87 Things That I Don’t Care About (with some links).

You ever have one of those days where nothing really interests you? A day when no matter how many magazines you read, conversations you have or websites you visit, you just can’t find anything that makes you emote in the least. This day is just a dull, bleak monotony with no end. Even sleep is boring to me right now. Not one single dream.

The sad thing is, my chosen profession puts me in a position where I’m supposed to stay abreast of pop culture and current events so that I can weave these touchpoints seamlessly into my writings. Our clients strive to be relevant. They want to be on the top of everyone’s mind. While the perks of such a profession can be enriching (tax write-offs for comic books and concert tickets under the auspice of “research”), the downside is a barely uncontrollable urge to just hide in a dark corner and weep.

In order to temporarily stave off the dreadful power of creative burnout, I’m going to talk about all the things that I don’t care about. Some of these things will be described in sarcastic detail. Some will be appended with evidence of my nonchalance. And all of them will be promoted by my non-promotion of them.

Yes, the irony is not lost on me.

Anyway, here are 87 Things That I Don’t Care About (with some links):

  1. LOST – I haven’t cared about people stranded on islands since the days of Gilligan. Smoke monsters and polar bears are just updated versions of Wrongway Feldman and Dr. Boris Balinkoff. Look it up, youngsters!
  2. Bluetooth headsets – You just look like a tool when you’re walking in a crowded shopping mall talking to yourself about tee times. Seriously. Is your life that important that you need to be in constant contact with someone? Will the world economy collapse if you take an afternoon nap?
  3. Harry Potter
  4. Miley Cyrus
  5. The Cleveland Browns – Win something, then we’ll talk.
  6. Free credit reports
  7. Amy Winehouse
  8. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  9. Turkey – The country, not the animal. Turkey, the animal, is delicious. It’s especially delicious when it’s sliced thinly and piled on a hard-crusted bread with watercress, Havarti and a smear of mango chutney. I’m not kidding. It’s superb.
  10. Superpoke
  11. Super Unleaded gasoline
  12. Superchunk
  13. “Super Duper” – Used as an adjective, especially in the lyrics to “Puttin’ On The Ritz” by one hit wonder Taco.
  14. PlayStation 3
  15. Lifetime television channel
  16. People who play the bassoon
  17. Ted Turner
  18. Professional wrestler The Blue Meanie
  19. Truck stops
  20. Preteen chick flicks about vampires
  21. This guy
  22. That new Star Trek movie
  23. Anything made out of gold (silver is less pretentious)
  24. Cash4Gold
  25. Kanye West
  26. Quilts
  27. Quilting
  28. Magazines about quilting
  29. Magazines about rock climbing (but not rock climbing itself)
  30. Pecan sandies – fuck those things.
  31. Songs about women riding horses
  32. Billy Baldwin’s film career (except for Fair Game…that’s a classic)
  33. Stores that sell $350 jeans
  34. Sporks
  35. Traveling anywhere by bus – Didn’t we outlaw torture in the US?
  36. Paintings of fruit
  37. Furniture that you’re not allowed to sit on
  38. People whose pet peeves encourage them to correct other people’s grammar
  39. Paddleboats
  40. The Colorado River
  41. The difference between bologna and salami
  42. Comic books about people who hate their jobs
  43. Coup d’états
  44. The Little Rascals
  45. Country music – Except for stuff that only sounds like country music but really isn’t…like some Neko Case and Jenny Lewis songs. However, I have extra contempt for stuff that is country music but pretends not to be. I’m looking at you, Wilco.
  46. Greeting cards
  47. Bumper stickers
  48. Department store changing rooms
  49. People who ride scooters just to be clever – I’m on to you.
  50. The bullriding monkey
  51. Umbrellas
  52. Scratch and sniff stickers – For my money, they could never nail down the smell of chocolate. It was always too sweet.
  53. Ukulele songs
  54. Small dogs – If I can accidentally step on it and kill it, it is not a pet.
  55. Flightless birds
  56. Electric can openers
  57. Kites
  58. The Canadian Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center – That’s just lazy.
  59. Trilobites
  60. Galactica 80 – Wow. That was just awful, wasn’t it?
  61. Hair dryers
  62. Shorthand
  63. Nicknames for basketball players – Let me guess, it’s going to have something to do with him being tall.
  64. Kentucky
  65. Superstitions based on weather
  66. Blue food – Not counting that funky milk stuff from the first Star Wars movie
  67. Origami
  68. The jackass at every Halloween party who shows up dressed as “himself”
  69. Cannibalism
  70. Commercials for life insurance
  71. Dancing With the Stars – Not only does the premise bore me, but they blatantly abuse the word “Stars” with apparent glee and relish
  72. Banana peels
  73. Organ grinders
  74. Mushrooms
  75. The Rolling Stones (except Paint it Black)
  76. Whooping cough
  77. This car
  78. Abstinence
  79. Staying up until 2am on a Thursday to watch The Pope of Greenwich Village, because I was under the impression that it was one of those underrated great movies of my generation. Instead, it was just sort of boring. And it was difficult trying to rectify both Eric Roberts’ perm and Mickey Rourke’s face in today’s celeb-centric world.
  80. Clothing for pets
  81. The new Beyonce album that Amazon seems to think I’d be interested in, based on me adding the upcoming Hold Steady live album to my Wish List. Correlation?
  82. Basing my entire workday around the latest announcements from Apple
  83. Deep sea fishing
  84. Balloons – What’s the point?
  85. Tricycles
  86. People who only want to talk to me about what they did today. Sometimes it sucks being a great listener. Might as well be a eunuch.
  87. Not winning the lottery.

Wow, I thought that would help me feel a bit better. But it didn’t.

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Geek Cred.

Inspired by my pal Greg Burgas’s unabashed confession, I now present to you what I like and don’t like in the world of nerdery and general dorkitude, what has made me the pop culture maven I am today and why I don’t care if you like it or not…

As far back as I can remember, my life has had comic books in it. I have dozens of big, white longboxes filled to near-bursting with the things. Hell, I even owned a comic book store for a while (and yet I’m surprisingly trim, hygienic and well-socialized). Yet I cannot, for the life of me, remember what my “first” comic book was. I always reference these four:

They’re the four comics that seem to have been in my collection the longest and they all come from around the same time…1977…which would have made me 5 or 6 years old and within early reading age. However, it’s more likely that my first comic book starred either Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge or Richie Rich. I may not have read Dark Knight Returns until 2001, but I had HUNDREDS of Richie Rich comic books…you can click on pretty much any title in this list and find a book that I owned. I also owned stacks upon stacks of every Disney Gold Key title, a bunch of Woody Woodpeckers, dozens of Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry and Scooby-Doo comics, even a few Yogi Bear books from Charlton (I specifically remember this one)!

As sparkling as that geek intro may be, there is a dark side to my comic readership. I’ve been reading and collecting comics for a bit over 30 years now and yet I’ve never read Sandman or Sin City, have no interest in Love and Rockets or Cerebus and, aside from the premise of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, find Alan Moore’s writing to be incredibly boring. I read Watchmen, considered by many to be the pinnacle of Modern Age comics, once and don’t really remember the story at all.

Other comics I either dislike or have absolutely no interest in: Conan, Superman, Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Hellblazer, any war titles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Legion of Super-Heroes, most Western characters, Asterix, Tintin, and pretty much every “cosmic” character ever invented.

Conventional wisdom and the mainstream media seem to indicate that people who like comics are awkward victims of arrested development who still live in their parents’ basements and find their ultimate joy in all things based on either science or fantasy. Well, I wish to disprove that universal theory right now.

I have never and will never read a Harry Potter book. I know nothing about Pokemon, Naruto or the Power Rangers. I am not a Star Trek fan…I’ve seen the show many times, much like I’ve seen Happy Days, MASH, Love Boat, Magnum PI, Sha Na Na, Carol Burnett, Hogan’s Heroes, McHale’s Navy, My Favorite Martian, Mork & Mindy, Alice, Starsky & Hutch, Bosom Buddies, Remington Steele, Mr. Belvedere, Too Close For Comfort, Moonlighting, 21 Jump Street, Silver Spoons, Benson, The Fall Guy, Three’s Company, Married…With Children, Knight Rider, and Family Ties…they were on television and my parents controlled the set. What’s a boy to do?

The Greatest American Hero and Buck Rogers were probably the first live-action genre shows that I enjoyed, alongside syndicated runs of Batman and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. And I vaguely remember watching Space:1999. But I also enjoyed watching reruns of The Munsters, Perry Mason and Divorce Court while visiting my grandmother. I grew up watching Charlie Chan movies, Abbott & Costello, The Bowery Boys and various Sunday afternoon showings of old horror movies, professional wrestling and Kung Fu Theater. Never had an interest in Highlander or Battlestar Galactica (except for the ridiculously bad 70s rendition) or Doctor Who (though I watched a few of the Tom Baker episodes with my mom…she’s the REAL geek). Don’t enjoy Stargate or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I preferred watching Star Blazers, Thundarr the Barbarian and GI Joe.

I will not read any of the Dune books, nor a single Stephen King or Anne Rice novel. Not a big Tolkien fan. Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison and Terry Pratchett do nothing for me. Don’t care about Terry Brooks or Anne McCaffrey. However, I do have an extensive collection of books from Michael Moorcock, Douglas Adams and Clive Barker (I guess I’m some sort of anglophile). I also own every Kurt Vonnegut book ever printed.

My favorite book of all-time is Lord of the Flies. My favorite film of all-time is Cool Hand Luke. My favorite current TV show is either Rescue Me or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (most major network stuff gives me the creeps). And the CD that has seen the most play in my collection is probably New Order’s Substance.

Loved the initial Star Wars trilogy. Saw the first movie 13 times during its original theater run. But I never once delved into any of the “expanded universe” offerings until the new Star Wars: Legacy comic book started last year.

I must confess that I had a serious obsession with D&D in its early days. My friends and I even created our own role-playing games. However, I think I was more interested in my fake persona collecting bizarre weaponry than I was in actually pretending to be an elf.

Now, video games are another story. They’ve been in my life nearly as long as comics…vague recollections of my father taping a colored vinyl overlay on our television screen so we could play Haunted House on our Magnavox Odysssey…I still own an Atari 2600, a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, two Commodore 64s, the original Nintendo (with gun and robot), a Nintendo 64, Playstation, Playstation 2 and Xbox. I sadly sold my Sega Genesis. I had to return my ex-girlfriend’s Game Boy after nearly killing it with marathon days of Tetris. And my parents actually bought me a used stand-up arcade game from Hersheypark for one of my birthdays…a game called Naughty Boy that involved throwing rocks at monsters in castles. I loved that damn game.

I don’t appreciate emo, metal, classic rock or goth music (unless you consider Nine Inch Nails any of those) and I absolutely HATE country. My friend once bought me a Uriah Heep CD as a joke. The performer whose music I own the most of is Frank Sinatra. I also have the complete works of both the Beastie Boys and Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The first album I ever bought with my own money was News of the World by Queen. I used to host a hip-hop radio show and LOVED late-80s/early-90s rap music until something snapped in my head and it all started to sound the same, now I can’t listen to any of the new garbage. I think the geekiest music I own is a boxed set of the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack imported from Hong Kong. That’s pretty bad, huh?

I own quite a few action figures and a good percentage of them are still in their original packaging, but they’re nothing compared to the many, many figures I owned as a kid. And most of them focus on specific characters rather than a full line of toys for the sake of completing some nebulous collection. Of course, I also had Legos, Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels and bunches of sports equipment growing up.

Oh yes, I enjoy sports! I LOVE college sports, especially football (I’m a University of Miami alum). Been to many professional baseball games. Had season tickets to the short-lived XFL. I used to play volleyball rather competitively…I even own regulation sand court rope lines. And I’ve enjoyed my fair share of both pool and darts while downing my favorite beer. But I had successfully, and with much personal pride, avoided ever going bowling in my entire life…until my oldest boy had a “father-son” outing in preschool two years ago.

To dissuade another geek stereotype, I’ve had at least a half dozen real-life, long-term girlfriends…one of them was even a cheerleader and Broadway performer. I’ve dated models and athletes. And I eventually married an older woman!

I hate reality television unless it involves washed-up celebrities or cooking. I watch a lot of comedy specials. I enjoy a good meal and have a subscription to Food & Wine magazine. My DVR is programmed to record both Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef.

My schooling and career path have put me in touch with a lot of great things like successful logo design, pop culture essayists, books about branding and marketing, the AMC original series Mad Men, Chip Kidd and Kyle Cooper (look him up). I enjoy reading history books that involve weird bits of the past like insurance fraud, mobsters, and the United Fruit Company. I also own a couple sociology textbooks.

I know a lot of weird stuff because I did well in school and I absorbed things through a semi-photographic memory. I’m really good at trivia games and can go to the supermarket, fill up a cart and know the exact total (with sales tax) when I reach the checkout. Plus, I used to be a member of MENSA but I didn’t feel like paying the dues anymore.

Oh, and I lived with my parents until I was 25…but never in their basement. And I did leave them to go live with my now-wife in a house in fabulous Las Vegas. So there!

That’s my geek manifesto. What’s yours?

Giving “Trannies” a New Meaning

To begin, I apologize for not posting yesterday, but I was recovering from a long night of…uh…well, drinking really. Hell, I’m old enough to admit it. I’m also old enough to know that I shouldn’t be out until 3:30 in the morning on a Tuesday with a bunch of my coworkers (and my wife was kind enough to remind me of that by refusing to speak to me for the last two days). At least my children are still young enough to think their daddy is perfect.

But on to bigger and better things, like Transformers.

I mentioned before that I was more of a GI Joe guy growing up. Read the comic. Watched the cartoons. Had the action figures. However, I indulged in the whole “giant-robots-fighting-amongst-themselves-on-our-planet” thing too. I just don’t harbor the same love for them.

This brings me to an interesting quandary: Should I go see the movie next week?

I really had no interest in it when it was announced. I had no interest in it when I saw production sketches of a very pointy Megatron. I had no interest when I heard that “product placement” had turned Bumblebee into a Camaro.

Then something happened. My oldest son saw the trailer while my mother was babysitting he and his brother. My mother told him that I used to like the Transformers and, suddenly, my interest reappeared through him.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have little interest in the movie. Always found the premise to be pretty weak. But, since dads are usually de facto heroes to their offspring (at least early in life), I’m in the difficult position of having to feign interest on behalf of my son. For a while I was safe because the film was unrated. And my son scares easily for no reason.

Lately his interest has continued to grow. The film has garnered a PG-13 rating. My son is 5, but he’s a very canny 5. He can hold intricate conversations on how machines function and has a great love of vehicles. Plus we’ve let him watch inappropriate episodes of Family Guy during primetime without much noticeable harm. It’s almost a given that I will see this film with him.

I don’t, thankfully, see how a live-action movie about giant robots trying to kill each other will lead to the full-blown phenomenon of “buy this, daddy!” He has shown no inkling towards wanting the toys or anything else related to the concept. I doubt we’ll be doing this for his birthday in October:

And, I guess, even if I don’t think the movie will be on par with my expectations (which obviously include Josh Duhamel being suave, Shia LeBeouf spouting a catchphrase that will make the bot-heads applaud and Michael Bay blowing a lot of shit up) I can at least enjoy the movie for one thing:

Megan Fox (aptly named)

I would watch a 12-hour documentary on the intricacies of cake batter if she just happened to walk by in the background at the end.

Seriously.

Milk & Cheese = Mayhem & Chaos

What can I say about Milk & Cheese? Between these purveyors of catastrophe and the hard-nosed apocalyptic blight of Judge Dredd, my need for independent and inventive comics was fully tickled in my youth (and in other places too). Throw in some healthy amounts of Tank Girl, The Tick and Sam & Max: Freelance Police and you’ve pretty much described an entire decade of my personal history with the comic book industry.

So, it should come as no surprise that I cannot wait for the M&C vinyl figure set to present itself for my purchase. These figures were originally solicited about a year ago (if I remember correctly), but given how slowly the indie market (and Evan Dorkin himself) seems to move sometimes, it’s no surprise that we still haven’t seen these on the shelves…not that I actually expect to see them on shelves anywhere near where I live, but that’s another story. I cherish the day that I’ll be able to get in an online bidding war over a set of these. Here, look at some pictures:

Side View

These are art from the side panels of the packaging. 

Back Panel

And art from the back panel of the box.

Onward to Mayhem!!!

Finally, the miscreant dairy products themselves. Looking good, eh? The only thing I wish they could’ve done was put sound chips in them to scream out some catchphrases or make nasty, violent sound effects. Of course, putting a voice to them would probably ruin some of the allure for me. I prefer the voices in my head. Hmm…that didn’t sound right, did it?

I’ve always loved Dorkin’s style from the early days of the Pirate Corp$ to the Eltingville Club to his mini-strips in Dork. Growing up reading Cracked and MAD magazines, I always saw Dorkin as a younger version of one of those writers…kind of off-the-cuff and yet oddly sadisitic. It doesn’t hurt that I actually wrote him a letter once and he responded to it. That always scores points with me. I like people who acknowledge my existence. Hold me. Please.

So yeah, now that I’ve gotten completely off topic, what do you think about the recent Stanley Cup finals?

I kid. No one watches hockey anymore.

Milk & Cheese, folks. Milk & Cheese.