Friday, May 30, 2008

the heebie jeebies

First off, that's one of my all time favorite sayings. I love it.

I was sitting here.

Laying. I was laying here and... GODDAMMIT.

I'm sick and tired of saying "watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer." When in the hell is this series going to end for me? For those of you who are just joining us, well, in my boredom at the store, I have been entertaining myself with the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

All 7 seasons. And, as of this writing, I have 2.5 episodes left. It is 11:50pm on Friday night, and I'll be damned if I am going to sleep without finishing this series.

So I thought I'd take a break and walk you through exactly what gave me the jeebies.

I got an email from Fangoria. I wanted to see about getting my name in a contest, when I saw this article on John Carpenter. You can read part 1 and part 2 here.

digg link here.

And that made me think of my dad. So, yesterday was the 12th anniversary of my dad's death. He died of lung and brain cancer at the ripe age of 50. He was a Vietnam vet and, by far, the coolest guy I've ever met. Seriously. People say they're lucky to have their parents in their lives, and that they're cool, and when I think of my dad, I don't doubt them. I just feel luckier.

I'll put it to you this way. First, I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to my dad more, especially near the end, about life. I know there were things he could have taught me... things he'd experienced and all.

Second. Let me tell you that if there was one guy on the planet who, after death, would come back and haunt the shit out of me, for fun? It would be him. I'm talking full poltergeist haunting, just to mess with me.

In a really funny way. Like, if I had a girl over, he would do the blood on the walls, "Get OUT" thing... what a pisser.

Hmmm... 12 years ago, that would make me 22. Like, would he have told me not to get married (I'm divorced, btw)? What would he have said about being on anxiety meds for 6 years?

I watch movies that come out and think "He would have loved this one?"

I learned a lot from him. I wish I would have learned more. Here's a bit about how he died, and something I found of his.

So, John Carpenter. I can't remember the first Carpenter film my dad took me to see. I think it was They Live, one of my all time favorites.

My dad took me to every single cool movie that came out. I remember, very clearly, when I was young, going to a Chinese restaurant with him and my sister, and then rushing to go see Time Rider. I saw that poster, man... that thing was AWESOME, and we had to go see that movie.

From there, after They Live, it was The Thing, my second all time favorite movie.

To this day, and I'd seen movies with cursing in it before, but when that F bomb happened, I laughed so hard, my dad had to stop the VCR. I think I was 12.

Big Trouble in Little China was HUGE. That movie was a blast.

Slowly but surely my dad groomed me for a life of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, comic books... Piers Anthony, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Fritz Lieber... he laid the serious groundwork for everything that I enjoy today.

Which moves me into the Jeebies. Seriously. What a crazy word!

I always check CNN. I hate CNN. But ever since 9/11, I check it, every day, every hour that I'm awake, because they update quite regularly. I don't think they're unbiased. It's quite easy to read between the lines. And I don't bother with morons like Glenn Beck.

So, I go and check, and I see this thing about aliens in Colorado.

Fucking aliens. Not, you know, illegal aliens. Real aliens. With ships and...

Check this out. The video is awful, but it's like Signs, except in Colorado.

Ever seen the movie Arachnophobia? For three days, any little thing that touched my skin, I freaked the fuck out. (it's late, I usually don't curse this much on my blog, cause, well, I'm trying to stay pg-13)

This? I double checked my door (cause aliens can't work door knobs), under my bed, behind the shower curtain, in the closets, and I probed my cats.

No! I mean... pshhh... petted my cats. You know, I love my cats.

Love them to DEATH. (see earlier post)


There's the round-a-bout on the evenings thought process.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting (all of you) on any and all posts.

I'll be around. Reading, writing. Watching more Buffy, and then moving on to... christ, you know I'm gonna have to buy the Angel series.

I feel whipped.


PS - my upstairs neighbor, if you can believe this, has that dueling banjos song on.

Now, were I not in the deep south, were I not surrounded by people who drink their alcohol in big jugs with XXX marked on them... were I back home, I would actually have grounds to kill the man.

Kind of like how women can get off of murder charges because it's their time of the month? Well... yeah, see sometimes it works both ways.

Except men don't have PMS. And in this instance, it's banjos.

So yeah. Both ways.

"duh" or "thanks"

Well, I didn't know NIN had done this... I know Radiohead did, and that album, In Rainbows, is awesome.

NIN has a new album out that you can download for free. The Slip.

Check it out.

Can't wait to give this a listen. I've really been digging their music of late.

look what I found!

These... hahaha, oh man. These are so funny. I just kind of stumbled upon them. I'm not sure if anyone has seen these before, but I'm sure that it'll catch on like wild fire.

So funny...


Ok, ok. I know the world is sick of Ask a Ninja but this is my favorite video of the series.

It's 9:22 on Friday morning, and I'm out of milk. Looks like I'm walking to the grocery store.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

I don't hate my mother

How dare you accuse me of that. You don't even know me!

So, my mom decided that she didn't like the color for our new store. You know, the one we just opened.

You know, the one we just painted.

The one where she chose the colors.

Yeah, that one.

So we took everything we'd just put a couple months ago, we took it all off the walls, primed the back wall (I'll have photos Monday), re-painted it, put up new shelves, moved a 6' x 7' 100lb book case... last night and this morning.

And I'm exhausted. Wiped out. A zombie.

The new color... I don't hate it, but I'm not in love with it. My mom seems to be in love with the new wall, so is forgoing dating for the next six months. She took pictures of the wall and framed them and put them on her night stand and kisses the pictures goodnight.

Ok, ok, she doesn't do that, but my sister and I were about to go mutiny on her ass...

We worked very hard, got most of the work done, and now, tomorrow, I work from home and then have the weekend off. So, I'll be relaxing in a t-shirt and boxers tomorrow (the uniform of the work-from-home crowd) and drinking mimosas and spearing fruit with a foot long tooth-pick and my cats will have a large fan made of big leaves, and they'll be fanning me with it.

So yeah, I'm already looking forward to tomorrow.

Tonight, this evening, I'm getting drunk by myself, which is actually... it seems like a sport down here. I feel like I'm prepping myself for the big drink off.

I'm having a great glass of wine, cheese, crackers, fig spread, olives... it's turning into quite a lovely evening, and I figured I would blog just a bit about it.

Have a good night, talk more tomorrow.

J - Retail Hell - ish (goddamn SEO!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

cool made-up stuff about me

I asked a group of perfect strangers what they thought was cool about me. Here's what I got:

"Your arms are 1000 Kilometers long." I'm the less scarred version of Freddy Kruger.

"John was the first blogger to ever have an RSS feed picked up by an extra terrestrial." And none of the little bastards leave any comments!

"John plays air guitar like nobody else." PREACH ON!

"It's not widely known but John has a phd in Politics of Caribbean Nations." I'm the guy who got all the chicks down there to start wearing thongs. Bow to me.

Especially girls in thongs. Bow! Bow backwards!

"John is amazingly good at juggling!" CIA Operative, Martha Stuart regular, wife and mother of three amazing children... I do it all.

"John was knockin' off drug dealers when he got that wound (blogcatalog reference)... got shot three times and still standin'" Ain't gonna get cooked by no fools, man, sheeeit.

"John owns the second biggest ball of yarn in the world." This is only half true, since the ball is actually in my apartment and my neighbors. But we share the glory and the voided Guinness World Records check.

"John once took a trip across the country just so he could stop at every rest stop and read all the magical words on the walls of each and every bathroom." 'nuff said.

"John worked in Paris, France as a runway model until 1985 when he was arrested and deported. After that he started his above mentioned cross country bathroom trip." You want to meet some catty bitches? But I got them back. I was the guy who told the press that even French runway models smell. Who's laughing now, bitches?

"John studied the art of belly dance in Egypt. Though he once took the champion title with his patented wiggle-twist-sliiiiddde movement, he was criticized for his lack of panache..." I deserved that trophy goddammit! Dislocated my hip, now I'm 60lbs overweight and if I were to even try belly dancing again, well, it's in Revelations.

"The samurai are John's heroes." Live by the sword, die by... well, it depends. I mean, heart disease, cancer, donuts. Samurai didn't have to deal with donuts, did they.

"When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for John!!" Do I even need to comment here? No.

But I will! This guy, let me tell you something about the boogeyman. He's like 3 feet tall, bad breath, and he's got these little chicken arms... ah, forget it. He still owes me like a hundred bucks... he's going through a tough time now. I mean, three feet tall. Hello. Who's he scaring, except kids... sheesh.

"John probably has the entire "Terminator" series in his movie collection." This isn't so much cool as it is expected. I also have the whole America's Greatest Hero on DVD, too. Keep upping my cool factor. Keep upping it.

"After completing his passage through the Great Divide, John set his saddled tabby cat, Moose, loose to find his way down to the village of dyslexic fisherman in the middle of a waterless oasis as his outreach program." I do a lot of good. A lot. Of. Good.

"After putting on extra hours at his shop, John was driving his 2-seater convertible down a deserted road with a storm fast gaining on him. He came to a bus stop. The bus was late and would not be passing by for some hours. There stood three people – a sick old woman who needed fast medical attention, his best friend who he owed his life, and the woman of his dreams. He had to choose, and fast, who he could take in the car. Being the fast thinker and considerate man that he always is, John gave his very expensive, only-3-in-the-world-car to his friend to take the old lady to the hospital, and chose to brave the storm, tightly holding the woman of his dreams, waiting for the bus. Did the bus ever come? John was seen receiving his Nobel prize for heroism with a hot damsel in his arm."

That never happened. The real story, only the damsel knows. See, we killed the old woman, and my 'friend', my so-called-friend, well, we carved him up and... so the old lady, she went to the hospital with my friend.

I got wet... you know, cause. Of the storm. And.

"When John first made it to the top of Mt Everest, the helicopter he used to get there ran out of fuel. Darn it to the shortcut of using the helicopter to get to the top, he thought... He had to walk down to ask some farmers before returning with some fuel." I think this guy, who wrote this... I think I went to high school with him, and I wouldn't let him cheat off one of the hundreds of A grade test papers I had... I'm not sure.

Use a helicopter... pshhh. Jet packs! I would use a jet pack, man. Get with the program!

"John is the kind of guy that would give his right arm to be ambidextrous." You know, when I first read this, I was like "This guy is COOL." But now I'm re-reading it and I can't figure it out.

But he's still cool!

And finally, this is me in action.

Man, all this to make my blog roll. My site must be kickin'!


strange customers

So, I'm sitting here minding my own business... oh god, the puns, the puns.

And this trio of women come in. They go around and giggle and smell soaps.

"What happens if I bite one of the soaps?" customer 1 asks.

"You buy it," I say. Giggles all around.

So she comes over to the table and grabs this plastic duck filled with bath gel and says to her friends that "Hey, this is what those breast implants feel like, you know, the ones at our desk when we talk to customers."

So I say "Umm, you tele-market breast implants?"

"No. Well yes. But mainly penile implants. You know, to make them bigger. You want the website?" customer 1.

"Not that you need it." Customer 2. "You know, if you have a friend."

"Ah, well, the last time I saw any of my friends naked, we were all 5 and we all needed implants."

Another friend comes in. "What's going on?"

"They're trying to tell me I need a bigger penis." me.

"I try so hard, but I can't take them anywhere."

"It's ok, this'll be a funny story I tell my mom."

This isn't the site (they told me the site, but the part of my brain that tells me everything is fine and dandy down there blocked it out) but I can't stop looking at some of these pictures.

A couple of pictures.

OK, really just specific pictures, jeez.

Today wasn't a bad day at the shop, and it's not over. 3:30, two hours left. Almost made our break even quota for the day.

Last season of Buffy. I can't wait to stop watching this, so I can talk to you guys about actual movies.

And I have to put this here for some SEO - retail hell-(ish) - blech.

Thanks for stopping by. More later, or tomorrow.

3am sucks

so, I haven't touched on my anxiety problem at all on this thing. well, here's the once over.

quick like.

Started almost ten years ago. was bad, got better, got worse, and now it's a daily constant battle. not on meds, had a problem with some of them. want to try and fight it on my own.

woke up tonight at 3am and I couldn't feel my legs. or, I should say, I could feel my legs. and they felt weird. not like pins and needles weird, but just weird, and it's usually one of two things. a) a low blood sugar attack. b) anxiety masking as a low blood sugar attack.

it's usually almost always b.

so I'm up. wide awake. and I remembered that blogcatalog resident crotchety old man wakes up in the middle of the night, so I thought I would commiserate for a little bit.

Here's to the group of us that don't remember what a good night sleep feels like.


Monday, May 26, 2008

10 tips to make your retail work more fun

So, I was talking with my mom, while she was driving me to work.

I don't own a car, I don't have a drivers license.

So, she's driving me to work, and I'm looking at what she packed me for lunch and there's no goddamn snack-pack!

So, we're there and... what. OH yeah. In the car. Talking.

So I explained to her that, thus far, I've had to sign up for 9 different websites, to get the word out about Retail Hell (ish).

Let's see.

flickr (though this is just fun)

I mean, seriously? If I was 35, I'd be finished. I wouldn't be able to keep up.

Thank god I'm only 34.

So she asked me about the business blog.

"Well," I said, "I can get us on some directories and all that, but promoting a blog about soap isn't really going to get too much action. I mean, it's a niche blog, very specific. It's not like humor or web expertise or movie reviews or news or political blogs... those are things people look for every day. People don't really go around looking for soap blogs on a daily basis."

Now I found out that isn't true. I don't know how I stumbled upon (not by stumbled upon) this group, but it's simply amazing.

The United Small Soap Business Bloggers Blog Collective or TUSSBBBC for short.

Moving on.

So, she asked me what I can do for THIS site, to get more visitors. I told her that there are people out there who are interested in reading about the qualms of retail workers the world over. That my blog has a kind of niche quality, and if I continue to add funny videos, wavs and posts, that other people will come and read and comment and enjoy.

So then she said "Well, what if you wrote a post to try and show people how to make retail better."

So here are the top ten ways to try and make your retail job better. Not in any order. Although #1 is my favorite so far, as I type this.

#1 - Have a dead pool - I've worked in some crazy places. One place, the guys were so homosexually repressed, a group of them grabbed me and brought me into the basement and tied me to a poll with duct tape (true story). And then they laughed and licked their lips. (not true).

It was shortly after that that I decided to start my own dead pool. And it was so funny because the first guy I had on my list to kill die didn't die first. It was poor planning on my part, #3 got it first.

#2 - Pretend you don't see selective customers - This might be harder than it sounds, but there is a group that does these little things all over the country... I can't remember the name, hold on, let me look it up.

Ah yeah, Improve Everywhere. They do these like things where people go to a store, synchronize their watches and then freeze at 5pm, or whatever. Pretty neat.

So I think the reverse can be done. They do it in retail stores, like home depot... why not have the counter people do something similar.

You're at the counter, someone comes up and puts some products down... make pretend they aren't there. Then take the person behind them as your next customer. Look down at the products customer 1 put down and say "Where the hell did these come from?"

Hours of fun. This has a 9 out of 10 on the 'looking for a new job' scale.

#3 - (my new favorite) Pretend you're a ghost - If you work the floor, and have even the smallest amount of acting ability (like crying on cue)... meander around a bit... look down trodden... and then just let out this big sigh. You have to come across as almost giving up.

Then, when a customer asks you a question, at first act a bit surprised... then look at them. Look around you. Look behind you. Look back at them.

Say "are you talking to me?"

They say yes...

Start with the water works. Cap it off with:

"You can see me??"

Ad-lib as necessary.

This is like a 3 on the 'look for a new job' scale, because you can take this all the way and follow them around (if you have other workers in on this with you, it'll be classic) or you can let them in on the joke.

#4 - Pretend you don't speak English - Only really works if A) you know a second or third language or B) can make up a language on the spot.

Best if you're white and speak in a really heavy thick Spanish accent. Or black and can speak Yiddish.

#5 - Take your break / go to the bathroom - Ok, sounds really simple, but think of the possibilities.

You work at a grocery store, on check-out. Someone's just piled a ton of groceries on your conveyor belt. You ring in half of them... and then say "Oh my god, I have to do #2 so bad!" and take off.

No one can fire you for that... I don't think. There's actually a published case about this...
Brown vs. the state of Rhode Island.

Uh huh. Again.

#6 - Talk about the wrong item - this would work only in an electronics store, or a dvd store, video game store...

"Is Atonement a good movie?"

"It's an awesome movie. It's got car chases and... do you like Mark Whalberg? He's awesome, drives this little mini-car like... it goes like this, up a sewer pipe? He gets to bang Charlize Theron, but... pshhhh, you don't get to see it."

#7 - Become instantly allergic to the products you sell - this can go a whole bunch of different ways. Scratching, sneezing, rubbing your eyes.

You can do this with food, cosmetics... you're there, working at Macy's, and you just started your day. You're one of those perfume chicks that walk around with bottles and spray the air for people to smell and bathe in.

Customers start coming in and you wrinkle your nose... your hand slightly itches. You greet someone and they say "Can I smell?"

You spray... and then close your eyes tight and... well, this will probably get you fired. You didn't want to be a perfume girl anyway, did you.

#8 - Get into a fight with your retail worker buddies - this is always a classic.

My favorite is when your co-worker 'admits' to sleeping with your girlfriend.

You must have an audience for this.

you - "You what?"

friend #1 - "Sorry dude, it just happened like... four or five times."

you - "You slept with Sally?"

friend #1 - "I wanted to tell you..."

friend #2 - "Yeah, we all wanted to tell you. Ran the train on her last week..."

Make sure A) that Sally doesn't exist and B) you're single. Your girl (or guy) finds out about it, they usually won't be too happy.

If your girl/guy is REALLY cool, you can stage a supernatural break up... the possibilities are limitless.

Hey, Dean Yager! (inside joke)

#9 - make subtle jokes of customers - ok, subtle isn't the right word.

Let's say you work at a bakery. And you see one of America's overweight. Chances are, you get some in from time to time, at a bakery.

Hell, I'm slightly overweight, get off my back.

"Oh my god, I could eat all of this!"

"Yeah, I know."

See? Nice and subtle. You don't have to say "No kidding." although that wouldn't be so bad... but "You think? Stop breathing, I feel the pull," or "You can if you want, we just got a defibrillator in," or "This is the third time you've been in this week, I think you are eating all of it."

Those would be... well, you say them if you want to quit or collect unemployment.

#10 - be honest with your customers - this should really be #9a, but I'm getting tired of typing.

This works for people working at clothing stores, electronic stores... pretty much everywhere where customers need the advice and opinion of trained and knowledgeable sales forces.

Anything having to do with taste and the edification of the purchaser.

"What do you think? Too tight? Too hippy?"

"I think you look like a neon sign that says "I'm a single mom and I'll take anything that doesn't openly drool."


"I'm not sure if this is what I need for my computer."

"Yeah, I figured that. You work at the movie theater as an usher. I've seen you. You take my ticket. You're really good at that. Stick with what you're good at. Here's an ipod. My blind cat has an ipod."

And so on.


So, there are some simple things that will probably get you fired, unless you're smart, but will most certainly make a boring day a better one.

I do not endorse these things... you do them, you get fired... not my problem. These are just for fun. I can see some moron try to sue me after doing #1, specifically, or #7.

Christ, to even have to write that in this day and age makes me think bad thoughts.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

dream homes (part 1)

Ok, so the other day while ranting about zz-top and my neighbor, I had talked to my girl karen and she was down a bit, so I asked her to draw me her dream home. For fun, to get her mind off things.

So this is what she came up with.

Check that building out! Now if you haven't been to Manhattan, I can tell you pretty much where this apartment building is. It's just off the west side highway. The building is facing east... behind it is the Hudson River. The bike path runs all the way up the west side, it's AWESOME.

Dig it. Top floor, private roof deck.

Holy mother! A duplex. Rockin.

Let's see. Floor one looks killer. Nice balcony's... living room. A breakfast bar. Nice, and stools too, check it.

Karen's got this killer tv, it's huge (and heavy)... a guest room/office...

Second floor looks great too, with a roof deck and a huge shower and a tub and... a bidet? Or a person that lives in the bathroom...?

I'll have to ask her about that.

Well, that's awesome. That would be a great place to live in NYC.

I went a different route. I did the 'I want to live someplace isolated and cool'.

Check it out.


Have an apple. Swing on the swing set. Mr. Sun is always shining and smiling and keeping the weather at 72 degrees, more than 70% of the time!

That's me, playing with my death ray. Please don't step on the grass.

Lots of nice windows, a deck. Awesome.

Me on the swing set... seriously, off the grass, I can get to the death ray in under a minute. I timed it.

Apples, grass. A lake in the back. Driveway. Skylights for when I'm having sex, I can look outside and watch for falling stars or spy planes.

Awww yeah.

#1 - bathroom.
#2 - dining room - sits 6-8
#3 - THE awesome kitchen. New appliances, gas range, island in the middle there. Huge fridge, plenty of counter space.
#4 - two dvd/book shelves.
#5 - couches. Some pull out, some don't.
#6 - tables.
#7 - big screen tv.
A - a book - "men are from mars, women are from venus."
B - Kramer's coffee table book on coffee tables.

Where the action is!

#1 - the king sized bed. Extra springy.

Pshhh, get your mind out of the gutter. I have a bad back.

Ummm... stiffer beds are better for bad backs...


Uh huh...


#1 - the king sized bed. Extra stiff.


Moving on.

#2 - stairs to level 1.
#3 - walk in closet - extra space for shoes.
#4 - the piece de resistance. The bathroom.

First off, huge tub. Has to be huge. I'm 6'4" and I'm tired of having half my body stuck out of the hot water.

Second off... nevermind. Second. The killer shower. Karen was looking for something like this. I have to agree.

Finally... the basement.

Oh yeah, there's a basement.

#1 - pool table. Real sized, not midget bar tables.
#2 - pull out couch
#3 - X-Box 360 Live set up with Rock Band! Drums, two guitars, microphone, big screen tv.
#4 - art supply table
#5 - large canvases
#6 - computer table, comfy chair.

Now, since this is my dream home, and I can do whatever I want, so there, I want to be able to:

play pool with my cats.

See? He's winking!

Where is your dream home, anyway?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

music you might dig

This is Don Freda's myspace page. I was lucky enough to meet Don in July of 2007 and heard his album Music for Headphones.

It's very strange. Not the music. And not Don Freda, either.

You see these people. Your friends know these people. They're there and they live and breathe and lurk. The right people haven't found them yet.

The album is awesome. He's got two tracks that aren't on the myspace page, Mary with Rain and Problem Girl Stories... you will absolutely love them.

Give How Brazen and My Heart a listen. You'll get a sense of his stuff. It's worth a purchase. And Don's a great guy.


zz top and torture

My upstairs neighbor has a really good sense of humor. Or he's a severe asshole.

It is 9:44 and this will be the fourth time I'm listening to Sharp Dressed Man.

Now, either he's trying to make a funny video of himself in clothes he thinks are sharp, or he's doing lines of coke off some girl's ass, over and over.

Or he's going the Morrison route and will drink Jack Daniels to death.

Suffice it to say... I'm feeling slightly put out. This is not the first time he's blasted music before, and it's early. I'm 34, I'm not 70 and trying to sleep.

Last time, it was 3am and he woke me up. Funny story, here, all about it.

After that, they only cursory hello me, maybe a nod. I'm the bad guy, again, in this backwards burg.

So, while I'm stuck here, one of the ways I get by is by watching movies. You've heard and heard and heard... yes, for god sake, I'm watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv series... quick review.

Season 1 - a joke.

Season 2 - better.

Season 3 - awesome.

Season 4 - awesome, bad season finale.

Season 5 - not bad... but some stretching.

Season 6 - quality is getting worse.

Watching the evolution and de-evolution of the series is interesting. After season 4, they had to start giving the characters different things to get upset about, to rectify story arcs. And what they did was blur the rationale of the characters to develop drama.

Never a good thing.

So, this evening, after my sister had already had dinner and my mom didn't want to leave the house, I went across the street to this place across the street, Mixers, a bar with food. Brought my L.A. Confidential book with me, ipod, cell phone, and had chicken wings and a cheeseburger.

Am I gaining weight? Go soak your head.


I come back home, stop off, get some olives, wine, cheese.

And go to Blockbuster.

Now, normally, I'm not a chain consumer kind of guy, but since I'm in podunk, I have no choice. Target, K-Mart, Walmart, Publix... I seem trapped in consumer hell.

Blockbuster has a 3 for $20 deal on previously viewed movies.

I loaded up.

Superbad - saw it already, awesome.
Sweeney Todd - Eh, it's Burton and Depp. Can't be awful.
Planet Terror - saw it already, awesome. new stuff on the dvd.
Rescue Dawn - Christian Bale and Steve Zahn. Vietnam. Base on a true story. So there.
Walk Hard - This has GOT to be funny.
Sunshine - saw this with Karen at the Sunshine Theater in NYC. Awesome.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - could be worse...
Alien Vs Predator: Requiem - I heard ok things about this, and I'm a fan of both, so...
American Gangster - Two great stars, one great director... had to give it a go.

So, there you go.

My girl's feeling a bit down tonight. I feel bad that I'm not there to cheer her up, so I asked her to do something for me. And I'm asking you too, dear reader.

Take a piece of paper, get a pen, crayon, lipstick, whatever.

And draw me your dream home. Two views. Front and birds eye view (without the roof).

Let me see what you got in mind for your cool home, inside and out.

I'm drawing mine, but I can't find a place for my death ray.


not how I spend my time

I took this video with my new camera, of my mom's dog attacking water.

I hate the sound of my own voice.

And that 'WHATHASDFOIQWERH" thing I say... well, I thought my mom was being retarded with the spray nozzle.

I'm a dork. I love it. Can't wait to get those comments where people say "Uh, you should bump up YOUR IQ. It's just a dog, stupid!"

Or worse...

Whatever. Petey's a member of the family. He's fair game.

Friday, May 23, 2008

indiana jones and the death of my childhood

Ok, ok, so it's not that bad... but have you ever seen the Comedians of Comedy?

Brian Posehn goes on to talk about how George Lucas is... christ, I'm not sure I should mention this here, but it's really funny. Let's just say that after Brian watched The Phantom Menace, he felt like he'd been touched by his uncle.

Not only touched... well, watch the movie, it's awesome. This is a very small part of it, and quite funny.


I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow of this movie. I'm just going to say I was very disappointed.

From what I gathered, there were a number of high profile screenwriters attached to write a draft of the film, for Lucas's and Spielberg's approval.

A number. Frank Darabont, M. Night Shyamalan and Tom Stoppard (Shakespear in Love, Empire of the Sun (another Spielberg film) and Brazil, to name a few) gave in drafts.

When I found that out, I was like "Man, they don't want to screw this up... they're going for the BEST they could find."

Now I'm like... umm... WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

David Koepp, who is basically Spielberg's lapdog, and is very hit or miss when it comes to scripts, had, according to IMDB, looked at all the film's previous drafts, and kept what he felt were good ideas. He tried not to make his work a "fan script," avoiding any trivial references to the previous films. He noted that the story would have to acknowledge Ford/Jones's age, and also aimed for the mix of comedy and adventure from the first film, trying to make it less dark than the second film and yet less comic than the third film.

This film has quite a few 'trivial references to the previous films'. Some were funny, some you were just waiting for.

The story came from Lucas, who basically ruined the latest three Star Wars films, and Jeff Nathanson, who has not written anything worthwhile, and certainly nothing original.

That's pretty much all I'm going to say about this. I write screenplays. I run a website for screenwriters. I know what it takes to make a script work, the structure, the character development... I understand the process well enough.

This movie was a joke. And I'll end this by saying I won't be purchasing the dvd, I won't watch this film again... and they would have been better off not filming another installment.

I would watch Temple of Doom before watching this... and that is saying something.


It's just an opinion. It's not end-all-be-all. I'm still a nice person, and I expect everyone to still go see it. I expect people to enjoy it. Perhaps you'll go again and again.

It was better than Cats...

(shaking head)

Where did that come from?

My expectations were high. My suspension of disbelief? No comment.

Enjoy it, or not. Be happy or not.


a quick break

Working at our manufacturing facility today. Making sugar scrubs and body butters and putting labels on all the stuff and I had to sit down and say hello to all of you good people.

A quick retail hell(ish) story, though, too.

Yesterday I was at the store for 8 hours, working, watching Buffy, being bored... blah.

Don't judge me on the Buffy thing. If I can get past a few hours with that stuff, so be it.

I'm there and two women come in and they're on vacation and they are video taping coming to the store.

Then they video tape asking me for a sugar scrub hand spa treatment.

Then they ooh and ahh as I give them the hand spa treatment.

Then they say "oh my god, my hands feel so great, smell them! Oh god, I love this."

Then they go around the store and smell soaps and video tape them and say "Oh my god, these are so cute, they smell awesome!"

Then they leave.

Unreal. It's UNREAL.

This video is going to take you out of this post, cause it's funny and I remember first seeing it many years ago, when I went to the movies with my dad and sister.

Hang in there folks.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

the new credit card company

So, I'm sitting here Tuesday and I get this phone call from Crescent Processing. Google them... the first thing that comes up is their recruiting page. That's kind of scary.

So I say "Sorry, not interested, we're happy with who we have."

"We're not trying to change your mind, sir."


"No kidding."

"No, we just want to come by and give you our presentation, just in case you change your mind about your current credit card processing company."

Yes, I have perfect recall of bullshit. Seriously.

So, I say fine, whatever. The least it'll do is kill some time at the store.

Thursday morning, and this guy... really nice guy, but he looked like he was going to keel right over, he was huge. He sets up a laptop and is shaking and sweating and his face is beet red... and shows me the Crescent Processing Company video.

It's a promo piece for Terry Bradshaw's business promotion platform where semi-large companies pay him thousands of dollars to have their show featured on his program.

I sent an email to Broadcast News Corp, who produces the show, to see if I could get a copy of said video. It's not online. The email got bounced back. I guess things are going well.

So, I'll give you a play by play.

First, Terry is having a hard time reading the cue cards. It's understandable. He's not a boxer, but close.

Then we get these nice cute, fuzzy shots of people's businesses. One is a dry cleaners, one is a small gift shop business, one is a salon.

So, at first I'm like... that's clever. That small shop, with the gifts and ribbons and baskets... hell, that could be my shop!

And they start telling me all of these great things, like the cc readers are free, and that other cc businesses don't plan ahead for the future and that with technology growing and all... well, they just don't care about the little guy. And the little guy wants to compete with the big guy, goddammit!

Here's where it falls apart.

The spokesman for the company, possibly the owner, I couldn't tell I was too blinded by his faux smile and hair and tan... he starts reeling me in and explaining how the company doesn't charge for cc readers, and that other cc businesses don't plan ahead for the future and that with techno...

WHOA... wait just a minute!

Did you see that?

For four minutes, I heard the exact same thing from every single person on the video.


Jesus christ.

So we hear little testimonials from the three business owners. And it's almost like they decided to either:

A) hire the worst actors they could find that looked like real people...


B) find three local Dallas (they're in Dallas) businesses and write what they were supposed to say

It was a joke. One older woman (the gift shop owner that was supposed to look like my mom, except with a make-up paint sprayed face) looked like she was having trouble reading the cards, and just wanted a bagel with lox.

The funniest part was their representation of the other cc businesses out there.

Set the mood.

Things all of a sudden turn black and white... the woman, crabby looking and with glasses, is talking via a headphone, in a small cubicle, surrounded by volumes and volumes of books that MIGHT pertain to the cc reader in question... she looks harried... she looks inexperienced. She looks like a nightmare!

Cut to the Crescent Processing girl... and she looks hot! And knowledgeable and down to earth... and for god sake, she's in color!

What a joke.

Here's what they're trying to get salesmen and women to do.

So, whatever. We'll see what happens... I have to do research on them. The sales man, "Big Mike" was very nice... but that sales presentation was a joke, and if they're selling a lot based on just that (because it really sells itself) then...

Did you hear the story where 21% of the country believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth?


They must all be customers.


Cool post of the day:

Big Brother is Watching You at thekexperience. Check it out.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

the thunderbolt

No, this is not a ridiculously tiny reference to The Godfather. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the book.


So, I'm sitting here with my sister, plotting my mom's death birthday, and we're talking about some stuff about the business and I say:

"You know what it is? We need to have some kind of small victory. Something has to happen, something positive..."

And lo and behold...

Laura Williams Musings gave us a great review of our products!

We have reviews out to a few other bloggers, and I'm hoping that the end result will be the same. This will hopefully get us into the minds of some serious shoppers.

On the retail front, not a single customer to kill. None.

Not even one to poke with a stick. Blech.

Last episode of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm curious to see who dies.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My second trip to NYC... wait.

Yeah, so I left off with the hot dog. So what? I got my ass handed to me by Karen for not getting her one... she likes hot dogs too. Especially the ones down from her building, which are cooked, not boiled.

But I digress... into something else.

About a year and a half ago, I was working at McGraw Hill, their Sweets division, which is construction publications. I was also working for The Learning Annex. So, one clear October day I walked down to Arcadia Gallery and talked to the owner, Steve, about purchasing a limited edition book that had just come out of Malcolm Liepke's work. I'm a big fan of his, for many years, since college. Walked in, started talking about the book and Steve did something very evil. He walked me to the back of the gallery and showed me a wall of Liepke watercolors.

Ever seen something that popped out at you and just said, in big neon letters BUY ME... even though you didn't have the money, and certainly not that much blood to sell?

I know, I sell a lot of blood, quiet.

Well, this is the one that said BUY ME... but more came over and slapped my face and did the whole devil-on-the-shoulder thing... no angel on the other.

Took me forever, working two jobs, to pay this off, but I love it.

So I walked up to the gallery and talked to Steve and saw the knew Bill Hick's show, which is simply gorgeous. The work is... well, you should click on that gallery link and view his work.

Went back downtown and stepped in this puddle:

Took a photo of the Ghostbusters firehouse:

Took a photo of this wine store I worked at for 4 days last year... read all about that on my myspace page

Then Karen and I went for lunch at Zen Palate. I took this photo of her holding the Bill Hick's book... not sure why she was holding it...

This is just begging for a "Will Work For..." something something photochop. We'll see what I can come up with (read as 'what I can get away with').

I had:

Tofu and vegetables. The tofu was awful, very soft... she had:

The portobello mushroom burger with yam fries! YAM FRIES!

We both felt like we were going to die from bloating and gas build-up, and made a pact not to eat healthy any more.

They had their own little JoBu at the restaurant.

Reminded me completely of this... you see the resemblance, right?

Walked around some more. I caught these four birds trying to summon a bigger demon bird:

And I prayed to the miniature Statue of Liberty... I was gonna try and have Karen take one of those pictures where you hold something up that's in the background, but I was going to try and eat the Statue, decided against it.

Saturday night we went to my all time favorite place to eat, my friend Pete's restaurant, Picolo Angolo.

Yes, don't worry, I'm gonna fix his website for free. From the cab, I took one of those CRAZY night time photos!

I think I'm on to something there...

Here's the shot I took of the restaurant.

I don't know who those people are, but that guy's ass was making me hungry!

No... wait. The smell... of the food! Was.





Had this Chicken Fioretina... good lord, it was so amazing:

Went home, woke up, went over to Pete's place and played Rock Band for 6 hours... oh man. So much fun, I couldn't stand it!

Here's the bar I've been hanging out in for about 9 years, Barrow's Pub:

Went back to Karen's. Had dinner... called it an early night (we were both exhausted) and left her place at 6am to catch my 8am flight.

There you go. My first NYC trip back to my home of NYC.

My fingers are a bit tired... more later!

Monday, May 19, 2008

My first trip to NYC!



First off, the flight was wonderful. I was sandwiched between hard plastic and a woman who not only wouldn't give me the time of day, but also stank to high heaven with some kind of non-douche douche thingy... that she put everywhere on her body.

To each his own. If I were a woman, and she was young, not old, and felt the need to smell like flowery vinegar all day... I'd see a head doctor.

Got to NY and took the air train to the subway to Karen's apartment where I collapsed from exhaustion three hours later. You don't get to ask.

Woke up and... christ, we... had breakfast! Yeah. Then we took a... boy Friday sure is foggy. I wish I would have brought a camera to remember all the things we did Friday.

I got a hair cut. We had lunch at Cozy Shack on Broadway and Astor Place... saw Iron Man and then had dinner at Le Jardin Bistro... one of my three favorite places to eat in NYC.

Then we went back to her place and tried to watch 3 different movies. Death at a Funeral. The Darjeeling Limited. Bound.

Hell if we couldn't get through a goddamn one of them.

Saturday. I decided to take a bit of time for myself, and familiarize myself with myself.

I mean the city.

So, I went and bought one of these (I've sold six pints of blood between April and May, I deserved it) Canon SD1000 PowerShots.

And I say godDAMN what a camera. Check this out.

Lots of photos coming, be patient.

That's the view outside one window of Karen's apartment.

She can see the Statue of Liberty, too. Pretty neat.

Check out the pseudo Cingular ad happening here. Ridiculous.

Karen's building. It's pretty damn tall... she's on like the 40th floor... it's nuts.

Here are just some random photos, no commentary.

Who knew there were so many buildings in NYC?

This is Chinatown on the weekends. A zoo. Ridiculous to even go there, let alone shop.

Took this shot and almost got run over. Nice. It's such a crappy photo too... imagine that death notice.

"John Painz, survived by his mother and sister, was killed shooting a tourist shot whilst not a tourist... the photo was completely unremarkable and John will be up for a Darwin Award this year. Donations can go to the I'm With Stupid fund."

Left her apartment and the first thing I did...

Look at that relish!

Ok, I have other photos, but they're for later. I'm tired of typing and cutting and pasting. I have Buffy episodes to watch and time to kill.

More later.


*edit - check out part 2!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

hours away

Amidst the two earlier posts... I am updating my blog again today, to give you all the latest on... me.

It is Thursday and I'm heading back to NY tonight, to hang out with my girl, friends, eat lovely dinners and play rock bank and guitar hero until my arm falls off.

I'm not a big fan of flying. NSFW (no nudity, but a curse word or two)...

I have had one customer today. The husband of said customer found a comrade in me, and went off and started making fun of pretty much every single thing his wife did.

I couldn't stop laughing. And she must have been used to it because she had completely tuned the man out.

Which was funnier than anything he'd said.

I'm tired. My back hurts. I've used "I'm dying" as an answer for every customer who walks in and ask me how I'm doing. It seems apt.

I picked up James Ellroy's LA Confidential as my book of choice for my crossing the eastern seaboard. I also brought Bound and Pink Floyd's The Wall as my movie choices.

Karen, my girl, suggested porn, but only if I'm sitting next to a mom who has a baby next to her. I said I'd think about it.

I need a new phone.

Anyone know Pro Blogger? He's got some site... but I think the guy stole something from me.

I posted this contest on my sitas;dlkasdfl

Sorry, just sneezed.

I posted this contest on May 11th.

That day I posted a comment on his How do you stay motivated as a blogger topic...

THEN, on May 12th... he starts his own phot contest! Exactly like my soap contest...

I mean, I guess I should be flattered... the guy's doing this for a living and, sure, it's possible I didn't think of a photo contest first...

I mean, I think I did. I checked the two or three other blogs out there and I didn't see anything... but, you never know.

Anyway. I've gotten ZERO photos thus far for my Soapier contest. He's gotten quite a few. I mean, pictures of soap are funnier than pictures of a book... who reads books anyway? Psshhhhhhh.


this makes me sick

This is a video having to do with a 16 year old girl who talks about being raped. It was on Hard to watch.

So she goes through this awful thing and then, on top of it all, has to deal with some of the comments posted on youtube, calling her a slut and that she probably asked for it...

In what fucking world do we live in here? Decency is, what... a thing of the past?

It's really sad.

I have letters in to:

Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida

Jeff Kottkamp, Lt. Governor of Florida

Bill McCollum, Attorney General of Florida

Bill Nelson, Senator

Mel Martinez, Senator


I hope your respective offices are looking into the allegations of Crystal and her youtube video.

It's disgusting in this day and age that people have to turn to public forums to get the help they need. A 16 year old girl should not have to publicize her pain and get it on CNN for her to get proper help.

The case is quite ambiguous, and there are many questions that need answering, but if the allegations of neglect and improper conduct on the part of the Orange County Attorney's Office are true, something has to be done.

Isn't anyone concerned about the legal loopholes that permeate the fabric of this country, that leaves victims behind, with no recourse?

Selective prosecution is a joke, and it's high time that we started looking at what was right, rather than what path is easiest so we can leave the office and get home to watch television.

You are all public figures. I expect you all to get involved and get to the bottom of this case.

John Painz


If this was my daughter, I'd be in jail already. The guy would be in a million pieces.

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

Have you ever read The Watchmen by Alan Moore?

Ever seen Independence Day?

If you were a New Yorker before 9/11, and lived there after those terrible events, you probably noticed the same thing I did. I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but I'm sure stories would echo familiar.

I remember the days and weeks after being some of the calmest, peaceful days in that city. I'm not talking about the constant fear that people felt. Or the sadness. I'm talking about how whenever people walked down the street, they didn't see the problems they had with someone. They saw fellow New Yorkers.

Neighbors. Would-be friends. Possible victims or saviors.

I remember leaving work and heading downtown to see what I could do to help. Blood lines at hospitals were so long... people weren't allowed south of Houston. I asked a cop what I could do, he said "Go ask a cop if he needs anything." Everyone wanted to help.

Watchmen... ID4. You know what those two stories have in common?

Humanity banding together after a horrific event. And you know what? I bet both of those pieces of fiction predict correctly.

Money, power, fame... all of those things are useless in the wake of living through real tragedy.

Ever seen Starman, the movie by John Carpenter?

"Would you like to know what I find beautiful about your species? You are your best when things are at their worst."

I think most people find it stupid to quote contemporary movies, fiction, etc, when it comes to trying to comment on... well, whatever.

Doesn't mean it's not true, right? Does it really matter where we get our inspiration, motivation or strength?

If you were to create a timeline, from when the world was enormous, to when the world got smaller and smaller... starting... when. The telegraph? 1844. The telephone? 1876. The radio? Let's use Armstrong's FM radio as a template... 1935. And so on.

I think that if you put an overlay on that and look at the increase in world wide destruction... that would be something.

Put a different overlay and look at how humans have been helping humans world wide... I think you'd probably see the same kind of dedication humans have for warfare, as they have for kindness.

But the scales would be different.

One is profitable. One is selfless.

There have always been missionaries. Always dictators... atrocities that weren't made evident until the world shrunk a bit here and there...

Look at where we are now. Where every single bad thing is brought to you on hundreds of news channels, newspapers, and online, every day, assaulting us. It's all still happening. Just now, people get famous for it.

Does anyone really know who the bad guys are anymore? And is anyone willing to do the right thing, not point fingers?

If you look at all of those dates and inventions and wars... we're ruining this planet at a frightening rate. Something that's been here millions of years... we've depleted in... 100? Less?

One of my favorite novels, Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk, has this great line, and it puts things into a weird kind of perspective. Keep in mind he wrote it in 1999.

"Hell, a century ago everybody had horses."


We have our kids coming... some of us have kids already here. And it's been driven into our heads that we have to do that one thing for our kids. That most important thing that we need to start now, or their future will be ruined.

We have to do them the favor of saving up money for their college education.

I think it's time we start creating a new idea that should be put into the heads of moms and dads, couples thinking of starting a family, grandparents...

We need to start doing more than one favor for our children. And future generations.

Humanity isn't going to just right itself. What few fighters there are out there can use the help. It's time to stop coasting as a species, and start protecting the planet and its inhabitants.

Links to start helping:


Amnesty International


National Homeless Coalition

You don't have to just donate. You can sign up and help these organizations be heard.

By the by, I'm a cynical fucker. I look at this essay here and I know I didn't mention the atrocities that are covered up, the governments that kill their own and look the other way. I won't even get into the mess the US has made because, frankly, this is about Human Rights, and there is a much larger world outside the US. And we can all help.

I might be cynical. But I still have a large amount of hope. I keep wondering if that's the realist in me, or the other part that's slightly insane.

John Painz

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I can't take it

It's becoming a daily occurrence. Women come in, they sniff soap fragrances, they make icky faces, and they leave.

Now... I'm at my boiling point people. I really am.

These women came up to our demonstration table and the only thing that lit them up was the chocolate sugar scrub. I mean, we're talking drooling.

Every other one "God, I don't know what it is, but I don't like these fragrances. I'm going to pass."

"Me too."

So then, after getting me up to help them with the demonstration, they start talking to me, asking me what happened to the Peruvian shop that was here before we were.

"Oh, she got deported. They said she was into some white slavery thing. Big deal, in all the newspapers.*"

I thought they were going to have low blood sugar attacks and start eating the scrubs.

On top of all this, on their way out "God, those were really bad smelling, I don't know how they could sell those."

I'm seriously ready to do some more Al Pacino wavs... but I'm gonna spare you.

I'll leave you with this one instead.

It's basically how I feel.


* I told them I was kidding, but I really wanted to just stay Mr. Serious. Guess something got the better of me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

holy crap

NSFW (it's not nudity). Thanks to for this... wow.

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

is there anybody out there...

Seriously, is anyone reading this thing? On a daily basis? Leave a comment, make me your friend off or mybloglog.

Had an article mention me here. Pretty neat. About the present state of movies and scripts and capitalism.

Let's see. Getting some samples out to some review blog websites. Kind of exciting. If you know of a website that does reviews, so we can get the Soapier word out email me.

I swear if I get one more person that comes to the door, looks in, sniffs, wrinkles their nose and makes some snide remark...

Unreal. You want to look? No problem. You don't want to come in? No problem. Is it possible to shut your mouth for two minutes? Does the rest of the world need the running commentary?

I've tried very hard in my life to listen more than speak. Sometimes I can handle it, sometimes I put my foot in my mouth.

Foot in my... wait a second.

Anyway. What else? Let's give you guys a few really cool sites to go visit, let's do that today, shall we?

First, if I hear Volare one more time...

:) Sorry...

Tales of my aching feet - Nicole, resident waitress blogger, talks about her experience in the food industry. Some funny stuff, and reading it will give you a better perspective on how to treat your servers!

Amy Oops - A great humor blog. She's got a great sense for what's funny... I'm kind of going in circles here, but still, great stuff, check it out. It's funn... ah, you get the point.

Ominous Comma - Another humor blog, this guy has some neat contests and just plain fun.

And, of course, my brother-in-arms from another country, Retail Hell. They want me to contribute... of course I said yes.

Hang in there folks, it's... SHIT. It's Tuesday?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Soapier's first contest

Check it out.

It's a free contest with 3 winners who receive $30 gift certificates to our website!

Should be a lot of fun. Get those photos posted!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

sleeve facing

Head over to Rob's Megaphone Blog and dig this video. It's awesome!

(I'd embed the video here, but Rob deserves the link, he's got some great posts on that site!)

garage sales for ebay

Well, my mom wanted to head out today and hang out together, do some shopping at garage sales and see if there was something we could put up on ebay. We came up with a couple of things, which is cool, but goddamn!

It is almost 90 here in Palm Harbor, Florida. It's 65 in NYC.

I hate this place.

After working 6 days in a row at the retail shop (no, I haven't started cutting myself just to feel), I finally got two days off. I'm exhausted, but not in a bad way. Woke up this morning at 7:10am and started screaming in my head to the special special part of my brain that regulates sleep. I screamed:


I hate that part of my brain, because it's obviously deaf and blind.

Ever hear a song and you're in a crowded space and you can't really hear the lyrics that well but the song has really got a good beat and sounds, well, awesome?

I had this happen and for three weeks now I had "Baby I'm the bomb" in my head. I googled it, I limewired it, I prayed to the tiny gods of misheard lyrics.

Nothing. Well, today, just minutes ago, I said "let's switch those lyrics up a bit."

And viola:


Enjoy your Saturday, folks. Those of you in retail hell, my sincerest condolences. I will be re-joining your ranks soon enough.


Friday, May 9, 2008

thinking of hiring a PR person

Recently, my mom, sister and I sat down and had a meeting about hiring a PR person to help us spread the word of Soapier.

"And I looked and I saw that it was good."

So... what to do, what to do.

It's hard when you're on a tight budget and you're trying to get the word out.

We've received word from two different PR firms. Just got to compare and see what's what, go from there. But since we have no real experience with this kind of thing, we're still in the flailing about mode.

It's probably going to boil down to making a decision, sticking with it and seeing how we can get the best out of the money we're spending.

I'm hoping that I can work this blog and our new blog, Soapier's Blog into some much needed traffic to the site, spread the word, get some affiliates. Working on it.

Between Wednesday and today I had four customers. Seriously, we're going to post a suicide watch camera in the store so my mom knows I'm still alive when she comes to pick me up.

Ohhhhhhhh. That needs some explaining.

I touched on this, but refreshers are always good.

I moved here from NYC, where I had lived since college. Never, not once, needed a car. Karen, my girl, says I should get my license, at least, and I agree... just have to get out there and do it. But it's tough, you know. We all work so hard and my days off are spent detoxing and sleeping and relaxing and other 'ings that calm me down before I have to end up back at the pit of despair.

More later, dear readers. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

displaying product

I recently wrote an article for our Soapier store blog...

This is my rant and rave blog for dealing with retail. So there.

Check out the article on how to display not only our products properly, but any products, really.

shoes contest

Well, I figured I'd take a crack at the Scribbit contest, since I'm a writer at heart and I love shoes!

No, wait, I don't love shoes. I love pizza.

Anyway, I was writing on my myspace page, short stories that I took down because, HEY, they're my short stories!

I know, doesn't make sense. But now I figured I would dazzle you with a short story called "Mileage". So here goes.


My shoes caught fire. Just like that. It wasn't magic, it wasn't spontaneous combustion.

I really want to witness that some day, you know? I mean, I'd feel bad about the person dying and all, but imagine just being at the right place at the right time and all of a sudden this person in front of you goes off like a two hundred pound flare.

I wonder if it would be quick?

Anyway, anyway. Yeah, so they caught on fire. My friend Lee, he was careless with his cigarette on the way home. And I didn't realize how soaked they were, hours later.

They were nice Dr. Martins. I'd had them about four months. They had teeth at the bottom, I worked in them, I walked in them. The leather on the sides wasn't cutting into my feet. First week, they were bloody, you know how shoes do that to you. They were nice and comfortable now.

Well, now they were scabby and frayed and all those other words that can be put with fire damaged.

Lee's a piece of work. He sits around all day and plays video games and surfs porn and, well christ, it's why we keep all the blinds down, you know. Neighbors complained about peaking into our house.

Yeah, you read that right.

But who needs the hassle, you know? You've seen one guy sitting in a chair doing it to internet porn, you've seen all you want to see. Even me.

Sasha. That's my girl. She lives about two states over. She's pregnant. She's 20. She's the love of my life.

I'm 32 by the way. Never had a love in my life. Certainly not one I got pregnant. There've been those girls where you think you love them. Or they think they love you and you're drunk enough to think "Life is quick. I might not be around tomorrow. Why wait."

Drunken philosophy has this way of allaying all of your fears and giving you the courage you'd never have during the day time.

I mean, I only drink at night. Mostly. Those day time courage people have a serious problem, you know.

But this story... well, Sasha broke up with me about three weeks ago and moved home. And, like all women, wouldn't answer my phone calls or my texts. I didn't dare write her an email. I won't sit in that chair. Seriously.

Here's the conversation. Paraphrased.

"I'm pregnant. I can't believe you lost your job. How can you lose your job at a gas station in this day and age? I'm sorry but if you don't have a job, we're not going to be able to be together with a baby on the way and all..."

Throw in a southern twang, raise some of those words to all capitals, some screaming, some crying, some cursing...

I didn't lose my job. I was fired. I worked at a gas station because I wanted out of my old life. You ever sit in front of a computer for eleven hours a day? I mean, that's no life. It's the semblance of a life of our times. It's unhealthy. It's inevitable. There are some of us who'd rather be happy than successful.

Very few of us. Find us in that catagory 'hopeless romantic'. The subcatagory would read 'hardcore'.

So, what the hell was I going to do?

I had money for rent. I had money for food. I had money for tissues.

Give that last one a second.

But I didn't have enough money for gas to get me two states over.

I couldn't remember the last time that Lee had seen sunlight. Lee, who is for all intents and purposes, a home vampire, was my best friend from high school. We still had fun, regardless of his faults. He didn't work because he had a small case of agoraphobia.

Ok, Lee's just lazy.

So I turned to him one day and said "I have to go see Sasha."


"You want to go with me?"

"How you going?"





I was ready to say "Car" again, but I knew what he meant.

"I have a plan."

Silence for a second.

"She has a sister, right?"

We made it about fifty miles before we were running out of gas. I looked around for the perfect place to do what I needed to. Lee was messing around with the radio (only radio, no cd player, no ipod connection, nothing... it seriously felt like the dark ages).

I pulled into an Outback Steakhouse. It was about 5pm. Dinner crowd time. I think about it now, it was almost automatic. The tumblers clicked into place and everything was right with that small part of my world.

I picked an old 1977 Granada. It was red, chrome and the grill reminded me of my father's face. Very strange.

Siphoning gas isn't ethical. I mean, it isn't.

We're not living in Mad Max times here, but at $3.50 a gallon, we might as well be.

And I'm not driving one of the last of the V-8's. I drive a piece of shit.

Lugging around two 5 gallon metal gas canisters, along with a six foot length of clear hose is not too conspicuous. But you have to do what you have to do. I figured that it would be easier to do this at night, but daylight was wasting, and we'd only gone a small bit of our trip.

Plus, is there a better way to get your feet wet than in broad daylight?

Don't lecture me about mixed metaphors.

I got down behind the car, set the cans nice and easy down on the paved parking lot and lifted the lid on the gas tank. I knew I was going to have to stick to older cars. New cars have got a screen in the filler neck to prevent siphoning.

I turned the gas tank cover off and pushed the hose down into the tank, then started sucking. It didn't take long, the guy must have had a full tank, because the gas hit the middle of the hose in about five seconds. I took the hose out of my mouth and stuck it into the first can. It moved at a pretty good pace and was filled up in about two minutes. I moved the hose to the second and filled that too.

All in all, five minutes, in and out.

I pulled the hose out and splashed the remaining gas onto the pavement. I wrapped it around my shoulder, covered the cannisters and walked back to my car, whistling.

Whistling is one of those things that makes everyone seem likable and innocent.

Or, if you're doing it like the caricature of your favorite Looney Tunes character, well... something from ACME will certainly hurt you.

I got back to the car. Lee was on lookout. Sleeping.

I got my funnel and filled my gas tank with ten gallons. That would get me... about halfway there.

I drove all night, trying to determine if I felt badly about what I did. But I settled on no.

There are certain things that people have to do in the times they are living. And while people can say "well, it's not as bad as killing someone, but it is a crime..." to them I say "You're right, I didn't kill anyone. Leave me alone until you're broke and need to be somewhere so your life doesn't spiral into the abyss that's been following you around like a black cloud ever since you left home."

But, you know, not so dramatic.

Butterflies build up as you get closer to your pre-destined, horrific, intense, life altering destination.

They start, well, they start when you leave your house. But they build up with every mile and every repeated song on the radio and every house and tree and patch of grass that reminds you of something you've already witnessed. Monotony builds up dread. Or excitement.

I'd been to her parents house before. I felt, as we made it to the driveway, not unlike a homing pigeon. Dumb, trained to do a single thing. Find my way home.

I hadn't changed. I had no extra clothes on me. I'd coughed up a cup full of gas on the last siphon, all over my shirt. I spilled some all over my shoes and jeans.

I walked up smelling like gas, my hair disheveled, my teeth not brushed. My face was probably a battlefield of dirt and grime and grease.

I knocked on the front door praying to the god of boyfriends everywhere. I wished that her parents weren't there. I wished she wasn't an emotional wreck. I wished she wasn't already crying. I wished...

Ok, I hadn't wished for her breasts to be larger. I swear.

She opened the door and looked at me. She looked around me. Lee was sleeping, his feet sticking out of the passenger side window. I swear, the guy's some kind of saint.

"What are you..." she started to say. She sniffed the air a moment and smiled this ridiculous smile and lunged forward and kissed me.

"You got your job back!"

I was too stunned for words.

She started crying into my shirt. I didn't think that was too safe for the baby so I pushed her away lightly and took my shirt off.

"Baby, we can't do that here..." she said, shyly and demurely.

I winked, balled the shirt up and threw it towards my car. She brought me into the house so I could shower, change into some of her dad's clothes and talk. And other stuff.

The butterflies were gone.

Getting back was a bit easier. I borrowed a canister from her father (he didn't ask why)... got back after we made plans for her to move in. Her folks weren't too happy about it, but were happier than they had been. I called some old contacts and they said they would try and get me some freelance work. I called some gas stations who needed a grease monkey around and found two prospects.

I planned to buy a ton of Lysol to get my computer back.

I scrounged up some money to rent a van from a friend of a friend and persuaded Lee to help me move her stuff.

The guy who rented the van said it got shitty mileage, but should make the trip back and forth no problem.

I said cool and asked him if I could borrow the three gas canisters he had lying around his garage.


Hope you enjoyed it, folks. Keep the faith.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

our products

Well, my new friend iconic at left a comment on saying:

Ecclectic mix of stuff there on your blog. May be you could tell us what products you have for sale and what its benefits are? I wasn't sure if this was a business blog or personal one.

In any case, keep it up and keep refining ;-)

So, I thought I would take their advice and give you all a first hand tour of our awesome products that we manufacture and sell.


This is what we do the best. All of our designs are original ones. We use glycerin soap and... well, I can't give away all of our secrets, sheesh! But it's a melt and pour process. Glycerin soap is good for your skin. Most soap you purchase in grocery stores and department stores are detergent. It's one of the main reasons the lather is so great. The problem is, detergent dries your skin. Company's take all of the glycerin that was in the soap originally and put it in lotions and bath gels... just another product you have to buy (from them) to keep your skin healthy.

Our glycerin soap adds moisture to your skin, keeping it healthy and shiny. Let's see... what have we got... (we have over 20 different designs to choose from, this is just a sample!)

My Little Sweet Pea - probably one of our toughest soaps to design, truth be told. But it smells awesome, fruity and floral and fun!

Vanilla Soap - What can I say about this one? If you're a big fan of vanilla, this bar will be great to help your bathroom smelling nice and clean and... edible!

Crisp Cotton - This is a nice delicate fragrance, like clean clothes on the line, drying in the sunlight. Seriously, I write this stuff... it's one of our most popular bars. Not too fragrant, just perfect.

Raspberry Soap (Raspberry Lovers) - All of our soaps are double fragranced. This one... wow. It's one of the dominant fragrances in our retail store, and it's the one most people say "God, I wish I could eat this!" If you love raspberry, you won't regret cleaning with this great bar.

Lily of the Valley - Classic scent, nice design, this is one of those fragrances that will make you get your hands dirty so you can clean them and smell this wonderful flower all day!

Cucumber Melon Soap - Neat design, fun fragrance, this is another favorite. It smells almost fruity, but the cucumber smell cuts it just enough to have it also smell really fresh and clean.

Body Wash

Lush Body Wash - This is one of our best non-soap sellers. Comes in four really great fragrances. Coconut Mango & Papaya (you would not believe how awesome this smells), Bergamot & Coriander (with some orange, too!), Jasmine & Vanilla (yummy), and Chamomile & Lavender (the classic scents). We added pumice and bamboo to the mix, for an exfoliant. Really great.

Goats Milk Body Lotion

Luscious Body Lotion - Goats milk and honey lotion provides much needed vitamins and nutrients to your skin to keep it healthy and vibrant. Comes in matching fragrances of our Lush Body Wash. Great for daily use on your hands, legs, arms, anywhere there is dry skin.

Sugar Scrubs

Sweet Sugar Scrubs - Our best seller. A unique recipe of Hawaiian Sugar, macadamia and almond oil and castile soap. The great thing about this sugar scrub is that it's not oily, so it won't leave a residue around your tub, and you won't have to worry as much about slipping (we don't want that!) It's good for your entire body and face (although not more than once a week on faces, it's still a scrub). Comes in a ton of fragrances:

Beach Breezes, Berry Berry, Coconut, Cucumber Melon, Pink Grapefruit, Kiwi, Oatmeal Milk & Honey, or Raspberry.


We have more, but I think you get the picture, right folks? Awesome stuff. And anyone on this blog who wants to order, I'll give you 15% off your purchase. Use BLOG1 as the coupon code at checkout for your discount!

OK, my brain is completely frozen over now after all that writing. But thanks for checking in. I'll be back later with more goofy news on the shop.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

marketing part 2 (I think there was a part 1)

So, on top of trying to get the family soap business up and running... let me break this down for you, exactly what we're doing here.

1 - wholesale - First in Line Soap. We sell our products all over the country, and in resorts everywhere.

2 - retail - This is the brand we're trying to get out there. It's tough. We're thinking of hiring a PR firm. Try to get in some magazines, some television shows, something to get the brand out there. It's such cool stuff!

3 - home party division - Soapier Spa Parties. This is the tough sell. Wholesale and PR will get the brand out, but I don't think people are just going to sign up for a home party division without having heard of the product or, at the very least, USE the product, so they can tote it's quality.

These are not easy things to promote, but they're not that hard either. We just have to be diligent and keep plugging away at markets we've never tried before, or have lost touch with or scratched the surface of.

It's tough, but no one here is giving up.

On top of the PR, we'll be expanding to affiliate networks. And postcard direct mailings and then we're going to make a big foam bar of soap costume and pay someone to walk around in the 100 degree weather (a prerequisite will be that they have their own medical insurance) to hand out flyers. People walking by will be given bottles of water to hose him down and make him all sudsy.

Fun. I think it has potential.


On a lighter note, I'm really enjoying keeping this blog. While I might get a bit off topic, like about music and movies and comedy clips and snakes and squirrels and stuff, I can't talk business all the time. So, with that, my mini-review of Iron Man.

It rocked!


Check out this site, The Four Word Film Review.

I used to write movie reviews for a semi-living and I found out a few things. People hate reviewers. Unless the reviewer is reading his/her own work.

A few months ago I read a blog where the guy reviewed Transformers and basically said that everyone who liked the movie was a moron.

See... it's this kind of movie review that gives actual, unbiased reviewers a bad name. The guy laments for paragraphs on how dumb the movie is, insulting people who enjoyed it, and blah blah.

Two things

One, the movie made money. And got bad reviews and all that. And is spawning a sequel.

Two. Dude, the movie came out last year! Don't you think it's a bit late to berate an audience that spoke up, bought tickets and (see One)?


Anyway. This is one of my all time favorite ways to say goodbye or sign off a post. I believe it's from White Jazz by James Ellroy.

See you in church.