This Stupid Game!

There is an idea, a beautiful idea, a wonderful idea, that, for some reason, I equate primarily with Death Metal. The idea of letting one's inner emotions out, even if just for a moment, and allowing yourself to Unleash the Beast Within.

That last part of the line there is probably why I equate the concept with Death Metal. Can't you just hear the line "Unleash the beast within" roared throatily into a microphone by some nordic guy who looks like the scary ghost girl from "The Ring".

Now it is usually pretty easy to let your positive emotions out. If you see a giant teddy bear…


you can probably hug it.  If you see a cuddly puppy...


you can probably go "awwwwwwwwww" and nobody will really look at you funny… except for maybe the Death Metal guy.

The hard part comes from letting your negative emotions out. I don't mean getting home from work one day, walking into the bathroom, closing the door and just screaming


because anyone can do that. While that is freeing the beast within, it's doing it as an afterthought, it's what happens when emotions are bottled up.

Thanksgiving: or how I learned to stop worrying and Thaw the Bird

Well, Halloween is over, so in the minds of merchants and die hard capitalists everywhere the next holiday in line is Christmas, but to turkey addicts and football fans there is something standing in the way of tinsel and carols: Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of getting excited for Thanksgiving this year, I submit for your consideration a little bit of a different story, because my adversary this time is not a person at all, but a turkey.

Last Thanksgiving I was stuck up here in Philadelphia alone while my girlfriend, my family, and everyone I ever liked were off having great times and eating great food without me. 

Not that I'm bitter or anything. 

However, I had won a free Thanksgiving turkey from my local grocery store and I had no intention of letting that go to waste. If I had a free turkey, I was going to have a free turkey.

I consider myself a bit of a chef, but I had never tangled with the likes of a full grown turkey before so, naturally, as a male, I assumed I would have no problem.

I assumed wrong.

Revving the Engine of Progress

Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love and don't let anyone tell you different. The people are friendly, the sports fans are jovial and the meter maids always have a smile on their face as they write you a ticket.

However, the unavoidable truth is that all that goodness stops as soon as Philadelphians get into their cars, when the "City of Brotherly Love" immediately becomes the "City of Coyote-and-Roadrunner-level unexplained animosity and repeated attempted murder".

Now, one other truth we all have to understand before I go into this story is that people who drive nicer cars then us are, inherently, better then us. Their time is more valuable and we, lesser organisms, need to understand that.

We bow to you oh BMW driving demigods, would you like some Grey Poupon? I could slather it right onto your goddamn sense of entitlement.

The Horrible Monster

Today I'm going to write about a subject that is near and dear to my heart, and by "near and dear to my heart" I of course mean

Also available in picture form:
I'm providing visual aid today.

So which subject brings about this open mouthed, head grabbing FURY? The subject of Office Gossip.

Office Gossip, which I will hereby refer to as "the OG-asaurus", is an interesting beast because it seems completely impossible to avoid. Much like the psycho murderer from a slasher film, there is nowhere you can run, nowhere you can hide and just when you think you're safe the OG-asaurus bursts out from the woods and stabs you in the face. Even the act of avoiding it means that you are inadvertently taking part in it because everyone else in the office thinks you're aloof and starts to chitter and chat about you!


Happy Pensive Sunset Fountain

It's Tuesday. I don't care what you say, Tuesday is worse than Monday. So, everybody take a deep breath. This is going to be the blog equivalent of Sun Salutation, the literary Moment of Zen, the photographical bath with scented candles. We depart from our regularly scheduled rage to bring you unmitigated, soothing, relaxing calm.

Lets place our calm in front of a beautiful sunset, as seen here behind me.


Ahh, wasn't that nice. Now that everyone is relaxing, lets say something to all those annoyances that are following us around. All the creepy weirdos that are hiding just off camera.

I'll say something to all of them for us:


I think that got our point across. Relaxation is the word of the day today. Lets listen to some music? Does music sound good? Something beautiful and classical, turn on your speakers for this.

Wait, you know what makes classical music even better?

Toy cars blowing up:

Wasn't that great?

Happy relaxation everybody. Tune in tomorrow for more fury.

Archetypes of Infuriation (part 2)

It's time now for another installment of Archetypes of Infuriation! If you remember from last time we covered some of the various ways people anger even the most stoic of people. This edition is no different, so lets bellyflop right into the rage:

The "My coffee is more important than my children" jerk - 

I know what they say: "it takes a village to raise a child". But before we get ahead of ourselves, lets read into that. What does it say exactly? It says to "raise" a child. Nowhere does it say that it takes a village to watch your child for you while you order a VentiSoyMilkNoFoamDoubleShotVanillaDecafMotherFucking latté.

Just because it requires every iota of your cerebral cortex focussing like Zeus' laser beams (thats right, he had lasers, bone up on your Homer!) just to be able to recall and form your mouth around the staggering complexity of your beverage order does NOT mean that you can forget the fact that, as of a few months/years ago, your loins bore fruit. 

You clearly remembered to feed and clothe this tiny little person on a relatively regular basis, because he/she remains alive to this day, so why do you just now forget it exists? Everyone else notices your child removing an unpaid-for juice box and proceeding to open it, WHY DON'T YOU?

My run-in with a Modern Viking: the Conclusion.

And now: the thrilling conclusion to My run-in with a Modern Viking. If you have not read part one, I recommend it.

I'll take you back now to the land of abs, absolutely amazing alcohol and damn, dirty Danish thieves (not the pastry… the country) and drop this post as in medias res as any post can get.

My feet, sore and aching, were smashing the crushed gravel garden path wending its way through the verdant greenway. Ahead of me the most evil man in the world was blithely cruising along on his bike with my hard earned beer and hot dogs held hostage. They were screaming to me, crying out in need of aid with their tiny little food voices. 

Only Superman himself chasing a crashing plane full of terrified people would know what I was going through at that point. True, I was slowly catching up to the thief, but my breath was coming ragged, my teeth were gnashing in sweaty rage and the beer I had already drunk (for I had drunk quite a lot) was sloshingly noisy deep in the cavern of my stomach.

With each step the distance shrunk. I was still shouting at the man, demanding he stop and return my purloined pork products and absconded alcohol, but still he pedaled on, oblivious to my yells.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, Owen," you're saying in obnoxiously high pitched voices. "Maybe he doesn't speak English. Mnnaaaaa"

The HELL he doesn't speak English! Everyone in Denmark either speaks English or knows that if you steal something and someone chases you screaming like a crazed badger then there may be a correlation there! Also, stop taking his side! If you want his account of the chase then read his blog!

…please don't read his blog. I love you guys. I would miss you too much. I'm sorry we fought. Are we cool?

My run-in with a Modern Viking

Copenhagen is a fascinating city for an American to visit. The people are friendly, it's beautiful, easy to get around and the beer flows like delicious water that has been mixed with hops and fermented. In fact, the one real problem with visiting Scandinavia is the fact that everyone who resides there is a thousand times more beautiful than I will ever be.

And I'm not even talking about the women. A day spent at the beach taught me that the Danish men are freaks of nature, gifted with an additional set of abdominal muscles. You've heard the term 6-pack? These freaks have 8 packs.

How is that even fair? They're rocking an additional ab while I'm stuck with a wine pouch flopping around in front of me. It's like their Viking ancestors needed a way to prove their superiority to everyone else so, in the midst of their plundering, they STOLE an additional muscle from some hapless fishing village, pillaging it along with the wealth and the women and then, somehow, attaching it to themselves and bequeathing that chiseled beauty to their lineage. 

In some part of the world (where the men rarely take their shirts off), there are people with only 4-pack abs, victims of Viking violence… so sad...

I'm so off topic it’s not even funny. So I was spending the summer in Copenhagen learning about the Danish health care system, which, it turns out, is fundamentally flawed. The overriding concept of using Danishes, as well as other pastries, to cure diseases isn't the most effective treatment. It really limits effectiveness to certain cases of Diabetes and general low blood sugar situations.

That’s RIGHT! It's a blog entry with puns. Get excited. Get fucking excited.

Why DO I hate everybody? (part 1)

I'm well aware that I appear to spend all of my time here making fun of other people, but that is an incorrect observation, ("all" is a little extreme, isn't it?). What I am actually doing is making fun of myself, and the insanity behind these particular interactions that I choose to highlight. But it doesn't explain why these interactions happen, and more importantly, why they happen to me.

So I decided it was time for a little soul searching. What makes me such a madness magnet? My charming personality, my roguish good looks, my flawless hair? Yes, those are all parts of the reason, but there has to be something deeper down. I don't know what that is exactly, but we're going to figure it out together. "Why DO I hate everybody" will be an ongoing section devoted to finding out the real reason why everybody brings their crazy to me.

So here we go:

I am not going to criticize my parents here, so nobody expect that at all, I owe my parents more than I could probably ever repay, but everybody makes mistakes. Unfortunately some of those mistakes irrevocably damage me in noticeable ways: as I will illustrate here.

When I was younger my mom thought it would be a good idea to show me a great little movie, something that nobody could possibly have any problems with, a Disney movie after all. The movie is called "Darby O'Gill and the Little People". If you know the film, then you know the horror that lies within. For the rest of you, prepare to be enlightened: "Darby O'Gill" is a 1959 romp through the fair green hills of Ireland, complete with cute little leprechaun kings, an endearing old blue collar father and… oh yeah, a FUCKING BANSHEE!!

The Pizza Demon

As children there were always inherent fears that came with travel, from the esoteric and rather innocuous "step on a crack and break your mother's back", (which has yet to happen) to the more unnamable fears that accompany new places themselves. Some of these fears have even been mutated into children's stories, designed to promote xenophobia and a desire to stay home and consume domestic goods, and some of those stories can be quite scary. There was one story, however, that never really served to properly scare me: the story of the troll under the bridge.

Little could I have ever predicted that, for me, that particular story would come true.

I had just started college and was still getting into the norms of life on campus. It was a brisk Friday night in October when I stepped from my dorm and began to make my way, alone, towards a late dinner meeting with friends. We were eating off campus and my route of choice happened to involve a shortcut over a small rail bridge just beside the campus gates.

The sun was long set as I meandered my way through quads and parking lots, eventually leaving the bright lights of the more pedestrian friendly areas until, suddenly, I found myself quite alone. Though I was barely 100 feet from lively human habitation I felt a gulf grow between the peopled world and myself. 

There was a sense of foreboding as I made my way slowly towards the rail bridge. Pushing through the thick bushes that line each side of the now defunct railroad tracks I found my heart was suddenly hammering in my chest and my very soul knew that something was amiss. I could swear that ahead of me, by about 15 feet, there was a presence.

The Stupid Little Drummer Boy

I've got a good idea! Lets all get on a plane in Newark Airport, the greatest, most efficient, airport on earth, one of God's gifts to mankind, and lets ride that plane to the other side of the world, Hong Kong. Doesn't that sound great!

Yes! That sounds amazing, but I feel like we could make that a whole lot better!

Oh, ok. Well, how can we make it better?

One word: Children.

Let me back up.

My sister, after getting married, decided with her husband that they wanted to do something crazy or fun or something, I never really asked about their true motivation, (I have heard rumors they are international jewel thieves), so they decided to move to Hong Kong for two years. Through some marvel my family was able to go out and visit them, as my dad was doing business in Singapore, so we headed up to Newark, ready to go to the far, far, far East.

In case you don't know, Newark is where fun and happiness go to die. It is like an internment camp for hopes and dreams, where good ideas are lined up and shot just for existing. The result of this was that, instead of just getting one the plane in boarding groups, everyone had to wait in a gigantic line for two hours leading up to the flight. 

There were about 200 people. I would say that 180 of them were Chinese citizens returning home. About 30 of them spoke English and, this is the fun part, we counted 140 CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 5!! Joy of JOYS! 

Oh wait, I mean: AUGH!! MONKEY TESTICLES!!!!!

Archetypes of Infuriation (part 1)

I definitely don't want to come off as whiney, which is a little hard since the whole point of this blog is to whine and complain and bitch, bitch, bitch. Hopefully, though, I am able to do it in a way that is entertaining and not just pitiful. 

But lets be honest, people don't just annoy me, they probably annoy you too. I feel like even the World's greatest Buddhist still gets pissed off when he gets in the 10 items or less line and the guy in front of him has 20 items. He may be free of the desire to beat the holy shit out of the guy, but there still has to be a twinge of anger, doesn't there? I think so. So I have decided to dedicate this section to those people who piss me off, piss you off and probably piss, if not the Dalai Lama himself, then at least his most trusted advisor, off.

Directions Demander - 

So everyone is going out tonight, the location has been agreed upon, the time has been set. I'm excited, right? Then, about 10 hours before the event, I get a call, or an e-mail, or a text message. "Can you give me directions?" the message asks, innocently enough. I'm so excited I don't even blink twice, I know where we're going, so why not fill in this person, that way everybody can come and the best possible time can be had.

But after I reply… another message comes in. "Wait… that wasn't quite clear."

So I make it clear, no problem.

The message comes again. Then again. Then again. Each time asking for more and more specific directions. It gets to the point that I'm describing the pathway one electron must take as it jumps from molecule to molecule on its way from the person's house to the fucking restaurant.

You want to know how to get to the restaurant we're going? Sure, I'll give you directions: Turn left from your phone and travel east to!

Sell me your tired, your hungry, your stupid garbage.

So I have already mentioned that everybody naturally assumes that I am their best friend. As infuriating as this is, it really isn't anything I can put a stop to as there is no way that I can make myself look unappealing enough to everybody. Sure, I could spike my hair and dye my eyebrows orange and that would probably stop certain people from talking to me, but it would also tell another group of people that I am a prime target for their nonsensical ramblings.

But just being approached by people is nothing compared to the times when they want something out of me, namely… my money.

Money is not something I am going to toss around, no matter how good an argument you make, if you are standing in close proximity to me and we are not in a store, I am not looking to make a purchase, as a standing rule. It all began on the bus. Now, before you assume that I just have some crazy vendetta against the Philly bus system, (I do) I want you to know that not all the freaks and jerks I will be extolling on the site were found on public transportation. It just so happened that the crazy idiot was able to corner me, in this case, while my ass was unfortunately glued to the little plastic seat.

"Hey buddy…"

"Oh GOD!!! What!?" I think in a chorus of a billion angry voices exploding from every one of my wee little mitochondria. If you had been sitting close enough to me you could have heard the frustration jetting out of my very pores.

"You want to buy a necklace?" He smiles, exposing a tiny gold chain, the kind you would find in your trashcan after you had thrown it away.

"No thanks, I don't have any money."

"How much do you have?"

Its like some bizarre game where I am able to answer his questions before he even answers them!