Thursday, December 2, 2010

CI #104 -- Chef's Quality Condiments

Hey, Sal. Got any salt?


Any good?

Meh. It's salt.

Hat tip to Katie and Jackie of the best bakery in Brooklyn aka the Blue Stove.

Friday, October 8, 2010

CI #103 -- Stock Music

If I could have any job in the world behind rock star, it'd be fake rock star -- also known as composer of stock music. Not only do you get to write it -- you get to name it and describe it (I hope).

Exhibits A - J.

Just one question though. As described in track 7, What are laser rays?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

CI #102 -- New Media Internet

What do you do with that interminable split second before the elevator closes? You take the time to notice the little things, including random tenants in a random building.

Like these mysterious outfits.

Sure, Media Most International and Overseas Media are intriguing, but they're no "New Media Internet."

Yeah. A couple questions. Is it really possible that "New Media Internet" is the company's real name? What do they do?

One can only assume they're involved in the following:

-Internet Web Sites
-Multimedia Videos
-Web Internet Blogging
-Audio Podcasts

Also, Who are their chief competitors? Web Business LLC? Or do they more often run up against the large conglomerate Company Incorporated?

As it turns out, New Media Internet is in fact their name. And they recently trademarkia'd KINOLUBITEL. Good for them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CI #101 -- Mets hats

Being from North Carolina and an NC State alum, I've always identified with the NY Mets.

Whether in *long-term performance, player signing (or recruiting), or merchandising (let's be honest -- it's the most important part) they're consistently overshadowed by the Yankees (or Tarheels).

As much as I hate to admit, it's true. When's the last time you saw anyone giving national coverage to a Wolfpack hat? Seriously, when was it? To be fair though, would you wear this?

Of course, there's a certain amount of pride that comes with playing or aligning with the underdog. Whim Quarterly's own Brock Mahan and I have discussed the connection between indie rock and Mets hats in the past. At an average show, you might find a handful of Mets hats but probably zero Yankees hats.

Why are indie rockers the only ones not wearing Mets hats?

Friday, September 24, 2010

CI #100 -- HDTV

I just bought a new TV. Because my old one broke. You buy something for $200 in 1996, and you'd think it would last! Harumph! Things ain't like they used to be.

But now, having taken the leap into the 21st century and purchased a bright, shiny new LG LCD HD TV (we really have to do something about those acronyms), I find myself asking Why? What's the point?

You turn on the TV, and it's crap. Even in all it's HD 1080p glory, crap is still crap. The effect is a net decrease of enjoyment because ... this is supposed to be awesome!

Don't get me wrong, I love Becker as much as the next guy -- especially the one where he's hilariously insensitive to an unsuspecting patient, but I can see it only so many times. My new TV is just a big, expensive reminder that there are better things to do with your time (For the record, I have this week off from work, so that's not necessarily true).

It's like walking into a house of mirrors after stuffing your gut with a 16-ounce burrito. Something that was supposed to be joyous turned into a reminder that your life desperately lacks guidance.

Also, do we need QVCHD? It seems contradictory with respect to their business model. You're just that much more likely to notice that their cheap Samurai swords are likely to break and "Ohhh, get me Odell!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CI #99 -- Gold Prices

In the war for your wares on Graham Avenue, you must ask yourself Which is better: "best prices"* or "highest prices"**?

(*Tivoli Jewelers. **Romance Jewelers. Yes, I agree. It would work better if the picture were better.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

CI #98 -- Swimming pool

I was talking with some friends the other night, and the discussion evolved (devolved?) into long-term quality of life issues. I think we'd all like to own a house at some point and possibly have 2.5 kids (minivan, picket fence, pressure washer negotiable).

And unless we get our own reality show or become a science teacher and start cooking meth (neither are recommended), we realized there's a pretty good chance we'll have to leave New York to do it.

(For the record, I find the ability to even choose to do this is a luxury. Also, remember of course that if you choose not to decide, you still have made a CHOYCE!)

All of a sudden, we were playing house. It was so cute. No, actually it was nauseating. (Someone please play Kill 'em All stat!) But the subject of a pool came up.

And I wondered, Is it wrong that I'm totally up for having kids but don't want the responsibility of a pool?

Before you decide, at least hear me out.

"Kickass, a pool!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

CI #97 -- Best Presidential Picture Ever

What is it?


CI #96 -- Infallibility of pointy hats

I was baptized and confirmed Catholic, yet still couldn't begin to explain a whole host (pardon the pun) of its arcane and obscure beliefs, like why, for instance, our housing market has tanked because not enough statues of St. Joseph were buried upside down in backyards.

I'm probably committing a venial sin simply by pointing that out. One of those things I could never explain was Papal infallibility. I don't mean to Church-bash. Lord knows (there I go again. Damnit! Er...) there's been enough of that lately. But throw us a bone here.

Just when is the Pope infallible? Always? Holy Days? Birthdays?

I was struck when I recently came across this explanation from Listverse. I did not fact check this because, quite frankly, for the purpose of this post, it's helpful just to assume it's true. Turns out he's not always perfect. Just under these conditions:

I. The Pope must be making a decree on matters of faith or morals

II. The declaration must be binding on the whole Church

III. The Pope must be speaking with the full authority of the Papacy, and not in a personal capacity.

In other words, the Pope is only speaking infallibly (and therefore irrefutably) when the stakes are the highest and most widespread. Hmm... kinda seems a little self-serving, but whatev.

But let me get this straight to be sure.

A Pope with bad taste buds eats this clearly bunk cheeseburger and declares it delicious. FALSE! It's still terrible.

Pope declares that Church-wide you-know-what "ain't no big." TRUE! Ain't no big.

Okay, now I've got it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CI #95 -- Things that are awesome

Going all the way back to 1997, Fall means two wonderful things: 1) cooler weather = no cooler necessary (if you know what I'm saying. Right, Mom?) and 2) (if we're lucky) a sweet new Oukast LP.

(I wasn't quite hip enough to have gotten in on the ground floor when Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik came out.)

These days, new Outkast proper material is hard to come by because Andre's presumably too busy boa shopping. And I, along with many, have a special place in my heart for Mr. 3000 (not the Bernie Mac one.)

But last night watching Letterman, I was reminded that even Outkast's second-fiddle MC (depending on who you ask) is still probably one of the best rappers out there. There isn't enough drugs, shoes, fur hats, pastels or booze in the world to make Kanye this smooth.

What's awesome?

This. I don't even have the album yet. But I will rectify that.... NOW.

Monday, August 16, 2010

CI #94 -- *Moving

Okay, the letter-writing from post-deprived fans is getting a little excessive. Though I did appreciate the excellent fruit cake, Ms. Laughlin. So, okay, fine. I'll post again.

Where have I been? Really busy, but I won't complain about that. I will, however, complain about this: moving, which is where I have "been," so to speak. Please "enjoy" this old and all-too-applicable old post in the interim.

Also, thanks special thanks to Brock and Kevin for their help -- with moving.


No one likes to move. No one likes helping someone move. No one can stand packing, wrapping, shuffling, storing, repacking, rearranging, securing objects with ropes (or extension cords), re-rearranging, unloading, -- not to mention it eating almost a month of the mover's life and killing at least an entire Saturday of anyone helping out.

There's not enough beer and pizza on Graham Avenue [insert incredibly specific geographic reference here] to make it tolerable.

So you can imagine how pumped I was when my new creepy neighbor *Gary asked me to help him move some things in the other day. "Just a couple bookcases I got on 92nd Street."... "Oh."

You might say, "Well, Greg. We help each other move. It's just part of being a decent person." Yes, we do help people move, and I help people move, but "people" are generally friends or loved ones.

Friday, July 9, 2010

CI #93 -- NBA

So it's Miami. Who cares? Not this guy, though there was a time.

As a New Yorker, I'm almost glad that Lebron didn't come here because it would reinforce an offensive Big Apple mantra: We (NY) can buy anything.

That's basically the Yankees' operating strategy. And to be fair, same goes for the Mets -- the Yankees are just better at it. (Lack of salary caps is one of my qualms with baseball).

It's impossible for me to talk about the NBA without sounding like a curmudgeon. Let's try, shall we: The game is boring. It's all flash and no substance. Their shorts are too long. They're practically pants! They make too much money. In my day, the ball wasn't so round.

NBA-fan friends tell me the rule changes over the past couple years have "opened up the game." I believe them. More than anything, my lack of appreciation for the NBA probably stems from two things: 1) no longer being 11 and delusional, thinking I could play even college ball and 2) Who has the freakin' time? I'm still trying to catch up on Breaking Bad.

So it's only fair to ask, When did I like the NBA?

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B: (apparently this is totally serious).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CI #92 -- Changes

Every time I'm in a car listening to the radio, I make a resolution: listen to the radio more. Yeah, like the analog kind. No Pandora, no satellite. Old school.

Why? Because even though radio tends to play the same songs, they're songs we don't normally pick for ourselves. Radio is perhaps the most random form of media consumption these days. With a digital TV guide, I barely even flip channels anymore.

The benefit of radio is that you may end up hearing songs you forgot you liked. For me it was 2pac's "Changes" while I was in NC last week. You better believed I pumped the hell out of the Ford Focus speakers.

The man's mellifluous urban poetry got me thinking: This song is the perfect political yardstick. Forget all this first 100 days, first year crap.

So I wonder
What does 2pac's "Changes" say about Barack's changes?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CI #91 -- Yahoo Mail Login Page

I use Yahoo Mail* primarily. Why? I can't really say, but I'm sure that at one point in time, I had a really good reason and that the reason is surely long gone. But hey, it's better than Hotmail.

Each time I go to sign in, I wonder Why is Yahoo Mail apparently used exclusively by residents of San Francisco's Mission District?**

"Just wait 'til you see my handsewn handbags covered with flaming teddy bears."

"I absolutely skateboard to my job at a social networking start-up. Absolutely."

"What, this? Oh, it's just my ironic baby. Whatev. It works better on my husband."

*Serious props seriously to Yahoo Mail for having used the sample address "free2rhyme@" since before this silly campaign.

**I have never been to San Francisco's Mission District. Or San Francisco, for that matter.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CI #90 -- Random fact about two people I don't care about

At the risk of sounding redundant, I just learned a random fact about two people I don't care about.

Who is Percy Grainger? Apparently a famous composer who changed the face of modern orchestration and blah, blah, blah (and was evidently a "perv").

But he's also Kevin Kline.

So there you have it. Also, if you're not reading Cracked, you should. It's nothing like the magazine that once tried to be Mad.

Friday, June 18, 2010

CI #89 -- The Brief Safe

Thanks to Dij for the tip on the most innovative use of tidey whities in decades, courtesy of Sears.

It appears Sears tried to copy something they thought Urban Outfitters would do but overshot by a mile, ending up in Spencer's Gifts territory -- the grundle of American mall culture.

Sure, there will be people who say, "You'd be crazy to keep cash in your underpants." To that I'd say, "Would you? Show me somewhere safer you can stash your money these days. With that jackhole Bernanke running things, we're all headed for the s---- anyway." (<-- that's what I would say.) There are myriad exciting points to debate here, but let's get to the most essential: Will the stained-underpants Brief Safe work?

Totally! But only if auteur-like attention to detail is maintained throughout your property. Five points are paramount.

1. Outside there must be at least three, and if at all possible four, pieces of plastic yard art. Garden gnomes won't suffice though. Too subtle. These must be arranged in such a way that appears haphazard but actually takes great care to maximize inconvenience to any intruder and/or prospective buyer of your house.

People must think you have nothing to steal. Bonus points if neighbors and friends are actively annoyed at your property.

2. Everything in your house must be dirty. Those glow-in-the-dark frost-able Daytona 500 beer mugs? Simply have to be stacked in the sink, covered in gunk. Otherwise, the logic of the ruse falls apart. I'm looking at you, ash tray.

Btw, did you see these things?! In case you didn't...

3. Let's be honest. You're really protecting your payload from your Old Lady so she won't steal it and give it to her Bum Son. So keep information at a minimum. Need to know basis, people. Feel free to play mind games and demand she do your laundry though.

4. Remember not to raid Brief Safe while buzzed on Milwaukee's Best in the hopes of procuring more Milwaukee's Best.

5. Relax on couch. Wearing Brief Safe, place hand in waistband, drinking in the benefits of true financial security.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

CI #88 -- Flashbacks

Remember that time in high school when you dropped acid in your friend's [Insert: basement, bonus room, carpeted garage]? You had such grand plans to do something "really awesome" like watch [Insert: "The Wall," "Labyrinth," "Dumbo"], but you got lazy.

So you stayed up all night staring at the ceiling, which looked like [Insert: the sky, a circus, evil flowers], and watching infomercials.

Then you decided to raid the kitchen and briefly chowed down on [Insert: any embarrassing, brightly colored snack food] but quickly became more enthralled with the food's packaging than the food itself.

Then one of your friends seemed to "disappear" for a while, and when he came back had discovered that the throw pillow was "Lucifer." Then things got weird.

Remember? Well, you will after you watch this.

Friday, June 4, 2010

CI #87 -- Things that actually exist

What actually exists?

This does. Saw it near the curb on my street.

(Can't wait to get a phone with a better camera)

Of course, this isn't the most absurd example of movie merchandising, but it's up there. Did I mention that the movie exists too? Well, it does. For further ridicule of this practice, see Spaceballs. You really can't top that.

Perhaps the worst-hyped, most over-marketed movie ever was Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie. It almost single-handedly created a lasting distaste for the man -- a person High School Greg worshiped. That, combined with his comments during the Late Night Wars Pt. 2 really make me question owning Season1 on DVD.

But can you blame him? He was probably just covering his ass for the promo tour of Bee Movie 2.

Back to Bee Movie 1. For further reading: see any of the following...

The Bee Movie Happy Meal!...

The Bee Movie Bee Doll! Coming to arcade claw games near you 3 years ago, and probably still there.

The Bee Movie Cross-Promotion! -- I mean, totally organic guest appearance on 30 Rock...

("Photo" credit:

Not pictured: I'm pretty sure I have a Polaroid somewhere of the Bee Movie ride at Coney Island.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

CI #86 -- Rewatching of Raising Arizona

Last night Katie and I took in a fine film known as "Raising Arizona." It had been a while. Worry not, though. It still holds up.

Early on I found myself thinking about... well, heavy s#!^: the cycle of poverty, recidivism, the disappearance of America's middle class, "that sumbitch Reagan in the White House," etc.

Then I began to relate to the story in a much different way -- as a relocated New Yorker. So what does this relocated New Yorker think of Hi and Ed's exploits?

Honestly, I'm jealous of their apartment. Look how much space there is between the TV tables and TV! Salad days, indeed. I desperately want their doublewide.

Now I'm well aware that I could have it worse. But just like their desire for the 5th quintuplet of a rich couple, a boy can dream.

Monday, May 24, 2010

CI #85 -- Talking too much

How do you know when you talk too much?

Consider the following exchange, which actually took place while watching the trailer for "Get Him To the Greek" a.k.a. "Let's try to Duplicate the Excitement of The Hangover":

Katie: What's that guy's name again?

Greg: Huh?! Well, it's currently Diddy, I think. I think Sean Combs works as well...

Katie: Umm...

Greg: But if you're really asking, it was Puff Daddy first. He changed it like 43 times. Both "Puffy" and "Puff" I think were completely acceptable and maybe even interchangeable -- don't know if they still are -- but I think that would be more like if you knew him personally...

Katie: Uhh...

Greg: like Mase or something. But that was back when he was actually rapping. Around the time he stopped, I think he went to "P. Diddy," which apparently was too long and got shortened to "Diddy." By the way, he's always a great Letterman guest -- it's hilarious when Dave introduces him. So I think to be safe, just go with "Sean" or "Diddy."

Katie: No. The British guy.

Greg: Oh. Russell Brand. ... Sorry.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CI #84 -- This Blog

Hey, what happened to this blog and why hasn't it been updated more lately?

Greg's been working a lot, which is to say the amount that normal people do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

CI #83 -- Asian Helper

I've asked similar questions recently, but maybe that means this blog is finally finding its true voice (Answer: It's not)

Anyway, I saw this box in the grocery store and wondered Is this offensive?

[Insert black-and-white photo of a Chinese railroad worker here]. Probably not, but it is without a doubt unfortunately named.

CI #82 -- The Paperwork Reduction Act

Is it doing its job?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CI #81 -- Arizona's New Immigration Policy

[Editor's note: Finally, an excuse to use an actual file photo*]

A couple questions about it. It's a joke, right? Any day now, they're going to say "Ha ha, fooled you!" and break out pinatas and guac and have a fiesta in the calle, right? If so, good one, Arizona.

Aren't most people in this country immigrants, including people who walked over a land bridge and then were given bridge-sized land to live in? I'm pretty sure that's true. Okay, just checking. Or maybe every single fact in the history books is incorrect.

And I've been wondering, Is there any correlation between this new "immigration" policy and poor penmanship?


*I actually took this photo in Georgia in 2008, but I think it still "works."

Friday, April 23, 2010

CI #80 -- The Dream

What is The Dream?

Last night, Katie and I decided it was having your own baby orangutan. That's The Dream.

More specifically, The Dream is getting your own baby orangutan through some sort of bizarre circumstances that justify it (kind of how it makes it okay to have a dog in a tiny NY apartment if said canine is from a shelter).

Like, for example, a baby orangutan has been abandoned in the wild -- its chances of survival slim -- and every single ecological and zoological agency in the entire world is cash-strapped with its hands full.

They simply don't have room for one more baby orangutan. Then you get The Call. Boom: your very own baby orangutan.

The origin of The Dream was actually the origin of Man. We were watching a BBC nature program called Food For Thought, which parallels the steps of human evolution with species still alive today.

That's where The Dream came from. Then, just as quickly as The Dream was given to us, it was jerked away as we stared at violent images of chimpanzees hunting and eating rhesus monkeys.

"I don't want a baby orangutan anymore," Katie said. I was speechless. And neither of us will ever live or want to live The Dream.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

CI # 79 -- Twitter

I'm over it. Or maybe I'm not because I would have to have been under it or on it first.

I was recently scrolling through my feed when I realized how bored I was scrolling through my feed. After reading one Tweet from someone I follow, I actually said to myself "Wait, 'he' is doing it wrong!"

[Don't try to figure out who it was. I finally stopped following "him."]. But is there a "right" way to use Twitter?

I don't really think so, and I guess that's what's good and bad about it. Twitter is to you whatever you want it to be. Right now it's something that bores me. Perhaps that says more about me than it does about Twitter. I'm fine with that.

As a "media professional," I'm constantly reminded that "Oh, you've got to be Tweeting, man. You're expected to do it these days." Maybe my lack of incessant Tweeting is actually hurting me. "I see here on your resume that you've only Tweeted 943 times... Hmm..."

Or maybe I'm just getting "old." If you want to play along like me, intermittently, you can follow my slow aging process at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

CI #78 -- TV Job Market

As a marginally employed TV professional, I must be an idiot. Here I am thinking that TV jobs are hard to get, but What do I know?

Apparently all I have to do is hook up with "New Direction TV and Films," who are "looking for the best new TV scripts to showcased to the world."

I have a great sitcoms pilott featuring bacon, vampires, Snuggies and Joel Mcale from tvs The Soup. Will you showcased it for me? Also, what's your theories of the future? And when will it comes thx

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CI #77 -- Back-Up Plans

I was checking out the poster for J. Lo's latest joint The Back-Up Plan, you know, looking for a reason to be more aggravated when I noticed something.

The movie's web site is Now for the record, I'm pro-hyphen (case in point), but obviously it was not their first choice. So it got me thinking, What is (Also, who goes to movies' web sites?)

Turns out is a company that does specialized data backup for corporations, which I'd rather watch in action than this movie.

And a quick note about back up plans in general. Mine, more often than not, is "eat some cookies."

Friday, March 26, 2010

CI #76 -- Rock Star Residences

Needed: place to crash, room to stash axe, cigarette pack practice amp. I recently had occasion to ask myself that eternal, burning question "Where would a rock star live?"

Select has answers. And discounts.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CI #75 -- Living Things

This weekend is beautiful. The sun is shining. Life is good.

So in celebration of the first day of Spring, the birth of new, beautiful life, etc., I thought I'd ask myself, what's the advantage of not having all that crap? What's the advantage of NOT having little things over having them?

If you take away the added property value, the increased quality of life, the cleaner air to breathe that living things "claim" to provide, do you gain anything?

You see, where I grew up there were many living things. Where I live, not so much (And, yes, Mom, A tree does, in fact, grow in Brooklyn. It is incredibly apropos.) What's good about that?

The singular advantage lies in the absence of one allergenic compound.

(Image via flickr)

While there are many reasons to live in NC, there are two reasons not to -- humidity and pollen.

Ironically (perhaps), I've rarely gotten sick since I moved to NYC. In NC, it was a seasonal event. I'd be writing this while snotting all over my keyboard. Yes, you get to make "snot" a verb when you feel like you're always breathing through a snorkel mask.

Here's to Spring in NY!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CI #74 -- Neocolonial tourism

A well-traveled family member gave me this shirt a while back. Anytime I look at it, I wonder Is this t-shirt offensive?

On one hand, an underdeveloped country that only develops tourism may always stay that way. On the other hand, maybe if we buy their t-shirts, they won't have to carry sticks on their heads.

Monday, March 15, 2010

CI #73 -- Quad Bikes

Katie and I were recently flipping channels when we came across "I Shouldn't Be Alive." It's one of her favorites, and I tend to enjoy it as well (though it seems a different production company, probably Canadian -- more on that later -- screwed up the new season).

The guide said something like "A man struggles for survival after a tragic quad bike accident." Okay, fine. Sign me up, but What the hell is a "quad bike"? I've never heard this term, which can only mean it's stupid.

I became more interested in this mystical "quad bike" thing than whether and how this guy should or shouldn't be alive. Fast forward a few minutes, and we see a wide shot with the big reveal! -- wait, a minute... That's an F-ing four wheeler! WTF?! That's not a quad bike -- that's a four wheeler! At the very least, it's an ATV. Quad bike, my ass! I mean, what would you call this?

Katie pointed out that it's probably a Canadian thing; the Canadian production company made a show for a Canadian market about a Canadian guy who got trapped under his [four wheeler].

I pointed out that while probably true, "that's bullshit! It's a four wheeler." Can we just go around naming any vehicle by putting one adjective in front of the word "bike"? Oh, look at the Navy's new $400 million nuclear underwater bike (submarine)? How are you getting to work, walking or taking the rail bike (subway)? I think I'll hop up and down in one place on my pogo bike (you get it, if you're not a total moron).

Meanwhile, "quad bike" continues to enrage me as the story unfolds: "I was trapped. I could feel the weight of the quad bike pushing down on my legs. I was aboot [sic] to fall asleep, but I knew I couldn't..."

At this point, I should fess up and say that Katie was indeed 100 percent correct. From Wikipedia:

The ATV is commonly called a quad (quad-bike) in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and parts of Canada and the United States

Monday, March 1, 2010

CI #72 -- 6-Hour Energy Drink

Reposted from Katie's blog in case anyone missed it a while back.

Forget 5-hour Energy. That's for suckas! But what happens when you take 6-Hour Energy Drink? This.

The following is a scientific experiment based on the research conducted on the claimed 6-Hour Energy Shot. Don't be confused...this is not the 5-Hour Energy Shot, it's the 6.

While I'm quick to doubt the claims made by athletes on what works for them, I felt it was time to quell my opposition and instead decide for myself. Any good scientist will tell you that they need a lab partner. I chose the notable Greg Volk for the job. The two of us decided on a starting time and agreed to transcribe our findings from our separate laboratories.

Let me first describe what is being promised to us, the consumer. They tell us it will work blazing fast, that it contains zero sugar and from that, we will benefit from a no-sugar crash. These 2 oz contain only 5 calories, which leads me to question how it's able to squeeze in so many ingredients such as 1.6g of Blazing Focus, 460mg of Extreme Energy Tech and 3mg of Herbal Scorch.

I'm going to splice in our individual documented findings as well as instant messenger conversations to more appropriately give our readers a sense of its scientific affects. Buckle up.

Greg: (10:56 am) Initial Thoughts – the bottle is on fire. Fire’s energetic, right? Looking at the trademarked ingredients, it’s got “Blazing Focus,” “Extreme Energy Technology,” and “Herbal Scorch.” They lost me with that last one. Sounds like some sort of condition you’d pick up camping. New flavor “Blueberry Raspberry Blast!” What was the old flavor? Doesn’t matter now. Here we go…

Katie: (11:00 am) After I broke open the box containing the bottle of energy shot, I noticed it said, “Brace Yourself” behind the bottle. I’m not sure if this is a good sign or not. Needless to say, I’m bracing myself.

Greg: (11:02 am) The “easy open” tab is not… Smells like candy. Katie’s probably so pumped right now. Took it down in one shot. Doesn’t taste all that bad. Very sugary for something containing no sugar. I’m sure whatever it is instead has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals (that’s how you know it works!). Kind of like thick Kool Aid meets one of those plastic sleeve frozen popsicles. Let the energy begin…

Katie: (11:01 am) I’m still trying to open the bottle. I feel jittery at the thought of me feeling more jittery in a minute, so maybe my hands just don’t work. This should be interesting.

Greg: (11:10 am) Okay. I’m feeling something. Maybe it’s my hangover coffee buzz or an artificially flavored placebo, but something’s happening. I probably can’t emphasize enough how unscientific this is.

Katie: (11:07 am) That was tangy. Like cotton candy in liquid form mixed with what I liked about Triaminic as a kid. I didn’t so much shoot it, as I did sip it. I’ve never been able to shoot anything. I like to think that I enjoy tastes and need more time.

Greg: (11:11 am) Reinstalling Firefox. What the hell happened to all my bookmarks? Has nothing to do with this, but I thought you should know.

Katie: (11:14 am) I’m seeing spots.

[We both signed on to Instant Messenger.]

bidnessgreg (11:15:03 AM): spots, huh?
KatieCDulin (11:15:20 AM): maybe i'm making this up. but shit feels weird.
bidnessgreg (11:15:32 AM): that sucks
bidnessgreg (11:15:41 AM): i too am feeling something
bidnessgreg (11:15:47 AM): but i think it may be in my head
KatieCDulin (11:15:47 AM): haha...maybe this wasn't a great idea.
bidnessgreg (11:16:04 AM): however, i think on the whole, it's a bunch of synthetic sugar
bidnessgreg (11:16:12 AM): and most likely nothing will happen
KatieCDulin (11:16:13 AM):'s way too tangy to not having something in it
bidnessgreg (11:16:33 AM): no sugar, no caffeine, no crash
bidnessgreg (11:16:37 AM): so what does it have?
KatieCDulin (11:16:44 AM): a lot of other shit.
bidnessgreg (11:16:46 AM): yeah
KatieCDulin (11:16:58 AM): how's your hangover?
bidnessgreg (11:17:17 AM): taking a back seat to my energy buzz!
KatieCDulin (11:17:37 AM): yeah, perhaps i should embrace this newfound jumpiness.
bidnessgreg (11:17:47 AM): let's assume this does work
bidnessgreg (11:17:55 AM): sitting at a desk is probably not the best use
KatieCDulin (11:18:03 AM): probably not. jogging? possibly.
bidnessgreg (11:18:09 AM): i think a brisk walk
bidnessgreg (11:18:10 AM): or dancing
KatieCDulin (11:18:14 AM): true
KatieCDulin (11:18:19 AM): both of these things i can do at lunch
bidnessgreg (11:18:24 AM): by the way, we should save this IM conversation and put it in our thing
KatieCDulin (11:18:31 AM): done and doner.
KatieCDulin (11:19:02 AM): now i have an overwhelming urge to sound more witty
bidnessgreg (11:19:20 AM): don't get too in your head
bidnessgreg (11:19:30 AM): you'll psyche yourself out
bidnessgreg (11:19:41 AM): just let the drink do the work, man
KatieCDulin (11:20:08 AM): let the soothing cotton candy-like synthetic taste wash over you
bidnessgreg (11:20:26 AM): i heard it intensifies it if you drink orange juice
KatieCDulin (11:20:48 AM): i think we just formed a new cult.
bidnessgreg (11:21:00 AM): a very productive cult
KatieCDulin (11:21:44 AM): one that includes a lot of organizing.

[Signed off Instant Messenger]

Greg: (12:02 pm) I just learned that Extreme 6 Hour Blast Off Energy Shot (I just decided I’m going to change the name each time since I can’t remember it anyway) has the caffeine equivalent of 2 cups of coffee (this makes it slightly less exotic). I’m definitely feeling the coffee jitters, and I can tell you the aftertaste of 6 Hour Hi-Powered NRG Liquid is equally as displeasing as that of coffee. Still contemplating what I’m going to do with my extra hour of energy. 5 Hour Energy Drink is for suckas! Remember that movie “I’m gonna git you sucka”? Do I hear “long-awaited sequel”? Okay, I’m going to stop typing now.

Katie: (12:00 pm) I’m becoming very aware of my surroundings. Like noises hurt. Someone’s duct taping a box together down the hall and it’s a lingering sound that I’m replaying over and over again. My heart is a racing a bit. Perhaps I should be doing what they’re doing on television. Like fishing or playing basketball. Sitting at your desk isn’t as conducive to an explosion of energy, as say, being in a race car.

Greg: (12:36 pm) Feeling mostly normal. Starting to think about what I’m going to have for lunch. Should probably be something high in calories and protein to keep up with my supercharged metabolism, on account of my ¼ Of A Day Power Pack Juice and all. I’m thinking burrito … or 12 oz. rib eye.

Katie: (12:16 pm) I think I’m inventing symptoms. Like my neck is itchy.

Katie: (12:38 pm) I slept 8 hours last night and woke up feeling pretty great. Right now, I feel like I’ve sat up all night drinking and I’ve replaced vital fluids with sugar as I way to mask a hangover that I don’t have. I don’t feel awesome and don’t so much feel like jogging this off as I do just simply not feeling this way anymore.

Greg: (1:42 pm) Turkey sandwich. Boring. I’m just going to go ahead and say I feel completely normal. Maybe I’ll have a caffeine crash later. I’m now realizing that the bottle says “no sugar crash…” but nothing about caffeine. Then again, now is normally when I enter a food coma and get depressed because it’s hours before I get to look forward to food again. (Yes, I use food like a drug). And right now I feel fine, so maybe my normal feeling is abnormal. That sound you just heard is your brain exploding.

Katie: (1:51 pm) An hour has passed without me noticing. I’ve done nothing productive but a failed attempt at a crossword puzzle, which isn’t a surprise as I’ve never been that great at crossword puzzles. I’ve waited too long to eat as this seems to given me the feeling that food isn’t necessary. It feels like my blood vessels have been replaced with sludge. But again that’s no surprise as I often forget to eat. Instead I replace common human needs with the ability to make poor choices….like this un-fun game of testing a 6 hour energy shot.

Greg: (2:48 pm) Yeah, I’m not going to make it. I’m gonna be in the Hudson. (Read: crashhhhhhh).

Katie: (2:35 pm) As long as I keep eating, I think I’ll make it through the next 3 hours.

Greg: (3:29 pm) Maybe some gum will help revive me. At only 5 calories per piece, it’s great when you want a boost but know you probably shouldn’t snack, or at least that’s what the “Biggest Loser” on NBC told me. (At least I haven’t lost my “edge.”)

Katie: (3:24 pm) I’ve run out of things to snack on…instead I’m focusing my efforts on compiling the data into a blog. This act has caused extreme fatigue and I’m finding it difficult to spell words correctly on the first try. So much for the focused energy they promised me. If I were driving a race car right now, I'd be dead.

Greg: (4:13 pm) I feel icky. Am I asleep yet?

Katie: (4:24 pm) I’m becoming mentally aware that I’m nearing the end of this 6 hours of suck. My ears are ringing. I’m going home soon to revaluate my decisions.

Greg: (4:25 pm) I am NOT tired.

Katie: (4:35 pm) I saw they're making 80 hour Energy mouth sprays. I hope they eventually make life-long energy drinks. I wonder if anyone has died from this. I hope it's not me.

Greg: (4:47 pm) Was that only 6 hours? It felt like 12. I need a naps.

Katie: (4:50 pm) I'm staring at the words "Dietary Supplement" on the box. Next time I'm just drinking a sixer and swallowing a box of razors. Goodnight.

Friday, February 26, 2010

CI #71 -- Idiot charities

Dear Idiot Charity,

Why did you spend bulk mail postage plus a nickel to send me bulk mail plus a nickel? Helpful tip: I can help you cut costs in your overhead.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CI #70 -- Mexican Signs

How awesome are these?

(snorkeling at Yal-ku Lagoon)

(swimming at Gran Cenote)

CI # 69 -- Real: the new retarded

Play a handicapped person -- get an Oscar nomination or, with a little luck, a win. So goes the joke, which is almost indistinguishable from the truth (and was parodied perfectly in Tropic Thunder).

Of course, if you can't get a hold of one of those highly coveted and elusive "retard roles," you could always: A) gain/lose a lot of weight for a role (DeNiro in Raging Bull, et al) OR B) make your pretty self really ugly (Charlize Theron in Monster, et al).

There now seems to be an even newer path to Oscarville: C) playing real -- someone who actually lived and breathed and walked this earth. Of course biopics and films based on true stories are nothing new. And, full disclosure, I very often enjoy true stories.

However, I fear that with Hollywood taking fewer risks, "real stories" are becoming a crutch. And maybe it doesn't hurt that actors almost always get nominated for their portrayal of a real person.

Just this year, there are two "real nominations": Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela (Invictus), Meryl Streep as Julia Child (Julie and Julia). While it is a "tragedy" that Meryl Streep has fewer best actress awards (1) than Hilary Swank, ... really? Julie and Julia? Really?

Has the Academy completely abandoned awarding individual performances in favor of lifetime achievement recognition? C'mon, guys. At least pretend like you're trying.

Over the past four years, there have been four Best Actor/Actress awards doled out to people playing real people [winners in caps] and even more nominations.

2005 -- PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMON (Capote), Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck), REESE WITHERSPOON (Walk the Line)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CI #68 -- Reggae on vacation

Even though I'm no longer in college and long ago realized that basically all reggae was the same, I still enjoy a little reggae on vacation. I think a lot of people do.

And I'll say it -- I even enjoy some reggae while NOT on vacation. Back to vacation though: in Mexico, Mr. Marley and friends were in heavy rotation, and no one was complaining. We were living, walking Corona ads.

Something about having the best time of my life -- beer in hand, feet up, staring at beautiful blue water -- got me thinking, what is it about reggae that makes it so pleasurable on vacation?

Is it because we know that people suffered for hundreds of years to bring us the sweet sounds of melodies pure and true or despite it? Reggae's ingredients? 10% syncopation, 78% ganja, and 12% oppression.

Consider the following playlist excerpt:

- Burnin' and lootin', Bob Marley
- (007) Shanty Town, Desmond Dekker
- Pressure Drop, Toots and the Maytals

Though the Mexican Yucatan is not Kingston, Jamaica, they do have one thing in common beside beaches -- poverty. So the formula still works.

It makes you stop and think for a second, just long enough to realize that you need another beer. I'm not saying I'm going to stop bobbing my head to "Trenchtown Rock" with a Red Stripe (or Sol, respectively) in my hand, but I will pour an extra one out next time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CI #67 -- Coldplay

[Editor's note: (Unfortunately) I just got back from the aforementioned wedding in Mexico, which was incredible. Warning: you'll probably see a lot of wedding-related CIs.]

See the thing is, I now have to like them more. But more than that, I have to respect them more.

I'm forcing myself to take them off my lists of joke references (other recently removed references: scurvy (overdone), Tyler Perry (who knew that guy when through some crap?), and Snuggies (no explanation needed)).

The story goes like this. While we were in Mexico, we were determined to see some old shit. After much planning and time constraining, we settled on visiting the ruins at Coba instead of Tulum or Chicen Itza. Having spent almost three hours entirely without cerveza while walking around the ruins, we had almost reached our limit of old shit.

I had enjoyed seeing the Mayan ballcourt used for the game somewhat similar to basketball (but with more human sacrifice). All in all though, it was slightly underwhelming. Then we suddenly came upon a fork in the road. Two signs that didn't mean anything to us were pointing opposite directions.

Going one way was a hoard of other white foreigners. Going the other way was no one. We'd decided were going to see one more piece of old shit, but what would it be? And I said in my infinite snarkiness, pointing to the Eurobasura headed in one direction, "What if that way is the Coldplay of ruins?"

It got a laugh. People appreciated the sentiment, and we took the path less traveled. Well, the thing about that was, sometimes the path less traveled is less traveled for a reason. Our less-traveled path led to some mildly interesting altars and carvings -- nothing spectacular.

But what did we miss? What was the other way? What was the "Coldplay of ruins"? As we later discovered thanks to Gwen, it was this:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CI #66 -- Celebrations

I'm headed out of town to celebrate some friends nascent nuptials (Congrats, Raf and Nicole), so there won't be any new CIs for a while.

In the meantime, I'll leave you to ponder this: What song surely to be played at the wedding is about 2:29 seconds too long?

Clocking in at a beefy but not lean 4:59, it's Kool & The Gang's "Celebration."

On one hand, this classic is a non-stop party jam feel-good dance number; on the other hand, it's more repetitive than "Hey Jude" and "Let it be" combined (I know, Blasphemy!)

Perhaps this rudimentary enjoyment curve will put things into perspective.

The enjoyment of "Celebration" breaks down like this.

0:00 - 1:15. Establish that the party goin' on right here is already in progress, but hasn't "really started."

01:15 - 2:15. Peak party enjoyment time. Euphoria! Celebration! (Remember that our plan is to have a good time tonight.)

2:15 - 3:15. Enthusiasm slowly begins to wane, people start looking for excuses to leave the dance floor. People lazily mouth the words.

3:15 - 4:00. The only people left dancing are drunk and/or the uncle of the bride.

4:00 - 4:30. Net enjoyment of said "Celebration" actually goes negative, before shooting back into the positive as people realize...

4:30 - 4:50. Ahh, the "Celebration" is over. Those left standing pat each other on the back for what they just went through.

I'll be back in a week with CI #67 -- Greg's Sun Poisoning. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 8, 2010

CI #65 -- Jackson Hewitt

It being tax season and all, I keep seeing a Jackson Hewitt commercial that boasts "All we do is taxes!"

Is that really a benefit, a tax place only doing taxes? I'm sure it's some lame attempt to go after H&R Block, who must do something other than taxes, but it's kind of like a grocery store bragging that "all we sell is food! We tried used cars, but it just didn't work. We kept getting oil on the produce."

Having only been to H&R Block, I can really only speak to it firsthand. But if H&R Block is the McDonald's of tax services, Jackson Hewitt is the Jack in the Box, and maybe they should do something other than taxes, like breakfast all day.