www.MuckItTees.com: Our World

July 21, 2006

New site!

Hey Muck It Tees blog fans (I can confirm at least three of you, so I'm confortable using the plural), the blog has moved! Check us out at:

www.MuckItTees.com/blog

The new blog is incorporated into the t-shirt site itself, so you can't escape the wit and sexiness of our shirts. So read the new blog, and buy a new shirt. It's now pretty much out of your hands anyways.

June 12, 2006

Totally Trivial Crap from Pop Culture That Really Bugs Me

I thought of a new idea for the blog that will allow me to fulfill my internal requirement of updating regularly, without having to actually write a whole lot. But I think my readership will be satisfied with the post, and so I my absolute awesomeness will be reaffirmed. With that I introduce "Totally Trivial Crap from Pop Culture that Really Bugs Me." I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. I'll just dive right in.

1) GUNS N' ROSES "NOVEMBER RAIN" VIDEO - Do you remember the "November Rain" video? It came out in the summer of 1991 (I think) and it was absolutely mind-blowing. It was like 9 minutes long, and told the story of Axl Rose's relationship with Stephanie Seymour, who at the time was arguably the hottest women alive and made made me understand the meaning of "lust" (if you don't know who Stephanie Seymour is, you suck as a human being and I suggest you google her immediately). Her wedding dress in the video, super-short and showing her garter, made my want to kill myself. I just couldn't take it. She was too frickin' hot. Good lord. Anyways, the video portrays their rocky relationship that culminates in them getting married, except it starts to rain, and as a result, Stephanie Seymour, who may or may not be a robot, dies, and it's just awful.* I'm getting choked up writing this because it was just so sad. Also Slash has an awesome guitar solo, although he's standing outside of the huge church that is packed with people, and you wonder why the church is in the middle of the desert and why there isn't a single car there. Although that's not what bugs me.

Here's what bugs me - at the wedding reception, when it starts to rain (with the little boy who first looks up at the rain and is just adorable), people start freaking out and running for cover. Which is sort of understandable, because the guests were wearing nice clothing - espcially the women (although Ricki Rathman was one of the guests at the wedding - I'll bet he was wearing a super fancy tux. Although was he wearing a tux? Was he even wearing a shirt? Fortunately, thanks to youtube.com, I can probably watch the video right now. But I don't feel like it). BUT, and this is huge, this one dude, in an effort to get to cover, jumps through the beautiful, multi-layered wedding cake that is sitting on a table waiting to be cut. Obviously, the cake is destroyed. This bugs the shit out of me. WHY DID HE HAVE TO JUMP THROUGH THE CAKE? It was totally unnecessary, and obviously he did it just to tell his friends that he jumped through the cake. What a douchebag. More importantly, why didn't the wedding planners or the caterers protect the cake by moving it somewhere else? And wasn't there some sort of contingency plan for in case is started raining? They weren't ushering people to some dry, covered area so that they wouldn't freak out at the fact that it was raining? All that stuff is tangential, but the fact that the guy jumped through the cake was just totally messed up, and I hate him forever for it.

This is weird. I was only sort of bothered by the fact that he jumped through the cake when I started writing this, but now I truly hate the guy.

Anyway, that's the first installment of "Totally Trivial Crap from Pop Culture That Really Bugs Me." More to come. In the meantime, promise me that you won't jump through a wedding cake. I understand it would be pretty sweet to be able to do so, but it's just so totally gratuitous. Please. PLEASE.

Anyways, here's the youtube link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DrH_eb7r6w&search=Guns%20N%27%20Roses%20November%20Rain.

I just watched it again. It's so fucking awesome (although the asshole jumps through the cake at the 6:58 mark, totally ruining it for everybody). Literally, it just blew my mind. Again.

*As it ends, the video says it was based on the short story "Without You" by Del James. When we were in 7th grade and this video came out, my friend Josh Randall and I were desperately searching for this story, trying to figure out what the fuck actually happens. Alas we could never find it - our public library didn't have anything by Del James. And so we sat and suffered, thinking that we'd never know what happened to Stephanie and Axl. Well, wouldn't you know it, thanks to the internet, you can find "Without You" by Del James here:

http://www.dimaggio.org/DoNotClick/Favourites/november_rain.htm.

It should be awesome, although from just looking at it, the word "BLAMM" is prominently involved. Still I'm printing it out and reading tonight. I can't describe my excitement. If any of you know Josh Randall, who I believe is now an actor living in New York, please be sure to make sure he gets the link. He'd be even more excited than me.

June 05, 2006

But From When He Was in "The Spanish Prisoner"

Stumped on interesting new things to write in this blog, I thought I'd share one of the most bizarre dreams I've ever had in my life. Maybe that's not saying much, because I rarely if ever remember my dreams (unless they wake me up, which happens somewhat regularly), but I would argue that this one was crazy by any objective measuring stick.

So in my dream, I'm studying for the New York bar exam (I don't know why I'm taking it) at my local public library - this makes sense, because it's where I studied for the Illinois bar exam. But stupid me, I go for lunch and I leave my laptop computer on a table in plain view of everyone. And wouldn't you know it, by the time I return from lunch, it's gone. Stolen from a public library! Damn those library hoodlums!

Anyways, Neha and I file a claim with our insurance company, which informs us that it will be sending out some adjustors in investigate our case. Which is fine, I guess. But the thing is, the claim adjustors don't come until the middle of the night, when we're asleep. And one of the two adjustors is, and this is where it gets weird...Steve Martin. That's right, acclaimed star of "Cheaper by the Dozen" and scores of other comedic masterworks. So he and the other adjustor (who we can't see and don't recognize from Hollywood) come into our bedroom and start peppering us with questions about the computer and everything else. I get out of bed and go to put the light on, but Neha tells me not to, because I'm only in my boxers. Which is true, but given the weirdness of everything else in the situation, I would have been fine with that. Anyways, we're talking to Steve Martin, whose face is lit only by the pale light of the moon, and finally I think he's getting annoyed to, because he suggests we go into the main room of our apartment.

As soon as we get out there, I look into our kitchen and see something shocking: every cabinet has been opened and emptied, and our counters are covered with large, uncovered pieces of tupperware. Now tupperware isn't the only thing we keep in our kitchen cabinets, but you really just have to go with the dream. I mean, it's not like you had any problem with Steve Martin as the claims adjustor. As soon as I see the open tupperware, I immediately (and totally irrationally) conclude that we're about to be robbed. I have no idea how I determined this (I can't think of any instance in which open tupperware indicates an impending robbery), but I say "oh my god, we're about to be robbed." To which Steve Martin replies "that's right Mr. Vohra...you most certainly are." In that moment, I cannot begin to describe how scary Steve Martin looked. Just all the white hair, and the dim lighting...oh man.

At this moment, there is a pounding on the front door of our apartment. It's the robbers, checking to see if we're home! And of course, it makes perfect sense for robbers to pound on the door in the middle of the night. I take some comfort in the fact that in my dream world, robbers are retarded (although I still have to deal with Steve Martin - claims adjustor). In response to their pounding, Steve Martin suggests I "say something to let them know you're here, Mr. Vohra." I hate how he keeps calling me "Mr. Vohra." So I try to start yelling that we're home and they need to go away, but all of a sudden I'm so terrified that I can't speak - I can't get a single noise out of my throat. And I'm scrambing and freaking out and the pounding on the other side of the door is getting louder and louder and I just need to say SOMETHING to make them go away and then I scream...

"WE'RE HERE!" And I'm awake in my bed, covered in sweat. Like I said, I remember those dreams that wake me up. Damn that Steve Martin...

Any analysis of this dream or my obvious neuroses is greatly appreciated.

May 16, 2006

On the LPGA, aluminum bottles, and Awesomeness

This past weekend Neha and I attended the LPGA's Michelob Ultra Classic in Williamsburg, VA. That's right...I was at a ladies' golf tournament. And it was awesome. It was awesome because these women, whom I'd never given enough (any) credit in the past for being good golfers, are in fact very good golfers. Yet at the same time, I saw the shorter course with less rough, and I thought to myself, "I can compete here!" In reality, this is completely untrue, and these women would mop the floor with me, but my sexist machismo actually almost convinced me otherwise. I really thought I could kick some LPGA ass. So basically my whole conflicted worldview as a result of the event was what was awesome.

Neha and I got tickets through one of her family friends, who works for a company that works with Michelob (the tournament sponsor). This means we got "Ultra VIP" passes that allowed us access to all the rich-people areas, and unlimited booze. We weren't there long enough for me to get totally hammered and start groping the competitors (which would have redefined the word "awesome"), but I did get a chance to partake in a new type of Anheuser-Busch beer that is presented in...brace yourselves folks...aluminum bottles. Aluminum bottles! Isn't that crazy? You've never seen them before? That because they are barely sold anywhere. But I was pounding those aluminum bottled-suckers. It was amazing. It's good to be someone rich and/or powerful. Or in our case, to know someone who is rich and/or powerful. And works for a company that makes the aluminum bottles for as-yet unreleased beers.

The last (and most important) reason that the LPGA tournament was awesome was because we got to get up close and personal with Natalie Gulbis. For those of you who don't know who she is (I'm guessing around 95% of you), Ms. Gulbis is considered the Anna Kournikova of the LPGA Tour. Google her. Anyways, she's not nearly as hot as Anna K., but she isn't bad (although she does look sorta trashy), and in fact, on at least three separate occasions during the two days we attended the event, Neha said either "she has HUGE boobs" (which is true), or "she has GREAT legs" (also true). So Neha has said that Natalie Gulbis has an amazing body, and I don't have to confirm it (it's true). So on one of the holes, we're watching the hot-bodied Natalie Gulbis as she prepares to hit her second shot to the green of a par-5. We're standing by the green, and as soon as she hits her ball, I tell Neha that that ball is coming right at us. Sure enough, the ball bounces right in front of us, off the cart path and over our heads, back down to the cart path, into the grass directly in front of us. Being the keen golf observer that I am, I realize that Ms. Gulbis will have to come over here to hit her ball, so I position Neha and myself directly next to it. Sure enough she approaches, and all of a sudden we're being approached by HUGE boobs and GREAT legs (this is one of those occasions when Neha mentioned it - again). Not to get too technical in terms of the golf, but Gulbis is unhappy with her lie, takes a drop (she got relief from the cart path), and ends up in a worse lie than before. Which I say out loud before Neha hits me. I don't know if Natalie heard me, but she reaffirms, "that's a worse lie than before." At this point it's hard for either Natalie or myself to deny our cosmic connection to one another. But we're out in public, so it's not appropriate for us to act on said connection. Anyways, she hits a nice shot up on the green, misses the short birdie putt, and makes par. It was all awesome though, especially because she said thank you to me after I said nice shot. I should have commented on her body. What a reaction that would have got!

But now I have to get up on my soapbox. Because as awesome as a body as she has, her face was caked with makeup (it looked bad) and she was wearing dangly earrings and tons of tacky jewelry. So I have to ask, why? Why does this woman feel the need to get all dolled up to play A ROUND OF GOLF. It's just pathetic that we objectify pretty women instead of appreciating them for their minds, their hearts, and, in this case, their great golfing ability. Sadly, people like Neha can't get past her huge boobs and great legs. Does Tiger Woods wear makeup? No, he doesn't (although maybe he should, to make himself look less dorky). Nor does he wear tacky jewelry. Why can't the playing field be leveled?!? It's just so frustrating.

So in closing, the next time you're at an LPGA event do 2 things for me: 1) make sure to get there early, so as to fully partake in the free booze offered in the Ultra VIP section, and 2) take some time to appreciate Natalie Gulbis. But not for her makeup and tacky jewelry. For her huge boobs (I'm kidding! Kidding! Appreciate her because she's a good golfer!).

Also, don't grope anyone.

April 27, 2006

"Lost." Lost.

Over the past year or so, I've had to come to terms with the fact that many of the TV shows I watch regularly have started to suck. "The Apprentice" went downhill as soon as that girl from season 2 started surviving boardrooms based solely on the fact that she had big boobs. I struggled through season 3, but by the end, when the winning contestant got to choose between basically judging the Miss Universe or rebuilding a house (compared with the winner of season 1, who gets to "oversee" the construction of the Trump International Tower in Chicago - I'm sure that he's not actually doing anything, but still). That was not only lame, it was remarkably sexist.

The same thing happened with "The O.C." In its first season, the show was awesome (save for the 'Oliver' disaster). But the show has been slipping ever since with repetitive, implausible storylines, poor acting (I'm looking at you, Mischa), and crappy camp that would make your head spin. How many times can Ryan and Marissa possibly break up? How many times can Seth lie to Summer* and make an easily-resolvable situation 1000% worse? How many times can Kirsten hit the bottle? Even Sandy, my inspiration as a lawyer, has become insufferable. We get it Sandy. You're a Jew in the land of WASPs. Anyways, I completely wrote off the O.C. after a few episodes this season, when they introduced "Johnny," who, I assume was described in the script as "Oliver on a surfboard." The biggest problem with these creepy, clingy guys is that we're honestly supposed to believe that Marissa doesn't realize that they're into her. If the show doesn't end with Marissa being diagnosed as retarded and requiring a full frontal lobotomy, then the viewers deserve an apology. Because there is no other rational way to explain Marissa's idiotic behavior. From what I read on the front page of "Television without Pity," Marissa and Ryan are broken up, as are Seth and Summer. I couldn't care less. The O.C. is probably the only show I can think of that peaked in its very first episode - it's been going downhill ever since (with the notable exceptions of the Tiajuana episode, and the Marissa-Alex lesbian storyline. How did they get rid of lesbian Alex? She may have been the hottest girl in TV history). My verdict on "The O.C.?" Unwatchable.

*In no way do I blame Summer for the show's downfall - she's too frickin' hot.

I'm afraid this descent into suckitude is happening to "Lost" as well. I've been an avid watcher of "Lost" since episode 1, and the show was mind-blowing. It was well-written, with developed characters, tons of interesting plot twists cleverly tying people's pasts together, kind of scary, and super confusing. In fact, a lot of the backstories were more interesting than what was happening on the island in the present. But now, well into the second season, there has been shockingly little progress made in terms of plot, and it's gone from being a cool aspect of the show to being incredibly annoying. Week-to-week, nothing ever happens. In fact, they're still introducing totally new characters and elements into the show (Rose and Bernard's incredibly boring backstory, and the fact that Libby was a mental patient).Here is everything that remains completely unresolved since the show's beginning:

-The island "monster" that ate the pilot.
-The black fog that floats around that Mr. Echo looked into.
-The polar bear.
-The empty coffin.
-The horse.
-Locke's ability to walk.
-What put Locke in the wheelchair in the first place.
-Why the boat where they got the dynamite was hanging from a tree.
-The significance of the numbers.
-What the "Dharma Project" actually is.
-Anything having to do with "the Others."
-Whether pushing that button actually does anything.
-Why Jack is so effing self-righteous.
-Why Rousseau has no armpit hair.

These are just things off the top of my head in the last minute. I'm sure there is way more. And obviously some of these things are huge and shouldn't be resolved in a single episode, if at all (the Dharma project, the numbers, etc.). I just find it frustrating that instead of moving towards a downward arc, the show is still building up more. And I'm not convinced that the writers have a plan to resolve everything. Why did we need to see Rose and Bernard's whole backstory? I get it. She was cured of cancer by the island (although that's just a maybe, right? We don't know that for sure, Locke's ambulatory-ness notwithstanding). And Libby - couldn't they have brought her into play last season? I think last year I was willing to deal with the snail-like pace because the writing was just incredibly sharp, the reveals were well-done (Locke's wheelchair moment took the cake), and the characters were likable even when they weren't all that redeeming. This year it hasn't happened. First of all, everything involving Ana Lucia has been just unspeakably awful. Awful actress, awful character, stupid backstory, implausibility as to the fact that all the "tailaways" would follow Ana Lucia when she was constantly treating them like shit. Just really poorly done. But what REALLY pissed me off was Hurley episode this season, where he sees his "friend" Dave. When he's confessing to Libby that he's stored all this food and hidden it from everyone else, her solution is for him to basically destroy all of it. Which is, given that they're on a deserted island with tons of other people, absolutely ridiculous. It's one thing if he doesn't want the food himself. But instead of dumping it all out, how about he GIVES IT AWAY TO THE OTHER STARVING CASTAWAYS? When he didn't (and later we learned that everyone else is still starving, given their reaction to the food that comes down in the parachute), I just got really pissed off. Because it was unbelievably stupid writing. It just didn't make any sense. I feel like at that moment, I no longer had to give "Lost" the benefit of the doubt.

Impress me "Lost." I'm begging you.

April 20, 2006

A View from the Bottom

I’m afraid of flying. It’s bizarre and totally inexplicable, but there it is. I’m not like B.A. Baracus or anything; I don’t need to be drugged or knocked unconscious before I get on a plane, but I really just can’t stand flying. I struggle most during takeoffs, when any banking by the plane causes me to grip the armrests until my knuckles are white and the chair itself starts to bleed. Once the plane levels off, I’m usually okay, although I wet myself during any kind of turbulence. And because of this fear, I can’t really sleep on planes at all. If it’s a 10-plus hour transcontinental flight, then maybe I’ll grab a few winks, but otherwise I’m wide awake, constantly praying to myself. I’m not kidding. My fear isn’t debilitating – I can read and get work done on the plane. In fact, about three years ago on the 14-hour flight from Chicago to Tokyo, because of my inability to sleep, I was able to watch Gwenyth Paltrow’s film, “A View From the Top,” at least three times. Okay, so maybe my fear is debilitating. Why the fuck did she make that movie?!?

It’s really bizarre – as a result of my fear, every time I step on a plane, I first have to kiss my hand and touch it to the plane’s outside. As though I’m wishing the plane good luck or something. And when I’m walking to my seat, I always look for babies or small children. Because I figure to myself, “nothing can happen to babies or small children, right?” The cuter they are, the better. I understand this is morbid, but hey, I’m just filling you in on what it’s like to be me. Love it or leave it, baby.

What’s MOST bizarre, however, is the fact that I think that flying is absolutely fascinating. I think man’s ability to fly is one of his greatest accomplishments (and don’t even get me started about space travel). I love looking at planes. The bigger, the better. I think the old Boeing 747 and the new 777s are incredibly majestic, and the new Airbus plane that’s just been built and going into service this year (it’s bigger than the 747 and has two levels rows of seats, and possibly a casino) makes me all tingly inside. Of course, when I’m sitting in any of these planes, I’m just scared shitless.

I thought maybe if I get a better understanding of how airplanes fly, I’d feel more comfortable. So I went to the NASA website and found a section devoted to air travel, and intended for 6-year olds. In fact the first question was: “when you drop a ball, what happens? It falls down. What causes this to happen? GRAVITY.” Naturally, I was fascinated by this principle called “gravity.” As I went on, I learned about Bernoulli’s principle, and how the top of an airplane’s wings are curved, so that the air on top of the wing gets stretched out, causing it to put less pressure on the wing than the air on the bottom (which isn’t stretched). With more pressure on the bottom of the wing than the top, the plane flies (I’ll bet you didn’t know that, sucka). Anyways, I learned all of this, and it truly is fascinating, but guess what? I’m still terrified. I think the only way I could really feel comfortable on a plane is if I was actually in the cockpit with the pilots (who are awesome), so I’d understand what was going on at all times. Of course, were I to leave my seat on a commercial flight and approach the cockpit, there’s a 100% chance I’d be shot dead by a U.S. Marshal. They'd probably make a movie about it. So for the time being, I guess I’m just going to have to deal with my fear.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because once I’m filthy rich, I’m going to buy my very own Madden Cruiser. It’ll be awesome, and you’ll all be invited on my fun-filled road trips through the heartland of America. Those of you who choose to fly from NYC to LA in 5 hours, as opposed to me, who’ll have to do it in two days? Well, that’s just your loss. I’ll get to stop and smell the roses. And diesel fuel. And if I ever have to go to India or Europe or anywhere else, no problem. My customized Madden Cruiser will transform into a yacht.

I know what you’re thinking: “damn! I wish I was afraid of flying!”

April 05, 2006

Membership Has Its Privileges

Since I officially became a working stiff a couple of years back, my life has become incredibly mundane. I take the same bus to work every morning (the 156), eat the same breakfast (a balance bar and a yogurt), go to the same dry cleaner (Crystal Cleaners), and work on the same type of cases at my job. There's nothing wrong with any of it, it's just all very routine.

Given that monotony, I enjoy the slightest changes in my day that break up the sameness. Recently my favorite middle Eastern restaurant in the Chicago-area business district, Haifa Cafe, opened up a new location just down the street from my office, allowing me a quicker walk to grab my lunch and take it back to my office (another thing I do pretty much every day). Since it's opening, I've been going there pretty regularly. But just last week, something amazing happened. I was recognized as a regular. The guy behind the counter, as soon as he made eye contact, gave me a big smile and said "hey Mister how is work today?" But it wasn't like "mister" in the sense of "I don't know who you are and I'm trying to be respectful," but "mister" in the sense of "I totally do know you and am thrilled that you're regularly coming back here and you're now officially my boy." And that acknowledgement has basically made my (upcoming) week(s). Today I walked in, and as soon as my man said "hey mister how's work today?" I had a huge grin on my face and could barely order. I had become a "member." At Haifa Cafe, I am "the man." Today I didn't place an order - instead, my man immediately said "combo plate with kabob and gyro, right?" And he was right. And that, my friends, was the greatest feeling in the world. I had truly made it. I was part of the Haifa crew. I now dream about days in the future, when I'm afflicted with some sort of strep-throat type disease that prevents me from speaking. Normally, a person in that situation might starve to death, because they wouldn't be able tell anyone what they wanted to eat. It would be horrible. But not me. I know that I can turn to Haifa Cafe, and without saying a word, be served a chicken kabob lunch special. With gyro meat. I'm tearing up as I write this.

Of course, because I was so excited about being recognized as a part of the "Haifa team," I forgot to take a fork back to my office with me, and was forced to grab a spoon from Panda Express (sick) to eat my meal. Let me tell you, trying to cut a piece of chicken with knife and spoon totally sucks. It was awful, and as a result, my food ended up tasting like crap (maybe it was mental and the spoon was throwing me off - I just don't know). But anyways, I have a feeling that it was the Haifa Gods, smiting me. Perhaps I was getting a little TOO excited about the Haifa membership development. But unlike you suckas who have to walk in and order your food (snicker), I know...membership has its privileges.