Archive for September, 2007

In my typical fashion of posting event write-ups over a month after they happen, here’s a quick run-down of Gus’s amazing birthday bash at Prague in Austin, Texas. Not everything went according to plan (it never does), but the general consensus was positive, and no lives or limbs were lost.

To put it bluntly, this party was freakin’ huge. I secured the club for a private party, hosted an open bar, and spent many, many moons preparing. It was a lot like planning a wedding, except I expected nothing of my guests and no one got any new jewelry. All the unexpected occurrences and ups and downs may have made for a good reality show, though. I never went “Bridezilla” on anyone, but I did get to Austin a week early and spent more time driving places and calling people than I ever have in my life. In fact, I was still working shit out at the party:

I was on the phone with the dj, who was really nice and didn’t ask for money. Although, it turned out we didn’t need him to do anything since we couldn’t hook up a microphone for use on the stage, so everyone just stood in front of the dj booth and took turns passing the mic around. Of course, I had this great vision of Hugh Hefner’s roast and wanted to mimmic that. But when dealing with that issue and all the others that came up before it, I kept in mind that no one at the party really cares but me and that did wonders to preserve my sanity.

Somehow, despite my penchant for procrastination, the Gus-themed stickers, t-shirts, and magnets all managed to make it to Austin before the party. The picture below is the magnet. The stickers and t-shirts got plenty of photo ops, but unfortunately, none of our friends have a metal ass.

Chuy’s had my giant food order ready (mmm… Chuy’s), and I provided tons of appetizers and snacks because my biggest fear is having a party and running out of food and drinks. If you have a party and don’t get enough refreshments for your guests, you might as well stamp “LAME” on your forehead and jump off a bridge.

Most importantly, Gus had three cakes. Cake is the best part of any birthday, and if you’re turning 30, you need to have more than one. Cake number one was Gus’s favorite, carrot cake, from one of the best bistro/bakeries in town, Chez-Zee. Cake number two was my favorite, a doberge cake from Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans. I had it shipped, which is never ideal for a cake in August. Despite the melt-factor, it was still delicious. Cake number three was a large sheet cake from HEB, which you see here. As we all continue party planning through adulthood, let’s remember that candles portraying large numbers are far superior to a large number of candles.

Once our time at the club was up and the fantastic plastics started showing up, we all headed to Mugshots, home of the best jukebox in town. Eric was awesome and helped me move everything out of there in hurry. While I’m at it, big thanks to McP and Daniel for helping me transport tables and chairs when needed, and to Phil and Sonya for keeping the cakes in their fridge so they could be enjoyed later and we could stay out that night and keep drinking. Gus thanks a bunch of people in his blog too, and I ditto those. If we forgot someone, please know that we’re thankful to you too, and we really enjoyed hanging out with everyone who showed up to celebrate with us. Y’all keep making Austin a harder place to leave.

Kevin and Amy took some excellent pictures, which I gratefully appreciate, since I didn’t have much time to take pictures myself.

And here is an uber-set of pictures from my camera, Katie’s camera, and one of the disposable ones I got for the party, which Johann thankfully used up and handed me for safekeeping before I got too drunk. I am really, really happy that people took pictures. I love looking that them after the fact, but I never want to take them while the action is actually happening. Thanks a million, guys! Sidenote: If you want to be flickr friends, befriend platkat.

I had been wanting to see the movie, Idiocracy, since I was first aware of the concept: A futuristic world of people too stupid to recognize the relation between action and consequence, due to the irresponsible sexual practices of our uneducated lower class. Sounds like a movie I’d make, if I had venture capital, movie mogul friends, and you know, three pounds of fairy dust up my ass.

Anyway, I may be wrong, and being a woman of the future, I’m too lazy to look it up, but I think some of this movie may have been filmed in/near Austin when I was living there. I’m pretty sure director Mike Judge actually hosted a screening at the Alamo Drafthouse. (I miss you, Alamo! *single tear*)

Since I hate fads and crowds, I stayed away, and I moved to New York instead because there’s none of that bullshit here. I also heard through the grapevine (okay, I looked that up) that one of my coworkers at the time was an extra in the movie. I didn’t really like seeing him around the office back in the day, so it would be counterintuitive to spend time, effort, and money to see him in a movie (however fleeting his role), wouldn’t it?

Yes. So I recently caught the flick when it came on Cinemax, which I sometimes watch in the daytime even though the porn isn’t on yet. I was a little surprised that it didn’t feel like I was watching a major motion picture. It was more like an art/philosophy student project with a big budget.

The story is sound enough: A man and a woman are forced 500 years in the future as the result of an army experiment gone wrong. They give the audience a “normal” point of view in a world where everything is dumbed down, corporate sponsored, super-sized, gratuitously violent, and at times, just pathetic. Their goal is to find a time machine, so they can go back to their own time period. Even though the existence of this device was verified only by their witless companion, Frito, I was willing to suspend my belief with the understanding that our hapless heroes needed some hope to leave that global debacle.

I had to think harder about this. I’m quite the pessimistic movie-goer (“Hey! A car could never jump a gorge that wide in real life!”), I can’t just dismiss the whole movie because of some ingrained sour grapes defense mechanism. There are things about it that actually suck. What are they? Here:

There seems to be a total disconnect between the characters and their motives. The biggest contradiction is Maya Rudolph’s character, Rita, a lowbrow whore with an IQ to match. Breaking it down further:

1. Rita endures the ongoing struggle of seeking out her pimp, Upgrayedd [sic] even though it is clear she is 500 years in the future and has bigger problems, i.e. surviving. I guess it was supposed to lend itself to humorous banter, but it didn’t.

2. She joins Luke Wilson’s character, Joe, in attempts to find the time machine and go home, even though she shares much of mentality and values of the time. In fact, she has it good in the future. In the past, she was a whore with a pimp. In the future, she turned tricks herself, and by “turned” I mean “took money from without having sex with”. Her clients of the future were too dumb to remember how the rest of the transaction was supposed to go. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

3. It’s hard to believe the racially mixed beauty of SNL fame is really a dumb prostitute. It could be her poor acting, or maybe she was just miscast. Either way, watching Maya try to play a street-wise prostitute is like watching everyone’s favorite pale-faced trainwreck, Buckwild from Flavor of Love try to be herself. Did clicking that link hurt? I know it did.

I had some problems with Luke Wilson as Joe as well, but they were fewer. The largest being his continuing obliviousness about Rita’s career as a hooker. Earlier in the movie, she tells him she’s a painter to put an end to his small talk (admirable), but the script carries it on through the whole movie. Gah! Get over it! Not funny!

Despite Joe’s tendency toward cluelessness, he is made President (of the US? the World? who knows?) and what is funny is the circular coversation he has with his cabinet about why you can’t water the crops with an energy drink.

“But it’s what plants crave,” argue the cabinet members, repeating the slogan of the fictitous Brawndo, a drink all too similar to present-day Gatorade.

“It doesn’t matter if that’s what they crave, it’s not what they need,” says Joe.

“But Brawndo has electrolytes,” they insist.

“Do you even know what electrolytes are?” he responds.

Thank you!

I looked for this convo in its entirety on YouTube and couldn’t find it, but I’ll admit that it’s almost worth watching the movie. There are hoards of people today who feel nutritionally educated simply because they’re able to regurgitate phrases of a credible-sounding advertisement. I get frustrated listening to people’s stupid ideas about how their bodies work, and I’m not even a nutritionist. I can’t imagine how annoyed they must be, bless their souls. (And once again, may we all keep our diets as private as we should keep our religions.)

There were a few other shining moments like that one, but silly quotables do not a movie make. And sadder still, I felt like I was watching something that had been made before.

Idiocracy was heavily reminiscent of the Futurama episode where some giant brains invade Earth and make everyone stupid. Being a simple half-hour with little to no plot holes (and also a cartoon), the episode was better executed than this movie.

The quirky cinematic elements of the movie very much resembled The Fifth Element. The two main commonalities between the two movies are a) the attention to minor details in order to give a truer “futuristic” perception (shiny clothes, goofy cars, etc.) at the expense of an overall coherent viewing experience and b) the token outlandish and flamboyant black president. Although I liked the premise of Idiocracy more, I’d rather watch The Fifth Element.

But the ending of Idiocracy can’t be beat. Instead of being quick and cute (Futurama) or virtually forgettable (The Fifth Element), this movie ends with a big “Fuck you.” As it turns out, the “Time Masheen” our main characters seek is just a kiddie ride at an old amusement park. Joe and Rita are forced to stay in the future forever and attempt to breed some brains back into the population. I’m not sure if Judge meant it to be a happy ending; to me, it pretty much punctuated the idea that we’re fucked.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering, what of the former coworker I dreaded to see? Was it annoying to watch him make a stunning appearance as “Hospital Patient #5”?

Nah… It turns out you can’t even see his face. There’s an opening shot in which I think I can identify him, but from the p.o.v. I got, he’s still a dime a dozen.

“I can see why [name] is in this movie,” I told my viewing companion. “All the extras had to be fat and ugly.”

“And stupid,” she added.

“Yes, extremely stupid,” I agreed.

Okay, so everyone knows it’s been a whirlwind of activity regarding my employment, my search for employment, and the offers I’ve received for employment. I really have been planning to write a huge post about everything, from joe-jobs to reality TV to corporate positions I think I’m too good for, but that will just have to wait.

I received an e-mail today, and it went something like this:

Hello

We are seeking a 4 web designers with experience designing on-line
advertorial content for websites… blah blah blah

Required Skills and Experience
3+ years experience in Web Design
Knowledge of basic website marketing principles
Strong Flash and Adobe CS2 skills
Ability to produce sophisticated Flash animations and components
Blah blah blah…

Best regards,

Claudinette Fetus-Chan
Technical Recruiter
xxx IT Resources
xxx Park Avenue
New YorK, NY 10017 (sic)
Ph: 212-949-xxxx
Fx: 212-949-xxxx
Email:fetuscl@xxx.com

Without missing a beat:

Hello Fetus,

Please find my attached resume and let me know when you would like to schedule an interview.

Thanks,
Kat

Is it obvious that I just don’t fucking care anymore?

Follow-up: They called me less than two minutes after I sent that e-mail to schedule an interview. Those wishing to learn more about my clever response-snaring tactics may stay tuned to platkat.com for further updates. Ha.

I’ve been wanting to post some other half-finished stuff before this, but I need to just forget about it and decide to write about what I feel like writing about, because everyone knows I can’t finish things.

I’m supposed to go to Spain very soon. So far, I have packed one tank top. I also bought a foreign voltage converter. Those are the two things I’ve done to prepare for my trip.

I wanted to do a third thing: restock my tiny iPod, which is lovingly named The Bane of Kat’s Existence. For some reason, iTunes updated it with some old songs last time and some of the newer songs dropped out. I’m not sure what happened. But I let it slide, and let that be my workout music for the last few weeks.

Now I’ll be going away for a long time, and maybe some other people are with me on this one, but I get music cravings. I also need variety. Some songs have a lot of staying power, others do not. Usually I have a core set of several songs that aren’t rotated out frequently, and then I have others that are only in the iPod for one cycle.

Lo and behold, I go to pull the cap off the USB and it’s STUCK. Goddammit. The old thing has gotten wet more than once. The rust has been forming for awhile. Now it’s finally rusted shut.

So now, I won’t have my awesome songs to jog to (or just zone out on the beach to) during my trip, like Peter Kruder’s remix of Bebel Gilberto’s “Tanto Tempo” or JFC’s “Point Lookout” or any of Kraftwerk’s “Expo 2000” remixes. Instead, I have Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” Screaming Trees’ “I Nearly Lost You There,” and some annoying remix of Future Sound of London’s “We Have Explosive.”

Yeah, I know, I picked these songs at some point. But I didn’t want them for all of eternity. I just wanted them for like… a second.

This reminds me of the time I was playing with the automatic controls of the passenger seat in my then-boyfriend’s sister’s 1987 Mercedes Benz (it was 1999). I was waiting for someone and got bored, so I moved the seat all the way forward… and all the way back. All the way forward… and all the way back. All the way forward… *click* Dammit! *click*click* Shit!

To my knowledge, the seat was never returned to a comfortable location. Whenever a trip somewhere required a four-passenger car, I was always forced to take shotgun. I acquired quite a taste for my knees that summer.

We can all learn a valuable lesson here. Choose your playlist like you’re dying tomorrow and this is the last shit on earth your ears will ever hear. And don’t fuck with the power seats in someone else’s car.

Manhattan is a penis, and today we encircled the head. On bikes.


View Larger Map

In fact, we jerked it so hard, there’s jizzum going down 478! Whoa!

I’ve discovered the secret to winning money at the craps table in Atlantic City: Don’t make any hardway bets, and be in the late stages of a master cleanse.

Once again, I arrived in AC on Day 10 of my cleanse. Gus and I had a nice free room at the Borgata, the most decent digs in town IMHO. Instead of staking out the craps table till 8am and passing out in the room for a few hours only to hustle it outta there by noon, I took advantage of the hotel’s many amenities.

I played craps for awhile, but got a full night’s sleep in my comfortable bed. The next morning I went to the gym, which overlooks the pool. It’s no Las Vegas Caesar’s (you can still kind of see the main road), but it’s as good as it gets. Near the gym was a salon that carries my favorite line of hair products. I know my poker friends would cringe at this, but buying a bottle of Kerastase Oleo Relax was one of the highlights of my trip. Sorry.

After making myself pretty using every square inch of floor and counter space in my big bathroom, I actually went downstairs and played poker. I was planning to play $3/6 Limit until Gus woke up. I waited for about 10 minutes and then a floor manager approached me offering a seat at a $1/2 No-Limit table. I dislike waiting much more than I dislike non-tournament no-limit games, so I sat.

As I produced a $100 chip from my pocket’s stash of last night’s winnings, I witnessed the first display of douchebaggery that morning. I had a little chatterbox sitting next to me. He was probably in his mid-30s and loved to talk about money, how much he and his friends partied, the problems of the world, no topic was taboo. The man on his other side was humoring him. I tuned it out.

Then a mousy Asian waitress approached with his coffee. He was talking a mile a minute about mortgage rates and the poor girl was afraid to interrupt him. Finally the other guy tipped him off that she was there and he turned so she could hand him the coffee.

“Oh thank you so much. You’re beautiful. You’re really beautiful,” he said condescendingly and handed her a chip.

Feeling awkward, she’s still trying to hand him the coffee and stumbled a little bit.

“Oh, oh, did it burn you?” he said with obvious overconcern.

“No,” she stammered, “I thought I burned you.”

“No, I’m fine. But you could burn me because you’re just so hot,” he replied. “You’re burning me right now.”

I don’t even know what she said in return, I was busy trying not to burst out laughing at this guy’s pathetic attempt to talk to an attractive woman who was clearly uncomfortable in his presence. I think our whole side of the table was with me.

Turns out this guy was as much of a card player as he was a ladies man. I saw him play a bunch of hands without winning a single pot. That doesn’t say a whole lot, since I was only at the table for about 45 minutes.

I managed to make about $50 stealing pots before I saw Gus at a craps table across the way and decided to join him. My biggest money-maker was raising on the button with A10o, pushing everyone out but one player. KQx came on the flop and he checked so I bet semi-large. An ace came on the turn; I think he paired it but he just checked so I bet again. He thought about it for a long time and he folded. I’m pretty sure we would have split that pot if he’d called me down. It’s also possible he had paired his junk and didn’t think it would hold up.

Who cares? I won. (Kidding.) And then I took off to hang out with Gus. Ladies man tried to talk to me a few times, but I wasn’t having it. I realize I look kind of scary with the black hair and the bangs and the confusing Adidas jacket, so I was pretty much left alone. It’s a good thing.

There is little else to report, except that the Borgata no longer has free room offers on Friday and Saturday nights, so our chances of staying there again are pretty slim. We get free room offers from Harrah’s-owned properties, so we’ll probably be sticking with those if we have another weekend to get away. Case in point, our three free nights at the Flaming O this October. Amanda’s celebrating her birthday in Vegas this year… because she’s a genius.

Last night depression hit like beat-up unmarked van barreling down Park Avenue and there was nothing I could do about it. My usual methods (horror movies, writing, computer games, talking to myself) were powerless to stop it.

Then I remembered a couple of aliens who could always entertain me (provided I was watching Sesame Street at the right moment). Needing no further introduction, I bring back The Yip Yips.

Yip Yips Meet the Telephone

Yip Yip’s Der Computer

And my favorite:

Yip Yips Discover a Radio

As you can see, the Yip Yips are coming across some pretty cutting-edge technology. Maybe some educational show will make a new generation of Yip Yips to examine iPods and wireless routers. We have much to learn from these gentle creatures…

Ohio, the foul armpit of a state in which I was born, is now a literal hot-bed of controversy since Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby was not charged for the negligence of her two-year-old daughter that ultimately caused her death.

While it is sad and tragic that a mother would forget her child and leave it in unliveable conditions for multiple hours, I think that charging Nesselroad-Slaby would be a gross misuse of our already blundering justice system. It seems as though she got off on a technicality, an interpretation of Ohio law by the prosecutor. Regardless of this, I don’t think that most mothers should be charged when accidentally mishandling their kids.

According to the article, 75 percent of the mothers who’ve had this happen say they simply forgot. There was no intention to harm the child. It’s dispicable that they’re mindless enough to leave something in the back of their car as if it were a suitcase or a birthday gift, but giving these mothers jail time for their bad deed isn’t going to bring their children back, and it isn’t going to stimulate a dramatic change in their lives.

Jail is for people who are dangers to society: rapists, murders, thieves, and to a much lesser extent, drug dealers. These people need to be rehabilitated, or at the very least removed from the general public, so their actions can be contained and in the best-case scenario, changed. Note there is little information to support the idea that jail serves as a constructive means to achieving social normalcy in delinquents.

In most cases (I realize there are some psychos out there), the mothers of the 340 children that have died in hot cars in the last 10 years do not deserve jail time. Their fatal mistake was punishment enough. They’re already going to be ostracized by a majority of their family and friends. A lot of them will have to leave the state and find new jobs in efforts to start over and try to live a normal life. Even if they manage to do that, being responsible for another person’s death is likely to weigh on them for the rest of their lives.

I don’t think this woman should be allowed custody of her current child. I don’t think she should have any more kids. I might also suggest she step down as assistant principal and try a career that doesn’t involve children. But sentencing her to any amount of time behind bars is a waste of taxpayer time and money.

I’m also curious… we have statistics on children dying in hot cars from the last 10 years. What about the last 20? Or 30? This can’t be a new phenomenon. People have always been unable to live when trapped in small, stifling spaces for long periods of time. How was stuff like this handled in 60s? People drove cars, had kids, and ran errands.

The only difference, maybe, is that mothers had a lot less on their plates in earlier decades. Most moms we’re thrown off by having to stop and buy doughnuts in the morning because they weren’t facing a jam-packed day. Maybe we’re so busy trying to do it all that some of us forget our top priorities and accidents like this happen.

Do I find it heinously absurd? Yes.

But is it punishable by law? No. They’re receiving their just deserts already.

I’ve got nowhere to go
Just hang out on the street
My folks say I’ve got no ambition
At least I give a shit
About the stuff I eat
Yeah! I care about nutrition

The Dead Milkmen

I recently read someone’s mini-rant about people with food issues. While the rant is partially warranted, I’d like to expound on the issue. Almost everyone has a list of certain foods they can and can’t, will and won’t eat. It’s the people who make their food issues public knowledge at every opportunity that really need a good kick in the pie hole.

“I can’t fish. If I do, my throat will close up and I’ll die.”

Was that really necessary? Order the steak or a salad or something. I don’t care what happens to you when you eat peanuts, dairy, fish, salt, escargot, chocolate, etc. And it’s not because I don’t care about your health and comfort. Believe me, I do. Even the idea of you becoming flushed and convulsing on the floor in front of me doesn’t scare or repulse me. I don’t tend to think about emergencies until they happen, so the picture is not even in my mind.

My issue with discussing your dietary restrictions is that it’s not an interesting topic. It probably sounds cool in your head, telling everyone a story of your brush with death at a Sunday backyard barbecue because you ate beef instead of a veggie burger. Trust me, it’s not at all compelling. You weren’t maxing out your Saleen S7 Twin Turbo (drool) or climbing Mt. Everest. You were eating food. People do it all the time. You were either being careless and ate something you shouldn’t have, or you were being an attention whore and overreacting to a restriction you placed on yourself. Either way, I’m not interested.

But these folks are not the only group in need of a good pie-hole-kicking. There is another set of people who make it their business to know what everyone’s eating and feel the need to spout their unrequested opinion of it. Once again, I am not interested.

“Whatcha got there? Tuna sandwich? I can’t stand tuna. I really like cheddar cheese though. Sometimes I melt it on bread. Do you ever do that? Diet Mountain Dew. That’s pretty good. I like the regular kind better.”

Funny, I don’t remember asking what you thought of tuna. In fact, I thought I’d eat today to fill my stomach rather than present a topic for debate. But if you just like talking to hear the sound of your own voice, maybe we could discuss why you’re ruining a perfectly good lunch with your irritating small talk. There’s so much going on in the world, from major international conflicts to jewelry sales on Third Avenue. We could talk about all kinds of stuff. Why waste words on the food I’m eating, especially if you’re not a fan? I’m not asking you to eat it.

I conclude that it’s fine to have likes and dislikes and opinions on the topic of food, but you’re not going to make many friends by sharing them. Much like religious beliefs, I try to keep my dietary needs to myself and share them only with close friends and family, and I wish others would do the same.

On that note, this is Day 8 of my fourth Master Cleanse, and I’m planning to take another trip to Atlantic City this weekend. I’ve traveled while doing the cleanse before, and I did my best to downplay the oddity of it all. It should be really easy this time because I’m going with Gus and he already knows how FUBARed I am.

Am I a hypocrite for mentioning the MC in the same post as a rant about finicky foodies? Nah. If you’re still reading, you’re probably somewhat interested in how I’m doing, so this is a good forum for discussing all things Kat… even this. Besides, an innocuous blog post is a far cry from invading someone’s physical space with a barrage of dietary comments. Just wanted to throw in a little self-defense in case Mr. Anonymous decides to hop on and start flaming.

May your mouths be too full to talk about it!