Friday, November 19, 2010


The most frustrating point in my Halloween preparation timeline happened in a WalMart. In the shoes section. The ladies shoes section. Specifically, the boots section of the ladies shoes section. I was desperately trying to get my wide-load feet to feed into the talkative end of a pair of women's cowboy boots. Halfway in might as well been all the way, because for a good ten minutes I was unable to pull out, dancing horizontally on the tile in increasingly discouraging spirals until finally one boot flew off into the nearby jewelery department. It was time to rethink my costume: The Cowboy of Questionable Intent.

I went hunting for "boot alternatives."

Boot Alternatives 4 the Urban Cowboy

$20 later I also had a bullet sash, a pink cowboy hat, and some wranglin' gloves. I got home to find out who would be joining us for the night weekend out in Chapel Hill. The lineup and their accompanying mugshots follow:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why Nudists Love Airports

Airports are hubs for insecurity: you have your wary mothers, jealous lovers, and sexist, unloved guard dogs. It's about to get better, because next-gen airports will be exotic palatial resorts for bare skin expression. Wear your nicest smile, because you're about to get unintentionally naked. YAY! And the TSA agents will be doing all of this without access to my immodest charm and alluring whispers.

Airport security should consider adding a lie detector portion to their invasive eye-brawling. A possible question: "Do you like being naked when fully clothed?" For a nudist, pure pleasure would be evident in their answer. Anyone else who claims they don't like it, they're probab(ly)ing. Word has it there's a genital recognition software that is in development to pair with the new UIA (Underneath It All) system.

It isn't that security will like looking at these photos (though the guard dogs certainly will). For them, this is sure to redefine terrorism - having to graze upon these normally ungazed pastures. Ask Jenn Sturger, Irv Favre, or Brett's mirror; it can be the scariest thing in the world.

It does force terrorists/nudists to start being more creative. With no chance of sneaking a fart onto a plane, let alone any weapon with physical mass, attacks will now either be somatic or psychological. Sharpened dentures and fake nails. Lengthy, annoying diatribes referencing 18th century socioeconomic theory. Bad breath. Harsh opinions. Throw in a few exalted nudists, embarrassed civilians, and thyme, and you have all the necessary ingredients for Disaster Soup.

When scanned, don't brattle anyone's brittle eardrums or revert to childhood tantrum techniques or you just might earn yourself a free physical.
Mandy Simon suffered through a TSA pat down.
I assume most TSA agents aren't doctors, so can you really trust their opinions? The most likely diagnosis: wear less metal, drink more private jet water, and wear more fashionable jeans - you have just earned yourself a spot on the Not-at-all-Fly List.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LAWL: Lemurs AdWord Love

Yesterday, I needed to catch up on Dexter. Instead of torrenting the episodes, I was lazy and streamed them online from what can only be described as an "iffy" website. 

The experience reminded me why I prefer downloading; I was confronted with countless advertisements. They ran the gauntlet from an online dress-this-Barbie game to an offline eat-my-shorts event. Some were loud. Others were silently gaudy.

Then, I was smacked in the eyes by the most beautifully crafted ad I've ever, ever peered upon. I wept in exultation. Like a pirate in love, I tearfully smiled into a crusty bowl of hard water. What was previously confusing - the appeal of mayonnaise, card-counting, astral physics, how to start a garden - was suddenly clear. Whatever a lemur scream sounds like, I want that sound to play on repeat at my wedding instead of "Here Comes the Bride." 

Thank you, Duke Lemur Center, for advertising to me. 

I won't go, because I assume I can't afford to gaze in-person upon such good looking lemurs. Not only is there the entrance fee, but I have to consider the cost of all the lost time I'll have at work reflecting on how great it was.

Seriously, a personal tour? How do the lemur tour guides traverse the language barrier? They must have some high-tech translation software over at Duke.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Related News, Time is a Relative


I’m still striving to figure out what you were to me. On paper: my grandmother, a caretaker, food maker, and forsaker of conditional, traditional love. From you, like no one else, I could expect to be approached in deference, even though you were 60 years my surpasser.

Since you have left, I have learned how to write a business plan and a resume. I have learned how to bake at high altitudes and mismanage a bank account. Though clearly, as my blurry eyes can attest, I have not learned how not to cry while reflecting on your existence during a cross-country red-eye flight. This is very old-fashioned, having a notebook and pen and a few airline peanuts as complementary sidekicks. 

I have passed every test put before me with a flourish that would make you proud. I have learned the literal meaning of things you used to lean in to tell me; turns out they were just Spanish words for look, grandson, stupid, and precious. Their meaning was evident to me already and seeing them reduced to words with dictionary definitions is somehow cheapening. To me they all meant “I love you, no matter what.” Ah yes, eyes still pretending to be tributaries; go away flight attendant. 


I haven’t stopped playing Bingo, but I doubt you would recognize it in its current form. Instead of carefully marking your Bingo sheets with bleeding tubes of color, I highlight spreadsheets one occluded cell at a time. I remember your obsession with foot comfort. Reeboks abounded like rabbits and shoe horns were as accessory to getting ready to “go out” as texting progress updates is these days.

Somehow, you could smack your lips and cause a cheek pinch. On chill, dry nights in New Mexico you talked to me of the stars. You would point with your handheld cigarette and unbridled passion at space, talking about aliens and a radio host named Art, all while humming to me The Girl from Ipanema. I would close my eyes, imagining, and then the cheek pinch sound would come. It was just a sound, but my cheek would feel sufficiently pinched.  That sound and your change in tone wrapped me up like the pig-in-the-blanket snacks that you used to make me; an intriguing association between my senses. Your quirk - the lip smack - squeezed me with such force as to create an impenetrable fortress of credulous safety. I would open my eyes, and you would still be sitting, pointing with smoke at the speeding, tiny lights in the sky.

When I want to see you, I watch my baby video with you rolling me around on a bed like tortilla dough as I smile with my mouth and eyes. I loved you because you would hold my wrist, taking risk out of my life and shouldering all responsibility for my success.

You had a better grasp on reality than gravity does. You didn’t feed me pendejada about becoming president one day or walking on the moon. You would instead predict that my compassion would act as an asset in my future relationships. I would be the best husband, the most responsible brother, the most respectful son. You believed, as many have hoped, that I could influence by being centered and honest and humble. You mistook me for a martyr.

After you died, rooms took on more significance for a good while. Suddenly, I discovered what walls were: a double-edged sword. What once acted as a container for joy and learning and your presence was now a coalition of erected hurdles in collaboration to keep you out of my sight. I was always convinced you were on the other side, waiting for me in the next room. While you moved to a more sustainable enterprise without me, I found out the ease with which freedom can invert to capture.

I can’t believe I result from you. You: a small bundle of energetic benevolence. Me – red-flagged in Kindergarten for making the 5th grade girls cry during recess. I miss you like a 500 page metaphor misses the point.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ZooBorns Escape, Transition from Cute to OMG!

I'm not yet sold on 3D movies - they can be quite a headache - but I am shocked (SHOCKED!) that there have been no plans announced to shoot a 3D movie about ZooBorns.

It's blinking because it knows
how powerful hypnosis can be.

Imagine IMAX-imizing the profits of your Zooborns empire, Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland. Envision an ocelot pup spinning toward you, weightless; an in vitro virtual reality Inception. Leo DiCaprio could play the lab assistant, confused over his feelings for the newborn anteater, but deftly proficient at juggling petri dishes.

Obviously the ZooBorns would escape, led by the stumbling elephant calf with photographic memory. They could StumbleUpon Tent City in the arid desert state of Arizona. There, they undoubtedly work their way through an escalating plot maze of succulent social workers, multi-dimensional assaults on their base tent, and dizzying cinematography (let Lindsay Lohan work the camera as community service, everybody wins).

Finally, the pups, calves, cubs, fawns, et ceteras and the single joey could return to the Zoo as guest judges for America's Got Cute. 

You know this film would test well among mothers, their children, atheists, and Europeans. If I were you guys, I would pull the trigger on this idea before Michael Bay gets his grubby forepaws wrapped around the concept and chokes it into the ground amidst gigantic explosions.

Slideshow of Zooborns on

UPDATE: Somebody at ZooBorns likes the idea. Hopefully they let me help out with the script?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Characters: Sudip, Paz, James, Zhang it!, Candlewick, Ash

Smartphones for Smart?People – Sudip does his best mercenary work when he is unpaid and under the influence. The man is a shock to all ecosystems he enters; he floats from here to there faster than a waif on vibrate. He executed a perfect evaporation from the club scene even though no crime had been committed. Next time we saw him was three hours later; marching through the apartment building lobby with a cup from Carl's Jr. in his left hand and an excuse for his disappearing act in his left brain.

At this point in the night Paz was missing his iPhone. On the way home Paz told us he believed Sudip had the phone in his possession. We were about to find out this was not true.

“Where is my phone?” Paz asks the simplest question, expecting an answer in parity. Instead, he was informed by Sudip that his phone was probably adhering to one of the following conditional states:
  • On his own person: “Check your pockets.”
  • Sold into unknown realms: “The aliens took it.”
  • Questioning its real owner: “It wasn’t yours in the first place.”
  • Undergoing temporary dementia: “I don’t know where it is. It doesn’t know where it is.”

There are clues to its whereabouts, and I seem to be the only one in custody of the faculty to put the pieces together. First clue, the Carl’s Jr. cup. I have a certain respect for all things Carl/Karl, and deduced I should trust my instincts and approach Carl. We found three Carl’s Jr. within theoretical “waifing” distance. When asked which one he attended, Sudip first claimed none and then all and then something in between. I then called Paz’s cell #, talked to the Indian who answered, and formed a dispatch party to go rescue the phone.

As we powerwalked, Sudip and his shadow waifed by very quickly on the other side of the street. We called to him, but he was already gone; hugging curbs and shifting perspectives is his specialty. His business card probably declares him a Shortcut Specialist. Our party found a cab, and when we arrived Sudip was nowhere visible. We wondered, had we really beaten him there?

Paz engaged the man at the register, pointing to his iPhone on the counter and saying something like, “That’s my phone.”

This received a “Maybe yes. Maybe no. We’ll see.” Paz asked the man to input his unlock code, and it worked. The man simply nodded and said, “Interesting.” Paz asked for the phone, but it was at this moment that Sudip burst through the door, shouting joyously in Hindi for all to fear. The sales associate’s face lit up with exultation, and suddenly everyone was smiling. Sudip sidled up to the counter, said some rough words which I can only assume came out smooth in another language, and was handed the phone. It was around this time that I noticed the smiling Mexican in the corner.

Paz and I asked for a backstory, and to our surprise, actually got one. Apparently Sudip had fallen asleep with two iPhones stretched out across a booth’s table: his own and Paz’s. Some indiscriminant failure of a criminal strode by and grabbed Paz’s phone, making a mad dash toward the door. At this point the Mexican security guard (working at Carl’s Jr.?) calmly walked forward and choked the thief to the ground. This man, the Mexican, now failing to suppress a smile under the large grey mustache on his face, could have been no more that 5’5”. This put the thief either in dwarf territory or recently escaped critical care patient.

Needless to say, when the fiasco unwound, Sudip told the security guard and cashier that the phone was not his. He gave it away to the cashier. Case closed, like the iPhone’s locked OS.  The END.

Surfing and Climbing – I received a text from my mom while I was at the beach.
“No more surfing – a great white attack in San Bernardino, love you.”
This was a turning point in the trip, for I was unable to text back… my fingers were inoperable. I had been “surfing” for so long and in such cold conditions that my hands were not only useless but suffering from gender confusion; I felt weaker than a premature baby girl born to an American-dollar father and a shallow-gene-pool-with-no-lifeguard mother. I dropped the cell and answered the call of the wild - a call that was immediately dropped by AT&T. I could see unlinked clouds scrolling across the distant Verizon.

The sharks and I got along in that we didn’t acknowledge each other’s existence. I was especially able to overlook a possible shark attack when I found out a member of our surfing party was bleeding profusely from the foot. Ain’t no shark gonna come get me when there is bloodier food in the water, right?

To transition from wet to dry, James took me climbing. James, for those of you who don’t know, is a humble host and more active than a culture of edible bacteria. Climbing, for those of you who don’t care, is the act of elevating oneself above oneself for the sake of forearm muscle mutilation. It is a form of social suicide that requires fake rocks and dirty hands, kind of like WalMart engagement-ring shopping. To learn more, go to your local parking garage and jump off.

In actuality, climbing was a great workout and James was a gentle belayer, plus the ladies there were quite fit, like a Honda. It makes sense; it’s hard to flail up a wall if you’re carrying around extra cottages and cheese in your sweatpants.

FroYo in the City; Diggnation – The food out west proved to be as good as advertised. Not that I knew who was doing the advertising, or even who was doing the cooking, but I enjoyed the calories nonetheless.

A post-lunch ice cream craving brought about a chilly discussion on the finer points of Frozen Yogurt, a phrase expected to be shorted to “FroYo” to avoid future chastisement. A slip of the tongue into the creamy regions of the bacteria-infused treat was sure to cause concern, but not nearly as much as saying “Frisco” or “San Fran.” We were ordered by all we met: call it “SF” or “the City.”

Ash, a former North Carolinian, who let us crash without cash, took us to see DJ Solomon at Ambassador 415. To get in, the doorman had to verify Ash’s connection to the DJ by way of a Facebook message exchange. Close call avoided my remixed messages; it was a great night.

By the end of the trip, Zhang it!, Candlewick and I were so plugged in to the pulse of the City and became so good at blending in that we were correcting the Local Natives of SF on correct location pronunciation and generally just being ignominious sassholes. On our last day, we attended a live Diggnation tech talk. We had a good time meeting the hosts of the show, Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose, and tried to convince them to swing by Raleigh sometime. They let us take their pictures and stand near them for a few seconds.

Look! Perfect height and color balance! What a priceless photo.

I was introduced last night to Paz
                Who is Raeli honest and good-natured
Last night Sudip got very truncated and
                Ended up losing Paz’s phone
What this meant to me was a haggard
                Late-night trip to Carl’s Jr.
Listening to Hindi cash-counter communications
                I was entranced by the diminutive security guard
This small man who claimed to have tackled
                The robber, stilling immediately the potential of robbery
I watched a crowd of City folk dance on stage
                In homogenous synchronization and sweat
I danced at the airport and on the sidewalk and on the dance floor
                The latina ladies appreciated my snappy gyrations
Surfed alongside blood provided from feet divided, not mine
                Caught myself enjoying the speed of waves breaking
Something inside me mended when rended board upended
                It created a gap between wrong and right, clarified the murky with authority
I looked dry in a wetsuit and it chested quite nicely
                I curled like a turbine under a crested white strip showing off my curly whites
If you haven’t heard they should sell rape kits at surf shops because
                I have white foam in every orifice, bruising on my thighs, and I feel cold inside.
                The tip of a surfboard; the instrument of delivery for fully unbuttressed penetrative accessorization

I think this unintended tender blender of dendrite detritus
Is the result of my needing sleep and this computer not providing it
Every character I type has a foible, every hero a foil, and every seed… the right soil

Nobody puts techno in the boardroom and nobody puts babies in the bathroom