Monday, June 30, 2008

the website is DOWN

I laughed so hard at this... I used to do IT work, and while it wasn't this complicated (worked on macs, did local network stuff)... well, this is so brilliant, I can't stand it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New York, NYC, Manhattan and all points in between

Check it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


More here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


ah, Florida, I will never forget you


Since February 1st, 2008, I have been diagnosed with the following:

Severe depression*

Multiple Personality Disorder*

Bi-polar disorder*

Restless Leg Syndrome*



And a whole bunch more phobias that you've never ever heard of.

Like Phallophobia. Shudder.

It looks like, after having receiving a nice laundry list of problems from numerous specialists, that I will be leaving the prison of Florida.

When is up for debate, but any light at the tunnel is still a light... at the...

We'll see how it goes. I'm not too keen on just leaving my mom and my sister to flounder without help. My main concern is for their stable financial future, and if I'm not on the payroll, that will help them.

Those of you who feel like helping promote the Soapier brand, I will be starting an affiliate program through our shopping cart. We're offering 20% of sales to affiliates, which I think it a great percentage. More soon, it should start July 1st.

Other than that, things are things. I just had some woman come in and tell me she's a massage therapist and that she uses our massage oils for her customers.

"Oh, that's great. We have only had like one or two serious health problems with them, so that's good."

They looked at me... man, it was hysterical. I told them I was kidding. They laughed, we talked a bit. The father gave me some money for some soap, said keep the penny.

I said thanks, it'll go towards our pending lawsuits.

I'm such a funny guy.

* I have not been diagnosed with any of these disorders.


And no, I'm not afraid of erect penises, sheesh. At least, not my own.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Archery, raining and where the hell is Matt?

First off, a video:

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

So awesome. From Where The Hell Is

Had a nice weekend. Here's a 15 second clip of my recording Karen shooting a composite bow.

Sorry it's a bit poor quality, but we went to a neat archery place in Tarpon Springs, had a blast. I didn't use the composite bow too much because I basically thought it was cheating. So I used a fiberglass bow. The guy who owns the place strung a wood bow together, and it was AWESOME.

My new hobby.

It poured like a crazy person here. For two whole days we've had rain, and that hasn't happened in over 3 months. The pond out front of our complex was drying up, as was one down the block. I was very thankful we had the rain, as were the duckies and turtle I've seen, I'm sure.

So, I had a MAJOR anxiety attack yesterday, right? Freaking out, I'm in the middle of cooking, I can't calm down, I'm eating food, drinking vitamin waters.

Finally it subsides, but I spend the rest of the day thinking I'm going to puke just from all the adrenaline.

Karen goes "I wasn't worried, that's why I didn't get off the couch."

It was pretty funny.

"There's nothing wrong with you. I didn't get off the couch because how severe your condition was."

We laughed about that.

Then I punched her in the face!

She's headed back to NYC. I'm tired. We made brownies. I ate too many.

And now, after all that, we're having a competition to see who can lose the largest percentage of weight between now and when I go up to NYC for our birthdays (her's is July 31st, mine August 3rd). So, I have to purge all the brownies (thank god there's only one left) and continue working out.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The importance of exercise

Now, I can go on about how healthy I feel, how less depressed I am, how I've taken exercise and turned it into a hobby rather than a chore.


No, no, no.

What I'm going to tell you is WHY I'm exercising. For some, it will be a surprise. For others, well, I'm sure they'll empathize.

I will not, under any circumstances, die while having sex.

I won't do it.

So, there you go.

I just came back from seeing Get Smart with Karen, who's down from NYC for the weekend, and I have just got to say that every single theater, everywhere, has got its talkers and obnoxious laughers and just all around morons, because tonight I did not enjoy the movie as much as I would have, had I not had an ENTIRE ROW of awful laughers and talkers behind me.

Oh man.

We looked at each other a few times whenever something really obnoxious was guffawed or spit out of their mouths. I'm constantly amazed, as I get over, the people who feel they need to say something at the most obvious times. Not just in the movies, but outside, in the real world as well.

As Chuck Palahniuk wrote in Lullaby, these quiet-a-phobics. These noise-a-holics.


Now I'm making brownies. We're having brownies, salt & vinegar kettle chips and wine. It's not cosmopolitan. It's just a delicious combination.

Tomorrow we're going to hit the archery range. Can't wait for that.

Hope you're all having a good weekend.

J - retail hell (ish)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

the day I quit

Ok, so, two years ago I quit my job working as a temp doing little tiny illustrations for text books. I mean, can there be any other job in the world that would have as high a suicide rate? Ok, I'm sure there are some.

I sent out an email to the whole company after receiving an email that was directed to the entire company that said this:

"Where were you on 6,6,6?

Make it a good one."

They were talking about June 6th, 2006, the day the remake of The Omen came out.

So, I decided to take a moment and write a funny story:

"I woke up in darkness. Seriously. I couldn't see anything, and my bed felt like a pile of goo. I was trying to figure out why there was no light, when I realized that my cat had sat on my head.

Truly frightening.

The goo was this new tempra foam mattress pad. You really must get one.

I showered, I ate breakfast. I felt obscenely close to killing all of humanity, while I finished my Special K. Oh, and I was watching an episode of The Simpsons, their IV Halloween Special.

From there, I got onto the subway. Id never brought an ax onto the R line before. Usually, people are down-right miserable, dreading going to work. This morning, they seemed more... animated.

I went to grab the express train which was closing up, ready to pull out of the station. I waved to the conductor, ax in hand. Id never seen a conductor smile and cry, at the same time.

The N train was very similar to the R train, except now the crowd seemed to be shying away from me, as if I smelled REALLY bad. In truth, I think it was the homeless guy that was sitting down in front of me, but when he moved... I had to check under my shoes, just in case, you know?

I got to 34th street without further incident, and took the walk up the stairs slow, whilst sharpening my ax. Ever have a police officer throw his gun at your feet and start crying for him mommy? Its something everyone should experience.

Down 32nd street. Asian people left and right were running from me, as if I were Godzilla.

Round the corner at 32nd and Madison, into the heavy double doors of this building (I swear, I'm breaking them down today) and, at first, I thought that curly haired guy who presides over the 1 x 2 booth by the elevators was going to ask me for ID. Again.

He fainted.

Now, I'm transferred to the 4th floor, among bras and brassieres and panties... It's all been very soothing.

BUT. I'm waiting for Dave Blumenfeld to give me work... And, I have to say, things might get messy.

Son of the Devil."

And then I got in trouble. The VP said it was a very inappropriate e-mail, and people were offended. I was then asked to send out a formal apology. So, I originally wrote this:

"In regards to my response to Tyrone's 666 e-mail, my apologies to the following who might have found what I wrote insulting:

Homeless people
Transit workers
Anyone without a penis
Anyone who once had a penis
Satan worshippers who took the day off and didn't get this e-mail yet
Anyone with large breasts
Anyone with small breasts
Medium breasts
My face sitting cat
My immediate boss, who I'm going to ax in the face, regardless of whether or not I have a job tomorrow

And so on. For those of you with a huge stick up your asses, go fuck yourself. I don't need this crap temp-job as much as you need the incredibly good work I was doing.


But then I just sent a regular apology email... only to get bombarded with emails saying it was the funniest thing they'd read in a while, and all that.

Unreal. The guy who sent the initial letter sent a follow-up two minutes AFTER I sent mine.

When I got the initial letter I was like "WOW, this place is cool! They do this?"

No one likes to have fun any more. In corporate America.

my gay NYC subway story

You asked for it. I got about two dozen emails asking me for this story.

Actually, I got no emails. I got one comment. From this old guy who yells at cars. And he commented because he's got his own subway story.

So here goes. The dueling banjos of subway stories. And I hate dueling banjos. When my neighbor plays it.

This story, btw, is not for kids. I'll keep the curse words down to a minimum... ok, actually, that's a lie. I can't do that.

Christ, I'm sitting here and saying to myself "Don't post this story. For god sake, man, your MOM reads this."

Mom. Stop reading.

Ok, you know what? Seriously, NOT the place for this post. I'm not trying to build this up, but I'll let you go read it here. Deals with gays, sex and a lot of... information. But it's very funny.

You've been warned.


ear candles and thriller

So I'm sitting here minding my own business when a customer comes in, looks around, looks at me and asks "Do you have any ear candles?"

I look at her, my body concentrating on doing two things. One. Don't yell at her. Two. Keep jaw from dropping.

"No, I don't. You know, you can just make one yourself."

Blank faces.

"With a piece of paper, wrapped in a cone, put it in the ear... you can just look up how to do it."

"Oh. Thank you."

Her friend said "Isn't it amazing what you hear?"

I rolled my eyes and thank god for curbing my appetite for blood.

So, I'm going through the 180 shots we took of product on Tuesday. I have my itunes on, and I'm listening to my collection of 80's music and what comes on?

So, I had to watch the video, you know? I had to. Sorry, no embedding this one.

Then, you know, you have to watch all the others...

And I just saw this for the first time and busted out laughing.

Ah, youtube.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

fun stuff

I figured I would have a nice uplifting post after my Stan Winston tribute.

But I can't think of anything funny to say.

Yesterday, instead of working at the store, I helped art direct the new series of photos we shot for the Soapier website and catalog.

I was exhausted after that.

Ended up playing poker on full tilt poker with Karen last night. We both made it to the final table in a 90 person tournament. That was fun.

But not funny.

Let me tell you about soap on a rope. I'm not sure if I did talk about this, but it's a small store and sooner or later my tales will overlap.

A father, a mother and their son come in to the store. And they have a nice look around.

The son comes upon our soap-on-a-rope. It's neopolitan. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Very nice.

"What is this?" - son

"Soap on a rope." - father

"That's stupid."

"Well," the father says looking at me. I'm smiling. "see, soap on a rope was made for men in prisons."

The son looks at him. He's young. 10, 11.




"Well, because" clears throat "because men in prison don't want to drop their soap."


I'm laughing. The mom is shaking her head. The father is trying not to laugh.

There was no punchline because I think the kid would have had nightmares for a month, and would have ended sodomizing the family dog when he was older.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stan Winston

You might not recognize the name... it's understandable. I'm a movie fan, I watch the credits, I pay attention to who's responsible for the creation of... well, christ, in Stan's case, pretty much everything.

He died yesterday. Don't have much information on how, but it's a dark day for Hollywood.

Here's my tribute to Stan Winston, who provided me with so much entertainment over the years, I cannot even begin to tell you how much he affected my creative side.

And much more.

He was the driving force behind all of the creativity in these films. He designed the creatures. He was the flip side to Jim Henson. He'll be sorely missed.

If you want to learn more about him, here's his studio website.

Goodbye Stan. Thank you for everything.

the joke of politics

Hi folks.

It's 1:15pm on Monday. Over the weekend I had the bright idea of creating a political blog.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

But I figured I would give it a shot, since 35 hours of every week are spent combing the internet for funny photos of cats, videos of, well christ, anything right? And political articles on the two guys who are bidding to run the country.

Oh, and porn. But seriously, not at the store. That would just be creepy.

Is Victoria's Secret porn? NO. So shut up.

You shut up.





Stop it!

I started The Joke of Politics. Feel free to gander and comment.


Here's what politics boils down to.


You are so stupid.

You're stupid.

You are.

Mom said you were adopted. By circus freaks. They fed you hay.

Your face is hay.

Your face is a circus freak show.

We look alike, stupid.

I don't look like a circus freak.

You look like dad.

I look like dad, you look like... stupid!

Mom, he said I look like a circus freak who got fed hay until you adopted me! Tell him I came from your belly and that you screamed for nine hours and you hate dad!

She doesn't hate dad. She hates you because you smell like hay and mud and we can't show your face to the neighbors.

She hates you.

No, she hates you.

She hates you because you don't even know how to eat a bowl of cereal without making a mess.

Hey! I have a deviated septum, it's not my fault.

You have a hairlip too.

You have a hairlip!

No I don't.

You have a hair... eyeball!

You have a... wait, a what?

You have a hairy eyeball!

I can't believe you think I was adopted. You have a deviated septum and a hairlip from working at the circus.

I do not!

Yeah, you used to play around with the elephants until one day they stopped talking to you because you're stupid and they wanted to try and forget you.


Yeah. They even had elephant surgery to take you out of their brains.

They did not!

Yeah, they did. And the woman with the beard, she's your mom.

She is not. Mom!

Don't call for my mom, she's not your mom. Call her Miss.

Mis... MOM!

See? She's not listening because mom only listens to her real children, and that's me.

You're so stupid.

You are!





I'm going to kill you in your sleep.


Friday, June 13, 2008

some time wasters

Hey, so I'm at the shop and I'm bored out of my mind. I'm watching Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It's got one of the greatest action sequences I've ever seen on film.

On most days I'd be content to sit here, watch a movie, listen to the awful music that's piped into this place... like this:

This song is worse than death, and is only beat out by this other song I get to hear about two times a day. I'm gonna give you these as lyrics because to assault your other sense would be criminal.


Hey, lumpa sugar, you look kinda sweet
Cuter than a baby walkin’ down the street
When I look into your eyes, I wanna leap
I can’t conceal that you make me feel

Like a tiger, ooh, ooh, ooh, like a tiger
Ooh, ooh, ooh, just to see you smile nearly drives me wild
I wanna growl wow!

I’m feelin’ stronger than a grizzly bear
Soarin’ like an eagle flyin’ through the air
When I get you in my arms, you’d better beware
I go insane ’cause I can’t be tamed

Like a tiger, ooh, ooh, ooh, like a tiger
Ooh, ooh, ooh, just to see you smile nearly drives me wild
I wanna growl wow!

You keep my heart jumpin’ like a kangaroo
Floatin’ like an onion in a bowl of stew
Baby, ev’ry time you come in view
I run like an antelope to get to you

I’m your tiger and you’re my mate
Hurry up, buttercup, and don’t be late
I might get mad if I have to wait
Come right now ’cause I’m on the prowl

Like a tiger, ooh, ooh, ooh, like a tiger
Ooh, ooh, ooh, just to see you smile nearly drives me wild
I wanna growl wow!

You keep my heart jumpin’ like a kangaroo
Floatin’ like an onion in a bowl of stew
Baby, ev’ry time you come in view
I run like an antelope to get to you

I’m your tiger and you’re my mate
Hurry up, buttercup, and don’t be late
I might get mad if I have to wait
Come right now ’cause I’m on the prowl

Like a tiger, ooh, ooh, ooh, like a tiger
Ooh, ooh, ooh, just to see you smile nearly drives me wild
I wanna growl wow


According to the Geneva Convention, this song has been outlawed as a form of torture. Of course, no one listens.

I know, this site is turning into the link equivalent of the boy who cried wolf.

So, one day, many years ago I had taken a nap and paused something on television. I pressed play and a few minutes later there was one of those 'emergency news bands' came on the screen and I thought... what if we'd just gotten nuked. Somewhere close. And I woke up from a nap to find one of those things going past, and it was 30 minutes in the past and I walked outside and got fried up.

That would be a silly way to die. By a nap.


So, here are two fun time wasters for those of you who are stuck at work or stuck at home because a nuclear bomb went off somewhere close to you and you still have internet access, but can't leave the house.

Overheard in New York

Not Always Right

These are fun.

John - retail hell - ish

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Soapier's first contest is over

Well. My first title was going to say "Soapier's first contest was a big F-You to me"... but I decided against it.

I publicized this contest on 16 different contest sites. It was picked up by 1 (only because it was a message board), and I can tell you exactly why. It wasn't the prize. It wasn't the kind of contest. It was because I didn't spend $5 to get the premium listing. These sites offer FREE contest listings, and they didn't do it.

People who did see the contest could have won a $30 gift certificate to Soapier. That's like 6 bars of great soap.

All they had to do was take a picture.

So, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that people are just inherently lazy and don't want to do more than veg out, regardless of whether it's in front of their tv or computer with their boxer shorts hanging open just in case there's a lingerie ad on a site they're visiting that ISN'T porn...

I ran that contest for a solid month. 1 month. I had one person ask me a question about it and three people comment about the cat in my sample photo.

That's it.

Hey, it saved me and my company $90. Next time I'll have to have a contest that says "If you can drool, you can win some soap... although chances are, you don't know what soap is. All you have to do is click this button and you're automatically entered to win something. We're not sure what that 'something' is, but do you really care?"

Forgive my frustration, but it's 95 degrees outside and I HAVE to keep my door open because people can't read our big sign outside that says SOAPIER. They need to smell all the lovely fragrances. So I have to keep the AC at 82, so we don't have a $400 electric bill.

I'm sweating in my own store in the hopes I get two customers today.

Death to Florida. Why can't I have a shop in Alaska, where people are more inquisitive? I mean, christ, they have to be! All those windows are snowed up, for god sake.

Phil Sano, tasers and accountability

Ok, ok, ok. This has NOTHING to do with the retail store, and pretty much not a single thing humorous.

I'm an avid biker. While living in NYC and here in Florida. It's my favorite thing to do.

Recently on reddit I came across an article.

Subject: Portland cyclist tasered by police for not having headlight. "Without question, I could tell they enjoyed seeing me become so helpless, so weak. It was humiliating."

You have to click on that, right?

Here is the article.

This is a letter I wrote to the Mayor of Portland and to the Chief of Police, Chief Sizer. I thought it important to post this, A) because I wanted to leave a comment on the website to show some solidarity and B) because it's better to say something than to not.


Chief Sizer,

My name is John Painz, I live in Palm Harbor, Florida and I read about this incident on

It's difficult to make a rational comment about this topic since A) I don't live in Portland and B) don't know all of the facts (I've heard one side, biased or not, though with increasing police taser stories nationwide, I'd have to go with unbiased)... But I'd like to give my opinion on tasers and their apparent abuse, throughout the country.

Officers are taught not to use their firearms in situations that don't call for it... The consequences are usually dire, and paint a terrible picture of the police.

They've now been given a device that they can use, where the assailants, the majority of the time, won't be permanently damaged, and are immobilized enough for police officers to guarantee their own safety in a possibly dangerous situation.

From a responsible standpoint, it's a powerful tool for police officers.

But what we're seeing more and more are officers who were once impotent in their use of force, now have a tool where they can support their need for control and violence, in any situation they deem fit.

From the picture at the scene on, there are more than 6 police officers at the scene. For a man who didn't have a light on his bike?

I recognize the importance of bike safety. I'm an avid biker myself. But this group confrontation not only supports the actions of the one or two officers involved, but it empowers other officers nation wide. It strengthens the bonds between fellow officers who might not think twice to use a device that is potentially deadly, for an offense that does not require this kind of response.

Police officers have to be better trained to know when to use such a device. I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe that officer Erin Smith could not have found a less dangerous way of confronting Phil Sano, especially with that many additional officers around. Especially since two accounts say he did not identify that he was a police officer. Pushing someone off of a bike is dangerous enough, especially for something like a missing light. Then to taser him repeatedly, while officers just watched... It's completely reprehensible.

Trumping up Sano's charges with 'resisting arrest, attempted escape III and disorderly conduct'... Those are basically tell-tale signs of officers who know they went too far, and pad their report to inflate the situation and keep themselves and others in a better light.

I understand the obligation that police officers, their fellow officers and their higher ups are under to protect their own. What they do every day, the dangers that they face, the extraordinary situations they face. It's hard for most people to wrap their head around, fully. But that is a dangerous slope. There are strict limits of what is acceptable, and then there is accountability.

With every incident like this one that gets the poo-poo rhetoric and eyerolls, the jokes at work, police chiefs and other brass are sending a clear message to the citizens of its city (respectively) and to other fellow officers, like I said. That protecting their own is more important than protecting the people.

"If he didn't do what he shouldn't have done, I wouldn't have had to tackle him off his bike, taser him, taser him again, put my knee into his back, cuff him... All for a light on his bike." (these are no one's words, but that roughly defines the series of events)

Put that into perspective.

In this day and age, you cannot expect these stories to NOT have a life of their own, online. You cannot expect there to be repercussions from the public. Because everybody knows somebody with a story. You're helping pile on resentment for people who are trying to protect us, by allowing a whitewash of these events to just pass by, waiting for the next big story.

Do you ever wonder why there is so much resentment towards police? Don't you think that situations like this just perpetuate that resentment?

These officers need accountability training. Tasers are not substitute toys for guns. Had Sano died from his injuries, those officers would be out of a job and up on a huge wrongful death suit. It could have happened. It didn't.

Doesn't mean it's just going to go away. Think twice before hoping cases like this will just be forgotten in a week. People, the people who care, never forget. As I said, everybody knows somebody with a story.

John Painz

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Not sure if anyone knows about Hulu but they have some great streaming media, including movies and television shows, and now full episodes of The Daily Show and Colbert Report.

So there you have it.

Here's a funny exchange I'm having with someone on

Subject question: Could an American please explain to me what the likelihood of Bush getting impeached is?

thread starter: Is it a realistic possibility or is there not likely to be any action taken with the election coming up so soon?

someone else: I am not American, but as far as I remember, there were two or three another attempts in the past. All failed.

thread starter: This is why I am so confused when reddit goes crazy everytime the word impeach is mentioned. If there's no realistic possibility then why do we even try?

me - I think you misunderestimate the American people. (for the life of me, I cannot understand why I still get a red line under 'misunderestimate' on firefox... like it's spelled incorrectly. pshhh.)

my nemesis - Maybe because the word doesn't exist?

me - (whispering) do a google search (/whispering)

my nemesis - Just because a word can be found on google doesn't mean it exists.

me - Ok, seriously, are you even remotely joking? "Misunderestimate" is a word our President used during a press conference. This is a thread on impeaching the President. It was a play on words. Why I have to explain this to someone when I told them to google the word is beyond me, but there you go.

my nemesis - The idea that you were using it in this meaning crossed my mind, but the rational part of it refused to believe it. I beg your forgiveness for being rational. And your joke was poor.

me - how about I forgive you for not having a sense of humor. Nice backpeddling, btw.


These people are unreal. I'm not sure how you can go from correctly my spelling to saying "Oh, yeah, I thought it might have been a joke."

It's one of the reasons why nothing will never, ever ever never ever never get solved on the internet. Can't wait to update you on more back and forth backpeddling from my nemesis.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

other photoes

When I'm not trying to save the company with product photography, and not spelling like a certain VP (see how that works... potatoes, potatos... photos, phot... ah, forget it, this is turning into an Oliver Stone film), I like to take other photos, so I thought you might like to check them out.

My flickr link.


product photography suicide mission

So, we have two facilities at Soapier/First In Line Soap. Not because we have two names... pshh. That's just silly. One is our retail store, Soapier. The other is our manufacturing facility for our whole... sale.

So, we have two facilities at Soapier/First In Line Soap.


On top of being the pseudo web genius everyone takes me for, and a graphic design specialist (this is true), I also take product photography for the company. Not all of it, some of it was outsourced. But the other half, all me.

And I suck at photography. I mean it. If I was there that day when Oswald got shot, you'd have gotten this instead.

A picture for the ages.

Now, I have two killer cameras. One, I've already talked about, from my NY trip. The Canon Powershot SD 1100. It rocks.

The other... it's called the something-something. I have it at home, and I do not have a photographic (HA!) memory.

If you laughed at that little pun, stop reading and leave this place immediately. If your level of scorn and distaste for me has risen, read on. Things can only get better.

I can color correct something until the cows come home. And normally I can get something looking exactly the way I want, from a photo I shot. Or, I can fudge it. Either way, I'll be reasonably happy.

Today I shot some photos with the new camera, and was not happy. I couldn't get a single thing to look right, and I'll tell you. Product photography is something worth paying for.

In our case we have a good 100 different products that need shooting. So be it. I can do the art direction, I just need a photographer with the right equipment to shoot what I want to accomplish.

So, the guy we used, we'll be using him again. Hopefully this week. We'll see how his schedule is.

Here's the thing about product photography. You're not just shooting your product. You're shooting the best representation of said product.

Many years ago, I was working at the Food Emporium, on 3rd Avenue and 31st Street. This woman came in, about 35 or so. Blonde, bubbly, and she had six containers of cool whip. No ice cream, no nothing.

So I asked her what all that cool whip was for. (insert eyebrow waggle)

She said "I'm a product photographer. This week I'm shooting an ad for Colgate."

"Aaaabout the effect of sweets on teeth?"

She smiled. "No. We can't get those perfectly formed swirls from toothpaste tubes. We use cool whip. It helps us get those peaks at the end that they seem to so easily get in commercials."

Imagine my disappointment. 6 tubs of cool whip. 1 Blonde. I was 20.


But that little encounter taught me a lot. About disappointme -

About product photography. Getting the best representation of your product might not mean a full shot with all the packaging and a white background and that's it.

Maybe it's a close-up of the texture of the product. Maybe the photo is tilted, showing only little label.

We bought 7 different kinds of tile today, and they are awesome. I couldn't wait to shoot on these things... and we hit another wall. The other thing that product photography needs is proper lighting.

We didn't have that. We did get some 150 watt bulbs and put some fabric by them to diffuse the light. My friend from Brooklyn, Liam Schatten (an awesome photographer in his own right), who now lives in Atlanta...

Heyyyyy, don't get down on Atlanta, now. It's got to be better than Florida.

He gave me some pointers, but the fact was, every single photo came out with an orange tinge. And we were shooting our Cucumber Melon Sweet Sugar Scrub. It's orange.

Not good.

So, we call in the pro. And hope his lighting system, which is pretty good, can solve this problem. Like most things, if you get the problem solved for the first set of photos, the rest should be a piece of cake.

I'm sitting here and I want to dissect that saying "piece of cake."

Cake isn't easy to make. It's got the powder and the eggs and the oil and the mixing and the glaven!

I have a question for all the scientists out there. More of a request. Can you guys come up with some kind of cream or spray so that hair doesn't grow on corpses any more? Because that's seriously creepy.


I'll post more on product photography as I take them, receive them, learn lessons from it.

See ya.

John - Retail Hell - ish

Monday, June 9, 2008

any of you people use soap?

If you do, and you want some more, head over to Soapier's Blog.

I saw this really great video on CNN and I figured that I would try and help...

Jeez. Ok, just go read the entry on Soapier.

the two nap weekend

I know. The title is pretty straight forward. But it's COMPLETELY misleading.

That's right. I didn't take a nap this weekend. I didn't take two naps.

Now, before your head explodes, no. I didn't take three naps this weekend.


But good god, I wanted to.

Not having a driver's license sucks. Ok, well, maybe not in this economy. My mom and my sister both drive, both have cars. My sisters husband has a car. Gas has inched up just under $4 a gallon here in Tampa.

Where the hell would I drive to? Driving to the blood bank, I mean, that's stupid. I'd be losing almost half my profits. I'll hitchhike, thank you very much.*

And yes, it's very safe. Jesus, I'm in the hitchhiking capital of the world.**

What did I accomplish this weekend, you ask? A LOT.

A little.


Let's see. Saturday was a blur. Oh, but I had a nice pinot noir all to myself. That was yummy.

I went shopping at Walmart, aka The Destruction of Small Businesses in the United States. I hate shopping there, but they make it difficult not to. They have everything that makes middle America... middle America.

When my sister and mom were living in Scranton, Pennsylvania, we went to a Walmart or a reasonable facsimile thereof, and one of the first things they had when you walked in... the two, three times I went there, months apart.

You won't be able to guess. Seriously, guess.

Ok, christ, that doesn't work on the internet.

Deep. Fat. Fryers.

That was the kind of product they were pushing.

I didn't see any of those at the Walmart here. They didn't seem to be pushing any one thing, except depression.

So, I bought t-shirts... some more t-shirts... a button down shirt... new pillows... new sheets... ummm... can't think of anything else. Oh, a big ass thing of...

Ok, this'll stop now.

Got home, cleaned some, finished Firefly and Serenity, all brilliant.

Played some video games. Prepped a new painting that came out like shit, so I'm starting over... and genuinely relaxed.

Sunday was more of the same, except I went to the gym for the first time in god knows when. Felt good about that.

Let's get this back on a humorous track.

Stir Crazy is one of the funniest movies you will ever see.

At the store today and I have a whole bunch of stuff I have to get done. So I'll leave you with this awesome video of my all time favorite band, Oingo Boingo.

The quality isn't great, but the guitars are simply awesome.

Have a good day folks.

* I've never hitchhiked.

** Seriously, don't listen to me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

strength, in two of its numerous forms

I try to keep this blog light. So you'll excuse me for this bit of heavy handedness.


I cannot remember how in the hell I found this guy's page, but I'm glad I did.

His name is Drew and he's got a lot of good things to say.


Here's another thing I found over at In two parts. One. Two.

I continue to be inspired.

By a smaller and smaller portion of the world population.

But, inspired none-the-less by people who are compelled to do what is right.

I choke on the apathy of the majority.

I talk about having little to no patience for people. If you read some older posts you'll see some of my dislike for customers, politicians, criminals and Florida.

It's important for people to know that when I say 'people', I mean most people. I don't like to say 'most people' because the fact is that I'm probably not perturbed with about 20% of the country. The rest I could do without.

Ok, ok. 22%.

Of course, all my readers... in that 22%.


OK! It's not 22%. Christ, it's probably 51%.

That's still most, you know!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm BLEEPING quirky

Your Quirk Factor: 74%

You're so quirky, it's hard for you to tell the difference between quirky and normal.

No doubt about it, there's little about you that's "normal" or "average."

No wonder my mom thinks I'm adopted (sorry DM, had to repeat that one...)

Now I know everyone from high school is jealous about me.

Hmm. Let me tell you a bit about my high school experience. I had it good.

I always had good friends. I was never picked on. I met some of my life long best friends there. I met my first girlfriend in HS. I think I turned her into a lesbian. It's so funny. How that was like a harbinger.

Let's see.

I dislocated my knee while I was in high school, although not IN high school.

Did I ever tell that story here?

Oh man. Ok, here's a great story. I wrote it on my myspace page, but I think it's worth re-printing, don't you?

Well, too bad! I'm re-printing it anyway.

Every once in a while, one of my two favorite living authors asks his fans to write him letters. He's done it twice thus far. I've sent him letters and got two wonderful letters back. I treasure them.

So, the second time, he asked 'tell me something about you'.

So here's what I wrote to Chuck Palahniuk:


When I was a kid, I was in little league. I was a pitcher, and I really hate to say it like this, because I like to think of myself as humble, but I was the best in the league. We won every year, got picked for the all star game... it was awesome.

3 years. Had a lot of fun, friends... my parents were divorced, my dad came to see all the games. It was a lot of fun.

4th year, I get drafted to a different team. I get there, and the coach... I'd like to describe him. Big guy, a guy you'd picture with a cigar. More like a news reporter, one of the slimy crime reporters. 40's style hat, large square glasses, sunken face. I can picture him in my mind even now.

He had the other best pitcher in the league. And he benched me. The entire season. When I did play, and I think there was a rule that every player had to play at least three innings, it was right field, or some shit like that. I remember, clear as day, up for bat and I hit a line drive down the third base line and thought it was foul. Head down, hating everything, the crowd was yelling for me to run because it ended up being fair. That's how much I didn't care.

My old coach went up to my dad and I one day and said something to the affect of "If I had known what was going to happen, I would have put a stop to it."

These things happen, I guess, and it's hard to see the line between the game and the war, you know? I guess it's blurry to these people, I don't know. Probably not blurry to the kids playing.

So, I quit. I think I was thirteen maybe... I'm sure, had I not been picked for that other team, baseball would have been my life. I'm 100% positive.

A couple of years pass. Four, to be precise. I'm in my senior year at high school, I'm deciding that I want to go to art school... I had no idea before my senior year what I wanted to do, and I only ended up applying to one school, SVA in NYC... it hit me hard, wanting to become an artist.

It's Fall of 1990. I'm in Cooperstown, NY, visiting my favorite Uncle and his wife, with my family. Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame... all that. And batting cages.

So, I thought I'd give it a shot, you know? Still loved playing sports. I think it was 10 swings for a dollar or something.

I get up and start swinging. And I'm doing pretty good. A crowd is forming. I can't tell if they're waiting for the machine, or watching me. Maybe both.

I get to swing 9 and I feel something in my right knee. A twinge. Do you know what the definition of 'twinge' is? It means 'to have or feel a sudden, sharp pain.' Well, that's about right... although it really wasn't sharp, it was just sudden and foreign.

Swing 10, the bottom part of my right leg moves to the left, my thigh goes to the right and my knee pops out LOUD. I'm having a hard time even writing this... wow, I'm tensing up! Haha.

I fall on the ground and at first I don't understand what's happened, but there's a lot of pain. And the crowd is laughing. Probably thinking I slipped.

I start screaming. I remember my step-father coming to get me and I'm in a lot of pain, cursing... it was pretty bad.

I get to the hospital and find out I dislocated my knee. I get surgery and find out that it was a birth defect, that there was a muscle that, instead of growing off to the side of the patella, it grew on top of it. Same thing for my left leg, but there's nothing they can do for that leg, until it pops.

This story, this whole situation opened up, clear as day, about two months ago. I was sitting outside, just thinking, people watching, and it popped into my head.

I was going to be a baseball player. I was going to go to college and go pro. It was something I really wanted.

At 13 I had no other interests. Nothing. And I couldn't help but wonder how my life would have worked out had I not been picked for a different team. How I might have made it all the way to college on a baseball scholarship... and then, after time caught up with me, blown my leg out then. How many things would have changed. How I would have had to start all over, from scratch.

This seems more than coincidence. It seems quite planned. I'm a very happy person. I haven't always been, and things have been a bit roller coaster like for many years... but at this point in my life, I'm really enjoying myself.

Isn't that odd?"


He wrote this first, in the first paragraph:

"Your baseball/knee story made me a little ill... but it is spooky how life seems to work out for the best."

That is high praise from the man who wrote the short story Guts and had over 100 people faint at his readings!


Someone, anyone, remind me to tell you the gruesome true story of something that happened to me on a subway in NY. It's hilarious.

Oh, and the time I had a kidney removed. That was ridiculously funny.

Actually, it was more painful and frightening. But in a really funny way.

Have a good evening, folks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

go help

Read this. Victorine Surette (if that is her real name) talks about shaving her head for an awesome cause. Her blog is

Then go here and see what you can do.

Worth your time to read and at least show support for Jordan Corkum.

how to overcome boredom

That's not really a title to this story as much as it's a question.

I was at our retail store for just over 7 hours today. I had two walk ins. That's it.

Not customers. Not lookie-loos. Walk ins.

These people look, sniff, and walk out, and the only thing they accomplish is letting cold air leave my nice and comfy store.

I've moved on to the short lived television series Firefly. It's amazing how some of these studio executives actually never watch the shows they cancel, because it's obvious that if these guys ever gave Firefly a shot, it would have taken off.

I mean, people who make movies, right, the ones who make these films for low budget and then end up making ridiculous amounts of money... these guys are set for life. As long as they don't make stinker after stinker, they will always find backing for a film.

You'd think it was the same for television. Buffy had to be one of the most profitable television shows. It spawned a spin-off, a board game, probably something loosely comparable to civil war re-enactments...

I was lucky, I watched Serenity, the feature film, first. Then I went straight out and bought the Firefly series. This will be my third time watching it. It's brilliant. And I cannot, for the life of me, understand why it was canceled.

But I digress.

It's just one of the ways I overcome boredom.

Recently, I've become a reddit junkie. Though try as I might, I can't get my articles to post on the damn thing. Something about karma and my lack of it.

Got turned on to it by Robert Stevenson, who has a very funny blog, check it out.

There are other sites, but I need more. Here are the sites I visit every day. I mean, hourly. - not porn. A movie news and rumor site. Love these guys.

HSX - not porn. Boy I might have to say that a lot. HSX is the Hollywood Stock Exchange. Been doing this for years. You join, you get an account and you buy and sell movie stocks, star bonds... it's awesome. You start at $2 million. I just passed the $450 million mark.

Don't look at me like that. If you didn't know I was a geek, you must be new.

Ebay - ok, this site you should check out. It's online auctions, and they have EVERYTHING. Not too many people know about it, so go there now and go often, you'll find crazy stuff like healthy white babies and indentured servants.

Apple Movie Trailers - I love trailers. They get some great ones. Sometimes they're slow, you can find most any trailer earlier than what Apple puts them out... like Yahoo and IGN, but the quality at Apple is superb.

CAF - IT'S NOT PORN for god sake. - this place is amazing. Bill Cox created this site for people who enjoy collecting comic book artwork, and that's me all over.

You can see my gallery here.

There are some NSFW images there, a lot of them I painted, so be prepared. It's not lewd stuff, but I was trained painting nudes at school, and it's classical subject matter. Sometimes not, sometimes it's cartoon stuff, sometimes light erotica stuff. Sorry, but it's a big market.

Huh. I never touched on my schooling here.

Well, I went to School of Visual Arts in NYC. I wanted to be a comic book artist. I learned watercolor painting from the great Irwin Greenberg, a genius. He taught me a lot.

I re-began watercolor painting about two, three years ago, after a long stint of writing screenplays and running a screenwriters website, Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take many classes, but at the Art Students League in NYC, I found that Greenberg was teaching again, so for a few months before I moved from the city, I took his class again. It was fantastic, and I learned a lot.

You can see my class pieces here.

So, the thing is... I can't really hire a model, and so I had to work from online photos.

Here in Florida, I'm sure if I had some crack, or maybe just some peanut butter, I could hire a model to sit for 6 hours, so I could paint him/her. But it's not worth the hassle.

So that's me. Painting is what I want to do for a living. I'll get to it full time once I destroy leave Florida.

I'm tired today. Not too tired, but my body feels sluggish. I'm not getting enough exercise.

Perhaps that's because it's been over 90 degrees the last three days. The thought of doing something to sweat additionally seems counter productive to the laziness gene I inherited from my father.

I've worked hard to live up to the standards that gene requires. Very hard.

Ok, actually, I haven't worked hard at all.

You see how that works?

Hmmm... yeah, nothing else really rocked my world today. Karen, my girl who still lives in NYC, had jury duty today. Poor Karen. She got to see the worst of the worst white collar criminals today. Maybe a flasher, too. She sounded excited earlier, I must get details.

We're trying to wrangle up some tickets to Vegas for our birthdays. I haven't been to Vegas since... god, it's been a while. And I really enjoyed it. I hope those people remember my name. I mean, I was a good tipper, you know, six years ago.

They have to remember me, right? Maybe throw a few free drinks my way while I'm at the tables?

Maybe if I'm a snappy dresser.

I hope you all had a good day that revolved around sex, money, food and going to the bathroom.

In that order.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

the diner

this isn't about a diner. It's about a DINER.

Not a customer. A place you go to eat.

So, my mom, my sister and I went to eat at this restaurant across the street from us, for our weekly business meeting.

We've got there a handful of times. The french toast is quite good.

Last Saturday, I went there by myself, to get out of the house and not have cereal for 108 consecutive days. And the french toast was awful. I actually had to send it back, and I hate doing that. So they gave me a waffle and everything was right with the world.

This morning, had same thing... but I asked if they could make sure it's really cooked. Perhaps that was the problem. So the waitress goes in the back and says "Listen, really cook the french toast, cause the guy was here Saturday and said it wasn't good."

I'm like, christ... there's no way this food is not going to contain any of a hundred really nasty, awful things.

So I get the food, and lo-and-behold, really bad french toast. And so I asked the waitress. "Umm, listen, this isn't very good. I'm really sorry. But did you change cooks or something? Maybe the bread?"

"No. Remy's been here 12 years. I've been here 12 years."

"Oh. Well, I was here Saturday and it was the same thing, just not right. I'm really sorry."

"It's no problem, we need to know these things."

So she takes it. And I think it's the end. And it's not.

She turns around and says, in front of about fifteen other patrons. "He says it's no good Remy. Just like Saturday's."

Remy is this 50 year old battle ax of a woman, wearing a hairnet with a broad sword over one shoulder, a missile launcher over the other.

My mouth falls open.

"Was something different?" she says. "Because he said something's wrong with it."

Remy says something. "Oh, the batter?"

She says something else. "Oh, you didn't make the batter?"

My mom goes "Oh my god, your face is so red!" to me.

I'm mortified.

"You didn't make the batter?" my sister practically yells to Remy. I turn and say "Shut up!" to her.

I can't even look over, because I know Remy is taking down my stats just in case I ever show my face in there. The waitress comes by and says "I'll take it off the check. Do you want anything?"

"Just some wheat toast," I say, not able to look at her.

She says "Want some more coffee?"

I groan. I do. I nod.

What a freakin' nightmare.

This is basically what I thought was gonna happen.

Next week, Perkins, where I will be dealing with another animal, all together.

(everyone) Next week, Perkins, where I will be dealing with...

Ah, forget it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I'm sitting in a chair. I'm seven years old. I tell my mom that her food tastes like dog crap and she better take me to McDonalds before I start walking around the house naked, with my bits tucked under me, acting like a girl. I tell her I'll start wearing makeup and that I'll tell all of her friends that I'm a big Barbara Streisand fan.

My dad comes into the room, rolls his eyes and gets a bowl of cocoa krispies, fills it with orange juice, puts it in front of me and says 'shut up and eat.'

I lay here and I can't help but think that this would have been a daily occurrence, had I grown up in Florida.

This place... I can feel it changing my soul.

My childhood was actually nothing like that. It was awesome. And my mom is one of the best cooks around. I relish the holidays because she makes these awesome dinners. And I know that meatballs sound like a pretty easy thing to make... hers are to die for.

So, I finished Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The entire series. In one month and two days. Beat that!

Seriously, if you do beat that, I probably don't want to know you, so... don't bother beating that. Just, move on.

Ever have one of those days where you accomplish nothing? Where you take two naps, because you're so bored with what you're doing, or you have no energy? Well that was today. I didn't take two naps, I haven't done that since my mom lived in the other black hole of fun, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

No, today I combined the two naps into one 3 hour sleep fest. Yeah. It rocked pretty hard.

My upstairs neighbor is having sex right now. It's 12:49am.

Check earlier posts about this guy and his...

Jesus, that was quick.

Sigh. The curse of the 40-50 year old man.

Wow, you have to hear this. The Viagra kicked in, I think. This guy must have been a drummer or something when he was younger. He's keeping a very steady beat.

Oh well.

Have a good night, all. A better night than I'm having.