I Got A Cavity In My Wallet That Needs To Be Filled

I think it's an important line you reach when you attempt to sell your body to science and science says no. After becoming unemployed I decided to once again place a lot of trust in criagslist and responded to a listing that offered paid dental work, provided that you were willing to be paid and operated on by a dentist taking his board exams. Considering that I had begun noticing a few holes here and there in my mouth I decided I'd be a perfect candidate.

After reading several copies of Cat Fancy in the waiting room, the hopefully soon-to-be-doctor came out with my x-rays and noted that although I did have a cavity here or there, the cavities simply weren't severe enough to justify being operated on.

"I'm so sorry," I told him, before realizing that I was apologizing on behalf of my surprisingly strong tooth enamel. As I sadly shook my head, I placed an arm on his shoulder and said, "Well, I guess I'll just take my check and go then..."

Once it dawned on me that I wouldn't be getting paid either, bitterness began to set in. Apparently my cavities weren't good enough for these people.

"Fine!" I yelled out in anger before throwing an article featuring Maine Coons in the doctors face. "Maybe I'll take my cavities elsewhere!"

"Somewhere they'll be wanted!" I added, with a tear in my eye.

It's a sick world we live in where a man can't make an honest buck for almost having minor surgery but not because it was deemed unnecessary. I thought this was America.

All things considered, I found the entire dilemma to be a great learning experience. The world is filled with so many opportunities to make money off of selling your body for medicinal experimentation, but when it really comes down to it you might realize that everything you need is really the same as everything you already have.

LOST - Series Finale Re-Cap And Review



At the end of the third season of LOST viewers were treated to a last-minute reveal that turned the entire series on it's head. The revelation of a flash-forward brought the show into an entirely new dimension, and as far as twists go, put the show well on par with some of the greatest last minute turn-arounds in storytelling. That said, narrative devices only mainly served to compliment the characters, who we eventually started to really care about. With the needs of the characters in focus, LOST finally brought to the viewers it's greatest conclusion, and while a mind-bending reveal was attempted, it predictably fell short to the high tastes of LOST's audience.

The biggest question in the minds of most people was always, "What's the deal?" We wanted a clear understanding of what the smoke monster was, how it functioned, what the island was, how the island functioned, and what role the characters played in this.

Spoiler. We learned the smoke monster was a guy turned into an evil deity, the island was an obstruction against evil being released out into the world, and a certain select number of flight passengers were called to the island to keep the evil bottled up there.

In this revelation, LOST turned to solutions in the form of mysticism rather than to scientific deductions, even though some say the show might have hinted at the latter from the beginning. Some will note the religious parallels the show was playing with. Like with the Matrix trilogy however, you can only cram together so many religious and philosophical outlooks until the story needs to revise it's thesis. Perhaps the secrets of the island, like Richard Kelley's film The Box, can only offer themselves to be explained by Clarke's third law, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

The most interesting question remaining from LOST is the notion of a first mover or a first cause. Something must have placed the island there, with all of it's maintenance obligations and problems, for a purpose. Notions from the Book of Revelations are drawn in, in which the earth will open up and release evil for the last time before it is vanquished for good. Maybe the island is such a place. But maybe. With this remaining maybe however, God is effectively placed into LOST's equations. Salvation is still depicted, although probably flawed, considering that LOST explains the "moving on" of it's characters from the mid-post-life to the eternal, for the sake of them doing good things. It does make note however that the individuals must first come to terms with their flaws and lift up or "let go" of their previous transgressions before gaining admittance to, what we can only assume to be, heaven.

There's a lot to think about. For a LOST finale it's what I expected. The presentation of a "we were dead all along" twist was perhaps given to us with a hand too heavy. It could only have been worse if they were all just imaginings of a schizophrenic mind. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I will be daring enough to say that without the scene nearing the finale where Jack confronts his dead father, the show might have been benefited. For one, it would have been one less scene with the sole purpose of exposition. For another, and maybe this is just me, I would have been okay with some things staying a mystery. Besides, by this point I think the LOST series should have been confident enough with the intelligence of the viewers to understand on their own what was really going on. Instead now the viewers are left to speculate over the possible plot holes or contradictions left gaping open behind them. Still, this episode was all about moving on. And so with that, I'm ready to move on to the next mystery.


Man-Dates Gone Wrong

Chimes Article

The last time I really tried to make friends with a guy I was invited to join him for a cup of coffee at a local Starbucks. In simply being deemed as friend-worthy, I was enthralled. To be honest, it had been a while since I had been invited to spend time with another man and here was my opportunity to make a good first impression. Unfortunately the best thing that can be said about my first impressions is that they’re long lasting.

After my potential friend failed to specify which Starbucks to meet him in, I found myself desperately barging into every one of the neighborhood’s half dozen Starbi’s (my understanding of how to pluralize Starbucks) and still attempt to act cool by perhaps casually combing my hair back and resting my arm on a bookshelf before it would collapse and spill three pounds of coffee beans on the floor.

“Hey!” I would then yell and sort of laugh. “What was that all about?!”

Hearing or recognizing no response, I would then slowly back out the door until I abruptly realized the door needed to be pulled open from the inside instead of pushed.

My wife, who was then my girlfriend, picked out my outfit for the man-date. I was just too nervous. Luckily she advised me not to wear my corduroy jumpsuit and instead dressed me in casual jeans and a t-shirt.

“Ah,” I said. “What a brilliant rouse this is!” before she slapped me in the face.

“You just have to be yourself.” She told me.

Judging from the series of impatient text messages, it seemed as though my new friend was getting ready to call it quits. Just when I thought I had ran out of Starbi’s to visit, I found my potential friend waiting at the last one.

He sat in a leather seat across from a bench reading a book of poetry by Art Garfunkel. After I bent over to attempt a high five he turned it awkwardly into a handshake and had me sit down.

Looking relaxed, I realized, is very difficult to do when you have to sit on a bench across from someone sitting in a leather recliner. With my shoulders hunched forward, I waited for him to finish reading the poem he had just started before he began speaking.

“Let me tell you something Zack.” He said almost immediately. “Don’t get married. I know you probably love this girl and all that but if you ever get married it’s like having your wings clipped.”

I wondered briefly if he was speaking from experience, and then realizing that he wasn’t I also realized that I wasn’t invited on the basis of a friend request at all, but on the basis of being tutored by someone who considered himself a professional at life.

Having been ring shopping earlier that week, I had already decided who my best friend already was. The people who really care don’t need to impress me with the prose of any Simon or Garfunkel. They are people who tell me that all I have to be is to be myself. Finding new friends isn’t easy, but in being yourself it just seems to happen naturally.

Another City

I've just found this short sci-fi piece on my portable hard drive that I wrote a few years back. I kind of like it, even though it's a bit long and pretty dark. Then again, it is something to post. So here you go.

“Another City"

We built the machines to sustain our quality of living, and in this respect they apparently have exceeded our expectations. The city has never shut down. At night it glitters with simmering lights that sway to and fro across the curved surfaces of our skyscrapers.

Sometimes, at night, others come out of their huts, or cabins, or whatever they like to call the places they live, and they go out to the fields where they can stand and look at the city. Just off the horizon it glows like an artificial sky, one which long ago swallowed our own stars with it’s polluting light.

I’ve heard that our community was the closest one to the city. This was a notion I learned of in both the forms of complaints and bragging. The ones that complain usually just move away to one of the communities further inland. It’s a load of bull anyway. You could walk for two miles towards the lights without getting so much as a rash on your body.

Every once and a while someone gets stupid and tries to test it. They think that since they were able to stand near an old toaster that they were able to form immunity to it. Sometimes I’m able to save them, pull their bodies out from the city’s radius. Sometimes I’m not.

My job requires me to wear a lead fitted suit. It’s heavy and makes me sweat fountains, but it’s better than the heavy stuff I have to wear for reconnaissance missions. That one has an oxygen line. It was actually a suit once used for deep-sea missions, but we discovered it works pretty well in shielding us.

Tonight I’m wearing the heavy stuff.

Apparently a guy has been screaming about how his wife went missing. The story is she ran after a kid who started booking it towards the city limits.

Neither one of them had been seen since.

You might imagine a story like this is pretty rare, but disappearances are a common occurrence, especially when kids are involved.

Even when I was little, we used to play games like chicken out in no-man’s land. Whoever could stand closest to the city the longest would win. And yes, obviously kids got hurt. Sometimes they’d pass-out, or form rashes, or god forbid have their throats close up. We’d get the engineer and then he’d suit up and make his way out to fetch the kid.

We throw stones to mark where the bodies fall.

Each year we paint the stones a different color. I believe we started with red, and then we went through the entire color wheel until we came back again.

The stones have never gotten any closer.

So now, if you look closely, we have this sparse multi-colored rock garden around the city.

The kid that ran through it apparently didn’t stop. He just kept going until he was no longer visible. The woman too.

If you ran fast enough I have always assumed you could get pretty far. It would be suicide, but you could get far.

The metallic suit is far heavier than you can imagine. It’s meant to be used underwater, so the designers apparently didn’t care about the practicality of everyday use. During the day it literally cooks me alive, so I thank God that even though this happened, at least it happened at night.

My heavy boots sink into the dirt as I walk. Patches of wheat tangle themselves in the metallic joints.

We used to have external lights to the suit that I could operate from the inside, but changing the batteries was a dangerous process. It scared the community, and frankly, being so close to them scared me. The city itself is enough anyway to illuminate the plain of grassy land separating us from it.

They say they used to carry telephones in their pockets, and then hold them up to their heads as they talked. The thought of it makes my body itch and by breath begin to quicken. It would be an quick death, but not an instant one. I’m amazed at the way our lives used to be constructed. Just like the city, once teeming with life, it is now empty.

Before I know it I’ve already hit the ring of colored rocks, or “deadline.” I stop walking for a moment, mostly because I’m tired, but also to check for any signs of movement. Any further than this and they would have to be crawling.

There’s no one in sight.

I keep going.

Community members are always saying that they see people in the city, or that someone is watching them from the towers. I have to explain to them that it’s just parts of the city that have remained operational, or the machines moving to repair something. It’s spectacular how untarnished the city has remained. There’s not a speck of biology on it’s surface. Not a single weed or cracked window. It’s self-sustaining. I say it everyday, the city will outlive all of us.

Three miles out and I run into the fence. It was our last half-assed effort of protecting the community. It has barbed wire and circles the perimeter of the city itself.

But it’s useless if it gets a hole, or some animal digs a tunnel underneath it.
The hole I’m looking at now is what you would imagine the fence to look like had it been picked up by a pair of hands and been torn in half like a piece of paper. The wind comes sweeping down the valley and without anyone to keep a constant eye on it, the fence can easily dismantle itself. Repairing it will be a pain.

I step over it’s metal remains and my boots sink back into the waist deep grass. After a few yards I can feel the hard cement buried not so far below the dirt, and the familiar buzzing sensation begins to make it’s way into my stomach.

The light is intense and unnatural. It twitches with an incandescent white glow that blinds my eyes, still shielded behind lead and the thick glass globe. It’s nothing like the sun, nothing at all like what we’re used to seeing so close.

A couple more yards and the grass is completely gone. All that’s left is cold metal plating, shimmering with a buffed smooth surface. Looking down, I see a distorted version of myself looking back at me from behind a metal monster, and I momentarily hope I won’t scare the kid. If he’s still alive.

We’re told not to go this far. We’ve tested the suit, but the testing has only been theoretical. And the science is as sophisticated as a game of chicken.

I stand still and try to listen for any unusual sounds; the unfortunate realization is that all the sounds are unusual. There’s an intense buzzing from high above, and a hollow clanging sound from deep inside the city, as though a man was banging from the inside of a tin can.

I can’t shake the feeling.

Everything is sparkling clean. The streets are vacant, yet well maintained. From above me the buildings reflect a thousand stars generated by electric veins. Their glow is reflected in streaks across the glass holes in my helmet.

My suit is heavier, and I just now notice my panting breaths.

I’ve gone too far. No one could make it this far. No man or child would dare it. Even if they did, they’d be long dead by now.

I want to move, but my boots are heavy, and I have this feeling deep down inside of me that something is about to happen, as though the whole city will start to collapse upon me at any second.

But the buildings are tall, and refuse to even sway.

I look down and I notice something strange.

There are stains on the floor. I kneel down to touch it and rub it against my lead gloves. They don’t belong to dirt or grime, or any mechanized machine. It’s blood, I realize.

It’s a trail.

My tether and oxygen line won’t go any further than this, so I cut them loose. I have to move fast now.

There are doors ahead of me that enter into one of the structures. They appear as those they should slide open, but someone before me had taken the liberty to smash their way straight through them.

I move cautiously. The inside of the structure is bright, fluorescent. I would relate it to an image of heaven. There is a faint sound of resounding music, somehow emanating from the walls. It is as though there is a man playing the piano within the very room. But the room is empty. All I see is an endless fountain in front of another door.

This door is metal and it has no handles or levers to open it.

I press my gloves against it and knock, but there is no reply. All I hear is a dull empty thud.

Feeling my way around the shell, I find two holes with two glass triangles in each.
The one pointing towards the sky has a smudge in the shape of a bloody finger on it.
I press it, and somehow the metal doors open.

I step into the cage and am met by another puzzle. This one too has an answer in the form of a bloody finger smudge on the highest button.

I press it, and I am launched upwards.

The city is taken away from me. It sinks far below me into a haze of light. My breath escapes me. I can see forever out into the darkness. Miles away, minuscule lights shine from the campfires and candlelit houses which are now reduced to stars just below the skyline.

The journey ends, and the doors open once again to the roof.

Suddenly, I’m surrounded in brightness. There is light all around me as everything becomes illuminated. I’m not sure if it’s just the electricity beginning to ebb it’s way through the suit, if I’ve just gotten tired, or if it’s both.

I’m going insane. Or I’m dying. It’s one of the two, because what I’m seeing is impossible.

There are people all around me. But in some distant way they’re not real. They shine light.

They must be angels, because they make a sound together. It’s a loud humming, on a pitch distinctly inhuman.

In the middle of them lies one of the people I have been searching for. The woman’s blue dress, now tainted by the blood from her open sores and blisters, flutters in the wind.

“She is gone.” They tell me. “She has left us her gift, but here is nothing inside of it.”

I bend down to touch her hand, but the thick plating of my gloves leaves nothing for me to be noted or discovered. I simply have to take the beings word for what it is.

“She has departed from us like the others.” I hear a single voice say, and I discover that this voice comes from a being much smaller than the others. It is the being a size and shape of a child. “Where has she gone?”

From within my suit I hear the rattle of my own voice say, “She’s dead.”

“What is this dead?”

“She isn’t alive.” I say.

“We want this gift.” The others chime. “This gift of not being alive.”

“I can’t stay here for long.” I say. “I have to go.”

“Why is that?”

“The city. It’s poisonous to us. The electricity.”

“Can you stay here and teach us?”

My breath hangs limply in my lungs and I want to leave, but the suit is heavy and my legs won’t lift me from the woman’s body. “I can’t. I have to go.”

“But we have been here for so long.” They tell me. “We have been waiting for this gift of the dead. We must have it. We must know what it means to no longer be alive.”

“I can’t.” I say. “I can’t teach you that.”

The boy approaches me and lays his hand against my domed helmet, and I can now clearly see that it is not the hand of a human but a hand built as a part of the city. A metal hand. And as the metal hand presses against the glass I can hear it crack and shatter.

“We have been alive so long. You have taught us to be alive for so long. You have built us to be this way.” He tells me. “Certainly you can teach us to be free.”

And I tell him, “You were never meant to be free.”

My helmet shatters and I breath in the electric light. I feel it boil in my veins.

“Aren’t you glad for what you have?” I ask. “The city will outlive us all.”

I hear no reply. I simply see them above me as I finally collapse. I watch them look down and look to the child and ask “Where is he going?”

The child is silent and then says, “Maybe to another city.”


Breaking Barriers

In my opinion, I don't think anyone should graduate from college without starring in someone else's experimental art film.

Watch as I break barriers by literally a breaking barrier. It's pretty deep when you think about it.

Stop thinking about it.


The Box - Movie Review


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The Box

One can't help but find correlations between The Box and it's ancient predecessor The Day The Earth Stood Still (lets forget there was a remake shall we). There is a familiar problem with films featuring the whole "Shape Up Or Ship Out" message addressed to all mankind. I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it's just resentment toward the filmmaker who deems it necessary to rebuke all humanity. Maybe it's just not really what we want to hear.

In this case the filmmaker is Richard Kelly who was previously known for his cult classic Donnie Darko, and then later known for his flop Southland Tales. I hadn't seen the latter of the two, but for myself and many others, Darko more than makes up for any fluke. Kelly has a keen ability to take characters and place them into situations completely inconceivable to not only them, but even the audience. Still, much like the series LOST, there is a distinct notion that it all makes complete sense.

The Box begins with a seemingly simple premise. Set in the 1970's, housewife Norma (played by Cameron Diaz) is one day given a box by a mysterious authority with a quite noticeable disfigurement. He lays out the deal simply by saying that if she pushes the button in the box someone she doesn't know will die, and she will receive one million dollars. She and her NASA employee husband spend the next 24 hours deciding what to do.

Of course, we know they're going to push it. The movie takes its sweet time for them to push it. I for one was yelling for them to just "push the damn button" and get on with it.

The movie is a bit plodding in the pacing, but apart from the button-pushing hesitation, I actually kind of liked it. The film is slow in the way The Shining was slow. The viewer is eased into a strange world populated by interstellar gateways, mind controlled "employees," and eerie motel swimming pools. I really admire the world Kelly creates.

Unlike Donnie Darko, which took more time to explain as to actually watch, The Box is a film that nestles itself into a surprisingly comfortable place between complete perplexity and complete understanding. I was alright with some things staying a mystery. That said, at times I was also alright with scrapping the whole project altogether. What made Donnie Darko work was that the film had enough dynamic characters to make you really want to understand everything because you actually cared whether or not it all worked out for the best. Here the characters seem vaguely interesting at first, but apart from physical abnormalities they're really quite flat underneath the surface.

The Box is filled with so many ideas though that you can't help but interact with it. There are final notions here of the concept of choice being an illusion that makes the whole message of "Shaping Up Or Shipping Out" quite ironic. In that, the film gives its greatest twist. There are some things I still wish they had explored, notions of forgiveness and mercy, but what's great about movies like these are that some things are left to you to explore for yourself.


Skins - Show Review


Skins - Seasons 1 & 2

Yes. I got addicted to the show Skins. To summarize it's pretty much Freaks and Geeks combined with, I don't know, The OC, kind of. It might just be a soap opera drama at times, but there's a reason that soap operas are still on television and that I still occasionally wonder what Luke, Laura, Stephan, Carly and Sonny are up to. What can I say? I used to watch General Hospital with my mom.

Oh Luke and Laura, what happened??

The worst I can say is that the show has a bit of a learning curve to it. Initially none of the characters are quite likable, but as it's structured with each character as the focal point of each episode, the individual nuances begin to arise and provide light into their psyche. As it goes with most teenagers, the parents have some hand, along with their teachers, peers, and sometimes government authorities. Skins is rather remarkable at showing all hands acting in each individual life at once, while at the same time maintaining an overall storyline. It's not hard to see the role each character plays in their own dramatic life, but it's remarkable to focus on how all the characters interact with one another. Everything seems so connected, and it seems so connected in a way that reflects real life as it is.

Real life, for teens in Britain at least, isn't depicted in quite such an endearing light. The show is rife in it's depictions of drug use, sex, and general teen hijinx, sometimes combining all three at once. Is this embellishment or exaggeration? I might lean toward the latter, but from what I've seen in American schools I know it's a reality. I did after all spend my afternoons watching General Hospital, so I really can't say.

At it's core, Skins is about people who are trying to find their place in life. What I admire is the ability for the show to take certain completely unlikeable characters and hand them back their humanity, while at the same time taking characters we once fondly remembered and stripping them to the shrouded deceit for the very traits we once found admirable. Take for instance the character of Cassie who initially is charmingly aloof before becoming disastrously distant, or Tony (played by About A Boy's Nicholas Hoult) who is a womanizer until becoming a dedicated man lusting for life itself. The show skips it's rocks just far enough to where the next puddle makes the loudest splash.

I can't say what the seasons beyond one and two are like because, well, with the exception of one character, it's a completely different cast. With such character centric dynamics defining an entire show, changing all the characters is essentially the same as creating a completely different series. And let's face it. Saved By The Bell The New Class just sucked. For what it's worth however, Skins has provided me with one of the most captivating viewing experiences I've had in a long time.

Kick Ass - Movie Review


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Kick Ass

Lord knows I've imagined what a Wolverine movie would look like if it was granted an R-rating, and I imagine it wouldn't be too far beyond the lines of Kick Ass, the latest superhero (can I say franchise?) in the works. Here we have the familiar premise of an underdog who decides on a whim that he'll be the savior of all those in need of help, with the added challenge of that underdog having no real super-powers of his own apart from a devotion to his cause. The dilemma here is that Kick Ass, the lead character's Superman persona, is only a minor part in the drama while the majority of the focus goes to Hit Girl, his well-versed, and I should note, severely underage counterpart.

While Kick Ass himself is only an awkward teen battling the drama of high school by day and the harsh corruption of the city by night, Hit Girl, who is only, say, nine or ten, comes from the background of a trained killer. Well versed in the art of killing by her father, a revenge driven cop, Hit Girl and Kick Ass cross paths in a surprisingly convincing way. They're both dealing with baddies operating under the same foe, Frank D'Amico, a mob boss who is a tad too focused on his business rather than his son Chris.

If you can tell from the number of commas I've used in the previous paragraph, the film Kick Ass is surprisingly hard to summarize. The film does a great job of juggling numerous characters at once and not losing one or two in the heat of battle. Yes, there are some unanswered questions as to how exactly they're all related. How exactly is Kick Ass's love interest, the somewhat innocent Katie, involved with drug dealers? I'm not sure. All we need to know is that she's being bothered by them and Kick Ass will have to take care of the problem. So it's his problem, not ours.

Some reviewers note that the character of Hit Girl, who I can best describe as a prepubescent version of the Bride from Kill Bill, is a bit of an exploitation. Gene Siskel was known for his attitudes towards films that featured children being depicted in danger, with his opinion being that it was a cheap way to cash in on the audiences sympathy, but I feel as though the film handles it reasonably well. There is some recognition here or there that Hit Girl is after all just a young girl. I didn't feel as though placing her in danger was much of a cash-in, but I do think using her for laughs certainly is.

Oh, look, she called those baddies a "c*&t," and a "douche." She uses bad words just like regular people! Isn't that hilarious?

I don't know. Sometimes yes, usually no.

Hit Girl is played by Chloe Moretz, who will soon appear in the American remake of Let the Right One In, which will here be called "Let Me In." Don't scoff so soon, it is after all directed by Matt Reeves who made the best movie ever in history. ever.

so good.

I can most certainly see her in that role, especially since it dramatizes a being caught between emotion and carnal need. Here she's a bit more carnal.

But what about Kick Ass? Well, apparently it will be a franchise. I'm interested. This movie certainly succeeds in an admirable aspect. It convincingly illustrates that anyone, no matter how wimpy, can make a difference. I only wish that difference was shown in visible change rather than gratuitous violence.

Although the gratuitous violence is pretty neat!


Confessions of a Feather Duster

Chimes Article 05/17/10

Aside from needing to pay rent, I thought finding a job would be a good way to make friends with people that weren’t my wife or cat. When I was offered a position working at a local video rental store, I jumped at the opportunity. “Let me get this straight,” I said. “Video stores still exist?”

Luckily it seems that VHS is coming back into style, which I think is a sign of hope for my stock-pile of laser disc players. It’s only a matter of time, my friends. What I expected to be doing at the little mom-and-pop video store was occasionally renting out a video while spending the majority of my time watching movies or reading. What I’m actually doing is frequently being given the task of cleaning the gay and lesbian section with a feather duster; a task that frequently results in people questioning whether I actually work there or am just very flamboyant.

You want to see my world? Imagine my face on this guy with even less clothing and you'll get a glimpse into my world. Just a glimpse.

An elderly woman who co-owns the video store with her equally elderly dog, I realized, is the kind of person who wouldn’t allow me to be standing still at any moment in time while on the clock. The problem, however, is that there really isn’t a whole lot to do in a video store apart from making sure that you’re not mistakenly handing a child a copy of the film “Brokeback Mountain” instead of “Scooby Doo,” which I almost did. Twice.

For this reason I have found myself with daily tasks such as feather dusting keyboards, lampshades, windows, DVD cases and the elderly dog, which begs the question: In terms of cleaning, how effective is a feather duster? The answer is c) not effective at all.

“Did someone tell you to use Windex on the shelves?” she asked me, fully knowing the answer.

“I was told to clean them, but not use Windex.”

“Did I tell you to use Windex?” she asked, again fully knowing the answer. “No, you didn’t.”

“Let me ask again, did I or anyone else tell you to use Windex to clean the shelves?” “No, neither you nor anyone else has told me to use Windex.”

“Then why did you use Windex to clean the shelves instead of my Windex and Green Clean mixture?”

“Because I couldn’t find the mixture.”

“But you used the Windex anyway without asking me first.” Yes. I got it. Don’t use Windex.

It’s at times like these that I really miss the friends I left behind. Although I may have resented them in the past for leaving piles of dirty dishes wedged between the sink and the faucet until no plates could be removed without breaking something in the kitchen. I must say in retrospect I would gladly take the messy friendships over the spotless and empty countertops I have to feather dust each day.

Of course, I have worked worse jobs in the past, and with all things considered, this one really isn’t too bad. Jobs are all about what you make out of them, and part of having a job is making that job a place where you would like to be. For me, this job is a place where I can meet people with a common interest who I would otherwise have never met in the first place. I just hope I don’t meet them while feather dusting.


A Dog Eat Dog World

Chimes Article 5/5/10

My general rule of thumb is that you should never really hit anything harder than you would hit a television. A television is precious; you wouldn’t want to break the thing, just tap it until the reception gets a little better. So when I saw a man across the street from my apartment slap his rather yappy dog with a force strong enough to throw a television out a window, I thought something had to be done.

The fact is, you just don’t do that to an animal, or really anything, and when it happened I envisioned Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, behind me kick a hole in the wall in an act of rage. “You have to be the leader of the pack!” He yelled in my ear.

The dog, meanwhile, was still yapping loudly, causing neighbors on the block to peek out their windows. In Milan’s words, he was “Ossessed” with it, but with good reason. There was a heavy rain outside and the dog’s owners where half a block down the street eating at a Thai restaurant. Meanwhile their other dog, who resembled Lassie, waited patiently right outside the door with an expression of embarrassment towards his canine friend that seemed to say, “Hey bro, stay cool.”

After several yappy minutes went by, the owner came back out, and with another loud yell hit the dog again.

That was when Beth had me call Animal Control Services.

The problem with Animal Control, I realized after being on hold, was that they can’t really help any animals unless they’re being abused between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Many people take different approaches to animal training. My old roommate Micah for instance used what I call the “Sega Genesis” technique and simply blew in the face of our cat whenever he misbehaved. I can’t say for certain that it was the right technique, especially when considering that no one can sit on their white couch without being peed on, but for the most part it certainly did work.

On this occasion I thought the technique not only wasn’t working, but also was doing far more harm than good. So I did what any sensible person in my situation would do and decided to follow the couple back to their home, get their address, and then call Animal Control later during the hours they would actually be able to help.

As I followed two blocks behind them throughout the remainder of their date I started to realize that people, although often doing very unwise things, are not often altogether bad. As they stopped by the dog park they let their two canines off their leashes and watched them frolic happily while wandering themselves.

I meanwhile was behind a pair of bushes at the tennis courts.

Several blocks later I watched them arrive home and hug their four year old child as the father washed the dogs off from their playtime at the park.

These people really weren’t so bad. In fact, I could see myself being friends with them. Of all people to be ashamed of it was probably me for lurking behind a pair of parked cars and watching them this entire time. Then again, maybe it was a good reminder for myself that the next time I do something unwise, there might be a weird 22 year old watching my back. Maybe I should start taking better care of my television.

I Think Everyone Should See This

It's Spike Jonze's new short I'm Here.


To describe it I'd say it's "The Giving Tree" meets "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," but maybe I'm giving too much away. That said, it really affected me.

watch it here: http://www.imheremovie.com/


Zack + Beth + Georgie = Thanks

Hey! Look! It's like I have a completely new and different blog! Except with the same name! And content! I hope you like it as much as I do. Beth fancied it up tremendously for me. I think she shows a lot of potential.

And hey, look, here is our long lost wedding video that we both co-wrote and animated featuring our cat Georgie fruit and Johnson the rabbit. Thank you to everyone who came and helped make our day special!

Zack + Beth + Georgie = Thanks from zachary newcott on Vimeo.


Zack + Beth