Archive for December, 2012

Here I Secretly Live Blog Watching “Love Actually” With My Wife

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

This might be my wife’s favorite movie.  I’ve always lied and said, “I’ve seen it,”  and “It sucks,” because (a) I’m an asshole and (b) see ‘A.’  Tonight we watch.  In fact, I have never seen more than a few minutes of it.  Merry Christmas.

  • Is this really opening with a Hugh Grant voice over invoking 9/11 and including the words “Love Actually”?  I can only be pleasantly surprised.
  • So how many of these people does Liam Neeson kill with his skill set?
  • Can’t hold off.  Twist open that wine (ya, it’s a twist off). Made it to “Creative Producers” on opening credits!
  • Hey look Tim from The Office (UK)!
  • So much befuddlement.
  • This new girl is going to be Prime Minister Grant’s “Fiscal Cliff.”
  • Wife, “This movie almost didn’t get made, FYI.”
  • titties. +1
  • I lied. I already watched 4 Weddings and a Funeral with my Mom.  It was so repressed. Everything is crashing down.
  • “I hate her” Not sure who that was intended for.
  • “I love the hopeful music each time they’re going to tell you something good.”
  •  ”I don’t know what he’s been in, but he’s good-looking”
  • 4 Weeks Til Christmas!
  • (ok, not doing ths secretly anymore…)
  • Wife, “This is where they take their subtle digs at America…”  say it ain’t so.
  • Wisconsin babes? Good luck James Cook.
  • Emma Thompson is a fine looking boy.
  • “Let’s turn it up a little bit.”  good idea. you can’t quite hear the dramatic pauses.
  • “This is like my favorite part.”  Part I – (the British TRL Scene)
  • I once watched a porn and the guy was wearing a Santa hat, but there were no other XMas references in the entire scene. The woman started out in business casual.  It was kind of weird.
  • Ah, Portugal. Down South America way.
  • Billy Bob Bush Clinton Johnson Nixon
  • Hugh Grant listing great British achievements. Where is the Kenyan anti-colonial subtext I kept reading about?
  • “How come we don’t say PapiEh Mache?”
  • I wonder if these 2 people who just met and don’t speak the same language but are totally on the same wavelength will get together… and rob a bank, take the teller hostage, then kill her in a marathon session of autoerotic esphixiation before burning her corpse.
  • Keira Knightly shouldn’t go anywhere without the Indian soccer player.
  • “It’s weird she has to tuck her ears in her hat.” indeed.
  • Would Liam Neeson even go after his son if some Chechyn kidnapped him?
  • Correction:  ”Stepson” (exactly)
  • Robert Palmer what the fuck.
  • “Who wears devil horns at Christmas?!”
  • “This is one of my favorite parts of the whole movie!”  Part II (Sex Scene/Linney happy dance)
  •  Wife keeps asking me to judge adults with stuffed animals. Alas…
  • Couple Power Rankings:  1 –  Porn Stand Ins / 2 – Language Barrier / 3 – Grant-Oblivious Lewinsky / 4 – Linney-Handsome Boring Guy / 5. Thompson-Devil Ears-Neeson-Dogma Guy Shitshow / 6- Knightly-Guy Who likes West Wing.
  • Kids, this is a day of marriage (w/no kids):  Work -> travel vaccinations -> fight about baked potatoes -> Love Actually
  • Me:  Are those Linney’s breasts?  Cortney:  ”She believed in this movie enough…”
  • (I really said, “Tits”)
  • 1 Week To Christmas!
  • Silly Rabbit. There are no condoms in Fond du Lac.
  • Is Barney still around?  that fucking guy.
  • Man, I was just thinking this movie was missing some Matchbox 20.
  • Alright, these biscuits in the Wisconsin townie bar might as well be anatomically correct Abominable Snowmen.
  • Betty Draper is fucking miserable! Don’t do it!  (yeah ok, do it.)
  • In Love Actually 2, they rip off my story about meeting a single mother in a Middleton, WI dive bar and then having her mother (grandma) drive me back to my car in the morning. (It’s not going make the trailer…)
  • Claudia Schiffer:  perfectly dated reference.
  • Otis? Their music budget must’ve been insane. (maybe they just all believed in the project…)
  • Screw Uncle Jamie!
  • They’re romanticizing this fucking clown throwing Say Anything + cue cards at his best friend’s wife.
  • More tears.
  • In fairness, well done with the comical Washed Up Rock Star.
  • *clapping* and volume just got turned up.
  • “This is my favorite too.”  Part III  (Grant singing xmas carols)
  •  ”It’s all happening!” like it’s the 1st time she has seen this…
  • In the movies, it’s usually only the Mc’s with families this big + sweetly intrusive.
  • It’s all coming together!
  • Does it end with Grant giving her a subscription to Jelly of the Month Club?
  • “In the states they would never allow a lobster or whale at the birth of Jesus. this is awesome.”
  • “What? I just set the volume at 69.”
  • “She’s so pretty. I wonder what happeneed to her? hopefully not drugs.”
  • *snapping* + “I’m a really good snapper” Yea you are.
  • “there are a lot of fat jokes in this movie. I will admit it.”
  • Post-9/11 child running through security and then running (not on moving walkway) away from guards is exactly what christmas cinema is all about.  Salute.
  • Haha, that old, “Portuguese only care about qualified waitstaff” theory is so true!”
  • “She took English lessons too! that’s the best part…” *sobbing*  haha that’s awesome. I love my wife.
  • 1 Month Later!
  • Please nobody take my “Shannon Elizabeth Doing Accents” album idea.
  • Closing with a fat joke

Closing dialogue:

Wife:  ”It’s a good movie” *fighting back tears*

Me:  ”Yeah it wasn’t so bad. Not my favorite though.”

Wife: “What? I’m gonna pee. Then we’re watching Ms. Universe.”

 

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Gratuitous Product Review: LG A340 Flip Phone

Posted by Matt on Monday, December 17th, 2012

buddy!

I have difficulty getting into our current phone-centric culture.  It just never connected.  For 5 years I held on to the balky 7 lb. Blackberry my former boss kicked down to me in between passive-aggressive attempts to belittle me in front of female co-workers.  I also have a work-issued Blackberry that performs just fine.

So when the rolly-ball finally crapped out on my old-timer, it was time to get a new personal phone.  Unfortunately, the timing of this necessary purchase was terrible – it happened about two weeks after the new iPhone came out.

I have to give it to the iPhone People.  What does it say about your dedication that you camp out for essentially the same product that you already own?  You smugly think you’re better than the Black Friday People. Or the McRib Dedicants.  But you’re not.  You think you’re more sophisticated and wouldn’t put a Loafer on someone’s neck to get a phone with millimeters more in screen space than your current phone. But you would.  That’s another row of icons!!! That being said, I’m keenly aware and begrudgingly appreciate your savage wherewithal.

I entered the AT&T store in a nearby, nondescript strip mall.  The place was teeming with energy.  Expressions of wonder lit the faces of the iPhone People. Aps flowed like wine. A solitary touchscreen-glove lay on the carpet, tossed haphazardly by a carelessly eager patron.

I was greeted by a host wearing a headset. I told him I needed to replace my busted phone.  He politely indicated I would have to wait at least 45 minutes.  I chalked this up to it being a weekday evening and asked if there was a better time during the day when I could return.  In my mind, I was already willing to take a 1/2 day to avoid the Phone People.  Unfortunately, my man with the headset said it had been “pretty much like this since the iPhone was released.” Silly me. These people don’t have conventional jobs.  Or jobs at all. Or if they do, they schedule their vacation time according to apple-product release dates.  Essentially, I would have an easier time finding a walk-in table for 8 at Girl and the Goat than getting someone to spend 5 minutes snagging me a replacement.

So I gave it a couple of weeks.  Finally, like Punxsutawney Phil reluctantly peering into the sunlight, I reemerged, determined to get this shit over with so I could go back to ignoring phone calls in peace.

The next time I entered the store, the coast was clear.  I put my name in with the host and was hooked up with a salesman in 2 minutes – didn’t even have to slip the guy a sawbuck!

I told the salesman the score. In a fleeting moment of thrift, I thought, “It’s stupid to pay $50 a month for the exact data service I get through my free work phone. Let’s just cancel the data plan altogether.”

He didn’t push back and steered me towards the budget rack.  I have been an AT&T Customer since Cingular. Not by choice, really, but by laziness. The salesman told me I had put in my time and was due a freebie (back in March, 2011) if I wanted one of the older, less complicated models.  Finally my laziness had paid off.

I asked what was free and the bespeckled salesman pointed at 3 phones. I pointed fatefully at the LG A340 and the rest is history.  (CLARIFICATION:  Phone was not free. Technically cost $35 with a $35 rebate that I have a 35% likelihood of mailing in to AT&T.)

I took my new LG A340 home and have been gradually getting used to it ever since.  Here’s my review:

APPEARANCE

It’s a metallic gray color. It flips open to display the keypad, screen, and whatnot. My previous phone was maroon, so I don’t think I’m entitled to judge this one. I have no objections. I don’t make any pocket calls. It matches one of my scarves.

SOUND

In the advent of better phone technology years ago, it was cool listening to earnest technological appreciation.  Elder relatives routinely emitted the amazed, “It sounds like your next door. “ It was great.

The LGA340 is now another spot on the sonic spectrum. It sounds like your next door! To a Sri Lankan Auto Mechanic! But also underwater!

TEXTING

Have you ever said to yourself, “When drafting a text message, I want to savor every letter. Let’s open this text up and let it breathe a little bit.” Get this phone right fucking now! Because it takes about 10 minutes to punch in “Srry cant make it.”  Add an additional 5 min for each emoticon.

Are you tired of friends and loved ones sending you pictures of people having a lot more fun than you, pictures of their inevitably ordinary children, or really anything but naked pics?  You’re in luck.  Because (with my plan) this thing isn’t having any of that shit. 3 out of every 4 texts I receive open to the following script, “[Multimedia Noti Message].” I have no idea what that means, but I’m pretty sure it’s code for, “I’m a free phone. Let me get some rest. These pictures can suck my balls.”   (because when I personify my phone, it’s a dude – so I don’t feel bad about throwing it in anger…)

NOTIFICATION

I ususally have my phone on “vibrate,” but occasionally throw on the sound in case I’m worried about notification for voicemails and text messages.  The chime itself is not offensive.  It’s kind of like the sound you would imagine hearing upon entering a spa in Appalachia.  However, the chime continues intermittently until you pay attention to it – like a puppy, or Donald Trump.  This is where I go off the rails with the AG340. If you’re in a different room from the phone and you get a text message, it doesn’t just chime once, or twice, or 20 times. You have to get up and attend to the text in order to stop the chime.

God forbid you’re in bed and your phone isn’t on the nightstand.  Inevitably, an old friend floats you a late night text about how much fun he’s having on a beach somewhere being shitfaced with some beautiful coeds and delicious pork sandwiches.  You’ll hear it go off.  Then right when your fading back to sleep it chimes again. It’s timing is interpsersed so perfectly that the AG340 is probably derived from some 1983 CIA torture-tool prototype.  Eventually you have to fully wake up and turn it off. Then you read the text. Fuck that guy. Luckily you can’t see the corresponding picture he sent because that would really twist the knife…

VOICEMAIL

We all have someone who leaves voicemails that are longer than James Cameron movies. (Love you mom!)  While not advertised on its list of features, the A340 contains a “rudeness protector,” ensuring that you have to listen to pretty much every excruciating word of every god damn message.  Keep pressing “7″ like a maniac, asshole.  Ain’t gonna help.

This is especially awesome for robocalls - you know, the messages that start before your mailbox picks up.  It’s usually some person in the middle of a polite rant – you have no idea what’s going on, but it seems like you’re supposed to pay a bill or call your congressman. Can’t wait to spend the midterm elections with the A340.

CONCLUSION

The LG A340 has some minor inconveniences, but here’s a plus:  I spend negligible time looking at my phone.  I don’t waste time reading internet news (because I can’t), waste time on Facebook (because I can’t), or waste time taking pictures and instantly reminiscing (because I can’t upload or send them).  It has saved me a lot of time that I can now waste on other things, like writing this unnecessary product review.  Thanks LG A340.  We’re in this together.

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Be A Man.

Posted by Matt on Monday, December 17th, 2012

Guys!

Wasting the days away with a fledgling career?  Have a great job or lot of money, but maybe your penis doesn’t work well for your wife or mistress? Are you physically weak but too lazy to hit the gym? (I am!) Maybe you spend too much time at the gym lingering around the showers, hanging out with your self-loathing.  Bushmaster has just the thing for you.  You will be a master of bush in no time.

This is the assault rifle used by the Newtown shooter and allegedly purchased by his mother.  The AR-15. “If it’s good enough for a professional, it’s good enough for y0u.” Subtext: “get this now, you pussy.”  gross.

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What Are ‘End Times,’ Alex?

Posted by Matt on Thursday, December 13th, 2012

When in doubt, that’s the answer – which is strange because that answer implies conviction.  Anyway, we’ve been over this before.

(Reuters) – Nearly four in 10 U.S. residents say the severity of recent natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy is evidence the world is coming to an end, as predicted by the Bible, while more than six in 10 blame it on climate change, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service found political and religious disagreement on what is behind severe weather, which this year has included extreme heat and drought.

Most Catholics (60 percent) and white non-evangelical Protestants (65 percent) say they believe disasters like hurricanes and floods are the result of climate change.

But nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of white evangelical Protestants say they think the storms are evidence of the “end times” as predicted by the Bible.

Overall, 36 percent point to end times and 63 percent to climate change.

offered without comment.

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Michigan’s Bat Shit Crazy Lame Duck Session: It’s Your Turn Ladies

Posted by Matt on Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Yesterday I indicated when I moved to Michigan I must have taken a wrong turn and ended up in Alabama.  Here’s some southern fried Anti-Reproductive Rights FTW:

The Michigan State Senate passed HB 5711, an omnibus anti-abortion bill that sparked widespread protests over the summer when it was first considered in the House, by a 27-10 vote on Wednesday afternoon. The legislation has been stalled since it passed Michigan’s House in June.

Cialis-soaked gentlemen feeling their lame duck oats at the Capitol.  Lay it on us…

HB 5711 would impose a host of new restrictions on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy — such as requiring doctors to prove that their patients haven’t been “coerced” into having the procedure, limiting abortion access for women in rural areas, and imposing guidelines for disposing of fetal remains in the same way that the state disposes of dead bodies. The legislation also seeks to mandate unnecessarily and complicated regulations that could force the state’s abortion clinics out of business.

You read this right.  Unless you’re lucky enough to discover your unplanned and unwanted pregnancy within the proposed 10-weeks, you have to get a fetus coffin or get the fetus cremated.  If it’s at 20?

For fetuses at 20 weeks gestation, a death certificate must be obtained…

Man, I can’t think of any practical problems or legal questions this might ignite.

So…There are new restrictions, but at least women’s’ health clinics will remain open, right?

any doctors who perform abortions would have to make costly and unnecessary renovations to their clinics — even if they only administer the morning-after pill.2 The dramatic effect of all this needless regulation is the closure of most Michigan health centers that provide abortions, and the remaining ones will be forced to charge much higher fees for services that one in three women will need some time in their life.

Soon, if the state doesn’t like what you’re doing with your uterus, don’t be surprised if the governor appoints it an Emergency Manager.

Hail to the Captors!

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One Run-Of-The-Mill 21st Century Republican

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

In 2010, Democrats slept as the Tea Party was able to turn many state legislatures bright red. Michigan was no exception.  While he was able to keep his relative distance from the weird xenophobes with the signs, Rick Snyder strode into Lansing with a pretty wide margin of victory.  His first two years as governor have drawn accolades from Serious People as the former Gateway Exec has been able to portray himself as a sort of above-it-all, technocratic dweeb. (Campaign slogan: “One Tough Nerd” – it’s so disarming!) For a while, some Dems even gave Snyder credit for moderating a rabidly radical legislature that was so off-the-charts in their right-wing ideological loonacy that they silenced a congresswoman for using the word “vagina” in a debate concerning vaginas.

But the signs were readily apparent to those who paid attention.

Despite the fact that Snyder spent almost 3 years assuring the people of Michigan that he was against Right to Work legislation, last week he signaled a change in direction and yesterday signed ALEC’s standard-issue RTW legislation for private and public sectors.  Snyder also managed to retain the typical exemptions carved out for tenuous allies in the (pricier) police and fire unions – because apparently they don’t deserve “fairness in the workplace.”

Labor and Democrats are rightfully indignant. As recently as November, Snyder had said that it wasn’t on his agenda. Then all of a sudden it was. It’s like that terrible Jim Carey movie when he places an ancient artifact on his face and immediately becomes a different person. I believe it’s called, The Artifact Face. Snyder’s rationale for his support was equally infuriating as he vacillated between disingenuous cliché and typical anti-union misinformation.

He blamed the recent Union-backed ballot initiative to enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution as the impetuts for his change of direction while ignoring the litany of laws he signed over the past two years that hammered at benefits of public employees.

Protests continue to take place as people feel betrayed. I don’t blame them and continue to take part. However, the hoodwinker tipped his hand long ago.

Whether you believe Snyder is a misleading 1% dead-end plutocrat or just a tool of  $ backers such as Pyramid Scheme Brat heir Dick Devos and the Koch Brothers, it doesn’t matter. In fact, he’s probably both.  He hails balancing the budget in a state with a poor (but improving before him) economy as his keystone achievement.  How did he do it? By levying one of the biggest tax increases in state history on state pensions, eliminating the Homestead Tax Credit and reducing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. This increased taxes on the poor and middle class by over 30%. By the way, he slashed corporate taxes because their profits were at a record high, but apparently not high enough.

I’ve been able to live a fairly insulated life where changes in public policy very rarely affected my way of life.  I’ve never really lived paycheck to paycheck, even when broke in law school. (just take out more loans!)  I had the luxury of knowing I could fall back on the assistance of my parents if something unexpectedly catastrophic happened to me.

However, that doesn’t make it any less difficult to watch the continued anti-labor agenda sweeping much of the country. For Snyder’s moneychangers, it’s purely self-serving. Drive down benefits and wages and you can reap even greater profits!  Bring a handful of shitty jobs and they can negatively affect the already existing workforce!  Everyone(percent) wins!

I’m a proud union staff member.  Our typical CNAs – the people wiping your grandmother’s ass, start out at around a luxurious $11/hour.  Contrast that to RTW states such as Mississippi (~$8.50) and you can see why this strikes a nerve.  These are Americans dealing with rising gas, food and education expenses while wages have been stagnant for 30 years.  What’s at stake for Americans like Snyder and the Koch Brothers?  A few more gold coins, but mostly increased political control (which equals many more gold coins).  I might be biased, but I ain’t lying.

That’s what is so frustrating about public treatment of the RTW issue.  It’s not about “freedom” for people to not participate in Unions that were democratically elected by the workforce and can be decertified by democratic vote.

Just come clean and at least allude to the fact that you’re trying to starve organizations that have traditionally supported your political opponents.

Despite MSM reports relying on their standard + bogus false equivalency, Union dues can not be used for political purposes.  In fact, that’s the least appealing part of my job – pimping separate PAC donations from people making 20,000 a year.  It’s constitutes about 1% of my time (ironically), but still makes me squirm. Then you look at the jokers in the Michigan legislature and realize it’s a necessity needed to counter-balance a fraction of the Citizens’ United cash flooding our political system.

Both sides know the score. Workers in RTW states earn thousands less in wages. They’re less likely to have health insurance and much more likely to live below the poverty line.  Union contracts bring up wages + benefits for the non-union workforce as well.  It’s not complicated. RTW is about starving a political opponent.  How can Unions organize more employees and expand representation if they’re already required to represent workers who don’t have to pay dues?  How can they get out the vote for your opponent if their  reach is minimized? You don’t need to have private equity or outsourcing experience to know the answer to that.

So that’s where we’re at.  I moved to Michigan 2 years ago, but apparently took a wrong turn and ended up in Alabama (without the good football team).

Do I send a big ‘Go fuck yourself’ to Rick Snyder?  Absolutely But can I say I’m surprised?  No way.

What’s the lesson?  Don’t trust your corporate overlords and don’t forget to vote in the midterms.

But seriously, Snyder can go fuck himself.

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Rahm Emanuel Is A Fucking Cancer

Posted by Matt on Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Chicago! bring your coins and severed hands.

No offense to cancer.

There are 2 words that really irritate a certain segment of Chicagoans – “Triple Homicide?” No.  “Class Size?” Sorry.  “Kellen Davis?” close.

“Parking Meters”

Ever since Mayor Daley disastrously leased the city’s parking meters to a Goldman Sachs’ subsidiary for some quick cash, the deal has been appropriately derided as an unmitigated disaster.  Some have looked to mitigate said disaster.  Rahm says ‘no!’

At issue was a 2009 lawsuit filed by attorney Clint Krislov on behalf of the IVI-IPO, a public-interest group. The suit argued that the deal illegally privatized the government’s right to set parking and traffic policy and restricted the options of future city officials.

But the city teamed with Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the company that controls the parking system, to contest the suit, even after Mayor Emanuel publicly vowed to pursue every avenue he could to get out of the agreement.

Shocker.  Rahm runs a campaign criticizing deal + vows to rectify situation, gets elected, then the Democratic Machine’s Privatization Czar stays true to himself by being a double-dealing-deadbeat-dick. It’s like an episode of Boss, but we don’t even get to see a topless Claire from 90210.

The city’s position proved to be pivotal. Judge Richard J. Billik Jr. ruled that the citizens who brought the suit couldn’t show they were personally harmed by the meter deal. If anyone was hurt by it, Billik said, it would be the city. Yet city attorneys agreed with CPM that the government and its constituents were benefiting, primarily through new meter pay boxes and the $1.2 billion in cash paid into city coffers up front.

It’s cool. It’s cool.  Rahm has the cure for the urban blight that ails ya. I’ve always said Chicago needs a little bit of Hammond. Jackpot!

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Gratuitous World Blog

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    • REPOST!…SNOW MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE…
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