Saturday, December 24, 2005

I'll be home for Me-tmas

I've never been this sick in my life. Thursday night I went to a party. Toward the end of the evening I began feeling particularly ill. I got dropped off, slowly crept up the stairs to my apartment. I took off my shoes, discarded my coat, went to the toilet and vomit for what felt like at least 5 minutes. It was, as always, amazing. I could see each meal coming out in turn. I really didn't eat that much for the day but the sheer volume of what I regurgitated was mind boggling. I must have lost 30 pounds.

Anyway I went to bed and was basically dead for 10 hours. I woke up a few times during the night, freezing cold and aching from head to toe. My headache was also something phenomenal, starting at the point where my neck meets the skull and spreading like an atom bom to all areas beyond. For the first time, I called in sick for work. I spent most of my time in bed... I drank some apple juice and nearly spewed that up.

The rest of the day was somewhat uneventful. Mom called. When she heard how sick I was she discouraged me to go to her place for dinner for Christmas Eve. The phone rang a few more times, the noise so agonizing it brought tears to my eyes. Then the unthinkable happened. The doorbell rang. I crept to the door wearing my too-small gray pyjamas and walking with the posture of a broke ass mister Burns. To my horror, there were 3 people! One was holding a guitar. My jaw dropped. He started playing... The woman started saying something... I couldn't understand what was hapenning all I wanted was for them to go away. "Money?" I voiced my thought desperately, "Do you want money?" I can't remember what she answered but I slowly made my way back to my room and got 3 dollars. I gave it to them and with a rictus smile in return they gave me some paper which I have yet to read. I could have given a hefty donation to the "Eat the Dolphins Foundation" for all I know. But at least they were gone. I closed the door and went back to my tomb. Even under 2 blankets and a comforter I was freezing cold, like someone had launched me into the deep reaches of outer space.

I used to think I was invincible. A towering Bastion of Might, impervious to most forms of sicknesses. Apparently I was wrong. And now, my sickness has taken precious Christmas from me. A foul turn of events indeed.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Uh-Oh Here comes you know who!!!

Today I found myself singing a jingle from one of my favourite Christmas Commercials. The one where Fred Flinstone is leaving Fruity Pebbles for Santa Claus. It's probably been over a decade since they used to air that commercial and I still know it by heart.

Children: Seasons greetings in our souls!
Fred: Yummy Fruity Pebbles in our Bowls!
*BAM!!!* Uh Oh, here comes you know who!
Santa(busting in): Yabba Dabba Fruity-licious too!
Barney: HoHoHo I'm HuHuHungry!
(incredulous) SANTA??? MY PEBBLES!!!
Fred(furious): YOUR PEBBLES!?
Santa: Tis the Season to be sharing Fred!
Fred (heart softenning): Happy Holidays Pal!
Barney (touched): Awwww. Fred!

It's really quite brilliant. Think about how dense that commercial is with plot and intrigue. In thirty seconds they establish that it's Christmas, Fred is leaving cereal for Santa and Barney intends to steal the cereal by disguising himself as Santa but is foiled when Santa ends up showing up before him. Santa however, warms Fred's heart and instead of the commercial ending as it usually does (with Fred chasing Barney like an impotent jerk), Fred decides to share his cereal and we all learn a little something about generosity and the Christmas spirit.

There are a few things that I used to take for granted back in the day. 1) Cereal apparently is a very valuable commodity. To this day commercials about cereal always depict some character desperately trying to STEAL cereal. STEAL!!! That cocky jerk, Sugar Bear, who apparently isn't above time travelling to ancient China" to steal cereal from an old woman. That stupid Trix rabbit. The ironically named Lucky, who apparently makes the cereal only to have it stolen by punk kids and then be denied eating it. Lucky Charms commercials are particularly disturbing. Lucky's entire existence revolves around keeping his eyes and ears sharp because there's always a group of kids malevolently plotting to steal his cereal.

Kids: "Lucky will never suspect what we're going to do next! Steal his cereal! So I say we go out there, and f**k him up!!"
Other Kid: "I can't wait! It has extra dye and sugar!" (Then the children dash off, wringing their hands in anticipation of screwing Lucky over again).
Lucky: "Hahah, stupid kids... I heard your plan... and as they say; fore-warned is fore-armed."

Next thing you know the kids bust in and gang bang him then steal his cereal.

Kids: "The price is wrong, b**ch! Thanks for the cereal ya green hat wearing pussy! We got yo' a$$, once again!"

I mean, they're such bullies. What ever hapenned to rooting for the underdog? You always know how it's going to end. Some characters, lousy children, the evil sugar bear, captain crunch end up getting the cereal. The less fortuante characters end up screwed. Worst case scenario, those with cereal exact a terrible vengeance on supposed cereal thieves asserting their exclusive right to the product.

Another thing that didn't strike me as odd at the time is that Barney would go through all of this trouble to steal cereal from Fred. I mean, Leprachauns and rabbits I can understand. But Barney? Some kind of post australopithican homonid stealing from his neighbour? Impersonating Santa Claus himself?

Which brings me to the last thing I took for granted. Santa Claus showing up is assumed in this commercial. No sooner does Fred put the cereal near the chimney than Santa is there ready to consume it. When I was young I probably didn't think to myself, "Wow... Santa? I don't believe this commercial has established to the viewer that Santa can exist in the Bedrock universe." I would just be satisfied. Yes, Santa aquiring cereal from Fred would be a most ironic foil to Barney's diabolical plan.

I miss being a kid. The 80's 90's were really my time. Everything seemed to be targetted to me. It was likeI was the center of the universe. And Christmas time is where it all came together. Every commercial was aimed to please me, delight and bewilder me. Now I think too much to enjoy Christmas the way I used to. Back in the day I would be anticipating Christmas by November. I would just let all the shameless advertising wash over me like nerve gas. Everyday was a joy up until December. Now I'm Scrooge-esque. I feel more of the stress of Christmas and the pressures of new years. It's already only a week away.

I suppose most Christmas movies would say I would get into the Christmas spirit if I did something nice for someone. Cereal commercials show us that at Christmas time, we forgive our enemies for committing unspeakable cereal theft and forego exacting a horrible vengeance upon them. We might even share our cereal with them. The crooked ass police from the Cookie Crisp Precinct did. So did Fred.

So from my blog to yours, I'd like to welcome you all to whatever cereal is in my house. I finished the Honey Nut Cheerios but there's other stuff with that Quaker Oats guy on the box. Brown Sugar and something... with fiber and extra goodness!

I'd like to see a commercial where the Quaker Oatmeal guy is running from children who are brandishing pitchforks and torches, the Quaker clutching in his hands a bowl of oatmeal. He falls off a cliff and gets beaten by the kids.

Kids: "Thanks for the cereal you Queero Quaker! That will teach you to mess with delinquent younglings."
Quaker(in a foppish british accent): "Oh, my head...." (Camera zooms out to reveal the quaker impaled on a large sharp rock. Younglings eat oatmeal.)

Blacks, whites, Cookie Crooks and even pasty punk Leprachauns. Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Ghetto-fication of MastaCSG

Gone are the days of living with parents when any money earned was pure liquid capital. Now that I live on my own, I have expenses. Food, rent and the like. And despite my best efforts. instincts kick in that were somewhat repressed in the past. The instinct to be cheap and save a dime wherever possible.

I try to suppress it, but sometimes it's just overwhelming. The other day, my supervisor got a calendar from the company that he orders chemical reagents from. He said, "If anyone needs a calendar, I got one from Bio Rad." Nice calendar. There was a picture of a parrot on the cover... for some reason. I tried not to look too excited. "Well," I said, "If you're not going to take it." In my mind I was thinking, "SICK!!! FREE CALENDAR!!! WAY TO BRING IN THE NEW MILLENIUM... EXCUSE ME... WILLENIUM!!!"

Today I felt like buying croissants but didn't want to go to the grocery store where I knew I could get 6 for 3$. Instead I stopped by a nearby bakery on the way home. With a big smile on my face I anticipated feasting on tasty croissants and asked, "How much for the Croissant?" She responded, "1 dollar." My face contorted in horror, "EACH???" mmm... Awkward! I kind of looked around the bakery embarassed trying to save face. I dont' know what I was trying to convey as I lingered in the bakery. I certainly wasn't considering paying a dollar for a croissant. But I didn't want to spin around and storm out the moment she announced the price of the croissant was a dollar. So I stood there, avoiding eye-contact for about 10 uncomfortable seconds and I finally left the bakery chagrinned.

I do however enjoy making the the people at Famous Players feel uncomfortable by complaining about the cost of popcorn. I bought the popcorn and then, knowing full well they charge 50 cents for "topping" I asked, "Could I please have topping with that?" Then I acted surpised when I saw 50 cents appear on the little cash register. "50 cents for topping?!?! Don't you find that atrocious?!"

The guy looked pretty uncomfortable. He just said, "I... I can't.."
Me: "I know... But it's pretty sickenning, dont' you think? 5 dollars for popcorn? Does this s**t make any sense to you??? DOES IT???" Then I went into my whole rant about how I had an entire box with 10 bags of popcorn at home for which I had paid only 5 dollars. He looked scared at this point. He filled a bag with popcorn and when he nervously placed it on the counter some of the kernels fell out. He looked at me and cringed slightly, then returned to the popcorn maker, emptied the bag and REFILLED IT!!! to make sure it was overflowing with pop-corn. Ah, the joys of being an angry black man.

"Do I get free refills for my drink?" I knew the answer was no. But I wanted him to tell me. And he did. I shook my head in dissaproval and walked away with my salty buttery snack. I think I made my point.

Probably the most ghetto aspect of my life at this point is my discman. Where most people are rocking mp3 players and ipods and the like, I'm still carrying around my reliable discman that plays mp3 files off of CDs, purchased from Droopy for 20$. But that's not the ghetto part. The ghetto part is that I dropped it on the ground a while ago and the mechanism that keeps it closed broke. The result of this is I have to keep it closed with a rubber band. Not ghetto enough? Well, a few weeks ago I lost the rubber band! The very next day after losing it, I was walking back home from harvey's with some lab cronies when I found several rubber bands of appropriate size on the sidewalk. Having no rubber bands at home, I promptly copped the derelict rubber bands, wrapped one around my maimed discman and put the rest in my pocket, just in case!

The ghetto instinct is a strange thing indeed. Sure it makes me a cheap bastard on most occasions. But I still spend copious amounts of money on food. I can't buy pizza without a side order of chicken wings. I NEVER buy a mcD's combo without a side order of chicken nuggets. I've gone to see Harry Potter twice once with popcorn and declicious blue Kool-aid (made from 100% pure blue. Blue Kool-aid has 70% blue proof.... and that's per volume!) For some reason I even decided that it was absolutely necessary for me to buy a brand spanking new copy of Moby Dick and an anthology of poems by Edgar Allan Poe. My finances are still in order... So is ghetto-fication necessary as a graduate student of modest assets, or is it just the result of knowing that my supply of money is no longer limitless? Or maybe it's just fun to be ghetto, and furrow my brow at cashiers and give them lectures about how expensive things are.

Or maybe I've always been cheap. Since the dawn of existence a typical trip to Harvey's will always evoke the following words of wisdom, "50 cents for cheese on my hamburger?! Let me tell you something ... I bought an entire package of cheese for about 2 dollars from IGA. What would you have me do? Walk around with slices in my pocket in case some knave like yourself tries to charge me 50 cents for a lesser product? I won't give you the satisfaction, cur!! No cheese for me!!! I'll have the plain hamburger with FREE pickles, tomatoes and onions please. What's that on the menu? Smiles are also free? Then hook me up with that too, BIATCH!" That's not being cheap, that's just being a smart consumer. And probably a bit of a jerk.