28 April 2005

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Steph bit the dust on tonight's Survivor. I'm not so much upset that she's gone but that fat, useless Katie is still an active contestant. Stupid cunt.

I finally figured out who Steph kinda looks like: Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: SVU.

Wife is in an aeroplane over the sea as I type. I wish her a safe and secure trip both coming and going. I wish I could've gone with. But I vowed -- yes, actually vowed -- that we would go to Europe this year (or early in 2006). Where? Germany sounds cool, as does England, as does the Netherlands, as does Sweden. Maybe we can do some combo tour. We'll see.

24 April 2005

Out on the Tiles

The old lady decided to visit her old college roommate in Bloomington yesterday. Then he decided to follow her back here because a friend of his was in New Albany, Indiana and he thought he might be able to hook up with her later. Big mistake: The Kentucky Derby Festival is officially underway and Thunder Over Louisville went down yesterday. Putting it bluntly, downtown Louisville is a fucking mess each year during Thunder; they actually close down the interstates leading to and from the city. Getting to New Albany from Louisville, which normally takes 15 minuts max, is a two-hour project on Thunder.

(Also, it was freakishly cold in Louisville yesterday, so all the yokels who turned out for Thunder froze their redneck asses off. Suckers.)

So college roommate decided to hang with us instead. We went with the Restaurant Experts With Expensive Taste to the Alameda Bar & Grill, a joint we've driven by about 724 million times since we moved here but never tried out. It was really good. Their "Texas Bluebonnet" is a dead ringer for El Mundo's "Blue Mundo." I'd definitely go back again.

Our friends bailed after the meal so we went to Seidenfaden Cafe, our neighborhood joint, or as the Brits would call it, our local. Seidenfaden is a strange place: It's an "old man" bar most of the time, but late nights and weekends, all the little self-styled hipster kids like to hang out there -- most likely because the drinks are very reasonably priced and the bartenders pour stiffly -- but thanks to Thunder, it was much less crowded than it usually is on a Saturday night. Also, they got a new pinball machine (well, it's new for Seidenfaden), so when the wife and the roommate started in on the "Remember that time..." trips down memeory lane, I was able to amuse myself.

23 April 2005

I'm Not Into Your Passport Picture, I Just Like Your Nose

The old lady is going to Germany for two weeks. I tried to get time off so I could accompany her, but due to work commitments , I can't go -- just like when she went to Japan and England and my boss at the time was an asshole and wouldn't give me time off. But I digress.

We keep our passports in a lockbox, which I hide because I'm squirrelly like that. Last night she says, "Get my passport out so I know where it is." I retrieved the lockbox and opened it. Naturally, my passport was there; hers was not.

So we spent three hours last night tearing our house apart, to no avail. In desperation, we Googled "U.S. passports" and it looked as if my wife would have to drive up to Chicago and pay an "emergency" fee to get a new passport made. By that point, it was past 1 a.m. We hit the hay.

When I woke up to go to work, my wife seemed awful damn chipper: Turns out she remembered that she had used her passport for ID purposes somewhere and she finally remembered where it was. It was a tremendous relief that she located it... but I still wanted to strangle her, just a little bit.

22 April 2005

TGIF, Bitches

Am I a pervert because this image turns me on? Whatever it is you're protesting, sweetie, I support your efforts 100 percent.

18 April 2005

Media Overload

This past weekend was a consumerist paradise. In addition to the Xbox, I bought two novels (at half price), a new 331/3 book and the new issue of Mojo. I'm also trying to write reviews of the new Corrosion of Conformity CD, In the Arms of God as well as the upcoming CD from local artist Coliseum, Goddamage.

But wait, there's even more: Today at lunch I walked over to the EB Games in Fourth Street Live and bought used copies of Manhunt and SoulCaliber II.

(All this after I finally signed up for 401k at work, which means I'm taking home about $50 less per pay period.)

What this all really means, however, is that I have plenty of stuff to keep me occupied.

And yet I still feel as if I'm struggling to stay on top of the mundane shit like laundry, bills, lawn care, the litter box, etc. Oh, and this blog, for which I made time this evening. Thank God Monday is a slow TV night.

I need a 36-hour day.

17 April 2005

Xbox Fever

Back in the day, I was a huge, no huge, no, make that HUGE fan of Doom and DoomII. An old girlfriend bought a PC in '96 and she generously told me that if there was any software I'd like to use on her new toy, she was more than happy to let me. A friend of mine who was a hardcore computer gamer told me about Doom and the rest is history.

Recently, id Software released Doom 3, which was billed as the biggest, baddest Doom ever in the history of the know and unknown universes. Unfortunately, to play this megagame at its highest potential, one's PC needs to be up to NORAD capabilities. Our crappy Gateway can barely handle it when I run MS Word and an internet browser simultaneously, so it looked as if Doom 3 was out of my reach until we got around to upgrading the hardware. Naturally, I started hinting to my wife that a new PC might be in order. For doing our taxes or something.

My wife, well aware of my tactics, figured out that I wanted a new game and offered a clever solution: She told me to just buy a game console. And since id had just recently dropped the Xbox version of Doom 3, I was all set. I bought the box and the game yesterday. Set up was quick and painless. I cracked open a Woodpecker, sat back and prepared to start blowing shit up.

Silly me. Have you seen the Xbox controllers? Jesus wept. I've seen commercial aircraft with more streamlined control panels. One lever moves your characters head, another moves his legs, then there's the D-pad, the four colored buttons (A, B, X and Y) and the two little ones that operate the PDA (see below) and the flashlinght, not to mention the triggers on the underside. Right off the bat, I'm at a serious disadvantage -- you see, I only have two hands. But I figure practice makes perfect and that with three or four hours a day of serious gameplay, heh heh, I'll be just as good as members of the Xbox's target demographic, i.e., 15-year-old cretins.

But then there's the game itself: In the first two Dooms, you shot at everything that moved and picked up any stray weapons, ammo packs, medical supplies and keys that you saw lying around. For the most part, it's mindless entertainment, but you do have to remember where certain doors and elevators and what not are to get to the next level. In the new Doom, there's 20 minutes of exposition and backstory that you have to wade through at the start of the game, which kills the momentum before it's even begun. Furthermore, your character is issued a PDA that you have to keep checking for clues, e-mails and other information, which is a pain in the ass. Finally, the game is fucking dark. Now, I know all about versimilitude and all that shit, but you need to be able to see what the fuck you're doing. Add all that up, and this "game" has turned into serious work, which pretty much removes all of the fun from the equation.

So after two hours of stumbling aimlessly, I gave up. I'm going to search for cheat codes on the web and see if I can "customize" this bitch so it's playable. And if I can't get the hang of Doom-fucking-3, there's always Red Dead Revolver or Manhunt.

12 April 2005

The Idiot Box

We watch entirely too much television. We joke about it all the time, but that doesn't change the fact that we spend too much time suckling the glass teat.

(By we, I mean my wife and I, not the whole of America or anything like that.)

But do we stop? Aw, hell naw.

Here's a list of every show that we watch religiously, i.e., one or both of us is visibly upset if an episode is missed. Keep in mind some of the shows listed go on hiatus from time to time, freeing up valuable minutes for channel-surfing.

The Simpsons
Arrested Development
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
The Sopranos
Family Guy (starting May 1)


The Amazing Race
The Shield


The Venture Brothers

"But Vitamin J," you cry. "The shows listed above comprise a mere nine hours of TV viewing spread across an entire week. This puts your household well below the national average of 4.3765988 hours* of television watched per day."

If only. The programs named above are appointment TV. It's not as if the box remains unused on the off nights.

Here's a partial list of the crap one or both of us will sit through when our "main" shows aren't being broadcast. No, I won't provide links for these. Try Google.

Law & Order

Law & Order: SVU
The Office (British)
King of the Hill
The Life Laundry
Clean Sweep
Fear Factor
The Daily Show
Chappelle's Show
King of Queens
The Surreal Life
Crossing Jordan
Celebrity Fit Club
What Not to Wear (British)
What Not to Wear (American)
Good Eats

That's hardly a complete list; I just don't feel like poring over TV Guide and plugging any holes. We also use our Insight on Demand feature and watch reruns of The Sopranos, and I'm tempted to acquaint myself with Six Feet Under, to boot. Furthermore, I own the complete runs of Freaks and Geeks, Mr. Show and Strangers With Candy on DVD for even more television goodness.

We watch a lot of fucking TV.

But what compounds things even further is that among our little social circle, each of them has their own favorites that they try to cajole one or both of us into watching. And while I'm tempted to try Lost, Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, Deadwood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, House and every other well-received program I've heard about, the line has to be drawn somewhere (a bold stance, I know).

(In my defense, I tried watching the newest Law & Order spinoff and both CSI offshoots, and they're all shitty in their own special way. I'm not a complete zombie.)

The point? How the hell should I know? While I don't subscribe to the theory that TV rots your brain, it certainly does eat up a large chunk of my precious free time.

*Obviously, I just made this number up.

10 April 2005

Eating in Louisville

We rarely eat at home on weekends. Why should we? We can afford to dine out and when you go to a restaurant, there are no dishes to clear, no cooking implements to wash.

Friday, we went to Havana Rumba, a Cuban establishment in St. Matthews. Nobody in our party of four had ever eaten there before. Usually when we get adventurous at mealtime we end up regretting it, but we were all pleasantly surprised at how much we liked the food. I even drank sangria, which tastes like Hawaiian Punch mixed with red wine, neither of which I am very fond, but hey, when in Rome. The only sour note was Tony, who ordered a grouper sandwich (?) but pouted when it arrived, saying it was "good, but not what he expected." (??) Sorry, man. We'll go to Long John Silver's for you next time.

Saturday, we went to the Third Avenue Cafe. Again, a pleasant surprise. We went with a different couple this time, and they usually have very expensive tastes in restaurants. Both of them waited tables while in college, so they think they know everything about the food industry, and maybe they do, but usually when we go somewhere they have selected, I know I'm going to pay quite a bit for a pretentious, fruity meal that I won't finish and then I'll be in the La Bamba drive-through buying a chorizo burrito with avocados and extra jalapeno (keeps the mail moving, don't you know).

But anyway, Third Avenue: A long time ago, before we relocated here, I wrote an article about what to do in Louisville over a weekend. The magazine who tossed me this assignment put me and the old lady up in a bed & breakfast that was just up the road from the Third Avenue Cafe, so we had actually been there for a drink, but not dinner. We'd always said, "We should go back there sometime," but never got around to it until this weekend. Again, it was really good. Also, our waiter was something of a comedian, which can be extremely grating, but was highly amusing because he was so clearly getting on our friends's nerves. Other people's irritation = good times.

08 April 2005

An Actual Ray of Sunshine

Nice weather today here in the 'Ville. Very pleasant.

Here's an interesting take on the papacy of John Paul II. Truthfully, I have no opinion one way or the other about the pontiff's deeds or legacy.

Thinking about seeing a movie this weekend.

Thinking about my reality TV shows, too. I overheard a few people at work discussing The Amazing Race. Last Wednesday's episode was dramatic as usual, with "The Brothers" getting the boot, an especially poignant event in light of the previous episode's circumstances -- they wrecked their Land Rover and seemed destined for Philimination but managed to catch up to the team of Deana and Ray at a Road Block, then beat them in a foot race to the Check-In. Suck on that, bitches.

(And it has to be said: Ray? Was a total fucking prick. He was -- and most likely, still is -- the embodiment of every cliche you can imagine regarding alpha males going through a midlife crisis. Plus, he had a tendency to regularly use phrases like "the competitive edge" and "will to win" with a straight face. And the icing on the cake was that ridiculous do-rag he always wore. I mean, dude: you're a fortysomething stockbroker from Ohio, not a cast member of Jackass. Have some fucking dignity.)

03 April 2005

A Little Ray of Sunshine

I do some freelance writing here and there to supplement my meager income. When I started doing this, a long, long time ago, when I was younger and dumber, I really loved writing music and comic book reviews because it was a win-win-win situation: I got to inflict my opinions on the public, I got free CDs, concert tickets, comics and other promo swag and to top it off, I got paid.

I was eventually able to turn the freelancing into a full-time job editing a magazine, which eventually became six magazines. Again, I was insanely happy, because this was one of my ultimate fantasy dream jobs. Then I figured out that the publisher of the magazine -- my boss -- and I would never see eye-to-eye on damn near anything. So my dream job quickly became the shittiest job I've ever had -- and I've worked at McDonald's, so I know a shitty job when I have one. But I think I was still pretty good at it (editing the magazines, not flipping burgers) so I lasted three and a half years, which was two and a half years longer than I expected.

After that gig ended, I went back to the glamorous world of finance before we decided to move to Louisville. Thanks to my illustrious journalism career, I was able to procure a full-time "hard news" job as well as the freelance shit. But believe it or not, I take some semblance of pride in my work, and unfortunately, since I have to do all my freelance stuff during my "off" hours, I fear that the work occasionally suffers.

So why do I still do it? Because of the swag, mainly. Yes, I have sold out for promotional materials. I am one of the music industry's many bitches.

The moral of this story is, be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.

Go Cards

They lost.

I was at the Irish Rover last night with some friends (my "peeps," as the kids say) and in the bar, there were about 10-15 people watching the game. They were quite vocal during the game, but grew strangely quiet towards the end. At least they had the sense not to be dickheads about it as the Cards choked.