Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dear Woodstown, New Jersey

I've written once about my recent trip to America's playground, but this trip has warranted a second letter.  As I drove behind a wonderfully ignorant driver down a single lane stretch of route 40, I had plenty of time to look at the scenery as we drive 10 miles under the speed limit.  I had an even clearer view of everything with the car widows open as I tried to try to alleviate the meat sweats I had gotten from the generous lunch portions at the Woodstown diner.  I had a good look at the goon vamping shirtless in from of the giant cowboy in front of the Cowtown Rodeo, his children embarrassed and waiting to throw water on him for the Ice Bucket Challenge.  I saw where the formerly abandoned and creeptastic strip club Sensual Desires had reopened, under the appropriate name Pole Positions.  But the thing that caught my eye, and nearly caused me to brake my car in the middle of Route 40, was much more innocent, at least at first glance.  I saw the single billboard, just a poster between two 2x4's in the ground, that stated "Haunted Paintball Hayride".  Other than the words, there was just one picture.  That picture was a zombie.

This was just outside the limits of Woodstown, New Jersey, a town I had previously known to show perhaps the most vibrant and patriotic display of town Halloween spirit I had ever seen since my childhood.  This is now the town that has stolen my heart.

I love Haunted Hayrides.  My friends and I did one on Halloween my senior year of highschool, and I still remember the night fondly thirteen years later.  I've never played Paintball, but I love laser tag and the shooting range, so I think this is a safe bet that my enthusiasm will translate.  So, when you ask me if, during my favorite holiday season of the year, would I like to ride a slow moving conveyance through a dark and spooky landscape, where zombies will attack and I get to actually shoot them?

I'm sorry, I passed out due to the lack of blood in my brain due to the massive erection I was just given.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dear Cute Girl at the Bar

Poor innocent me was minding my own business, spending time at an outdoor bar with my sister and my friend Cindyloo.  Cindyloo and my sister, being tremendous lushes, left me alone at the table, sipping on my cola, as they went to search for tequila and a funnel.  Point being, I was behaving myself.  Sure, I had been looking at you a little previous to this encounter, but it was mainly to figure out if your hair was cut in a weird, short style, or if it was pinned up weird in the back.  You were still very pretty, I just don't seem to understand what constitutes a valid hairstyle anymore.

So, while I was sitting there, I couldn't help overhearing you since you were sitting ten feet away.  Also, you were drunk talking so loud that Gilbert Gottfried would have found you to be excessive.  Typically I would tune out your offkey caterwauling very quickly but for what you said next.

"I's been so long...I gotta kiss someone.  I'm gonna make out with some guy so's gonna be awesome.  I'm just gonna find a guy and do it."

Clearly this was intriguing to me.  My initial gambit of coughing to garner attention failed so I brought out the big guns.  I stretched my arms out wide, making myself look as large as possible, same as I would with a jungle cat.  Sadly, same as with a jungle cat, this only caused you to look at me oddly and shrink away.  Suddenly little miss chatterbox was all whispers and stares.

Luckily for me, Old Lady Bourbon worked it's magic on you, and when we were leaving, you ran over to me.  Stars were in your eyes, a coy grin on your face, and excitement peppered your every move.

You leaned in close, and very seriously, you asked me, "Have you ever seen Hocus Pocus?"

This would not have stung the ego so bad had it not been the same day that a 19 year old server guessed that I was 45 years old. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dear DJ's, revisited

For the second week in a row, I need to revisit an enemy I've already addressed.  This time, I'm not angered at your astonishing lack of originality, or by the fact that you let Pauly D. into your ranks.  Your horrid masses culminated what ended up being a day of the universe holding me down and trying to spit in my mouth, and I cannot hate you enough for that.

I was able to snag one extra day off of work, and booked a trip to Atlantic City.  I went through all of my casino mailers, and found that I had free rooms for the Taj Mahal, like I usually do.  However, I couldn't book them for some reason.  When I called, I was only told that due to occupancy issues, my comp rooms were discontinued for only the exact dates that I was able to attend, but that I could book at a reduced rate.  With little other choice, I booked.  Looking into it, I figured the rates were up because on the Atlantic City air show, which I somehow have stayed through at 3 other times previously without having planned.  This would seem serendipitous until one realizes that with my anabelpophobia, looking up at low flying planes will tend to make me vomit on myself.  I cursed my luck, but still looked forward to my vacation. 

I never make big plans for the first day, since it mostly involves traveling, getting situated at the hotel, and losing most of the money I brought to gamble that was supposed to last for the next two days.  I started things out extremely well, to be honest.  I ate lunch at my favorite diner in my favorite town on the drive up Route 40.  I hit little traffic, was able to check in with minor hassle, and ended up even on the slots by the end of the night.  Even with the torrential rain outside, I was not hindered.  I had a great dinner for one last time at Showboat before it closes for good, and got to bed early for AC standards in preparation for the next day.

The middle day of the trip is the crucial day.  I had it planned out almost hour by hour.  I'd get a breakfast hoagie at White House Subs in my casino, have a cigar and play in the smoking section, hit another couple casinos before a quick lunch at the Irish Pub, then golfing down at the Renault Winery.  I'd end the night with dinner from Tony Baloney's Pizzeria, and have some cigars and a Collins at the Almost Angels show.  It would be as close to a perfect day as I can have in my sad little world.

I awoke to the first sunshine I'd seen since leaving Maryland and took this as a sign that maybe my luck was going to finally turn around for good.  As I waited for my egg and pepper hoagie, I sat and checked my emails, only to see that due to the rain the night before, my tee time at the golf course was cancelled and the course was closed.  I tried to shrug this off.  Yes, I was really looking forward to playing the course and enjoying the amazingly mild weather, and yes, I had now lugged my golf clubs across three states for no good reason.  This would not put a damper on the day.  I would still have the best day ever, I told myself over my delicious meal.  The smile faded from my faces as a cacophony of voices muted out the top 40 on the radio in the restaurant, signifying what appeared to be the Tenth Annual Running of the Middle Aged Hipsters. 

What I'd failed to notice as I'd wandered through the hotel were the myriad signs and banners welcoming all of you jockeys of discus to your exposition.  My once peaceful breakfast was ruined by a long line of potbellied, pierced fortysomething wedding DJ's discussing the merits of Pitbull while standing in line for the Panda Express next door.  The urgent need to be taken seriously was sucking most of the oxygen from the room, and I was forced to flee for my safety, sanity, and sandwich. 

This is what you miss when you stare at cocktail waitresses who end up calling you "bizarre" when you hand them your business card. 
Realizing that I need to get as far away as I could from this madness, I took to the boardwalk, only to receive a flyby from an old CeeBee from the airshow.  Faced with the choice of either vomiting outside or inside, I ducked into the next casino over, but felt that it wasn't far enough.  The faint ghosts of "Ooonce  Ooooooonce  OOOOOOOOOOOOnce" bled through the walls and through my soul.  I jumped into the most rickety Jitney ever constructed, and spent the rest of the day out at the Marina casinos, where the only Dj's they knew of were Tanner and Qualls.

My life in exile couldn't last, I knew this.  Even if I were to have Tony Baloney's delivered to the front stoop of the casino, I'd still miss the Angels show.  Reluctantly, I boarded and even worse jitney for the ride back home and dialed the pizzeria as I sat in the tiny, non Greg regulation sized seat.  After a ten minute hold, I slowly realized yet another joy was being stolen from me, as there would be no pizza in a timely fashion.  Resigned, I again went to White House, thankfully dining peacefully and alone. 

I adjourned to my room for a shower, shave, and all over gussification for the show.  I chose my finest cigars, and headed to the Ego bar.  Tremors twitched my nerves as the familiar "oonce  ooonce ooonce" started getting louder as I approached.  When I crossed the threshhold, The lovely ladies of the Angels weren't onstage.  There was a DJ rig manned by someone who looked like he'd had his hair chewed off by an overzealous goat was thrashing about to a song that, if it were named by Onomatopoeia, would have been called "FLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLORRRRP DUMPDUMPDUMP TWICKA bip Hanson." 

I knew better.  I knew what this day had became, yet I still turned to the bouncer and asked the question I didn't want the answer to.  Yes, the Angels had been bumped tonight so that some of the DJs that were lecturing at the seminars could show off their skills.  I pointed out that's like asking the best t- ball player on the field to show how they were the best at running.  It was bound to be awkward, and someone was likely to get hurt for no reason.

Somehow, in my sorrow spiral, I found myself on a deck at The Revel, which had just that day declared they would be closing in three weeks.  I sat in a chair, smoked my Arturo Fuente 858, and looked out to the Atlantic City skyline.  Some things are good enough that even DJs can't kill them. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dear Netflix, Again

I don't think this is a pretentious request.  It's not like I'm going to a sports bar, ordering a wine, then glowering at the people cheering at whatever game is on the tv while muttering "Savages" under my breath.  I've never worn a scarf indoors or in any weather above 30 degrees, and I've never once used the word "Sheeple" as a derogatory term.  So, I think I come from a good place when I tell you that your five star rating system is no longer sufficient. 

I'm not saying that your system isn't good.  In fact, I'd say that it probably has the best algorithm around to figure out what people will like based on past ratings.  I know that if your system says I will like a movie 3 1/2 stars out of five or more, I will generally enjoy that movie.  I pray every day that or GoodReads will develop a similar algorithm for books so that I can get such spot on recommendations, and so that I may never have to read another awful Debbie Gibson biography ever again.  I would know which was the best Debbie Gibson biography that didn't just focus on her hatred of Tiffany and her love of Lick 'Em Sticks, because these are things we all know. 

There are misteps along the way, sure.  You said I would like "Hot Rod" four stars, and I couldn't make it through ten minutes of Andy Samburg's mugging and non-acting and stupid ass face in general.  You also thought I would only like Arrow only two and a half stars and I Felicity that Smoak very much.  I mean...well, you catch my drift.

Your five star system is easy.  Hated It, Didn't Like it, Liked It, Really Liked It, Loved it.  Not too hard to screw up, which is why it works.  The problem is, there is one slight addition that you could make that could provide an even more laser focus to your suggestions. That would be a sixth star: "I Liked it For What It Was". 

This is every SyFy original movie ever made.  This is "Johnny Dangerously".  This is "Machete", "The 13th Warrior", "Better Off Dead", and anything Stallone has done since "Rocky 3".  There are movies you probably shouldn't like, but you just can't help yourself.  The idea came to me after I recently watched GI Joe: Rise of Cobra.  You gave it two stars for me, but a combination of Channing Tatum and The Rock's easy rapport, a solid guest spot by Joseph Mazzello, and the ever wonderful Adrienne Palicki led me to really enjoy myself.  Sure, it was a dumb movie that was perfect to watch while on the elliptical and working out, but that's not an excuse.  It was just plain fun, and I let myself see that. 

How many movies are you not letting me know about because they don't fit my love of revenge movies, high school comedies, underdog sports movies, and anything anyone that was in The Rocketeer has ever done?  How many Tim Allen movies will I have to watch before I find one that is appetizing that isn't named Big Trouble?  How many times much I accidentally watch Joe Somebody before you fix this?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dear Rush Fans

I think it's safe to say, I just don't get it.  I don't think any amount of explanation will help.  Paul Rudd and Jason Segel couldn't sway me to join your fanbase, and they were the only thing that got me to stop huffing hobby glue while making little figurines out of Popsicle sticks. 

It can't be the synthesizers.  I like The Rentals.  They have synthesizers.  New Wave has synthesizers.  That's way better than this.  Yeah, I don't like prog rock, but this is way worse.  Prog rock sound like a bunch of guys pretending to be wizards playing Rock Band.  You sound like that, but while someone on the couch behind those guys tries to comfort a basset hound that is having night terrors.