his Chinese fan base for Jefferson only to then draft Joe Alexander, who plays the same position.  They shouldve saved 72 million by letting Bogut go, drafted Brooke Lopez who was the top center prospect in the draft but gets paid rookie money, an then put themselves in position to be a major player in free agency with all that money and a promising young core of Michael Redd, Jefferson, Lopez, Mo Williams, Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Bell.  Tell me they couldnt have gotten a top free agent to join that squad!  They couldve signed Emeka Okafor who is a top defensive center (perfect for coach Scott Skiles and the new defense oriented style he will surely implement) for way less than 72 million.  This is maddening to me.

Golden State losing out on Davis and Brand has to hurt, and no, signing Corey Maggette does not ease the pain.  I like him as a scorer because he gets to the line (hes insane at drawing fouls. In a  healthy season most fans would be surprised to learn that Maggette gets to the line more than almost any other player in the league — 3rd most in 06-07) which puts a lot of pressure on the opposing defense and makes things easier on his teammates, who can be more aggressive against defenders in foul trouble or a team in the penalty.  But he’s not a facilitator, he needs the ball in his hands and doesnt make much of a difference on defense.  He could be a great complimentary player, to say, Elton Brand..or..Baron Davis. Yes Warriors fans, it’s time to worry.  At least they seem committed to keeping Monta Ellis, who is restricted and crazy talented, but theyre gonna end up overpaying Andris Biedrins big time so they can have at least one decent big man in the lineup.  Im not so crazy about Chris Mullin’s personnel moves, I gotta say. 

As for the Clips, who knows what to expect.  I dont think theyll make the playoffs next season with the lineup they have.  GS didnt make it last year and they had a better and more cohesive lineup than LA has this year..so far at least.  Al Thornton will continue to impress, Kaman is a good 5 and Davis is nasty when healthy, but that he played 82 games in his contract year does not mean that he will go the distance again now that he has a brand new contract and is closer to his Hollywood homies trying to convince him to focus on his film production company (Davis is a member of the screen actors guild).  I think the Clips are back to being the Clips that we know and love to not care about.

Not basing this on the one preseason game he played, I think Beasely is gonna make a loT of people feel stupid for saying he did not deserve to be picked first in this year’s draft.  That kid has something to prove but wont even be the 3rd best player on his team, so the spotlight is not on him and he can just play the game.  Rookie of the Year, write that shit down.

As for my beloved Knicks, it’s too early to write a seaon preview but I like the Gallinari draft, I guess, kinda sorta, because the obviously better players were off the board, the other impressive talents did not fit team needs at all (Jerryd Bayless), and Gallinari isnt the typical young European “project”.  This kid has been a star in very competitive and heavily scouted European leagues, already knows how to play the game, has guts and size and shooting skills, and most importantly, if there is anyone who is qualified enough to determine whether or not a Euro league player can make the transition to the NBA, its Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. 

If Gallinari develops, D’Antoni can work his offensive magic to get Curry and Randolph to be productive, and the Knicks do something smart with the many, many millions coming off the books this year, NYK can compete for a low playoff seed while working it’s way out of the tangled mess known as Isiah Thomas’ legacy.  After 7 years of ineptitude, I am a humble and patient man.

Catch a glimpse of Gallinari in action here:

Save the Bananas

June 18, 2008

Just shouting out this interesting NYT article about the rising cost of bananas and the threat they face in the form of a new virus affecting plantations across the world.  Bananas are my favorite fruit and the thought of losing them truly terrifies me.  Why is there not a Save the Bananas charity out there somewhere?  I get mail every day from associations asking me to donate to the Save the Humpback Whale fund and Gonorrhea Research fund (both worthy causes) but Save the Bananas should be right up there.

Chiquita Banana is one sexy fruit.

The article was also really interesting because it explains how the fruit was originally brought into the US and describes the immense power that the largest American fruit companies wielded over foreign nations reliant on income from banana exports.  It reminds us that we as consumers need to make informed decisions about what we buy and pressure our manufacturers to abide by certain standards of conduct.  This way the banana can come to be a symbol of international democracy…in addition to being delicious. 

Mexican Donkey Jailed 3 Days… For Acting Like an Ass

May 22, 2008

Ay Dios Mio.

If you’re gonna punish an animal like a human, shouldn’t the animal be given human rights?  I highly doubt the Donkey was Mirandized, or even given a phone call.  And good luck providing him with a jury of his peers…I’d love to voir dire that one.

Not only that, but I have evidence proving that the Donkey was drugged and incapacitated against his will prior to the alleged assault, and therefore cannot be held responsible for his actions:

PETA would have a field day with this. 

Thinking about renting out your apartment? Be warned!

May 21, 2008

People are weird.  Especially people you meet online. And if you’re planning on letting these weird people you meet online rent out your apartment, do yourself a favor and think about it real hard.

I’m planning on going away for a few days and figured I’d try to recoup some of the money I’m spending on my trip by following the lead of a few friends and renting out my apartment when I’m not there.  Basically, the idea is that if you’re going away for a while on vacation, and being you in a tourist hot-spot, there would probably be a bunch of people who’d be willing to rent out your place while they are in town.  Sure, my place might be considered a slight downgrade from the Mandarin Oriental, but it’s a nice apartment in a great location, and not staying in a five-star hotel means that the guest won’t pay five-star prices. I’m just looking for a normal dude who wants a cheap, comfy place to sleep and shower.  Not too much to ask for, right?

OK, the view from the Mandarin is pretty nice… but my fire escape/laundromat view is right up there.OK, the view from a suite at the Mandarin is pretty nice.  I don't mind my fire escape/laundromat view that much though...

Well, it didn’t quite work out that way for me. 

I put an ad on craigslist and only got one response (I posted it kinda late).  I spoke to the woman on the phone and she sounded really polite and sincere.  She was visiting from Florida and her parents were visiting from India, and they have family that lives in the area, but they didn’t want to stay with them (understandably).  We arranged for her parents, who were already in town, to come see the place that night. 

So they get there, and they seem normal enough.  Pretty quiet.  They bring their brother-in-law. He goes into the bathroom and stays there for five minutes.  I’m near the door.  No tinkling sounds.  This dude is totally snooping through my meds…or taking them (was actually hoping he’d take some deodorant, because the dude was stank).  The parents are walking around, not saying much but exchanging a few comments in Hindi.  We start shooting the breeze a bit, and they seem very friendly and interesting.  By now the brother-in-law is laying on my couch, perusing my coffee table books.  Things are going well with the parents, until:

Mother: Your apartment is very nice.

Me: Thank you.

Father: But, uh, can you move some things?

Me: Huh? Oh yea, sure, I’ll clear space on the dresser for you guys to put your things on, no problem.

Father: No, uh, other things. 

Me: What things?

Father: These things (pointing to picture frames littered throughout the room) and those things (pointing to the posters on my wall).

Me: What? You want me to take down my pictures and posters?

Father:  Uhh Yes. Yes.

Me:  Why?  You know this only for a few days, right?

Father: Yes.

Me:  So then…? (giving a wtf are you talking about look)

Father: Maybe someone will come who doesn’t like those posters and these other things.

Me: What? Why not? Who will come?  Are you planning on having guests?

(Father abruptly pulls out a phone and starts talking to someone in Hindi for 3 minutes, then turns back to me)

Father:  (Looking at wife, then me) OK, we will be frank.  Some people will come to see us here.  (pause) And they cannot see these things. (pause) We would not keep these things in our house. (pause..notices my intensifying glare) OK, because, we are going to tell them that we live here.  That this is our apartment.  So we cannot have these pictures. You see now…you know the truth!

Me: But, how would, why would, are you saying that..

Father: Yes YES exactly! You see now! I am a hindu priest, I cannot have these things! Hookah? No I don’t smoke a hookah, you have to hide this.  And these children [in the pictures], they know my daughter, these are not my children. You see now!?

Me: ………..

Mother: You don’t have to take down everything.

Father: No, no. Just this, that one, these things, yes just take them down, those things, yes see it can come down quickly (nearly ripping poster)..

Me: Don’t touch that poster!

Father: Ok you can do that later of course. Ok so here is some money where do I sign?

Me: Um yea I don’t know about this..

Father:  Oh yes dont worry here take the money we have to go now take the deposit call my daughter to arrange dont worry heresthemoneycalldaughter.

(Door closes behind them)

Ok.  WTF just happened?  Telling people they live here?  How many freaking people were they gonna have over? Why would they lie about that? What else are they lying about?  If there weren’t posters that wouldve busted there cover and would have been impossible to discreetly remove, would they have bothered to tell me this? I doubt it.  And I don’t like the idea of them moving all of my pictures, plaques, posters, arab-esque decor and anything else suggesting that this apartment is not usually inhabited by a conservative Hindu Indian couple in their 60s, which would be a whole lot of stuff.  I’m not trying to come home and re-decorate my apartment, or worse, see something missing and have to put a 60 year old Hindu priest in a head-lock.  Not to mention the fact that they seemed ready to have a Diwali party in my apartment (I thought that wouldn’t be a concern with 60+ year old guests)… and if I came home to see the tall, lanky brother-in-law sitting on the couch, wearing my underwear and watching a pay-per-view bollywood movie, I’d have to kick his ass, then just set my apartment on fire and find a new place to live. 

Actually coming home to this Diwali party would be pretty fun… 

Even if none of this actually happened, having these thoughts run through my head is not my idea of peace of mind, and that is something even more valuable than the small amount of money I wouldve gained for the short rental.  How much value it has to you is something you should strongly consider if you’re ever in the same boat.