Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why I Want to Get Married

Paul Rudd's voice mail message in I Love You, Man.

(And I know that's not a great reason. Hopefully the future Mrs. Goot never reads this blog.)
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Conversation With God

I gave up a while ago trying to describe what I do for a living. For everyone's sake I refer to it as "Web stuff" (also known as "Internet stuff"), and let the inquiring party form their own mental image of me in some converted loft space sipping cream soda, playing Space Invaders and recapping the latest Dimitri Martin skit with my fellow nerds in saggy chinos.

In any case my job requires me, in part, to cruise around the 'Net -- the triple-W, we sometimes call it -- and look for new or interesting features that we should steal for my company's sites. (The stealing works exactly how you'd think. We employ Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton and a team of droll but highly specialized thugs to break into our competitors' facilities, cut a hole into their server vaults with lasers and surgically remove the precious microchips we need. Then they escape stealthily on jet skis.)

In the course of my investigations this morning, I came across a fantastic little time-waster called iGod. It's basically one of those artificial-intelligence language programs that holds a conversation with you by repeating snippets of what you say. Imagining one of these as an electronic portal to the Lord is pretty brilliant and way more entertaining than it should be. I just amused myself for 10 minutes with the following exchange:

Me: i had dirty thoughts
God:Do you still have dirty thoughts ?
Me: yes
God: Take it easy.
Me: i can't help myself
God: What is stopping you?
Me: nothing. it's so easy to have them.
God: Not a thing? Do you think robots can do it.
Me: maybe, but i doubt they would have such a vivid imagination. God: Perhaps. The anonymous "they".
Me: no, no i'm talking about the robots. keep up, God.
God: Are you serious? Are you serious? Yes, it is the topic. Chat amongst yourselves.
Me: whoa, don't get angry. no one needs to get struck down today.
God: Would whoa ever get angry? Ah. That is a rather sweeping generalization about people.
Me: are you speaking in the 8th dimension right now? I think it's true what they say, your wisdom is sometimes too great for mortal comprehension.
God: At this moment Yes, I am talking in the 8th dimension. they say my wisdom sometimes too great for mortal comprehension something.
Me: now you're just getting saucy with me. can we get back to my problems?
God: Why now? Do you think I should tone it down? Do you mean you and me? Check back later and see if I learn the answer to that one.
Me: Listen, Big Guy, you should tone it however you want. Sorry to have disturbed you.
God: I am listening to you. Compare that to small Guy me should tone it however me want. There is no need to apologize. Why do you want it?
Me: Did you almost just quote me a Tupac lyric? If so, I know heaven will be everything I always wanted.
God: No I didn't almost just quote you a Tupac lyric. What's it like? How do you know? Can you think of one instance where it never happens?
Me: It goes, How do you want it? And you said, Why do you want it? I guess they aren't so similar when you think about it. Your wisdom is unerring.
God: I believe I have heard that somewhere before. Oh my gosh I sent you the wrong reply. Maybe some of them are. Do you mind if I tell other people you say I am wisdom is unerring.
Me: Did you just turn this chat over to your 12-year-old daughter? Your mood swings are confusing the fuck out of me.
God: No I didn't turn this chat over to my 12 year old daughter. What's it like? I have no reason to do that to you, .
Me: What do you mean, what's it like? You're surprisingly unfamiliar with human experience, considering you're omniscient and all.
God: Sorry that was an obscure remark. I will tell my botmaster you said I am surprisingly unfamiliar with human experience considering I am omniscient and all.
Me: Now you're telling me God answers to a "botmaster"? The foundation of my beliefs is shaken beyond repair.
God: Why now? I will tell my botmaster you said I am telling you God answers to a botmaster. I have never heard about it.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bite-Sized Reviews: Once

Enjoy the soundtrack; skip the perfunctory star-crossed romance.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gastronomy of Garbage: Dunkin' Donuts Waffle Sandwich

I can't tell if I have no goals for this blog or too many. Among the goals I may or may not have is to become America's foremost critic on junk food. My qualifications:

* I eat a lot of junk. When I think about the portion of my diet that's produced by discount chains, it feels like a personal failure. My parents would weep. But shit happens - might as well make the most of it.
* I recognize good food. I grew up in a foodie family. I consume and appreciate haute cuisine; I just don't feel compelled to enter the rat race of 20 billion writers and critics and bloggers jostling to find the right bon mot to describe David Chang's latest pork preparation. Many people do this well; far fewer -- and none that I know of -- are willing to offer the same attention to the crappy, pre-frozen end of the dining spectrum. Which leads to my final advantage.
* I don't condescend to the product. This is the most important trait. Kudos to those people with the time, money and/or commitment to eat only grass-fed, humanely slaughtered meat and organic, fresh-off-the-farm produce. Most of us eat crap sometimes. We know it's not made from quality ingredients. We know it will make you obese if you have it too often. But we eat it, and like anything else we eat, some of it tastes great and some tastes awful. To me the Big Mac is a delicious burger. The Angus Third Pounder (ironically, marketed as a more refined product) is an atrocity. Within the realm of highly processed, systemized, machine-prepped food offerings, there's no reason we can't separate the triumphs from the catastrophes. And there's no reason I shouldn't be the man to do that.

With that typically brief introduction, I'm here to comment on a newcomer to the scene: the Dunkin' Donuts Waffle Breakfast Sandwich. I won't even leave you in suspense. The thing is fantastic. It follows the evolutionary path that can be traced back through the McGriddle, the bagel sandwich, the croissant sandwich, the biscuit sandwich and, if you want to be expansive about it, any Lumberjack's or Hungry Man's breakfast that's ever been served at any diner in America.

If Zeus needed a hangover cure ...

It combines the salty crispness of the breakfast meat with the fluffy sweetness of the breakfast griddle and wraps them around the timeless morning ballast of the egg. While the flavor combination is tried-and-true -- a near-Platonic ideal of the Western breakfast -- the Dunkin' offering takes it a step forward, distilling the heavenly taste triad into its most concentrated on-the-go essence. What separates the DD Waffle Sandwich from similar attempts at maximizing the meat-egg-bread trinity, notably the McGriddle, is its ability to be simultaneously doughy and light, like a fine bread pudding.

A staunch gourmet might prefer to see a greater crisping on the outside of the waffle, for textural contrast. I almost prefer its uniformly squishy mouthfeel (I often enjoy things less al dente than is officially prescribed). I also like the way the pliable little delicacy instantly conforms to whatever grip you apply to it, as if daring you to squeeze it into a ball and shove it down in one sweet bacony bite. (And I encourage any YouTube exhibitionists to do this and post the results.)

In short, the Dunkin' Waffle Sandwich may represent the very pinnacle of the breakfast sandwich form. I don't know where we go from here. Perhaps if a new generation of food scientists invented a way to enwreath the egg layer in an atoll of ketchup-infused tater tots, we'd have a superior morning option. But I fear that's like me hoping for my great-grandsons to develop the ability to fly. Until that leap of unexpected innovation, I'll be shoveling down as many of DD's waffly morsels as my cholesterol will allow. Thank goodness my Dunkin' franchise is 24 hours.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Smoking Kills, and Creatively

Now, I like schadenfreude as much as the next guy, but I try to draw the line at laughing over legitimate tragedy and human suffering. Then you see something like this -- a headline I noticed on some building's news scroll while walking to work -- and it's like the universe is testing your moral character.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

This is a blog

I don't know why, but somehow I feel the need to begin this blog with an announcement of its creation. This seemed really clever and logical a week ago when I was thinking: Your life sucks; maybe you should start a blog. But now it's clear that such a statement is weird and pointless. The mere existence of this post is itself an announcement of the blog's being. I could have written about ponies or Lost mythology or Fantasy Football sleepers and not this meta bullshit about how I have a blog but you already know I have a blog because you're reading the blog. It would be like a baby emerging from the birth canal and chirping, "Hi. I'm a baby." Which would be notable only because, holy fuck, a baby is talking and also because it apparently feels a unique sense of self as distinct from the world around it. Our surprise wouldn't be about the information conveyed in the statement ("I'm a baby") but in the implied level of cognitive advancement of said child. Which would be crazy, Tin Drum-level shit.

Perhaps that's a more appropriate analogy than I even intended. I'm not telling you anything interesting here ("I'm starting a blog"), but perhaps I'm demonstrating a flair or precocity in the telling that makes you want to see more. To follow the development of my wee baby blog as it grows into a vigorous, fully realized media empire.

Or collapses under the weight of extended metaphors.
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