Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dirty tricks!

Well, well, well. Looks like someone has decided to play dirty, using their blog to solicit votes for Creative Loafing's Best Of The Bay 2010 Reader's Poll, which is something I thought of first and now that other people are doing it, I don't like it, which makes it a dirty trick. Who would stoop so low? None other than Catherine Durkin Robinson, that's who. Ms. Durkin (Or is it Ms. Robinson or is it both Durkin and Robinson? Who can trust someone who can't even pick a last name? What country was she not born in?) writes for Creative Loafing and won the award for "Best Female Contributor" last year but that has not sated her. No, this year she's soliciting votes in four(!!) different categories:
  • Best Contributor
  • Best Columnist
  • Best Blogger
  • Best Personality to Follow on Twitter
Two of those are the awards I want!!!
So don't vote for her. Don't read her blog. Don't follow her on Twitter. Don't even read her stuff on Creative Loafing. And for God's sake, don't stare at her boobs. That's just rude.
Instead, do all that stuff for ME (except I write for SB Nation Tampa Bay, not Creative Loafing, which is a fine, fine publication as well...and I kinda like it when you stare at my boobs).

Thank you again for your support, all of you good, decent, attractive and charming people.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What one wants should not be confused with what one deserves

Who among us hasn't felt entitled to something we haven't gotten? Recognition for a job well done. A hug when we're feeling low. An award. These are all things we want. They may even be things we need. But does that mean we deserve them? Not necessarily.
It's a given that every male movie star who was huge in the 1980s, with the lone exception of Clint Eastwood, has lost their marbles (don't even try to bring up Harrison Ford: If it was some other guy in his sixties getting his ear pierced, taking flying lessons and marrying a woman half his age, you'd be mocking him for being pathetic and suffering a mid-life crisis). But if Mel Gibson seriously believes he "deserves" what he says he "deserves" (and boy oh boy, he sure sounds serious), well, I'm ready to send the kid I don't have, Marvin Jr. (that's right, I'm not the biological father of my own imaginary kid. What of it?) off to Tom Cruise Summer Camp.
Now, keeping in mind that there are thousands of people employed in dozens of professions (steelworkers, paramedics, bloggers) who "deserve" it more than any actor, there was a time when Mel might have been able to make this demand and be taken somewhat seriously. Specifically between 1979 ("Road Warrior") and 1995 ("Braveheart"). In 2010 ("Crank Yankers: Too Hot For TV")? Get in line, pal. The fact that you have a jacuzzi means you're doing better than most of us, regardless of what does or doesn't happen there.
America's over-inflated sense of entitlement needs to cease. Teaching racist sociopaths who used to make good movies that they don't deserve blowjobs is as good a place to start as any.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Campaign update: It's over!

Remember yesterday when I issued a call to action, for you to vote for me in two categories ( Best Local Blogger and Best Local Personality to Follow on Twitter) in the 2010 Creative Loafing Best Of The Bay Reader's Poll? Well, you aren't the only ones I told. I also shared my intent to win the top awards in these two categories and why I clearly deserve to do so with Joran Oppelt, the Marketing and Promotions Director for Creative Loafing. And this was his reply:

"Good luck!!!" -- Joran Slane Oppelt July 27, 2010

That, ladies and gentlemen, is an official endorsement. Do you think "good luck" is the kind of thing you say to someone to placate them and send them on their way in the hopes that they don't bother you any more? Of course not. What the publisher of Creative Loafing is telling me is that the award is as good as mine. How many exclamation points do you see there? One? No, looks like two...wait,, it's three! This is nothing less than a solid gold stamp of approval from the president of Creative Loafing himself, with the unanimous backing of the entire board of directors.
We did it, folks! We did it!
Now, by all means DO NOT stop voting. That's actually the exact opposite of what's needed now. Sure, it's in the bag, but in the spirit of competition and sportsmanship, I'm not going to claim the prizes until they're officially awarded. And in that same spirit of competition and sportsmanship, let's really run those scores up. I mean, let's get downright Greg Wise-ish with it. The losers other nominees won't feel as bad if they see at the end that they never really had a chance of winning. So let's keep up the good work!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Let the campaign (re-)commence!

Remember this from last year? Remember how obnoxious I was about soliciting votes to win an award? Remember how devastated I was when you failed to win me one how gracious I was in acknowledging the winners and how I said I really didn't care about winning an award? Well, the Creative Loafing Best Of The Bay Reader's Poll is back, and I honestly don't want to win an award: I want to win TWO awards. This, to me, is the logical next step after not winning anything last time in that it doubles my chances for success as I choose to blindly ignore that it also doubles the likelihood of soul-crushing failure.

These are the two categories for which I would like to win the grand prize and for which I demand expect would appreciate some goddamned support your kind consideration:
  1. Best Local Blogger - Look around you. Are you not entertained? Then vote for me as provider of poetry, purveyor of prose and the proprietor of this purple...thing.
  2. Best Local Personality to Follow on Twitter - Okay, you might not follow me on Twitter. You might not even have Twitter. You might not know what Twitter is. You might dislike Twitter. You might not know what Twitter is and still dislike it. You might have Twitter, follow me and really dislike it. I get that. I just don't care. None of that should stop you from voting for me. I've already gotten some votes in this category as well as the official endorsement of local genius John Fontana. The fact is, if you think I'm funny here, I am hilarious on Twitter! Something about the restrictions of the 140 character limit challenges and inspires me to even greater greatness. Let me spin you a little improv Twitter comedy gold: "! I know, what noises are funny...funnier than farts themselves...sometimes...not always". Okay, that wasn't a good one. I wasn't prepared to be spontaneous. I'll post actual samples of some old Tweets below. But you get the idea. Bottom line: Get Twitter or don't get Twitter, just vote for me. If it helps you to think of it as The Twit Of The Year award, I'm fine with that.
So anyway, vote. Vote early and vote often. Vote, vote and then vote again. Because I am coming after you, Catherine Durkin Robinson. I am coming after you, Julia Gorzka. I am especially coming after you, Rebekah Pulley, because while you may very well be Tampa Bay's best local singer/songwriter, your Tweets are for shit (wait, are you actually on Twitter? If so, follow me please! Thanks! I love you!).

Thank you, dear, loyal readers, for your support! Honestly, I'll call each and every one of you at 3AM with a rant that makes Mel Gibson look like Carl Sandburg if I don't win something this year be thrilled if my humble efforts are deemed worthy of your kind consideration.

PS: I'm going to expect to get votes for Best Local Sportswriter next year, if there is such a thing.

* Some of My Greatest Tweets *
  • Wouldn't it suck if it was your lifelong dream to own a little family restaurant with your name on it and your name was Denny Applebee?
  • Give a white man a fish and he'll eat for a day like this (eats all stiff), but a black guy will eat it like this (eats fish loose & funky)
  • I just found out Tyra Banks is ending her daytime talk show. In related news, I just found out Tyra Banks has a daytime talk show.
  • I wonder if the BP corporate office building has fire escapes but it takes 30-45 days to access them?
  • On the "SURPRISE!" scale, Ricky Martin's coming out announcement ranks slightly ahead of today's sun rise and slightly behind tomorrow's.
Award(s) please. Thanks.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A short conversation during a bad date

"All right, I guess we'd better get going or we'll miss the movie."

"Yeah, listen, you're a great guy..."


"...but it's kinda late and I think I'm going to call it a night."

"That's cool. I guess, uh, just pay me for the chicken wings you ate and we'll be all set."

"What are you talking about? You didn't pay for my wings. I did."

"True, but I did have to sit here and watch you eat them."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Temporary outage

Sorry, the blog is down for just a couple of days. Been dealing with some real life stuff, plus the AC in my apartment is out and I'm going insane. Be back soon. Hopefully tomorrow. Sorry again.
- Clark

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A scientific breakthrough!

By now, everyone has heard of The Snuggie (or The Slanket, which is supposed to be a contraction for "sleeved blanket" but sounds to me more like a contraction of the words "slut" and "skank"). And by now everyone either has one or has made fun of it or both. Currently, I am on the outside, making fun. That doesn't mean I don't like The Snuggie and wouldn't want one. Au contraire. I think they're fantastic! I would love to have a blanket with sleeves. And that was before I learned just how adaptable these things really are. Behold...
(NOTE: The model's head has been removed from these photos at her request, not because I am a bad photographer. When I cut someone's head off in a photo, like I always do whenever strangers stop me in the street and ask me to take a picture of them, it's 100% intentional. No, this model had some concerns about discretion in regards to photos of her appearing on the internet, particularly on this blog, which I totally understand as she is completely naked underneath The Snuggie you will see here. Completely. Totally. Naked. So it's out of respect to her that I honor her concerns about discretion and cut her head off her naked body.)

First, some background. Here we see The Snuggie, being used as the manufacturer intended. Arms in the sleeves, front covered, backside open. "That's stupid," some of you people say. "You can get the same effect by wearing a plain old robe backwards." No, you're stupid, some of you people. You can't get the same effect with a robe and you will see why in the next photo.

See? A Snuggie is cut differently than a robe is. If the model were wearing a regular robe her business wouldn't be all exposed for the world to see on the internet...that is if she were completely, totally naked like she told me she was. Damn it.
Now, getting back to the task at hand, revealing the startling new breakthrough mentioned in this post's title: this is not it. This is wasting the sleeves of a perfectly good Snuggie by using it as a plain, dumb old blanket. Don't do that. Same rule applies to Snuggies that applies to shirts: God gave you sleeves, USE 'EM!
No, the exciting breakthrough is revealed in the next photo. Behold...
Blanket With Sleeves? More like Blanket With Pant Legs! Slanket? More like Blants! BOOM! That's your mind, being blown. This is what I do, folks. I find mind-blowing science breakthroughs and bring them to you. I'm more than a scientist, I'm someone who studies scientists. I guess that makes me a scientologist. You're welcome.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A short conversation about the difference between geeks and nerds

"Hey, what's up, Nerd? What kind of Nerd-tastic activities are you into today?"

"Okay, I know my fascination with gadgets and technology is somewhat obsessive and in today's society, certain terms that used to be considered insults or slurs towards people like me are now embraced affectionately as terms of endearment. I'm fine with that. But as I keep telling you, I'm a Geek. Get it right. Not a Nerd, a Geek. Got it?"

"Same thing, Nerd."

"No, they are not the same thing. In fact, I have a Venn Diagram that will illustrate the difference for you. Once and for all, hopefully."

"Oh, this ought to be good.""Now, as you can see, the graph represents three basic elements: Intelligence, Obsession and Social Ineptitude. At the intersection of Intelligence and Obsession is where you find Geeks, like me. In order to be labeled a Nerd, you would also have to add Social Ineptitude. I am not socially inept. Therefor, I am a Geek, not a Nerd."

"Okay, I see now..."

"Good. Thank you."

"...that I've been right all along. Because if possessing a Venn Diagram that illustrates how you are not a Nerd isn't the most socially inept behavior imaginable, then actually whipping it out to show people clearly is. Thank you for proving that beyond a shadow of any reasonable doubt for me, you Ultra-Nerd."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My best advice to new writers

Welcome to the "My Best Advice to New Authors" Blogfest. I was invited by my friend Carrie Bailey to contribute something so here 'tis...

The best advice I ever got for writing was actually given to me as an actor and that is to SERVE THE STORY. Don't waste your readers time with clever phrasing and flowery speech that doesn't move things along. That's not clever and flowery. It's self-indulgent and annoying. It's like a crop duster doing aerial loops. It might be fun for you but you're getting pesticide all over the place.
Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea. Respect your readers; you come to them with a story to tell and they've given you their attention so you can tell it. So dust the damn crops already.

Here's an example. It's from acting, but I think you'll see the relevance. I was in a community theatre production of a Neil Simon play with a guy who decided he was going to incorporate some business into a scene, a shout-out to his favorite college football team. If you're trying to think of a Neil Simon play that has anything at all to do with college football, don't bother because there aren't any. "Why would you do that?", I asked. "Because I have some buddies coming tonight and they'll get a kick out of it", he said. "That is a terrible idea. There's going to be a couple hundred people here and you're going to take them all out of the story so you can get a laugh out of a couple of your drinking buddies?" "Well, nobody said anything when Tanya added that bit where she has trouble sitting in a chair." "That's because it's funny. Her character is an idiot. Struggling to figure out how to sit in a chair illustrates that point. And everybody gets that. On stage in front of an audience is exactly not the place to share inside jokes with your pals." "Well, I'm doing it anyway." I knew he would. And he did. And if you've ever wondered what it sounds like when 200 people who are laughing at a Neil Simon romantic comedy are suddenly force-fed a line from the University of Michigan fight song for no reason whatsoever, it sounds a lot like the kind of complete silence you imagine exists in deep space. Cold, empty and dead. Nobody laughed, including the boob's buddies, who might have left early...if they even showed up.

So SERVE THE STORY. Get rid of anything that doesn't fit that credo. It doesn't mean you have to boil everything down to the point that it reads like a police report of a minor traffic accident. Your audience wants to be entertained. By all means, take time in describing environments in great detail. Give your characters quirky habits. Even make one of them a University of Michigan long as you SERVE THE STORY. If you come up with something that doesn't, even if you think it's the greatest thing you or anybody else has ever written, get rid of it. This will require you to be honest about your work, but that's a discipline you'll want to develop anyway and this is as good a way as any to do so.

Find advice from some really great writers at the "My Best Advice to New Authors" Blogfest.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Several dirty words

I don't swear like I used to. Back in the day, whenever that was, I was a champion though. Especially when I played sports. I used the word "horseshit" so much, you would have thought I was paid to endorse the stuff as a breakfast cereal. Bad calls by officials, bad plays by teammates, bad line-up decisions by coaches (usually involving me and whether or not I was in that line-up), bad post-game spread: all horseshit (actually, I don't recall ever being unhappy with a post-game spread).
I don't use that kind of language as much any more. It's said that the use of profanity indicates a lack of self control, good taste and a limited vocabulary. That's probably true. But I still like to let it fly sometimes.
  • For one thing, I'm good at it.
  • For another, it serves a purpose sometimes. It's effective for demonstrating degrees of intensity. "I don't want any tomato juice" and "I don't want any fucking tomato juice". One of those statements allows you to think, "I'll pour him a glass anyway, in case he decides to try it". The other does not. And let's face it, there are certain words for which there are no effective "clean" substitutes; some things are just shit (bull...or horse...or otherwise) and some people are just fuckers (mother...or pig... or otherwise).
  • And most importantly, I can. I'm an adult now. I can say anything I want. Other than an unfortunate laundry incident a while back, I've not had the taste of soap in my mouth in years. I never fought in a war, but if I had, the foremost thought in my mind (well, maybe the secondmost thought in my mind, right after "Oh God, the guys on their side have bullets too!") would have been "It's an honor to fight for the right to use profanity, just like generations have done in the past"
There are those who would seek to restrict my hard-fought-for freedom to use profanity, though. Such was the case once when I was out at a social gathering and happened to find myself at a table of a couple that I know. I dropped an F or S bomb, I don't remember which, or why even, and the mood changed.
"Ooh. Clark. Yeah. That's going to cost you a .25 donation to Stephen's swear jar," indicating a young child they had with them that I hadn't even noticed previously. 'Stephen' produced a little blue can from under the table and handed it to me with a smug grin.
"Oh. How cute. You brought your kid. And he brought his swear jar. To a bar. From home, where you can set whatever boundaries you want, as opposed to a public place. Like a bar. Adorable."
"Well, it's really a restaurant. And we're trying to teach him that there's really no good reason to ever use bad language."
"Language isn't good or bad. It can't be. Language is just the words used to compose messages, like tools to build something. Those messages can be good or bad, regardless of the language you use."
"We'd like to teach him to use good tools." Never has the word 'good' sounded so condescending.
What a bunch of horseshit
Often, the things I say in my head are so much more entertaining and satisfying than what actually comes out of my mouth. Such as...
"Okay, fair enough. Here, Stephen? Is it Stephen? Okay Stephen, here's $10. I'd like to pay in advance because being put in a position of having to help raise you, even though you're not my kid, and in this case to instill what I feel are false ideals, makes me feel like unleashing a stream of naughty words that would curl your prepubescent nose hairs. If it were my responsibility to try to raise you to become a functioning, productive adult in modern society, one of the first lessons I'd teach you, right after the one about how you don't get to hang out in bars with adults, is that in real life nobody is going to give you anything every time they say or do something that you don't like. The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you'll be able to handle some of life's other not-so-nice fundamental truths. Just wait 'til you find out the real story behind "the birds and bees". But I guess your parents aren't interested in helping you grow up in a world that doesn't smell like unicorn farts and that means you'll probably have to get your delicate little feelings hurt in order to learn that lesson and eventually you'll resent them for not telling you what time it is. So in the meantime, take your little swear jar and cram that thing right up your pooper, sideways. And since I didn't use any of the traditionally recognized "dirty words", I'd like that $10 back first. Thanks."
So, no, I didn't say that last part. But I did stiff the little fucker on the .25.

Friday, July 09, 2010

I can't wait to watch this show!

(WARNING: This clip is not safe to view at work. Also, the language and subject matter might make you'll be able to determine that for yourself fairly quickly. Please don't get fired and/or offended.)

Louis C.K. is one of my favorite comedians and he just got a new sitcom that airs Tuesday nights at 11 on FX. Since I don't have fancy cable anymore, I haven't seen it yet. But I just heard that the first two episodes are on Hulu now, so I'll be checking it out very soon. If it's as good as this clip, it will be one of my new favorites.
(Click here if you can't see the video from this page)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

How (Grammar & Spelling) Nazis have fun

If you've ever corrected a person's grammar or spelling, it's possible you've been labeled a "Grammar Nazi"or a "Spelling Nazi". If you've ever corrected the same person's errors more than once, it's not only possible, it's likely.
I've been called that when I've offered unsolicited help to people. I'm not sure I understand why. It wasn't in a public forum or presented in such a way as to cause embarrassment. If someone were attempting to balance their checking account and clearly placing decimals in the wrong spots, a person who points that out is not going to be called a Nazi. For some reason, people expect to be cut slack when it comes to being sloppy with the words they choose to express themselves.
Well regardless (not irregardless), I don't like being called a Nazi (it's a word that's thrown around too easily anyway) so I don't offer unsolicited help anymore. I also have a long memory when it comes to who called me one when they come to me, with an entirely different tone. Such was the case at work the other day, when a co-worker who got aggravated when I tried to explain that making a sign that says "DO NOT LOOSE THESE KEYS" doesn't make sense suddenly wanted my help when composing a text message to his sweetie:
CO-WORKER: Hey, how do you spell 'cologne'?
ME: Hmm, use it in a sentence?
Co-WORKER: Like 'I really like the way your cologne smells' or 'your cologne drives me crazy'?
ME: Oh, like 'that is some sweet-smelling cologne' or 'I can't get enough of your cologne'?
CO-WORKER: Yes, exactly.
ME: C-O-L-O-N.
CO-WORKER: Okay, thanks.
ME: You are more than welcome.
I'm no Nazi. A dick, maybe, but not a Nazi.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 Phone Phollies, Chapter 3: Something Goes Wrong

I don't have a lot of nice things. I don't own a big screen tv, I don't wear designer clothes, my computer situation is less than state-of-the-art and my car is a piece of crap. For the most part, I'm okay with that. When it comes to creature comforts and material possessions, good enough is good enough for me. But I'm not Mother Teresa either. I would like to have some nice things and a brand new fancy "smartphone" that retails for $350 (even though I paid zippo) qualifies as something I would like to take special care of.
On the way back to work, I resisted the urge to open the box and start playing around with it in the car. Instead, I would wait until I could set everything up by the book, exactly the way AT & T instructed me to.

I got back to work, set the box on a level counter, carefully sliced the tape on top and at both ends. I removed everything from the box and laid it out on the counter, double-checking that I hadn't missed anything before discarding the box (but keeping it handy, along with the enclosed return address labels in case...God needed to be sent back for any reason). I then read the handy "quick start" pamphlet completely, then the owner's manual from cover to cover and then the pamphlet once more. I even glanced at another manual that was written in Spanish to see if there was anything that hadn't been included in the English version. Once I was sure I was ready to begin, I re-read the pamphlet once more and then started following the instructions, line by line. I inserted the SIM card and the battery. I plugged the phone into the charger, noting the very explicit warning "DO NOT TURN ON THE DEVICE UNTIL THE BATTERY IS FULLY CHARGED", set it down on the counter and went back to work. About 15 minutes later, or about an hour and 45 minutes less than minimal charging time and three hours and 45 minutes less than optimal charging time for a brand new battery, a co-worker happened by, said "Hey, cool! New phone!" picked it up and turned it on.
Why?* Why?** Why?*** Why?**** Why?*****
* Why do people think it's okay for them to just touch your stuff?
** Why do I have to feel like a kindergartner and a jerk because I don't want people touching my stuff?
*** Why should I have to explain to a fully grown adult the reasons, valid or otherwise, that I don't want them touching my stuff?
**** Why should I feel I need to justify if a reason is valid or not? It's my stuff, damn it!!
****Why can't I have nice things?
I yelled at him to put it down.
"Geez, relax! I wasn't going to break it, you big baby. Those instructions are just guidelines, anyway. You don't have to follow all of them."
Maybe so, but you know what? FUCK YOU!!

Anyway, the phone is fine and I'm very happy with it, but guess what I'll be thinking of the very first time it malfunctions in any way?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Phone Phollies, Chapter 2: The Wai-aiting is the Hardest Part

I placed my order on line with AT & T last Thursday and was told that delivery would be completed in two business days, which meant I would have the hot little number in my sweaty little hands on Monday (an aside: isn't the concept of defining Monday through Friday as "business days" just about the last quaint notion to exist in modern society?). That would work out well, because I was scheduled to work from 5pm until 1am ("What an odd and uncomfortable shift to work, especially when sandwiched between shifts from 2pm until 10pm and 6am until 2pm, which surely must play havoc with your sleep patterns and diet, Clark. Hopefully, your supervisors recognize that, and being concerned with your health and welfare as a human being, they try to minimize those occurrences and not require you to be the only one who has that kind of schedule, since you already don't get weekends off and have worked 21 consecutive federal holidays since you started.", you might say, to which I'd rather not comment) and would therefor be home all day to receive it.
From my apartment window, I saw the mail truck arrive around 1:30 to start filling the mailboxes of all the good little residents in the complex. I waited patiently upstairs for a knock on my door but never heard one. I looked out the window again and saw the truck had left. I called the manager's office and asked if an oversized package had been left there for me and they said no. "That's odd," I thought. I checked the tracking number online and re-confirmed it was still set for delivery that day. I mentioned it to someone who said, "maybe it's a special delivery and will arrive separate from the regular mail." "That would be off as well", I thought, considering you would think 'special delivery' would get priority over regular mail, which was already delivered. I waited some more and finally had to start getting ready for work, nervous I would miss a knock at the door while I was in the shower. Nervous, because I didn't know if they would take it back to the post office if they couldn't deliver it in person and I would have to go there the next day and pick it up. That was a scenario I wanted to avoid for obvious reasons...

I waited until the last possible minute (4:30) before leaving for work, checked the tracking on line again which still said "scheduled for delivery" and left home aggravated and empty handed. I got to work and called the apartment office one more time and they still hadn't received anything for me. I was at work and it was now 5:00. I checked the tracking on line one more time and found an update: "Delivered at 4:28PM". What the...? This meant either somebody's clock was wrong or that the delivery person had been hiding in bushes and waited for me to leave or was a filthy liar. It also meant my new phone was sitting on the doorstep outside of my apartment, waiting for the first person to come by and pick it up. If that person wasn't me, I'd have to call AT & T and plead a case. The result of which would probably be having to pay a $50 insurance deductible for a replacement, which is exactly $50 more than I had budgeted for this transaction, or wait two years for the upgrade window to re-open. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it was also raining. I called a neighbor who confirmed that there was indeed a box sitting there and I asked her to retrieve it until I got home. Not wanting to knock on her door at 1:30 in the morning (and not willing to wait until a decent hour the next day), I took an extended break within 15 minutes of getting to work, drove home and got it. Major anxiety and a huge pain in the ass, but the new phone was now safely in my possession. Nothing could possibly go wrong now.

Tomorrow: Chapter 3: Something Goes Wrong

Monday, July 05, 2010

Phone Phollies, Chapter 1: The Selection Process

It seems like everybody I know has a "smartphone", in particular the top-of-the-line iPhone. I've been limping along with my old phone for some time now, and being the only person in a group without something can be not-so-great sometimes ("Hey everybody, let's play the most fun game in the whole world on our iPhones! Oh wait, I forgot, Clark doesn't have one. Never mind. Stop having fun of any kind whatsoever." By the way, l frequently feel like I inhibit people's fun when I'm around. It goes a long way toward explaining why people don't have me around very often). So while my old phone was performing adequately, I kinda wanted a new one, the same way poor people kinda want a Mercedes (Another by the way; have you ever noticed how the people who say things like "money isn't everything" are people who have lots of money? If I ever get rich, I'm going to get the most obnoxious luxury vehicle I can find and have "Money Isn't Everything" painted on it, so everyone knows how grounded I am). I mentioned this to someone and they said "When was the last time you got an upgrade?" "I don't know. It's been a while." "Like, two years?" "Like, five." "(said as though we were talking about how long it had been since I washed my testicles) Yeah, you should definitely check into a free upgrade." Guess what? When you go five years without upgrading your phone, your options for doing so are extensive. I had at least 40 different phones to choose from, all free. I was drawn to the Blackberery, specifically the Curve 8520. I mentioned this to people and got a wide variety of very strong opinions. Americans feel about cell phones today the way I imagine they did about cars in the '50s. "Oh, you'll love it! Those are sweet! Fast, sleek, solid. They can do it all." "Pieces of shit. I had one. Didn't like it at all. Unresponsive to my commands, slow. You'll regret it." People who have never voted were beyond eager to share their views with me on why I was making the best or worst choice of my life. Well, it's a known brand name, I did my research, I received (more than) enough feedback and it's listed as $350 retail value for free. I'm getting a Blackberry. Smartphone revolution, here I come, bitches.

Tomorrow: Chapter 2: The Wai-aiting is the Hardest Part

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Waking up from a nightmare

When I heard that Dontae Morris was in custody last night, I went to the monument to fallen officers outside of police headquarters. Not to celebrate, necessarily. But just to note the end of a sad chapter in Tampa history. Of course, it's not over for everybody. Families, immediate and extended, are torn apart and will never be the same. Trials, deliberations, verdicts and sentences will go on for years and will remind us of what happened. Most of us are lucky that the real nightmare, when a killer was on the loose, causing us to be wary in our travels and afraid of what may lurk in the shadows or the back rooms of our neighbor's homes, really only lasted four days. Four days that felt like four years. That's what nightmares are like.
I'm glad it ended the way it did, and you should be too, if you're honest about it. To say that you were hoping that Morris would be maimed or killed in the act of being apprehended suggests that the police are basically the same kind of creatures that he is. They're better than that, thankfully. These are dedicated professionals who have taken it upon themselves to serve and protect, the polar opposite of whatever it is Dontae Morris is and what he chose to commit his life to. Sure, it feels good, cathartic, to wish harm upon somebody like Morris. To want immediate, brutal and equal justice for someone who commits such heinous acts is human nature to an extent. But to engage in increasingly cartoonish, excessive wish scenarios about what you hope happens to him is hyperbole and rhetoric, and ultimately dishonors the victims and the survivors. You're better than that too.

Sleep tight, Tampa

Dontae Morris is in jail.God bless Mayor Iorio, Chief Castor, all of Tampa's finest and cops everywhere.

More here tomorrow; and I can't wait to get back to making dick jokes.