Monday, July 25, 2011

Chris goes to Restoration Hardware for the first time.

Howdy!  It is so hot outside, you guys.  If you’re anything like me you are whiling away these dog days by filling your bathtub with frozen margarita mix and rhythmically dunking your lower body like steeping a tea bag (pun intended?).  It really takes the edge off!  Anyhow, I hope you’re all staying cool during this heat wave in the northeast.  While we’re all dunking our business-ends in tequila slurry, do you mind if I ask you a question?  Have you ever heard of a store called Restoration Hardware?

I certainly hadn’t until a few weeks ago.  I stumbled upon it whilst walking around the King of Prussia {(I lay this hate on you) That reference is for about 6 Phish fans in my reading audience} mall with my unfailingly patient lady friend.  I’m a noted window shopper (my blog-writer’s salary does not provide me with the luxury of window buying) and I’m usually happy enough to walk around a store and make fun of all the dumb stuff held within.  Well, Restoration Hardware seemed like a harmlessly silly furniture store until I glanced at a price tag.  Then, they became the subject of today’s entry…

Restoration Hardware is for dumb, rich jerks.


That’s right.  The sound you just heard was me throwing a gauntlet...DOWN!  It’s a good thing I carry an assortment of gauntlets in a burlap sack around my neck!  Now, before we get started, I want to make it plain that I don’t dislike rich people.  I'm not here to start a class war.  There are plenty of people who busted their asses to accrue some modicum of wealth and they have every right to spend it however they see fit.  But, if you do have some money in the bank and you spend a significant amount of it at Restoration Hardware you are a dumb, rich jerk.*  I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you...

*Restoration Hardware: You can still sponsor this blog if you want to.  I am an abject whore to corporate sponsorship!

I’m guessing that many of you, like myself, had no idea that Restoration Hardware even existed.  For a proper introduction, here’s the company’s CEO, Gary Friedman, with the most pretentious mission statement in the history of the world…

“I can’t get no satisfaction.”

Those famous words, belted out by Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones in 1965, established the group as defiant troublemakers, and the leaders of rock ’n’ roll’s anti-establishment movement. In a 1992 Vanity Fair profile Mick said, “I wasn’t trying to be rebellious in those days. I was just being me.” Forty-eight years later, as I witness Sir Mick (knighted in 2003 for his services to music) on stage at this year’s Grammys, he remains passionate, ageless, completely authentic and clearly...unsatisfied.
Let us all find inspiration from “just being me.”

In the past year, while many chose to lower quality to reduce prices, we chose to be the defiant troublemakers of our industry, raising quality and elevating design. Today’s Restoration Hardware is a personal expression of what we believe in, design we are passionate about, produced by artisans who in their own right are creating a cultural revolution.  

Are we defiant troublemakers?

If it means being able to move onstage like Sir Mick, sign me up.

In the spirit of “just being me,” we will continue to push the boundaries, be authentic to our own unique point of view, never tire, and refuse to act our age. Because we, like the Stones...“Can’t get no...satisfaction.”

Carpe Diem,
Gary Friedman

Gary Friedman vs Mick Jagger.  Advantage: Jagger.

Yikes.  That is the single douchiest thing I’ve ever read.  Here’s the gist of the message, as I understand it: 

1. The CEO of Restoration Hardware still considers Mick Jagger to be a “defiant troublemaker,” ignoring the fact that Mick Jagger eats mashed up bananas and sits on a hemorrhoid donut.
2. The CEO of Restoration Hardware considers himself to be a “defiant troublemaker," ignoring the fact that he is the CEO of a ludicrously expensive furniture company.
3. The CEO of Restoration Hardware COULD NOT RESIST the urge to mention that he went to the Grammys.
4. It is better to raise the price of your products to ridiculous heights during a recession because of quality and artisans and blah blah blah…
5. Carpe diem?  As a sign-off?  On the website for your overpriced furniture store?  People who are actually seizing the day never write "seize the day" on things...especially not in Latin.

So, we’ve established that Restoration Hardware is run by a bunch of rich, annoying baby boomers…but what company isn't?  The worth of any retailer is found in the quality and desirability of its products.  Look at Baby Gap!  Babies love corduroy (it's the ridges!).  The time has come to look at the merchandise available at your local Restoration Hardware.  I'm pretty sure that this store was designed specifically for rich, recently divorced dudes who are trying to put together a "hip" urban apartment to impress drunk girls.  Every piece of furniture screams, "I am still young and I will pay for your yoga lessons if you'll sleep with me."  Take a gander at this...

Ignore the chalky taste in your wine cooler and admire this supple leather!

Now, I'm not going to lie to you nice people...that looks nice.  I like a worn leather couch as much as the next God fearing gentleman!  But what do you think it would cost to put that room together?  Did you guess 11 fucking thousand dollars?!?  Of course you didn't guess that!  That's an absurd amount of money to pay for a couch, a chair and a dumb coffee table with wheels on it!  It's an absurd amount of money to pay for ANYTHING!  But that, ladies and gentleman, is the tip of the price gouging iceberg.  How about this chair...

This Rocketeer chair...
Costs $1595.  That's more money than most jet-packs cost (Nazi-retardant chewing gum is extra).

Or this enormous, cast iron bull head...

This costs $595...

This costs $150...and some bull semen.

Or this 8 foot tall Eiffel Tower...

This costs $1745...
This cost 8 million Francs...the equivalent of $1745 (this is a lie).
And finally, please admire this chair...

This costs $2125.
This is awesome.

In summation, don't buy this stuff!  If you win the lottery...DON'T BUY THIS STUFF, DUMMY!  If you can afford it you should have enough common sense to avoid it at all costs.  I've certainly had a checkered past with IKEA but they produce a semi-decent product for an extremely reasonable price.  And IKEA stores smell like meatballs and cinnamon buns.  Restoration Hardware stores smell like smugness and roofies.  

Well, that's all for now my friends!  As I alluded to previously, I am hard at work on a secret project that will be added to this site as soon as possible.  I don't want to get your hopes up but it WILL CURE CANCER (please note: the Secret Internuts Project will certainly not cure cancer).  Thanks for waiting for this, friends, and I swear I'll make the wait worthwhile.  (Again: I will not actually be curing cancer).  I'll seeya back here real soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chris reveals the secrets of the internet.

Hey, everybody!  Can you believe it’s the middle of July already?  It’s crazy!  Time keeps on slippin’ (slippin’, slippin’) into the future.  For those of you who are interested, I’m still going (99.9%) strong with my anti-smoking campaign.  I bummed one cigarette over the weekend in a moment of weakness and immediately felt guilty about it.  Don’t look at me that way.  If I can’t be completely honest with the faceless* readers of this blog, who can I be honest with?  But, it was a passing indiscretion and I’ve been firmly on the wagon ever since.  But enough about my courageous battle with addiction!  Today’s post is sort of a stopgap while I finish writing a longer (read: better) entry for later this week.  In the meantime, I’ve scoured the whole of the internet to provide you with some of my favorite videos.  So sit back, click away, and I’ll meet you back here in a few days!

*I imagine most of you literally do not have faces, like the British kids in The Wall.

Before we start with the videos, I was recently made aware of a website that pastes actor Steve Buscemi's eyes onto the faces of attractive women.  The results are more than a little disturbing...

Here's Christina Henricks from Mad Men.

Here's Anne Hathaway.

Now, try to forget I showed you those pictures.  It's impossible!

Here's an awesome mashup of a bunch of different people playing Radiohead's "Paranoid Android."  Whoever edited this did an amazing job.

Here's a Russian(?) guy mashing two kittens together with car crash sounds added.  Yeah, I don't know either.

Want to see a little kid dancing to "Thriller" on a Jumbo Tron?  Here it is anyway!

Speaking of cats (were we speaking of cats?), here's a cat yelling like a human person.

And finally, here's a video representation of an improvised sketch from the fantastic Superego podcast.

I hope you enjoyed, loyal Internuts, and I'll be back soon with something new for you to read!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chris quits smoking.

Hi there, loyal reader!  I am so happy to be here with you; metaphorically spooning you atop a silken bed of topical comedy writing.  As promised, I have been taking some extended breaks from the blog to enjoy the summer months.  Don’t judge me.  So far I have chased lightning bugs, rode my wagon down a hill, splashed in a stream, relaxed in my tree fort, and had adventures with my anthropomorphic tiger pal, Hobbes.  I certainly haven’t been spending most of my time in a cold, fluorescent-lit, gray office.  That would be, like, SO depressing.

My summer?
Speaking of the trials of adulthood, I also quit smoking cigarettes a little over a month ago.  I know, I know, I know…I’m great.  To be completely honest, I‘ve had some crazy writer’s block since I quit.  Please, please forgive the infrequency of my posts and I promise to start churning them out again in the immediate future.  I have been smoking on and off (mostly on) since I was a college freshman.  I certainly don’t condone smoking but it was a hectic time at school.  The warring between the campus a cappella groups (The Sing Dynasty and The Triceratones) had escalated and, in the winter of 2001, I found myself in a foxhole with a friendly baritone named Rob McKiernan.  Rob was a funny kid and he smoked like a chimney.  One cold night, Rob reached into his jacket for his pack of Luckies.  A haunting, unaccompanied rendition of Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way” split the crystalline air and, before I could react, an alto named Lucy DeSalves snuck up behind Rob and stabbed him through the heart with a bayonet.  Before the light left Rob’s eyes, he looked right at me and held out his hand.  Clenched between his bloody fingers was his half empty pack of Lucky Strikes.  I nodded my understanding, lit one up, and leapt from the foxhole screeching the tenor II part to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and hurling grenades.  God, there was so much blood that night…   Anyhow, that’s when I started smoking.  So now, 10 years later, I’m happy to write today’s entry… More than anything, my crying jag let me know EXACTLY how addicted to cigarettes I was.  After a little research, I learned that recent non-smokers go through all 7 stages of grief (shock, denial, anger, guilt, pain and sorrow, release and resolution, and return to normalcy).  Stupid Camel Lights had completely changed my brain chemistry and not having them reduced me to a quivering pile of flan.  Right then and there I decided that I was going to quit cold turkey.  My lovely girlfriend, Jenn, quit at the same time and has continued using the patch to great effect.  I put a rubber band around my wrist and I snap it every time I had a craving.  After 30+ days without a single puff I have a sizable welt but I’m feeling alright otherwise.  Here are a handful of the terrible, terrible withdrawal symptoms that I've been enjoying for the last month:

Craving for tobacco:        Few days, up to months; in some cases lifelong
Dizziness:                         Few days
Insomnia:                          1 week
Headaches:                      1 to 2 weeks
Chest discomfort:            1 to 2 weeks
Constipation:                    1 to 2 weeks
Irritability:                           2 to 4 weeks
Fatigue:                             2 to 4 weeks
Cough or nasal drip:        Few weeks
Lack of concentration:     Few weeks
Hunger:                              Up to several weeks
Depression:                      Few weeks, up to months

Still better than smoking...

Ugh.  It has not been fun.  But the upside is that I think about smoking less and less and less and less and less.  Here’s the one piece of advice that I’ll give to the youngsters who are thinking about smoking for the first time: DON’T.  Does smoking make you look cool?  Yes.  Of course it does!  But it is also really bad for you and it is REALLY hard to stop once you get old enough to wise up.  Never smoke cigarettes…get a kickass tattoo instead!  Make sure to let your parents know that I said it was okay for you to get a tattoo.  They’ll be cool with it!  Alright, Inter-Nutter-Butters.  I am, as always, your intrepid (nicotine-free) guide and I’ll see you back here soon!!!

Gone...all gone...

Chris Quits Smoking!

Let’s kick things off by getting acquainted with the enemy.  People started smoking tobacco in shamanistic rituals around 5000 BC.  Another notable invention that year was fucking farming.  The invention of FUCKING FARMING!  This means that as soon as people started growing tobacco (or growing anything, for that matter) they also started burning it and inhaling the smoke.  It’s believed that ancient people threw some tobacco leaves on a fire and immediately realized that they wanted to keep throwing tobacco leaves on a fire (usually after spirited love-making or a delicious meal).  The smoking of tobacco was already commonplace by the time Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas.  Here’s an actual quote from one of Columbus’s scouts:

“Men with half-burned wood in their hands and certain herbs to take their smokes, which are some dry herbs put in a certain leaf, also dry, like those the boys make on the day of the Passover of the Holy Ghost; and having lighted one part of it, by the other they suck, absorb, or receive that smoke inside with the breath, by which they become benumbed and almost drunk, and so it is said they do not feel fatigue. These, muskets as we will call them, they call tabacos. I knew Spaniards on this island of EspaƱola who were accustomed to take it, and being reprimanded for it, by telling them it was a vice, they replied they were unable to cease using it. I do not know what relish or benefit they found in it."
Look at this asshole!
Like all people from the distant past, Columbus’s scout was simply too stupid to understand the addictive properties of tobacco.  You can only be *so* smart and still poop in a hole every day!  Columbus brought the custom of tobacco smoking with him and in no time it had surpassed war-mongering and prostitute murdering as Europe’s vice of choice.  Tobacco smoking was widely practiced in France in 1845 when the term “cigarette” or “small cigar” was termed.  Smoking in America peaked in 1965 when about half of the population smoked every day.  Like Mad Men!  Nowadays, the percentage is closer to 25.  Even so, a quarter of the population isn’t shortening their lifespans for the fun of it.  Cigarettes are CRAZY ADDICTIVE.  And guess what?  Cigarette smoking is not good for your health!!!  I know, it was news to me too!  Science tells me that every cigarette smoked decreases the human lifespan by about 11 minutes.  I did the math using my trusty desktop calculator and the lyrics from RENT and it looks like I’ve lost just about a year’s worth of my life. 

Yeah, that’s not so great.  Hopefully I lost a crappy year…like 5th grade.  That’s how aging works, right?  But it’s not a surprise that smoking is detrimental to your health.  I’d like to give a firsthand account of what it’s like to quit smoking.  Well, allow me to, ever so gently, place my description into a nutshell for you.  Quitting smoking is awful.  Really, truly, tremendously awful.  I started this noble experiment about a month ago while using the Nicoderm CQ patch.  Things were going smoothly for a few days so I decided to go without the patch just to see what would happen.  Welllllll…bad things happened!  I watched the last few episodes of LOST season one with my girlfriend that day and I cried like a frilly, little milkmaid.  I rarely cry at funerals of friends and relatives but without nicotine I was crying about a make-believe hatch.  Sidebar: Walt!!! 

Why is this so sad?!?