Saturday, May 27, 2006

Anti-abortionists Prevented My Column from Being Published

Because of all the anti-abortionist people protesting with their giant signs displaying the images of unborn, aborted fetuses on campus, this gem of a column I wrote for UCSB's paper, The Daily Nexus, went unpublished. Why? Well, if you're the Opinion Editor, what would you rather print, a column that dicusses the impact of the protestors or a column on how crappy local TV is? Nevertheless, I can still post my column here.

"As a loyal resident of Santa Barbara County for the past two years, I have learned to put up with a wide array of unique situations and occurrences. For instance, there will always be a steady stream of noise coming from Isla Vista on weekends. There are always going to be annoying tourists parading down State Street, with their bags of souvenirs and over-priced clothing, taking up valuable sidewalk space. The weather will always be about ten degrees cooler than in nearby sunny Los Angeles. The lagoon is always going to smell like a dinosaur shit and died in it. And you know what? That’s all fine and dandy. I can put up with such trite problems. There is, however, one thing that I cannot even begin to pretend to comprehend: the utterly horrible local television commercials.

"Unless you live under a rock or consider yourself too 'indie' to watch television, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen the utter crap that passes for commercials here in partly cloudy Santa Barbara. Let’s say you’re sitting down with your popcorn and beer getting ready to watch your favorite characters from The OC bitch about how shitty their rich, high school lives are, when suddenly, the local commercial block comes on. First there’s the dentist who, despite talking in a monotonous, serial-killer-esque voice, wants you to come into his office so he can look at your precious, valuable teeth. Next comes an ad for the Chicken Ranch, built on the one-joke premise of actors being dubbed over by ridiculous sounding voices telling the interviewer that they all love the Chicken Ranch. Let’s get one thing straight, Chicken Ranch; if you want me to come to your poultry parlor, you’ve got to dupe me better than that. Just when you think that commercials are over, up pops an ad for our esteemed newspaper, The Santa Barbara News-Press. I’m sorry, but do you think watching a guy make an ass out of himself by falling off a bike in front of his stereotypically suave boss is going to make me want to read your paper? And don’t even get me started on that damn metal detector.

"I’m all for advertising, that’s not my problem. My problem is that if I’m going to take a break from watching Kate and Jack deal with sexual tension in The Hatch (that’s a LOST reference for all of you non-followers out there), I’m going to want to be entertained. After the commercial, I want to be able to want to buy the product, vote for the candidate, or obtain goods and services at the location that I just wasted thirty seconds of my life watching an ad for. I don’t want to think about punching the 14 year-old kid who received a $5 gift certificate to McDonald’s and a case of Ritalin in exchange for being behind the camera for his or her father’s used car lot advertisement.

"It can’t be that hard to come over to UCSB or SBCC and find someone who’ll make a good commercial that doesn’t look like it was made by someone who 'filmed a matrimony one time in the 70s.' And while you’re at it, drop by our Dramatic Arts Department and pick up some actors. The people who 'act' in those commercials really need to stick to their day jobs. If acting is their day job, then they need to stop acting and start flipping patties at In N’ Out. Basically what I’m trying to say is that you need to get on the ball, businesses of Santa Barbara, because if you want me to buy your stuff, then gosh damn it, I want to feel like I just sat through The Godfather, not your six-year old’s first fencing match."
Read entire post...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Camarillo and the Quest for Taco Bell

As some of you who know me know, I have many adventures when I travel between point A and point B. A great many of those adventures deal with my frequent excursions between Santa Barbara and Orange County, my old stomping grounds. Let's just say that today, I had the adventure to end all adventures. Except maybe that time where my train was delayed for 2 hours because of a bomb threat. And the time it took my 5 and half hours to get home on a Wednesday. still ranks pretty hight up there.

So this adventure started as any other Sunday commute back to Santa Barbara. After spending the day with my good friend Julia, I embarked on a series of freeways to eventually lead my back to the inevitable 101. It was on the 101 just out of LA, however, when I realized that...something was different. Something was...amiss, if you will. Indeed, as I entered Calabasas, I developed a hunger for something that I do not normally hunger for. I developed the hunger for TACO BELL.

If you've never had a beef and potato burrito from Taco Bell, you don't know what you're missing. Having one of those burritos, with their majestic blend of spices and processed meat and vegetable products, is like spending 5 minutes in clogged artery heaven. It was this burrito that I suddenly had a craving for. I resolved to stop at the first Taco Bell that I came across and order a pair of the delictable concoctions. Unfortunately for me, finding a Taco Bell off the 101 past Los Angeles is like finding a gay black Republican in Massachusetts. As I drove into Ventura county, I knew my chances were becoming slim. Would I really have to wait until I got to Santa Barbara, where there are an abundance of Taco Bells, in order to have my fill? Why were there so many McDonald's and Jack-in-the-Boxes? I decided to try my luck at a random exit. Gas, food, lodging. Surely there would have to be a Taco Bell at one exit.

My first attempt was rendered useless. I found, indeed, a Del Taco, but it was not Dan the Del Taco man that I yearned for on this cloudy evening. As I wandered through Thousand Oaks, my mind began to wander. What if there was no Taco Bell to be found? What if I had to settle for a Jumbo Jack or a...dare I think of it...Big Mac? No. I would not let that happen. And yet, as I got deeper and deeper into Ventura County, there was one thing that I knew for sure. Time was running out. I got off for the third time in a city I had heard little about: Camarillo. Being from the city, I had already formed impressions of the rural villages that lay on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Little did I know that this fine hamlet had in store for me. As I exited the freeway at Lewis Road, I discovered a quaint road that ran parallel to the highway. "What luck!" I thought to myself. Surely I would be able to find a Taco Bell along this corridor of businesses. As I turned the corner, I discovered a Jack-in-the-Box and a Wendy's. Undanunted, I continued along. Unfortunately, the word got narrower and less business-like. Shear horror came over me, the kind of horror that could only be felt by a prostitute in church. Panicking, I knew that the next corner I turned might be my last before I was forced to get back on the 101. The DAMNED 101, with it's lack of food chains visible from its lanes. Turning the last corner, however, I discovered the holy grail of my quest: The finest Taco Bell ever to grace my eyes.

And just then, it started to rain. And I started to cry. And that is why this quaint village of Camarillo is my new favorite place. Ever. Thank you, wise city planners and Camarilloans, for building a Taco Bell at such an opportune location. Read entire post...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Ugg Game

The following appeared on my Xanga blog on January 26, 2005. I promise I'll post something current in a day or so, I've been bogged down with midterms. Until then, enjoy this classic.

These are Uggs. It is the latest fashion craze and can be seen everywhere in any type of weather. The most popular article of clothing that these boots are worn worth is, incidentally, a mini skirt, which of course makes perfect sense to be worn with boots. The result has created a rapid demand for this high priced commodity and has sparked many debates on the logic and sexiness (or lack thereof) of said boot/skirt combination. For those of us who simply can't see the logic and/or sexiness in the short-lived phenomenon, I have decided to create a little game to occupy your time. I call it... THE UGG GAME.

Here's how it works. First, you have to play with a friend. It helps to have a piece of paper and a pen. Next, walk around in a heavily populated area. For those of you at college, this will be easy, as there are plenty of people around. For every pair of Uggs you see, shout out "UGGS!" Whoever shouts first gets the points. Point breakdowns are described below. Simply whispering the word doesn't count, it must be audible. Play for as long or as short as you want, the person with the most points at the end of the playing period wins.

Hidden Uggs (Uggs under pants): 1 point
Normal Uggs: 2 points
Fancy Uggs (you know, with the frills and dangely stuff): 3 points
Mobile Uggs (Uggs that are on a bike or skateboard or something): 4 points
MAN Uggs (Muggs): 10 points
Baby Uggs (Uggs on a baby): 10 points

COMBOS (Normal Uggs only):
Uggs and miniskirt: 3 points
Uggs and miniskirt on a REALLY cold day: 5 points
Uggs, miniskirt, tight sweater, blonde hair, and those huge sunglasses (must have ALL): 10 points
TWO of the previous combo walking together: 15 points
Yahtzee: 50 points

That's it, happy hunting! Read entire post...