Thursday, May 29, 2008

Podcasts

Add podcasts to my list of time-wasters.

Even though I've had an ipod for a couple of years, I'd only started subscribing to podcasts recently. I'm not really sure why, since I'm such an early adopter--I had gonorrhea of the throat looong before it was fashionable to get it. And the podcasts I'm currently subscribing to have had offerings for quite some time.

What's even more puzzling about this is that these podcasts are free. FREE. I'm not one to refuse a freebie. I send postcards to get free movie sreenings, take home the free shampoo from a hotel, even take a free sample of tampons. I know I know, but I'll find a use for it somehow, maybe fix a leaky roof or something.

This was what ultimately made me finally get on the bandwagon: once, when I was in my car, I had to cut off This American Life on NPR because I had arrived at my destination. I would miss the last part of the radio show. So when I found out about the podcast, I downloaded it.

I only listen to the radio in the car. I find that there are certain things that I do in a car that I don't normally do outside of it. Listen to country music. Have long political discussions. Swallow.

There's something about the enclosed confines of a car that seems to cocoon you from the rest of the world, suspending reality. Calories consumed are not absorbed into the body; ova are impervious to sperm; doing the chicken dance is not embarrassing. This probably explains the abundance of fat, hick parents.

In fact, I was recently listening to a BBC podcast Thinking Allowed, a science talk show that explored how it seemed that people talk more honestly and are more receptive to communicating in a car. This is probably because of the block of uninterrupted time coupled with the seating configuration, which lessened eye contact, making people more honest and apt to listen.

They said that if you wanted to tell someone something important, something you want them to listen to, you should tell them during a trip. It will increase the chances of it sinking in. So I am going to take a trip and tell my boyfriend something important: he does not do a good Barry Manilow impression. I hope he will stop singing Barry in the shower. God, I hope it works.

Anyway, I'm not really a science geek, but listening to BBC podcasts makes me feel more sophisticated. I feel that when I listen to it, I should have some wine and cheese and a side order of mad cow disease. Plus, English accents make everything sound smarter and funnier. I mean, you could yell out 'I'm having massive diarrhea!' and everyone would nod and clap and hand you a lace doily to wipe your ass. Go on, say it out loud in an English accent. See what I mean?

And because you want to be me (c'mon admit it), I'm going to list down what podcasts I'm subscribing to. Bloggers like lists because it's an easy way for us to paint a totally false impression of our personalities. I don't know if there is a way to paint an honest picture of someone except through careful, meticulous and painstakingly applied torture. So here it is, my list, check it out. It's free.


This American Life (Chicago Public Radio)
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! (NPR)
This I Believe (NPR)
11 Central Ave. (PRI)
Story of The Day (NPR)
StoryCorps: Recording America (NPR)
Science Friday (NPR)
What Would Rob Do? (NPR)
Youthcast (NPR)
Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 (BBC)
The Music Week (BBC)
Hmmmn...Krulwich on Science (NPR)
Fresh Air (NPR)
Driveway Moments (NPR)
Design For The Real World (PRI)
Satire from The Unger Report (NPR)
Thinking Allowed (BBC)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spring Showers Bring May Flowers

I found this in an alley near Wrigley Field.



It's IML weekend here in Chicago. Coincidink?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Open Thread #2

You know what a Dead Pool is right? It's when you bet that somebody that you've put on your list is going to die this year. You do this with a group of your morbid yet fun-loving friends.

Anyway, in celebration of Cher's 62nd birthday today, I am putting together my own less cruel, but still amusing version of the Dead Pool. I'm calling it the Hip Replacement Pool. The way it works is this, whoever's list has somebody in it that gets a hip replacement this year, gets a customized No Milk Please guitar pick AND a DJ Evil Twin CD. But to win, you have to join.

Cher's on my list because I predict that with her Las Vegas show, she's bound to break a hip or something, it happened to Prince.

Here's my Hip Replacement Pool:

1. Tina Turner
2. Cher
3. Michael Jackson
4. Michael Stipe
5. Steven Tyler
6. Mick Jagger
7. Iggy Pop
8. Tom Jones

Add yours in the comments. The more names in your list, the better your chances of winning!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Another Super Power!

Just today, another super power had revealed itself to me, one that I've probably always had but didn't really acknowledge, kinda like like how I knew I was always gay but never acknowledged it until I realized one day I didn't want to fuck my high school girlfriend, I just wanted someone to help me make my audition tape for MTV's The Real World.

My power manifested itself when I walked into the men's room and I realized I could identify every single guy who was taking a shit in the stalls just by looking at their shoes peeking underneath the walls. The guy with the black Sketchers in the first stall was the IT guy Jared; the guy with the loafers who was multi-tasking by also reading a newspaper (I heard the rustle of the pages turning) was Bob, another IT guy; the guy peeing in stall three wearing a pair of Reebok sneakers was an engineering temp--I don't know his name, but he has cool hair.

Is it just me? Am I the only one with this awesome power? I feel powerful and all-knowing! What would my superhero name be? Toilet Oracle Man? Magic Toilet 8 Ball Kid? Diaper Genie?

Should I go out and buy a cape and tights? None of the capes I currently own would do, for instance, I have a black silk cape with a red lining that goes with a tuxedo. It makes me look like a vampire. I wear it on halloween, Buffy conventions, Red Cross blood drives. It's always a hit.

But much as I enjoy having this power, like any other person, I wish my super power was more practical, you know, like having the ability to make anybody shit in their pants at will.

I know I know, you were expecting something like invisibility or flying right? Whatever. Trust me, those abilities will only get you into trouble and you'll probably end up being locked up in maximum security weirdo jail.

But having the ability to make people shit in their pants? Dude, you can bring down world leaders with this power. With one thought I can change world history by making Padma Lakshmi on Top Chef take a shit in her panties and make Antonia win. I fucking hate that smug Dale and the know-it-all Richard. If I had my super powers Ryan would still be on the show even though he can't cook shit. I'd keep him around coz his dimples are sooo adorable.

And imagine what I could have done if I invoked my super power during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing. I was too young to do anything about Scalia, but Justices Alito, Thomas and Roberts would never have been confirmed.

Think about it.

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My other super powers:

Mind Control - I used my powers of the mind during Christmas

Super Powers - These were the powers I wished for when I was young

Friday, May 02, 2008

Birthday Card

I had sent my dad a birthday card last week.

In my card, I had written something different than the usual best wishes, thanking him for all the hard work he's done over the years to support our family, trying to make ends meet. I wrote that even though I am not the son that he might have wished, it didn't change anything, he's done well by me.

Here's my mother's e-mail to me reporting on my dad's receipt of my card. It is interesting (at least to me) to step back and read it objectively; my mother's cadence and use of language is very interesting. I can see my own style in hers.

My sister is going through a rough time right now and my dad has been very worried about her situation, which explains some of the dramatics.

Here is her e-mail, in a largely unedited form.

Dear Paul,

The birthday card you sent I put it on the table in the sala for your Dad to see this morning after he talked with [your brother] Peter over phone.

He was surprised when he saw the card, he seemed happy after reading. You wrote so well and touching.

I am glad you took the steps to heal after all that had happened. It had hurt him so much all these years, I have not wanted to talk about this with you before, although he always tried to show a sunny face when talking with you kids. I could see his agony, his struggle with his emotion. He had always felt so proud, because he thought he had provided us well. He started from scratch to provide us a financial well-to-do life, your grandfather, your uncle Q, his cousin uncle W all gave him nothing but debts to pay back.

He had his weaknesses, your paternal side of family had given him too many troubles, but he cared so much, and tried to help. They betrayed him, lied to him, but still he could not abandon them. On top of that, my too much unreciprocated love to my side of family caused resentment he felt towards them, there was also inferiority complex unconsciously hidden deep inside him too because of his humble background. He felt slighted when my relatives said or did something unintentionally, thinking they were looking down on him.

His voice broke when he talked with Peter [about your sister's] family. Father and I are both 65 years old now, no longer young, and the state of family we are in, I Pray God to have Mercy on us.

Take Good Care of yourself and Peter there.

Love,
Mom



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Other posts:

A Conversion With My Father - Only a computer program can save my relationship with my father.
Melodrama - The dramatic letter before this one.

My First Beer - My father told me that this was the only way I could grow hair on my chest.
Shame - My father told me not to embarrass my ancestors. Yes, my dead ancestors.