Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Radness of King George

With the royal wedding coming up tomorrow, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little something about the British monarchy. This was originally going to be a Historical Hotties post, but I have discovered that British royals aren't very good looking (Harry and Wills are a fluke. Well, Harry is a fluke anyway.) More important, however, is my discovery of King George IV's hair. He may not have been the most attractive man in the royal family, but he has -- hands down -- the best hair.

By all accounts, George was quite the snappy dresser. He considered himself the height of fashion, and if portraits from his regency are any indication, he was dead right. Behold:

He apparently was a fashion icon even as a child. Here he is pretending to be a sheriff from the old west:

But the key here is not just his knowledge that the right accessories make the outfit (although this is true); the most important element of George's look is his glorious, glorious hair.

Presumably he posed for this portrait indoors, so his hair is not blowing in the breeze. It's just sitting on his head like that. It's so thick and luxurious!

I imagine that he had a royal hair stylist that he would order around. "No! Brush it forward from the back of my head!"

"Make it fluffier. No, fluffier. Fluffier still."

King George IV, you are probably remembered for a lot of things. Things that I am too lazy to look up. But today, I salute you for having the most bangin' hair to ever grace the head of a royal. And this is in the days before widely-available hair products and styling tools! I'm impressed.


It's common knowledge among my friends and family members that I might have a slight issue with paranoia. Usually it manifests itself in the form of hypochondria, but occasionally I'll develop a pretty good conspiracy theory. I'm not quite in tinfoil hat territory yet, but that's mainly because I've never looked that great in headwear (unlike one Daniel Day-Lewis, amirite?). I do, however, feel pretty certain that my name must be on an FBI list somewhere. Not necessarily a whole file, but just maybe a list of idiots to watch out for. Possibly stemming from that one time that I called the FBI headquarters and demanded to speak to an agent. Look, if they don't want people calling them, they shouldn't list themselves in the phone book.

Let me explain. It began innocently enough, with a weekend trip to visit some friends in Richmond. We decided to hit Diversity Thrift, which is hands-down the best thrift store on the entire planet. (Side note: to this day, I regret not purchasing a) a vintage, Rosemary's Baby-esque pram and b) a 5-foot tall Greek-style scultpure of a woman, which was also a lamp.) Anyway, on this particular trip, my friends and I were fortunate enough to pick up a genuine Clueless hands-free phone for one U.S. dollar.

From katie.cake's Flickr stream. Thank you Katie. I don't know who you are, but you have good taste in phones. 

If you are not familiar with the Clueless hands-free phone, it was a clever bit of marketing brilliance to accompany the equally-brilliant movie -- a pink, plastic telephone that was "hands-free" only in the sense that, once you connected it to your landline, you could operate the phone with an earpiece that was still attached to the phone. Kind of lame. It also featured buttons that would activate some of Cher's signature lines from the movie: "Whatever!" and "As if!" The real beauty of the phone, however, was a magical spinning wheel that could change the depth of your voice. If you wanted to sound like Alvin and/or a Chipmunk, just spin the wheel upwards. If you wanted to sound like a serial killer from Scream, spin the wheel down.

Needless to say, with a voice-changing device in our hot little hands, the prank calling opportunities were endless. The only problem was that we were limited to local calls because the landline in question did not have long distance service. Once we ran through all of the 804 numbers in our cell phones, we had no choice but to bust out the phone book. (I should interupt myself here to mention that we were in our early twenties when this story took place. This might sound like the work of middle schoolers, but we were definitely adults.)

So we called an adult bookstore, and a few restaurants before we got bored and started dialing random numbers. Later, some other friends/residents of the house we were at joined in the prank-calling fun. It's at about this point that my memory of the evening starts to get a bit hazy. Obviously, there was copius drinking going on. Because what else are you going to do while making prank phone calls? The following morning we woke up and carried about our business as usual.

I had all but forgotten about our Clueless phone adventures, until I learned that a couple of days later, a pair of FBI agents had visited the house in question. Since I wasn't there (curses!) for the most exciting part of the story, this part will be pieced together through half-memories and details recounted later by other participants. At some point in the evening -- and by evening, I mean more like 2 a.m. -- one of the guys who lived at the house in Richmond took a turn making a call. From what I understand, he set the phone to the deep, serial killer voice, dialed a random number, and told the poor bastard that answered something along the lines of "we have your daughter"... etc. etc., whatever else you might say when you're drunk making a prank phone call regarding a kidnapping.

Well, according to the FBI agents, the family was so frightened, that they alerted police, and then holed up in a hotel room for a couple of days. (Which, in my opinion, is ridiculous because if they even had a daughter, they could have figured out whether or not she had actually been kidnapped, by, oh I don't know, checking her bedroom. I'm sure it was scary for them, and I'm sure that when I have kids of my own I'll change my tune, but come on.) No one in the house ended up getting in trouble, primarily because no one could remember anything that was actually said. It was a clear case of Accidental Drunken Threats, which is probably even an official FBI code. "Looks like we've got another ADT on our hands, Agent Starling."

A few days later, I received a phone call from a man claiming to be FBI Special Agent Stevens. He told me he was calling in regards to the prank calling incident, and that I could be in big trouble. I explained that I wasn't even in the room when the call was made, and that I totally did not do it, but the man on the phone kept at it. He told me not to leave the state "for the next fiscal quarter" (?) and peppered his entire conversation with swears. Agent Stevens was a total dick.

I thought the whole thing seemed awfully fishy, so I did the only logical thing: I looked up the FBI headquarters in the phone book and I called their asses. The receptionist patched me through to a very nice female agent (not Clarice Starling), who assured me that there was no Special Agent Stevens, and no one from their organization would be so crass as to swear on a phone call of official business. She cautioned me not to open the door if anyone came to my house claiming to be an agent, and to remember that agents normally travel in pairs and to request ID if anyone did come to my door. I thanked her for her time and hung up, feeling only mildly stupid. (It took several years before I could fully appreciate how stupid I must have sounded.) I later discoverd that "Agent Stevens" was actually a friend of a friend who decided to mess with me. Yes, I got prank called over a prank call. And I ran straight to the authorities. Kind of like that poor family that I just made fun of.

I'd like to tell you that after this event took place I stopped making drunken prank calls, and that I've grown less gullible with age, but neither of those statements would be true. I can say, however, that I have not called the FBI since that incident, so at least I have that going for me. Yay!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Ballad of Mr. Pinchy Pants

Let me begin this post by stating that I love animals. Some of my best friends are animals. I mean, I am not an extremist in my animal love; I've never protested a circus or tossed red paint on an Olsen twin, but I would say that I am definitely a big fan of almost all animals (the obvious exception being the naked mole rat). And it is because of my love for all most of God's creatures that I feel so guilty about what happened last Saturday night.

Our local watering hole is home to a particularly terrible "game" called Lobster Zone. It is essentially a giant claw machine, but instead of cheap stuffed animals, you pull out live lobsters.

So messed up.

For $2 a pop, you can "fish" for a lobster, and if you win, the bar will cook it up for you. How PETA allows this company to exist is beyond me. I suppose it's not really all that different from choosing a lobster out of the tank at a restaurant, but I think it's the fact that it has been turned it into a sadistic game that makes it so distasteful. And I EAT lobster!

My only consolation is that no one ever catches anything. I've watched drunk men pour more cash into that machine than they probably spent on drinks, and no one ever gets a lobster. The lobsters are too smart. They congregate around the edges of the tank where it's difficult to reach them, and if they do get picked up by the claw, the squirm themselves free and drop back into the tank.

It was my certainty that lobsters never get caught, and the fact that I have never in my life won a stuffed animal in a regular claw machine that led me to the Lobster Zone tank that fateful night. After a couple of drinks, all my morals go out the window apparently. I borrowed the two bucks from a friend and fed them into the machine. I maneuvered the claw to the far right corner of the tank and hit the red button. There were only three lobsters in the tank at the time, so it shouldn't have been hard for the little critters to run around to avoid impending doom. However, that sorry sucker in the far right corner didn't move. And as the claw descended, I knew that my crustacean friend and I were in trouble.

"Don't get him, don't get him, don't get him," I chanted. I had been so certain that I wouldn't win, that I hadn't stopped to consider the consequences of actually capturing a lobster. Sure enough, my little buddy just sat there and let the claw swallow him up. My panic rose as it pulled him up out of the water. "Wriggle free!" I shouted. I had seen so many other lobsters wriggle their way out of the claw -- what was this guy's problem?! It was like he wanted to die!

He hung there limply as the claw carried him over to the deposit box and dropped him. Oh shit. I had won. I ran over to tell my friend the bad news. "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. I won a lobster." He tried to give me a high-five, which would have been very nice under ordinary circumstances, but not today. I was about to be responsible for the death of an innocent creature.

I alerted Anthony the bartender, and he came over to remove my friend from the deposit box. "Please set him free!" I pleaded. "His name is Mr. Pinchy Pants!" Anthony let me pet Mr. Pinchy Pants on his shell. "You're not going to cook him, right?" I asked. Anthony smiled and assured me that they would place him in a special saltwater tank in the back until he could be released to the ocean.

Phew! I sure am glad that they have a special tank in the back of the bar for all the people that accidentally win lobsters and then have a change of heart. That totally relieves my guilt. I'm hoping that the next time I go in I'll be able to visit him, and maybe give him a little plankton to nibble on. Good boy, Mr. Pinchy Pants. Good boy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Dream of... Having the Coolest House EVER!

It has always been a dream of mine to have a room in my house that is an exact replica of the interior of Jeannie's bottle from everyone's favorite classic television show, "I Dream of Jeannie."

I have spent countless hours scouring Google for a pre-made, round, purple velvet couch, but to no avail. I think I'm going to have to go custom on this one. In fact, I might as well go custom with the whole thing, because I don't want it to look tacky.

And if it turns out well, then I can work on dedicating the rest of my house into set replicas from awesome TV shows, e.g., Brady Bunch kitchen, Cosby Show living room, etc. (By the way, all of this is based on the assumption that I am going to have an enormous house someday with more rooms than I know what to do with.)

The only thing I can't figure out is, what will the Jeannie room be used for? At first glance you would think that it would be the perfect room to get high in, (say no to drugs!) but that would really stink up the velvet, and plus I don't want any fires.

 It can't be a room for romantic rendezvous either because that's kind of fetish-y and creepy, and then you couldn't hang out in there with your friends. And let's be honest, the whole point of having a really awesome room in your house is to show it off to all your friends so that they can be jealous.

I suppose I could install a TV in the wall, but wouldn't that take away from the authenticity? I'm kind of stumped here. Maybe that's why Jeannie didn't like being forced into her bottle, because there wasn't shit to do in there. Geez, give a girl a magazine or something. I better hide a Gameboy behind some of those fancy cushions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Secret Crush...

... is Referee Andrew from Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl. I know most people tune in for the dogs, but you have to admit that Andrew is a bit of a cutie himself. Or maybe it's his proximity to all those puppies? Or the stripes? The whistle? I'm not sure.

Check out this article about the man behind the puppies.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Things Colleen Can't Really Do

About a year ago, I received a frantic 1:00 a.m. voicemail from my little sister. Thinking it might be something important (e.g., car accident, burglary, flesh-eating bacteria), I listened to the message right away, apparently deemed it not worthy of coming to complete consciousness for, and fell back asleep. It wasn't until late afternoon the next day that I remembered the call at all. Luckily, I had the presence of mind, even in my half-asleep state, to have saved the message for later enjoyment:
"Emmie! Oh my God! I have human echolocation! I was trying to fall asleep, and I started tapping on my pillow, and I realized I could SEE my fingers moving, even though my eyes were covered! Okay, bye!"
Yes, apparently, Colleen had discovered that she has the same abilities as a bat -- or to be more specific, as superhero Daredevil, as masterfully portrayed by Ben Affleck in the 2003 film of the same name. (Incidentally, why wouldn't Batman have echolocation instead? Doesn't that make a lot more sense?)

I'm not suggesting that human echolocation is impossible. In fact, prior to Colleen's discovery, I had seen a really fascinating video about a teenager who had lost his eyes as a toddler, but is able to "see" by making a series of clicking noises with his tongue. This kid is amazing.

My sister is amazing too, in other ways... like she makes a really good grilled cheese sandwich. She does not, however, have the talent of human echolocation. In my opinion, anyway. I'm sure she'll have something to say when she sees this post. But do we really believe that the girl who claims that she is a Tuvan throat singer also has echolocational abilities? I think not.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jury Duty, Part II

I take back everything I said earlier today. Jury duty sucks! So very hard! I'm going to be without access to my phone or the Internet for like eight hours a day FOR FIVE DAYS!!!!! It is NOTHING like Law & Order! Law & Order only last for one hour tops, unless it's a marathon on TNT, and then it could easily last for up to eight hours, but at least you can lounge on your couch in PJ's eating leftover Chinese food during a Law & Order marathon. I don't think they would take kindly to that in the jury box. But I will leave you with this: I should have worn the hard hat/alpaca sweater/feather boa/no pants outfit. I would have been dismissed immediately. They totally judged us based on our interpretation of "important business meeting" clothes, and those that didn't pass muster got dismissed. For example, the old woman with the prison tattoos on her hands, and the man wearing sweatpants and a tie-dye bandanna. Geniuses. Lucky bastard geniuses.