January 31, 2012

Trivia Blog: Boss-tastrophe

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)...

Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce...

Last Friday, some friends and I gathered together on the interwebs for a noble and wonderful purpose.  Tickets for the upcoming Bruce Springsteen concert tour were about to go on sale via Ticketmaster (and ONLY Ticketmaster... hmmm....) at noon, and we were poised, communicating via a giddy and hopeful Facebook group chat, ready to buy our tickets and fulfill a months-long, booze-fueled series of bar conversations about finally seeing the Boss again at MSG.  As the minutes ticked down ever closer to the noontime hour, we sat at our computers (shout out to Eric, Rachel, Deb, and Nkasi), waiting for that magical time to arrive, like kids awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus.  Or Amy Winehouse waiting for the liquor store owner to open shop, her nose pressed against the makeup-smeared glass door.  (Too soon...?)

Ticket prices were going to be in the $100-$130 range, which is a bit pricey, but this was definitely one of those "I am perfectly fine paying an absurdly high price for this special concert in New York" concerts.  When 12:00:01 came, we all clicked on the "Buy Tickets" button, entered the weird verification code, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  A 3-minute wait became 6 minutes.  Then 9.  Then 15.  The dread that had been lingering over us soon became a palpable sense of defeat, and we were all eventually denied our chance at tickets.  Many times over.  No Bruce for us.  There were, of course, a bevy of tickets already available on StubHub for anywhere from $250-$1,000.  Gee.  Thanks.

I won't go on about how the Ticketmaster/secondary ticket market price mark-up situation is a fucking sham and is completely ruining the concert-/game-going experience for fans because that vein in the middle of my forehead might rupture, causing my eyeballs to shoot out onto the computer screen and my head to explode, and then you'd have no Quizmaster for tonight.  Also, I'd die.  So there's that.

Instead, I'll lament the loss of what would have been one of my greatest ideas ever: "Bruce-nch."

See, as part of our pre-concert preparations, we were going to take the day of the show off and do a day-long tailgate in preparation for some Bruce-y goodness, the start of which would be a brunch variant I'd dubbed "Bruce-nch."  We all love Bruce, and we all love brunch...  How is it that no one has thought to combine the two before??

Bruce-nch. A place where blue collar guys and gals with a Hungry Heart can come together early in the day and have a hearty meal and a tall, frosty mimosa.  A place where you can enjoy a menu full of Bruce-inspired dishes like:

  • "Born in the U.S.Eggs"
  • "Jungleland-cakes"
  • "Dancing in the Dark Chocolate Muffins"
  • "Streets of Philadelphi-eggs Benedict"
  • And, of course, "The River (of Mimosas)"
Bruce-nch.  A place where before bringing over your order, your waiter stops and digresses into a long, rambling, increasingly off-the-point, Boss-esque story before putting the plate down in front of you:

"This next dish... This next dish reminds me of growing up in Long Branch, New Jersey.  [Someone yells, "Woooo! Jerseeey!"]  Heh.  I'd just come home from a 35-hour shift at the auto shop, covered in the grease and the grime of workin' man's life.  I went to the kitchen, sometime, I don't know, I guess around breakfast.  And All.  I.  Could.  Think.  Of.  Was.  Pancakes.  So I reach up, pull open the creaky cupboard door, lookin' for that Bisquick.  But all I see starin' back at me was an empty, Bisquick box-sized space in the dust.  Yeah.  And I yell, "Hey Dad!  Where's the Bisquick?"  And my old man yells back, "I ate all the damned Bisquick!"  And I yell back, "Well go to hell, Dad!", and I hit him full in the face with a sock full of quarters.  [Someone yells, "Bruuuuuuuuuce! ... It's time for your break."]  Thank you, thank you. I love you, too... This dish is called Blueberry Pancakes.  Two! Three! Four!"

Bruce-nch.  It's gonna be a thing.

January 24, 2012

Trivia Blog: You've Made a Moustake

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)...

Joe, I'm afraid that thing on your face is a giant moustake...

So another NFL Championship Weekend is in the books and we're headed back to a rematch of a game that no one outside of New York or Boston really wanted to see.  Giants fans, you've picked up a reluctant supporter, as anything that involves Tom Brady holding a trophy and smiling sends me shaking and crying into a corner, forced to endure flashbacks of his horrendous interceptions thrown as Michigan's quarterback, before he turned into Captain QB Supermodelbanger.

The real travesty from this weekend, though, was the loss of one of the shining bright spots of this great NFL season.  And I'm not talking about a player that will be lost to injury or retirement, nor a visionary coach or charming TV personality.  I'm talking, of course, about Joe Flacco's moustache.  Let me include a picture of it here to be sure that everyone gets a look at this terrible, terrible piece of facial hair:

66790071.jpg

Awful.  Not even uber-ironic Brooklyn hipsters would sport that sad tribute to Hulk Hogan's follicular prowess.  Ron Swanson he is not.  Flacco's is a moustache that says, "I'm all about this team and this playoff run, and I might have an outstanding warrant for unpaid child support."  Now, Flacco is just taking part in a long, proud tradition of awful sports facial hair, following in the footsteps of luminaries like Bill WaltonLarry BirdJake PlummerSidney CrosbyJoakim Noah, and, of course, Hitler Michael Jordan.  But his stands out as particularly bad.  Terrible as that thing was, though, I have to admit... I'm gonna miss the Flacco Stache.  It gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling and, much like the changing of the leaves or pumpkin-based products in Starbucks, heralded the arrival of Fall and another glorious football season.  And now it's gone.

It did, however, give me inspiration for a good run of Flacco Stache-related tweets (@palewriterryan) during the game.  Had he won, I was even going to create a Joe Flacco's Moustache account on Twitter, and fill these two pre-Super Bowl weeks with all kinds of Flacco Stache-y goodness.  Below, a few from Sunday's game:
  • Joe Flacco's moustache looks like it has to introduce itself to its new neighbors as a sex offender when it moves. #FlaccoStache
  • Joe Flacco's moustache looks like it could hop off Flacco's face and go sling drinks at a gay biker bar all by itself. #FlaccoStache
  • Joe Flacco's moustache looks like it owns a pet snake. #FlaccoStache
  • Joe Flacco's moustache is just fine with eating 7-Eleven taquitos for breakfast. #FlaccoStache
  • Joe Flacco's moustache holds all 10 high scores on the Asteroids machine in the back of the roller rink. #FlaccoStache
  • Joe Flacco's moustache looks like it used to roadie for Foghat. #FlaccoStache

January 17, 2012

Trivia Blog: The Ewww

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)...

Maybe we can change the show's name to The Misguided Snap Judgment...?

Over this past Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend (or as I've been calling it, MLK2K12), I took a flight back to the warm shores of my hometown of Toledo, Ohio, to have a visit with my cousin and he and his wife's adorable newborn baby girl.  It was a very fine trip, and helped to erode away a bit of the shell that I've contstructed between me and my ever-looming march into child-rearing years.

I woke up at my grandparents' home yesterday morning, ready to drive up to Detroit and get back to my wonderful New York City, only to discover that my flight home, apparently in anticipation of bad weather that might (did not) arrive several hours into the future, had been delayed until later that afternoon.  This is not surprising, since I have a long, well-documented history of poor travel experiences.  I tried to let it slide this time, though, and look at the delay as an opportunity to see the baby some more and enjoy some of my grandma's fawning attention and home cooking.  It also gave me the opportunity to do something that was entirely foreign to me: watching the daytime talk show program, The View, along with my grandma.

I'm always intrigued when I get to experience new sources of opinion/news analysis, and I have to say, the ladies of The View opened my eyes to a lot that I had previously been ridiculously misinformed about.  A sampling from Monday's academic, reasoned discussions:
  • Ricky Gervais is a horribly mean man who has no right to pick on underprivileged celebrities who have gathered to pat themselves on the back. But it is perfectly okay to make jokes about his Britishness.
  • It is also fine, apparently, to point out that the skinniness and musculature of Angelina Jolie and Madonna is completely abhorrent. Also, all women should possess what Whoopi refers to as "the jiggly arms," because that's what's normal.
  • Why won't things ever be easy for Jennifer Aniston???!!!
  • Barbara understands what the passengers on the Italian cruise ship that ran aground and led to deaths and psychological damage went through because she was once on a really bad cruise. Maybe it was the Titanic.
  • Kim Kardashian is not, in fact, a fame-mongering, calculating, shallow, odorous crust hanging off of the butthole of America's collective obsession with tabloid culture and reality TV. Rather, she's a misunderstood, well-meaning fashion icon who was horribly abused by a mediocre NBA power forward whose publicist probably thought it would be great for his image and Q rating to attach himself to the Kardashian machine.  Oh.
I had no idea!  Thank you, ladies of The View, for helping me understand.

January 10, 2012

Trivia Blog: Pantsless Problem

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)...

Crazy homeless guys have been doing this way before it was cool...

There are a lot of unsettling things that you have to mentally prepare yourself to potentially encounter as you're descending into one of our fair city's many subway entrances.  Unstable lunatics, masturbating vagrants, rats grown bold after decades of being left to run wild in the tunnels, people who really like Jesus...  The experience hardens us New Yorkers into the urban equivalent of Mel Gibson in the Mad Max movies, and makes seeing mundane occurrences that might bewilder and shock visiting tourists more or less passé.  Occurrences like, say, subway acrobats or car-loads of people wearing no pants.

I'm speaking (writing) in the latter, of course, about the annual tradition known as the No Pants Subway Ride (hereafter referred to by the totally sweet acronym NPSR).  If you don't know what I'm talking (writing) about, the NPSR is an event organized by the very awesome group Improv Everywhere wherein people in New York (and in cities across the globe) board subways sans pants and freak out all the norms and squares.  It's all innocent fun, and good times are usually had by all.  But of course when I do it, I get arrested for "indecent exposure."

Now, I don't mean to knock the people participating in Improv Everywhere's mass prank.  I just happen to agree, for the most part, with this Gothamist article from yesterday, which posits that, in its 11th year, the NPSR has grown stale.  (Also that it's really not a great idea to tempt the many grope-y people already on the subway who get a semi from looking at people dressed in extra-thick winter layers, let alone in their skivvies.)  It has strayed a bit from Improv Everywhere's original purpose and turned into a thing; just something that people do on that agreed-upon date, like a dentist's appointment or a prostate exam.  It's no longer shocking or avant-garde to drop trou and take the N to Herald Square. (If it's even running; fuck you, MTA.)

In that spirit—because as a past attendee of Improv Everywhere events I want them to stay fresh— here are a few suggestions for what Improv Everywhere could organize for the future:
  • Stage a complete reenactment of the Civil War's Battle of Vicksburg, replete with old-timey costumes, buglers, racists, and battlefield amputations for the injured, but do it on the Staten Island Ferry.
  • 1) Gather in one of our many parks or go-to tourist destinations, 2) look at all the trash lying around on the ground, 3) pick that shit up. (Not particularly shocking, I know, but Union Square is nasty.)
  • Choreograph a shot-by-shot remake of the zombie dance sequence in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.
  • Position everyone on the ground to create giant curse words aimed at people in the office buildings above.  Crass, to be sure, but imagine being a Goldman Sachs employee and looking out your window to see 200 prostrate people calling you a TWAT.  It'd freak you out a little bit.
  • Set a bunch people up as the maze's boundaries, designate four ghosts, about 100 pellets, and one yellow, globular hero, and stage the world's largest human Pac-Man game.
  • 1) Go to the biggest Circuit City Best Buy you can find, 2) turn all the TVs on to a showing of the Adam Sandler movie Grown Ups, 3) pretend to actually enjoy it.  That'd freak me out.
  • Five words: West Side Highway Red Rover

January 3, 2012

Trivia Blog: It's Resolution, Baby

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)...

A short list of my New Year's resolutions for 2012...
  • Stop saying "ATM machine," because the "M" in "ATM" clearly stands for "machine" already.
  • Help my semi-racist uncle to refrain from using terms like "Orientals" and "Your people" so much.
  • Find out what "Oriental" actually means.
  • Stop ending so many sentences with, "Am I right, ladies?"
  • Start ending more sentences with, "Booyah!"
  • Finally learn how to definitively tell the difference between Brooklyn hipsters and homeless people.
  • Go bungee jumping.
  • Stop being so afraid of Chinatown.
  • Stop my uncle from calling it "Orientaltown."
  • Finally get rid of all that baby weight.