October 31, 2011

It's Not a Cos-tumor

“I got a rock…”

I love Halloween.  I love everything about it.  I love that it turns grown-ass folks like us into costumed kids again, only we swap out getting candy and razor-filled apples for binge drinking and the most hilarious/pathetic post-party walks of shame ever.

I love that it---along with the changing of the leaves, the World Series, and pre-campaign political scandals---ushers in my favorite season of the year.  (Gingers don’t sunburn in the Fall.)  I love that it brings back AMC’s Fearfest and the hours upon hours of slutty coeds being chased by creepy loners that comes with it.  I love moving one step closer to adult onset diabetes by gorging myself on fun-sized candy bars.  (I don’t really need that right foot anyways.)

But most of all, I love putting together costume masterpieces that instill awe and shame in fellow party-goers who just grab some last-minute, generic crap off the rack at Ricky’s.  This year’s Zombie Jesus, for example, was a massive success.

“But Ryan,” you say.  “I am but a simple soul.  I lack the depth of imagination and ingenuity of a knowledgeable visionary such as yourself.  Please, show mercy and drop a few popcorn chicken-sized giblets of inspiration from the nugget of creative wonder that is your brain.”

If you insist.  Here are a few last-minute costume ideas to try out for this year’s Halloween festivities (or next year's if it's too late):

A New Spin on "Sexy [Blank]"

Halloween has long been a time when ladies are able to unleash their inner floozie (or “hoo-er,” for my Jersey readers).  Not that most of us complain, but it doesn’t show much imagination to break out the “Sexy Cop” or “Sexy Nurse” or “Sexy Kitten” costumes.  We’ve seen it all before.  This year, if you want to show off what your gym membership has wrought while still showcasing your originality, try upping the difficulty level with a decidedly un-sexy profession.  Bust out an assless lab coat and go as “Sexy Marine Biologist” or “Sexy Cancer Researcher.”  Show off the sultry side of sanitation as “Sexy Trash Collector” or “Sexy Porta-Potty Cleaner.”  Put the “pole” back in “politics” as “Sexy James Carville.”  …  Okay, that last one might be impossible for anybody to pull off, actually.

The Ghost of Lopez Tonight

Ghosts have been a Halloween costume staple for centuries.  Cut two holes in a sheet, make some moaning sounds, and voilá… you’re either a ghost or some weird Mormon sex ritual.  It’s an easy go-to.  But this year, update it a bit by going as the roaming spirit of the canceled late-night talk show featuring America’s favorite (?) Latino comedian.  Just dress up like George Lopez, slap on some spooky ghost makeup, and wander around telling lame jokes about how Mexicans hate Taco Bell that no one will laugh at.  For extra effect, have a friend dressed as Conan O’Brien chase you around the party with a knife murdering your career.

The 2011-12 NBA Season

Just stand in the corner in a Knicks jersey looking sad.  This can also double as a Stephon Marbury costume.

Zombie Bob Ross

Everyone’s favorite late painter of happy little trees, risen from the grave.  Zombies are everywhere these days anyways (hence my Zombie Jesus costume idea), and we all miss Bob Ross (admit it, you do), so it’s a perfect combination.  Get an afro wig, a zombie makeup kit, and a blood-smeared paint pallet, and you’re all set.  If you can stand to lug a prop around, you can even have an easel that you mindlessly dab at that somehow still produces a perfect scene of a mountain waterfall.  Bonus points if you mutter, “Paaaaaaiiiiints…” over the course of the night.

A-Rod’s Clutch Hitting

1. Dress up in a Yankees uniform (purple chapstick/lip gloss optional).
2. Have a friend throw a ball at you in a pressure situation.
3. Miss.  Every time.

October 18, 2011

Trivia Blog: Are You Ready for Some Footb- Hold On, My Asthma's Acting Up...

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

Oddly enough, both groups prefer face painting, costumes, and hero worship…

I was able to experience a wonderful contrast of cultures over the course of the last two days.  On Sunday, I went with some friends in town from Ohio to the NYC Comic Con, and followed that up by going out to the Meadowlands last night for the Jets-Dolphins Monday Night Football game.  To say that these are two diametrically opposed groups is like saying that the Israelis and Palestinians are two diametrically opposed groups.  At the former, I was able to immerse myself in the warm embrace of geek culture.  A place where people can fully express and celebrate the things they love.  A place where you can turn a corner and run into Casey Jones and April O’Neil from the Ninja Turtles, or a creepy old man Zangief from Street Fighter, or a full-on Quidditch tournament.  A sexy Freddie Krueger?  Why not?  And do you have a picture with Fake Mr. T?  I pity the fool who don’t have a picture with Fake Mr. T.  See, I never had to deal with anything like it, but for a lot of these people, comic cons provide a sense of relief at being able to be who they are without being picked on or bullied like they were (or are) over the course of their lives.  It’s this amazing, pure expression of joy that you can’t find anywhere else.

Unless, of course, your source of joy is getting shitfaced on NJ Transit tallboys and going to football games.  If you’re like me, of course, and happen to root for the lowly Dolphins, it might lose a bit of its luster.  Hasn’t been a fun season for me.  And yet, there’s something great about football that lets us throw off any semblance of being responsible, respectable members of society in favor of being as loud and obnoxious as possible in support of our teams.  But sometimes it’s easy to be too loud and obnoxious.  I love sports and I especially love football–and I’m biased against Jets fans, obviously, so don’t think I mean this just about them–but for some reason, NFL fans seem to represent so many of our worst sports fans.  Like the guy last night who continually yelled, “Dolphins SUUUUUUCK!” every 5 minutes before half-throwing up on himself.  Or the random guys who go to games just to get drunk and fight visiting fans.  I’ll never understand that.  And honestly, given how much sports-only fans outwardly love their teams, it’s funny to me that they so easily dismiss members of geek culture.  They’re so similar in so many ways, and yet, historically, the former group always seems to be the one that has oppressed the latter group.  All because the one thing that they love above all others is different from what the other people love.

I guess I wanted to write about all of this to, in a roundabout way, graze over something that always comes to mind during our little weekly trivia gatherings, and that’s the ever-dissolving idea of being a well-rounded person or a holder of many diverse interests.  The rise of the Internet and the propagation of niche culture has grown in such a way this past decade or so that people who just want to dabble in a bunch of aspects of pop culture are looked at as posers or “not devoted enough.”  It’s especially prevalent in geek culture, where people who once used to find common ground in really loving and delving into the specifics of things like movies, books, comics, TV, etc., now ostracize each other for not knowing and obsessing over every aspect of that culture.  “Wait, you watch Mad Men and Breaking Bad but you’ve NEVER seen Justified?  What the hell?  How have you not yet consumed the totality of television?”  That old adage, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” doesn’t seem to hold much water anymore.

So I can definitely say that I find solace in our Trivia Nights.  I try to spread out the categories from week to week and always have a nice range, so that in order to win, you have to know as much as possible about as many things as possible.  I want Trivia Night to celebrate the pursuit of knowledge in all its forms.  Just because you’re awesome at our many movie categories doesn’t mean you then get to slack on topics about books or science or music.  I guess the short version of what I’m saying is that you guys are our last, best hope.  Or, you’re just really good at knowing the different between Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman.

October 4, 2011

Trivia Blog: Funemployed

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

You can’t spell “unemployed" without "money."”  “Yodel,” either.

Wonderful Gael Pub triviagoers, I apologize for the late email today, and it’s going to be a short one, but your loving Quizmaster has been enjoying the bliss of not having to go to work all day today.  My last day at my old job was yesterday, and I get to have a relaxing, no-pants-required week at home until I start my fantastic, shiny new job next week.  My day has been filled with blasting through my overstuffed DVR, forming a perfect me-shaped groove into my couch, and proving that yes, indeed, you can have a sandwich every meal of the day.  Take that, Michelle Obama.

After finishing up the latest episode of Breaking Bad and finding myself weighing the pros and cons of a career in meth manufacturing/mustache growing, I even found myself gazing into the sad abyss of early afternoon network TV.  And like I’ve said before, from what I’m seeing of the commercials aimed at them during daytime television, old people are a mess.  Their bones are crumbling to dust, their cholesterol is through the roof, their hearts are trying to crawl out of their throats, and they’re just incapable of having one good goddamned erection, or at least not without first sitting out in the backyard, bathing in separate tubs whilst watching the sun set.  No wonder they want us off their lawns so badly.  That’s the bathtub staging area.