28th Mar2011

Why Starfleet?

by Will

Yes, this began as a late night Twitter rant last week, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized a full blog post would give me a reason to play with MS Paint.

As some of you may know, I’ve been a Star Trek fan for most of my life. Back in middle school, my friends and I had the Star Trek Encyclopedia, as well as any tech guide or manual that Simon & Shuster decided to put out. We were the ones watching all those Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns that used to clog up Channel 20’s schedule. As I got older, however, my pallet began to prefer more mature tastes, such as Power Rangers and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I gave up the ghost during Voyager, and I’ve only seen a handful of Enterprise. That said, you can take the boy out of Trek, but you can’t take the Trek out of the boy. My brain’s still full of a lot of useless 24th century knowledge, and every now and then I find myself trying to make sense of it. During an usual bit of insomnia last week, I found myself wondering why, exactly, a human would even want to join Starfleet.

For those not in the know, in the Star Trek Universe, Starfleet is the “Space NATO” to the United Federation of Planets’ “Space UN”. Its members are predominantly human, and it is headquartered in Fort Baker, California. While Starfleet’s primary mission is to explore and seek out new life, things can get pretty tense out in space. Between wars with Cardassians, or lethal electrical feedback, there’s no shortage of danger for a Starfleet officer. Based on current economics and world affairs, I find myself wondering what would inspire a human to join an outfit like Starfleet, as the risks seem to outweigh the rewards. Let’s take a closer look at a few things.

Money: In today’s society, a big reason that people enlist in the Armed Forces is money. Whether they want to provide for their families with their signing bonus, or get in on some of that G.I. Bill money, the financial benefits entice many into joining the service. This, however, isn’t true for the Starfleet cadet. You see, the 24th century is based on what has been called “The New World Economy”. For all practical purposes, Earth has done away with poverty and hunger, but it has also done away with currency. As a sidebar, I don’t really know what I want to do with my life. Whenever I’m looking for work, people always ask me “Well, what would you want to do if money weren’t an issue?” I HATE this question because money is ALWAYS an issue. I just can’t wrap my head around that not being the case. I know that there are people who can, and God bless ’em, but that’s just not me. So, that’s why I have a hard time understanding why you’d want to go out in space, and risk getting tubes shoved in your ass and ear holes by a bunch of space zombies if there’s no financial gain. That’s too much danger to just write off as “the cost of exploration”!

Sex: Could the lure of Space Pussy be enough to get you to join up? But could you imagine the STDs out there? Or will a hypospray just clear that right up? Also, note that I said Space Pussy and not Space Dick, because the future doesn’t seem too bright for women – utopia be damned. If you’re a young, single woman in Starfleet, you’ll end up phasing through the floor or being killed by a large sentient oil spill. And don’t even try to be a gay male! Over the 40 year franchise, we’ve seen men in miniskirts (the “skant”) & go-go boots, but we were still led to believe that they liked the minge. Have they ever shown a homosexual on Star Trek? The closest they got was that androgynous race, and Riker still couldn’t help himself from giving one of them a bunch of confusing urges. Otherwise, the only gay icons of the 24th century were Major Kira, Tasha Yar, and Harry Kim. No, they never confirmed this, but c’mon…

Technology: If you’re a tech geek, then Starfleet is probably a dream come true. You could join Starfleet Engineering and test out all of the gadgets that you used to read about on your PADD before mandatory lights-out at the mining colony where you grew up. There’s a lot of leeway for experimentation, and there’s no battle for patents and ownership ’cause there’s no money to be had. The worst part, however, is when that technology backfires on you. I’m going to go with the simplest case here. You see, during space battles, the ships are protected by shields. When those shields are struck, it results in electromagnetic feedback that sometimes shoots out of the ships consoles and control panels. Many a Starfleet officer has been killed while simply sitting at his station during the wrong battle. When you graduate from the Academy, they might tell you to watch out for The Borg, but you’ll find that you risk your life just by simply walking down the hall. Observe (the fun starts at 01:18):

Meeting New Races: It might sound exciting to meet a new race of beings, but some of them have some crazy beliefs that you have to put up with. Sure, we’ve got the Scientologists and the vegans, there’s one 24th Century-era race that will KILL YOU IF YOU STEP ON THE FLOWERS! Did I also mention that they worship a giant space chandelier? Aside from little quirky things like that, sometimes you just deal with some straight up, fucked up shit:

Supporting Your Government: OK, I get it. There’s no money to be had, you’re not that into green chicks, and you don’t really mind phasering giant space slugs. Then, what is your incentive? Oh, maybe you’re just really patriotic. After all, your government (which now commands a network of planets rather than just Earth) has created a society in which you are taken care of, and given a chance to be a tool of discovery. Why wouldn’t you want to support a governing body like that? Well, maybe it’s because the United Federation of Planets is just as shady as today’s governmental bodies.

First off, there’s Section 31, which is The Federation’s version of the CIA. Nobody talks much about them, as very few people know that they exist. Not only do they exist, but they’ve had their hands in everything from the Temporal Cold War to the outlawed genetic enhancements that were performed on humans, like Dr Bashir. You may think everything’s well and good, but your government still doesn’t trust you, even in the 24th century. Also, their tactics are questionable, as they engage in full-scale, Jack Bauer level torture. They ended a war by eradicating an entire race. For Section 31, no one is off limits, so they might come for you one day.

On top of that, there’s all the shady stuff that the Federation does to coerce non-member planets into joining. The sheer existence of a bunch of space hippies like the Maquis proves that not everything that the Federation does is liked by all. Sure, you can’t please everyone all of the time, but the Star Trek Universe is based on the assumption that you not only can, but you have. So, why are The Maquis so mad?

So, I know it’s science fiction, and I really shouldn’t overthink it, but I’m just starting to think that the Star Trek Universe posed more questions than it answered. When I was 5, I used to weep at the fact that I’d never live to see the creation of Starfleet. I mean, even if I did, it would’ve been the crappy, Kirk-era Starfleet, and I don’t get down with The Original Series. After some careful thought, however, I’ll take capitalism, with its non-exploding walls and curable-by-penicillin-STDs, any day! The future’s just not for me, but I hope my great, great, great grandson, Hyperflex Westion IV, is a better man than I am, and will find a reason to beam up.

03rd Aug2010

THIS Is Why I’m Unemployed…

by Will

So, if you follow me on twitter, you tend to get real-time updates on my job search progress. A few weird things have occurred during this whole ordeal. For one job, I was rejected before I even completed the application. I had saved it on the website, and hadn’t gotten around to submitting it with a cover letter. I guess they put a time limit on those things, and just flushed the system, leaving me with a rejection e-mail. For another job, however, I was rejected TWICE. I’m not sure if it was oversight, or the result of a changing of the guard at the organization, but I just wasn’t going to let go without being acknowledged. Here’s what transpired (names have been changed to protect my ass in this litigious society in which we live!):

Dear William West,

Thank you for taking the time to submit your qualifications for the Project Coordinator position at FUNCO, LLC.

We were fortunate to have several qualified candidates apply for the Project Coordinator position. After careful consideration we have determined the qualifications of another candidate are a closer fit to the needs of the position.

We would like to keep your résumé on file for future reference. We wish you every success with your career plans. Thank you for your time and your interest in our company.

Jane Smith



Yeah, I figured it was only right that I write back and thank her for considering me. Or at least, one might construe my response as such. You decide:

Hello Ms. Smith,
Thank you for getting back to me. I actually received a rejection
letter a few weeks back from your organization, regarding this same
position, from a Rick Davis. To be rejected twice, I guess you
*really* don’t want me! In any case, thank you for your time,

William West

That is something that happened. I figured I’d blog it as a preemptive strike, before it turns up on Monster or Careerbuilder as an example of how NOT to act when applying for jobs. Yeah, I did it. I’ll own it. I doubt I’ll end up blacklisted for it, and the world will keep on spinning. I guess my only justification is “rejection hurts”. It’s hard being out there, wearing your heart and credentials on your sleeve, only to be told time and again that you’re not good enough. Was my response in poor taste? Sure, but I had just hit my limit. Hopefully, she read it in the tongue-in-cheek tone in which it was meant, but it seems that people don’t realize jokes in electronic correspondence these days unless you end with “jk” or “lol”. So, if you’re reading this “Ms. Smith”, jk!

16th Jul2010

Who are YOU on Twitter?

by Will



So, I’ve written about this before, but it bears saying again: I’m pretty much obsessed with twitter. I’m so obsessed that I feel I waste most of my creative juices over there instead of here. I’ve got Ubertwitter on the old Blackberry Tour (neither of them are paying me for that plug, but they oughta be!), and I find myself checking the thing every 5 minutes or so. What’s great about Ubertwitter is a feature called “Everyone Near You”, which uses your phone’s GPS to find all unprotected tweets in your vicinity. This little feature has led to HOURS of entertainment. It’s like slowly driving down a street where everyone has left their door open. Yeah, that might sound creepy to some, but I’ve always been nosy, and if they wanted their stuff to be private, they’d protect their tweets! Anyway, this feature has revealed a lot of new interesting people worth following, but it has also served to bring to light certain traits and patterns I’ve noticed. Whenever I’m in a new area, I fire up the old “Everyone Near You” to get a lay of the land; it’s an anthropological study akin to visiting shopping malls to see the latest youth trends. I thought I’d share some of  these observations, so that you can use this info to figure out how you might appear to others on twitter.

Avatars are KEY. You can learn a LOT about a tweeter based on the image that they post to represent themselves. Your parents and elementary school teachers like to tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but they’re dumb liars. If that little adage were true, there’d be no comic book industry! In any case, I’ve been temping in DC lately, and midday tweeters have been a GOLDMINE for entertainment. Here are a few things that stand out in the DC area:

-If she’s a young, attractive blond girl (the blond is KEY) wearing pearls, she’s tweeting about GOP issues. I guess it’s the influx of interns, but every Southern Chi Omega girl seems to be tweeting the virtues of the Republican party, or trying to defend the Tea Partiers.  Well, they’ve got their looks…

-If she’s a young, attractive girl, sans pearls, she works in sales/marketing or public relations. Most of her timeline consists of her @replying to some company, asking “How do I reach corporate relations?” She’s trying to establish what’s known as a “business relationship” – kinda like when you leave your business card in that fishbowl at Applebee’s. Hope she meets them quotas!

-If she’s in her mid 30s, and still attractive but not quite MILF material, she’s tweeting for an association. Sure, she tries to trick you by mixing in tweets about her dog or the cupcake she’s about to scarf, but the majority of her tweets are about some upcoming conference. They’re full of hashtags like #ANCC10 or #SWAYDC. My favorite part of these tweeters is that they usually have the following message in their twitter bios: “Views expressed are mine and not those of my employer”. I guess that’s a mandatory requirement of the social networking policy of many employers, but the recent CNN incident with Octavia Nasr pretty much goes to show that little blurb won’t save your job. Also, the placement of that disclaimer is moot due to the fact that most of these tweeters shy away from anything interesting. At most, they might upset the Froyo Lobby by saying Tangysweet is better than Greenberry.

A distant relative of the Association Tweeter is the Informed Retweeter. These are usually middle aged men, who either work for an association, or they’ve published some study that no one outside their field has ever read. It’s funny – association women seem to be on conference hype patrol, while the men spend most of the day retweeting shit from NPR. We’ve clearly come so far in our gender roles. If I’m already following NPR, why do I need to follow YOU? Step up your game, George! Anyway, most of their timelines are comprised of retweets from respected news and literary sources, without any real commentary. It’s the equivalent of that guy who subscribes to the New Yorker, just so it’s on the coffee table if company drops by.

It’s also fun to stumble upon celebrities. Since this is the DC/Metro area, most of our “celebrities” tend to be of the political variety. Still, it’s kinda funny to see a John McCain tweet or some local newscaster come up in your feed. The interesting thing, however, is linked to how Ubertwitter was designed. You see, the location of tweets are based on the point of origin. Since there are a lot of organizations in DC, with LA/celebrity supporters, you’ll sometimes get those tweets, since they’re retweeting something that originated from one of those DC orgs. For example, the other day, I found myself muttering, “When the Hell did Brooke Hogan move to DC? I wonder if Hulk came with her!” Sadly, I realized that tweet only came up because she had retweeted something from the National Wildlife Federation.

The stuff I see isn’t isolated to just the DC area. Of course, you’ve still got all of your usual suspects. For example, you’ve got the Justin Bieber fanatics. Keep in mind, school’s out and these girls don’t have anything better to do. They all have names like “JennyBieber” or “KristyBelieber”, and their avatars are that pic of him – you know, the one where he’s wearing that hat.

Another usual suspect is the Foursquare Tweeter, whose timeline is comprised mainly of foursquare check-ins. I don’t know why anyone follows these people. Seriously, I could give a fuck that you just went to Washington Sports Club. Check in somewhere interesting. If I saw “@scratchnsniff just unlocked the antibiotic badge at Dr. Kelly’s”, THAT would be some informative and entertaining shit. Otherwise, I think Foursquare is only interesting to people who want to be murdered in horrible ways – and their stalkers. Foursquare would be better if you were required to check in from unique places, like “@JohnnyDC just unlocked the “Employees Only Badge” in the Frederick Walmart Stockroom”. Any motherfucker can walk into a CVS, so why do you expect me to be impressed by you tweeting it?

You also have the people who may be using twitter for more than entertainment. It’s almost like they use it for affirmation. I know I tend to value my worth some days based on retweets. Hell, I think of twitter as a virtual stand-up act, but that’s about it. I don’t really feel like I have a captive audience. On the other hand, you’ve got the people who say “Good morning” to their followers, and then sign off when they’re about to go to sleep. Really? That’s like people who talk to their plants. I’ve got some good e-pals on this thing, but I think it’s understood that I’m online when I can be, and I’m not when I can’t. I don’t need to signal it with a greeting. The people who open and close the day on twitter, to me, are like that public speaker who says “Good morning”, and then repeats it when the response “good morning” from the crowd is lackluster. We know you’re there ’cause you’re tweeting; it’s unnecessary to announce your arrival/departure. I know somebody reading this right now is one of those people, so tell me – do people “good morning” tweet you back? I’m curious.

Something to keep in mind is “what does my twitter screenname say about me?” When I worked in college admissions, we’d always laugh at the email addresses of the applicants. You’re applying to an Ivy League institution, and you put DragonLord666@hotmail.com on your application? Your parents didn’t proofread this for you, did they? The same could be said about twitter. If your screenname is @HusseinDaAssasin, I think it’s safe to say that you’re on a list somewhere. You may not know it, but you are.

So, these have been my experiences with twitter. What have been some of yours?

28th Jun2010

It’s Been A While But We’re Back With Style…

by Will


We’re coming up on the 7th anniversary of my entry into the world of blogging. Seven years ago, I was 2 months out of college, looking for something to pass the time during my temporary data entry job. Fast forward 7 years, and it’s now something to pass the time during my unemployment. Hmm…As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been gone a while in order to work out some kinks behind the scenes.

Ya see, It all started when I found out I had to move platforms. I’d been using Blogger since the beginning, but they no longer want to waste time on anyone publishing via FTP. So, we had to move on over to WordPress (hence the new look and features). After migration, I realized that the site really wasn’t that searchable. There were things I’d think about writing, but I would find myself wondering if I’d actually already written it and just plain forgot. So, I took a LOOONG stroll down memory lane, and reread each post, adding searchable tags to everything.

Over the course of this project, certain things stood out to me. For example, I apologize a LOT. Whether it was apologizing for not writing enough, for writing too much, or just for having a public pity party, it was all pretty pathetic. So, going forward, I’m going to make a conscious effort not to do that. I don’t owe y’all nothin’.

I also deleted some posts, be it they contained dead links or they were just unnecessary. There was a time when I adopted a “write like no one’s reading” mentality because, well, no one was reading. At that point, the site devolved into a bit of a livejournal clone. A lot of “Why doesn’t she notice me?” or “Happy first day at work, baby” posts. I had honestly forgotten how some of the stuff read, but I would have people say, “So, I was reading some of your old posts…” Those relationships ended, the world kept on spinning, no need of leaving all that up there. I’ve got NOTHING against self-deprecating humor, but a lot of those posts didn’t accomplish anything. They weren’t funny, and they were usually written in response to a “Why don’t you ever write about me on your site?” conversation. So, most of those are gone, but I doubt you’ll even miss them.

I also used to make a lot of promises: “The San Diego posts are coming soon” or “I’ll get to that story later”. I haven’t gotten to my Toy Fair experience YET, and that was in 2008! If I don’t feel like writing it then, I probably won’t feel like it later. I shouldn’t tease posts, as I can only write when I *feel* like writing about something. I can’t force it. So, certain “teased posts” tend to come out 6 months later or, in many cases, never at all.

Even worse are all of the promises of an upcoming redesign or renewal of interest in the blog. I don’t do the design stuff, so I’m at the mercy of my friend, Jenn. Most of the times I posted those promises of a new layout, they happened to coincide with times when she had absolutely no time to even care about this site. The site has really only had about 3 different incarnations, yet I promised redesigns like they were annual treats. So, I made a lot of empty promises, and ended up looking like more of a huckster than a poor man’s Stan Lee.

What really stuck out to me were all of the things I’ve actually *never* written about. For example, I thought I’d written more about my time at Diamond, but I guess I didn’t want it to become fodder for comic gossip sites, so I kept a lot of it to myself. Now that I’m pretty much never working in that industry again, maybe there are some good post ideas there.

Anyway, I also notice that I do a lot of these introspective posts, like the one you’re reading now, usually on a “milestone”. As narcissistic as I may be, I really don’t like these kinds of posts. You don’t wanna read this kind of shit! In the words of Depeche Mode, “Though things like this make me sick, in a case like this I’ll get away with it”. Now that it’s all out of my system, I know why you’re here: you want to read about my love for TNBC, comics and boybands. That’s the stuff I love to write about, and if this ain’t your first time here, then you already know it’s the kind of stuff you came here to see. I just needed to get this out as a bit of a “state of the union”. To steal from a played out United Negro College Fund commercial, “We can’t know where we’re going until we know where we’ve been.” So, on with the show. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

18th Feb2010

Things I Learned This Evening…

by Will

– Black people are funny – not just in the “haha” sense, but also in the “WTF?” sense.

So, I was in Blockbuster, killing time, and this black family was milling around me in the previously viewed section. All of a sudden, the wife exclaims, “Oohn they got Couples Retreat! You know, the one wit’…” And I swear to you, in unison, husband and wife said “Faizon Love”.

What. The. Fuck? Now, I’m sure most of you saw the commercials for that movie. You remember that it starred Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and maybe even remembered Jason Bateman. It even had Kristen Bell and the chick from the sex scene in Watchmen. But only black folks would remember it as the movie with Faizon Love. God bless ’em!

-After Blockbuster, this little halfy with a lip ring approached me as I was getting in the car. She gave me some sob story about how she was trying to get to her boyfriend’s house, but her mom couldn’t pick her up, and she didn’t have money for a cab. Of course, this was followed by a “Do you think you could help me out?”

Look, sweetie, you’re clearly new to this grifting thing ’cause you’ve got it all wrong. Allow me to point out your mistakes:

A) You’re NOT going to your boyfriend‘s house. You’re going to your sister‘s house. Why is that? Well, your savior in your time of need don’t need to know about a boyfriend. After all, they’re going to want to think there’s something in it for them. Also, the possibility of a sister just sweetens the pot.

B) So, your boyfriend’s apparently waiting for you, but doesn’t really care how you get over there? Your boyfriend clearly doesn’t love you. Or doesn’t exist. Either way, you’re making me late for Jeopardy.

So, did I help her? Nah, fuck her. I ain’t got time for that shit.

– I haven’t had the chance to blog about it, but I’ve been LOVING some Mad Men. I just discovered the show last month, when I watched the first 2 season sets over the course of a week. The 3rd season isn’t slated to come out until March, but I’ve been able to cut ahead, thanks to TVGorge (which I’m sure is gonna get shut down any day, so I’m not even gonna bother to post a link). One thing that I find funny, though, is how Peggy received her Queer Eye makeover last season, yet none of it stuck. She was beautiful for an episode, and then went back to being frumpy ol Aunt Margaret. Oh well, maybe that’ll change by the end of the season…

I’m also struck by the fact that women are able to detect that Don Draper’s “down for whateva”. It seems that infidelity is a man’s right during that era, but no matter how much of a stable family man Draper tries to project himself to be, all women seem to know that he’s gonna fuck ’em the first chance he gets. Sure, he’s got that commanding presence, which I’m sure serves as an aphrodisiac, but he would be even more baller if he were like, “No, I’ve got a hot wife at home”. Instead, he folds, which I feel kinda kills his allure. I’m not quite sure if I can put it into words, but it reminds me of a recent Rolling Stone interview with John Mayer. In that interview (which predated the infamous Playboy interview), Mayer said that “turning down John Mayer” is the new “hooking up with John Mayer”. By this, he meant that women are finding it more empowering to reject him, based on his reputation as a cad, instead of contributing to said reputation. I feel that Draper, by giving in to every women he comes across who’s NOT Betty, is slowly tearing down his own allure, as opposed to how he would come across if he occasionally said “no” to a couple of them. Oh well, the show’s got that Sopranos vibe to it where you feel you’re watching the downfall of a man and his empire, so I’m sure it only gets worse from here. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about the show once I’m done with the season.

Well, enough ranting from me. Hopefully, the next post will be one of those Adventures West Coast blogs I’ve been slacking on….

04th Jan2010

“The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”

by Will

“The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”

-I’m still getting used to this whole “not having a job” thing. I think the weirdest part is when I wake up at 10:30 and think, “Oh, shit! I’m late”, and I spend a few seconds trying to think of an excuse to call in, and then I remember. I mutter an “Oh, yeah…fuck ’em!”, roll over, and go back to sleep. I could actually get used to this.

-On the country station’s morning show today, the question asked was “What invention did you think we’d have by 2010 that we don’t have yet?” Of course, the majority of callers said “flying cars”. Yes, The Jetsons lied to us, but I’m fine with it. Flying cars would be a logistical nightmare! You’d essentially need a pilot’s license, you probably wouldn’t be able to get a permit at 16, and if you think drunk driving accidents look bad now, well…

Anyway, I have a different answer to that question: based on the amount of science fiction to which I’ve been exposed, I thought we’d have trippier, more kick ass drugs, with a real high tech delivery system.

People who know me might be surprised by me saying that, since I’ve never touched a drug in my life (yeah, I’m *that* guy- the one you’re scared to smoke around ’cause you think I might narc on you). Anyway, I’ve seen shit where microchips placed on skin got people high, drug lords were huffing shit out of gas masks, there were even futuristic opium dens (it was bound to make a comeback, just like absinthe). But do we have any of this? NO! Instead, drugs went surprisingly low-tech. The biggest scourge is made in Cletus’s bathtub, and the shit makes your teeth fall out. SCIENCE FAIL!

-What a great night of televised wrestling! We got a taste of the Monday Night Wars of the late 90s, as TNA Impact was a live broadcast, going up against WWE RAW. Why were they going head to head like this? Well, Hulk Hogan debuted on TNA, with a promise to shake things up. Honestly, it just looks like he and Eric Bischoff are just gonna turn it into a tired retread of WCW. There was a parade of washed up has-beens, which was exciting for the TNA crowd. Then again, the TNA set is so cheesy, it looks like something you do while waiting for the taping of your episode of Double Dare.

WWE, however, held much more meaning for me, and probably most long-term wrestling fans. After 12 years away from the WWE, former great Bret “The Hitman” Hart made his return, looking like some drugged out old shaman woman, wanting closure for the unfortunate way that he left the company. If you’re not familiar with “The Montreal Screw Job”, wiki it, but it’s a PRETTY big deal to old school wrestling fans. This was back in the day before the “Attitude Era” and the transparency of wrestling. There was major bad blood between Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon. Bret and Shawn made amends at the beginning of the show, capped off by the most uncomfortable bro hug you’ve seen since your big brother caught you in that gay bar last Thanksgiving! We were forced to wait until the end of the show for Bret and Vince to finally have their tete a tete. Vince broke character and really had some nice things to say about Bret. He even nominated Bret’s father for induction into the 2010 Hall of Fame class. It appeared that the Pro Wrestling Berlin Wall had finally been torn down. Vince shook Bret’s hand, raised it in victory, and they faced the four sides of the ring. to rousing applause. And just when wrestling fans across America began to wipe that tear from their eye, Vince kicked Bret in the stomach. ‘Cause that’s the kind of bastard Vince is. Look for Bret to show up regularly in the lead up to Wrestlemania. Why? Because that’s just how this stuff works. Damn, I’ve missed wrestling!

08th Dec2009

How To Avoid A Dollar Store Christmas

by Will

“…walking home from our house Christmas Eve.”

So, my office is doing the annual Adopt A Family drive for the holiday season. I usually participate, but this year, things are so tight that they should be adopting ME! In any case, my biggest pet peeve is that people just bring in the cheapest shit! It’s such an insult. These families have fallen on hard times, but they’re not BLIND.

When I’ve participated in the past, I bought toys for those kids as if they were my own kids. I took the time to match the most awesome, sought after stuff, paired with the appropriate age group. When I was still at Diamond, I adopted this kid named Tyquan. I swear, I gave Tyquan a kick ass Christmas.

When it comes to these office drives, I feel a lot of people operate under the assumption that “these kids will be happy to get anything”. While that might be true in some cases, I don’t believe it’s true in ALL cases. Sure, in terms of giftgiving, “it’s the thought that counts”. I feel that a lot of people in the office just aren’t putting a lot of thought in. They can’t possibly be that cheap. Sure, we’ve all got that old aunt who treats the Dollar General as a one stop shop. I just think it’s kind of messed up when these people are out chasing Zhu Zhu Pets (THAT reference is gonna sound dated a year from now) for their own kids, yet they throw a generic $5 “doll & dress set” or a game of “Line Up Four” into the cart for faceless little Shaniqua in Druid Hill. And don’t even get me started on the donated food!

I’m glad & thankful that there are people willing to help these families, but I feel like they could be doing more. Considering I didn’t contribute, I realize I’m like the guy who didn’t vote that’s criticizing the current administration. That said, from what I’ve seen, I’d rather not have my name attached to something so half-assed.

My grandmother used to have my mom write her checks out @ holiday time. She was always telling her to write the check for $11 or $13. My mother tried to explain that those were dumb increments; round them off. Give $10 or $15 – don’t give some random ass odd number. My grandmother thought “they should be happy to get anything”, but it still looks…off. That’s the case here: these people think they’re doing something good, but their contribution is a bit off.

So, what’s the takeaway message? If you’re gonna do something like this, make the effort to go all in. Don’t get them cheap stuff just because “they should be happy to get anything”. They could’ve bought that dollar store shit for their kids themselves. Don’t insult by not thinking things through. Not a sermon, just a thought.

05th Oct2009

Subway Commercials Should Come With An Ingredient List

by Will

“I’m not a one night stand kind of guy. I wanna bang you a couple times.”

I hate when Subway creates a new sandwich. Why? Well, because nobody knows what’s supposed to go on it. In the commercial, it is clear that there is a set ingrediant list for the concoction, yet the first thing the counter girl asks is, “What do you want on it?”

I don’t know! YOU tell ME!

Then, I find myself saying, “I want what’s on it in the commercial.” Back when I was @ Toys “R” Us, I used to hate the “I want that thing from the commercial” request, because it assumes that part of our training involved watching countless hours of Cartoon Network. That would have been nice, but I watched Cartoon Network on my own, and I didn’t get paid for it, thank you very much!

In any case, I find it hard to believe that there’s no corporate-mandated list of the items that comprise each sandwich. Throw me a bone here, Subway! I really don’t need free will getting in the way of my fast food enjoyment. I don’t need to have a say in everything. Sometimes, I just need a Puerto Rican woman to grab me by the hair, and say, “You’re going to eat this honey mustard and horseradish, and you”re going to like it!” Or something to that effect.

14th Sep2009

How I Tried To Stop Worrying And Love The Tweet

by Will

“How could you be so heartless?”

Since the theme of my recent posts has been my e-identity crisis, I thought I’d also bring up an issue I’ve been having with Twitter. Ultimately, I’d really love to find like-minded people with whom I can have a fun “back & forth” about shared interests. My problem, though, is that I’m not really gaining any new, real followers, as most of the “people” that I’ve attracted have turned out to be spam porn. Twitter’s like a party: its fun depends on who shows up. If you’re following somebody who’s not following you back, don’t expect them to reply to anything you tweet. It sucks, as it’s like being ignored at the grown-ups table.

I thought Twitter might serve the same function as facebook, in that it would be a great way to keep in contact with old friends. I was wrong. None of my friends are on Twitter. No, scratch that. The people I wish were on Twitter feel they’re too cool for it, while the people I’m finding make me scared to let them know that I’m on there.

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve experienced a bit of a problem…connecting with people on these social networks as of late. I’m finding that most of the people from my life that are on Twitter are sweet, innocent girls from the Cornell a cappella community. Most of their tweets say things like “Ramping up for Fall” or “Had a great workout at the gym today”. Basically, they’re using their tweets in the same way that they’d use their facebook status (in fact, many of them have linked profiles so that their tweets ARE their facebook statuses). That’s all well and good, but here’s how I regard Twitter: they are the statuses I’d use if facebook were on HBO. I’m not too keen on having these ladies read my tweets about pussy and Taco Bell. This leads me to the debate of To Follow or Not To Follow? Just because I’m following them doesn’t mean they’ll reciprocate, but if they do, they’ll more than likely drop me unless they turn out to have a freaky side that gets hot at the thought of Taco Bell.

Really, on Twitter I’m all over the place. I go from chastising the decisions of comic companies to liveblogging Style Network shows. Ideally, my followbase should be comprised of metrosexual geeks with an insecure form of narcissism. Does that exist? I doubt it, which leaves me wondering how to properly use the site…

Anyway, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, and you’re not trying to get me to register to see your pics, as Diddy would say, “hit me up on my Twitter”: @williambwest

07th Sep2009

How Was I Supposed To Know She Was A Minor?

by Will

Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for life. Give an octopus nunchucks, and no-one’s eating fish ever again.” – @FunnyJoker

So, I’m finding that I’m having a hard time getting back into the whole “web” thing. It’s not a matter of material, but rather “netiquette”, so to speak. Case in point: As I said last post, I took a cybbatical from social networking. Well, upon my return, I found that I had several new friend requests on facebook. One of those that I accepted was a friend from high school. In this situation, “friend” is defined as someone I knew in drama productions and at one point we were both really close to members of a particular family. In any case, this was someone that I knew, so I had no issue accepting the request.

OK, fast forward about 2 weeks. Her status update read “I made a 13 yr old girl scream today and it was AWESOME!” OK, if you’ve ever read anything on this site, you know I have a dark sense of humor. So, I commented on this status update, something along the lines of “I had a friend who did that. You might’ve seen it on Dateline. He’s in jail now.” OK, anyone who has seen Dateline in the past 4 years understands that reference. Keep in mind there’s no context given for her update. Here was my thought process: I’m not sure if I wrote about it, but my cousin had a neighborhood moon bounce party for her birthday. There was this little asshole who forced me to shoot him in the eye with a Super Soaker. Yes, he was 7, but trust me – he had it coming. And he cried. And it was glorious. So, when I read the status, I kinda imagined some scenario like that, assuming that the girl deserved it. Little did I know what was to come.

About 2 days later, I wake up to this manifesto that the person had sent me, telling me that she couldn’t believe I would joke about such a thing, and about how they’ve worked with abused kids for the past 3 years, and my remark was like I was shitting all over everything they’d been doing. Apparently, she’s a leader at some kind of camp and this was a therapy thing. Then, there was some more about how the high school version of me would never have said such a thing (yeah, he would have – he just didn’t have his own website then, natch!). That Will was someone that she thought was caring and compassionate, but I no longer appeared to be that person, so she couldn’t continue a friendship, “even one as superficial as facebook”. Well, damn. Hold. The. Phone. There was NO context! How was I to know? This is someone I hadn’t heard from/spoken to in about 8 years. Last I heard, she was dumpster diving & squatting in abandoned buildings ’cause it was the thing all the cool edgy kids did in college! I didn’t know they were out saving abused teens. It’s not like it’s something you put in your “Interests” column! Let’s see : “Puppies, laughing, The Office, Daily Show, helping young girls overcome sexual abuse through some weird form out shout therapy”. Nope, sorry. Didn’t see that. So, I’m the asshole. Yup. She made good on her promise, and that facebook friendship was voided. Hell, she may have even blocked me. I sent an apology, explaining my stance, and the fact that I certainly wasn’t meaning to trivialize the good work that she had been doing. Regardless, she wasn’t having it. Oh well, I guess I gave her something to scream about!

So, what did I learn from this? Basically, the fact that just because you “know” someone on facebook, Twitter, etc, it doesn’t mean that you know them. A lot of people look to these sites as tools to reconnect with people with whom you’ve lost touch, but it’s also a good way to find out that some people clearly don’t need to be in each others’ lives. And that’s one to grow on.