Posted by: robinsonwarner | April 28, 2011

No. Just… No.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/vp/42780813#42780764

I need to talk about this.  Why does this man have a soapbox to stand on?  Honestly, who the heck is Donald Trump?  He has a show on NBC.  This does not make him qualified to run a country either in his capacity as a celebrity reality show host or as a real estate mogul.  He has no business running for office or even pretending to pretend to run for office.

It also sets an extremely dangerous precedent by asking for President Obama’s records…. from life.  Trump has “heard” that Obama was not a good student at Occidental or Harvard or Columbia, so he called for his records to verify.  This is a completely preposterous demand to ask of anyone, let alone the President of the United States.  Two things are at stake with call to see documentation:  privacy and legitimacy.  By graduating, officially, from these accredited universities President Obama was given documents as proof of his merit in the academic realm.  This is as far as it needed to go.  In addition, the legacy of President Obama’s career speaks volumes to his credentials as an academic, capable of more intellectual caveats then, let’s say, hosting a reality television show.  Degrees from universities serve as official documentation of the merits of the individual, in lieu of seeing actual transcripts.  That is because individuals are entitled to a sense of privacy.

The danger of the precedent that is slowly evolving around the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and members of the “birthers” movement, is that one can call into question an escalating set of skepticisms regarding the legitimacy of any and all aspects of an individual’s life.  Let us see Obama’s hard drive, his email account, his blood type.  Let’s look at Trump’s taxes or Sarah Palin’s academic records for that matter.  Legitimacy is afforded to individuals who have proven their merits academically and intellectually.

Now, I understand the logic.  If you’re going to take down a tree, you chop at the trunk, not at the top of the branches.  Since Republicans have unsuccessfully been able to blame the Iraq War, the Afghan War, Hurricane Katrina, oil prices, the financial crisis, terrorism or unemployment on Obama, they have gone farther down the length of the tree to try to topple it.  Start at his birth.  Let us compromise that.  Start at his foundational education.  Let us compromise that as well.  The strategy has been effective, but it is despicable and truly embarrassing for politics, for America and for those who actually believe that any of it could actually be true.

Also, it warrants mentioning, albeit redundantly, that this precedent of disrespecting the office of the president would never happen with a white president.  And yes, people criticised Bush for POLICY, not for the basic credentials required to hold an office.  And it there was disrespect for Bush, it was because he disrespected much of the country.  But President Barack Hussein Obama is a man with brown skin, who has a name that sounds funny.  So, as a result, we get rumours that he’s an Arab or a Muslim or a Communist.  Despite the categorically inept conflation of the three, it is because he is different.  Do you think this would happen with cranky Old Joe Biden?  Do you think someone would dare to yell at Joe Biden, a democratically elected white guy, during HIS first State of the Union.  You’re kidding yourself or not living in America, or both, if you think so.

The point is, most importantly, that Donald Trump is a not fit to hold Obama’s political jockstrap.  This man is a celebrity joke with no foreign policy experience who has never been elected to office.  People will say, well he’s a “successful” businessman!  I mean he’s filed for bankruptcy twice, but he’s successful.  He has executive experience.  One of the fundamental paradigmatic problems in this assertion is the belief that the country can be run like a business; or, in a more alarming vein, that it should be.

And honestly, the Republicans can do better than this.  And if you are a Republican you should demand better because this is a disgrace to the country and a disgrace to both parties that people think this man is qualified.  Who would be his running mate, Flavor Flav?  I seriously doubt his conservative credentials.

But seriously, fuck this guy.  Take away his microphone and put an end to his inane delusions of grandeur that are taking away from America’s real problem:  Obama is playing WAY too much basketball.


					
Posted by: robinsonwarner | December 8, 2009

Bunnies and Rainbows

For those of you who don’t know I am currently living in the great city of New Orleans.  I work at a hotel for their catering company.  On any given evening I could be bartending, waiting tables or serving food.  It is a job devoid of true intellectual significance, but it pays the bills and I get to schmooze.  I’m not sure what else I thought I was going to do with my political science degree.

I received a phone call about three weeks ago from my boss and she greeted me with a friendly hello on the phone.  Before I could respond she blurted out, “You’re Santa!”  As someone who is incapable of growing any significant facial hair I was intrigued but also confused.

My boss quickly informed me that I was going to be Santa at the Christmas Party this year.  Many words came to my mind, but the most prominent one was, “Poop.” It’s a lot of pressure to be Santa.  I hadn’t even really thought about until I asked about the details of this God-forsaken expedition into holiday magic and enchantment.  The deal was that I was supposed to have the children of the hotel staff sit in my lap and they would tell me what they wanted for Christmas.  Jesus Christ.  I had this horrific vision of a gap toothed three year old gazing starry eyed into the face of doppleganger Santa and asking him for something truly and devastatinly unattainable.  Oh yeah kid?  You want a pet velociraptor?  Wel,l who doesn’t?

Then I imagined explaining to this three year old that velociraptors don’t exist (anymore).  Then I would have to explain the notion of extinct.  Then I would have to explain to him what death actually is.  This would ultimately end in me letting the kid know that not only does Santa exist only in your imagination but the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and justice are all things that your wait for you to figure out for yourself.   I assumed all of this would lead to the building of pressure and an eventual headsplosion.   And everyone knows that brain matter and tinsel don’t go together.  Talk about a holiday faux pas.

How do you fill the shoes of a magical man who is capable of visiting millions of homes in one evening? What’s the legal recourse if he has to poop and doesn’t flush?  All of my questions about Santa Swag could never be answered.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, swag is defined in the dictionary as “the individual’s ability to accomplish various formidable tasks that make them more attractive and successful in their social interactions.”  Thus, Santa Swag, is one’s ability to be like Santa in both style and grace.

The day of the Christmas party arrived and I still had some personal concerns  I had it down to two options:  Go in and be Santa or Go in and be Santa with a couple of drinks as my worker elves.

Eventually, through coaxing and cocktails,  I was felt confident enough to put on the suit.  I must say that the Santa suit didn’t breathe the way I expected it to.  Made entirely of polyester, the Santa Suit was a bit stuffy.

Despite the potential for being the  first Santa on record to sweat through his suit, I greeted the party with my best “ho ho ho.”  It felt lackluster, but I have to tell you folks, those kids lit up and screamed, “SANTA!”  Little phalanges pawed at my legs, tugged at my hand and groped for my beard implant .  It was a very strange feeling to have people believe you’re someone that you know you’re not.  It was a little like going to summer camp, but with less drinking.

The first three children sat on my knee and asked for normal things that kids might want:  bicycle, Barbie, action figures, videogames.  This all felt pretty standard.   Then this last little girl scampered to Santa’s throne looked up and squealed, “Merry Christmas Santa!” After I reciprocated, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas.  As seriously as a child could she whispered, “I want a bunny and a rainbow for Christmas.”

Read that again.  A bunny and a rainbow.  Well shoot, you can’t explain to a child that rainbow are refracted light or that bunnies poop more than grandpa.   Christmas is something for kids that inspires hope in the miraculous and the magical   When looking at Santa I would like to think kids see more than just the man who gives presents.

The myth of the man speaks of an immortal man who spends every day of every day of every year using all his resources, time, love and intellect perfecting the task of giving.  These are all traits that we expect from our heroes.  They fly in the face of the impossible, they are perfectly altruistic and they always, always, deliver.  Heroes are projections of the ideals society claims to hold dearest.  And there is no bigger hero than Santa.  He gives of himself and only asks for baked goods for himself and carrots for his reindeer.  What a wonderful thing to tell children, that there exists in this world the personification of giving.  While the myth of Santa  provides leverage for good behavior one month out of the year and provides justification for consumerism or  material indulgence, I would also like to believe that at its core has higher aims.  St. Nick or Santa Claus is also known as St. Nikolai the Miracle Creator.  The miracle for Santa is more than just traveling at the speed of light, it’s the infinite capacity for giving.

I think it’s easy to be cynical about how Christmas has been hijacked by Coca Cola imagery and five a.m. sales, but Christmas really can be a beautiful thing.  For all the children it spoils, there are two dozen more who are taking away a lesson that it is better to give than to receive and that each child brings with it great hopes and that your life is meant to be one of giving of yourself to others.  Santa is the American Saint of indulgence, but also of hope.  If this is what Santa can do, imagine what Jesus Christ could.

So in this the brief moment that I had to mull over the request of this little girl, I looked up at the crowd of people all waiting for Santa to say the right thing, the perfect thing.   It can help a kid believe in the right things about people, about miracles, and about Christmas.  So I smiled, looked at her and whispered, “I think my elves can handle that.”

Posted by: robinsonwarner | December 3, 2009

The Future Is In Your Hands

Funny line of the day from my friend Matt when I asked him how his job in finance is going, “We ran out of homeless people to set on fire this morning, but it’s ok becuase we just received a fresh shipment of puppies.”

I’m back from my Thanksgiving vacation so the posts should be more regular unless I can’t think of anything good to write about.

It’s amazing how you can be out with your friends having a drink or out to dinner and one girl in the party decides she has to go to the bathroom.  Then another.  Then another.  Before you know it the gaggle of people chatting boisterously has diminished to three lonely bros chugging their drinks and reverting back to discussing a local sports team… or boobs. 

The girls will be gone for roughly six and a half hours and come back laughing and in good spirits.  They might also have party favors or a festive hat.  They will just say, “Oh you know.  Girl’s room.”  They’ll sit back down and inform you that there was a line (there’s always a line) which is what kept them.  A girl letting you know there was a line in the bathroom is like letting people know that she ate her cereal with milk this morning; it’s understood. 

A girl might also let you know that only one of them had to pee and the other girls came along for company.  Now besides the obvious fact that women are going into the women’s room to talk about you, they all go because it’s actually fun.  I have been told on several occasions, by real life women, that girls are talking and laughing, putting on make up, sharing stories, chewing gum, sometimes playing pinball while they’re in the women’s room.  This socializing evolved out of necessity from the long lines that are constantly plaguing the women’s bathroom.  Because ya know, girls have to pee sitting down… so it takes longer.  I have to know though, is the women’s room just as chatty without lines?  From what I’ve also heard from many illegal breaches into the women’s bathroom is that it is always sparkling.  No joke, there are ionic pillars that flank both sides of all the stalls.  All the faucets are made of Tiffany’s platinum that reassure women that they’re outfit does not make them look fat in three languages.  And you know how there are attendants in really fancy bathrooms in really fancy restaurants?  I heard that all women’s bathrooms have attendants and they hand out Lindt chocolates.  You can go to a bathroom at Burger King in Hoboken and there will be an attendant decked out in a tuxedo offering you perfume and chocolate.

Going into a men’s bathroom is like going into a men’s bathroom at their home.  It’s darkly lit, and there’s always a slight possibility that the toilet seats has pee on it.  It doesn’t necessarily look bad, but it something just feels a little weird about them.  Like a medieval dungeon except with more rats and dead bodies.

  But enjoying the bathroom is a truly foreign concept to men.  The bathroom is fun?  And more importantly, you’re allowed to talk

Someone not well versed in the men’s room, namely women, might think the men’s room would be a blast due to our naturally carefree nature, but it is about as serious as delivering twins.  Men are indeed pack animals and we do enjoy the company of others, but when we go to the bathroom, we all understand it is a journey we must make alone.   This is contrary to expectations because men do enjoy going to the bathroom and will talk about it freely with other men.  They compare frequency, volume, density, the longest pee they ever took, etc.  But all of the frivolity and humor that is associated with men goes right out the window as soon as the door opens. 

First of all, there is no eye contact with anyone.  Ever.  Second, when you step up to the urinal, you are to stare straight ahead at the handle of the urinal.  One of my favorite humorists Dave Barry said the stare men get while going to the bathroom can be described in intensity as looking at the wall like it has the chemical formula from turning lead into platinum inscribed on it and you’re trying to memorize it.  Why are guys so serious when they pee?  You know that one weak point on the Death Star from Star Wars, well it would be like every time the Death Star sent out ships, that weaknesses had giant red lights around it, exposing it’s primary weakness.  When men are peeing, everything goes on high alert.  The weakness is exposed.

This is why men go into a defensive stance when they pee.  They are puffed up, broad shoulders, perfect posture and a deathly stare right ahead of them.  They finish their pee and leave as with haste and intent to get out of the range of conflict.  Get out before the lions get you.  However, sometimes men have tried to leave a little too quickly which has resulted in the infamous “Get Your Penis Caught In The Zipper” mishap.  Every guy has either done this or had a really close call.  Any deviation from this ritualistic formula might cause such an alarm in the fragile men’s room social sphere that it could cause a man to be beaten to death with the toilet paper holder.

The men’s room is such a serious endeavor because of what is being handled in there.  If an outsider were looking just at the people in the men’s room they would conclude these men were all handling nuclear isotopes.  And the truth is that it’s much more impotant:  penises. 

This kind of passive aggression and defensive posturing is obviously an absurd anachronism in today’s world, but back in the day you had to worry about predators getting you while you were at your weakest.  In men’s defense, there is a biological imperative to take the men’s room so seriously.  Men understand their future lies in the genitals, and something deep in our coded genetic past has told us to make sure that gets passed on.  And any time there is even remote danger to that chance, shit gets very serious very quickly.

But the mistake that is commonly made regarding men is that the penis is a joking matter.  People joke about the things that are the most important.  Here’s a good penis joke, “My dick is so big that when I go to the movies, the popcorn sizes are small, medium and My Dick.”

And it’s because of all of this that men don’t go to the bathroom together.  The men’s room is already a dangerous jungle that must be navigated with the utmost care and tact, why clutter it with another body when you’re protecting your Future.

So when you see a guy coming back from the men’s room and he looks really glad to see you it’s because in his his own mind he has successfully traversed a harsh landscape of danger and decit while defending his genetic heritage with stealth, tact, and poise.  But more importantly he didn’t get his dong caught in his zipper.

Posted by: robinsonwarner | November 18, 2009

Covert Mixtapes

Men have a fairly difficult time expressing their feelings.  There is usually a lot of shuffling of feet, looking up at the ceiling and perhaps a barely audible sentence.  Women have spent centuries trying to get their guys to open up their hearts, their minds and their feelings; often with very little success.  Couples therapy is designed to foster an atmosphere where a guy can be perfectly honest with his mate.  Why do they always have them in stuffy offices though?   All you have to do to get them to open up is give them a six-pack.  This is called being emotionally handicapped.

But with all this angst and frustration that comes between the lack of reciprocity between men and women, it bears mentioning that women are so anxious to hear feelings of love and affection from their guys because they know the guy has the capacity for these emotions.  She’s seen it so much she can taste it.  It just hasn’t been directed towards her.  This is because she knows he has no problem sharing his love with his guy friends.  She understands there is a special bond that can never be duplicated by a woman, only emulated.  This is not to say that the love of a woman isn’t one of the most wonderful, fulfilling things the world has to offer, because it is.  But for all the guys out there, you know.  It’s just not the same without the boys.

Now even in the utopia of the male social circle, there still exists a small margin for anxiety.  Guys have the need to share pretty much everything with each other.  This can range from an amazing dump they took to step by step instructions on the best way to conceal an unscheduled erection.  But sometimes you need to share things that, if taken the wrong way, could be a little weird.  You know… personal things.  I’m talking about guys sharing music with each other.  I’m talking about Covert Mixtapes.

We’ve all made a mixtape for a girl or guy we liked because of the emotional connection between music and our personal lives.  That song reminds me of that girl or that power ballad reminds me of that time that guy and I danced at Freshmen Splash Bash.  Even the most cold hearted of cynical bastards has had romantically emotional reactions to songs and, at the very least, compiled a theoretical playlist to give to the object of their affection.

Now, given that guys have spent all of middle school and at least half of high school letting everyone know that they were, in fact, not homosexuals, sharing music, which is a decidedly non-platonic affair, can be rather awkward.  To combat this awkwardness, it’s important to figure out what the most heterosexual, but also intimate forum where guys can exchange music?  How can they share something they love with other men without it being considered a move pregnant with non-platonic intent?  The answer: guys drinking beer together.  If you’ve seen commercials for beer you will understand that beer commercials are the paragon of heterosexual activity while also taking on a very personal setting. 

Whether it’s drinking before engaging in heterosexual courtship rituals or participating in the hyper-masculine activity of watching tons of men in tight uniforms pile on top of each other for nine sweaty hours, guys will often be drinking beer and therefore lowering their guards and inhibitions.

Now it’s always a little varied, but a guy can introduce the music he loves and wishes to share with other guys by having a conversation like this :

[It is important to keep in mind these gentlemen have been drinking lots of beer]

Gary:  I’m very excited to go out tonight.  I feel like I haven’t seen you and the guys in forever.  It’s just like old times.

Paul:  Totally man.  Hey, this is a pretty good song.  I really like it.  I heard this amazing song the other day and I thought of you.. er.. I thought you might like it.

Gary:  Sounds good.  Put it on.

They key when taking the music reins is to assure the previous DJ that you approve of and admire their music choice.  It is exemplary and is to be praised for it’s totally dope flavor.  Once this formality is observed, Paul is free to tentatively share even more of himself with Gary.  Gary, subconsciously understanding that what Paul is doing is a very intimate and important gesture in their friendship, acknowledges this and smoothly hands over the reins of whatever music playing device they are currently utilizing.

It should be noted that sometimes males, specifically middle class white males will engage in music sharing that is not meant as gesture of affection and sincerity which lands it outside the realm of a Covert Mixtape.  White males will in engage in Competitive Mixtapes which is the closest thing white people can get to battle rapping.  It is a back and forth between two males who are showcasing their knowledge of independent music, obscure remixes, mash-ups, first releases and underground music.  This is an activity in letting your friends know that you are the one who is the most anti-conformist of the group.  If you don’t know what I mean, take a look at this video:

Competitive mixtapes aside, what is valuable about these kinds of exchange is that it a completely verbal exchange of information without any evidence of any quasi-romantic gestures.  Let’s say there were to be a fall out between Gary and Paul, had Paul produced a tangible mixtape, Gary would have on his hands some gayvidence.

Gayvidence is a tangible object that could be used in a court of law to suggest that a man, the creator of the object, is actually a homosexual which runs contrary to what everyone initially thought.  Due to the Nile River of homophobia that runs through American culture and male social circles, gayvidence could lead to truly earth shattering revelations.

However, the flip side of gayvidence is that it raises questions such as, “Why was Gary holding onto this mixtape after Paul made it for him?”  or “Seriously, why did you save the mixtape?”  This line of questioning could lead an independent party to believe that both Gary and Paul were indeed homosexuals.  It is for this reason that it is best to not have any evidence at all and any sharing of music be completely covert in nature.

What we can take away from this is that men are indeed capable of love.  They are fiercely loyal creatures that innately understand the unconditional bond they have with other individuals, they just have a very difficult time being explicit about it.  The reason they are more open with their guy friends is because they trust each other completely because they know every single one of their most embarrassing moments, failures and shortcomings.  With women, men are on a constant job interview.   Yes they might have already gotten the “job” with a woman, but the performance review is 24-7.  Men are loyalists to a fault, but women are rationalists.  Women understand that men need to be performing at a certain level to be worthy enough to be with the, but men will often keep a guy in their social circle simply because they appreciate his ability to fart on command.  Sometimes it’s just nice to have the bar lowered a little.

Men love women probably more than women will ever understand, but ladies, you need to understand it’s a lot of pressure cleaning our bathrooms for you, not scratching themselves, watching sports, pretending to like tapas, seeing romantic comedies, and moving your furniture.  Every man needs a release valve and that’s what guy friends are for.

Posted by: robinsonwarner | November 16, 2009

Beyond Top Secret

I meet you.  You meet me.  We exchange handshakes and maybe after a while, if we become close enough friends, a kiss on the cheek.  We met at a bar and have hit it off as friends.  But it’s not official yet and we both know it.  One day, I overcome my awkwardness and I decide to request the friendship become official.  I want us to be friends on Facebook.

Facebook was one of those things that changed your life.  I know I was a freshman at Providence College when it was announced that Facebook was extending its prestigious list to encompass even more schools in its the online social network.  None of us knew really what Facebook was except that other schools had it and we wanted it.  We would have never guessed the ripples it would send through our social lives.  When it finally arrived we all spent hours “friending” people we knew from our floor or class, or tagging pictures that we might have taken during the weekend.  The friend requests were always tentative and we would let our friends know that our social clout had been raised by saying things like, “Oh Mike, you know that girl Tiffany from orientation?  Yeah well she friended me on Facebook.  Boom.”  The pictures consistened of us doing foolish things at night usually with a solo cup in our hand or a ceremonious tilt of a Bud Light bottle.  We were in college and we wanted everyone to know it.  Facebook was the perfect way to revel in our own excess.

We also learned that “poking” meant, “I think you’re special enough to warrant an online gesture that is mildly sexual and flirtatious.”  And while all this was going on we were heading to parties, meeting new people, exchanging information and having a blast all the while. 

But once Facebook came along there came along with it a secret anxiety when we met new people.  These people were great, but when you weren’t “Facebook friends” with somebody, it just didn’t feel right.  Do they not care about me enough to Facebook me?  This is not a real friendship I fear.  But eventually we would get drunk and Facebook those who we desired or they would do the same.  It was awkward but it all worked out for the best.  We were all figuring it out together and that’s why it was acceptable to make mistakes.  We were writing the rules as we went along. 

But with Facebook came a heightened visibility for all.  To sign up to Facebook and to allow your image on there, there was an understanding that you could be accessed, analyzed and admired.  Facebook changed the way we pined for those we thought were special.  We could look at pictures of the girl or guy we liked or see who our ex-girlfriends from high school were hanging out with.  A common sentence uttered in dorms was, “Did you see the pictures that (Insert hottie) put up from last weekend?  Amazing.”  And so Facebook Stalking was born.

For those of you reading and cringing,  it’s all right.  Just like most people with a problem, you’re in denial.  You’ve done it.   Let those of you without Facebook Sin cast the first Poke.  That’s what I thought. Everyone Facebook Stalks (FBS) and everyone loves it.  But as Facebook became exponentially more popular across campuses, it spawned a  culture of social networking that was too large to be contained bycampus life.  Facebook was soon available to everyone.  Prometheus had given fire to the mortals and that changed everything.

Suddenly, the plebeians had access to the circles of the patricians.  How do we keep them out?  We had to make sure those out of college could not see our profiles without being our friends. We needed control and six years later we have the “limited profile”.  In addition to this, people have just stopped making their pictures available even those with whom they were friends.  This, my friends, is a derelection of duty.

In our attempt and caution in preventing the plebeians from accessing our pictures and profiles, we have denied the patricians in many cases the sacred rite of Facebook Stalking.

This is a problem because for those of you have pulled your pictures and profiles because you signed an online agreement as soon as you hit “accept” on the drunk friend request from that nice guy from the bar that you would be able to Facebook Stalk each other.  That’s the deal.  That’s the way it works and to suddenly limit access is a violation of that agreement.

And for girls reading this and pretending to be horrified at what you’re thinking only boys do in their free time, I suggest you get off your Lisa Frank bedazzled high horses.  Girls check out pictures of people they find attractive just, but like with pooping, they are exceptionally secretive.  Furthermore, girls put up pictures on Facebook for their own posterity and with the hope that hot guys will check out those pictures.  This functions as a process to foster social eminence amongst their peers who are both male and female.   

Girls expect other girls they know to notice what a super fabulous lifestyle you lead.  Martinis at a fancy bar downtown?!  That’s just like “Sex and the City”! 

And this is probably the only forum where the, “Oh She Wouldn’t Be Dressed Like That If She Didn’t Want Attention Argument” actually works.  Girls put pictures of themselves looking super sexy and socially elite so that their peers will see it  and be impressed.  The argument works because there is control of what images are reproduced online.  The Camera Girl who is the one who takes pictures of every piece of god damned pizza you eat during the night will always check with her girlfriends to see what pictures will be posted and will always exercise a healthy amount of discretion if they really care about the girl.

These actions are taken with the understanding that men are exceptionally visual creatures.  This is why the aesthetics and presentation of how women dress causes Brain Freeze when a hot girl walks in the bar.  A guy could be at dinner, prepping for a foursome with Marilyn Monroe, Scarlet Johansson, and that hot girl from Smoothie King when all of a sudden a girl looking good walks in the restaurant and he would, without even missing a beat in conversation, watch that perfect ten walk all the way across the restaurant.  With women possessing this knowledge, pictures are posted on Facebook.  Men can’t help but look and positive exposure makes women seem otherworldly in their beauty.

What this all comes down to is the reproduction of the image that we want others to see.  To control your image you are able to paint a picture to the online and inherently the real world community the type of person you are.  As a person who is used to this kind of access to images of people we find interesting or beautiful, we can’t help but wonder when this accessibility is rescinded, “What are they hiding?”

Posted by: robinsonwarner | November 13, 2009

Update

Gentle Snowflakes,

I have been battling a fairly gnarly sinus infection for the past few days.  Thus, I have not been up for doing anything other than going to work followed immediately by me feeling sorry for myself.  Once I get some antibiotics next week I should be able to be more regular with the posts than I was this week.  Thank you for the understanding.

-Robinson

Posted by: robinsonwarner | November 11, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance

I know I just had a post on graduating from college and going into the real world, but it certainly had me thinking about some of the other transitions we also make in our lives.  As we make our transitions into adulthood we change our silly voicemails on our phones that have inform the caller to leave a message after the fart.  We might start buying more professional looking clothes for our job interviews with the hopes that we can use these clothes in our new jobs.  We might start partying a little less and focusing more on our careers.  During this whole process, something very interesting happens to our online selves as well as our actual selves:  we start to move away from chatting online.  The older we get, AOL Instant Messenger/chatting online becomes the thing we love to tell our friends we’ve outgrown because it makes us seem older to do so.

Josh:  Oh yeah, I don’t even go online anymore.  I’m just so busy being busy with the business busyness stuff.  I’m so slammed.  I haven’t gone online since… like… World War II.

Matt:  Dude, you were talking to me online from the other side of the apartment last week for two hours showing me pictures of boobs.  I could hear you laughing.  Also, you’re twenty-two years old so you couldn’t have been alive during World War II and furthermore the internet wasn’t invented.  So… yeah.

Josh:  Whatever dude.  George was the one on my computer.  He loves to go and mess around on my computer.

Matt:  You lived with George freshmen year.  He transferred to Rutgers.

Josh:  I’m so busy.

And so on and so forth.  While we get older we try to separate ourselves from the supposedly “childish” things we used to do and the adult things we are preparing to do. 

Regardless of what you tell your friends about your online communication habits, the fact remains that most people will graduate and they will need to get a new email address because their college only allows them to use the college domain name for so long.  Most people my age deal with this by signing up for Gmail.   Gmail is a free email service provided by the online juggernaut Google.  It has lots of interesting features that your cheap-ass college email service didn’t have, but more importantly it has a chat capability.  It is an unspoken understanding that chatting online with AIM is for lame immature farty pants, but Gchatting is for sophisticated, graduated business-minded people.

People who are Gchatting love to let everyone know that while they are Gchatting with you, they’re also at work.  This anecdote signifies that you have moved on from your college email domain, thus signifying a tacit acceptance of  intellectual status while also let’ting people know you are actually employed somewhere.  This denotes a certain level of professionalism and maturity as well.  The perfect sentence you can type on Gchat is, “I don’t watch television anymore because I’m so busy with work at my job.”

The fact remains though that people are still chatting online in some way shape or form despite what they say.  People who use Gchat do not also use AIM.  It is cognitive dissonance on a very simple scale.  People are shunning AIM because it involves chatting online, while also embracing Gmail/GChat because of its online chatting capabilities.  What makes it so college graduates subconciously embrace Gchat for the same reasons they cast off AIM?

Screen names.

People are unbearably embarrassed by their screen names by the time they graduate.  They’ve usually had the screen name all through high school and all of college.  It would be like wearing the same exact outfit every time you went out for eight years.  You’re going to get sick of it eventually. 

Also, after eight years or so, what you thought was cool at fourteen isn’t exactly cool to have as the representative of your online self at twenty-two.  Someone could have four degrees in astrophysics, but as long as their screen name was “QtDollPhace69”  you would think they needed a helmet to eat their Go-Gurt.  All screennames are embarrassing in some way and especially when you’re trying to explain to people the first time you instant message them, “Oh yeah, I picked ‘BallerSupreme420’ because I was really into basketball and weed when I was fourteen.”  You’re going to sound like a moron no matter what.

The beauty of Gchat is that we get to avoid this whole song and dance and use our real, human names and not our projected, online, fictional selves that makes some grandiose assertion about a nickname we wish we had, our activities in our free time, our favorite sports team, or our physical attributes we want the online community to take note of.  With GChat, the only sort of profile you have has your email address and maybe your picture.

With AIM it had all those emo song lyrics about that girl you liked, plus the red and blue text about the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004 as well as some “deep” quote you heard in Philosophy 101 that made you sound really deep, but Nietzsche was really talking about the deconstruction of organized and meaningful theism in the seemingly nihilistic twentieth century religious landscape and not about the importance of drinking beer every Friday like you originally thought.

These are all the things we want to be able to hide in our new lives as college graduates.  We’re not ready to let everyone remember that we’re still kids with our own immature misconceptions as well as strange desires on how we want the world to see us as.  GChatting lets us hide ourselves in plain sight with our own names so we don’t have to pigeonhole ourselves into narrowminded generalizations based on our online personas we chose when we were just children.  The reality is that we still don’t know who we are, but graduating from AIM to Gchat allows us to sort it all out in the meantime so we get to still talk with our friends while sorting out our own personal ethos.

Posted by: robinsonwarner | November 9, 2009

Real World 101

So I graduated from college.  Yep.  It happened.  I did it in four years too.  Yep.  So there it is.  I certainly learned a lot about politics, sociology, human behavior and history.  Maybe I don’t know how to solve basic word problems or what causes fog but I graduated.  Regardless of what I learned there really is nothing in the world that can prepare you for what lies beyond the hallowed halls of your university.   The only way to deal with the real world is to go out into it.  But what about the fact that there were people in the real world who, when we asked about life after college, just shrugged their shoulders and said enjoy to enjoy our time as well as a multitude other quaint pleasantries.   

As seniors in college we understood that time was wearing exceptionally thin and we would have to get jobs and do something productive.  It was okay to live with our parents still, but we really didn’t want to because sometimes you just want to eat cookie dough in your underwear.  Now that’s indepedence. 

What about all those fun images in beer commercials where there are young twenty-somethings enjoying their professional careers in large apartments… and beer!  Beer!  If only someone in the real world could have told me all the things I probably should have learned how to do once I got out of college.

Be prepared to be on the phone… a lot – When you get your own place and things break, it means you need to be on the phone asking someone in India (yes, I’m looking at you India) how to fix your Dell.  Or you have to be on the phone with your bank wondering why there was a one hundred and twenty dollar overwithdraw fee.  Has anyone ever tried to get their cable turned on?  Or talked to your energy provider?  It’s like trying to nail jello to a tree.   These were all the phone calls that your parents made for you while you were still knee deep in your four year vacation. 

You have to work to meet people – In the real world there are places to meet single and attractive young people, but nothing will ever compare to the undergraduate experience.  College is a giant pot of spaghetti sauce mixed with hormones, alcohol, people coming out of their shells, just a dash of loud music, and a healthy amount of lowered inhibitions.   You are constantly in the state of meeting guys and gals that you find worthy of your attention. 

When you do graduate though you will need to work a little harder because you’re at work all week and when you get home from work all you want to do is rock back and forth in the fetal position eating cold Spaghetti-O’s while listening to The Cure in your bath robe.  You have to introduce yourself boldly in the real world to really put yourself out there.  In college you’re already there, all you need to do is go out. 

You don’t belong at college bars – I know when you graduated you thought, “I could do this forever!”, but believe it or not, when you graduated, it was just the right time.  Once that looming spectre of steamed brussel sprouts known as graduation is upon you, it becomes something you accept and it turns into a bittersweet brownie of redemption and pride.  Once you’ve accepted this reality you can’t go back to college.  It’s like Lucy and Peter Pevensie in “Prince Caspian”:  sometimes you’re just too old for Narnia.  Don’t believe me?  I live down the street from Tulane University in New Orleans and you best believe I’ve tried to go to college bars and get back to Narnia, but I continue to learn the lesson that as soon as I walk in that I don’t belong anymore.

You can’t drink as much in the real world as much as you did in college – Everyone knows that college is a magical place where beautiful, smart, women flock and boys… and yes we are boys… boys are pretty much the same no matter what, but the point is that college is pretty flippin’ magical.  And college magic enables its students to seemingly defy the odds of what a human being can physically and psychologically handle.  This pertains specifically to alcohol consumption and required hours of sleep.  Your inability to drink as much is twofold. 

The first is the Harry Potter Theorem.  This theorem operates under the principle in the Harry Potter series which states that Harry was protected from Voldemort during the summers in between school years as long as he called his aunt and uncle’s house his home.  College is like this with drinking:  as long as you call your college your home you are protected by a magic that allows you to do ridiculous things with only minor consequences.  Yeah your hangover might be terrible on Saturday but of course you were going out in under seven hours.  There was nothing a little brunch and more drinking couldn’t cure.

You try this shit in the real world and for some reason your hangover the following morning feels like the exact opposite of what petting a puppy is.  I’m not sure what it is, but think about how great puppies are just as an abstract idea.  Now think of the exact opposite of that.  I’m thinking it’s a mix of the feeling when you put on a wet bathing suit combined with being Ann Coulter’s prom date. 

The second reason you can’t drink as much as you could in college is that you’ll probably get fired from your job.  Think about those days when you were hungover on the way to class when the most trivial things in the world seemed like brain surgery.  You would do what is called the Hangover Haggle.  This is a low-grade mental gymnastics where your responsible side tries to bargain with your actual, hung over self.

Responsible Self:  Get up. We have to go to Ethics today.  We skipped last week and Dr. Smith takes attendance because he will deduct points from our final grade for too many absences.  Oh God, we smell like cigarettes and shame.

Hung Over Self:  All right fiiiiiine.  You’re such a douche.  But we’re going to McDonald’s after class.

Responsible Self:  No.  Absolutely not.  It made us feel even worse.  Fast food does not cure hangovers.  You need water, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

Hung Over Self:  Chipotle?

Responsible Self:  Fine.  You know one burrito still has like 1,800 calories right.  You’re not eating again today.

Hung Over Self:  Fuck that.  We’re going back for dinner before night class.  And can we not walk up any hills today?  I don’t think I can handle hills today.  Plus I need my favorite sweatpants.  Where are my sunglasses?

Responsible Self:  No one will ever love you.

Now imagine if you had to go to work for eight hours like this.  Woof.

Everything costs money – In college you have that summer savings to chip away at for your spending money.  You worked hard for four months and it was really terrible but you made enough money to go on spring break in Cancun and buy shots for your buddies occasionally during the spring and fall semesters.  You go out to eat when you want to, go to the movies and take road trips.  But this is what you worked for.  You worked to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Also, you don’t necessarily pay rent when you’re in college except when you live off campus, but your parents helped pay for that too.

However, when you graduate you start to notice that movies cost $9.75, groceries are really expensive, drinks cost much more outside the university area and Jesus Christ Canolis do you go through gas quickly.  I mean everything you do costs some sort of money that you’re earning and have to earn unless you want to amass a fairly sizable debt.  And that shit is really depressing because all the little things you don’t think about most certainly add up.  There needs to be therapy groups for this kind of stuff.  How did my parents do it?

Whether it’s a loss of a sense of frivolity or now that I have a degree, college seems like a faraway place that I will always look back at with a very deep feeling of melancholy, but all of us know that when we graduate we can’t go back.  All our lives we had expectations:  graduate from high school, go to college, don’t kill yourself, and finally graduate.  What now?  These lofty expectations that society has held for you since you were born have been fullfilled.  I feel like a twenty three year old child, but college does a funny thing because it makes it so you have expectations of your own and instead of just fullfilling the expectations of society, you actually become a part of it.  That is what is truly terrifying about graduation. 

I left the stove on for two hours the other day and kept complaining my house smelled like burning meat.  But these kinds of learning experiences are most certainly part of the journey.  Maybe not the burning meat part, but we have to make our own mistakes, learn what works for us as professionals as well as active members of society and we must wholeheartedly embrace the seemingly less frequent moments of levity and joy that seemed to come so easily when we were undergraduates.

 

Posted by: robinsonwarner | November 4, 2009

Mayo The Force Be With You

I was watching television the other day and I saw a commercial for Miracle Whip, the mayonnaise alternative that, as far as I can tell, just developed a marketing strategy.  Now Miracle Whip has been around for just over seventy-five years after it was debuted at the World’s Fair. And in my twenty-three years on this planet,  I’ve never seen a commercial for it.  I’ve seen one of my best friends hit on a wild deer, but I’ve never seen a commercial for Miracle Whip.  It seems that Miracle Whip has finally taken an aggressive team of advertisers to let everyone know that Miracle Whip doesn’t fuck around.  Take a look at this commercial.

Here is what we have learned about people who use Miracle Whip:

  • They will not keep quiet
  • They’re not like the others
  • They will not tone it down

Now this is the kind of marketing that appeals to Western individualism and counterculture where the individual rallies passionately against the bonds of conformity and thus trumpet their hyper-individuality through their consumption of a series of widely consumed products.  Pepsi does this by saying they are the voice of a “new generation” or “young people who love the shit out of Coca-Cola like everyone else, but need a beverage that assuages the guilt that comes with bleating like the rest of the herd of consumerist sheep”.  No one can tell me Pepsi tastes better.  If you do you’re lying to yourself and God.  Oddly enough, God is a Mr. Pibb kinda gal.  I know, right?

Doritos has also done a similar thing by marketing to counterculture individualism by expanding their flavors by making them “xtreme”.  This allows people to tailor their chip consumption based on whether you snowboard or hang glide.  The newest Doritos flavor is actually called “Che-eze Guevara”.  The chip that tastes like revolution! 

But looking back at this new commercial for Miracle Whip, one might think this is just another recycled marketing trick that is being utilized by Kraft (the company that makes Miracle Whip).  I wouldn’t blame you if you did, but if you look more closely at the commercial you can see something far more sinister.  At the 00:14 mark look at what is sitting on the couch:  a hipster (see number four). 

**CUE SINISTER MUSIC**

Miracle Whip is marketing to the hipsters now!  Someone get in touch with NORAD.  Holy tight jeans, it all makes perfect sense:  the faux rebelliousness, the hyper-individualism, the allusion to rock and roll, the anti-conformity.  What is the truly genius part that will lure the hipster is the creation of a shared past that there are people who are actively rallying against Miracle Whip.  Oh yeah, I forgot about the Barney-Reingold Bill (1934) that forbid the use of Miracle Whip in American households which spawned an underground movement of sandwich consumption that has been raging in the underground music scene of Brooklyn for the past seventy years.  There is even a special unit within America’s military to make sure the use of this sandwich spread does not become a culinary pandemic. 

All kidding aside, given that there didn’t seem to be much aggressive advertising for Miracle Whip until this commercial, and also given the fact that it has been around for seventy-five years, we can conclude that Miracle Whip has been, in fact, surviving by word of mouth.  And hipsters love word of mouth.  According to hipsters, that’s how all of the best music is proselytized.  In fact, the ideal hipster music show would be from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist where there is this amazing indy rock band that hates publicity and is performing a super-ulta-secret-double-stampies-no-tellsies-totes-for-realsies show somewhere in Manhattan.  The only way to find out about this totally rockin’ show is to have someone tell you.  Whoooooaaaaa (guitar riff).

Once hipsters pick up on this fact about Miracle Whip, I won’t be at all surprised ifthe next commercial for Miracle Whip depicts a scene of douchey frat boys with popped collars, listening to T-Pain and drinking Bud Light.  The lights will cut out at the party and when they come back on all of finger sandwiches from the party will have been taken (frat boys love finger sandwiches).  The camera will cut to hipsters ironically eating the finger sandwiches with Miracle Whip while rubbing their mustaches together.  Oh, and all the Bud Light will have been replaced with Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Why am I up in arms about this?  I love Miracle Whip.  I put it on all my sandwiches and it’s delicious.  My friends make fun of me for it, but not to the point where I’m a social pariah and have to set up a whole new set of friends that understand my penchant for alternative sandwich spreads.  And I’m concerned that Miracle Whip might be taken over by the overzealous counterculture that is hipsterism and I will be faced with a moral quandary.  What is more important, my principled distaste of hipsters or my joyful taste buds?  For those such as myself, we have a decision to make.

This post is for my dad who positively hates Miracle Whip and every time he sees it in the refrigerator his face looks like the dog shit in the vegetable drawer again.  My guess is that he would actually be happier if he did find dog shit in the refrigerator instead of finding Miracle Whip.  Happy Birthday Dad!

Posted by: robinsonwarner | November 3, 2009

The Space Between

Texting is an important part of everyday life for most people.  You can send a quick message to a friend or quickly and easily let a loved one know you are thinking of them.  Our generation has developed very dextrous thumbs from this combination of chatting online, video games and texting.  Moving our fingers rapidly over a keypad or keyboard is as much a part of our existence as brushing our teeth or clubbing a baby seal.  That’s why our parents so often struggle with the concept of texting or even using their thumbs for things that we wouldn’t even think about:  this stuff simply didn’t exist. 

As evidence, next time you’re watching television with your parents and they have the remote and change the channel.  They will nervously teeter the remote in the middle of their palm and use their index finger to change the channel; poking randomly at the remate like a chimp and an ant-filled log.  Part of this is because their thumbs aren’t as nimble as ours and the other part is that we spend a lot more time watching television than our parents because they ya know… have responsibilities.  They don’t have time to figure out what the “input” button is.

chimpanzee

But thumbs aside, what I’m more interested in is that space in between text messages when you hit “send” and your screen says “sent”.  More specifically, when you’re texting with someone you like, texting becomes a peculiar point of anxiety.  Because let’s all be adults for a moment and put it out there:  unless you’re texting your friends or your parents, if you are having a text conversation with a girl or guy, you’re flirting.  And flirting is a fairly nerve-racking endeavor because we’re surreptitiously letting people know we think they’re pretty great.  You’re flirting which is w hy you immediately check your phone when you get a text to see if they’re returning the sentiment you so sneakily shared with them.

The most disappointing thing is when you’re expecting a text from that special someone and it’s your friend asking you what you want on your pizza.  And in that particular moment you hate your friend because you were expecting it to be the cute guy from Starbucks that you finally got the nerve to give your number to.  It’s not that you actually hate your friend, but it’s just that you wanted to flirt damn it and you really don’t need anymore drama queen moments from Cindy who can’t decide whether periwinkle is her color. 

 We like it because texting is a safer form of flirting where we get to keep ourselves hidden through our phones but still say intimate things to the people we care about.  It is a masked courtship that protects us from the forced intimacies of putting our own feelings on the line in person.  But what about when people stop texting.  It happens all the time.  You’ll be having some solid banter with the cute girl from the library when the messages just stop.  You were receiving fairly regular text messages every few minutes and the instant that frequency is broken your mind starts to wander.  Holy shit, what did I say wrong?  Should I have not made that joke about seals?  Is she part seal?  Was her uncle killed by a seal?  These are the kinds of absurdities your mind jumps to when that space and time between texts becomes irregular.

For guys, when the text frequency becomes irregular, they will generally assume there is another guy ruining things for them.  This will generally result in lots of grunting and maybe even throwing of objects, pets, cars, etc. 

In the same circumstance a girl will think it was something they said and will go over the transcript of their texts with their girlfriends to try to look for the Fibonacci sequence or anagrams in the text to try to actually decipher what the guy meant when he said, “Can’t hang tonight. the game is on.”  I bet he’s just really concerned about the situation in Pakistan or maybe he’s really getting into Romantic poetry.  But… if you rearrange the letters in “can’t hang tonight the game is on”, it spells “A Egomaniac Tenth Night Thongs”.  GASP!  I bet he’s seeing another woman.

When it comes to texting I think it’s important to have some ground rules to avoid this tension and discord.

1)  If you’re texting and decide to stop abruptly because you need to actually do things with your life, let people know you’re stopping the texting for the moment.  I think that should stop global warming or the Taliban.  I don’t recall which.

2)  If you stop to do something else, like keep your eyes on the road or answer the phone at your work, and the time between texts will become less frequent, then you should say so.  We can’t read your mind.  How can we know that you dropped your bowl of Frosted Flakes on your cat and now there’s a huge mess.  We start to worry!

3)  We will pick up on your texting style, but if you don’t want us to keep texting you or you actually want to have a phone conversation, let us know.

Now when these rules aren’t followed we get exceptionally anxious because we fear the worst, that our thinly veiled comments of flirtation were uncovered and, what is even worse, not well received.  I know people who have had meltdowns because So and So stopped texting them and they don’t know why.  It’s maddening to try to figure out because you keep sending text messages and then you text their friends.  It is beyond me why no one ever thinks to call.  Yep.  Just call someone on the phone.  It is quicker.  But I’m guilty of the same thing.  If I’m touching base with someone quickly about plans for the evening or whether or not I think the Yankees suck wastewater I will generally send a text.  Are we becoming more detached from human interaction or are we just revealing our own insecurities that allow ourselves to hold our true emotions at arm’s length.  Whatever the case, folks, let’s just remember to be more diligent about allaying the worries of those when we abruptly stop texting.

I personally am an advocate of texting but there are always problems that arise.  It’s important for us to be clear and concise with each other and our feelings… especially when we’re e-flirting.  And also to avoid talking about seals.  And using emoticons.  Those are ridiculous.

🙂

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