Monthly Archives: October 2012

White Castle

There used to be a White Castle right across the street from my house. I love White Caste so much. When I was in college, I used to go to White Castle maybe three or four times a week, always ordering the same thing: five jalapeno cheeseburgers, five hamburgers, a bag of chicken rings, a box of clam strips, and a milkshake. Sometimes I got a chocolate milkshake, sometimes vanilla. So I guess technically it wasn’t the same exact thing, but if you looked at my order without taking the top off of the milkshake cup, you’d think it was the same thing every time. And it basically was.

I can’t get over the fact that White Castle isn’t an American phenomenon, that it’s only an East Coast thing. It makes me feel really bad for everyone living outside of the White Castle bubble, people whose experience with White Castle is limited to the Harold & Kumar movie franchise. They make it out to be pretty good fast-food in those films, but the reality is so much more delicious than even those two stoners are able to describe.

Whenever you talk about White Castle, nine out of ten people are going to say something like, “White Castle? Ew, gross!” These people are lying through their teeth. Everybody loves White Castle. These perfectly miniature burgers, steam cooked, topped with a whole pile of sautéed onion squares, pickles. It’s like, ask any of your friends, “Do you like McDonald’s?” I guarantee that a majority of respondents will say something like, “No way! I never go to McDonald’s!” Again, lies. Everybody goes to McDonald’s. They’re like the richest company on the planet. And everybody likes fast food. Sure, it’s not great for you, but it’s delicious. And everybody loves delicious.

It’s so easy to hate on White Castle because it’s kind of invisible. They don’t do a lot of TV ads. They’re the underdog of fast food chains. But it’s so good. I really don’t even have much to say except, over and over again, White Castle is delicious. Except for their fries, which are just OK. That’s why if you were paying attention when I wrote out my regular order, I didn’t mention any fries. Somebody who doesn’t go there that much, aside from seriously missing out on some great food, might have assumed that fries come with the burgers. And I think if you get some sort of a combo they do, but the combos suck. It’s always like two burgers and fries. That’s it? The burgers are tiny. I need ten. And the fries, well, they’re like the zig-zag kind that you buy in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Again, I know so many people are like, “I never go to the frozen food section of the grocery store!” Of course you do, stop lying. Everyone eats crap food now and then, so stop trying to be so cool, all healthy and all “I never eat White Castle,” because, every once in a while, you’re going to go out with some friends, and there’s always going to be at least one guy in the group towards the end of the night that starts talking about how hungry he is, how badly he wants some White Castle, and although most of the group will protest, this guy will be so into it that he’ll eventually convince all of his friends to go, even if just because at this point they’re feeling kind of bad for him, like maybe he really needs this. So they’ll go, he’ll order his ten burgers, and everybody else is like, “I’m not getting anything. Except. Well, maybe just one …” and then everybody’s sitting around eating burgers and loving it and it’s just this great moment of great food and everybody’s having a blast.

And then the next day that guy’ll be like, “See? Everybody loved it! White Castle is the best!” but all of his friends will start lying again, realizing that it’s not cool to say that White Castle is awesome, and so they’ll start making up phony stories about coming home that night and getting sick, which is also a lie, because I didn’t get sick, I mean, that friend didn’t get sick. Why does everybody else get sick eating White Castle? It doesn’t add up. People should just embrace White Castle instead of having this weird fake hate/actual love relationship.

Anyway, like I said, I used to live right across the street from a White Castle. It was great. I could smell the sliders throughout different points in the day. One day they boarded the doors up and covered up the windows. “Sorry!” the sign read on the door, “We’re moving to Queens Blvd!” and I couldn’t believe it. Construction crews got to work on renovating the place. I thought to myself, man, whatever takes White Castle’s place had better be good, it better be great, even better than White Castle. And day after day there would be more work done on the building until finally, one day they installed a sign above the store. And it said, “Radio Shack.” And it’s terrible. Who the hell goes to Radio Shack? What do they even sell there? It’s so lame. I’m still so pissed. I barely ever get to go to White Castle anymore, because I have no idea where on Queens Blvd they moved to. It’s such a long road and, you know, how often do you go into different neighborhoods? Once in a while maybe, but not all the time.

An open letter to people who write open letters

Dear writers of open letters:

I don’t get it. I don’t get the open letter. I mean, I get the technique, you write out a letter to somebody but it’s not really meant for that person. Well it might be, but it’s really for everyone else to read, more like an op-ed about the person that you’re writing to. But why not just write out an op-ed? What does the whole letter format do for the writing? I’m thinking that, maybe the first time someone wrote an open letter, everyone read it and was like, “Ha. That’s clever.” But then the next time it was like, “Wait a second, again?”

I think that it’s time to retire the open letter. Maybe ten or fifteen years from now we can break it out again, see if there’s any interest in a comeback, but at this point in pop culture, I just don’t see it as relevant anymore. Whenever I’m reading a magazine, and I come across something like, “Madonna: Why are you so weird looking?” or “President Obama: Why are you such a socialist?” I instantly fall asleep, and by the time I’ve woken up, my magazine is stuck together from all of the drool produced by me falling asleep in a reading position. And so the rest of my magazine is ruined. Do you think we could like, just maybe take a break for one issue of one magazine and see how it goes?

Why don’t you try an open telegram? You all could write out telegrams to famous people and then have them delivered to random people. And there’ll be a knock at the door and that random person will be like, “Yes? May I help you?” and the telegram delivery guy will go, “Telegram!” and the recipient will be shocked, “Telegram? Who still sends telegrams? How are you guys making any money?” and the telegram guy’s forced, drawn out grin will crack, just a little, an imperceptible twitch, but he’ll lose it, he’ll start to tremble, “It’s terrible,” he’ll sob, “Things have never been worse. All of our employees are starving. But we have no idea how to move on. None of us know how to use computers. Please, just … just accept the telegram. This has been one my only jobs in months.” And the person will be like, all right, go ahead.

And the telegram delivery guy will start, “Dear Mrs. So and So. Stop. This is an open telegram. Stop.” Is that what telegrams were all about? Because, and now I’m getting a little confused here myself. I always thought that a telegram was just a typed out letter, like I’d go to a telegram company and have them send a letter somewhere. But then how do all of those scenes from old movies play out where the delivery is like, “Urgent news. Stop.” Does the guy have to stand there at the front door and read the telegram out loud? Is that part of his job description? What if it’s kind of a private subject, is this guy just part of the message now? And why does he have to say “stop?” Can’t he just speak in such a way that the period or end of a sentence seems natural? And what if it’s a question, does the guy still say “stop” or does he say “question mark?” And why with open letters are there so many questions? Isn’t it a little stale to read an entire piece entirely built mainly out of questions?

Getting back on track here, no, I don’t think open telegrams would work. Maybe an open singing telegram. Because while the Internet and even just regular telephones have basically eliminated the need for any sort of telegram service, there’s still something special about having somebody knock at your door and sing you a message. It’s even better if the singing telegram service is like four or five guys and they all sing in harmony. But the only thing is, if you send an open singing telegram, you have to send it to a lot of different households, because if it’s only one recipient, then it’s not really open, it’s closed. And it’s even worse, because say you’re sending an open singing telegram to Mr. T. for example, and you send it to some random address, it might even be incorrect. The owner of that house most likely would be like, “Sorry, Mr. T. doesn’t live here.” But theoretically the owner’s last name could be Thompson, or Trotsky, and so he or she might mistakenly believe the singing telegram was written specifically for them, and they’ll get so confused, like, “I’m not pitying any fools. This is all so strange.”

Were telegrams that common? Did you have to give a tip? I never tip the mailman. Scratch that. I used to never tip the mailman. But after every holiday I’d stick my head out of the window every time the mail carrier came past my house, and I’d scream out, “How you doing?” and normally they’d respond, “Just fine thanks!” but after those holidays there would always be a kind of a cold shoulder vibe going on, and I’d repeat myself, “Hello! How are you doing today?” Finally somebody told me that you’re supposed to leave an envelope with a holiday tip. And so I called up the Post Office to see how much I’m supposed to tip. The guy on the other end got really confrontational. “You’re not supposed to tip federal employees. Did your mail carrier ask for a tip? Where are you getting this from?”

I tried to play it cool, but the very next day there was a new mailman. I asked him where the regular mailman was and this guy kind of just held up his hands in a defensive position, like, “Hey buddy, don’t talk to me, all right?” And I chased after him, asking if he could give my regular mailman my holiday card. And he just took off. Weird.

So yeah, open letters. Kind of lame right? Just write a regular letter. Or write an essay or a blog post of whatever. Because the only difference, in my opinion, between an essay and an open letter is that with an open letter, you start off writing, “Dear So and So,” and you finish it off with, “Sincerely,” like a letter. Like it adds those extra lines but that’s it. And I get it, really, I’m always looking for extra content. But maybe we can try something else. It’s old.

Love Always,

Rob G.

That’s the worst

I’m so cold. It just got out cold this week and I’m not used to it. I can’t get warm. The heat hasn’t kicked in yet. I hate it when you complain to somebody about how cold it is and they just say something like, “Put on a sweater.” That’s the worst. Just listen to me complain. Or join in with me. There’s always more to complain about. It’s like when you’re really hungry and somebody just goes, “Have an apple.” Just shut up dude, maybe I just want something to whine about for a little bit. You eat an apple.

I think there’s going to be a lot of snow this winter. Snow is always fun for the first day or so, but you can only throw snowballs at cars for so long before eventually your gloves get wet and your hands start freezing. And then your socks get wet too. And then you go out to throw snowballs the next day but all the snow is slushy and brown. I hate it when it’s raining or gross out and somebody says, “I just love rainy days.” Bullshit. Nobody loves rainy days. I like to storm around the house on rainy days and try to make everyone feel as miserable as I am. What are you supposed to do all day? Read? Get out of here. I’m going to get in the car and see if I can’t splash any pedestrians with gross puddle water.

The worst is when you forget to move your laundry from the washer to the dryer. And then when you finally remember, it’s too late to rewash everything, but it’s also too late to not do anything, and so you have to run those nasty clothes through the dryer, because you need a shirt and you’re already late for work. And then the rest of the day that smell is just following you around, like feet, like an old wet towel.

That’s another thing I can’t stand, when you’re taking a shower and you go to dry off and you’ve been using the same towel for one day too many, and it’s the same botched laundry smell, and what are you supposed to do, stand there and air dry? It’s freezing out. So you grab the towel and dry off and now you smell disgusting. But it’s over already, the whole shower is ruined, the whole day is ruined. What are my options? Take another shower? My skin’s going to fall off. That’s the worst, when you take too many showers and your skin gets all dry. And maybe I don’t have any clean towels. Or maybe they’re all the way in the dryer, but it’s another load of bad laundry, but I don’t realize it yet because I already smell terrible from the first shower that I took and I think that the smell is just me, but it’s really this second towel, and that’s the worst, like even worse, the absolute worst, because the second shower is too much, my skin’s peeling, and I get out and dry off with what I think is a fresh towel, but it’s just as gross. Why does all of my stuff smell so bad?

Or what’s terrible is when you make a pot of coffee but then you go to the fridge to get the milk but there’s only like half an inch of milk left. I don’t feel like going out to the store. I need coffee just to get out of the house, not the other way around. And so I try to ration. But I always find that whenever there’s just a tiny bit left, it always comes out weird, like some of it doesn’t blend with the coffee, it’s just these little hardened dots of milk, and I try to enjoy the coffee but there’s not enough milk, it’s way too bitter.

Or when I’m trying to watch TV on the Internet and they keep showing me the same commercial over and over again, every commercial break it’s the same lame ad, so lame that they won’t even run it on regular TV, only on the Internet, because they’re thinking, hey, this tool is too cheap to buy cable, so we’re only going to show him ads for cheap garbage that maybe he can afford, and the production value is so cheap, with the worst actors, and they put it on repeat, like they’re thinking this guy is so incredibly cheap, maybe we’ll be lucky if we can trick him into buying just one cheap product, so we’re really going to just inundate this guy with this one ad, until it’s all that he can think about, until he’s not even enjoying his show anymore, every four minutes, commercial time.

Or when your phone vibrates in your pocket and you get excited, maybe it’s an email, maybe it’s of those jobs you applied to, maybe it’s one of your friends with news about some plans this weekend or something fun going on, but you open your phone and it’s a voicemail. Nobody leaves voicemails. And you have to wait for your phone to call the voicemail, and you put the phone to your ear and it’s nothing, but it keeps going, two minutes of nothing. And then you have to listen to the options to delete the message. Why won’t the cell phone company just shut off my voicemail like I asked them to?

And then the wall starts hissing, like way too loud, and you go to check what the noise is but it’s the heat, finally kicking in, but it’s been a whole season since the heat’s been on so you forget, and you touch the pipe and it’s way too hot and you get burned. And then you tell somebody about what happen and they’re all like, “Get some ointment.” Seriously, why don’t you just be quiet and listen for a minute, just let me vent without being such a know-it-all. You get some ointment, you condescending jerk.

I’m worried

I’m worried that I’ve run out of ideas. I’m worried that I wrote everything that I have to write about. Like when I started writing, I thought to myself, just keep writing, just keep doing it everyday and you’ll get better. But I’m worried that the opposite has happened, like maybe I only had a very finite quantity of interesting things to say, and now that I’ve written all of them, I’m condemned to, if I want to keep this up, just writing a bunch of nonsense over and over again, until the nonsense becomes so repetitive that every single thing that I write looks identical to every single thing that I wrote the day before. And it’ll get so bad that they won’t just feel or look identical, but they will be identical, like I’ll have written this same piece two or three or four days in a row. And then it’ll get to the point where it’s even worse, where not only is every page the same, but every paragraph is the same. And then the sentences, and finally, it’ll get so bad that I’m only writing one word, on repeat, not even one word, just one letter, just typing out the same letter over and over again. I’ll be like, all right, time to get to work. And I’ll sit down and just start writing, “SSSSSSSSSSSS” and I’ll really want to think of a different letter to type, or even just maybe to make it lowercase, but I’ll be so bankrupt for ideas, I just won’t be able to get past it.

I’m worried that the yogurt I ate of the fridge might not have been as fresh as I thought it was. It said that the expiration date was two days ago, but I don’t buy that, for several reasons. First of all, the whole container is sealed, and the actual expiration date isn’t for a month from now. But then on the side of the packaging it tells me to consume the whole thing within three days as soon as I break the seal. And that’s what I’m talking about when I say that it was expired. Like it wasn’t actually expired. The date hadn’t passed. But I opened it up a week ago. Maybe ten days. But I really wanted a snack, and so I cracked open the container and, yeah, it had definitely been a while because all of this liquid had accumulated at the top. So what do I do, do I drain the liquid or do I mix it back in the yogurt? Part of me thinks that, well, the liquid was there a week ago, but it was still part of the yogurt. So if I drain it and then eat the yogurt, it will be missing something, that liquid. But then another part of me thinks that, isn’t yogurt alive? Like aren’t there active cultures (whatever that means) floating around in it? What if this liquid is just a natural byproduct of a container of living yogurt living in the fridge for ten days, two weeks, tops? Isn’t that gross then? Is that like yogurt pee? I’m worried that it might be yogurt pee. But that’s crazy, because yogurt doesn’t really pee, and it’s gross to keep mentioning it. Finally, I gave it a whiff. Did it smell OK? I’m worried that it smelled fine. And what I mean by this is, even if it’s a fresh yogurt, won’t it always smell a little off? If someone told you that you smell like yogurt, even fresh yogurt, wouldn’t you be a little insulted, feel like you might need to take a shower? So I ate it. But I’m worried that it wasn’t fresh. And not for any of the above mentioned reasons. I’m just feeling really sick now. And now everything smells like yogurt, and it’s just making this whole feeling that much worse.

I’m worried that I might not ever make it to the Olympics. Obviously my chance to compete at a physical level is lost. I’m not an idiot. And I’m not saying that I’m old. I’m just too old to be an Olympic basketball player, or an Olympic swimmer. But what about an Olympic gun shooter? You don’t have to be young or in shape to shoot a gun, right? That’s what I always thought would wind up happening. Well, not always. I always thought I would get there as a real athlete, like a long jumper or a boxer, but that was when I was in grammar school, high school. As I started getting older and realizing that I wasn’t really advancing in any of these areas of athletics, I just changed my goals a little bit, shifted to the shooting. But now the same doubts are coming back, and I’m getting worried again, not just about the shooting, but about making it to the Olympics in general because, and like I said, I’ve already put all of my eggs in the shooting basket. Like I’ve said to myself, I’ll still get there, but I haven’t even started training with guns. I’ve never even shot a gun before. I’m worried that everyday that goes by where I’m not target practicing, the odds of me representing the USA on a shooting team are growing more and more unlikely. I mean, maybe, maybe there’s a really small chance that I could be a gun shooting prodigy, like that could be my hidden talent, like theoretically I could be the Mozart or Einstein or Lebron of shooting, and so then I wouldn’t have to train at all, it would just be a matter of finding a gun and getting in touch with whoever’s coaching the shooting team. But let’s be honest, I’m a realistic guy, that’s probably not the case at all. It could be, sure anything’s possible, but I mean really, now that I’m thinking about it, I was never really good at Duck Hunt, and you’d think if I had some inherent targeting skills locked away inside, they’d at least show up with a shooting video game. Yeah, one time I played Big Buck Hunter at a bar and I was terrible.

I’m worried that my only chance at Olympic gold is to get rich enough to buy an Olympic horse. But still, I’d get so jealous of that horse out there on the field, competing at an Olympic level, and I’d just be sitting on the sidelines, and I might get crazy for a second, and in an impulse I might gallop onto the field myself, screw them, I’ll think to myself, I can beat any one of these horses. But everyone knows how easily horses get spooked, right? I’ll get kicked so hard. And they’ll keep kicking me, over and over again. Maybe right in the jaw. Maybe my jaw will get kicked clean off. What’s my life going to be like then? I’m worried I’ll get depressed, despondent, suicidal. But wait a second. If I’m that rich, rich enough to buy a whole Olympic horse team, won’t I have the money for a new jaw? A better jaw? I’ll have the best prosthetic jaw available, even better than a real jaw. It’ll be able to chomp through boulders. It’ll be able to unhinge, like a snake’s. A six million dollar jaw, but even more expensive, like a twelve million dollar jaw. With gold teeth. I mean diamond teeth.

I’m worried that I’ve wasted everyone’s time here. I’m worried that whoever reads to the end of this blog piece is thinking to themselves, “That’s it. That’s the last time I read this crap. From now on, I’m only reading serious stuff. Rob’s ruined all non-serious reading for me, for life, forever.” And that’ll be a shame, because there’s a lot of non-serious writing that’s out there that’s totally worth reading, and I don’t want to have ruined that for anybody.

The Trilogy: Part five of three

It had to happen eventually. That’s the line that’s been haunting me ever since I posted my award winning trilogy, The Trilogy: The World’s First Four Part Trilogy. I kept fighting the urge to exploit my past success, to phone it in for a day and write the fifth part of what is already one of the most successful four-part three-part sagas in all of history. But I can’t put it off any longer. I knew that sooner or later I’d have to return, to continue the journey. And why the hell not? Let’s see how many parts this trilogy is really made of.

Let me do a really quick recap for those who somehow missed out on parts one, two, three, and four. That’s it. That’s the recap. I made links to all of the other parts, so you can just click on them and read them. Linking is the toughest part of blogging. I naturally assume that eventually society is going to collapse and the servers that sustain our Internet will eventually stop running and that the only thing left of my writing will be the hard copies that I’ve instructed my readers to religiously print out and store away in case of said inevitable collapse. And these sacred texts will get passed down from generation to generation, and finally, somebody will be like, “I didn’t get this part. What was he talking about when he said that was the recap? And why are some of the words blue and bold?” because hyperlinks don’t show up on regular paper. And people might start to doubt me. So for any readers studying this text generations from now, I was just linking. The words showed up blue and you clicked on them and the earlier text I was referring to automatically popped up. But since you don’t have computers anymore, please see The Trilogy, parts one, two, and three, and four.

That was so funny right? The four part trilogy? And I ended it with this big joke that it was going to continue as a five-part trilogy. And then I was like, “just kidding. But am I? I am.” At least that’s what everyone thought. But I kept writing and the months piled up and one day I was so bankrupt for an idea of what to write about I thought, what the hell? And much like Rocky VI, there’s really nothing new being done. This is a huge victory lap. I’m literally taking a break between each paragraph and patting myself on the back, laughing lightly, murmuring stuff like, “You funny devil Rob.”

One of my readers sent me an email after part four, telling me that, “you didn’t do the first four-part trilogy. Indiana Jones did. Ha.” And I know I’ve put off the response for a while, but Indiana Jones? I’ve never seen any of his movies. They all seemed kind of boring. Even when I was a little kid and all of my friends would have sleepover parties and whoever’s parents were hosting rented a ton of movies and we’d stay up all night watching them, I’d always fall asleep as soon as I heard that boring Indiana Jones theme song start up. And then someone would wake up me up, “Rob, Indiana Jones is over. Wake up. We’re putting on Terminator.” I loved Terminator. “I’ll be back,” classic. And I’d be sitting there on the edge of my sleeping bag, totally gripped with suspense and terror, thinking to myself, why are all of my friends laughing? This is a crazy thriller. Why am I not getting any of the comedy? And it wasn’t until I went to the bathroom later that I realized that my friends weren’t laughing at the movie, they were laughing at me, because while I was lost in my Indiana Jones induced coma, everybody brought out some permanent markers and drew penises all over my face.

Terminator is another contender for almost four-part trilogy. Unfortunately, trilogies are all about hindsight, planning. You can’t just make a movie and say, “Well, if it’s successful, we’ll do a sequel. If the sequel is successful, we’ll do a third. And who cares if the third is successful? We’ll put them all in a box and sell them as a trilogy.” It doesn’t work that way. Why don’t you think anybody ever talks about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy? Because it doesn’t exist. There are two cool turtles movie and then a really weird one where everybody gets sent back to feudal Japan. Yeah I didn’t get it either. And it’s the same with Terminator, you could totally tell they were just following the money.

It’s even worse for Indiana Jones, because while I had absolutely no interest in the first three movies, they were out there. They existed. It was a trilogy. And then they ruined the whole triloginess of the first three by releasing that terrible fourth movie. Again, I never saw it, but I think at this point it’s a generally accepted fact that it was an insult to everything that Indy fans held dear.

Look at Star Wars. Did you ever notice me mentioning the second trilogy during my original trilogy posts? No. Because they pretty much sucked also. But Lucas had the foresight to guess that he’d probably lost his touch at storytelling and filmmaking, so he wisely separated the first trilogy from the second trilogy.

And this brings it all back to me. I’ve been planning this ever since I typed out the word “the” as in The Trilogy: Part One. I knew that it was going to be a five-part trilogy. Maybe I know that it’s going to be a twelve-part trilogy. All I know is, I’m calling it. It’s all been carefully set up. And just when you think I’m completely out of nonsense to write about, that’s when The Trilogy is going pop on your computer screen. That’s what trilogies are all about.