Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Voice > American Idol Seasons 5+

So, last night Javier Colon won the inaugural season of The Voice on NBC.  This is significant for many reasons.

First of all, I called it.  I wasn't the only one, but it was clear to me that he was a solid finalist the moment he first sang Time After Time in the blind auditions.  After he sang Angel, I told everyone that he would win.  A few weeks later, it turns out I was right.  That hasn't happened since Carrie Underwood in Season 4 of American Idol.

Secondly, the most talented and deserving singer won the singing competition.  I feel like it would be more appropriate to point out that the least talented singer did not win.  That hasn't happened in American Idol in years.  Kelly Clarkson was the clear winner.  As was Carrie Underwood.  Fantasia was debatable, but I love her after her role in Broadway's Color Purple.  Ruben is a big teddy bear, but that was the first year where the runner-up had overwhelmingly more success.  Ever since Carrie, the Season 4 winner, and the onset of movements like Vote for the Worst, things have been a mess.  Look at the last 6 AI winners:

Seriously, which white guy here matters?
Now look at some of the unbelievable voices all the awkward white guys above (and Jordin) had to 'beat' in the ears of America to win:

I believe that, vocally, every lady shown above is better than every single American Idol winner since Season 4.  I left off some honorable mentions, because they weren't rock solid vocalists, like Blake Lewis and David Archuleta (that season was rough).  I didn't watch more than a few minutes of this season, so I can't really defend anybody's ability, other than discrediting the winner.  Annie and I started boycotting this season as soon as Simon left, especially after we heard there was going to be immunity-winning challenges and other crap like that.

Anyway, I was really happy with The Voice, as a whole.  As happy as I was with both seasons of the Sing Off.  I hope it returns, and I hope America continues to make the right decisions.  Though, Dia Frampton did get scary close just for being cute.

Thank you, NBC, for helping me fill the void in my soul that American Idol left when it got all shitty,

Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm not a jealous boyfriend.  I've never been that kind of a guy.  However, I am growing jealous of a couple of goals that my close friends have accomplished lately.

A guy that I graduated undergrad with at Michigan just finished his PhD at Florida.  It's the most mixed my feelings about grad school have been lately.  I'm really happy for him, and I'm excited that he made it.  Simultaneously, I'm pissed off that he's completely done, yet I gave up just months ago.  I did just as well as him in undergrad, so why do I suck?  I know a few more peeps that are struggling to be done with their PhDs by the end of the next school year.  I feel like each one that finishes will deserve a night of well-deserved alcoholism on my part, with or without their company.

I've long wanted to write a book, also.  I've started several of them, and I weekly come up with another short story idea that I should jot down.  I even had these dreams of publishing a book to help support living in L.A. so I could worry less about money and more about school.  The fruit of all of this interest in writing?  This blog.  It was my only way to vent, and I hope that it helps hone in on my point of view and writing style.  (Yet it still feels chaotic and point-less each time I'm writing a post.)

Combine those together, and I have to admit how furiously jealous I am of Aimee Hubble.  (Yes, that's the first full name [other than myself] that I've used on this blog.  I prefer the victims of my stories remain relatively anonymous in the large scope of the interwebz.)  While being a graduate student at Michigan (she was a year behind me, but is due to be Dr. Aimee in the next year or so), she managed to publish a book: The Last High Priest.

I can't attest to the quality of it, but I'm excited to read it.  I just ordered my copy, and you can find out how to get your copies at her blog.  It looks right up my alley, and I'm happy to watch her make her first million off of it.  You should snag a copy, so I can live vicariously through her.

Cheers, Aimee!!  Damn you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Return to Tailspin

It turns out that I may not be going to NY any more.  It also turns out that I have way more emotional problems than was once thought.  Why?  Given the opportunity, I've reverted immediately back to 'What the fuck am I doing with my life?'-mode.

For those of you that have been reading since the beginning, you have some idea of the chaos that was my life at the beginning of this year.  (Quitting school, peeing in bottles while driving, pooping myself, constant angst [go back to January and enjoy those posts]).  On Wednesday, Annie got a call that was supposed to solidify our plans in moving back east.  The call didn't go so well, and now it doesn't make sense for Annie to leave her current job.  So, she's likely staying in the Bay Area.

I am trying to settle on the fact that I no longer want to not be with Annie and Angel, so I'm planning on giving up the job I was offered in Schenectady.  It is not going to be easy, since it may complicate (or outright impede) any future attempts of getting a security clearance.  Also, I signed something, though I can't find it, so I can't wait to hear what the stipulations are for backing out.  Career search starts over, and now I return to the constant feeling of impending doom (at least I have a small income right now).

Why is being a real person so difficult and depressing?  (Real person means not-a-student, though grad school in L.A. was certainly difficult and depressing.)  I should just go back to UCLA and stick it out.

I can't go back to UCLA...


Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'm one of those people that laugh at commercials.  I regularly DVR things and find myself watching the commercials anyway, unless my girlfriend is around, cuz she needs to fast forward through commercials.  If your life moves to fast to enjoy commercials, then you should probably re-evaluate things.

Anyway, there are a few slogans or jingles that are doing it for me right now, and some that aren't:

Ticklin' my cooter (this is good, for those that aren't country bumpkins)
"Frank's Redhot: I put that $#!7 on everything!"  (I love the radio commercial of the old lady talking to the queen about her cucumber sandwiches.)

Upset these people get paid
"If you don't have an iPhone, well, you don't have an iPhone."  (Really, Apple?  I've loved just about everything about your company in the past 5 years, so this is unacceptable.)

I put that $#!7 on everything!,

First Date w/ Annie

Today is the 20th Wedding Anniversary of my aunt and uncle.  I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give you an unedited [though name-censored] look at my digital journal documenting my first date with Annie.  I wrote it exactly like this, the night it happened.  Don't worry, it doesn't go very well.  Crazy how things happen.  This whole incident happened the first weekend of November, in 2003 (yeah, 8 years ago).  Technically, that's the only date we can trace our relationship back to, since we never claimed we were dating until years later.  Enjoy my stream of consciousness, in all of its awkwardness:
Ok, so maybe I did like her.  Of course I am not going to admit it.  She’s cute, and she obviously has a taste in guys that’s a little out of my spectrum.  Well, I helped her with her homework… for every assignment in engin101.  We hung out almost every day.  It came down to just talking and playing cards.  One time I just sat with her while she studied and tried coloring.  I didn’t really need to color, and I suck at it, but it was a reason to ‘chill’ with her.  We started the stereotypical picking on each other.  It was like we were in middle school, but it was fun.  Still, I didn’t do anything.  I thought of her like Jill, a sister, and that I should keep it professional… hands off.  I tried so hard not to have feelings for her; I was not going to get burned again.  Last night when we were working on her assignment, she was chatting with her friend on AIM and she let me read everything.  I found out that she had already dated one of the drummers while being up here.  He is extremely good looking and she said that he turned out to be a real asshole.  Then she started talking about all of these other guys that would be nice to date.  At this point I am a platonic friend, so I listened, I even agreed and joked about it.  Actually, I was hurt.  I just wanted to leave.  I usually stayed with her studying until like 2, even though my regular bedtime is midnight.  Last night, I left at midnight.  I don’t even think that her homework was right.  Then comes tonight.
            Earlier in the week when we were hanging out, I invited her to trumpet progressive.  It’s this big trumpet section party.  I figured it would be fun to hang out with her, I knew she liked to drink.  I don’t drink, but if she wants to that’s cool.  Not that I would try and take advantage of her, but I might be able to find out if she likes me once she gets a little loose.  After all, her friends made it sound like she liked me.  I was walking up to her at dinner and Michelle whispered out of the side of her mouth “Here comes Rob” and smiled.  I am pretty sure that I shouldn’t know that, but I catch on to things like that.  Also, Terran knew the whole story about trumpet Prog before I even mentioned it.  Annie had already told everyone.  So we go to Prog.  Everyone keeps referring to her as my date.  I really didn’t mind, but being the gentleman that I am, I corrected everyone to make sure that it was clear that we were just friends and I was just her ticket to a good party.  So we make it to the final huge party.  Huge dance floor, and I know I can dance.  This was my chance, I knew I could get her to start dancing and have a blast.  Well, I knew she could dance since we swung dance together for like 2 hours a little less than a month ago.  However, she doesn’t really dance.  I was all over the floor; I love to dance.  She claims that she couldn’t dance.  One time she was out on the floor and I snuck up behind her and started freaking her.  It was all in fun, but she pulled away and kind of quit.  Ok, so she wasn’t comfortable, I gave up.  So we hung out every once in a while when she wasn’t drinking or hanging out with other people, but she stopped coming around more and more, and started hanging with DaveDave Tenerelli the Italian Stallion, he is the amazing trumpet player and hot guy that got picked up by a junior girl in the first 2 weeks.  Ok, so they are hanging out, maybe they know each other outside of her.
            Next thing I remember, Annie and Dave freaking and necking out on the floor.  Too good for me, huh?  Must not be too good to dance, she hasn’t drank anything since she was out on the dance floor with me, but she seems to be fine freaking him.  Ok, I need to just stop watching.  It’s just one dance I’m overreacting.  So I tried having fun.  Didn’t happen, they disappeared.  I went outside to get some fresh air; I figured that would help.  Nope, they were out there with a group of people.  She walked back inside without saying anything.  I met up with some friends and headed off to go get some subs.  I asked her if she wanted to go or if she wanted anything.  She said no to both.  That’s cool, I was gone for like a half hour and came back.  The party had kind of cleared out, but they were sure out there on the dance floor freaking.  We waited around for like 10 minutes and decided that a bunch of us were going to leave.  Now, the terms of her coming were that she had to promise to leave with me.  I knew she was going to be drinking and I did not want feel responsible for leaving drunken Annie in the hands of a bunch of drunken trumpets.  So I went up and asked her if she wanted to leave with us.
She told me to hold on a second and stuck her first finger up in the air.  She walked away for a minute.  She came back into the room freaking Dave right in front of me… she managed to mouth “I’m staying” to me from where she was.  Obviously, she just got all too caught up in what was going on to walk over to me and talk to me.  What a bitch.
Retrospectively, I'm an 11-yr-old girl.

So Happy 20th Anniversary, aunt and uncle!  And Annie, way to be an ass from the beginning.

First View of ~RtL

I got an email from a friend who, in trying to kill some time, finally checked out my blog for the first time.  The front page story at that time was... a swollen, poison-ivy penis.  That's the only post she's ever read, and she might be scarred for life.  Unfortunately for her, she's both vegetarian, and she has to see me, in person, regularly.

So, let's say that you had only one post that you had to forward on to someone to give them a good taste of what this blog is about.  Which one would you pick?  Which posts would you avoid?

I know some of you could do without ever having to look at the Kiwis (& Ewoks) post again,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Michael & the M-word

I remember sitting on my couch watching the movie Michael, with John Travolta, as a young adolescent.  The word 'adolescent' is the only word I can think that foreshadows this story, since to me, that word means unfortunate-kid-going-through-puberty.

Anybody remember this movie?

I know that I watched this movie.  I can vividly picture the layout of my living room, where I was laying across the couch that was butted up against the long wall.  Pops was in his recliner, and that sums up our living room furniture (as well as the total square footage of 50% of my house back then).  This movie was clearly playing on our TV.  I can remember a few pictures, but the whole story is lost to me.  Traumatic amnesia?  I think so.

I have NO clue what prompted this conversation.  I have NO clue at what point in the movie it happened.  All I know is, one moment I'm into some sappy movie about an archangel, and the next minute I'm getting the M-word speech.


"It's OK to masturbate.  I used to do it all the time.  I've heard you in the bathroom flipping through pages, early in the morning."  I believe that is all he had to say, yet it feels like I was held down on the couch for days being tortured by awful masturbation conversation.  It was true.  He did have dirty mags in the bathroom, which I took it upon myself to explore.  I also had found a porno tape, which was my first real introduction to 'what everyone was talking about'.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that he caught me workin' it once, but that's never been confirmed.

Regardless, as comfortable as I am with masturbation (as well as everyone else should be), I can't help but feel a little scarred when I think back on this scene.  It certainly hasn't affected my performance as I get older, but it may have something to do with my crippling fear of awkward moments on TV and movies.

This story is trumped only be Granny's crabs story, the bottle of Viagra in our medicine cabinet in the bathroom, Pops' penile medical problems that he drew on a notepad for me, being walked in on Granny while 'watching a movie' with a girl, and seeing my mom and her then-husband doing it doggy-style (standing up, which is damn impressive, Mom) in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.

So, yeah, talk to your kids about sex..?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

~RoB Rides Ann Arbor

At one point in Ann Arbor, I had this dream of taking pictures of me 'riding' all of the statues I could find.  I was even planning on including fountains (though I was going to climb on them after they were turned off for the season, and combine it with a picture of them running to make it look like I rode them while they were going).  Anyway, in my head, the series of photos were called "Rob Rides Ann Arbor".  In my laziness, I never got around to doing it, but I still think it was a great idea.  So, picture me on top off all of these, in all of my glory:

It all started because I really wanted to get on this one!
This lil' guy was #2 on my to-ride list.
Even you, puma.  Even you.
Anybody not ride the cube while in Ann Arbor?

Though I failed, Angel managed to pull off a photo sequence of his own, entitled Angel In The City.

Clockwise starting on the left, Angel gets his picture with the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the Bay Bridge, the Ferry Building & Financial District, and from the top of Twin Peaks.

Isn't he cute? 

He did most of the trip with his mother while I was getting my hair cut.  I usually don't support the awkwardness of being crazy dog parents.  However, does this make up for him biting people at family gatherings?  Did I even tell you about how he bites people at family functions?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I share a line at work with a new legal intern.  For the most part, he knows that most calls come for me, cuz I'm the man.  We both have Caller ID, so he should be able to intercept any calls for him.  However, there have been all kinds of wonderful ridiculousness that we've learned so far.

We've learned that only women in prison still use payphones.

We are in different buildings.  So, we can't just wave each other off when calls go astray.  We needed a system.  If we both pick up, there's a dialtone in the background, but we can talk as if we have our own little secret communication line.  We can't transfer calls, and if either of us dials our number, it forwards to the cell phone of a (rumored to be cute) girl that used to work here.  We settled on just keeping gchat open, which doesn't really change anything on my end ;)

On Monday, my phone started ringing while somebody knocked on the door of my building.  It apparently locked itself in being slammed by the wind.  By the time I got to my phone to pick it up, the voicemail was starting.

I actually have to go to this intern's office to get my voicemails, since the lines are all screwy.  Apparently, the message system turns his speakerphone on if a message is being recorded (probably for screeners).  Anyway, his phone turns on automatically.  Here was our gchat, afterward:

12:48 PM intern: when [someone] called you earlier it played on my speaker phone for some reason
 me: awesome
  i picked it up as the voicemail was picking it up
  it was an odd occurrence
  shouldn't happen again
12:49 PM 
intern: i hung up but was contemplating yelling PENIS and then hanging up
12:50 PM me: I probably would have peed myself
12:53 PM intern: should have done it...
12:57 PM me: it would have been too much for Monday morning

Glad to know I'm not the only one who has urges to yell 'penis' at inappropriate times,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aunt!

Today is my aunt's birthday.  It's worth mentioning that my aunt was my bastion of hope growing up.  Saying that I didn't grow up with many positive role models is a slight understatement.  However, seeing that I had one sane family member with a happy life made me realize, early on, that people can survive my family and come out alright.

I remember that when things got particularly tough throughout my childhood, I would always consider calling her to come and get me.  I always pictured moving in with her to finish my childhood like a normal person, and her phone number was the first number I ever memorized.  I still know it.

I'm actually glad that I never had to move in with her.  My life story would be so much less interesting, and I fear that the high pedestal that I hold her on might have crumbled a little.  It's too hard to enjoy every moment with someone you live with.  That's life.

Thanks for introducing me to Phil Collins and Michael Jackson and Wilson Phillips and Madonna.  I owe any knowledge of classic rock to you (since my house played classic country music exclusively).  Thanks for getting me into Fossil Watches (I'm wearing one right now), and thanks for taking me to the Lion King when it came out, since I didn't get to go to the theaters very much until middle school.  You've spent way too much money on me over the years on Christmas and Birthday presents, and you were the only person to send me money when I started this blog, cuz you read between the lines that I was having real financial trouble.  You really are the cool aunt that everyone wishes they had, and I hope this is a great birthday!  Let's hope this is your last birthday in IL!

Yes, my hair was that long at one point!
Oh, and you're no angel either.  Don't forget, I drove you around after your party at Hooters in 2005.  You giggled like a sorority girl in the back.  I know you can party, and I know that your blog would be just as interesting as mine, if you wrote one.

So, Happy Birthday, Aunt!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poison Ivy (DIETY)

I have a few bug bites that I've been scratching lately.  When things itch, I have a bad habit of just scratching them off, until they bleed, and then I'm happy... enough.  It's simultaneously satisfying and masochistic.  I cannot stand something that itches.  It prompted me to post a Facebook status of "I'd rather bleed than itch".  Subsequent conversation reminded me of my worst poison ivy story.  Enjoy.

...about the summer before I got my driver's license.  It's easy to remember, because I distinctly remember taking a driving lesson in a pair of loose sweatpants.  It was the summer of sweatpants/sweatshorts/mesh.  It was the summer of poison ivy on my penis.

It started on a warm, humid afternoon that I spent most of the day helping Granny garden.  Throughout the day, I sporadically ran inside to pee, since that's what humans do.  I'm a regular hand washer, but my hand-washing program concentrates mostly on a post-peeing regiment.  I probably peed 4-5 times throughout the day, but who really keeps track.

Later that day, I may, or may not, have played with it a little.  It's happened too many times in my life to try and think back to that specific day and weigh rather or not it happened.  Anyway, the rest of the day was uneventful.

In the middle of the night, I woke up with a strange burning/itchy sensation down there, specifically along the ridge of the head.  Best idea I had?  Cup cold water in my hand and dip it in.  I definitely had visions of dipping it in other fluids, as well as covering it in anti-itch cream.  I figured a shower in the morning would fix everything, and I managed to go back to sleep.

The next morning, Granny pointed out a rash on the side of my face.  A rash on my face?  What could that be.  I ran into the bathroom and looked in the mirror.  I immediately put everything together, and I almost started crying.
♪ BUM...Bum...bummmmmm...... 

The best description I've came up with over the years to describe the end of my penis is... a portabello mushroom.  That's what it turned into as it started to swell, a reaction to the poison ivy and maybe even all the stuff I put on it to try and cure it.
Why didn't I wear gloves?

It seemed like months of awkward appointments at the public health center (confirming rather or not I was circumcised via hand motions/drawings in the air by an old Filipino woman), shots in my ass, cremes, baths with all kinds of salts/additives, calamine, no workin' it, and fearing it may never return to the size of an average penis... that I'd never be able to use it again.  Hell, maybe all that swelling helped make it bigger...

I have this really vivid memory of taking a bath and looking down at my poor, blushing, portabello mushroom inflatable-toy as it bounced in the water.  It was so sad, yet extremely entertaining to me now.

So... yeah.... no gloves, no love...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

(Really) Busy at Work

I posted a Facebook status on Sunday during Annie's soccer game.  I wanted to convey how impressed I was with a goal she had just scored.  She snuck a ball in a 1' gap between the goalie and the near-post.  I wanted to say, "I'm really impressed."  However, I discovered that I don't take the word really seriously.  I don't take the word seriously seriously, either, if we're being honest.  I had to go with, "I'm literally impressed."  Contrary to Dane Cook, I don't think that word literally has been tainted by the ignorance of our culture yet.  It still didn't feel right.  It's not what I wanted to say.  I wanted to say that I was really impressed, but that makes it sound like she shot a soft ball into a wide-open net.

Anyway, while working really hard today, I accomplished something that I had forgotten that I started a few weeks ago:

Notice that I was in the middle of doing real work (red arrows) when I thought of Da Birds!

All my stars on Chrome.  It made me want to re-immurse myself in Slime Volleyball,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Word of the Month

Superfecundation.  Specifically, heteropaternal superfecundation.
Heteropaternal superfecundation occurs when two different males father fraternal twins.
So two different dudes get the same chick pregnant at the same time.  There's an extremely small window of time where a woman can get two (or more?) eggs independently fertilized.  My mind is blown.

It's funny that this finally makes sense.
What. The. Fuck!?!  Close those legs, sweety,

Friday, June 3, 2011


Your cell phone causes brain cancer when you talk on it.  It also increases gonad (men: man basket, women: egg basket) cancer when carried in your pocket all day, every day.  It also increases arthritis in joints from intense electromagnetic radiation over long periods of texting.  So, are you gonna give it up?

First of all, that first paragraph was absolutely hypothetical.  (It is, however, current news, though the debate has raged for a decade.)  [A physics professor once walked into a discussion and asked "Who here believes cell phones will kill you?"  Nobody raised their hand.  "Nobody would have raised their hand for cigarettes in the '50s, either."  It was a great example of how we think about things differently with hindsight.]

Secondly, I hate smokers.  I really, truly don't understand them.  I want to be able to breath and eat and dance and bowl without you making health choices for me by polluting my air.  This morning, on my way to work, I had my regular, 40-minute, ~RoB-thinks-to-himself time.  It was the first time that I was ever able to empathize with smokers.

It's 2011.  You absolutely know that smoking is bad for you.  It's not cool, and everybody hates you.  Yet you still smoke.  Why?

In my brain I flipped it to: your cell phone is bad for you.  Everyone's sick of you always being on it.  You're never in the moment.  If you do it while you drive you're going to slam into freeway divider, and your brain is going to explode across your cracked windshield.  Let's say we could confidently state it causes cancer.  Yet you still carry your cell phone around with you everywhere.  Why?

I'm one of those people who have become completely dependent on smart phones.  I honestly don't know how easily I could give them up.  It's not about being cool anymore (though it kinda is).  It's about being so used to it and fearing to return to the way things were.  Seriously, wtf is Mapquest?  Land-line?  Wait, wait, wait... you expect me to remember your 7 digits without putting them into my phone immediately?

I've heard people talk about their anxiety when they forget their cell phone at home.  I've heard (and was glad cuz it totally happens to me) of 'phantom rings' when muscles in your leg go off and imitate your phone on vibrate... causing you to answer your phone though nobody is calling.  I've seen, first hand, how awful people are when they are so addicted to their smartphones that they've lost all social skills.  (Hello, L.A.)  However, for some reason, they're still worth it to me.  I can't explain why.  I'm addicted...
...So are cigarette smokers.

If cell phones become cigarettes, socially, then consider me French (or Asian, wtf is up with that?),