Friday, December 31, 2010

Team Game

There are a ton of articles knocking Governor Rendell for calling the NFL as a bunch of pussies cause they postponed the Eagles-Viking game. They criticize Rendell's assertion that the Chinese wouldn't allow something as trivial as a blizzard keep them from going to see a sporting event.

Now I actually agree with Rendell about the fact we are becoming a countries of pansies but I disagree with him when it comes to discussing his team as he referred to the Eagles inclusively on a number of occasion..

Let's be clear once and for all..just because you follow a sports team does not give you any reason to refer to them inclusively. I know that guys will say they live and die by their favorite teams but there is no bigger loser than the one who also refers to his favorite team as we just because he bought a Robinson Cano jersey and has season tickets.. It's very unlikely that if Cano breaks an ankle that Joe Girardi will look in the stands and see you sporting the pinstripes and ask you to play 2nd Base.

I hate to burst your bubble but you are NOT part of the team. As much as you root for Mark Sanchez or David Wright, you are not allowed in the locker room. You can buy a Derek Jeter jersey but the Yankees aren't inviting you to Spring training. David Harris goes through two-a-days in the blistering summer heat while you stand on the sideline drinking a diet-coke. Amar'e Stoudemire wouldn't know you if he ran you over in his H2. Mara isn't going to ask you for your opinion on giving Tom Coughlin an extension.
Yeah you can be a big fan and there is nothing wrong with rooting so hard your voice is hoarse or kicking a garbage can so hard you go airborne and land on your ass when your favorite football team blows a 10 point lead in the AFC championship game against the Broncos but there is something wrong with believing you are part of the squad.
See if you love Avatar you don't refer to it as your movie. You wouldn't sit through the Oscars and say that we won the award for best lighting. It's pretty obvious when your name isn't on the credits being that all you have done is paid to see it.
So make it your New Years Resolution..cause otherwise I'll relegate you to a life as a Browns fan.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

WTF is this??

I walk into a unisex bathroom in a restaurant today and am met with one of the most disgusting sights I have ever seen and I'm looking for somebody to explain it.

See chicks are always knocking guys for pissing all over the seat. I agree that it is a disgusting habit and we've dedicated a lot of blog space discussing how filthy this is. One thing which has come back are the overwhelming comments I get from women who tell me that a woman's public bathroom is even more gross which I honestly could not imagine considering I have plopped my naked arse down on seats so wet they may as well not have been one at all..

I imagined it was some twinkling which inadvertently hit the seat when chicks squat as opposed to sitting but today I saw what women are capable of and honestly I am sick to my stomach. This was a brown-yellow stain on the bottom of the seat. Please take a minute and imagine how this could possibly even happened. Now the stain -if you could even call it that- had both the color and the consistency of a huge chunk of phlegm.

Now first of all, who knew that your stream -if that is where this smudge of yellow-brown filthy even originated from- could curl up and hit the bottom of the seat. How thick is your liquid where it adheres to porcelain like a loogie? How many dudes have without knowing parked their racers or planted their faces in places where this can even grow?

Please do us guys a favor and shape up.. Cause my stomach can't take it.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Really!!!??!?

I'm a dog lover, having had a companion for most of my youth and still secretly wish for one today but I am not a dog owner lover. I walk out of my house today to find a heaping pile of dog crap sitting right on my sidewalk. Now maybe this Brooklyn thinks that leaving a pile of dog feces on a neighbors stoop is acceptable but this Brooklynite thinks it's repulsive and disgusting. The sad thing is that this kind of behavior isn't isolated especially in the winter.
I have noticed that when it snows, common courtesy seems to go out the window as people are so much less likely to bend down and pick up their dog-crap. Maybe they feel less inclined because there are less critical eyes out there to notice or because the cops are even less likely than usual to actually patrol the street or maybe it's this socialist nature of feeling like others should pick up the slack for you like another welfare, medicare or other bullshit assistance program which just promotes laziness.

Now what bothers me the most about this is not just the laziness of it but rather the anti-social nature of it. If you feel the need to own a filthy mutt then you should be obligated to clean up after it.

So I offer the following.. The ability to make a citizens arrest upon sight of non dog pooper scooping with the penalty being smothered by the evidence.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 white inches... Every girl's dream.

Can somebody explain to me how I walk onto the subway platform and there are mounds of snow piled up. Now I am not talking about an above-ground platform but rather an underground one which is a full story below street level. I guess I can tell my grandkids about the blizzard of 2010 when it was so bad that it snowed underground too.
See NYC is usually pretty responsive to this kind of storm but I guess with the holidays they weren't all that well prepared this time. There was some MTA bus which got stuck down the block and the driver had to spend the night in the bus. I'd like to see what kind of overtime that dude rightfully collected. I'm totally anti-government waste and people gaming the system but when it's 20 degrees on the day after Christmas and you have to sleep on a bus then you are either a homeless guy or can qualify as the MTA's man of the year.
I'm sure there is a baked ham in it for him

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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Other Borough

I have lived in NYC for a decade and have seen my share of snowstorms, blackouts, terrorist attacks and subway strikes and I always thought that there was some solidarity between the Manhattanites and their other borough compadres. See I always assumed we live mostly similar lives with similar issues and get similar services and that misconception was only reinforced when I spent 6 years in Park Slope or better known as the lower East East Side.
But when I moved my family further South away from food CoOps, play-dates for both kids and adults and bars completely content to be patronized by dogs and owners alike, I found a second Brooklyn.
Unlik Park Slope this Brooklyn is a long way to NYC both figuratively and literally., this Brooklyn is blue-collar, this Brooklyn is neighborly not because somebody else is watching, this Brooklyn is not afraid to call it Christmas, this Brooklyn is outrageous decorations not simple holiday decor, this Brooklyn is unpretentious but this Brooklyn is also cliquey, this Brooklyn is also a place where they keep kids away from the parks because they can just as well watch TV at home but more importantly this Brooklyn is shovel your own street. I'm not talking about your sidewalk or shoveling out you car but rather shovel the entire block.
See we all pay taxes but the guys in Manhattan see more snow-plows in an hour than we do in a day. Park Slope probably has block-committees who lobby the local assemblyman for early street sweeping duty.
But in the rest of the city where there are blocks which don't ever see a plow hooked up to a garbage truck we refer to snow removal as spring.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Apollo 13 was a great movie but I prefer the first hollywood production

I've heard for years that there are wackos who believe the moon landing was a complete sham. Now generally I don't believe in this crap as 2010 conspiracies always seem politically motivated but after putting some of our best TOR researchers behind it, something just isn't right. See I've always been one who cannot in good conscious believe that in the middle of the Cold War that Neil Armstrong wasn't standing on a Hollywood sound-stage. I.'m sure if you search the interwebs there are thousands of guys with metal-pots on their heads coming up with thousands of crazy theories about flags waving in the air or third party leaks 'proving' that it was a hoax but to me it's more basic..

Now obviously the entire concept seems crazy especially because we haven't been back in about 50 years and even if you consider the fact that when it 'happened' every computer screen only had a black screen with green lettering so like the NBA in the 50's nobody will convince me that they could compete

What I always thing about is that I can't even hit a receiver running a post pattern playing touch football in the street and somehow these NASA scientists have some mathematical formula to hit a needle in a milky way. But even that seems plausible..
See to me it comes down to one thing.... When a spaceship takes off there is this big event where they take wind patterns, weather conditions and the latest football spreads into consideration and after a few days they finally launch. Fast forward a few days and a couple of astronauts ice-cream bars and three dudes land a tin-can onto the face of the moon using a parachute, they hang out for a couple of hours, collect a couple of rocks and finally they get back into their space-craft and shoot back to earth.
Please tell me how the hell does it take two huge rockets to take off from Cape Canaveral which can only take place in the perfect weather conditions but then three days later they generate the horsepower and the thrust to propel that porta-pottie through the moon's own gravitational pull to shoot through it's atmosphere and then slingshot themselves perfectly back into earth???


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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Urge Overkill

The Dutch are a bunch of racist pigs but they do one thing right. In Holland they keep the gifts out of the religious holiday of Christmas by giving kids their presents on December 5th which keeps the focus on the 25th on the whole birth of Christ thing. In this country we feel like we always need to outdo each other by giving bigger gifts and more of them and when you literally can't step into the living room because there is no floor space left you know it'll be a cramped ride back home
but at some point it isn't even about the individual gift anymore as they all get lost in the tidal wave of generosity. What I hate is that I spend time trying to find the perfect gift but when it just becomes one of 30 boxes the thought gets lost.. But even the fact that my well meant thought-out gifts go unnoticed what is worse is what I bring back. Nothing like $1000 worth of lead painted chinese made plastic to show how much you care.

The good news is there is a Salvation Army only 2 miles away.


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Friday, December 24, 2010

The Rent is too Damn High Guy is back

With the end of the 2010 political year, the 2012 Presidential campaign starts to heat up. Believe it or not but we are 6 months away from the first Republican Primary Debate and all the expected contenders including Romney, Palin, Gingrich and Huckalbee have their ear to the ground deciding whether or not to put their lives on hold for the chance to take on Obama for the undisputed heavyweight championship in a 12 month steel cage match. Now the political pundits and commentators are foaming at the mouth to let it begin even if 80% of the field happened to be employed by the News Corp.
Typically i can't get into the 2012 election until let's say....2012 but I just got excited with the announcement that the 'Rent is too Damn High' guy is running for president. Not since Ross Perot has this country seen a crazier national political figure with the ability to throw the entire election on its head.
Now granted he might be an anti-semetic nutjob who is probably a lot closer to living under a bridge than the white-house and I wouldn't trust him to stand behind me on a subway platform with a D train approaching the station but he'll make the next 24 months exciting.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

First they get me to buy some organically grown tree, then they get you with the Secret Santa scam and now this

The Picture Scam

This weekend I put my poor family through one of those embarrassing family portraits in front of a fake tree covered with fake snow, adorned with fake lights as a backdrop to three fake smiles I thought the worst was behind me.   That was until I showed up to pick up the pictures which after some major cut-backs and a 20% coupon still managed to run me $90 for a handful of 8x11 pictures and about 10 wallet size cutouts.    Not only do they have you by the nuts after you take the pictures by charging you top-dollar for your photos, they then hold the proofs so you're shelling out an additional $10 everytime you need another one but on top of everything they get you on the back-end too.

But I can't really have a problem with the pricing or even the hostage negotiations because I knew what I was getting into when I walked into the SEARS picture spot.    What got me looking my head was something a bit different.   I walk up to the desk to pick up my pictures and the lady hands me a folder.   Immediately I could tell that there were more picture than I ordered but before I could even decide whether to say something the clerk says

Oh, looks like they sent you a few extras by mistake

I was about to thank her for the early Christmas gift she says.. if you want to keep them that would be an additional $21.90..   

Now what gets me is that she supposedly didn't know about this…but she knows the total for 4 extra 8x11pictures and 6 wallet sizes right off the top of her head..   This is obviously a total scam intended to plug at the heart-strings of a young family..  I mean how can I walk away from pictures of my daughter in her Sunday's best??    So there I go opening up the wallet and putting yet another charge on my credit-card and for the third time in a week I'm screwed by the Christmas spirit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

De-Lish

For the last year or so Duane Reade the NYC drug super-store has been stuffing their shelves full of their own brand of foods marketed under their own DR Delish brand.   The Delish brand offers food choice as varied as pistachios, water and fruit drinks and having tried a few of them.    I just read that there are now over 100 products marked under this Delish brand and what got me to thinking is that the logo and name are brilliant although the overall marketing still lacks.  I don't see any signs in the subway for the Delish brands or ads in the Daily News even if it offers New Yorkers the best of both worlds: seemingly healthy food options at below national marketed product prices.   But in the big picture I love the idea of a company going out on a limb and moving outside of their standard comfort zone and offering a generic product but selling it on quality not entirely on price.  I've stood in front of the medicine aisle a thousands times and was pained when I grabbed the name-brand medicine over the drug-store's own generic version.   I know that at the end of the day the ingredients are probably the same but there is a reason that Tinactin pays John Madden all that money..  You have to realize that you are dealing with the average consumer who is too self-conscious to drink a bottle of Shop-Rite water but would probably buy a case of Delish water without thinking of it.  I'm sure there are social-scientists who study trends and shopping habits but I have to think that this has become one of the most impressive campaigns which blurs the line between retailer and food producer.   
 
I have no idea but I don't think CVS or Rite Aid offers a brand specifically for themselves but it behooves them to start.
 
 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Here's a secret...

As much as I love Christmas and the Christmas spirit I hate the expectation it sets on you and there is nothing worse than the office Secret Santa. I understand the idea is cute and it brings a group of people together in a non-work setting but in practice it means that you are scratching your head to figure out what the mail-boy or the receptionist could possibly want. I have spent more time and money trying to come up with a thoughtful gift but almost always opt for a lame option like a gift card to the Gap or a bunch of stinky soaps from Bath and Body Works and don't even get me started with the crap I have gotten.
The problem is you can't opt out of these miserable events without coming across somebody who hates Christmas and it's kind of weird to try to explain why you don't want to get stuck with some crappy sweater to the girl running the pool when she was in fact the one who gave you said sweater last year.

So here we go again, another $50 wasted by me and on me
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Monday, December 20, 2010

the bib

A man realizes his limitations as he gets older nd wiser.   He no longer tries to jump down staircases, drink vasts amount of tequila or attempt to go twice in a 24 hour stretch.   What he doesn't always realize is that even when the odds are stacked against you or the world is on his heels, that it's not OK to slip when it comes to effort.    With the competition only getting younger and your responsibility greater, there is no time or place for anything but 100%.  Now that sounds great but it has to mean something too... you have to believe in your own ability, stand up for your rights but be willing to concede defeat to win a war but you must always look good doing it.
But as I've gotten older I got this nasty case of the shakes and I'm not talking about a shake in my hand when trying to write or a twitch of the head.  What I get now is when I'm about 90% through a nice piss I get this chill down my spine which leads to this spasm which leads to me piss splattering all on the front of my pants.   It's completely unavoidable and I have to imagine that if we can send a man to the moon (conspiracy theories be damned), give grandpa a 4 hour hard-on and make a carb-free bagel than some of our brightest minds might be able to invent some kind of disposable piss-bib so you don't walk into a meeting like you just got out of the kiddie pool

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Less than a dollar

I have friends who will drop $500 on a new pair of shoes or $20 on a cab ride without blinking an eye but for some reason if you ask them to pay $0.99 for an IPhone app it's like asking them for their first born. I don't get this reluctance to splurge and spend the equivalent of a coke for something you could get pleasure out of for months. People spend more time of their smartphones than with just about any other consumer bought product yet when it comes to tweaking it slightly for a better experience they wallets all tighten up. Now the argument will go that there are thousands of free apps out there but have you seen those? They are worse than terrible!!!.. Now I am not advocating throwing money away aimlessly on bad apps but instead stating that you shouldn't be surprised that in a capitalistic society it costs money to get something good. I would go so far as to encourage companies to charge for version 2 of their apps if it would help iron out the bugs in them, I'd be more than happy to pay a dollar for a NY Times app which doesn't crash or a CBS Sportsline one which allows me to see my fantasy football team break my heart in real time instead of breaking it on some scattered pattern of delay
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

The crew

So with all the hoopla about this terrible hairdo what we forgot to cover was that when I went into my drawer yesterday morning I made an even more fatal fashion mistake. Maybe it's my lack of sleep or the lack of a light in my closet but I grabbed a crew neck undershirt and put it on and in the process pulled one of the worst looks known to man..

The button down shirt with the crew undershirt is like putting your underwear on the outside after having had JD and Chili the night before. Now with a guy whose got a baby bear rug growing on his chest I can see the appeal to trying to cover some of the weeds up but there has to be some option behind the neck-line plunging V-Neck and the priest look. An undershirt should not be seen, it is there to pick up sweat in the summer and keep you warm in the winter keep your shirt all while helping not to flare your overshirt but not if it comes at the expense of showing Hanes white peaking from underneath your work shirt.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

A bad start to the day

I wake up about 20 minutes later than usual and all of a sudden my entire routine is off.... I can't seem to catch up on the time I lost as I hurry through everything I have to do to look this good in the morning. I brush my teeth, take a quick shower, throw on clothes and rush out the door intent on catching the 8:18 R train which if everything goes right can get me to work by 9. By some miracle, despite having to refill my Metro Card and then getting 4 consecutive 'please swipe again' messages I get to the platform in time to catch the train and 20 minutes and a transfer later I cross the Manhattan Bridge. I stare out the window to see the New York Harbor and smile as I see how far the Verrezano Bridge is and whose shadow I was standing in when 30 minutes earlier i was getting dressed.
As the N train rumbles into the tunnel my mind wanders as I aimlessly stare out the window not paying any mind to the craziness around me or the hectic day ahead.. I keep staring out of the subway window but as any person who travels on the train is well aware of, when you look out the window while underground all you see is your own reflection as some underground lights flash by.. Now I'm not a pretty man, this I realize but what I just noticed in my reflection was that I LOOKS LIKE I GOT A HAIRCUT FROM RAY CHARLES!!!!!
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

E-benezer Scrooge

There is nothing less Christmas-y than those terrible E-Cards which is about as personal as getting a mass 'merry Christmas' text.   The Christmas E-Card is akin to a stocking full of coal and I got enough of those to last me a lifetime. 

 In the last two weeks I must have received 25 of these things and honestly I haven't even opened one.    It takes almost zero effort to send these out so I will put in zero effort in receiving them.    Now I'm not sure when this E-Card thing started becoming socially acceptable or if it stems from cheapness or convenience but either way I don't care for it.    See if sending a card is too expensive for you then maybe you should consider moving to another profession and if it's too much trouble to send out a real one then I don't care to receive it either

So here is the rule.. if you want to send me some Christmas spirit then go to Walgreens or CVS and get one of those cards with your kids pictures on them with a big 'Merry Christmas from the Jones family' printed on the bottom.  Take the card and personally sign it then buy a stamp, find a mailbox and send it to me in the mail.   There is some effort that goes into it and that's all I ask for when you give me something.  I don't' want a crappy gift just because it's my birthday and I don't want a mass text when it's New Years eve, I want you to think before you act and don't waste your money or my time.

Now with that said I won't hold it against you if you don't send me a card but don't expect credit unless there were a few trees cut down for it.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A+ for Effort

A goodfriend just got finished a very technical masters course on human anatomy and when she got her final grade she was pleasantly surprised her hard work had paid off.    She proudly told her friends and family that her hours of hard-work, lack of sleep and tons of coffee had paid off as she received an A+ for her final exam.

When I heard this I was floored….not because I don't think she could not have earned that grade as she is smart and hard working but rather because such a grade even exists.  The last education level I remember where they gave out an A+ was when grading kids for tying their shoes.   Now I've never been to grad-school so maybe the scoring system is different but when I was in college the highest grade you could receive was an A -although to be completely honest I can't claim to have had too many encounters with that letter. 

Is this what happens when people decide to plop down $200,000 for an even higher education?  I guess they get so self-conscious that a regular old A isn't good enough anymore and they need to be rewarded with an even better score.


I wonder if the professor drew a big star on the top and wrote "great job" with a big smiley face too?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Nuclear Disney Disaster

Just read a report that Chernobyl is opening its doors to tourism starting in 2011 giving the world a glimpse at what remains from the worst nuclear disasters ever.   The 19 mile radius has been virtually man-free since the 1986 meltdown.  What is amazing is that the accident is credited with the 38 original direct deaths plus thousands  more from after effects.   The sad thing is that when you speak to people from the Ukraine you get the impression that those numbers are completely underestimated.    There are apparently ridiculously high under-reported cases of cancer and nobody near Kiev will pretend it's just a coincidence.     So I'm not so sure that even 25 years later I want to be hanging out there hoping I don't get one of those glowing ET hearts.

Now with that said I did see a special on one of those HD channels a few years ago where they sent a camera crew into the restricted area of Chernobyl to film the wildlife.  I was expecting to see some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle deal going on with fish with 3 eyes and humongous lizards but was surprised to see that it actually was very peaceful.    I gotta say it had a real Garden of Eden feel to it with birds chirping, foxes chasing each other around, a few deer grazing and a few house-cats still hanging around waiting for their owners to show up.     Now with the Disney World Express coming through you and see vendors selling $4 cokes, flavorless pretzels and a bunch of lame TShirts… In other words they will Chernobyl into complete hell.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas Racket

Is there a bigger racket our there than the cash transactions which happened up and down the street of NYC?   I'm not talking about the sale of illicit drugs, underground gambling parlors or houses of ill refute but rather the sale of Christmas trees during the holiday season.   I went this weekend with my family to pick one out and was floored when they told me the price.   Now they justified it by telling us these were Canadian Douglas Firs cut out of the ground earlier in the week and transported in hyper-sensitive oxygen chambers to ensure freshness, grown with organic fertilizer and fed only the finest spring water from deep in the mountains of Maine to ensure the richest color, strongest branches and longest life. 

A $120 later, I got a 10 foot tree tied to the roof of my hybrid truck as I'm barreling back home with Christmas carols blaring and everybody in great spirits.   Now it wasn't until I got home and put the tree up that I got a sick feeling in my stomach.   Not only did my prized organically grown tree look like the turkey in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation which meant I had more pine-needles on my floor than on my tree within 3 hours but the thing is shaped like John Wayne Bobbitt's Frankenpenis all lumpy on one side.  

Then I ask a buddy how much a tree should cost and he tells me that he doesn't spend more than $40 Now I knew this should have been the kind of transaction I should have tried to negotiate but I was thinking it could have only yielded $20 in return and as it was meant to be a nice holiday experience with my 1 year old daughter I didn't want to have to pull myself into that haggling situation.  See I can't haggle half-assed.  I have to go at it will full gusto which involves huffing and puffing,  threatening to walk away and basically increasing my blood pressure by 100 points.    So here I stand looking over my half-dead tree with needles which disappear as quickly as my buddy Chin's hairline, branches so weak they make the Christmas Balls look like my own low-hanging sack and a weak smell which can't possibly cover up my JD baptism.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rick Rude

I always say that the gift giving in this country is outrageous, people give for every occasion (real or imagined) and give big and bulky. It's as if people think you'll forget about them if they don't show up with a huge decorative serving dish or an ugly vase. I don't think it's rude to show up without a gift, I think it's rude to show up with a terrible one. What they don;t realize is that a bad gift is inconsiderate because it puts somebody else in the unenviable position of having to fake happiness while scheming for a way to forget your ice-tea pitcher on the side of the road.

But amongst bad gifts there is a hierarchy and there is no worst gift than the one you have to display in your house. See an ugly sweater or a weird DVD can just get buried in a closet and eventually dropped off at the dump but an ugly painting or wall hanging is helpless and we at TOR consider it selfish. Nobody should feel the right to decorate your home but you. Not only are there color schemes you have to consider but often rooms have themes and when others start to 'help' it usually leads to some uncomfortable exchange. The giver is afraid that you don't like the framed 8x10 photo of you guys in front of the Tom Jones concert and you feel like breaking it over his skull. It must be that people try to find ways to add their signature in people's houses as if a lack of your taste in their house has any bearing on your relationship. It's not even the day you get the gift which sucks it's the next time they come over and ask where the picture is hanging.
So this is your warning, from now on I am going to be honest with people because I can't take the inevitable awkwardness anymore.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The JD baptism

The sins we commit have to be repented for, whether it's through a 24 hour fast, a confession in a little room or a figurative cleansing. For those of us who have made sinning a daily occurrence there is no amount of forgiveness we can ask for which will cover our tracks but we must find ways to cleanse our souls, minds and bodies and the figurative cleansing will never be enough as we need to flush the toxins from our system.

TOR advocates burning the alcohol out of your system as the most efficient way to break through the fog of last night's booze but when you have decided to feast on Jack Daniels there has to be a step that comes before the ritual run. The JD hangover has to be tended to slightly differently as burning the toxins out is not enough they have to be flushed out of the system and sitting on the can and dropping a deuce is the first step in the process.
See the JD Dump is not your standard stink up the room and leave streaks in the toilet variety, it's an Intoxicating combination of fermented grains and runny slop which fogs the mirror in bathroom and leaves the kind of odor no perfume can hope to cover but the experience is liberating as you unleash the toxins allowing yourself to come back to civilization empowered and clean
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Map Quest

Although I love the IPhone I do have some issues with it and they are not all related to the fact that out of the 100,000,000 apps available there are less than 1% which are even worth downloading if they'd be free.
I can't seem to get off of the fact that everytime I make a phone call the person on the other side spends half their time asking me to repeat myself and the other half of the time asking if there is still a person on the other side of the connection.   For a computer it's great, for a phone it's about as reliable as a the pull-out method.   Now in this age and time, talking on the phone just isn't all that important but having the ability to at least make a phone-call and not have the call drop 50% of the time would be nice.   I don't care how many blue colored maps they show you on those terrible commercials with the dude from wedding crashers because apparently if you zoom in enough you'll notice a giant vortex over any area that I frequent.  It's like I'm walking around with a rain-cloud over my head the entire time.  
 

The more I think of it, maybe I should have just gotten the IPod Touch
 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

sweep this

Street Parking in NYC is the kind of challenge other cities know nothing about.    First there is the physical act of parking which is more bumper-cars than anything else as love-taps are not just accepted but completely expected when people parallel park on the streets.    Add to it that there are anywhere between 1 and 4 fire-hydrants per block whose 10 foot aura swallows up some of the most valuable pieces of real-estate this side of the Upper East Side.   Then the city has eliminated tons of street parking spots by adding those cursed muni-meters and allowed one giant highrise after another from coming into neighborhoods instantly boosting the total population –and in turn the amount of cars- exponentially.   But still the bigger issue for the drivers in NYC are the street-sweeping rules which can be so badly designed that even a Zen-Master would get eaten up by the frustration not to mention the Gregorian calendar necessary to figure out which dates opposite side of the street parking is suspended.      

In my neighborhood they sweep one side of the street every Thursday and the other side every Fridays. The issue here is obvious to anybody who has ever played musical chairs.   What it means is that people have all week to find a parking spot for Thursday Morning BUT the entire neighborhood is searching for a parking spot every Thursday Night in anticipation for the Friday Morning Street-Sweep.     I have literally spent hours of my life circling the block, my blood pressure rising with each turn around the block.   

If I could get Mayor Bloomberg ear, I'd give him the TOR law-changes for parking in NYC

-          Don't put oposite street-sweeping on consecutive days on any given street, spread them out so that the residents have a few days to find a parking spot.

-          Split up blocks in a neighborhood so that the side that the hydrants are on aren't all scheduled for street-sweeping on the same day.    
-     Blocks that are scheduled for more than one sweeping per week should get cut down to one sweeping per week.
-          Change the law to allow cars to park closer to the hydrant
 

 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Withdrawing the troops

Addiction is tough…breaking the addiction is tougher..

For as long as I remember I wake up and within the first 45 minutes of daylight I will fill my body full of caffeine and then I spend the rest of the day coming off the caffeine high slowly and then banging my body full of again while I slowly come down.

I have often thought that breaking my caffeine addiction would be much tougher than my alcohol addiction.   There are literally days where I feel like Tarzan swinging from one cup to another, constantly making sure my self-medication stays even-keeled.    The problem is that knowing the addiction is so powerful doesn't help when it comes to trying to stop it because the days of going cold-turkey will be so painful.  Non coffee drinkers don't realize the level of irritability that can lead to caffeine withdrawal, the pain starts with a deep dull headache, leads to pain behind the eyes, goes to an itch deep behind my eye balls and finally leads me to want to kick somebody in the groin. 

Now I'm trying to cut down on the intake and so far it's been somewhat successful as I've only had three cups today as I try to cut-back to two-cups with the pure reason that I have a powerful need to break things when I'm not fully caffeinated.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What the hell is that smell??

There is a time in every New Yorkers lives when they are waiting on a platform and a packed train approaches but miraculously the cart that stops in front of you is near empty. You always think you've hit the jackpot with a ton of open seats but don't realize your fate until the doors closed.. you are stuck holding your breath for the next 5 minutes as you realize you are sharing the subway car with the equivalent of a zoo animal and you hope to get out before this lunatic charges you with his winkie out.
I have made the point for many years that the issue of homelessness is not an issue of people not having a roof over their head but rather one of mental illness. NYC like all major metropolitan areas has a huge homeless population who mostly keep to themselves as they fight their inner neurosis. We have shelters but these are just band-aids and the most dangerous ones are never going to use them in good faith anyway. I know the safety nets in this country are very low but they do exist and any 'normal' person who is out of work still finds a way to get his assistance which obviously not ideal still offer some level of normalcy.
Any homeless person who is sleeping on a park bench or pissing on himself should not be walking the streets they are dangerous to themselves and to the rest of the city. This is the reason that chronic homelessness should be handled with mass institutionalization. .
The issue I have is when the animals start mixing with the visitors at the zoo. Not only do you have fears of them shoving you in front of a moving subway car but even if their actions aren't hostile they are often unsanitary and disgusting.
But the danger isn't what I'm most concerned about, it's the odor which is so distinct you could pick it out of a smell lineup. I'm not sure what it is but the combo is some mix of piss, sweat, subway grime and decaying flesh and it is beyond offensive, it is downright dangerous. They tell you that inhaling mold is dangerous and second-hand smoke has proven to be a carcinogen well the smell of a homeless person should be covered by the clean air act.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Being Cheap aint easy

Being cheap isn't easy..

I'm not talking about being monumentally cheap like separating double-plied toilet paper or not flushing your toilet to save on water-costs.   What I'm talking about is the little things you need to do to basically not be taken advantage of.    See if you feel like you have been wronged on a $6 credit-card charge you have to go through and dispute the charge and spend hours fighting it or if you find out after you walk out of a store you were given incorrect change but the difference is less than a dollar you may just eat it knowing the rise in your bloodpressure isn't worth the $0.60.   
There is a break-point where you may think it is worth the dispute see the other day I bought two items in a big department store (we'll keep the name of the store out of this blog to protect the innocent).   I found a coupon for  15% off any single item so obviously I used it to take the discount off the more expensive one ($85 turned into $72.25). I was happy and left with a big stupid grin on my face realizing that without much effort I just got a free lunch.
 The issue is that after bringing it home I realize that the item I got the discount on isn't something I will be able to use and am planning on returning it and here comes my dillema (Anybody who has the cheap-bone will see the issue.)   The problem is that I'm sure they will only give me a credit for the amount I paid ($72.25) which means I will have spent full price on the other item insteady of shiftin the coupon to item#2 and giving me the 15% off on that one.   There is no way their CPU scanner is sophisticated enough to give me a discount on the $50 item ($8.50) and credit that to me.

So this is my dilemma; do I bring back both items.. return them both and then repurchase the $50 item using the 15% coupon OR do I just return the one item and basically 'lose" $8.50?   I know this math is complicated and I'm happy to explain it to you later.

Now if both items were still in the box then I'd probably do this but the $50 has already been installed in my house which means I'd have to un-install it and put it back in the box..return it..buy it back and reinstall it in my house?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

As if this place didn't bend you over enough

I'm convinced Ikea is designed to break the mentality of the American man. First they throw their Communist colors and architecture in your face but that's not the issue. I'm also not talking about the directions which at first seem simple but after 3 hours of putzing around with an Allen Wrench you have some up with some dresser shaped like something out of Stalingrad. I'm also not talking about the obstacle course you have to run through in order to return a simple item with lines like you see in Siberia for a loaf of bread.. What I'm also not referring to are those god-awful meatballs made from bison or that hormone infected salmon. I am not even referring to the cest-pool they disguise as the ball-house thing for the kids designed to kill our kids.
What makes this place impossible is that once they walk you through their rat-maze with their little paper measuring tape and red-square pencils measuring crap in centimeters and liters like the footsoldiers they expect you to be they get you to the last spot where you pick-up your Made in China furniture and now you realize your screwed like your getting ambushed by the Viet-Cong. See there is nothing in the showrooms which indicate whether something in the warehouse is old out. So you spend 4 hours picking up crap made of plank-board but when you come to pick it up they don't have them in your color or your style. so after you spent the good part of a morning shopping you leave empty handed, aggravated and with a serious stomach ache.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The face mute

Although it is great there is a MAJOR design flax in the Iphone. With the touch-screen as a keypad typos are inevitable, incorrect word choice is expected and most emails need to be left open for interpretation. The issue I have though is not typing related but rather facial related, see when you are talking on the IPhone the touch screen is your keypad and when you are cursed with a head that protrudes out then you constantly bang up against the 'keys'. What happens to me is that when I lean slightly against the phone, my face presses the mute key. Forget Fat-Fingering this is an issue of Fate Facing. How about Steve Jobs stops trying to invent a smaller IPod nano and focus instead on a face-guard
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Uncle Junior

Living in Brooklyn people will always ask you how close you are to the Brooklyn Bridge, if you ever eat at Nathan's or ride the cyclone or if you have ever been to Bed-Stuy or East New York.   I can see the reason for all those questions but what I can't figure out is why everybody always asks you if you ever eat at Junior's.  The food is terrible, unimaginative and pricey and that's only half of it.
The reason's I despise the tourist trap is many..

First of all although it is famous for its cheesecake it is not even close to the best cheesecake you'll ever have but that in itself isn't the problem.

See Juniors is also a restaurant serving your standard chain-restaurant fare including burgers, iceberg salads and chicken fingers and like any good tourist trap the prices are ridiculously overpriced.  Today the people who frequent Juniors are the same people that would eat at the Olive Garden but even this isn't the reason to hate the place since stupid people have to eat

When you actually eat something off the completely uninteresting menu you find that the food is some of the worst one the planet you realize that this place is living off a reputation from some tour-book because nobody would ever eat here twice.. but even that is something I can look past.  

What makes Juniors the closest place to hell-on-earth (next to IKEA) is its location.  Now I'm not talking about it being convenient as it's fairly centrally located about a mile east off the Manhattan Bridge on Flatbush Avenue but instead my hatred comes from something else.    See Juniors is not only a glorified tourist trap where people will pay $18 for a terrible burger, wash it down with a coke and then top off their meal with a 1000 calorie desert but the front of the restaurant is a goddamn parking lot because every imbecile who will actually frequent this place thinks it's their right to double and triple-park all over Flatbush avenue.    Driving down the roughly 1 mile of Flatbush Avenue from the Bridge to the crossing with Atlantic Avenue is already one of the least pleasant experiences on earth with potholes the size of basketball courts and homeless people the size of blimps but add to that the fact that four lanes turn into one during the evening-dinner rush and I think Bloomberg's got enough reason to dump this dump into the East River.. there is no self-respecting Brooklynite who will miss it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Disney Owns Everything......everything in your blood

Just saw a front-page headline in the Daily News about the first ever murder in a Disney built town..   Residents are in shock as they have seen very little crime in this small family resort-type town where people leave their doors open.

I'm just surprised it took this long for somebody to go nuts in Walt Disney's World.    I've been there three times in my life and wanted to stab myself in the penis with a Mickey themed ice-pick the entire time.    You can't possibly expect people to live with a smile on their face 24-7, I can't even bare to smile 24 minutes out of seven day week.    See we don't live in Michael Moore's Canada where people can walk around with guns and others feel safe.   This is the USA where we seemingly shoot people for sport basically because they are happy and we are not.

Now I wonder if you are allowed to carry a gun in to theme park how much more fun it could be.  Magic Mountain while dodging bullets from an uzi's, Epcot center with grenades hurled at you while you canoe through those miserable countries and Donald Duck standing at the end with a nine-millimeter pointing at your head.
See Disney makes people crazy, just look at the grown adults who trek down to Florida sporting some T-shirt with Mikey Mouse on it.  This about those psychopaths and imagine who is willing to live there.   Forget the mouse-ears, all these people should get straightjackets as soon as they sign a lease to rent a house in one of these neighborhoods

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

born on date

My father in law is one of the smartest people I know, he has a knack of keeping this simple and always seems to be able to find the right thing to say without saying too much. Well one of the best things he ever told me is his concept of born on dating when storing shit. See his theory is that when you put something into storage while in the vast majority of times you should have instead thrown the crap out. The issue though is that we all love our crap, they hold memories, were often costly and always seems like something you may need at some point....or at least that's what you tell yourself.
Well my father in law has a great concept and it's simple but perfect. When you put a box down in storage write the date on the outside. If you come back down there in one year and that box hasn't been opened then pick it up and bring it immediately to the dump. Don't open it up because if you do there will be some reason to hold onto it because you'll see a book you think you might read or an ugly sweater you might wear. See if you wait one full year then you have gone through four seasons and you lived fine without it. This avoids throwing out your skis or your bathing suit but keeps you from accumulating shit.


Now he's also got a garage full of shit from 1972 so obviously it's not that easy a concept to work in practice
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The last peaceful place

I am connected 24-7 between the calls and text messages on the IPHone, the emails and BBM on the Blackberry, 3 email addresses, a (dormant) Facebook account and a daily blog not to mention the instant messaging, text messages, MMS's and pigeon I keep in a cage just in case.
The one place though I don't want to be reaches is sitting on the bowl. I cannot comprehend people answering their phones while taking a crap since the toilet might be the last place of solace left but just today a dude had a full conversation mid-strain. I understand the need to multitask but I also had a buddy who separated his retina while dropping a deuce so really I don't like to take chances in case the conversation got heated.

Well the thing that really got me to thinking was that the dude wiped up and flushed in the middle of the conversation so there was no shame taking the call while planted on porcelain.

Plus how do you properly wash your hands unless your on one of those bluetooth thingys.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Gridlock Righetti

TOR usually doesn't focus on local issues expect ones that directly affect –and annoy- the author.    We try to stay out of local political races, staying away from town ordinances and school and PTA issues but one thing we cannot turn a blind eye to are traffic issues.    After nearly six years of living in Brooklyn, I believe I have come up with the reason for most of our frustration as a borough.   The endless traffic we have to deal with from the four major bridges and one tunnel is completely miserable especially for those of us who live nearby the entrances of them.   I have often wondered aloud why there aren't more police-officers on the streets directing traffic and less of them sitting in their cars talking on their cell-phones.     One of the most maddening examples is the police car which is stationed daily at the entrance of the outbound side of the Brooklyn Bridge.    This car has been stationed parked in the right lane of the bridge since 9/11 and I'm sure the reason is to prevent somebody from detonating a bomb over the bridge but the only practical purpose seems to have is to slow-down traffic on an already exhaustingly overcrowded crossing.    See the cop-car is located on the span, not in front of it so god-forbid there was an attack the would be bomber would already be on the span.    I can't say I know the ins-and-outs of counter-terrorism but it doesn't make sense to set up a TSA metal-detector inside the airplane which becomes operational only after the plane is airborne already.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spawning like Rabbits

Five Years ago the rabbit wine bottle opener was the gift of the season it was a great contraption which allowed anybody open up a bottle of wine like an expert. The problem was they got too cheap and stayed inoffensive so I honestly got one for Christmas, two for a housewarming and another for my birthday. The gift was great and very useful but nobody needs three of them. Each year there is something and usually it was too expensive the year before but has come to a price point under $100 so it becomes a perfect non-offensive gift
Last year the gift was the cheap digital frame and I must have seen 10 of them exchanged. There was the DVD player a few years ago, the digital camera, the martini glasses... It's like every year the world decides what is the perfect gift and then everybody gets 10 of them.
This year the official gift is going to be the seltzer machine. It's a great little machine which makes bubble water and allows you to add flavors to make your own gingerale or pop and somebody convinced the manufacturer that they just needed to lower the price a little bit and it would be the equivalent of a tickle me Elmo. People will love it but like all these things they won't need 6 of them.

Oh by the way I already own.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Schlepers

At 34 with a 1 year old kid and full time jobs for both me and the mrs, I have decided that enough is enough. I am never going to schlep my own shit from move to move again. I work too hard, party to little and sleep even less to think about dragging my armoire up and down the steps. I can't bear to ask my friends all of who have families, jobs and responsibilities to break their backs lugging couches up and down the steps and honestly if asking your friends and family to break their backs for your crap isn't enough reason then realize the math doesn't add up:

So for $560 I get 3 dudes and a van to move my crap down 3 flight of stairs and back up another 3. So if I were to do this with the aid of 8 of my buddies it would run me

$100 for a UHaul
$40 for renting those padded blankets
$25 for the insurance
$20.for gas
$20 for waters
$30 for egg and cheeses
$20 for coffee
$60 for beer
$150 for lunch for everybody
$100 to replace the shit they'll break
-------
$565

Not to mention the favors I will now have to return at some point, the bitching I'll have to endure and the sloppiness of the entire event.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

blackfriday

Black Friday in my mind really should be a day to reflect on the gluttony of the day before not a day to shop till you drop but there will inevitably be some 250 pound woman who'll get trampled under the weight of hordes of Christmas shopping and honestly good riddance. See shopping on this day is like deciding to drive through Times Square on your way out of the city, you might get your stated goal accomplished but the level of frustration can't possibly be worth it. The problem is we are a country of sheep and just like the all-you-can eat buffet we will always find ways to gorge ourselves with cheap food, plastic toys or hallmark holidays.
But what kind of total sociopath gets to a Walmart in Ohio at midnight to be first in line to get their christmas shopping started. I have a hard time finding a reason to go shopping the day before Christmas let alone the day after Thanksgiving when I know the crowds will be insane, the deals underwhelming and the smell unbearable. People dumb enough to shop today deserve the stampedes, at least as a survival of the fittest population control
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Boxing

So after you take it up the five-hole from the attorneys, brokers, banks and taxes when selling your house the real fun begins. See somehow you have to move the crap you collected over six years into 25 boxes and hope that nobody drops the one with the stemware in it. See this is the difference between moving in your 20's and moving in your 30's. By the time you have started to accumulate matching plates, a collection of vases and framed pictures and photographs. What this means is that you can't just randomly dump it into a bunch of boxes you found on the stoop and hope to not get back a box of glass-soup.
So you walk over to the UHaul to buy packaging materials and all of a sudden you are confronted with the impossible question of how many boxes you actually need. This is where the box companies could be somewhat helpful because there has to be some formula based on square footage considering the junk in an apartment is mostly predictable (towels, clothes, shoes, plates, TV, pictures etc

They could easily put together some web-based program which spits out how many small, medium and large boxes you need based on the stuff you input. Even if the technology makes it too complicated they could offer a handout with some guidelines . Shoot I'm not asking them reinvent the wheel but at the minimum offer a rough rule of thumb like 5 boxes for every 100square feet of space in your apartment and then you may have a chance but instead you ask and they respond with 'whatever you think'. I realize the guy at the counter probably makes barely over minimum wage and we live in a country where nobody takes pride in what they do but if you are UHaul or Staples wouldn't you want your customers to feel like their needs were satisfied?
Great thanks man this is like walking into an real-estate brokers office asking them for advice about selling your apartment and then telling you to price it however you think.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

closing time..

Nothing makes you feel more like a used up prostitute than when you close on a house.    Now maybe 5 years ago when people were selling their houses for twice what they paid a few years ago things were different but all I know is that now  the net profit can hardly buy you lunch.   The closing goes something like this.
You sit down in a conference room across from the buyers, both parties have a stack of papers high enough to reach the 2nd floor of your duplex, you proceed to give yourself the worst carpal tunnel syndrome ever with all the bullshit signing.    I honestly feel like Reggie Jackson at a baseball-card signing.
Say you have a sales price of $200,000 after buying your place for $182,000 and you think you will walk away with $18,000 which would be about 10% of your cost price and you are jumping for joy but then you realize there are closing costs and they are the equivalent of an ass-rape.
First they bang you with a 5% broker's fee   
Then they bang you with a 1% flip-tax for your building 
Then they ream you with a 1% city tax   
They they slam you with a 0.4% state tax 
Then there are a couple of random fees  (filing fee, UC fee, title transfer fee, Bank fee, Lien search fee).


Then the lawyers get a hold of you and mind you there are about 10 of them.. Your attorney, the bank attorney, the building attorney, their attorney, the attorney's attorney.
Then they charge you for the UPS charge, the photocopying, the cup of coffee you had while waiting for everybody to show up and there goes your profit.. just like that it has all disappeared into thin air.
it goes something like this



Gross Profit$18,000
Broker Fee  5%$10,000
Flip Tax  1%$2,000
City Tax  1%$2,000
State Tax  0.4%$800
UC Filing Fee  $100
Bank filing Fee  $100
Lien Search Fee$100
Attorney$1,500
Bank Attorney$500
Building Attorney$500
Some chick to drop off a check$300
Random crap$98
$17,998
Net Profit$2
So when they give you a check you look down and realize the subway cost $2.25 and you think you might have been better off staying home

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

that song sucked 20 years ago too

As regular TOR readers know, this blog does not have the highest regards for today's music especially the music we are all exposed to from the world of pop-music.   I'm sure that there will be some donkey who will come out and tell me that I know nothing about music and that there is a ton of good modern day stuff out there but whenever I'm in a place which has a pop radio-station on, I'm shocked with how bad the music is.
Just this weekend I heard my 7 year old niece singing along with some terrible Kate Perry about 'going all the way tonight' and I really wonder if they are trying to not just dumb down the next generation but send subconscious messages about becoming some hootch when they get older.
 
Well that in itself can be a TOR blog but honestly it gets worse.   Today I heard some Jay-Z song which uses the background music from Forever Young some miserable techno-pop bunch of diarrhea which came out about 20 years ago.   Never has one song been able to suck so badly that two completely different generations of music-listeners can be corrupted by it's British awfulness.
I guess the genius of Jay-Z is also what I don't understand about it.   He takes some aberration show-tune like the song from Annie and throws some lame lyrics over it about him being the ultimate Yankee fan and the country eats it up like they are at a Waffle House.    The music sucks, the lyrics are worse and the fact that I have to relive 1986 is worse.
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Rate Me Form

There are a ton of customer-service jobs out there who depend on a customer service survey to help their compensation.    The problem with these surveys are that when you get them in the mail you generally throw them in the trash as it's part of the collection of junk-mail and spam which has totally taken control of our lives.     Now I'm the kind of person who probably would only fill one out if the service was exceptional or if it was terrible but for the average experience I probably couldn't be bothered.        A few weeks ago I brought the car in for an oil-change, tire rotation and inspection and when the service-rep called me to tell me the car was ready he explained that I would be getting a customer-service survey in the mail and that it would mean a lot to him personally if I could fill all 10 some-odd lines out as 'excellent'. 

 Now I wasn't getting open-heart surgery or having an 8 course meal so really 'excellent' would never be a way I would express myself as I tend to reserve this kind of praise for something exceptional.   Quite honestly for an oil-change I really would not ever think of giving a review but the service-rep insisted it was very important and implied that the next time he'd give me a free oil-change. 

What the hell are these things good for if the survey results are bartered on the free market?   There has to be some wonk at the Ford Company somewhere who is getting all these reports back with 'excellent' on every category and has to scratch his head.  To start off with hardly anybody in their right mind would actually fill one of these out and when every category comes back with 'excellent' without fail it's the equivalent of 10,000 votes that pop out in a Chicago election with the return-address being that of the local cemetery.

But my biggest issue is the fact that the rep has called me back three times already to follow up and remind me of the survey.   You wonder why all these car-companies need bail-outs, their service reps are spending their entire day stuffing ballots

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garage Sale

What is more awkward than the few minutes after somebody gives you something you have no interest in.. You try to act like you are even remotely interested and give a couple of lame ooh's and ah's but really you want to stab an icepick into the throat of the giver. See people all think that the thought of the gift is nice what they don't realize it's the thoughtfulness of a gift which is what is nice. If you get somebody a DVD of their favorite movie that is thoughtful, get them a huge DVD rack because you don't want it anymore and you are being a jerk. I have bought countless necklaces, scarves, trinkets, hats, gloves and other crap trying to find the perfect gift and it almost always ends up in some closet
So although I will break my own rule because of some expectation i don't give gift in birthday's because inevitably I will stress out to find the perfect thing. I prefer to get you something when I see something you'd like regardless of an occasion otherwise I'm only strapping you with a garage worth of junk.
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