36 Hours in London - Part 2

The minute I board my flight to London I am accosted by beautiful looking British women with accents I crave like ice cream. The minute they start talking to me and ending their sentences on an uptick I am instantly jealous.

But instead of just coveting their accents like a normal crazy person, I replicate them. Not just a generic British accent (I prefer a cockney accent myself) but the specific type of accent they have.

I don’t do this to mock them, I do it because it’s like test driving a life. It’s fun, it doesn’t cost me anything, and I get to see what it feels like.

I fake a British accent all the time. Not to confuse people, people I talk to seem confused enough by my existence already, but because I love the sound of it. I’ll speak to my coworkers like a London tour guide when trying to spice up a spreadsheet. Or I’ll do an accent for my friends when explaining something I know nothing about.

I.E. Lying.

It’s not just British accents either, all accents. Irish, Australian, French, and Italian are my personal favorites and appear the most frequently. But when I’m around people who actually have accents? Forget it. It’s like everybody is walking around with a tray of free cupcakes and I’m not supposed to take one, but I know I really can if I want.

So there I am on my flight and my flight attendant asks me if I want something to drink. And I answer but she doesn’t understand me and asks me to repeat my self. So naturally this time I say “water” with a British accent.

Damn it.

I tried. I really did. But I made it about 45 minutes. But I did it strictly out of a need to be understood. Because I have found in my clinical scientific studies (and by clinical I mean “beer fueled” and by scientific I mean “in bars”) that if I speak to somebody from another part of the world if I use their accent, it makes the words I’m saying easier to understand.

I think it’s because our ears become so attuned to the sound of not just our own language, but the tone and way that it is spoken. So to say even the same words, with a different tone or inflection, can seem tricky.

Really, what I’m saying here, is that I am doing the world a favor.

A perfect example of this is the usage of words pairs between different cultures. Like when my stewardess approached me and asked:



Would you like a muffin or a Danish?

I chose the muffin. And even though it was dark in my aisle I could still see that she was about to hand me something that looked like a disk more than a muffin. I took it from her, held it under the light and saw what it was.



Ah yes, a muffin top.

Now while this mythical foodstuff was glorified by Seinfeld, this was not really a muffin top. If anything it looked more like a muffin middle. I chose not to say anything, I just smiled and said thank you.

It also means something else that is entirely inedible. I will spare my own creative explanation for one that has been pre-approved by thousands of Internet denizens.

We finally arrive in London, meet our driver, and are immediately carted off to our presentation where we are scheduled to speak as soon as we get there.

Now I’m in a professional business setting listening to a room full of British accents. I feel like it has already been infused into my blood.

And I am about to make a presentation to a room full of European clients, including some British, and I find myself talking to my boss in a fake British accent when he stops me abruptly and says:

Rich, you can’t do that here!

Oh crap, right. These people know I’m from New York. Faking a British accent here will just make them think I am an ass or idiot… or both. And I don’t know these people. I still have a chance to make them think I’m bright and stuff.

Lucky for me, I made it through my presentation without faking the British, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish OR Scottish accents in the room. I didn’t anticipate so many accents. It was like a buffet of wonderful voices. I just wanted to sample all of them.

We finished our presentation and hustled out of there before I could do any damage. I arrived back at my hotel, dropped my stuff and tried to make the most of the 30 hours I had left. So naturally I took a long walk, had a beer, and a Nutella filled crepe.

I contemplated ordering both an accent, after all I didn’t stick out. I was in the one English speaking country on the planet with an entire population of people just as pasty white as I. But I opted against it and stuck to my normal speech.

And for the rest of my time in London I managed to keep myself in check, though I would occasionally find myself mouthing along with somebody else while they were speaking, like I was trying to learn the words to a song. Really I was just memorizing aspects that I could use when I got back home and was free to fake an accent again.

And I arrived back in my home country, got off the plane and into a cab with a driver who had an accent. But it didn’t excite me in the same way. It had been a long 36 hours, and I was just to tired to fake it…

For now.

36 Hours in London - Part 1

It’s 6 am. I am at the Newark airport which is in New Jersey. I have just spent 75 minutes in a taxicab with a driver who though unfailingly polite, used the break way too frequently.

I stumble into the airport where I am greeted by a beautiful attendant from Virgin Atlantic. What service I think to myself.

Can I help you?

I go to respond but then I see my boss standing on my left.

No thank you. I’m meeting him.

I walk over, still nauseous and tell him how glad I am to not be in a cab. He says:

Don’t get too comfortable; you’re about to get back into one. Our flight has been cancelled.

No! It can’t be! This is my first business trip! The first time I was going to be sent to a place other than the Bronx on the company dime! London! LONDON! Sure it was only going to be for 2 days but still! I love London!

LONDON!

The morning had started out so perfect too. My car service had been right on time. Which, if you order a cab to pick you up at 4:45 in the morning, you’d hope he didn’t have something else to do.

And even though the roads were clear, my cab driver’s GPS seemed to insist he take local roads from my house to the airport. And by the time he finally did get on the highway every exit meant slowly alternate pumping the brakes and the gas.

I slouched down in my seat and tried to focus on the horizon because I don’t do well in cabs to begin with.

So by the time my boss told me I was about to get back in a cab I just about puked right then and there. Apparently our plane had never left London the night before.

What were we going to do? We were only to London for 2 days to begin with. Was it worth it to go? Luckily the airline gives us a 10-dollar breakfast voucher so we can mull over this important decision at 6 am with a muffin and a bagel respectively.

We decide, this trip is too important, we must venture on! We tell this to one of the lovely Brits who does her best to rebook us and assure us we should have plenty of room on the flight out. Thus we were promptly rebooked on the 9 pm flight, again out of Newark, which is still in New Jersey.

She then asks us if we have a place to stay until our flight.

Now, had I been thinking clearly I would have said no, and gotten some sort of a voucher to stay at an airport hotel nearby where I could nap and then just head back to the airport easily without worrying about traffic or cab nausea.

But I was operating on 4 hours of sleep and wasn’t at my mental best, so I said “oh I’m fine I live in the city.” Never mind that it would mean another cab ride across 2 rivers to get there… in morning rush hour traffic.

Damn it.

So she writes me a voucher for a cab. This is a local cab with no meter and no GPS. Though very kind he has no idea where I live. I ask him if he knows where LaGuardia airport in Queens is, he says yes. Perfect. That’s where I live. Wake me when we get there.

So I close my eyes for a little snooze but I am quickly punched in the eyeball by a fat ray of sunshine that will stay stabbed through my retinas the entire trip home, which will take an hour and a half.

So I wrap my scarf around my head like some kind of nap swami and pray for sleep. And praying was quite fortuitous because my driver listened to the Bible radio station the entire trip.

Now while that is not my normal auditory choice, it actually worked out well. I found the children’s chorus harmonically spelling out B-I-B-L-E after each commercial break to be quite soothing. And I passed out.

And I slept somewhat pleasantly. That is of course until my cab driver woke me up with a frantic:

Sir SIR! We are at LaGaurdia!

Oh ok… keep driving, it’s a little bit further.

Oh OK, I thought we passed it because you said you live near the airport.

So polite my cab driver was.

So he drops me off at my apartment. I take a nap. I watch a movie. I call another cab which picks me up about 7 hours after my last cab drive.

It is now 5 pm. And while I am excited to get on an airplane, I am not excited to be in a cab. In the heart of evening rush hour traffic. To once again drive to Newark, which is still in New Jersey.

My third cab driver of the day once again attempts to take local roads most of the way before getting onto and off highways so frequently I have no choice but to close my eyes and pray to not vomit.

I miss my bible radio.

But the eyes closed method would have worked had my cab driver not subscribed to the “OH SHIT” method of using his brakes. Several times I wondered if I would make it to the airport at all.

Luckily I had 90 minutes to contemplate this, especially the 30 minutes I spent at a stoplight in lower Manhattan because my cab driver thought the fastest way across town was on a one-lane cobblestone street.

But finally, 11 hours after I first arrived at the airport, after 4 hours of cab rides, not enough sleep, and one outfit change… I am back at the airport.

I check in, go to the gate and have a seat.

But now I had a new problem to deal with: My propensity for feigning a British accent… to people who actually have British accents.

To be continued…

Fiji - Getting There

I am a big fan of the weather. I enjoy experiencing a wide assortment of elements throughout the year. I like the variety and the changing of the seasons. Granted when I was in Arizona and we had 330 days of sunshine... that wasn't bad either.

This winter in New York though is easily the snowiest I can ever remember. It seems like it has snowed every single week when usually it seems we don't get our first big snow storm until February.

And since I live and work a block away from a subway stop, and don't have a car, the fact that we have been virtually abused by snowfall hasn't made me that upset. Honestly the city is prettier under new fallen snow. Granted the nasty black tire slurpee the streets turn into after it snows is another story but hey, I try to see the good.

Usually New York winters get so brutally cold that your face freezes and the wind makes you angry. You find yourself walking up the street at a forty-five degree angle on a particularly blustery day screaming at the wind:

Stop it! Just stop damn it!

But when it snows it at least gives the cold purpose. Like that was its job, to produce cold. And it succeeded. Good job weather!

And I do love the snow. I think it’s beautiful and amazing. I revel in it. I stare at it. I soak it in. I take pictures of it. I think it is the coolest thing in the world… until I have to go somewhere.

As the vacation I had spent the last two months planning approached, I became more and more aware of just how panicked the weather can make you (and by you I mean me) when the country’s biggest snow storm and your two week trip to Fiji fall on the same day.

Let me back up.

I won a trip to Fiji last year for a video I made for the Fiji Water Air Pacific contest. Two round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Fiji.



And that's F-I-J-I ladies and gentlemen. Not FIGI as every single person I know seemed to be calling it.

So I had to first get the time off, find a travel buddy, and then actually book the trip, which was like trying to teach an otter to play the saxophone.

At least that’s how it felt.

Here's the abbreviated version:

I call the Fiji hotline 4 different times to check available dates (I didn’t trust the operators I spoke to).

I call Fiji to book my trip. They say call the main office.

I call the main office, they say I must call Fiji back and tell them to book it for me.

I call Fiji back, and the same dude says I must call the main office and go through them.

I say NO! You book it!

He books it.

I have to mail in my certificate proving I won. I do so. They don’t receive it.

Now I have to fax it.

And of course this is the one day of the year I am home sick from work with the winter plague.

At home, I don't have a fax machine. I don't have a scanner. I don't even have really good handwriting. So instead... I now have to schlep myself to the copy store like an idiot. I feel like salty death. Its raining and I am now wearing snow boots, ASU tear away pants, a sweatshirt, and an orange down vest. I look like I am on the starting five of the home depot polar basketball team.

Did I mention I feel like death?

I get to the copy store and essentially… buy a fax? Because that's what I am doing. So I buy one fax to send to the Fiji people to prove I am not some random idiot calling to pretend I won a contest to fly 97 thousand miles around the planet just so I can plant my pasty white ass in the sand. There are a lot of places much closer where I could do that!

Eventually the fax is received and the peasants rejoice. And even though this is a trip that I won, I still have to pay taxes on the tickets. So after the back and forth my credit card is charged for roughly the same amount as the Louisiana Purchase.

And then days before my trip, I read reports of cataclysmic rains attacking Australia and the warning of a CYCLONE heading for that region of the earth the same time I am due to arrive.

It is as this point that I realize I have no idea what the hell a cyclone is.

So I Google cyclone.

And then I Google “How to survive a cyclone” where I find my 2 favorite tips.

Protect yourself with rugs and blankets.

Never assume the cyclone is over.


Right, because I’m sure my jungle beach hut made out of grass in the middle of equatorial nowhere in the middle of the Pacific will have an abundance of “rugs and blankets.” I’m not packing those either.

And never assume the cyclone is over? So what am I supposed to do, just walk around the rest of my life hoping the cyclone is over but carrying a bag full of rugs and blankets just in case?

Hey Rich what’s with all the rugs and blankets?
Oh there was a cyclone 5 years ago, but I’m not sure it’s over yet.


Once I managed to finally wrap my head around that awesome bit of fear the snowstorm of the millennium hits, well, America.

With it comes snow and freezing rain so severe that news anchors are going outside and punching ice... to prove how icy it is.

I even saw a newscaster pointing out all the different kinds of ice. Ice in the snow. Ice in the trees. Ice on the sidewalk. It was like Dr. Seuss was doing the news. Hell it probably would have been better if Dr. Seuss did the news, I love it when things rhyme.

So I check my airline to see there are six flights to Los Angeles the day I leave. The first four have been cancelled before I even wake up. Mine is the sixth. And by the sheer will of the universe, I make it to the airport, onto my plane, and off to L.A with no issues.

And so began 10 of the most amazing days of my life.

To Be Continued…

Picture of a Perfect Flight

I just bought a plane ticket to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. It is the most I have ever paid for a domestic plane ticket in my life. And it is for this reason that I will be eating air sandwiches and sneaking into movies until my bank account recovers from the hit.

Airlines make me angry. Not angry like, say, the way slow walkers piss me off. No I’m talking about feeling violated. Like I’m in an abusive relationship with somebody that I only see 6 weekends a year, but I still can’t get out of it.

Rich are you going out with Delta AGAIN?
I can’t help it. I just know we’re so good together.
The last time you were together Delta punched you in the mouth and stole your money!
You just don’t understand her. She did that out of love.

Air travel hasn’t been a pleasant experience since… well, I really can’t remember the last time it was a pleasant experience.

And certainly with the new baggage fees in play, passengers are extremely angry. I don’t know who charges what to check bags, I just don’t do it. I try to pack as little as humanly possible, and if I have to pack a lot, I jam my stuff into my carry on so tightly that I anticipate the zipper snapping off and killing somebody.

But when I have the ability to do so, I travel only with my laptop, a book, and a toothbrush.

The latest wave of airline backlash has resulted in some pretty interesting airline ads. They are getting very creative in describing just why THEIR airline is the one you should choose. And when you are on these planes they are sooo gracious.

“Thank you so much for choosing our airline.”

It is at that point that I want to stand up and say;

Excuse me, I would just like to point out that I didn’t choose this airline OK? I was forced into it by the fact that you are the only airline that cost less than 500 dollars and wasn’t leaving from New Jersey. OK? So when you say I chose you, well yea, but I also choose to go to the dentist and he regularly stabs my mouth until I bleed. So don’t get a swelled head. Airline.

Really the only interesting thing about flying is the Sky Mall magazine and half the time somebody has stolen the copy that I am supposed to read. So I just pour over the safety guide and try to imagine what the people in the pictures are saying to each other.

I wanted to take some home so I could use them in this particular post but I am not in the habit of stealing other people’s safety guides. I feel like that is really bad karma. And I also didn’t want to be the creepy guy on the plane taking pictures of the safety guide.

But I really need to express the ridiculousness of the safety guides so I googled a couple to show you just what I mean. Like this one:


It appears to say, “In case of an emergency landing, if there is a redheaded woman on the flight…. Push that bitch off the plane!”

And I really love this one.


This woman doesn’t open her eyes throughout all of the examples. As though in a time of airplane crisis its just soooo easy to find your life vest, attach it to yourself, find your way to the open door, and then strike a hip-out pose before jumping into the ocean.

Asshole.

After I am done judging the artists who try to save our lives through instructional cartoons, I start browsing the airline’s magazine. It is sometimes interesting, and usually doesn’t get me riled up. But on my last flight I realized a drastic and inexcusable bit of false advertising.

As I got to the back of the magazine where they show food and beverage items available for purchase, I realized something I had never noticed before. This image:


Now I know first class is different than coach, but I have never been on a flight where TAP BEER was an option. Unless of course they are advertising that this particular beer magically fills up a glass (and who gets a glass on a flight - its plastic cups all around friendo) twice the size of the can it came from? In which case I would like to see the science behind that.

So now I am salivating over the idea of a beer but I know the best thing to drink on a flight is water. Doctors say so. Your body needs water on a flight. So I throw back a couple of waters because I am terrified of DVT, but now I have to pee. And there are few experiences more uncomfortable than an airline bathroom.

In fact I try to avoid using them.

I am not a big person. I am not a wide person. I’m 6’2 and on the skinny side. But sweet baby Jesus, every time I have to use an airplane bathroom I have to contort my body into a series of angles and loops that are far from natural. I feel like I’m auditioning for a spot in Crap Du Soleil.


I am too tall for the bathroom though so I have to stand with my neck at a right angle. Its such an uncomfortable experience that I need a visit to the chiropractor just to undo the damage from a simple potty break.

There’s no making any of this better. It just sucks. Well, unless maybe I kept my eyes closed the whole time. Yea, maybe that will work.

Miami Bound Machine - Part 1

I mentioned recently that my Cold-EEZE video won the contest it was in. And my prize for that was a mystery vacation. The details of my vaycay were recently revealed to me. I will be going on an all expenses paid trip to MIAMI!

Awooohooo!

The itinerary for the trip was posted on the website.


It is going to be epic. I am beyond excited. I knew it was going to be someplace warm and awesome and Miami is both of those things.

But then I started thinking.

This is Miami. This is where, at least according to Will Smith, there is a party in the city and the heat is on.

Miami is like the Las Vegas of the East Coast without all the hookers and the gambling (I’m guessing).  Nobody ever comes back from Miami with a story like

“Yea it was OK, I mean, it was kind of quiet, real low key, we just kind of hung around and ate chips.”

No, every time I talk to anybody who has come back from Miami it’s always like:

“Oh my god the beaches were so hot and everyone looked amazing and buff and then we went to the craziest club at night, and danced in an upside down anti gravity chamber of awesome. And then we drank champagne out of David Caruso’s wallet!”

Miami is the city of players, and playas, and la playa, and probably papaya. This is a city of bespoke linen suits, and bottle service, and the sexiest humans on the planet.

Well, in 3 weeks it will be home to the sexiest humans on the planet and this guy;


This just will not do. I can’t roll up to Miami looking all hokey and foolish... ya know, like myself. There will be about 100 very cool people getting on this plane to go down there for this party. And I just keep having visions of myself walking onto the plane and hearing:

GO HOME DORK

As a tiny empty vodka bottle and a honey roasted peanut hit me in the side of the face.

No, I have to get my act together. The way I see it there are 3 parts of my life I need to get in order before I make my way down on a plane full of trendy, sexy, party animals. And the first part of it is my wardrobe.

Even though I think I look OK when I go out in New York, it is always different when you go to another city. Like last year when I shot down to D.C. for the 4th of July and my friends and I went out at night. I thought I would look good in my New York staple black. Imagine my surprise when I showed up at a bar full of people who looked like they were on an Easter egg hunt.

I realize now that certain cities require certain style.

Now I have had some interesting outfit choices over the course of my life. In fact it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I actually started understanding how to buy and wear clothes.

Up until then it was a lot of hit and miss with many more misses than hits.

Like back in 8th grade when I so badly wanted to dress cool and look like the other cool people. At this time there was a popular accessory in my school. It was a belt made out of a seat belt.

I didn’t have such an accessory, and I really wanted one. And this feeling hit me about an hour before the 8th grade dance when I was visited by the pants muse. And suddenly I fancied myself a designer, a pant closure genius if you will.

So I tried to invent my own belt. I went into my father’s closet and got out one of his old leather belts and cut off the metal clasp. Then I poked a hole in both ends. And then I took, get ready for this, a combination lock, and hooked it through the hole on one end, and then the other and then I CLOSED THE LOCK.

I walked over and took a look in the mirror. Sweet! I looked awesome. This would totally make other people think I was cool.

Have you seen Rich’s awesome combination lock belt?
Man, Rich has the coolest belt ever!
It’s a belt, it’s a lock, it’s both!

Satisfied with my invention I went to open it and realized a crucial fault in my design. It was still a combination lock. And now I had to put in the combination, on an upside down lock, which was secured tightly to my pelvis.

And that’s when I started to panic. I was having trouble opening it and starting to sweat. And then I realized I had to go to the bathroom. I was like a crappy Houdini. Except I didn’t have any magical abilities and I wasn’t trying to do a magic trick, I just had to pee!

Since then I have avoided the trends. I have stuck with basics, things that worked, and things that did not require the training and expertise of a locksmith. I imagine most people would say I have a pretty clear style, nothing too crazy or outlandish.

But this is Miami! This is the place where ya know… stuff happens.

(I would be more specific here but I have never been to Miami and therefore have no idea what actually goes on)

I want to make a statement so that when we all go out to the clurb to get our drink on and dance on, people will say, hey who is THAT guy?! And not just because I managed to get Pina Colada in my hair, but because I look good!

This thought process led me to an investment reserved for a certain class of people, those either playing shuffleboard in Boca Raton or those people named Ricky Martin. This led me to an investment I never thought I’d make.

I bought white pants.

Now the actual ramifications of this decision remain to be seen. I am not sure when or where I will display these pants. But they are coming with me. I am going to rock them. I am going to show the world my confidence… or lack thereof.

But most importantly, when the time comes to go to the bathroom… I will be able to do so.

To Be Continued…

The Second Rant


Again, my document of things I want to write about is growing at a rate faster than I can possibly handle. So, much like I did in The First Rant, I have compiled a short list of topics that don’t require their own post but (in my scientific opinion) are still worth mentioning.  What follows are things that have been marinating in my brain for better or for worse.

Bagels

Living in New York I am very particular about my Bagels. As I am about my pizza as well. There are many bagels I enjoy. The sesame is a fine bagel, as is the pumpernickel, the cinnamon raisin and several others but there is one bagel I don’t get;

The Everything Bagel.


Pass.

I am opposed to this bagel on so many levels. The first being that, for whatever reason, the Everything Bagel is always cooked next to my most favorite of the bagelino family, the egg bagel, which has no seasoning. You’d think they would cook the everything bagel next to the salt bagel or maybe… in its own oven in a different store… in another city.


Its like a plague on other bagels. A bagel plague... a plaguel.

I mean it’s barely a bagel, it looks more like an art project.

And ya know what if you like the everything bagel, I don’t judge you, but can we get some kind of restriction on what is in this bagel? Everything is not an ingredient list. What the hell is in an Everything Bagel? Garlic? Cheetos? Bleach?

It’s like knocking the spice rack over into the mixer.

Is there anything more uninspired than the ingredient list for an everything bagel? I can only imagine the originators of this recipe.

Bagel Maker 1:  What should we put in it?
Bagel Maker 2:  Umm everything.
Bagel Maker 1: What do you mean everything?!
Bagel Maker 2: I mean everything!
Bagel Maker 1: You are gross, I hate you.

Solicitation Emails

Now I don’t condone solicitation emails. You know the ones I am talking about, those emails that say you stand to gain a 40,000,000 Euros if you will just help this dethroned king from Zimbabwe transfer his funds to the Chase Bank in your neighborhood.

The scams take good money out of the pockets of decent humans every year. But the people writing these emails are idiots! I mean they are written in such crap English. You’d think they would hire a decent English-speaking criminal and say

Hey, we are looking to rip off some of the Americans, would you mind rewriting this scam email so it sounds legit?

I think some American criminals could really clean up by consulting for these international hooligans by just suggesting they stop starting out their emails with “Dear Honorable Sirs.” Stop talking to me like I am Nobleman from the 14th century, unless of course you meant to send this email to a Renaissance village, in which case you have other problems.

Airplane Charges

I was on an airplane recently that had those need little TV screens in the back of the seat in front of you. My first thought was “yippee, free movie time.” But no, I was wrong. There was a rental fee. Do you know how much the fee was? 8 dollars. EIGHT FRIGGING DOLLARS! How the hell does that make any sense?

At the movie theater I pay 13 dollars to sit in a good quality seat and watch movies on a screen that is roughly 80 feet.

I can order a movie on TV for like 4 bucks that I can watch from the comfort of my couch (in my underwear no less…. Don’t judge) and eat the food in my fridge.

And yet to sit in a too small tin and pleather shit seat on a noisy plane next to some inflated troglodyte with seemingly 7 elbows and watch a 5-inch screen? 8 dollars!

I can’t even sit back in my seat with a screen that size. I need to lean forward so my face is almost touching the screen. And god forbid the person in front of me puts their seat back while I’m watching, they’ll shatter my nose like a Ivan Drogo. Because nobody ever just gently puts their seat back, they thrust it back like they just hit Mach 12 in their Jet fighter.

Is it too much to ask to use the same care in backing your seat up as when you back up your car? Just take a peak over your shoulder to see if there is anybody directly behind you before you punch the gas like you’re in a chase scene in the Bourne Identity.

Fitness

I pulled a muscle stretching the other day. I think that’s a good sign I’ve hit rock bottom in terms of physical activity.

Wine

There are millions of wines in the world. The odds that your local restaurant is going to have your exact favorite is usually pretty slim. I was tending bar recently when a guy came in and ordered a blush.

A blush? Do people still order blush? What is this, Sephora?

Another customer said to me, “Do you got Moscatto?”

No, I replied.

“You don’t got no pink wine? Damn you don’t got none of the wines I like.”

Mmm indeed.  You have my sincerest apologies. And by the way, thank you for bringing your brand of class to our fine establishment. Leave me your name and number and I will also let you know when we have added Twinkies and Jerky to our menu.

Cologne

I regularly rant against the funkiness of stinky people. But mind you stink is a broad spectrum of which the atrocities are many.

While I used to enjoy the odoriferous benefits of Polo Sport, I think it is important that you don’t smell like you DRANK a bottle of it before you left the house.

And as long as we are talking what people shouldn’t smell like I would like to mention a perfume for Women called Moon Sparkle.


Moon sparkle? I cannot imagine an audience for this product that doesn’t also regularly discuss the pros and cons of Unicorn ownership and spend their days attaching ribbons to the back bumper of their cars.

Moon Sparkle sounds like the name of Rainbow Bright’s horse.

Saddle up Moon Sparkle, we’re going on an adventure!

Somebody brought it to my attention recently that now they make Moon Sparkle for men. I have GOT to believe that the audience buying this product is limited at best. I’m not the manliest of men but I get the feeling if you buy moon sparkle it would come with a free purse and subscription to Cosmo Girl.

But if it came right down to it I’d rather smell like Moon Sparkle than an everything Bagel… but just barely.

The First Rant

Since I began writing this blog, I have had many ideas for stories that never made it into a post. For the most part, these ideas are just one-liners too one dimensional to be fully fleshed out.

And more often than not they just get added to a rapidly growing list of ideas that never get used. Seeing as that document is now approaching 12 pages, this is my best effort to purge myself of these baby rants.

Home Made

In the south you come across a lot of signs that say "homemade." I don't know how this became the go-to marketing ploy of restaurants. To me it seems very similar to slapping the word "eco-friendly" on a product. But even if eco-friendly is a lie, it still implies something good. "Homemade" doesn't necessarily means something is good.

Do you know how many homemade things come out awful? Half the shit I "home make" tastes disgusting. Homemade means, "not made by professionals." Would you ever get on an airplane that said "homemade" on the side?" Would you use aspirin if it said "homemade"on the label?

Vanity Plates

If you have an idea for a vanity license plate you should have to submit it to a panel of judges at the Department of Motor Vehicles. And if that panel can't guess what it means within 5 seconds, you are not allowed to have that vanity plate. It is not fair for you to have a secret joke that I don't get on your license plate.

It will piss me off while I am driving. And then I will all of my time tailgating you to see if I can decode your plate. You might as well have a magic eye poster on your bumper.

Concert Encores and Side to Side Hand Waving

I understand there are some songs where some side to side hand waving seems appropriate or even matches up with the beat. But it has gotten out of hand. How did hand waving become the pinnacle of fun? "Oh my god here it comes. We are about to start waving our hands side to side, I am so excited."

Pretending I am a wind wiggler does not make me feel good. If I am really enjoying a movie or a good steak, I don't throw my arms into the air and start waving them around. I like to have most of my fun with my hands at my sides thank you very much.

And concert encores have gotten so predictable. Who doesn't know when an encore is coming? "Oh look the band stopped playing. Jeez, I sure do wonder if they are going to play an encore. Why are all the lights still off? I wonder if... oh my god the band is back on stage it's a MIRACLE!"

Just once I would like to see somebody come on stage and say, "Hey, I'm going to stand up here and rock your face off for 2 hours and give you the best concert I can. Screw the encore." That would be something I could get behind.

Light Beer

I understand that I am easy to make fun of. Seriously. Spend any amount of time with me and you will not be at a loss for material. But if you drink light beer you are no longer allowed to challenge MY masculinity. You know what light beer is? Diet soda for alcoholics.

Beer fills you up for a reason. It means you're done. And if you are full but not drunk, you shouldn't be drinking anymore. Drinking copious amounts of light beer while condescending to me does not make you tough. It makes you fat AND rude. Grab a real beer and leave the light beer to 10th graders and people who hate beer.

Teenagers

Speaking of 10th graders, it is really easy to hate teenagers.

That's it. Just wanted to mention it.

Flying

Every time somebody says "Have a good flight" to me, I always respond by saying thanks. But what else am I supposed to say? "Thank you, I'll try?" I know its just people being polite but my brain always wants to say "Oh yea, good point. I'm actually co-pilot for this one so I will be extra careful." Being on an airplane is one of those scenarios where you have absolutely NO control over the quality of your journey.

You don't get to pick the route, the plane, the pilot, where you sit, who sits next to you, how many people you travel with, etc. The only thing you are given the option of is whether you want the chicken or the pasta and even that doesn't matter because they microwave the hope out of everything so it all ends up tasting the same thing anyway.

Old Phone

How come in old movies when the phone rings and there is nobody on the other end of the line or they get disconnected, the person always hits the hang up button 3 or 4 times? Is there something in their mind that says hanging up on the person will make them reappear? Has this ever worked to get the caller back on the line? What is the logic progression that led to this? When you open the door and there's nobody there, do you close it and open it 3 more times just to make sure?

The Movies

When a film starts in a movie theater it is always, "MGM is PROUD TO PRESENT."

Well who is going to go see a film that starts out, "MGM IS SLIGHTLY ASHAMED AND RELATIVELY EMBARRASSED TO PRESENT:______?"

Food Network

I must I admit I am a little bit behind the times because I don't have cable but for some reason I get The Food Network. I been watching this channel a lot lately and holy crap I am addicted! Has anybody else seen this channel? Right, I'm sure you probably all have. But this channel is my crack!

I find it so inspiring. I go into my kitchen after watching some amazing concoction on TV feeling all ambitious and ready to create a masterpiece but all I have in there is peanut butter, spaghetti, and garlic salt. Here's an idea Food Network, instead of giving me recipes based on your suggested ingredients, why not base a show around the ingredients I have in my kitchen? You could call it something new every week. The first show would be called Peanut Butter, Spaghetti and Garlic Salt.

And the dish would be good. It has to be.

It's home made.

The S Word

There is a masochistic part of me that enjoys going through airport security. Not because it is fun to do. Hell no. It is awful. Taking off half of your clothes and taking half of your items out of your luggage is not fun.

I actually have an idea to speed it up though. I propose we have a security check in for nudists. I know, I know. Multiple posts on this very blog have seen me detailing my issues with those who feel it necessary to take off their clothes at every possible moment.

But when it comes to airport security, they already rifle through your toiletries, make you take off your clothes, and practically cop a feel on you as you try and get past them. So it really can't get much worse than it already is.

So let's set up a lane for people who don't mind walking through a metal detector naked. Nothing will beep. And you are free to go. Hurray. I feel like we could scan a lot more people at a much quicker pace.


If you feel comfortable enough to do it, more power to you. You would have to continue to go through the metal detector just to make sure you weren't hiding things in your... mouth.


Overall, I kind of doubt the effectiveness of the security check in. Mainly because to get into a bar in New York City the bouncer has to run my ID through an electronic validation scanner. But to get on an airplane they just... look at it.

The reason I enjoy the security line is because it takes people way out of their comfort zone. Everybody is in a rush and everybody is stressing. And that is hilarious to watch.


Shoes come off, laptops come out, coats, keys, and of course liquids all get removed. Everything gets its own bin. And passengers run back and forth along the the table trying to make sure everything gets into the scanner. It looks like that episode of I Love Lucy at the assembly line of the chocolate factory, hurrying to beat the pace of the rapidly running conveyor belt.


By the time you actually get to the other side of security it looks like a scene out of a 1st grade classroom at cleanup time. Everybody's stuff is all over the floor, nobody is wearing shoes, and nobody has a belt to hold their pants up.

After a recent trip where I only had 1 piece of carry on luggage, I was able to compile a list of things that won't arise suspicion with airport security in New York, but WILL in Denver.

1. Big plastic sword
2. Kenneth Cole Signature cologne
3. Hair Taffy

When the TSA woman in Denver asked to do a manual check of my bag I readily complied. I figured the pirate sword might raise some eyebrows, but I did not expect her to spend a full minute checking the "blade" and handle of the sword like it was a container for smuggling drugs.


Like I was Pablo Escobar trying to smuggle my cocaine out of Denver which everyone knows is the cocaine capital of Colorado.

Even if I was trying to smuggle drugs, do you really think a plastic pirate sword is the best option? I mean shouldn't it be something that doesn't look suspicious?

I would like to point out at this point that I do not regularly travel with a plastic sword. While I consider it to be a fantastic accessory to any outfit, I was traveling with it on this particular occasion because it was part of my Halloween costume that weekend.

When she gave up hope of finding contraband in my swashbuckling accessory, she put it down, gave me a sly smile and said, "Let's just put that here, we don't want to the police over here do we?"

Well, I mean, no. But why would the police come over? You realize the sword is not real right?

Right?


First of all, you already have x-rayed my sword (I never imagined writing that sentence) so why are you examining it by hand? Unless of course you don't trust the x-ray machine, and you yourself have a type of incredible vision that can see through plastic.

When I fly out of New York I don't do the plastic bag thing for my liquids because most of the time they don't care. It's when I am in the smaller cities that I find myself having to explain the things in my dopp kit.


Then as she checked out the bottom of my cologne and discovered it was the appropriate ounce amount, she put it down, with a "Let's put that away, it looks expensive."

Damn skippy.


And then she came to my hair taffy. I feel the need to explain that I do not purposely search out and purchase hair taffy. I used to work for a magazine that sold off all their reviewed cosmetics at the end of the year for a dollar each. The male products were few and far between so I snagged what I could.

It just so happened there was some expensive hair taffy ($44 bucks, what a deal!) which I came across, and it smells good!

So she picks it up, looks at it, reads the label aloud and follows with, "Taffy? I've never even heard of that."

Alright lady, no need to make feel like an outcast in your city.

While I have loved every visit I have had to the Denver airport and will probably return many times, I question the excitement level where the most exciting thing seen by 3 pm in the airport is a plastic pirate sword.


I know this was the most exciting thing the TSA woman has seen all day because she told me so.

She then proceeded to explain the process for putting liquids into a plastic bag. And then she demonstrated by putting liquids into a plastic bag. I nodded along emphatically because in all fairness I broke the rules, and she was so dang nice. It was kind of sweet.

In fact she made my experience so pleasant that I almost feel bad writing about it now. Maybe I should send her a gift as a thank you.


I wonder if she'd like some hair taffy?

Airports Part 2 - Depression

My favorite thing about visiting my parents at “the resort” is the fact that I have an entire wardrobe and nearly all my necessary toiletries down there, so I don’t need to pack much to go. I just grab a backpack and I’m off.

I though this would simplify the entire process thereby eliminating things that could go wrong during travel.

Incorrect.

My 6 am flight from Savannah was due to arrive in New York at 8 am. But due to inclement weather we were forced into a holding pattern.

After 30 minutes of essentially flying in circles the pilot came on the speaker and basically said, “We’re about to run out of fuel so we’re going to go ahead and land in Baltimore.”

This began my 12 hour delay.

On this particular flight there was an especially annoying individual wearing a Bluetooth headset the whole time. I will refer to this gentleman as a WMD or Weapon of Mega Dooshdum.

I’m almost sure he would have been sitting in first class had our plane been larger than a hot pocket.

After we landed in Baltimore, everyone was worried about whether or not would be taking off in this plane again or getting on a new plane. This is when the WMD spoke up and said, “I just got off the phone with the platinum desk, this plane isn’t going anywhere.”

Ooo you got off the phone with the platinum desk? Everyone come and listen, Ezekiel is back with tales from the Platinum desk!

What else did the platinum desk tell you? How to solve the sub prime lending crisis? The name of the next American Idol? When Jesus would return?

I would have continued to focus my hate on him but of course, the woman sitting behind me was screaming in Spanish into her phone. The plane was completely still, no engine noise, there was no crisis and no need for yelling. But she apparently felt her speaking voice Spanish was not appropriate and instead was using her tornado warning Spanish.

I then realized what I don’t like about flying.

It’s the people. They are everywhere. Being weird. Being abnormal. Being creepy. I would not be bothered by flying as much if I got to do it, say, in my own plane, by myself.

I hung out in the airport for a couple of hours while angry passengers yelled at unsuspecting gate agents who were doing their damndest to help them. One woman was yelling at this particular gate agent about how this was the 3rd time this happened to her and blah blah blah.

She kept yapping until I said;

“SHUT THE HELL UP AND GO LAY ON THE TARMAC!”

Well not quite but I did tell her to leave the poor gate agent alone. I am so very brave.

If you take a look around an airport you realize this is no longer the golden age of travel. People don’t travel in suits and elegant leisurewear. They travel in whatever they found on the floor when they woke up that morning. I saw a man in a purple t-shirt whose belly was so big I thought he was wearing a prosthetic.

Perhaps he had some sort of silicone belly implant? There was no way one belly could stick out so far. It was only for the fact that his shirt stuck out so far I could see his bare flesh exposed underneath it that I realized this was no prosthetic. It was like a belly penthouse.

Beautiful.

I found out I had 7 hours until my new flight to New York, so I decided to take a shuttle bus to a train into D.C. to go see the Cherry Blossoms. I figured this would get me away from the crazies and the hideousity.

Incorrect.

In the fully packed Amtrak waiting room I came across another prized individual.

This gentleman sat across from me (also with a belly penthouse), directly in front of a brightly lit vending machine. He sat there cross eyed and absolutely transfixed by the colorful offerings available inside that magical glass box. I thought he was going to try and make a withdrawal from one of the many shelves when he made another decision.

You know how sometimes you cough up a little bit of phlegm, but you just deal with it because you are not in a place where you can get rid of it?

The gentleman sitting not 4 feet across from me in the Amtrak station waiting room did not think this was one of those places. So I watched him, cough, gag, and then let loose a horrific dribble of phlegm that fell like an autumn leaf and landed between his feet on the floor.

Beautiful.

He didn’t even try to hide it. His basic philosophy appeared to be, “I’m gross, everybody watch.”
So I took the train into Union Station in D.C. and in an effort to save money (I’m becoming cheaper by the day) I walked 45 minutes to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, and the sun came out and it was beautiful. I sat strolled and took pictures such as this one.




And then it started to pour on me. I didn’t have an umbrella. So I walked the 45 minutes back to Union Station where I bought an Amtrak ticket back to Baltimore, which I then immediately dropped on the floor and didn’t realize until I heard over the loud speaker;

“Would Mr…. Bo-em-key please pick up his ticket at the information desk.”

Damn it.

Back on the train to the shuttle bus to the airport where I checked in for my 6 o’clock flight, and went through security. I sat down in the waiting area for a while, and was walking to my gate when a woman ran up to me and said, “Sir! You dropped this!”

It was my plane ticket.

Double damn it.

I was starting to think maybe someone or something was trying to stop me from going home. But 14 hours later I made it. Which means it took me an hour LONGER to fly home than it would have to drive.

Forget airplanes. Forget travel. Next time I’m just going to stay home and grow a belly penthouse.