Saturday, October 29, 2005

Can Be Heard in Best Buy

Thursday night, during a trip to Best Buy to get the new Woody Allen movie just released on DVD, my brother, Karissa, and I noticed that they had a Windows Media Center PC playing music. The media center, which was hooked up to a 30-inch screen, had Apple's iTunes on. It was blaring some obnoxious new Trapt song throughout the entire store. It was mainly because of the annoying nature of the song that I had an idea for a great new advertising strategy.

The computer just so happened to be hooked up to the internet (which was a dumb idea if you ask me), and so, within iTunes, I logged on to their music store. I got into the podcast section and typed in the keyword "Dodge" and within moments my radio show appeared. With one click of the button I subscribed this Best Buy showroom computer to "Dodge Intrepid and the Pages of Time" and it began to download the season two trailer! Once it finished, I cranked up the volume, pressed play, and walked away.

"Get your library cards ready!" the commercial screamed throughout the store. The three of us tried to act as nonchalant as possible, splitting up and looking at different items, all the while keeping an eye on the Media Center. After about thirty seconds, an employee walked by and heard the commercial say, "We're going to be burned at the stake!" He stopped immediately and looked at the monitor, trying to figure out exactly what the hell was playing. He listened for a few more seconds, and then carried on his merry way, allowing the commercial to finish playing.

No one is going to notice that commercial was ever put on there, and who knows, they play that media center enough that the file will probably come up again. It's a great strategy to promote the show. Just go in there from time to time (especially on those busy Tuesdays) and press play. Pretty soon we'll have tons of new people at our show November 5th!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Just creepy, thanks winter.

Speaking of the unexpected winter glimpse... Last night I was getting off the turnpike at 1 a.m. at an unfamiliar exit because I was very much in need of gas. This is the actual exchange between myself and the tolltaker:

Me: (hands him ticket) Hi, How are you?
Him: (looks at ticket) One dollar.
Me: Here you go (handing him a dollar)
Him: What happened to the fall?
Me: Huh?
Him: What happened to the fall?
Me: Oh..yeah it disappeared real quick didn't it?
Him:(in a strange 'who's your daddy' voice) Yeah, you don't like that, do you?
Me: No...?
Him: Heh heh heh, you don't like that, do you?
Me: Um, Will there be a gas station right after this?
Him: yeah..(mumbled words I don't want to understand...)
Me: G'Night...

Just strange. I blame mother nature too, then, like Mike. And PennDOT. I also believe PennDOT is partially responsible for the Hurricanes. Where were you PennDOT?? WHERE WERE YOU?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An Early Snow

Last night, at about 11P.M. it started snowing, and hasn't really stopped since. Now call me a prude, but I'm pretty sure Mother Nature jumped the gun on this one. It's a little too early for those frigid flakes to be wafting about... and while some are excited about the idea of an early snow, I just can't help but feel a little cheated.

I'm a big "Fall guy"-- not to be confused with Fall Guy-- and in fact I enjoy both of the moderate seasons (spring and fall.) See? Who said I don't like moderates? Last Spring seemed to go on for quite a while, encroaching into Summer's normally steamy months. Summer made up for its latency by being really freaking hot almost constantly. But it seems like just yesterday we started Fall, and already Winter is butting in like a Rodney Dangerfield at a frat party.

Doesn't Mother Nature have enough to do? She's already destroying the gulf coast with dozens of hurricanes. She's also putting in her two cents in the Middle East peace process with a horrific earthquake. She's kicking our ass and yet she finds time to sprinkle some early snow on top of Seton's Hill! Mother Nature better hope she doesn't run into me in a dark alley, because I'll stomp her into the ground like a member of the Turnbull AC's.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I've decided to declare war on Ellwood City

and heres why,
all too often this multi county stradling town has tourmented me, from it's nonsensical speed limits set up only for the purpose of making you accidently speed, to its resturantes thats staff looks down there nose at you if your from out-a-town.

You see for years Ellwood city has been laying in wait nestled near the beaver river almost all roads diverted around the city one way in and one way out, they have become entrirely isolationist having there own hospital, and news paper that only reports news that happens local, its like a real life truman show only the stars created the bubble in which they live.

now you may be saying to yourself , way declare war this town sounds nice and it doesnt seem to be doing any harm to any one,

not yet i say!!! but soon , Just look at the simalarities between Iraq and Ellwood City, both Citys have maps, both are near rivers , both have surrounding towns, yes soon the red dragon which is Ellwood City willl awaken and when that happens look out, we need to strike now before they're prepared
i think they may even have w.m.d's

so we should shoot first and ask questions later,
we must rally together to make sure Ellwood City does not take over the free world and i for one am ready to stop that bastard town at all costs


joe eoj

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Luck Logic

Last night, as I drove home from work a black cat crossed in front of me while I was sitting at stop sign. "Great," I grumbled, "More bad luck. That's all I need." Then, as I restarted off toward my apartment another, completely separate black cat crossed in front of me. (I am sure it was a different cat. It crossed mere seconds after the first from the same side of the road. If it was the same cat it would have needed to speed around the back of my car and re-cross the road.) Now, I'm conflicted. If two black cats cross your path in quick succession does that double your bad luck, or does the second cat negate the bad juju of the first, like a double negative. Does this mean I'm bound to have absolutely horrible luck or unbelievably fantastic luck? Should I hide in my room and weather the storm, or should I go out there and take chances on the possible great luck? Of course, maybe the first cat was only a really dark raccoon. I wasn't paying that much attention.


Family Guy and Historical Value

Family Guy went off the air. Then after the HUGE sales of the DVDs, FOX said "Woah, we screwed up! Let's bring these freaks back." And so they did.

I was trying to think of something else that went away for such a long time only to come back stronger. The only thing I could think of was President Grover Cleveland. He was gone for 4 years and then came back! Could there be other similarities between the former head of state and the fart joke machine that is Family Guy? Puzzlement abounds.

Mike the Tall Who wants an awesome party to go down on Saturday.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dodge Season 2 Commercial!

With the premier of the second season of the Dodge Intrepid radio show just a few weeks away, a sneak preview trailer is now available for download! James and I recorded this modest commercial while sitting in his car in the Eat n Park parking lot. Only top-of-the-line professionalism from this outfit! If you want to give it a listen, click here and make sure to check out the radio show Saturday, November 5th at 7PM at Cafe Kolache.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Frugality pays

I have never used valet parking.
That’s right, faithful followers of James’ blogs, Larry, that paragon of class has never used valet parking. Mostly because he’s also a paragon of cheapness. (Cheapness and They Might Be Giants are the binds that tie the Dwellers together)
Last night on the North Side of Pittsburgh the Gauntlet was thrown down: use valet parking or get ticketed.
Drew: “They said we had to use valet parking for this event.”
Me: “What if we don’t?”
Drew: “It’s permit parking only around here, you’ll get a ticket.”
Signs: F permit: 2 hour parking 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Joe: "Screw the man!"
It was 6:12. Why chance it?
Especially when further down the road the signs changed their tune.
New sign: 4 hour parking.
Ha, ha! Score! Almost.
The 4 spaces were taken up by three cars. I cursed the Ford Taurus driver with bad parking skills. But as so often happens, while I was cursing, Joe spotted the answer.
Joe: “Look, parking meters!”
It was like a slice of revenge. We parked, I grabbed a handful of change. The sign said the meters were enforced only until 6 p.m. It was 6:14. Score a major victory for cheapness.
Joe: “Screw the Man!”
I dropped the change into my pocket, and we walked the two blocks, where we were confronted by the same security officer who had confronted Drew.
Officer: “You have to use valet parking for this event; it was part of the deal.”
Me: “What if we don’t?”
Officer: “It’s permit parking only around here, you’ll get a ticket.”
Joe: “What about where the meters are on that next street over?”
Officer: “There? Oh, you can park there at your own risk.”
Me: “We’re good!”
Joe: “What do you mean ‘own risk’?”
Officer: “Did you see that housing project you parked in front of?”
Me: “I saw a playground with about 10 teenagers playing basketball at dusk.”
Officer: condescending smile.
Joe: “I have a bad feeling.”
Me: “Screw the man!, Remember?”
Officer: another condescending smile.
Joe: concerned look like he might not make it to his date.
Me: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
Now, I’m not blaming this on parking in front of the housing project, by any means. I’m not blaming this on the officer and I’m not blaming it on me for saying, “what’s the worst thing that could happen,” although Joe is.
But some bad things happened.
The girl Joe was supposed to meet cancelled their plans. Wine cost $5 a glass. I tore the sole half way off my boot during Fade Right, leaving me making a whap-thWACK sound for two and a half games every time my left foot stepped. They took down the pasta bar before we could get seconds, I left my driver’s license and money in Joe’s backpack, preventing me from buying new shoes or anything that could stop the whap-thWACKing. Dave got stiffed on a tip at work, Bin Laden escaped for another day, James didn’t get a date (although this could hardly be my fault.) and I avoided the valets for another day.
But when the show was over, my car was still there, with no broken windows and a radio installed. The weird thing is, when I parked I didn’t have a radio.
I should really go back and thank those kids. Who else would have put a radio in my car at night? That officer? I don’t think so.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus Day Make-Over

Happy Columbus Day!!!

That really doesn’t do anything for you, does it? Come on admit it. You don’t care about Columbus Day. As far as you’re concerned this is just another Monday. Unless you’re a high school student, banker, or a postal worker, Columbus Day is the biggest sham on the calendar. It’s marked right there, clear as day in black and white as a holiday, but when the day arrives, there is absolutely nothing special about it. The only thing that makes this day special is that I can’t go to the bank to cash a check. And I don’t even have a check to cash.

Let’s face it. Columbus Day – contrary to the prevailing calendar wisdom – is not a holiday. There is nothing special about it. What are we even celebrating? Oh, yeah Columbus discovering the new world. Here’s a news flash for everyone: Columbus discovered the West Indies. He didn’t discover America. So, why do we have a useless American holiday commemorating it? Plus, it’s not like we have huge Columbus Day festivals, fireworks, or even family Bar-B-Q’s. Why do we give kids a day off from school for this? What are they supposed to do with this extra day? Do they expect kids – not to mention bankers and postal workers – to sit around and contemplate the importance of Columbus’s voyages? No. Even if the U.S. government expected this to occur, is this really worthy of a full day off? I’m pretty sure this can be accomplished by setting aside a minute during homeroom. Just put it right after the moment of silent meditation.

Here’s my suggestion: Either we make Columbus Day a holiday proper with full pomp and circumstance, or we kick its sorry, lame-ass holiday butt to the curb. We can make Columbus Day better. We have the technology. We can rebuild it bigger and cooler. The first thing we have to do is get rid of the whole historical commemoration angle. It is completely lame. Sure, Columbus spent months aboard a leaky boat traversing the oceans into the unknown so that he could…Blah, Blah, Blah. We don’t care. Kids now a days have a hard time playing Grand Theft Auto for more than an hour at a time, they’re not going to appreciate the story. If we want to make Columbus Day a viable holiday, the story needs to be streamlined and updated to be more in line with the more sophisticated tastes of today. We need to sex Columbus up a little bit. I suggest that from now on Columbus Day commemorate the day Christopher Columbus fought off an unholy army of Zombies and then had sex with a hooker. That’s the kind of story the kids of today can identify with.

Now, with the new back story firmly in place, all we need is some fun annual events to take place on Columbus Day. Every town should have a Columbus Day Festival complete with Columbus Day themed events such as Zombie costume contests, firing ranges, Zombie movie festivals, roller coasters, and balloon animals for the kids. The day will culminate with the reenactment of Columbus’s victory over the zombie horde. The official Columbus day king and queen will play the lead roles of Christopher Columbus – who could be changed from explorer to film producer/director if the back story still seems to reek a bit too much of history – and the hooker with a heart of gold and chainsaw of death. Here’s a sample of how the end of the script would look:

Columbus: That seems to be the end of the walking undead. I still wish I could’ve saved Pizzarro.

Hooker: He sacrificed himself for us…I’ll give you a free one.

Columbus: Sweet Ass!!

(Cue Zambelli fireworks extravaganza)

Now, that’s the kind of a holiday celebration which warrants the post office being closed. From this point on I am officially petitioning the U.S. Government to officially implement the changes I have outlined. Once this is complete, you may consider Columbus Day officially fixed. Then, it’s on to Arbor Day, Presidents Day, Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, Boxing Day, and Administrative Assistant’s day.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Securing the Frown

About a month ago, Kings Family Restaurant unveiled what would possibly be the most ingenious marketing scheme ever: the Frownie. It's a direct parody, and new competition, for the Eat n' Park Smiley Face Cookie. It's the very antithesis of that much beloved icon of the EnP. HIRES_Frownie_Tattoo.jpg
The Frownie is a dark, this chocolate brownie with a terribly depressing icing sad face on it. With catch phrases accompanying it like "We Make a Mean Dessert" and "Have a Pity Party" it's a true spit in the face of all that happy shine that Eat n' Park is always peddling. Of course, this fits the Kings image oh so well; they've always been that dirtier, rogue 24-hour family restaurant that is perfectly happy doing its own thing.

I freaked out the first time I saw one. I don't think I've ever laughed that hard at a piece of food before (well, with the exception of those weird food amalgamations you put together at the lunch table in high school). I freaked out a little more when I saw that the waitresses were all wearing small rectangular pins that looked like the Frownie itself. I had to have one. I was with my family when all of this was going down, and my father and I had pretty much convinced the waitress to give me the one she was wearing. "We have a whole bag of them in the back," she said. I thought I was a shoe-in, and was fully prepared to leave her a healthy tip in return. But she reneged on the deal, and never handed over the goods.

Friday night, after we finished Dweller improv and practice, Larry, Ben, James and I went to Kings for some Triple Crown Breakfast. As we walked through the parking lot to get to our cars, I declared, "Our mission tonight... is to get a Frownie pin. I have to have one. This is our objective." Everyone agreed on the plan, and we put things into motion.

Kings was packed with screaming, bratty high school kids who had come from the local football game. It brought back memories of summers past, when me and my buddies would go to Kings every Friday and just sit back and watch how stupid the generations after ours were going to be. The odds were already against us, because the waitresses at Kings hate to deal with obnoxious kids. All of the servers would be in a collective bad mood, but we had to try for the pin anyways. Keep our eyes on the prize.

Larry started right away while we were ordering drinks. He knew the waitress pretty well, since his family goes to eat there every Sunday. He tried to talk her into handing over the pin and she merely replied, "I would if I could... but we aren't allowed to." Larry said he would just have to come back on Sunday and ask one of the managers for one. Strike one.

Strike two came a little later while we were ordering. The four of us were so courteous and friendly, she was immediately nice to us. We were a breath of fresh air amidst this sour, hormone-filled atmosphere. But, my requests for her pin were still falling on deaf ears. She just kept saying that she wasn't allowed to give them out. Larry had a theory that we were just there on the wrong night. If we were there on a slower night, she probably wouldn't care. But instead, it was packed, and alot of people were probably asking for pins of their own as well. These nameless shmucks didn't have the drive like I did, they didn't need this button as badly as I did.

When she brought out our orders, we hit head to head. She handed me my plate of pancakes and bacon. Then she handed me a saucer with two hashbrown bricks on it. I looked up at her and said, "I ordered the cheesy hashbrowns."

"Oh, I'm sorry!" she replied, "I can get you the cheesy ones."

"If you give me your pin, I'll eat the regular ones and save you some time." I had struck a nerve. She was in a hurry to leave, she was tired, she didn't feel like dealing with a messed up order.

After toying with the idea for a few brief seconds, she said, "Okay, I'll give you my pin if you eat these hashbrowns instead. But you have to promise to hide the pin, and I'll just tell my manager I lost it." And with that, she took off her Frownie button and handed it to me, along with a plate of deep fried potato-bricks. I had done it! I accomplished my mission! I got the prize! I gave Ben my hasbrowns!

I didn't stop smiling the rest of the meal. This was odd since I now owned a button that was truly sad and depressing. But I had the button, and that's what was important. I had made a goal for myself and I set out and accomplished it. I told Larry, James, and Ben that this is how we should live our lives. If we set a goal every day and then accomplish it, we'll get so much done! Why, if every goal is accomplished just by compromising your taste in potatoes, I can't wait until I set a new objective for myself. Maybe then I'll have to take french fries over home fries, or eat steak fries instead of curly. Who knows?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

An Open Letter to Poker

Dear poker,

You used to be cool. Maybe not cool in the most elegant or swinging sense, but you always had a sort of seedy charm. That's all over now, poker. You have sold out. Look at yourself plastered all over mainstream television and magazines with your fancy new clothes, manicured hands, and faux chic hair cut. What happened to you? Where's the old poker? Remember him with his two bit ill fitting suit? His hair was greasy over bloodshot eyes. You stunk of cigars, gin, and desperation. You were a dangerous character, the kind of galoot which couldn't make it in polite society. But you were there slinking in the shadows with an undeniable charisma. You weren't in the front room, but you had guys slipping out into the back.

Now, look at yourself: squeaky clean and family friendly. What happened? You used to be a man's game, but now you're a video game. Men log on to point and click you all night without having to get dirty. They don't have to deal with your grime, the stink of pressure sweat, the steel eyed stares of lowlife characters. No. Now your a family affair. Hell, Disney practically owns you. Don't try to deny it. I see you there on ESPN in high definition and slick music. I know who writes your paychecks. Jesus, your about as masculine as a soap opera anymore. When you signed your deal with Eisner did it involve you giving up use of your testicles?

You used to be dangerous. Now you're nothing but a corporate shill. They've taken you and worked out all you're quirks and kinks - everything which was cool about you - and left us with nothing but a streamlined, efficient, and dull product. Not only have you lost your dangerous side. You've lost your fun side as well. They've not only ruined you for the hardcore hustlers out there, but for the fun loving everyman looking for a release. I remember a time - not even that terribly long ago - in college when game night was a total gas. It was just a bunch of guys sitting around talking trash and screwing around with games. You remember that don't you? All the fun we had together? Now, game nights a slog. People aren't around for a good time. They're around to win. Extraneous conversation is frowned upon. Now, you turn people into employees, going through the motions, all business. Everyone's too busy trying to remember odds and to worrying about winning to even care about fun. You've been co-opted. They've tamed you. Taking all your idiosacratic flavor and leaving us with a neutral blandness. Now whenever you come around its all Texas Hold'em, usually in tournament form. It's bland, monochromatic and sad. Hell, it used to be game night with you was a party. People calling out crazy games, making them up on the spot half the time. Think about it. When was the last time you were involved in a good game of Indian? Exactly?

Now, poker I want you to o to the mirror and take a good look. I want you to really look, study the image you see staring back at you. Who is that game in there? It's not you. It's certainly not poker. I know, I know. Everyone loves you now. Do they? Do they really love you? Or do they love the lie of you, the spiffed up, safe, as seen on television you? It's great to be loved, but it's even better to be loved for who you really are. Right now you have everyone in love with the lie, the clean cut corporate guy. But I know that deep down there still beats the heart of that bourbon swilling, backroom crawler. Under all that veneer, there's the guy who can break a man's legs in a back alley or keep guys laughing around a table in the garage. I know you're still in there somewhere. When the mainstream kicks you aside for the next big craze - probably Scrabble - and your left with nothing but your true nature, don't worry. I'll be there to welcome you back with open arms.