Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apologies to the Queen Mommy

I'm sad to report to you the following piece of news: my mother did not like my previous Facebook note, the one about Mustache Bill's Diner.

"Jason, I have something to tell you," she said to me earlier this evening. "I didn't like your last post."

She confessed this to me with such sincerity and regret that I can only the imagine the anguish in her heart and the disappointment she must be dealing with (on top of what I am sure is the daily disappointment she deals with). I am proud that these internet scribblings are important to my mother; that they have risen to any status above "pointless drivel" or "newsfeed clutter" for anyone on Facebook is more than I could have ever hoped for (right, Elena Sheppard?). For me to add to her burden by writing  a bad Facebook note when she was expecting a good one -- well, my mom does not deserve that, and I am going to make it up to her.

And so,  I do hereby resolve to meet the following conditions, in order to atone for the grievous mistake that was Jason O Gilbert Facebook Note (JOGFN) 387648 ("Big Bad Mustache Bill") and redeem myself in the eyes of my mother:

1. I will sign up for JDate, not only with a basic account, but with a Premium Membership, which features Advanced Schicza Screening, Anti-Mishuggina Blasts, and exclusive invitations to JDate's famous Reasonably-Paced Speed Dating Events. I will marry this girl within 3--no, 2 months--and she will come from a good Jewish family (paternal AND maternal), and she will show up to the High Holidays early to help with the cooking, and she will not wear those slutty clothes, not like that awful Jennifer girl, with the extensions and the Ray Ban sunglasses. Her parents will pay for the wedding.

2. I will apply for careers--not jobs, CAREERS--at the following firms: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Barclay Capital, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bridgewater, Bain, BCG, JP Morgan. Additionally, I will start to look at advertising firms, because I am so creative. Maybe also marketing?  I will take the GREs, the LSATs, the MCATs, the GMATs, and the Civil Service Exam. I will join MENSA; I will quit Facebook.

3. Henceforth, I will get a haircut every two weeks, never letting it grow too long or poofy. Everyone will always be able to see my handsome face. Furthermore, I will get laser surgery to ensure that the hair that grows on the back of my neck that's so unbecoming will never grow back again. In tandem, I promise to never grow a beard, mustache, goatee, soul patch, chin pube garden, set of mutton chops, or neck beard, nor will I ever shave any designs, initials, or euphemisms for feces into my facial hair, especially not if I have an interview with Goldman Sachs.

4. I will change my wardrobe. This includes throwing away the following novelty T-shirts:
  • The one with the picture of the sled dog team, with all of the trailing dogs passed out on the snow, and the lead dog grinning maniacally in the front, with the caption "WHO FARTED???"
  • The one advertising the 2005 BHS Rhythmic Dance State Finalist Team. I was never on a rhythmic dance team, nor did I attend a "Barnesville High School" in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • The one that just says "I'M ON MY PERIOD"
  • The one with the big arrow pointing to my genitalia with the phrase "MEET JOE BLACK"
  • The one that says "MY OTHER SHIRT IS A STORM TROOPER." This doesn't make any sense and no one finds it funny.
  • The one I bought in Cambodia that is black with yellow text that says "CALVON KLING"
  • The one I bought in Vietnam that is red with purple text that says "VONN DOUCHE"
  • The one I bought in Malaysia that is grey with brown text that says "PIRATE WEINER"
5. I will clean up after myself. This includes making my bed every morning, closing doors and turning off lights when I leave rooms, keeping all of my dirty laundry in a basket rather than under my bed, flushing the toilet after use every time and not just for "big ones," placing all used dishes and silverware in the dishwasher and not just on the floor next to the dishwasher, shaving my legs over a drain instead of the dinner table, shaving my legs directly over a drain when I say I am going to, and not just moving the dinner table into the bathroom and then shaving my legs over it, and not spitting used tobacco chew on any pillows, white walls, or family pets.

6. I will stop getting blacked out on horse tranquilizers and Banana Daiquiris and calling my parents on Tuesday nights to ask them if it's okay if I bring a girl home with me, especially since we live in separate residences, even more especially since they know I have absolutely no skill at picking up girls, and even most especially when I am in the next room sitting by myself watching Family Feud reruns and it's 5:35 in the afternoon.

7. I will not tag my mother in Facebook notes that will embarrass her.

Sorry about the embarrassing "Big Bad Mustache Bill" note, Mom. And I'll get right on all of the goals above. Especially on flushing the toilet, because let me tell you, I just dropped a BIG ONE. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Big Bad Mustache Bill's

At the supermarket here in Union, New Jersey (the 75th greatest place to live in America (look it up)), I saw a man wearing a T-shirt advertising a restaurant named "Mustache Bill's Diner."

This was almost enough to make me stop eating food forever. But I came to my senses (namely, hunger).

Mustache Bill's Diner is the worst name for a restaurant I have ever heard. There is a game that I play with a few friends called Categories, during which, in the dull silences of our conversations, we announce a suggestive open-ended category which we then brainstorm until a fitting coda is reached. Mustache Bill's Diner could be the coda, or blackout line, or button, or whatever you want to call it, of the category "Unappetizing Names for a Restaurant," or "Diners Where You Would Vomit in the Middle of Your Meal."

I don't know want to think about mustaches, or mustache hair, while I am eating.

"Is everything okay with your meal, sir?"
"I think there is a hair in my potato salad."
"Oh, don't worry about that; it's probably just some mustache hair that fell off our chef Bill's mustache and into your potato salad. A little mustache hair in your food is a good source of iron. Would you like some mustache hair with your dessert as well? We can sprinkle some mustache hair in your banana pudding, or you can try our specialty, apple pie a la Bill's Mustache Hair."
"I think I'd just like to throw up from the though of having mustache hair in my mouth."
"Thank you for coming to Mustache Bill's. Please come back if you ever have a hankering for licking the salt-and-pepper mustache of a barrel-bellied Giants-loving New Jerseyite again. At Mustache Bill's Diner -- get some crusty brittle mustache on your tongue!"

It's okay, Mustache Bill's, I'm on a diet anyway, and I hear that throwing up uncontrollably is an important part of a balanced diet (the balance being between eating and vomiting for hours and hours).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Open Letter to the Shuffle Feature on my iPhone

Dear Shuffle Feature on my iPhone,

Your function, as I understand it, is to randomize the music played from my iPhone based on a 13GB section fo my songs on iTunes. The function exists to "shuffle" my songs around, like one might "shuffle" a deck of cards.

However, Shuffle Feature, when I picture you shuffling my songs like a Vegas card dealer, I can only imagine that the anthropomorphized version of you has two stubs where your hands would be, as though you were arrested for shoplifting twice in what I assume is all Arabian countries that have singing genies.

Because, here's the thing. I know that part of your algorithm is to take my preferences, based on Star Ratings, and Play Counts, and what have you, and weight those songs more heavily. That's fine. And I know that you must be able to "see" that I have four Radiohead albums on my iPhone, which is more albums for one singer or group than any other group in my library. And I know you can see that all of those albums have Five stars each. And that's fine, too--if I were really thinking about it, and actively constructing a set of preferences, I probably would like to hear Radiohead more often than any other band on my iPhone.

The thing is, though, Shuffle Feature: for the past three weeks or so, whenever I turn on "Shuffle All Songs," within the first seven songs, without fail, you play a song by Radiohead, and, much to my dismay, confusion, and displeasure, that song always happens to be "Fitter Happier." For those who don't know, this quote-unquouth Radiohead "song" appears on OK Computer, one of the greatest albums of all time, and is really little more than a text-to-voice robot saying a lot of very pessimistic things over some bleep-bloops for three minutes. It would be like turning on The White Album and hearing "Revolution #9" over and over again, or constantly getting "Love Is Like Jazz" from 69 Love Songs. There are much, much better options on OK Computer. Like, songs with a beat, for example; or songs with choruses, for another; songs that are actually songs, and not bleak, mechanical recitations of depressing facets of my daily life. Not tons what I want to listen to at the beach, is what I'm saying, Shuffle Feature.

And so, I plead you--I beg you--before I crash my car trying to skip past "Fitter Happier" for the humpteenth time on the Turnpike: can I get some Karma Police up in the top 10? Maybe No Surprises? There are three other albums for you to choose from...In Rainbows has some nice tracks, as does Amnesiac. Broaden your horizons, Shuffle Feature. I think you will grow to like the Radiohead selections that couldn't be constructed from merriam-webster.com and a random xylophone-note automaton.

Also, cool it with the "Squalor Victoria."



Monday, September 13, 2010

How Many Princeton University Facilities Does It Take to Screw In A Lightbulb?

Today, I got a message in my inactive ".princeton.edu" email account from Princeton University Facilities, giving me an update on a job order I had requested. Call me high-maintenance, but I am not 100% satisfied with the length of time it took them to change one lightbulb.


This email is to confirm that your ticket has been marked as complete. The details of the request were:

Reported Date: Sat Sep 27 14:50:51 EDT 2008

Location: Patton Hall
Description: Light bulb out on 4th floor laundry room, entryway 4/5.

If this request has not been completed to your satisfaction, please reply to this message (leaving the subject line intact) or call the Facilities Service Center at 609-258-8000.

Thank you,
Princeton University Facilities


No, thank you Princeton University Facilities. Now I can FINALLY do my laundry after the sun goes down without having to blindly grope around a washing machine/dryer in a pitch-black windowless room for half an hour! Actually, I don't have to do that now, nor have I had to do that in about a year. Even the laundry rooms in Thailand have lightbulbs now. Or, wherever I soap-rinsed in my portable basin, I would make sure it was light.

Either way, I graduated like 15 months ago.