Sunday, January 18, 2009

In defense of Disney

A friend of mine recently wondered how I (a 26 year old) could possibly watch Disney Channel shows for entertainment. This made me stop and really think about my life. Am I just a big creep who doesn't want to grow up? Or is there something more about the Disney Channel that appeals to me? Now, this may sound a bit ridiculous but I think there is something to be said about watching shows where there are no bodies being dug up, no drug interventions, no love bus with brett michaels, just silly misunderstandings and wackiness ensuing. I think it brings us back to a much simpler time. And of course, it just plain ROCKS...


It all started on Facebook, this discussion of beards. Chris is a coworker of mine.

“Chris is growing a beard out of laziness.” C-Facebook

“That's the only reason I ever grow a beard. I shave it when someone asks ‘Oh, are you trying to grow a beard?’ when I thought it was at beard status.”-T, facebook

“The scruff has been receiving positive feedback. I don't think I'd look good with a beard and I start to plateau at a certain point, but what the fuck. Razors are expennnnnsive.”-Chris, Facebook

At a party, a friend of mine complimented me on the facial hair, and several people concurred...

“I love the facial hair! You should keep it that way. Don’t actually grow a beard, just always have five o’clock shadow.”-D
“That would require me buying some kind of special beard razor. Plus, I would always have to explain why I always have 5 o’clock shadow. I hate explaining things, remember that’s why I didn’t continue wearing fake glasses?”-T

A coworker agreed, and fueled the fire...

“I like your beard, meng! Are you copying Chris?”
“No, I always grow a beard in a cycle. I go a week without shaving, then I clean it up, then I have a beard, then it gets itchy, and I shave it and start over.”
“I think you should both grow beards…and be twins!”

Chris and I met, beard-face to beard-face and discussed our laziness-inspired facial hair.

“Are you growing a beard too?”-C
“I guess, I’ll probably shave it soon. Gina thought I was copying you. I told her I always do this in a cycle. Apparently, you and I are on the same cycle. That happens when ladies hang out a lot like we do.”-T

The official challenge was extended at the end of the work week, on an interoffice call...

“Are you a gambling man?”-C
“No. What? No.”-T
“Aww…so you won’t put money on who can grow a beard longer without shaving?"-C
“Oh, yeah, no, I’ll do that.”-T
“Yes! It’s a beard off!”-C

A few seconds after the challenge phone call ended, my phone rang again...

“Meng! I’m so excited about the beard-off! I think you’re going to win because you’re stubborn!”
“Is anyone betting on Chris?”
(BTdubs, they call me "Meng" at work. It's a thing.)

I hung up the phone and shared the news with my office. Things get a little boring around the office, so sometimes you have to make your own fun. Plus, everyone seems to dig a guy with a beard.

“Chris and I are having a beard-off!”-Tim

“It’s a motherf*cking beard-off.”-S

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Here at justforscuz, we decided that it was time to share our resolutions. Why? Because it's a half a month into the New Year. With a group of procrastinators the likes of which you've never seen (unless you've seen us), that's about on time.

I for one, did not make resolutions, really. In the past few years, I've made some improvements to my situation- I lost 50 pounds (September to March-ish), moved out of my parent's house (last minute decision in August, and moved through several jobs to get above that poverty wage line! (in October, June, August, and September).

January just doesn't do it for me as far as resolution season. Every year I resolve to just get through the holidays and keep on trucking. The only thing I want to do more of is go to shows, since I'm so close to Allston Rock City with several venues to see real bands or friends' friends' bands.

That's not really a resolution. So I've expanded.

1. I'm going to follow music more closely. I listen to some junk music. My ipod is full of everything random, with some hints of real music. Every once in a while I'm introduced to something halfway decent, but I never pursue it or focus on it for very long. Without having the actual object of a tape or CD, I am not forced to obsess and digest anything. I am going to make an effort.

2. Go to more movies this year. Movies used to be my thing, more than music ever was. TV was up there too. Each year, though, I see fewer and fewer movies, either in theaters or rental. I am going to see movies more often, even if it means seeing them by myself in a matinee. Last year I went to the movies by myself for the first time (a resolution set a long time ago, fulfilled in June). I always thought it would be awkward or embarrassing; it was neither. If I wait to see things with my friends, I end up seeing nothing all year but Wanted and Twilight and then I'm the only one who hates the movie (even though I kind of enjoy that).

3. Read more. Magazines. I need to read books too, but I already do that. I try to keep up with the news, but I usually just end up reading about some new star on the Yahoo! Science pages. When I signed up for a race a month ago, I received 3 free months to 3 magazines. I chose Men's Health, People, and Time. I feel like that covers a good base of information. I hate ignorance, and I like to be informed. I always read Men's Health and it is full of valuable information. Time will keep me up to date on world events. People will help me relate to "the kids" at school.

4. Races. I have done a few 5Ks. In the next year I want to do several events. I am doing a 10K in February, followed a week later by the Race Up Boston Place. I may or may not do a half marathon in February also. Since it is on short notice, I may allow myself to back out. Either way, I want to do at least...15 race events by the end of the year. My two loftiest goals are a half marathon, and the Santa Speedo Run. I will have to lose about 20 pounds of fat and dignity to do that though. Oh and also, add 20 pounds of spray tan, cuz homeboy is white.

BONUS: Get in a fight. With all of this positivity, I feel the need to keep it all in check. I've never been in a fight in my life. My brothers and I used to kick the crap out of each other. I've literally had my head stepped on by my older brother. Because of my little brother, I had stitches on the back and front of my head. And the kid who lived down the street from me growing up once knocked me offside the head with my Bart Simpson skate board. That was all in good fun. I should not wish bad things or drama in my life, and God forbid anything happen to my gorgeous teeth. Still, a part of me needs to know how I would do if I really got into it with someone.

My Resolutions, by Ms. Anita Rackow
I really only have one resolution and it is to start doing all the things I've been saying I want to do for years. So from here on out, if I say, "I want to do that" then I am going to give it a shot. You might think this is a cop out resolution. You might think-- Ha! Now she never needs to do anything because maybe she won't want to do anything all year. Well, you are wrong. This is going to be incredibly difficult because I say things all the time without thinking. For example. "I want to be a bartender" "I could be a sugar artist and my sugar sculptures would look better than that guy's." "Springboard diving, how hard could it be? I will be in the 2012 Olympics." "I'm not buying that ring. I could make that and sell it for twice as much." "I want to make a mockumenary." "I want to make a documentary." "The tomatoes at the grocery store suck, I am going to grow my own." "Do you think I could get a small business loan in this economy to open up my hot chocolate shop?"

If you know me at all, you've heard me say one of those things. I should quit now, because there is no way I can get all of that stuff done. However, I am just going to revise my goal a little. Instead of trying to achieve everything on the list and everything that pops up on the future list, my resolution this year is to figure it out and try it out. Experiment. What do I really want to do with the rest of my life? (Or at least for the next 15 years of my life before I start shrinking and losing bone mass).

Along this quest, I am going to also be more diligent about a healthy lifestyle. The ideas in my brain are so chaotic at times, I think I need to tone it down in my real life to come up with a balance. So, I might be a little more zen this year. I might start doing yoga in my living room and going for dawn runs before work. I'm going to continue to eat organic and as local as I can (after I finish off this bag of Baked Sour Cream and Cheddar Lays) and do some home cooking for this one and only. I'm not going to stop getting caught up in crazy ideas and big dreams, but I am going to do some serious soul searching to find out what really makes me tick. And if there is an opportunity, I am going to go for it. For real this time. Happy New ME.

Resolve This aka Krissy's resolution.

My only resolution is to do the things that I always say "oh I don't do that" when people ask me to do them. Make sense?

"I don't run unless being chased" (I have signed up for both half and full marathons this year)

"I don't date unless being chased" (I have signed up for Eharmony...we shall see where this goes)

"I don't ride a bike unless being chased" (Haven't touched this one yet...we'll see in the Spring)

You get the picture. I no longer need to be chased.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Strangers

The true measure of how scary a horror movie is, is how it sticks with you. Friday the 13th movies eventually became something of a joke (a joke I still enjoy), but even so I can't help but think of a hockey mask wearing psycho if I'm by a lake at night (this does not happen often, maybe because Jason Voorhies ruined lakes for me. Or I'm not "outdoorsy.") The Blair Witch Project was a polarizing film- viewers appreciated that it left a lot to the imagination...or they had no imagination (their childhoods must have sucked).

The Strangers did not stick with me. Immediately after watching the film, I walked home over a mile on a cold, winter night, at 4 in the morning, not seeing a single soul. Even Signs had me freaked out the night I saw it. Being an M. Night Shyamalamadingdong movie, it falls apart on repeated viewings. The image of of the alien fingers reaching under doorways still stuck with me enough that I avoided looking at doors for the rest of the night, and literally had to jump into my bed, the way I would have done after a nightmare when I was six years old. So...I am not tough.

On my walk alone, in the middle of the night, through sketchy backroads immediately after watching this movie, I should have been envisioning people in a suit and a hood or maternity dresses and weird cupie-doll masks. I have an overactive imagination, but even my delusional brain can't make those things scary. The hood was a too-tailored, Hollywood-ized version of what Jason Voorhies wore in Friday the 13th II. In the few scenes it is shown out of focus, in the background, it was admittedly somewhat offputting. The girls wearing doll masks and hippie clothes were never scary. And I think dolls and hippies are scary, so go figure.

Most of the time, the villains are making lame attempts at taunting the couple played by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. I would delve into their story and characters, but their story is boring and, what characters? Both are decent actors, but they don't have much to do here. It could have been a silent film, the dialogue was so forgettable.

The lurky figures in the background lingered too long and lost their effect. They spend most of the film standing around or slowly stalking the young couple, only to suddenly disappear. Jason was famous for his disappearing act, but you knew if he took off, he was killing someone more expendable. By the end of this movie, only 3 people die, and the three killers are responsible for only 2 deaths. First of all, that is a terrible murdering average. Second, the death they are not responsible for is the only dramatic or suspenseful one. Scary villains? They are about as scary as the bumbling trio of fools from Superman III, but nobody turns into a robot.

Note: this movie is not even 90 minutes long, but it will fill like 2 hours plus. It is also misleadingly "based on a true story." The story stems from an incident in which a stranger came knocking on director Bryan Bertino's door as child, and later he found out houses had been broken into. The rest is based on the Manson family. I would call that remotely based on a true story.

Rating: 3 out of 7

Thursday, January 8, 2009

WTF Moment of the Night

Flipping through the channels this evening, biding my time until 30 Rock, I come across Grey's Anatomy. Hadn't watched it in a long long time, so I tuned in for a bit.

Then. I. See. Him.

Denny. From what, season 2? The guy who was in several episodes and then DIED.

Izzy is standing there talking to Denny, her dead fiancée, about Alex, with whom she is currently dating. About how to tell Alex that she is seeing Denny, who is dead.

WTF. Seriously.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who is your favorite Superhero?

I spend a lot of time thinking about superheroes. I think it is because I always wanted to be one, and secretly I sit around hoping that one day a radioactive spider will bite me and give me spidey sense or I will suddenly develop powers because yes, my parents aren’t actually my parents they are just the people who found me in a corn field 20 odd years ago.

Whenever I ponder superheroes, I have the same debate about who my favorite superhero is, of the main three superheroes that have had fairly recent movies made about them: Superman, Spider-man, or Batman. [Disclaimer: I am basing all of my knowledge on movies I’ve seen, not comic books. I know this makes me not a true geek, but what can I say.. nothing at all.]

Superman always ends up on the bottom of the list. I think it is partly because he was born with his powers and the fact that he has so many! Hello, greedy. Thus, the fights aren’t as fun, because if his skin of steel doesn’t work, he can just burn you with his eyes or fly away, or use his incredible speed to get away, or look through the walls with x-ray vision and spot the problem. Sure, one tiny meteorite could end up being his downfall, but somehow that isn’t enough to hold my interest. To be honest, I’ve always preferred Clark Kent, and I don’t think it is good for the bookish alter-ego to take precedence over the mysterious handsome superhero.

Speaking of secret identities, the whole Superman/ Clark Kent thing has got to be the worst best kept secret in the history of superheroes. I mean, sure, Superman wears tights, a cape, and has gelled back hair. But he looks exactly the same as Clark Kent, minus the glasses. Plus, Clark wears his super outfit right under his regular clothes. Has no one seen a glimpse of the blue and red spandex peaking out from underneath a shirt sleeve? It’s unrealistic.

As much as Superman is classic and you’ve got to appreciate him for the fact he is basically the one true hero in the history of the world, the true rivalry is between Spider-man and Batman. Both characters have a bit of a dark side, and considering giving it all up for a girl (or just to have a life). Both characters have dead relatives, that motivate them from the grave to be better people. Both characters have a bit of a chip on their shoulders, a sense of responsibility because of how they were raised and how things panned out. They both have good disguises that include masks, in Spidey’s case his entire face is covered.

Then, there are the differences. Spider-man has actual powers. Spider bite makes him part spider. A nerd turned Super. He gets points for being a former nerd, for being raised simply by his aunt and uncle, even though his uncle’s name was Uncle Ben which always makes me think of the rice.

Batman, on the other hand, doesn’t have powers. He learns fighting skills and uses his insane amount of money to make special gadgets in order to fight crime. He doesn’t have parents either, was basically raised by Alfred (his guardian, his butler, I am never sure).

This is where it gets sticky. Who is the better person? Batman, who puts his money to good use to serve Gotham City, or Spider-man, who has no money, lives in a shithole, and still swings around the city trying to save lives. Is it better to have everything and give everything, or to have nothing and give everything? Who has more merit?

Well, when you can’t decide the better merit, you have to judge on looks and looks alone. In this case, I think Bruce Wayne is going to have to win on this one. He is an excellent secret identity. In recent movies, he has been so good about acting the part of the wealthy playboy who loves to party and hang with models. I especially love how clueless he seems. In this way, Batman sacrifices his real identity’s reputation (if real is the person you are born, what ‘real’ really means is certainly up for debate) for the greater good of the city. In fact, he even sacrifices Batman’s reputation in The Dark Knight at the end, just to maintain that the White Knight (Harvey Dent / Two Face) was a martyr even though even he could not withstand the evil that comes from great loss and became part villain.

Spider-man’s secret identity, Peter Parker, doesn’t quite measure up. Sure, he’s cute in a geeky way, but he is always so flustered and scattered. He needs to step up. Then again, maybe not. Maybe that is the mastermind behind his secret identity. Regardless, I am still loving Bruce Wayne at this moment. Or Christian Bale. Or whatever.

I think I may have come to a decision. Based on my almost midnight musings, Batman reigns supreme in my personal debate about who is the best superhero. He’s self made, he uses his money for good and not evil, he sacrifices himself time and time again, and he’s handsome when played by Christian Bale. Looks like we have a winner. At least until the next Spider-man or Superman movie comes out.... Or until another superhero comes along to sweep me off my feet, anyway.

Blerg!spot: Parking in the snow

After much debate with myself, and a nap to muster the strength to do so, I decided to go to the gym tonight, and brave the second ice storm Boston has gotten in a week. I have let myself get a bit out of shape, while I shopped around for gyms and decided that walking to work was enough exercise. This theory worked in part, since I have to use my legs more than the average person does. Seriously, you should see these gams. Walking to work does not, however, keep away my handles of love or give my arms the strength to push myself off the ground in the inevitable fall I will for sure experience on one of my daily leg-commutes.

I did a workout. An easy one. I have gotten in and out of shape enough to know not to overdo it right away. That’s for the resolution crowd, who are currently clogging up the gym scene and hurting themselves enough to feel it’s okay to give up next week. I can’t wait as they drop off; their failure gives me the boost I need to do better than them.

As I looked for a parking spot, the rain had had time to freeze and make the roads slick and give a nice hard slippery shell to the snow already on the ground, like that chocolate shell for ice cream, but not delicious. The first two side streets were full, so I drove one further. This particular street features one of the many decently sized hills in my neighborhood. It also featured one remaining parking spot, so I went for it. But as my back tires got over the tiny snow pile at the back of the spot, I got stuck. I tried wiggling back and forth but could only move in reverse, aided by gravity and black ice, toward the truck behind me. Blerg!

I made enough noise that two guys came out to help. There is usually a shovel in my trunk that would be helpful in this situation. During the blizzard two weeks back, I loaned it to my friend and I haven’t asked for it back. Using my ice scraper to plow half the street, I cleared a path for my car. The two good Samaritans got me out of the ice, I thanked them, and drove off.

Still, I needed a spot. After a few trips around the block, I spotted one space left right by my apartment. Like Liz Lemon, I said to myself “I want to go to there.” Parking has been an issue since I moved to city and in the first week, had my car towed and received five parking tickets. I told the city to suck it and had three of them excused. After changing my address on my credit card bill and changing my car’s registration, I made the hike to City Hall to get an Allston/Brighton parking permit. On that day, they told me that the registry was down, so they couldn’t look up my information. Come back tomorrow. I left, defeated. Then I said, F that, called the registry, found it was back up, marched back into the dungeon that is City Hall and got my permit. Huzzah!

Armed with my permit, I refuse to park anywhere far or inconvenient. I’m too, what’s the word, good, for that. This spot was “pimp” and the reason it was still open was the two-foot snow bank taking up half the remaining area. But the spot, so sweet. Now I’ll just grab my shovel, and…BLERG! Luckily, my friend who borrowed the shovel lives on the next street. Unluckily, she is in New Jersey. I called her roommate…who did not answer.

I was going to have to move the two-foot snow pile with my two feet. My two feet, and a broken lamp. Using trash to find parking, now that’s resourceful. Kicking, rapid-fire like Billy Blanks, I broke down the pile, sending snow and ice flying into the darkness. I made like Johnny in The Karate Kid and swept the legs out from under the mini mountain. My tires smell like burning, I probably damaged some toes, I touched street trash- but I can see my car from my kitchen. Good night.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

That's What She Said

"You be careful with that pole. Don't get any crazy ideas."