Monthly Archives: October 2008

Meat Ends

While perusing the grocery store, I had noticed a small stack of deli-wrapped trays in the refrigerator isle labeled “meat ends”. Apparently the deli department would gradually grind down a large hunk of, say, ham and would eventually end up with a little warn down nub of meat that couldn’t be safely sliced anymore. So rather than throw it away, they threw a few of them into a tray and marked it for cheap.

To me, this was an amazing revelation. No longer was I restricted to only large hunks or paper-thin slices of my dead animal product. No, these pieces were the size of large crackers, and with a squirt of mustard could be made into instant meat-snacks. And they were cheap as well — three or four pieces for only $1! Excited, I bought a stack of them.

I had a grin on my face as I tore open the first package, selected a small piece of what appeared to be turkey, but with the dark, grid-shaped pattern on the back of the slab. I realized that the outside of the meat was something I’d never tasted before, and although it wasn’t exactly what I would call “good,” it wasn’t bad per se. The excitement wore off after the second bite, whereupon I realized that these meat hunks had clearly been left poorly wrapped in a refrigerator together for too long, and their flavors had blended together to create something of a “generic luncheon waste product” flavor, common among all the meats no matter the animal of origin.

Additionally, certain fattier meats, clearly not intended to be consumed in hunks, had oozed a clear, gelatinous substance that clung to the shrink wrap and the tray. Running the meat under the faucet wouldn’t get it off, so I ended up having to wipe it off with a paper towel. I ate the piece of ham anyway, and then, glancing at the paper towel (that now was covered in this fatty mucus-like substance) I realized just what I was doing.

Saving money is great. Not being wasteful is great. Having snack sized bits of meat around? Fantastic in concept. Meat ends? A mistake. A horrible, horrible mistake.

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I’m a terrible person, but not as bad as….

everybody else who was at Wing’s concert at Birdland tonight.

For those who don’t know, Wing is a little old Chinese lady that lives in New Zealand, who loves to sing, and has put out 16 CDs (so far) of herself singing to MIDI and absolutely butchering everything from ABBA to AC/DC. She starred in an episode of South Park that was named after her. The woman is a novelty act. She sounds like cats being strangled. But damn is she funny.

In her second American concert ever at the famed Birdland jazz club tonight, she did a long set of songs to an enthusiastic crowd. Now, I went to see Wesley Willis in concert, and that was an interesting experience. Despite his obvious lack of real talent, he had a bond with his audience. Bohemia simply “got” him, he was punk rock. He used his music to vent, to have a good time, and if we pissed him off, he was 350 lbs and could easily kill us all.

Wing, on the other hand, seemed to attract nothing but musical theater people, which meant the audience was 75% snobby “cultured” gay men with self esteem issues. The night was organized by Wing’s self-proclaimed “biggest fan” a guy that looked like he got beat up in high school a lot before joining Harvard’s theater club. Wing came on to thunderous applause, and proceeded to do a string of favorites. She was dressed in a red Chinese silk dress with a dragon embroidery, and had a THICK accent. She immediately reminded me of my grandmother, but without the anger and malice.

Two problems. First, nobody knew for sure whether she was “in on the joke.” Any laughter had to be politely suppressed. Which meant that this theater full of condescending theater jerkoffs spent her entire set snickering at her under their breath. Then, as Wing got set to do the theme song from Rent, the entire cast — yes, the ENTIRE BROADWAY CAST — joined her on stage to sing “backup”. Needless to say, they collectively blew the poor old woman off the stage.

Something clicked in me at that moment. This had turned a very bad corner into something clearly exploitative. My mind raced. What does SHE think of all this? Does she really think she’s as good as they are? No way in hell! But if she KNOWS she’s bad and she’s intentionally trotting herself out as a sideshow, that’s even worse! Then I started asking myself if I was there to merely laugh AT her, or to cheer her on? And what of all these theater jerks clearly laughing with a haughty sense of superiority?

I had to force myself to keep applauding, to keep smiling. As the sole Chinaman in the audience, I felt her looking at me, and I wanted to applaud her efforts, no matter why anyone else was there.

I slipped out as soon as the show was over. As I exited, the two flamey dweebs who organized the event, including the earlier mentioned Harvard bully fodder, were snapping pictures of her with some big Broadway actor that I didn’t recognize. The two of them murmured to each other, “You’ve got to send me your pictures.” The other replied, “Yeah, and you’ve gotta send me yours too!”

I immediately felt incredibly guilty, and spent the next hour walking and calling friends, as if reaching for a confessional.

Joe Six Pack, Why Can’t I Quit You?

I was at the gym tonight, and one of the plasma displays encircling the weight area was showing the evenings WWE Pro Wrestling event. It was one of the gayest things I’ve ever seen, featuring a man wearing a small bikini bottom, ass cheeks completely exposed, getting “attacked” by a much bigger, masked man complete with dramatic, traumatizing lighting and smoke effects, and finally, in the aftermath, the bikini-bottomed guy stood up, with various trails of dirt streaking his face and body, looking used. The mullet kids behind him cheered wildly.

Jesus. I’m starting to think the WWE is the biggest practical joke ever pulled on the nation’s white trash. I wonder how many of them saw last week’s South Park, which depicted several graphic scenes of gay rape, and they STILL didn’t get that?

Then again, last week I was in the gym at the same time, and looked over to the same monitor in time to see a woman from the audience, whose fleshy folds were hanging over her giant pink pantsuit and whose chin thoroughly dissolved into a glob of flesh that later became her torso, get to come on stage and get to touch the greased up flesh of her 8-foot-tall idol. Despite the woman no longer clearly having a discernible gender of any kind, that was comparatively hetero.

Ahh, America.

Bipolar is fun!

+ Justin got 10 hours of sleep last night!

– Justin slept too long, so his lower back is a little wonky and it’s cold outside of bed.

+ Justin is full of energy

– Justin squanders said energy on mundane, stupid tasks and gets nothing of worth accomplished

+ Justin finds a buyer for his old Mac, gets a good price for it

– Justin almost blows it several times by not giving the buyer the right information

+ Justin is healthy by not eating most of the day

– Justin blows it big time and orders a large 3-topping, dripping cholesterol-fest from Papa Johns

+ Justin doesn’t eat the whole thing, for once.

– Never mind, it was an extra large. Those two extra slices he didn’t eat were probably the difference.

+ Justin goes to deposit money from the Mac, thinking how smart he is

– Justin hates self, has several vurps on trip to deposit money order

+ Justin goes to gym

– Justin is lulled into worry and self doubt by listening to too much financial collapse news from NPR podcast

+ Justin finds decent music on iPod instead, and does his elliptical machine like a good boy

– The music is “Maniac” from Flashdance. Justin is ashamed.

+ Justin buys fruit on his way home

– Once home, Justin pours a glass of water from Brita pitcher. He notices halfway through the glass that the water is much darker than it should be, and it’s not just a reflection from his stained countertop.

+ Justin unwraps vintage anime trinket from sister

– Anime trinket is mysteriously coated in greasy substance, direct from the package. Justin reads the back: “Made in China”. Justin washes his new trinket and his hands vigorously, and prays that whatever industrial lubricant that was doesn’t give him cancer

+ Justin goes to bed

– Justin gets out of bed because he’s not all that tired, plus he’s bored and a little hungry

+ Justin snacks on fresh produce

——- JUSTIN SEES A GIGANTIC FUCKING COCKROACH THE SIZE OF A SCREWDRIVER HANDLE! IT’S SO BIG IT MAKES A NOISE! He kills it with his giant tin of Quaker Oats, injuring his pinky finger in the process. Utterly freaked out, he ladles the corpse into the trash with a paper towel and moans about how much he hates this fucking city.

+ Justin says “fuck it” and eats the two leftover slices of pizza.

– Oh, you certainly don’t think Justin can sleep NOW, do you???

NOOOO GOD NOOOOOO!!!!

My favorite cheap/free video program of all time VisualHub, was discontinued by its author today. All download links were removed. This was the easiest, most user-friendly, well-designed video compression program on the planet AND IT’S GONE! ALL GONE!

(SOB)

Even more sad, there is now not a single open-source-based general video compression program in current development on the Mac. And all the ones on WIndows are nigh unusable in comparison.

It’s all very sudden, and makes me wonder if revoltin’ developments are afoot.

Being an extra SUCKS

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be an extra in the sketch comedy show The Whitest Kids U Know. Having been a friend of a the troupe for so long, it was a little strange to have not done this by now; most of their other friends had done this years ago. But having been a workaholic with a day job during the previous two seasons, I never really had the time.

Yesterday, I responded (a few minutes late) for the 8am call time, which was WAY too early when you are still catching up from a convention. I hadn’t had more than 4 hours of sleep a night for about a week, and so I was pretty wrecked. The location was an overpriced restaurant in Williamsburg that was not serving.

It’d been a long time since I’d been on a set (and I’d never been so unimportant on one before), so I was absolutely not prepared for the boredom. It was nice on some level; I was too tired to read the book I’d brought and instead wiled away the hours talking to some of the college kids that were there to earn credit, or to Ivan (a cool guy I never really got to talk to much). The day also featured seeing some of my best friends in full-out drag, which is a weird-out no matter how many times you’ve seen it on TV. Once Darren came outside for a cigarette in full woman garb sans wig, and I marveled at how he resembled Hilary Clinton.

I doubt I’ll be doing this again. My life has too much value to spend a day doing nothing around a set for no pay, and had I been well-rested I would have been mutinous with boredom. But it’ll be a fun memory at least.

 

BTW, best Chinese restaurant ever: Peter Ng’s Place on Bowery. Fricking amazing. Don’t miss it, especially if you have a large group of people.