Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feelin' Randy

I have been known to occasionally put down the Wiimote and pay attention to Ans. If she’s not around, and I’m too tired to wander around the Galaxy, I watch TV. I live with three other people, and being the considerate roommate, I always make time for Apartment Shows. There is a short list of shows that appeal to the entire apartment: How I Met Your Mother, Mythbusters, and House. But every January, a show comes along that lifts us from our Seasonal Affective Disorder and makes us squeal with joy: American Idol.

For the most part, I despise reality television that isn’t on the Discovery Channel. I feel most shows like Real World and Ans’ favorite, America’s Top Model, are examples of what’s wrong with our society. A bunch of people preoccupied with their looks generating unnecessary drama while competing for fame and money. For the most part, reality television stars have little talent or redeeming personalities. That kind of television is like McDonald’s to me. Occasionally I find myself indulging in it and afterwards I am repulsed with myself.

Idol is different. Sort of. Yes it’s exploitive, especially the first weeks of city-to-city tryouts where you see the bizarre, delusional, and comically inept. That’s fun for a while, but then you get to the really talented top 24 and it gets really interesting. Some of these kids really have pipes. In between the cheesy group performances and the sappy personal pieces, there are some amazing performances. Every now and then someone drops a performance that gives you a tingly feeling all over, and that’s what I tune in for every week.

But don’t get me started on how much I hate the results shows. What could be done in 5 minutes gets drawn out into wasting a half hour of my life a week. All the stupid drama built up by FOX makes me want to watch fewer of their shows. They do this shit all the time, especially with that dumbass Moment of Truth show. (It’s bad enough that show is degrading, but it is excruciatingly drawn out. They must tell the contestants to look thoughtful and wait before giving their answers, even when the question is clear: “Were you anally probed by hairy, orange aliens on the planet Neekto?” <20> “False.” No shit? Christ.) Interestingly, last week I was commenting to the roommates that just once I would like to see Seacrest get right to it and say, “You, come up here. You’re done. Go home.” Then out of nowhere, C-Crest took the Peter Frampton wannabe up on stage first and booted him out. It was lovely.

The only personnel constant in the last seven years has been the judges (and Seacrest, but I don’t count him as a person). Most of the time I think the judges are spot on, and it really upsets me that they get booed so much (Paula doesn’t get booed, but her sickeningly sweet, useless feedback ought to). Simon gets booed all the time, but 98% of the time, he’s dead on with his critique. Simon’s problem is that despite being correct, no one listens to him because he’s a stuck-up ass. Paula’s problem is that everyone listens to her because she’s so nice, but what she says often has no value. Enter Randy Jackson, feedback-giver extraordinaire and legendary bassist for Journey. Randy is my dogg, and an near perfect example of how to give constructive criticism. First, Randy doesn’t hide his feelings (though he should hide this). When he’s pleased with a performance, you can see it on his face, so you know what’s coming. Secondly, he starts out by saying something positive about what he saw and heard, which puts the singer in a mental space that’s open to hearing critique. Third, he usually gives negative critique in a way that is specific and absent of attitude. Finally, he also usually gives suggestion on how to improve. The only problem I can see with Randy is that not everyone can pick up what he’s puttin down cause he throwin so much slang in there, dogg. Sometimes I gotta translate what he’s speakin to my roommates in the hizzy. Sometimes I feel like Ms. Cleaver from Airplane! You feelin’ me?

That pretty much covers why I dig Idol and why Randy Jackson is my hero. And if you’re wondering who’s my favorite idol, it’s Kelly. She was my first, and your first always has a special spot. Plus her name is one of the best exclamations ever.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Friday

Fridays are particularly great days. Work is decidedly non-stressful; paychecks come in; and jeans are more than appropriate office attire. It's also the day that I get to go directly to Deuce's; where there literally are ice cream sundaes, unlimited television channels, a comfy bed, and fuzzy dog slippers. Fridays are pretty great. The only improvements would be if I didn't have to go to the office, and if clothing was optional before 5pm as well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


While I was sitting in my office trying to calibrate the sights on my Nerf dart-pen, I was reminded of an old computer game I used to play on my family’s first computer, the IBM PS/2. Now this was back in the day when phones still had cords, kids could still play outside, and we used Prodigy to get on to this thing called the internet. Real primitive shit.

Anyway, shooting my office window with Nerfdarts reminded me of calibrating the sights on a police issue firearm in Police Quest 2. I freakin loved this game. Now this was the height of home video games at the time, (I don’t think I had discovered NES yet) and Police Quest 2 was all I played. The game pits you as Homicide Detective Sonny Bonds (No doubt an amalgam of 007 and the popular Miami Vice character) of the Lytton Police. You and your girlfriend, “Sweet Cheeks” Marie, are very happy since you put the evil drug lord and killer Jesse Bains in jail in the aptly named Police Quest 1. Well Bains escapes and all hell breaks loose, sending you on scuba missions, preventing a hijacking, and running through sewers. You get to collect evidence, call for backup, search warrants, and all that cool police stuff. Keep in mind that the interface was primative too, so every command had to be typed in. You had to type "open door" or "duck" or "crap your pants." If you didn't type the command correctly or spelled something wrong, you'd get some stupid response like, "You're spinning your wheels looking at that" or "I don't know what you mean." Much time was spent slamming on the keyboard and yelling at the monitor. Despite all that, the game inspired me to open my own neighborhood detective agency, much like my other obsession at the time.

Police Quest 2 was developed by Sierra Online who did other great games like the SpaceQuest series and KingsQuest series (Keen observers and fellow geeks might remember that Tom Hanks’ character in Big is seen playing KingsQuest.) I also really remember enjoying GoldRush! (much like Oregon Trail, put you on a search for gold in 1842 or so) and Manhunter: San Francisco (it’s about aliens, not about alternative lifestyles). I discovered today that all these games are available for free on-line now. Of course, you can download them directly instead of having to put all the data on seven floppy disks. I swear I spent a good chunk of my childhood switching out disks. I may end up playing this tonight instead of Wii. Much like cocaine, Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Much Spam and Where the F is My Cereal?

Today, I'm feeling a bit conflicted. I'm feeling lazy and unproductive because I cannot find detailed information on the food imports of the CNMI, although I have searched for hours, but it's slowing down the development of my program proposal and paper. I'm feeling a bit guilty and overwhelmed by the idea of it all. I'm supposed to tell the director of public health what the hell to do with the obesity problems the islands are facing, when I've never been there before and have little access to a very limited amount of information? Sure...right after I tell Martha Stewart how to decorate for a party, and tell the parents of whining children in public places how to parent. I appreciate the value of sharing fresh, new ideas and innovation, but am not feeling confident that I should be the one to do so in this situation.

Aside from that, and I suppose somewhat food related...the best part of my day was a text I received this morning. I left my apartment at 6:30 AM and about a block away from my front stoop I realized I had forgotten to pack the cereal I bought this weekend. I am a person who relies heavily on routine, punctuality and fiber. I spent careful minutes packing my bag last night, as I do most week nights, with clothes, fruit, school work, etc. - the necessary items for the following day (sometimes two). I thought I was all set, and as I lied in bed I even made a few mental notes to myself about what I should grab in the morning. The fiber-licious Trader Joe's Granola Raisin Crunch cereal I had purchased days before, and deliberately left in the back seat of Deuce's car so not to forget it, was not one of the notes. Hours before I had taken it out of his car, placed it on the roof so I could reach into the trunk to get my bag, and poof- that was my last memory of the purple box. I even thought to myself- DO NOT forget that. So, needless to say, I came to a screeching halt, said a breathy "Fuck" to myself and looked down the street where last night's roof-placement had occurred. No luck. "It's just cereal- whatever, but it's THE cereal. My 1pm bathroom break cereal. It's so good. I can get another box, but not until Wednesday! I must text Deuce. Maybe he saw it, and put it in his car and didn't bother to tell me because it's cereal for Christ's sake and I can live without it for a day. I will see him tonight- it's all good. But I MUST TEXT HIM NOW. Ok, calm down. Text him after the gym, when the sun is up." I did. He wrote back, and God damn it I am a lucky girl. "It's in your pantry. [I saw it on the car last night] I brought it inside." He didn't sign it "Your love machine," but it was early and I'm so grateful that he took the energy to explain as much as he did. It's so nice to know that as I'm losing my mind, he's got my back.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Je t'aime

To my dearest Double Deuce. Baby, I want you to know on this very special, yet randomly selected, day in February that I love you more than the touching scene of a beautiful and perfect rainbow arching over a rose garden after a rain storm; more than Kate loves Doug; more than the warm fuzzy feeling kittens give you; more than Lars loves nurse Julie; and more than chocolate loves peanut butter. I love this day, and I'm so happy that we get to spend it together. Last year, I know you gave me this adorable print that I don't remember hinting about at all, but this year baby- no hints- I'm just going to tell you what I want. I want Jared. He knows how to please me. He knows my wants and needs, and how to satisfy me in ways I've never experienced. He is a constant reminder that I am a princess. So, baby, sugar, my sweetest please get me this.
Now, I haven't forgotten you. I will be sure to get these shipped express mail so that you can bedeck yourself in them ASAP. So, yeah, that's it sweetie pie. I love you and can't wait for tonight! I'm sure you have something sickly romantic up your sleeve! Mwah!

The Dreaded VD

V.D. While everyone over the age of 30 probably cringes at the mention of those two letters, I’m not referring to venereal disease (I don’t know when this term fell out of use. It sounds much scarier than Sexually Transmitted Disease/Infection. Maybe if it sounded scarier, kids would try harder to avoid it. Call it junk-b-gone or crotchrot or something. That’ll get ‘em bagging up their goodies.) No, I’m talking about something even more sinister and evil. A manufactured holiday fueled by greedy, materialistic corporations, hell-bent on separating you from your hard-earned dollar in exchange for gaudy jewelry, low-quality chocolate, and a hollow, empty feeling inside. We’re talking Valentine’s Day.

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day, except the aforementioned crapmongers. Let’s break it down into the two basic groups: Without Partner and With Partner.

Without Partner: So you’re single. Maybe you’ve been that way for a while, maybe you just got out of a relationship, or maybe you’re doing it on purpose. Regardless, VD reminds you that you’re alone as if coming home to an empty apartment and masturbating while you cry yourself to sleep wasn’t enough (Not that this has ever happened to me). Despite your steely façade, we all know it affects you. So covertly or not, you express your depression or anger at society by wearing all-black in protest, then plan to hit a bar with your other single friends. Of course, this leads to the mind-boggling tradition of drowning your sorrows in a proven depressant. Then you go and make another bad decision by going home with the closest warm body, realizing your mistake too late, and sneaking out in the middle of the night. As you walk home with your shirt inside out and missing a sock, you yell profanities at yourself, continuing the self-loathing cycle that got you in this mess in the first place. VD depression has struck again. Then you forget about it until the next Valentine’s or at least until it burns when you pee and you have to see a doctor a month later. VD has struck again, ninja-style (Not that this has ever happened to me).

With Partner: So you thought the grass was greener on the other side of VD? Survey says: X! If you are fortunate to have a special someone on VD, things really are not much better. Let’s say you are very happy with your partner. Every moment spent together is a mixture of complementary personalities, matching senses of humor, mutual physical attraction, showers of affection, rainbows, marshmallows, and bunnies. You make dinner together every Saturday and breakfast every Sunday morning. You eat way too much together then curse at the evil toothy yoga DVD instructor together. You talk about your future together and it’s not remotely scary. You’ve already named your children (Xander, Eliza, and Seamus, maybe) . Basically, if they were a floor, then you’d be a rug. If they were a kiss, you know you’d be a hug.

Let’s face it, you’re so happy that you probably make other people nauseous so you try to contain it when you talk to your friends, but you’re still not immune to the shadowy clutches of VD. You see, VD knows that when you are in a relationship, it is outnumbered two to one, so VD employs its most powerful ally: Expectation.

Expectation is a dangerous thing and often leads to disappointment. It’s funny how it works too. You could still get something great, but if it doesn’t live up to what you built in your mind, it’s still a disappointment. Let’s say you won a raffle where the grand prize was $1000. You’re thinking, “Sweet. Now I can buy that Blu-Ray player I wanted.” But then the raffle organizers tell you that for whatever reason, they’re only able to give you $850. Most people would be disappointed thinking, “Dammit, I wanted the $1000!” You should be happy with the $850, but you were expecting more. Even if the disappointment is fleeting, it’s still there. Disappointment leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Next thing you know, you’re a scarred cyborg slicing your son’s hand off.

Expectation runs rampant during these gift-giving occasions. The crapmongers help power it by running their insipid commercials every 10 minutes. I want to punch my television when those ads come on. In fact, if the people responsible for those awful Jared Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers ads could somehow feel the impact of me hitting my television set, then I might consider taking a hammer to my plasma (I have to give props to the AT&T commercials with the “My darling girl Teresa” white-guy-rap and the “Hottie from Hottingham.” I actually never get sick of those). Anyway, these ads only encourage women to expect expensive things from their partners. When they don’t get them? Disappointment and lopped-off hands.

And why does showing affection need to be grand displays of opulence and extravagance once in a while? Shouldn’t we be showing love daily and spontaneously? I think random acts of kindness have more impact because people aren’t expecting it. Don’t get me wrong. I think she deserves the world, and I try to treat her like a princess daily. Sometimes I think I actually spoil her. I definitely don’t need some gaudy piece of blood diamond jewelry or gooey, grossness- filled chocolate to prove I love her. I suppose if you are too busy or self-involved to show your affection, it is nice to have a special day set aside to make sure you express yourself, but if that’s the case, maybe you need to re-prioritize yo’ shit.

Let’s save everyone the hassle and just get rid of this stupid psudo-holiday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


World, meet Devin Marie. Dev, meet the World. Dev is my half-sister. We have yet to meet, but I bet she's warm and soft and smells like marshmallows.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Choose Your Adventure

As you enter the Cave of Wonders, an Enchanter magically appears in a puff of smoke and flame.
"Halt!" he says. "Who goes there?"
You stare agape in amazement. As you check your underpants for soilage, you ask, "Who are you who can summon fire without flint nor tinder?"
He replies, "Some call me...Tim?"
"Greetings," you say, "Tim the Enchanter."
"The path before you splits and I present to you two choices, " Tim replies, randomly punctuating with unecessary explosions. "Behind this door is six months of abstinence and a free 50 inch plasma TV and the other is six months of intermittent intercourse and no free television. Choose your path wisely!"

To choose BigTV+ no nookie, turn to page 68.
To choose No free TV+ booty, turn to page 69.

According to this article (found via gizmodo), 47% of British men turned to page 68. In other news, a freak accident caused 89% of British women to be exposed to gamma rays. They now look like this or this. Since British men are too busy watching TV, the women are pretty hard up for sex. And hey, 11% of Brit females still look like this, so get them while they're hot.

I don't understand how this statistic is possible. Did they survey only old, married dudes? Are 47% of British men socially-awkward virgins? I mean, in the past, my game would be off, and I'd spend my fair share of time in the desert. At that point, I suppose 6 months wouldn't be so bad, since it's already been a while. Might as well get something out of the dry spell, right?

And what are the conditions of this deal? Do you get to have sex after you get the TV and is that sex guaranteed? Low end 50inch plasmas are like $2000. I suppose you could take the TV, redirect money you would have spent, and blow it on a high-class prostitute.

Plus a 50 inch screen isn't really that big. But size doesn't really matter, right? Right?

In other Overcompensation news, someone is trying to make the push for this years Darwin Award (via gizmodo). This has been done before. Doesn't anyone have an original idea anymore? (asks the guy with a blog filled with recycled material from other blogs)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sweet and Salty

We love these cookies. I found the recipe here. They are just enough sweet and just enough salty, but not really oatmeal-y.

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Scharfen Berger)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (salted is fine, too)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons steel-cut oats (Whatevs, I use rolled oats. They just make the cookie look healthier)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (using Ghiradelli makes a difference)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter large rimmed baking sheet. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat until moist clumps form. Mix in oats with spatula until evenly distributed (dough will be very firm- not true). Add chocolate chips and knead gently to blend.

Using moistened palms, shape 1 generous tablespoon dough into ball. Place on prepared sheet; flatten to 2-inch round. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing rounds about 2 inches apart. They take around 17 minutes and are very soft when they come out of the oven. Just leave them be! They will cool soon, and harden. They are better after a couple of days, too.

Market tip: Old-fashioned oats have been cut, steamed, and flattened with large rollers. Steel-cut oats are not as highly processed and look like tiny pellets. They produce a more al dente result.

Bon Appétit

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Early Years

1983: A 19 year old college freshman with thick, wavy brown hair down to her bum, and a 22 year old soul, who is struggling to find an emotional balance between losing his father and gaining a daughter all within 18 months, find themselves in Islip, NY with a bundle of joy they name after a cheerleader they don’t know and the mother’s mother.

1985: A feisty two year old, a pregnant mamma, and a rusty 1970-something RV are hauled across the country to Colorado Springs. Needless to say there were no casualties other than the skis, bikes, rocking chair, and several other belongings that flew off of the top of the car on to the highway. A new home is established and a first best friend born.

1986: I remember waking up with my face smooshed against the vinyl-covered arm rest in the backseat of our orange VW Bug. The headlights reflecting off of mailboxes and living room windows woke me as we pulled around the cul-de-sac. We stopped. Inside was bare except for a child-sized chair and a small crib for a doll. I was immensely pleased with this. My father carried me upstairs, gave me a tour of each room and told me to pick one. Home, again.

1987: My brother sings songs he’s learned at school with a British accent and we play in the garden with “Big Brian” and Anna, catching bees in jelly jars. We have tea when we visit friend’s homes. Our babysitter puts chopped onions, pickles and celery in our tuna, and doesn’t allow us to go upstairs where the toys are. On summer evenings the four of us walk to the candy shop for sweets. We spend New Years watching a videotape my father’s family made on Christmas day in the States, and take a trip to Edinburgh in the spring.

1988: Tigger was my first and only pet. A babysitter was moving with too many children and too many pets. One had to go. My parents chose the cat. The only cat we will ever adore. She had greener eyes than I could ever describe and she was soulful. The first few days we had her she spent under my parents' bed and in the closet, from which I lured her into my arms with dry food. “T- I- double “Guh” “eR”

1990: The adventure continues in a small, depressed town of upstate NY. It is here where I forget how to read, my brother is swept down a stream in his snow clothes in the middle of winter, and where we live in the home of Val; the brother of a choreographer for Dirty Dancing.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Deuce is Loose.

Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody said it was a happy little tale... if somebody told you I was just your average ordinary guy, not a care in the world... somebody lied.

I was born in Delaware to immigrant Filipino parents (in the same hospital as the hottest babysitter ever. Sadly, it's now a parking lot). Contrary to popular belief, Delaware is not a cultural or social center, so I spent a lot of time in front of the television. Fortunately, my formative years coincided with the pinnacle of human development, so I absorbed near fatal amounts of television radiation and pop culture empowering me with superhuman amounts of useless knowledge and skills (converting any Transformer without directions and finishing Contra with only 3 lives).

I cruised though school relying mostly on my charm and boyish good-looks. I'll just out myself now as a preppy private schooler (Yes, I had several white hats. No, I never owned any pastel clothing). I weaseled my way into an academically rigorous, socially-conscious, and socially-awkward liberal arts college that despite popular belief is not an all-girls school (even that school has been co-ed since '71). I got my academic ass kicked in college, thus putting the smackdown on my career aspirations. After graduation, I packed up and moved to the Great White North with my college girlfriend to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life.

On my visits to Boston, I always felt like it would be a great place to live. Over the last 8 years, that feeling has never wavered. Even after the college girlfriend and I broke up after our first six months living together, I stayed. I friggin love this city. Maybe it's because I have never had to spend more than a half-hour commuting OR that I live next to America's Most Beloved Ballpark OR that I never run out of new places to eat OR that I have never had trouble finding friends OR that I met the person I'm probably going to marry here. A lot of personal growth has happened in Boston, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I love this town and yes, I am a pre-2004 Red Sox fan and an avid Yankee Hater. Now, I will always be l a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan though, and one of my all-time favorite players is a former Eagle and is the origin of my screenname (along with this and this).

Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow and normally takes thousands of years. But every few millennia, evolution leaps forward.

Out of college, I got a job as a case manager at a homeless shelter. But after three years there, I needed a change. Since I'm apparently a masochist, I went back to school and got two masters degrees. Since I'm also apparently hell bent on being poor the rest of my life, I'm currently a full-time social worker.

It's really amazing how much more free time I have now that I'm not in school anymore. Now I fill my time playing video games, watching movies and television, reading comic books, wasting company time on YouTube, and hanging out with aforementioned future life partner. I anticipate my blog entries will be mostly filled with random commentary and poorly informed observation about these subjects, though occasionally a nugget of truth may fall out. I'm basically nerd-core, and if you took away the girlfriend, I'd be the biggest. loser. ever.

This is my gift. This is my curse. Who am I?

I'm DoubleDeuce.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pourtney's Complaint

Pourtney's Complaint
: A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme desire to over-eat, play video games, and punch everyone in the metaphorical nuts.

It's not the DSM-IV TR, but it's coming to you soon in the DSM-V. (Trust Deuce, he's a Social Worker). Not to be confused with Portnoy's Complaint, this work will be slightly less sexually frustrated and by sad twist of genetics, definitely less Jewish. And because there will certainly be questions, "Pourtney" is an amalgamation of our real first names.

Anyway, welcome to our blog! Like the sub-title says, this is a pretty self-serving forum for us to vent and be schmoopy-whoopy in yet another public setting. Feel free to be a voyeur and snoop around. Comments and feedback are welcome and we may engage in dialogue, but not if you're acting like an asshat. We're not claiming to be infallible, so we don't need grammar and spelling lessons by commenters. Also, by no means do we bill ourselves as the authority on anything we write about, because really 90% of the time, we'll be talking completely out of our asses.

But remember, this blog is really just for us and ultimately, we don't give a shit about what you think (Of course, except you, Mom). Dealing with other people's crap is what we do for a living.