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Sunday, December 30, 2007

No, I mean my Mom REALLY likes panda bears

With a great debt of gratitude to my mother for giving me permission to post this:



This is what it's like visiting the Dziura household for Christmas. Oh, and also we drink the blood of Christian children, but that's not in the video (just pandas).

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

remarks after eight hours of listening to various hip-hop radio stations while driving up the east coast

  • Justin Timberlake has made 'pologize a word for an entire generation. There simply isn't a beat in his song for that pesky first syllable.

  • According to Flo-Rida, "baggy sweat pants and the Reeboks with the straps" (truly! the outfit you wear to go to 7-11 to buy tampons!) can attract a great deal of flattering attention in the club, provided that you are willing to "give that big booty a smack."

  • I now have no trouble knowing when to sing "Party like a rockstar" and when to just sing "Party like a rock--."

Friday, December 28, 2007

what I do for fun in my hometown

Tonight I went to go see a New York-based old-timey intellectual band at the Jewish Mother here in Virginia Beach. I thoroughly enjoyed their new song regarding the ways in which love is like the square root of two, in decimal form.

One nice thing about traveling alone is that I don't need to justify my preference for setting the rental car GPS to "route with least use of highways" (i.e., the slowest route), just so I can see which stores in my hometown have been converted into new stores.

On the way back, at the late-late hour of 11:45pm, I had a hard time finding a fast-food cheeseburger. I really wanted one, as one of my major goals for this vacation was to drive (just the driving is kind of exciting for someone who lives in New York and doesn't own a car) around Virginia Beach with the driver's side window open, listening to local hip-hop station 103 JAMZ and eating a fast-food cheeseburger purchased from a drive-through window.

This, I have accomplished. Also, I got a free kazoo at the show.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Math bee at the spelling bee!

On December 10th, we had the season finals of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee. Since the Finals is open only to winners of the previous season of bees, I run some little mini-contests between the rounds that are open to anyone. Some of them are silly, like "spell a word to the tune of the alphabet song."

One of the competitions, however, is the "math bee," in which I bring three volunteers on stage, and they compete to complete math problems in their heads, with a point going to the first person to shout out the answer to each question.

Here are my favorite questions from this time around:
  • If Pete's cocktail menu of 7 drinks contains 3 drinks including gin, and the panini menu of 6 paninis contains 2 paninis including arugula, and you order a cocktail and a panini at random, what are your chances of receiving neither gin nor arugula?

  • What is your mom's age when she had you, plus your age, divided by your mom's age now, minus your mom's age to the 0th power?
(Click on "Comments" for the answers).

Friday, December 21, 2007

problems you didn't know you had

I once read in a business book a (possibly apocryphal) tale that went as follows:

A big news story came out about how there were a shocking number of rat parts in commercial cat food. One company decided to capitalize on this by coming out with a product called "NO-RAT CAT FOOD."

Despite the fact that it was, indeed, the only cat food guaranteed to have no rat parts, it sold terribly and was discontinued -- it seemed people didn't like to see the word "rat" on their cat food, even in the context of "Really, there are none in here!"

I mention this because I have purchased a bottle of fish oil capsules that claim to have a gelatin coating that doesn't dissolve until the capsule reaches the lower intestine.

The claim on the label? "NO MORE FISH BURPS!"

I can't believe I own a product that mentions something called "fish burps."

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jamie-Lynn's pregnancy has eclipsed Ashley Tisdale's new nose

Britney Spears' little sister Jamie Lynn is pregnant. Okay, fine. But her employer, Nickelodeon, issued this statement:
"We respect Jamie Lynn's decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn's well being."
"Take responsibility"? I think that sounds a lot like saying she needs to be punished for having sex, and that women who have abortions are "irresponsible."

When did Nickelodeon turn paternalistically weird?

Update: I just discovered that Feministing wrote basically the exact same post twelve hours before I did. There ought to be some gaydar-type word for picking up on this shit. Misogyny-dar sounds terrible. If Nickelodeon is being a big corporate douchebag, can I call it douchedar?

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Misogynistic Advertising of the Week


I find this repulsive. I have no problem with wanting to look good naked, or with shows dedicated to that purpose. However, all of the women here are naked and terrified, and that gross, facelifted man is fully-dressed and hideously smug. I know he's gay, but I'm not any less repulsed. Gay men do not get a free pass to tell women to hate their bodies. Or -- as is apparently the case -- to pilfer clothing.

Certainly one could get across the message about looking good naked by picturing some attractive, lean, muscled men and women, perhaps the trainers who might help you look good naked. Only semi-repulsive might be an ad featuring both men and women looking terrified at the unattractiveness of their naked bodies. Also, all three of those women are way better-looking than creepy Botox-forehead-man. Maybe he needs a show called "How to Hide in Seclusion Until Your Plastic Surgery Relaxes."



Click to enlarge: "The intelligence you require, with the beauty you desire."

This I just find ... disappointing. The Blackberry Curve? It's ... curvy? It's both smart and beautiful, like a desirable woman you can put in your pocket and use to view miniature Excel spreadsheets? What? I think I'm more just disappointed that Blackberry thinks women don't want to buy Blackberries, and are best used as a trope for selling Blackberries to men.

Also, E = 36-24-36^2 is just stupid. If those were your measurements, your hips would be 1,296 inches around, which is equivalent to 108 feet. Also, your hips would be 36 times greater around than your bust, which is taking the pear shape to a bit of an extreme.

Blackberry: We're bad at math and think mini-computer-phones are like having sex!

Good work, guys.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

blasphemy on 42nd St.


For those not familiar with the Times Square-area subway stations, these people have a permanent, very lower-middle-class-looking Jesus exhibition at the 42nd St stop near the ACE.


Their many placards pull from the Bible very brief quotes -- often containing beginning ellipses, closing ellipses, and internal ellipses (for extra accuracy!) -- which give a highly effective proselytizing effect much like this:

"...FOR HE WHO... HOLDS ... JESUS ... PRAYER ... DIES... IS ... IN HEAVEN...." (So-and-So 3.24)


I do have the sense of humor of a thirteen-year-old boy, but I thought this one was funny.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

pics from last night's Sex and Candy book party

The book!

The cupcakes!

RKB, me, and Molly

I hand-strung those candy necklaces so they would hang concentrically.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

art acquisition from the 8th Avenue L stop

I recently purchased this work (click to enlarge):


...from this man, who sits in a wheelchair at the 8th Avenue L stop and draws, among other motifs, UFOs attacking cityscapes.


Only $15! Looks awesome in my kitchen.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

American Apparel hates women


Seriously?

I'm also kind of tired of reading the Onion on the subway and having people see the back page American Apparel ad and assume that I am reading porn. A couple weeks ago I had some greased-up bridge-and-tunnel guy sitting with two friends on an otherwise totally uncrowded train see the back of my reading matter and say in a super-sleazy manner, "Well well, what are you reading?"

"The Onion," I said. And then I realized that this woman, pictured, was on the back page performing some hideous hipster contortion. She's not even making it look easy. Or attractive. Or fun. Or like a good reason to buy leggings. I think they keep her in the basement, with only plaster reindeer for entertainment, and kept alive on a diet of PBR and ironically-purchased Hostess snack cakes.

Update from the Comments: Check out this video.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

best scarf ever


Seriously, this is almost porn. You make John Krasinski sixty feet high and put him in cuddly clothing, what am I supposed to do? Buy GAP stock? Because I will, you know.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dec 3rd comedy show at Pete's Candy Store

I have come to understand that, in our modern media age, that which is not recorded, edited to perfection, and broadcast to as many people as possible didn't really happen. Thus, your grandparents never existed, and "The Hills" is the pinnacle of Western Civilization.

In deference to this brave new world, I have arranged for a small crew of attractive young becamera'd men to follow me around and put shows like this one on the internet, in attractively abridged format, for your viewing pleasure and consequent laughing.

December 3rd at Pete's: Starring Paul Oddo, Raquel D'Apice, John Knefel, RG Daniels, and Cody Hess.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 14th: cupcakes, swag, and a scandalous work of literature

It's a book! Here's where I'll be:


Update: We have a review on GenArt.

Birthday Followup: welcome to my world

When you're an adult, nothing much tends to happen on your birthday unless you plan it yourself. I planned a day off -- blocked off on my calendar, no commitments at all.

Except when I woke up that morning, I really wanted to call Verizon and work out the problem I've been having with missed text messages and voicemails, and then I had really been looking forward to getting to the post office during the day when the lines weren't so long, and also it felt pretty good to get another comedy show booked and catch up on some math problems that needed done (that's what mostly pays the bills around here), and then finally, I decided to go eat something fun and get a massage, so I had some Indian food and did more math problems while waiting for it, and then I went to get the massage and when I was all settled into the little massage room and the lady came in, she asked "How long?" and I said "Sixty minutes," and then immediately thought, "Damn, maybe I can get this done in 45," and then I realized that that is the utter opposite of the attitude one is supposed to have when getting a massage, so I tried to relax more while this nice Asian lady worked a bunch of knots out of my neck, during which time I mostly fantasized about investing in real estate.

Then I drank some wine and did some more math problems. So it was kind of a lot like a normal day, except I didn't make any money. Also, my darling mom sent me a box full of novelty candy (including candy lips, whee!)

I mean, in my view, if you choose to spend your day off much like a regular day, that means you have set up a pretty decent life for yourself in the first place. In contrast, people who are just dying to take vacations usually have pretty horrible jobs.

p.s. - I'm going to be in a TV pilot! We're filming in January.

You Are My Density

The Intrepid Young Journalist received an email from a colleague overseas with the rather charming subject heading, "Kindly do the needful and oblige."

This reminded me of an incident on the Lufthansa flight I took from Frankfurt to New York, during which the (possibly Israeli) gentleman next to me was asked by the people behind us to translate or explain something, and he said, "Oh, it is a bless for the trip, to come safely to the destiny."

Then I imagined airline check-in counters where the employees asked you, "What's your destiny today?"

And then, sometimes, you'd have to sadly answer something like, "Milwaukee."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's My Birthday!

Today I received an email from Mensa suggesting that I "party like a Mensan."

This phrase scans perfectly into the song, "Party Like a Rock Star" by Shop Boyz. Please now sing that to yourself.

Here are some photos of the much more exciting birthday party I had two years ago at CBGBs before it closed; this birthday, there will be no burlesque, but also I plan to be conscious at the end of it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

at Molly Crabapple's Dr. Sketchy's art opening


DSC_0512, originally uploaded by brianvan.

If I were a celebrity, someone would add an arrow to this photo and the legend "Baby Bump!" I think I was just standing weird to get closer to the lovely Lady J.

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The Williamsburg Spelling Bee: Nov. 27th, 2007

A new video from the last spelling bee. The Finals are coming up this December 10th!



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