Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dear Candy Crush Saga

This is a guest post from my friend and fellow blogger Natalie from over at Positively Natalie
You treat her nice, jerks, and visit her site while you are at it.   Natalie hates long walks on the beach, preferring to saunter through trees instead.  She does love dressing up like a anklyosaurus and singing Quiet Riot songs at karoake, though.  She also once slammed a door in my face because I threatened to form a "Pot and Pan Parade" through her living room, starting at 3AM, and restarting every four and a half minutes.  I may or may not have deserved it. 

I resisted you for a long time, as if I sensed the darkness of the path I would inevitably walk. But you seemed so innocuous, just a friendly little matching game to play now and then in my spare time. And that’s exactly what you were at first. It was fun smashing through walls of sugar discs like a bull in a candy shop as you shouted words of encouragement. Your protagonist looked like a younger version of myself, which made it all the more satisfying to watch her claim victory.

After a while, though, things got a little sticky. Molten rivers of chocolate slowly consumed the board, but I managed to bust my way out of danger. Piles of whipped cream jammed my path, but I brushed them aside like, well, actual whipped cream. “I am a candy crushing champion!” I declared to myself after you bestowed upon me the venerable title of Liquorice Astronaut.

Now that you’d built me up and gained my trust, you decided to up the ante by throwing bombs at me. They taunted me as they ticked down, move by move, before exploding and killing me with jawbreaker shrapnel. I started running out of lives more quickly, but instead of walking away from the game and waiting for them to regenerate, I downloaded the app to my phone so I could double my lifespan.

I’m sure there must be a word (probably German) that describes the frustration of having the winning swap lined up and then running out of moves before you can make it. I frantically swipe my fingers across the screen, thinking maybe my lightning reflexes will outsmart the programming. Alas, the machine always comes out ahead.

You see, much like actual candy, I seem to be incapable of exercising any willpower when it comes to your charms. I am by nature fixated on completion. I was the kid who insisted on breaking every damned block on every damned level of Super Mario Bros. just in case I could find even one more coin hiding somewhere. I bored friends to tears combing through Final Fantasy maps inch by painstaking inch to make sure I didn’t miss anything awesome hiding under a rock in the far corner of a massive swamp.

I will thus ignore the fact that when I lose a level (or fail, as you prefer to call it) my doppelganger cartoon inner child is brought to tears with disappointment. I will try to forget the unfortunate truth that staring at a particularly difficult level for weeks on end caused me to buy actual candy just so I could feel the joy of crushing it between my teeth. I’m no longer playing to win. Rather, I’m playing to defeat you, to thwart your obviously malicious scheme to rot my soul.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dear Hipster at the Record Store

I have bought two records, I mean honest to goodness vinyl records, in my semi adult life.  Both were bought on a senior class field trip to Philadelphia.  We were told we couldn't leave South Street, and that under no circumstances should anyone on this Catholic school field trip be caught entering or leaving the three story Condom Kingdom store, so my friends and I sought refuge in a Tower Records.   I found a vinyl section and grabbed up two before those goons I called friends could sully them with their fecal covered hands.  I was seventeen then, and the novelty of playing two of my favorite albums on the record player outweighed the hassle of only being able to play them on the record player.  Sixteen years later, I realize my folly, around the time that you and your ironic facial haired comrades have raged an analog war on this digital age.

My sister's birthday just passed.  Recently, she had dusted off the family's old LP's and took to using a turntable.  She also spent three hours in line on Record Store Day because she somehow thought that was worth three hours of her life so, when I heard her lament that a record store she likes had just gotten in a Smith's album and that she couldn't make it out there to get it, I decided her gift had been found.

Morrissey would have smiled, if only his tortured face remembered how, if he saw how I drove to the store in a dismal rain, only to have to park three blocks away for lack of parking.  When I made it to the store, dripping wet, I found a stereotypically disinterested bearded clerk ignoring me from behind the counter, and one other person, you, the rotting, festering hispter roaming the stacks.  The clerk, who could have clearly been ripped from a 1995 episode of the Simpsons, offered no greeting, and said nothing as I floundered around the store, trying to find the section for overhyped, self important English jagoffs who whine more than sing.  I was able to find Coldplay, but couldn't find The Smiths anywhere.

Having dispensed with any sense of pride years ago when I dispatched my sense of decency and decorum, I went to the plaided goon at the counter and asked where to find the album.  I was rewarded with an effete wave towards the back of the store.  You, you filthy, eavesdropping hipster, perked up, but I dismissed you for the moment.  Looks could not kill on this day, so I left my still living guide and moved towards where he vaguely had motioned.  As I did, you followed.  You began to pick up speed, but my superior reach foiled you, and I grabbed the entire stack of Smith's albums from the rack.  I tried not to smile as you stopped five feet from me and stared as I casually thumbed through the stack of records I clutched in my arms.  Smiles are like poison to you, and I didn't want to bring out the big guns yet. 

"You aren't going to buy all of those, are you?" you mumbled from behind your lopsided bangs and  infinity scarf.

"Nope" I mentioned, as I slowly cycled through the stack again. 

"Can I have Hatful of Hollow?" you said, reaching out your hand

"Nope.  That's the one I want." I finally put the rest back, holding onto the one record.

You ran over to the stack "Is there only one?"

"Yup." I said, turning to the front of the store.

"That's not cool man, I was going to buy that."

I turned and looked to you, "You heard me ask about it, and you were going to snipe the damned thing before I could get to it.  You know what, I hate the friggin' Smiths too."

You stared at me, realizing that perhaps people other than you and the acquaintances that drink PBR at your parties might not be the only people capable of cruelty towards others.  "Then why do you want it?"

The answer was obvious.  "So you can't have it."

I paid and left.  It only strikes me that you enjoy feeling alienated and jilted, so I probably made your day.  It also strikes me that I inadvertently gave Morrissey money, which he will use to transpant more baboon fur onto his head, but the moral victory was still there.

I rule.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dear Every Album From 1994 That Wasn't Weezer's Blue Album

Beastie Boys Ill Communication.  Stone Temple Pilots Purple.  Warren G Regulate.  Hootie & The Blowfish Cracked Rear View.  All of these albums were turned to garbage on May 10, 1994 when Weezer released their first self titled album, often referred to as The Blue Album.

Well, to be fair, Hootie wasn't so great even coming out of the gate.  Maybe people wanted to love again, or something like that, but that thing has not held up.  No, see, this happens every time.  I try to make a point, and Hootie and the damned Blowfish get me off topic, and I never get to where I was going.  This is like my best man speech at Steve and what's her face's wedding again.  Oh, don't judge me.  She was a temperamental harpy before they married, and I knew it wasn't going to last.

ELLEN! That was her name.  Happy now?  Just because I was in the wedding doesn't mean I have to remember her name.  She never let me come around anyway after she trapped him in her web. 

Anyway, The Blue Album spoiled every other album that came out that year, even spoiling several for the next year, especially Jewel's Pieces of You.  How could any album hold up to the songwriting talents of Matt Sharp and Rivers Cuomo before he became weird and pompous like a musical Jason Schwartzman?  With this week marking then 20th anniversary, I'm just going to go track by track to analyze just why it is the greatest album of the year.

Track 1- My Name is Jonas:  It lures you in with the guitar picking, making you think the is going to be some kind of lite rock hippie poppycock, but then BAM! the distortion kicks in and it's all DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN AND I'M CARRYIN' THE WHEEL! and then I remember I'm driving and grab the wheel again.  Every frickin time. 

Track 2- No One Else- You think it's taking it down a notch, but it's not.  It's still rockin'.  No one has socks anymore, and plastic surgeons are geeking out because of all the melted faces. 

Track 3- The World Has Turned and Left Me Here- How is this still happening?  If this was an erection, it would be priapism at this point.  This song is the best yet.  The layering at the end make baby seals feel ugly because it is just that beautiful.

Track 4- Buddy Holly and Track 5- Undone- The Sweater Song- Shut your face.  If these hadn't gotten overplayed, you would love these songs.  The video for Buddy Holly was awesome, and you are stupid.  Stop being stupid.

Track 6- Surf Wax America- BOOM! Back at it.  The first time I heard this song at age 11, I hitchhiked to the beach, went out to the water, and waited until a surfer made it to shore.  When he did, I punched him in the throat because his actions were sullying the song.  I would have gone to juvy but he was too scared to press charges.

Track 7- Say It Ain't So- This song is crazy.  It's all slow, then it's not, then it's slow, then it breaks your heart.  Literally.  It sonically cleaves your heart in half, cauterizes the wound, and makes you watch.  You have to be left alive, because there are still three songs left.

Track 8- In the Garage- THIS SONG IS ABOUT ME!  Except I never played D&D, or listened to Kiss, or anything they sing about.

Track 9- Holiday- The most underrated song on the album.  It's playful, yet bitchin'.  Why aren't you listening to this right now?  Ace of Base broke up because they could never write anything like this, because they are foreigners.  This song is the musical equivalent of riding Falcor from The Neverending Story.  It's all just soaring around in the clouds, surrounded by all that is fluffy, while bullies dive into dumpsters. 

Track 10- Only In Dreams- One second shy of eight minutes long, it's a winding, slow, mucky boat ride down a muddy river of feelings.  In college, I watched a fan video of this song set to footage from Cowboy Bebop, right around when Youtube was just starting.  I thought it was awesome at the time because I was 20, drunk alot, and Cowboy Bebop is awesome.

Anyone need anymore convincing?  How do you like that, Bone Thugz 'N Harmony?  Weezer just kicked your ass 'N then some. Go listen to this album and stop listening to Adele.  It'll give her something new to cry about.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dear Crab Meat Lover

Here is what renting a room at my hotel entails you: that room, and the amenities provided within said room.  Everything else is up for debate.  Yes, I am in the customer service industry, but there is a point where people need to be reminded that the hotel is not their home, hence the term "guest".

So, when I find myself in the kitchen of the restaurant, eating from a container labeled "Better Kreme" which is purportedly a better version of buttercream, I expect to be alone in my gluttony.  Imagine my surprise when the door leading out to the dumpster area opens and you step confidently in as if you own the place.  You look at me, look the the Better Kreme, and then extend your arm to show me the can of packaged crab meat you are holding.  You then ask me to open the can for you.

Let's start off with the first thing.  No, I am not opening your crab meat on the restaurant's table bound giant can opener.  We aren't going to open outside food products on our equipment, so there's that.  Worse off, the door you just came through was forty feet off of the Chesapeake Bay.  Why in Zeus' shiny murder trident would you come to a resort on the Chesapeake Bay and then go to a store and buy a can of processed crab meat?  Why not go to Philly and get a sandwich at Arbys, or go to Florida and order some orange juice concentrate? 

The thing that bothered me most, other than you finding my secret binging, was how the hell you ended up in the kitchen in the first place.  Here's the path you followed to get to where I was actively trying to get my foot to rot off:

1) You left your room and started walking down the access road.

2) You entered a wooden gate that clearly does not look inviting for non employees, yet you walked right in.

3) You passed by the stack of old chairs, desks, and hutches I took out of the rooms last week, as well as three dumpsters and a grease pit that smells like a rotting dolphin being thrown up on by homeless dock workers.

4) You then walked up a creaky ramp into a covered shed that houses industrial freezers.  At this point, you still did not stop and think that maybe you were somewhere you shouldn't be.

5) You exited that shed and came to a brick wall with a security door in it.  That door was unlocked, so you let yourself right it.

6)  You now stood in a small, dark hallway.  There is a metal door in front of you, one to the side of you, and a steep set of cement stairs leading upward into nothingness.  If you opened the door to the right, you would find yourself in the back of the restaurant, and would have to know that you were in the wrong place.  Going up the stairs, you'd get into a service hallway or onto roof access.  Neither of these are labeled, but they are clearly not places you should be.

7) What you did was open the door ahead of you, which leads down a brick hallway lined with employee postings and schedule, and ends at a metal table where a large man with a shaved head is scraping icing from a discarded bucket.  You clearly have no shame, so please, go and ask this man to do things for you.

When when I spurned your advances, you didn't even seem upset.  You mumbled you would buy a canopener in town, then you wandered back the way you came and left me to my shame.