Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Facebook is a highly addictive, life sucking website – it simulates an actual friendship without all the rigors of talking, getting dressed, or bathing. I can glance at my profile right now and see that I have 421 friends – I’m proud of this, proud enough to put it on my resume, proud enough to mention it when I meet new people, proud enough to threaten to call in my army of friends when I receive sub-par service in a restaurant. Without the Internet, I would not have 421 disciples of my incredible coolness, because in face to face contact, other people usually find me overbearing and egocentric, while I find them to be a pitiful waste of my highly valuable time. My Facebook profile, however, puts a friendly cover on my unsightly natural demeanor, not unlike the human costume that Satan recently used to win the Pennsylvania primary.
If you’re a user of Facebook and, let’s be honest, since you’re on the Internet right now you probably are, you’re no doubt acquainted with the website’s newest feature: Facebook Instant Messaging. People spend days perfecting their Jetman scores or rearranging their top friends; I know people whose pages are so cluttered with downloadable addons that I can’t even find their Wall beyond all the gifts and icons and quizzes that offer to tell me which presidential assassin I am (I hear Lee Harvey Oswald was quite the prolific blogger). To this already highly time consuming endeavor they have now added instant messaging, which in and of itself sucked away just about every one of my afternoons between sixth and tenth grade. So, to recap, the Internet has taken one highly addictive thing and combined it with another highly addictive thing, which is all fun and games until John Belushi dies. What’s next? Wikipedia combined with porn? World of Vicodincraft?
Facebook started out as a social networking site that was pretty cool, but the addition of instant messaging was the final step in its evolution into a full blown Mother Simulator. Some time ago, Facebook added the “Status” feature, where you could enter what you were up to and how you were feeling, which would then be displayed alongside your name. After that came the News Feed, which updates you on all of your friends’ doings on Facebook in a single concise page, sort of like a political news brief, only it includes pictures of Condoleeza Rice’s crazy weekend in Vatican City with her homegurlz. Now, with the message feature, I can glance at a single webpage and see how my friends are feeling and what they’ve been up to recently, and without changing windows bring up their name and, should they be online, shoot them a message in regards to my impromptu background check. “Hey, Bill, your status says you’re totally bummed out right now. You doing okay, honey? You want some milk and cookies?”
Sure, I could’ve done this anyway with AIM, but now that it’s so much more convenient I can hardly resist the temptation to tell Cybil that I really enjoyed the pictures of her playing Guitar Hero drunk in her underwear. Facebook is already a breeding ground for rumors and gossip – we should expect no less of a website where millions of “friends” receive constant updates about one another’s relationships, political affiliations, and sexual dalliances – but now we can instantaneously postulate about whether It’s Complicated* specifies handjobs or just under-the-shirt groping.
*Periodically, when one of my friends changes his or her relationship status from It’s Complicated to something else, my news feed will tell me, “_____ is no longer in a complicated relationship.” Either my friend in question is incredibly lucky or Facebook is incredibly wrong, because I can’t think of a single human relationship, romantic or otherwise, that isn’t in some way complicated.
Don’t take this to mean that I think gossip is a bad thing – on the contrary, Facebook gossip is just about the only thing keeping us talking in real life anymore. Watching Ethel and Lavernius go from Single to In An Open Relationship to In A Relationship to Single in the course of two days or seeing a pictorial journal of Skyler’s gradual descent into alcoholism is bueno conversation fodder; the problem is that now we don’t have to leave the warm glow of our computers to have these conversations anymore. Before, we were forced into one another’s personal space to talk about these things, because the time delay in corresponding via one another’s walls was too long to keep up with the blistering pace of our highly dramatic lifestyle. Now, every Facebook user is, in his or her own way, God. We can look down at the world via our News Feed and be aware of everything that’s happening, and now, without so much as opening another program, we can whisper to all the other observant Gods about it.
Now of course, all the voyeurism and debauchery of Facebook can only be matched on a godly scale by the figures of Greek mythology, who were on the whole about as happy and well adjusted as any given character on The Sopranos. Zeus, for example, was In A Relationship with his sister Hera, who got so jealous after he spent the night playing naked Guitar Hero with mortal hottie Io that Zeus was forced to turn Io into a cow to protect her from his vengeful wife/sister. Everybody else in the Mount Olympus network got a huge kick out of this, especially when Io changed her status to “Io is a cow.”
Truman Capps hates it when people make overblown historical allusions simply to prove that they are experts in a given field, and would like to point out that the only reason he knows the story of Zeus and Io is because his mother told it to him at an early age, which served to simultaneously educate him in the evils of adultery, incest, and turning people into barnyard animals.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Organized sports and I have a peculiar relationship – I’ve been to every football and basketball game the University of Oregon has played this year, and my seats have been spectacular, and I haven’t paid a blessed thing for my tickets because, as a member of the marching band, I get a guaranteed seat. A lot of people would kill me in order to take my place and enjoy these games, and a lot of people would kill me because I’m really sort of an asshole, but interestingly enough I really am not that big of a sports fan. When God was passing out testosterone, I was last in line, and when God heard that I didn’t recognize his existence, he decided to replace my testosterone allocation with the ability to quote passages from Wayne’s World verbatim* in order to get back at me. Thus, when men gather in groups and I for some reason am caught in the crossfire, I’m forced to try and partake in a discussion of sports, where I do about as well as a blind guy desperately trying to act like he’s got an offhand knowledge of color. “Man, I can’t believe the Broncos traded Purple for Teal! Who’s running that team?”
*He also, of course, gave me a thick head of hair that continually upstages my every great achievement by simple virtue of being there. I would have put this in place of the Wayne’s World line, but it’s tough to talk about hair as an alternative to testosterone, since it’s typically associated with virility and confidence (both of which I lack in spades). Still, it’s sort of like the ‘ol man upstairs took all the hair follicles that would have otherwise been dispersed all over my body and just clustered them on my head. I’m not joking. Girls ask me if I shave my legs.
I want to be interested in sports, I really do. I want to memorize facts and figures that pertain to things that happen in the world I live in, but no matter how hard I try these things just don’t stick in my mind like other facts, such as the inventor of warp drive in the Star Trek universe (Zefram Cochrane). I’ve been to a lot of football games for someone who isn’t a particular fan – damn near every home game my high school played, plus every home game at UO plus an away game at the University of Washington and my harrowing descent into the heart of darkness in El Paso for the Sun Bowl, and as much fun as I have, most of it really isn’t so much about the game for me as it is the experience. Only the truly pathetic marching band devotees will understand thrill of being part of a musical ensemble that can drive 60,000 inebriated individuals to rise to their feet and clap their hands with some semblance of rhythm – Guns ‘n Roses may be in on that thrill too, if they can book venues that large anymore. There’s something about rallying a crowd that big around a fairly simple concept (“Ball go that way! Let’s get drunk! Fuck the Trojans!”) that I like, and then of course nobody can argue with the fact that it’s fun to put on a silly costume and make loud noises with your friends.
Yesterday, there was a scrimmage game in which the University of Oregon played the University of Oregon, and while I didn’t stay for the whole game I know that the University of Oregon won (sadly, it also lost). This game was rather sparsely attended because at this time of year most people here in “Track Town USA” are more interested in track and field events than football**, and since there wasn’t as much publicity I wasn’t required to take part in the pep band for this game. I decided to take the day off from band and instead went to the game with a few friends and sat in the student section. It was a strange experience to watch a football game without having to play the fight song every time the team did something right. Moreover, it was a strange experience to watch a football game without being surrounded by band people. Normally trombone players are behind me, but yesterday I had two girls talking about which team members they wanted to have sex with behind me. Instead of mellophones in front of me there was a young couple who was very intent on letting the world know that they were in a relationship, because whenever they weren’t engaging in graphic, sloppy makeout sessions they were instead very purposefully touching one another in intimate ways suggesting that maybe they didn’t know that they were in a god-damned stadium surrounded by people! Granted, I’ve known my fair share of amorous mellophone players, but this was just ridiculous. We were jammed into the stands like sardines and these two were going at it like they just didn’t care, much too close to me for my own comfort – hell, if they’d gone any further I could’ve gotten pregnant. Needless to say, a lot of people around me weren’t watching the game.
**And on that note, I’ve got to say, I just really don’t care about track and field. I don’t dislike it, but I also don’t like it. I mean, I do like it when University of Oregon people run faster than people from other schools, because that implies that we are better than they are, ergo I am better than everyone else, but I apply that sort of “Root for the home team” mentality in just about everything, right on down to insignificant events like competitive urinating or hockey. Please don’t take offense, track and field people – you probably care just as much about band.
At most UO football games, maybe 100 people in the stands are sober, and those are members of the 200-piece Oregon Marching Band. That might be how some of the fans cope with the terrible yet expensive food, or the elements, or the timeouts that have been known to stretch into infinity. I think that football is a very exciting and entertaining sport, but there’s times when nothing is happening on the field and doing the wave again just isn’t that entertaining. Seeing as most of the people who came to yesterday’s game didn’t have the forethought to bring alcohol, they started to turn to other methods of entertainment, such as one another’s tonsils. On the other hand, the friends I went with are die hard fans of just about any sport this side of competitive urinating, and whenever there was a break in the action they were hard at work discussing what the next play would be, and which of the guys on the field would be the BMOC next year.
These guys are married to football: they love it despite the boring interludes or coldness and would never think of getting a divorce. I, the sports bachelor, can’t get excited enough about football to love it like they do, but I respect them for it. Maybe, when they see me marching around in the rain during a Friday night rehearsal, they understand that I’m working to make my own hot-and-cold marriage work too, even though it abuses me sometimes by making me go to El Paso.
Truman Capps wants you to know that, just in case you were wondering, he doesn’t sit down at his computer twice a week and say, “Hmm – what crappy metaphor can I end my blog with this time?” It honestly just happens almost by accident, and he leaves it in because by the time he finishes his blog just about anything sounds good if it means he gets to go to bed.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
As you may remember, my friends and I have decided that we don’t want to be babysat by the University of Oregon next year and are thus endeavoring to find someplace off campus to live. The search has continued since I last told you about it – periodically we’ll jump up and say, “We should go house hunting! Let’s go house hunting! Let’s hunt some houses, guys!” We’ll then throw on jackets and wander around the surrounding slums in the rain, pointing out to one another which apartments look like decaying roach infested firetraps and which ones look like cheap decaying roach infested firetraps. If we were like most young men our age, any of these places would be fine, nay, “tight”, and we’d probably be willing to settle down and raise a family of shaggy haired, baggy pantsed, Tag™ wearing business majors in them. Generations would live and die on thick, stained carpeting, downing Natural Ice like it was water and playing Madden ’08 until their brains had atrophied to the point that they were unable to put on baseball caps correctly. However, we refuse to live in one of these houses for the same reason women refuse to go out with me: We have standards, and maybe we’re not impressed when the apartment tells us it has a blog.
Today we visited one of the few apartments we found acceptable – a big green building which I called The Big Green Building. Notable features included sodden carpeting on all the exterior staircases and no windows. You might think that I’m exaggerating here, that no architect, no matter how evil, would design a living space devoid of windows, but you obviously haven’t seen The Big Green Building. I think the lack of windows is all part of some greater plan; the architect had a vision of a very, very green structure, a building that Kermit the Frog could scale completely undetected, and he figured that throwing in some gay-ass windows would just screw the whole thing up by decreasing the overall greenitude. As we were looking at the place and lamenting how dark the rooms would have to be when there were no windows, I quipped that maybe it had been built before windows existed. I know now, having seen inside it, that this is not the case: This building was built before light existed.
“But Truman, you Faulkneresque rascal,” you say, “Why did you even attend a viewing of such a skeezy looking place when you were harping on your so called ‘standards’ not two paragraphs ago?” There’s a simple answer to that question: Josh said that the interior had been remodeled, and therefore we believed wholeheartedly that the interior had in fact been remodeled. Josh will be inhabiting one third of whatever apartment we get for next year, along with Jeff and myself, the minority whose name does not begin with J. Josh has been taking the lead on the apartment search for the past couple of months so far – he’s called all the rental agencies, he’s booked all the viewings, and he’s spearheaded every trek into the slums to find someplace we can call tenement sweet tenement. If not for Josh’s considerable work ethic and solid grounding in reality, Jeff and I would no doubt be dressing as homeless people and trying to get beds at the Union Gospel Mission – although what with all the crazy drug addicts and bad food, the experience would be a little too much like the dorms.
With Josh at the helm, we arrived at The Big Green Building a few days ago, ready to be blown away by a beautifully remodeled unit inside a tough, windowless green exterior – a delicious cheesy filling surrounded by crusty, unattractive walls; a Hot Pocket that charges rent, if you will. Instead, we were treated to Star Wars: Episode 1 in apartment form. Its current occupants were using the unit they showed us as an 840 square foot liquor cabinet with a couple of beds thrown in for good measure. Liquor bottles filled the kitchen counter. Liquor bottles lined the bookshelves. Liquor bottles ran along just about every wall. I have never seen that many alcohol containers before in my life, and I was raised by martini-loving, wine swilling, microbrew chugging yuppies. The occupants of this place were either selling their pee by the gallon on the black market or Irish.
Once we got past the fact that very little of the apartment was not devoted to the hoarding of recyclables, we were assaulted by the inherent badness of the unit itself. For one thing, it was dirty: I was reluctant to touch anything in there for fear that some species, at some point and time, had mated on it. The carpet was varying shades of brown, which made it impossible to tell where the coffee stains ended and the vomit stains began. Worst of all, though, it had the smell, the smell that you smell in apartments that belong to your slob friends, a smell that speaks of rotting bathrooms and secondhand furniture and mysterious stains and fleeting glimpses of gigantic insects crawling across the walls or, worse, you. It put me on edge right away and gave me the distinct impression that there were more living creatures in the room than just my future roommates and I, and that whatever else was in there wasn’t going to cough up a rent check. I guess I don’t really know what sort of smell I was specifically looking for – new car, maybe, or Jessica Alba. I’ll bet you anything she smells pretty damn good.
Of course, there were other factors. There was no on-site laundry facility. The stairs were too narrow for us to carry most of our incredibly wide furniture up. No particularly hot neighbors (although my standards are a bit high after a year of living in a place where I can go down a flight of stairs and potentially catch a girl in a towel). But most of all, we just couldn’t see ourselves living there. It didn’t feel right – The Big Green Building might just be too green for us. I try not to think of our turning down the apartment as a snobbish act that brings us one step closer to eventual homlessness, but instead a boon to a family of family of leprechauns who have turned down countless clean, cheap units for not being green enough.
The search continues. At the absolute worst, we can all pledge a fraternity next year – our food and housing would be taken care of at the reasonable cost of our housemates periodically putting superglue in our underpants.
Truman Capps would live in a van down by the river for the sheer sake of telling everyone about it as loudly as possible.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Taken mere seconds before the Chicago Appetizer Riot, which led to the Unlimited Soup Salad and Breadstick Act of 1938.
Haven’t you always wanted to say, “Let’s go get some dinner – I know a great little place that just opened up on 19th!” Of course you have, because I’m projecting my desire to be a classy metropolitan bachelor onto you. However, before my family moved to Portland, we lived in a town called Salem, and in Salem there was no great little place that had just opened up on 19th. Despite being Oregon’s capital, Salem insists on not having any upscale, locally owned restaurants. There are nice restaurants, to be sure, restaurants where the food is expensive and polite people bring it to you, but were you to up and fly to a similarly sized town in Wisconsin you’d find all the same restaurants, the only difference being that the people eating in them would like hockey. Case in point: On prom night, we went to a seafood restaurant that regularly makes patrons wear a hat shaped like a trout should they be unlucky enough to be eating there on their birthday. Any restaurant that incorporates public humiliation into the experience can’t even hope to call itself upscale – I don’t care how many finger bowls they put out after they serve the fish and chips.
My mother is a culinary fanatic: For every inane fact I know about Firefly, she knows three about herbs and spices, and don’t even get her started on polenta. Thusly, living in Salem for the ten years that we did was a real challenge for her. We would drive around at night looking for a place to eat, somewhere new and exciting with a nice atmosphere and food that didn’t come out of a white cardboard box with SYSCO written on it, and we would inevitably end up in a place that had mass-produced sports memorabilia on the walls and half off appetizers after 9:00. Please keep in mind that future civilizations will find the remains of our TGI Friday’s, our Applebee’s, our Red Robins, and they will think that these were museums, and that the crowning artistic achievements of the human race were The Kramer and black and white pictures of firemen in the 1930s – they are, however, the most refined and artistic things in Salem, or at least they will be until someone opens a Thomas Kinkade gallery there. These were frustrating times for our family, but especially for my mother, who hated having to drive all the way to Portland for a good meal in a classy restaurant. While Dad and I would complain about the lack of seriously good dining in Salem, we were generally happy with anything that was deep fried and maybe served with a zesty dipping sauce, but Mom genuinely needed something more.
Olive Garden seized on this desire among the women of America for a great little place that just opened up on 19th, and they set forth to get rich by mass producing distinct family-owned characteristics like long waits for a table and slow service with all the forced authenticity of any chain restaurant. In all of Salem, there existed only one Olive Garden, about half an hour away from my house in a neighborhood not too different from the one where Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed. Of course, Olive Garden was my first steady girlfriend’s favorite restaurant, and so I spent many evenings commuting across town and then jostling with thousands of other hungry would-be diners in the mosh pit of a waiting area, intently staring at the big plastic disk the matre’d had given us and willing it to start flashing and vibrating. A hundred years ago, bells were commonly used to signal incoming telephone calls and dinner, but now both of those duties have been relegated to vibration.
I bring up Olive Garden because I ate there just a few days ago with the crew of the very same public access cop mockumentary that I sacrificed Wednesday’s update to write a script for. Eugene, it seems, also has only one Olive Garden, and since everyone loves Olive Garden, getting a table at 6:00 on a Thursday was about as easy as getting tickets to see Hannah Montana singing “Ebony and Ivory” with Barack Obama, backed up by Elton John on piano, with an opening act by Jesus Christ of The Bible fame. There were literally hundreds of people waiting inside, forcing us to cluster around pillars and wrought iron benches outside the restaurant like fine dining hobos, warming our hands around a fire, waxing poetical about how many breadsticks we were going to eat, and glaring at the people getting quick and cheap food at the Chili’s across the parking lot. Say what you will about Olive Garden’s food, or service, or ambiance – they’ve served me good meals and they’ve served me bad meals. However, the one thing Olive Garden has been really consistent about, every single time I eat there, is making me stand around and wait half an hour to get a table. They never show that in the commercials, do they? No, in the commercials, everyone is happy and eating Italian food and listening to Louis Prima, like an episode of The Sopranos without The Sopranos in it. The commercials never show the hungry people standing around outside, listening to Louis Prima’s tinny voice being piped out under the awning to toy with our Pavlovian association of Prima and overpriced Italian food.
By the time you actually do get a table, you’re so hungry that you’ll eat just about anything and think it’s fan-dabby-fabulous. For all we know, Olive Garden could suck by normal standards, but nobody will ever be able to be sure because you can’t get into the place without waiting until at least two people in your party have died of starvation and you’ve already started seriously considering cannibalism. At that point, they could charge $30 for a solid block of Metamucil and I would most likely pay for it, and not just because I understand the merits of dietary fiber.
Truman Capps was going to write an update about marijuana for this update on 4/20, but instead he decided to write about food and hope that his readers are too stoned to notice.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
In a few hours, I have two tests on two different subjects in Spanish, tests that I had trouble studying for due to the fact that I spent most of the afternoon hard at work finishing an Economics homework assignment due on Thursday that I won't be able to do after classes Wednesday because I have to write a script ASAP for the public access cop mockumentary I work on. Then, when I realized not too long ago that I also had an update due today, I put several four letter words together in new and fascinating combinations.
The long and short of it is, when it comes down to writing a blog at the last minute or not failing Spanish, Economics, and my budding television career, I go with the thing that costs money and spews credit. Instead of a blog I have for you a short subject I wrote in my senior year of high school, not long after North Korea's first nuclear test. Until Sunday, do please enjoy...
WHAT'S HOT IN FLIHOVA
The long and short of it is, when it comes down to writing a blog at the last minute or not failing Spanish, Economics, and my budding television career, I go with the thing that costs money and spews credit. Instead of a blog I have for you a short subject I wrote in my senior year of high school, not long after North Korea's first nuclear test. Until Sunday, do please enjoy...
WHAT'S HOT IN FLIHOVA
By Kim Sterling
Hi there, Flihovans! It’s me, Kim Sterling , former Flihova County High School Varsity Cheer Squad co-captain (1986-1988) and co owner of Flihova Discount Scented Candle Warehouse with my totally super husband Steve (much love Steve! :P). How’re you all doing? Well, since you’re reading this, and I’m probably not close to you*, you can’t tell me, but since you’re reading my column, I know you’re doing just super!
*I mean close in only a physical sense, because I feel that emotionally and spiritually I’m very close to every last one of you. <3 I bet a lot of you are saying, ‘Hey, why did Kim Sterling decide to start her own gossip column when she’s already got a very successful scented candle outlet (883 Flihova Parkway East, right across from the Adult Shop) to bring in the bacon for her and her family?’ Or maybe you’re saying, ‘Why did Kim Sterling start a gossip column after a nuclear war disintegrated human civilization?’ Well, it’s like this. I’ve seen a lot of glum faces around Flihova recently. Now, come on, what’s with that? Why can’t we turn those frowns around? You can’t let a nuclear war get you down!
Now, last fall, when North Korea tested a nuclear weapon, I was just as worried as everybody else. Would you believe that? Me, Kim Sterling , the Official Optimist of Flihova County (as voted by the Flihova County Chamber of Commerce, 1997) getting all gloomy and sad because I was scared that a bunch of Communist Asians were going to push the button! But after awhile, I held my head up high, put my faith in the Bush Administration, and went on selling scented candles and changing the lives of others! Sure, my optimism wanted to curl up into an itty-bitty little ball and hide away when North Korea tested its second and third and fourth nuclear weapons, but I looked on the bright side and kept on going with my life! And when the North Koreans wiped Los Angeles and Seattle and San Francisco off the map, I said some extra prayers and kept on going with my life! And as both North Korea and the United States rained fire and brimstone upon each other locked in tumultuous battle over the fate of all that is good and free and mushroom clouds bloomed like mushrooms of fire** over Washington D.C. and New York and Omaha and Dallas and Pyongyang and all those other weird North Korean cities with Asian-y names, I held my head up high! So what if civilization has dissolved? So what if bands of highwaymen now roam the country? So what if a cloud of radiation could drift over our fair city at any moment and turn us all into mutant zombies? At least we’re alive!
**Wow, sorry, totally got on a description trip there - I took a creative writing class in high school! LOL
But it’s no good being alive if you’re just going to waste it being all glum and gloomy! So that’s why I created this gossip column! So everybody in town can keep up on the social goings on of post apocalyptic central Nebraska! Now are you ready to take your mind off of your problems? Of course you are! As we used to say on the Varsity Cheer Squad, Okay! Let’s Go!
Everybody’s talking about Charlie Mayberry after he was spotted tooling around downtown Flihova in his ’84 Cadillac Cavalier, newly modified with spikes on the front bumper and the impaled head of a zombie on the hood. I caught up with him in his trailer and asked him why he decided to spruce up his ride.
“Well,” says Mayberry, 43. “I put the spikes on my bumper to ward off the cannibal bandits. My friend Tucker Wozniak was trying to head out to Cedarville, down County Road 9, but some cannibal bandits killed him and ate his heart so they could gain his power."
Let me tell you, if any of you out there remember Tucker Wozniak, the only power that cannibal gained is the ability to stink up the room in a hurry after $1 Chili Night at Friday's. Ha ha! Am I right or am I right, folks?
And where did Charlie get that uber-chic zombie head on the hood?
“I cut off a zombie’s head.”
If you’ve been to Southwestern Flihova recently, you’ve probably noticed a few changes. Mainly that armed teenagers with severe acne are patrolling the streets and killing/imprisoning anyone who doesn’t belong. The Flihova County High School Marching Band, once dedicated to halftime entertainment, has now dedicated itself to the creation by force of a new world order in which geeks and socially awkward outcasts are the ruling class. That’s a big old uh-oh for all us former cheerleaders! After assuring them of my good intentions and submitting to several very anxious and thorough full-body searches for weapons, the band allowed me to meet their leader, Grand Game Master +20 Maynard Kleinbaulm.
“We’re living in a very exciting time, Kim.” Maynard told me, reclining in an empty classroom in the abandoned high school that now serves as his presidential mansion. Two lithe clarinet players stood on either side of him, fanning the self-diagnosed Asperger’s sufferer with palm fronds. “Society got destroyed for a reason. We’re changing the sheets. The geeks shall inherit the Earth! The streets will run red of the blood of those who oppose us… And those without asthma.”
And will there be any room for cheerleaders in this new world of yours?
“Well, any good society needs its love slaves.”
Yikes! Well, needless to say, I hotfooted it right out of there! Good luck with the dictatorship, Maynard!
The mayoral elections are drawing closer, and the competition couldn’t be any fiercer! Independent John Trumbell is hoping to unseat incumbent Bill Clay, who is a zombie, and their wildly different viewpoints are making this election the most hotly contested in Flihova history.
I met with John Trumbell at his campaign headquarters in an abandoned bowling alley. Slim with a crew cut and pushing 39, Trumbell certainly looks prepared to win. He’s running on a Pro Human, Anti Zombie ticket, and his political agenda includes building a huge wall around Flihova to keep zombies and bandits out and levying a 10% income tax on all zombies living within the city limits, in order to encourage them to leave.
“If you like living, you’ll vote for me.” John said. “Right now, Flihova is completely undefended. Bandits and zombies can just walk right into town and steal and kill and zombify everything they want to – and they do! You think you can trust my opponent to defend Flihova from zombies? He is a zombie, for God’s sake!”
Wow, John, those are some harsh words. I caught up with Bill Clay as he shuffled aimlessly down 18th street, gnawing on the decaying remains of a human leg. Clay’s controversial decision to start eating human brains last month drove away a lot of voters, as did the discovery that he sent instant messages to mayor’s office pages in which he suggested that he wanted to eat their brains. Take a look:
Cutiepi89: lol what ru doin
Cutiepi89: what lol
Shocking! I asked Clay how he intended to respond to these criticisms, and he took a long time to respond – perhaps because he’s a zombie.
“Well, Kim, I’m not going to lie: I’m a zombie. I love eating brains. It’s the best part of my day. If that gets between me and the mayor’s office, then so be it.”
I asked Bill what he’d do if he didn’t get elected. He paused for another long stretch.
“I dunno. Probably eat some brains.”
At this, he tried to attack me and eat my brain, but then got distracted by a passing alley cat and shambled away. Nothing like some good old political intrigue to brighten up your day!
Well, as far as gossip goes, that’s about all I’ve got for this week. Flihova’s a small town, and I’m a busy girl. I sure hope you all liked it! Just remember: Nothing happening out there in the mean ‘ol world is too nasty for you to smile at. Who knows? Maybe things will start to look better if you face them with a smile! If not, try lighting a Morning Mist Mojito scented candle (item ID #13382) - that's guaranteed to work!
Truman Capps thinks that he's very creative, and you should too.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
If you’re reading this and you’re a girl, that’s awesome! There are girls reading my blog besides my Mom! Do any of you want to be my girlfriend? I’m uber-sensitive.
If you’re reading this and you’re a girl, you no doubt have also read the most recent issue of Cosmopolitan. Being the child of socially conservative, politically liberal parents, Cosmo was something of a myth around the Capps household until I got to college, where it is almost, but not quite, as prevalent as marijuana. Before college, the only times I’d see issues of Cosmo were when a girl would bring a copy to school, and the experience was usually rather overwhelming for me. Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Cook’s Magazine, Technology Review, PC Magazine* - these are the periodicals you’ll find lying on varnished coffee tables or leather armrests in my house. By and large they aren’t colorful or incredibly eye catching unless you’re drawn to witty pen and ink cartoons or poigniant sidebar poetry (and lord knows I am – only one of the many things making me so damn sensitive). So of course, for me to see a magazine cover that consists of a voluptuous woman against a bright background with gigantic titles in multiple fonts is a bit of a culture shock. There are words on the cover of this magazine that I didn’t know were legal to say in the checkout line of a supermarket.
*True story: As I was putting down the names of these magazines, I was at a loss for the name of this one. All I knew was that its name started with PC. In an attempt to find the exact name, I went to Google and typed in “PC Magazine” to try and get a list of all PC related publications in hopes that one of them would be what I was thinking of, and it was then that I realized that the magazine was in fact called “PC Magazine”. Are you not entertained?
In the upper right hand corner of the cover is a red highlight that deems this issue “The SEXY Issue”, and that just doesn’t make any kind of sense. Calling an issue of Cosmopolitan (a magazine that this 19 year old male thinks has a decidedly unhealthy fascination with human procreation) “The Sexy Issue” is like calling an entry in my blog “The Entry Where Truman Overanalyzes A Trivial Subject”. That’s the problem when your magazine is completely devoted to one of the most mysterious and confounding acts that two or more people can engage in without a Dungeon Master’s guide: After awhile, you run out of ways to one-up yourself. And so at that point you resort to referring to every sex Q&A as “our naughtiest”, regardless of whether that’s actually the case or not. Of course, what’s to make one thing naughtier than another? In my opinion, sex that involves any sort of leather – even a leather purse in the closet, honestly – is by far naughtier than non leather/pleather oriented forms of intercourse. But to someone else, someone more accustomed to leather, someone perhaps bored with leather, maybe the naughtiness only really kicks up when costumes are involved. Or food. Or the neighbors.
Once I located the table of contents (which I almost mistook for one of the 19 pages of advertisements between it and the cover), I proceeded to page 138 to discover the 67 new sex secrets. Now, for one thing, I don’t know how many secrets there can be about sex, but no matter how many, we’ve probably run through all of them at least four or five times by now, what with Cosmo releasing between 50 and 100 of them every month. Furthermore, reading some of the secrets, I honestly can’t imagine human beings doing these things to one another.
“It felt taboo when her tongue ventured close to my butt. – Daniel, 30” As well it should have, Daniel. As well it should have. There are places a tongue should never go, and your butt is one of them. Also, don’t use “ventured” to describe your girlfriend’s tongue. I don’t care where she’s putting it, that doesn’t make it Meriwether freaking Lewis.
“My girlfriend showed up at my door in a trashy outfit and introduced herself as my chick’s naughty pretend twin sister, Candy. She pushed me against the wall, we had mad sex, and then she left. The next day, she acted like nothing happened. – JR, 27” How do you know that wasn’t her naughty twin sister? It’s all fun and games until your girlfriend tearfully tells you that her rather promiscuous twin sister who she’d always been too ashamed to mention just died of AIDS.
“My woman e-mailed me erotic Website links throughout the day. The first was for lingerie she had bought online; then I got a sex toy link, followed by a site describing a position I figured she wanted to try. It was like eight hours of foreplay!” – Shawn, 26” Girlfriend telling you what to do = Bad. Looking at porn at work = Bad. Girlfriend telling you what kind of porn to look at at work = …Good?
“Ask what songs he listened to in high school, and play them back during a hookup. It will take him back to that time when he was in an almost permanent state of horniness, triggering his primal urges.” Future sexual partners: Please download Chicago: Greatest Hits, Rock Lobster, and the Skyview High School Marching Band’s 2004 rendition of Malaguena.
“Mints have been found to arouse men. So if you crave more action, try reviving him with mint ice cream.” This is a load of crap – mint chocolate chip is my Dad’s favorite flavor of ice cream and I’m an only child.
After awhile, one starts to wonder how humans ever got this far without a glossy manual to advise them in the finer points of swapping tartar sauce. But what I really wonder is if Cosmo is a sex manual or more of a sex zoo. Most of the girls I know who read it balk at the dirty sex tips, but still hopelessly devour the material. Hell, I’m guilty too – I read all 67 sex tips and gave them a lot more thought than I do most of the required reading in my classes. Still, I get the idea that my friends and I are not alone. I don’t think 43 year old Minnesota housewives with Cosmo subscriptions are going to start surprising their husbands with dirty twin sister alter egos. Likewise, after going to the penguin house at the zoo I don’t slide around on my stomach and eat raw fish. This is because I don’t go to the penguin house to learn how to be a penguin, I go to the penguin house because penguins live a life decidedly different from my own and I want to look at it and laugh when they push their friends in the water to test for sharks. Maybe Cosmo is our tawdry penguin house.
Yes, that’s right, I just equated dirty sex to penguins. My ability to construct flimsy metaphors is just one of the many reasons I’m so sensitive.
Truman Capps borrowed the issue of Cosmopolitan from a friend, much in the same way you borrowed your mother’s Victoria’s Secret catalogue when you were 13 and “forgot” to give it back. Don’t say you didn’t, liar.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Living in college dorms is a lot like summer camp, provided that your summer camp was built in the middle of a marijuana field adjacent to a brewery and the female campers were having noisy drunken sex with everyone but you. And sure, it’s fun to spend nine months at camp (unless you don’t smoke pot or drink and women treat you like a leper) but as much as you may want to, you can’t keep going back every year without being sort of creepy.
This may sound strange to some of you who go to school in New England, where real estate is so ridiculously expensive that it’d be impossible to live off campus without running a very successful prostitution ring on the side, but here in the Northwest, real estate is plentiful and real estate is cheap. In Oregon alone, there’s 3 million people occupying a state slightly larger than Uganda, so there’s plenty of elbow room for everybody. We’ve got so much real estate, we don’t know what to do with it. I opened a box of Fruit Loops this morning and the prize was 20 acres of property outside Baker City. Not only is real estate relatively cheap, but housing at the University of Oregon is relatively abysmal. We just recently learned that my dormitory, Bean Hall, does not have a functioning sprinkler system, and the housing staff have informed us that if someone steals our fire extinguisher again, we will not be issued a replacement. This is very concerning to my mother, who considers buildings without sprinkler systems to be the eighth deadly sin, but I’m not too worried about fire because this building was constructed with three highly inflammable materials: brick, asbestos, and misery. Add to the equation the fact that certain sandwiches from our cafeteria literally bleed grease and you will understand why less than ten percent of students return to the dorms after their freshman year.
I, along with my intrepid hallmates Jeff and Josh, are only three of the thousands of rats fleeing the sinking ship of University Housing come the end of this year. Because of the remarkable demand from students who don’t want to live amid the darkness and marijuana fumes of the dorms anymore, the area around campus has rapidly developed with literally hundreds of apartment buildings of varying size, shape, and quality strewn helter skelter through a maze of alleys and side streets choked with the thousands of tons of garbage produced by the countless sororities and fraternities that surround the university like so many hedonistic Orcs around Helm’s Deep. In the search for an apartment, we’ve found that most places fall into the following categories:
1) Livable And Close: These apartments are brand new. The living space is open and modern, the exterior paint is fresh and bright, and almost no hobos have taken a dump in the garden yet. In some cases, it’s even closer to campus than the dorms. The owner knows this, and thus rent is so high that it would actually be cheaper to buy New Zealand and just go to school there.
2) Livable And Far Away: These apartments are brand new. The living space is open and modern, the exterior paint is fresh and bright, and the police have almost cleared away the dead bodies that hobo buried in the garden. What’s more, the rent is affordable, so affordable that you could sell your Dreamcast at a flea market and pay for six months plus the security deposit right then and there. There’s only one catch – the apartments are in Idaho.
3) Seemingly Livable And Close: These apartments were constructed by Native Americans shortly after they crossed the land bridge from Russia, but thanks to exterior renovations it looks like they were built during the optimistic times just after the SARS epidemic. They’re pretty close to campus, and pretty affordable too. Everything is fine until your first night in the unit, when the wall collapses and the toilet backs up. These properties are all owned by the slum lords at Von Klein Property Management LLC of Eugene, who have never once in their history returned a safety deposit and charge outlandish prices for sub par dwellings. If you’re going to the University of Oregon and you like not being screwed, don’t rent from Von Klein. For God’s sake, just look at their name! They sound like the bad guy in an Indiana Jones movie. “Von Klein, you can keep the Obsidian Crown of the Incas, just let the girl go!”
4) Not Livable And Close: “You enter the dimness of the unit, located close to campus at a very reasonable price. The moist orange carpet squishes underfoot. The elves in the party with the Nightsight feat can see brown spreading stains on the ceiling and a wide variety of bugs scurrying across the walls. Suddenly, the mold patch in the conversation pit begins to coalesce and grow upward into a humanoid figure as rats flow into the room from every nook and cranny. A Level 6 Fungus Beast now stands before you, his Level 2 Dire Rat army blocking your only exit! Roll initiative and prepare for battle!”
Truman Capps hopes that his living situation next year will be so nice that he will be unable to complain about it for any reason, but since that’s not going to happen, please do expect more blogs like this in the future.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Listen: Previously, I’ve mentioned that writers tend to have a high body count. I’ll tell you why – you make your profession trying to tell people things that are interesting, things that will make them laugh or, if worst comes to worst, think, but then sometimes, for no conceivable reason whatsoever, you can’t do that anymore. You run out of ideas. As a person who makes a living on ideas, it’s really scary when they stop coming. It’s frustrating. And to middle aged alcoholics with multiple divorces, it turns into depression. It’s like if the goose that lays golden eggs suddenly starts laying regular eggs: Sure, eggs are delicious, but they don’t pay the rent unless your landlord has a bizarre obsession with omelets.
It’s one thing when you write yourself into a corner, as I have successfully done in both of my novels-in-progress and my screenplay, but it’s a whole different ballpark when you’re writing a twice-weekly column about anything that strikes your gosh darn fancy and you still can’t find a subject write 700-1000 words about. It makes you start to doubt your merits as a writer, and when writing is, besides playing 80s power ballads on a football field with 200 other musicians, your absolute favorite thing, you start to wonder if maybe this is God’s way of telling you that you’d be better off as a vending machine technician or a prison guard. Like impotence, I’m sure this happens to lots of guys, but also like impotence, it sucks to be like lots of guys.
Impotence isn’t an issue for me; however, writer’s block definitely is. It’s been smooth sailing for the past month or so, but there were a few weeks in February where writing this blog was an excruciating and terrifying process, because I know before any of my readers when an entry is no good. I can tell about half a paragraph in, usually, and on a couple occasions inspiration has saved me and suddenly I’m back On again and I can revise things and make it funny, but in most cases the deadline hits and I have to give my audience – and thanks, by the way, for being my audience – a product that I know is sub-par. You know when you’ve been looking forward to watching the new Scrubs all week, and then, when the day arrives, it turns out they scripted about five minutes of new dialogue and the rest is just a clip show? Don’t you hate that? When I put up a blog that clearly isn’t up to my standards, I feel like the guy who invented the clip show. That guy eats puppies, I’m sure.
Criticism is tough. People will tell me when my blog isn’t that good – offhand like, just in passing, “Not your best, this last one”, and of course, I’ve known that from minute one, but it sucks to hear that, because I like pretending that maybe you all have such bad taste that you’ll think my writer’s block updates are solid gold. No, it’s cool – by all means, keep criticizing when you don’t like what you see, because that’s the only way for me to enjoy it when I’m On. Failure is what makes success so awesome. For skiers, there’s trees to not crash into. For writers, there’s updates that clearly aren’t as good as previous ones. This was a failure, but hopefully I’ll have a success come Wednesday.
Oh, yeah, it’s weird, isn’t it, you didn’t know the Hair Guy could do serious stuff too, did you? You’ve been a great and loyal audience thus far and I think I owe it to you all to level with you when I can’t think of anything to write about, rather than cobble together some crap from my notebook or force an attempt at humor. I figure it’s a lot more worth your while, since tonight I can’t provide the humor you show up for, to at least give you something genuine and from the heart, even if it doesn’t make eloquent use of the word “wang.” Kurt Vonnegut’s first rule of writing was, “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.” So I suppose that’s what my new guarantee is going to be, even though you’re not all strangers – nothing you find here will waste your time. Of course, seeing as I watched all four seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise, I probably don’t have a very good idea of what a waste of time is.
Truman Capps is a happy person who lives a rich and interesting life – he is most certainly not depressed, nor abusing drugs, nor dating a girl with visible tattoos, and he will call you later today, Mom.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Maybe you live in a place where spring is marked by milder weather and warmer temperatures. If so, you are a wuss. Please observe what we put up with in Oregon:
Over spring break, we Oregonians had a wind storm, multiple massive downpours, daily snowfall (with accumulation at the coast), darkness, locusts, and blood. Driving from Portland to Eugene to get back to school, my friends and I passed through four separate hailstorms while the sun was shining, interspersed with stretches of completely dry highway. It was as though each county we passed through had its own hailstorm it wanted to show us, each with it’s own special feature that in some unique way threatened our lives. In Multnomah County, the hail accumulated like slush on the road. In Marion County, it blew around like a highly distracting mist. In Linn County, the hail melted into reflective puddles on the road while the sun shone brightly, making for a blinding 15 minutes akin to driving on a mirror. In Lane County, the hail came down so hard that it threatened to smash through our windshield and kill us all. I don’t care how cold it gets in Massachusetts or how often the rivers catch fire in Ohio. In some places spring arrives like a lamb, in others, like a lion. In Oregon, it arrives like Chuck Norris.
Spring also is when great flocks of hobos arrive in Eugene, bumping the city’s hobo composition from 75% all the way up to 138%. Oregon is pretty much Shangri-La to your average hobo: Second highest minimum wage in the country, no sales tax, and a plethora of poorly maintained bridges to sleep under. However, our cold and rainy winters force the hobos down into California until spring, when they hitchhike their way back up the I-5 corridor to Eugene like the grimy, schizophrenic swallows returning to Capistrano. Eugene is Oregon’s third largest city, home to the University of Oregon and 140,000 people, the majority of whom are hobos, were hoboes, or will hobo at some point in the future. Why Eugene? Well, the first and best reason is hippies, who are, in essence, hobos with an ethos. Hippies flocked up to Eugene from San Francisco during the 1960s, likely drawn by counterculture author Ken Kesey. Kesey, a graduate of the University of Oregon’s Journalism program, took up residence outside Eugene after spending several years in California experimenting with LSD and cocaine at the behest of the government.* Hippies settled in Eugene and gave our fair city (and state) its reputation as a den of potheads, and to this day keep the spirit of the 1960s alive by operating rent free communes and selling overpriced scented candles on campus, both of which appeal to hobos desperate for free housing and pleasant aromas to mask their mind boggling stench. The return of Eugene’s hobos always has a distinct impression on our campus. For instance, if you want to hear a crazy rant by somebody who clearly has no idea what he’s talking about, you don’t have to wait for the State of the Union address anymore – just go to a well trafficked public place and you can find a Motivational Speaker Hobo (essentially just a Level 2 Advanced Hobo who used his experience points to buy the ‘Public Speaking’ trait) telling the crowd about the inherent danger of toothpaste and black people.
*Unlike myself, a Journalism major at the University of Oregon who aspires to be a drug addicted author one day, Ken Kesey did not have a blog.
When the sun finally does decide to shine, it triggers the long dormant impulse within the U of O’s California-born students to take off their clothes, which in most cases I won’t argue with. For some reason, literally hundreds of Californians turn their backs on in-state tuition at schools like Berkeley (ranked the 21st best college in the country) and UCLA (ranked 25th) and instead pay incredibly high out of state prices to attend the University of Oregon (ranked 112th – in your face, Michigan Tech!) You can always tell which students at the UO are native Oregonians and which ones are native Californians. On a day like today – sunny, cloudless, and 50 degrees in the shade – the Oregonians were wearing light parkas and walking to class, while the Californians were lying in various states of undress on any piece of grass big enough to spread a towel on. That’s the fundamental difference between Oregonians and Californians – while we’re conditioned from birth to keep our clothes on at all times (to protect ourselves from wayward hailstones) they’re conditioned to take them off at every opportunity just in case a casting agent or Viggo Mortensen walks past. Maybe half nude beautiful people don’t sound as hazardous as spontaneous hailstorms or a hobo army, but drive past the quad when it’s full of bikini clad beauty queens and try to keep your eyes on the road, and see if you don’t almost die.
Truman Capps knows what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. That isn’t a typo in the third paragraph. Hobo is a verb. Not just any verb, mind you, but the best verb ever.