south korea

Tough Questions: If You Had to Move Tomorrow, Where Would You Move?

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Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

If you had to move tomorrow, where would you move?

Rules are simple: get out of here. People are obsessed with movement and change. This week we ask everyone to pack their bags and move away. You’ve already got the wanderlust, where are you going?

Alex Russell

I love Chicago and I do not want to leave. It’s about to get to the oppressively hot part of the year here, though, and I’m one of the few people that hates the city in the summer more than I do in the winter. I moved here to get away from the 103 degree summers of the South, so I don’t appreciate when Hoth gets hot for a few months.

I’m not a beach guy, but I was in Santa Cruz, California on July 4th in 2008. This picture does not do it justice, but something about the weirdness of one of the last great beach towns in the country really, really stuck with me. Everyone was what you can only call “specific.” It’s not somewhere I could live for a decade, but there are worse places to turn 30, I think. There are definitely worse places.

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Jonathan May

New Orleans! I love everything about the city: the food, the people, the connection to the water, the art. Since my friend Tyler moved down five or more years ago, I stay with him a few times a year, and it’s always a magical time. I love how close a lot of things are; you can do a lot of great walking and people-watching. The museum has some real treasures in it, and their cafe puts golden raisins and dill in their chicken salad (so good!). But most of all, just being in the city, with the susurrus of the crowd along the sidewalk and in the street, you lose yourself in the beautiful history of people promenading along the boulevards slowly with coffee or booze, in no great hurry to see the world that day, just one beautiful slice of it. I’ll there for July 4th this year, and I can’t wait!

Andrew Findlay

This is confusing to me. Am I being chased? Has a job opportunity opened up? I would either go to Memphis, where rent is about thirty percent of what it is here, or to Paris, where things are awesome. D.C. is great and all, but it’s kind of an in-between city – not as cheap as some, not as astounding as others.

Brent Hopkins

I would probably move to Busan, South Korea if I had to move tomorrow. I have been missing the ocean recently and also generally having a metropolitan area to roam around in. I have been slowly making my way south in the peninsula may as well pull the band-aid off and go all the way south.

Gardner Mounce

San Francisco. Does it matter that I’ve never been? No. I’ve seen pictures and I’ve watched Full House, and everyone agrees that it’s the most beautiful city on earth. This is a picture of me in San Francisco, but as another person.

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See how happy I am?

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Tough Questions: What’s the Hardest You’ve Ever Laughed?

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Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the hardest you’ve ever laughed?

Rules are simple: Tell us a time you just full-on lost your shit. Pete Holmes asks this question on his podcast You Made it Weird, and it’s fascinating to hear what people who tell jokes for a living say. To be clear, this isn’t the best joke you’ve ever heard and it’s not the funniest thing that you’ve ever seen. If it was that, it would just be all of us talking about that scene in 30 Rock where Liz Lemon says “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, ack!” like Cathy from Cathy. I can only talk about that joke for about 45 minutes, so we’ll need to pick other stuff.

Alex Russell

Part of me wants to answer this with Kristen Schaal is a Horse, but it’s more personal than that. On a trip with a bunch of people a million years ago a good friend of mine and I were getting on a girl’s nerves. We were all teenagers, but we already understood the reality that if you go on a vacation with someone, you’re eventually going to want to kill them. She was sick of both of us by day two, and she especially didn’t like being woken up from a nap. This was also back at an age when “quoting a thing” was the same as “telling a joke.” Watch two sixteen year olds talk to each other, that’s all they do. We were quoting Aqua Team Hunger Force bits (again, sixteen) and the quote he chose for the moment she woke up in shaking anger was the moment that pushed me over the edge. Here was this woman, angrily shaking a headband that he’d been flinging at her to try to wake her up, and she just kept screaming what is this what is this WHAT IS THIS? The context of the joke on the show isn’t important, you just have to picture a calm sixteen year old boy telling a girl filled with righteous fury: “Oh, that? That is a sweatband.” I’m surprised I survived that day from laughing so hard, and equally surprised she didn’t explode and form a new galaxy based on pure anger.

Alex Marino

Back in third grade I was on a school field trip to the Barnum & Bailey circus at the Hartford Civic Center. We were all just excited to not be in school so it didn’t matter what we were doing. How many of you have been to the circus? Looking back, it’s a really weird, fucked up event to go to. Every animal has a look on its face like it was just told it was fired and also its grandmother died. One of the few ways these animals could stick it to the man was just to shit everywhere all the time. Remember that I’m in the third grade here, so shitting is HILARIOUS to me and my best friend Matt. So we’re watching these elephants parade around the three rings just shitting the entire time. We’re crying from laughter. We had our own expectations of what a circus would be like. Trapeze artists, a lion tamer, and the elephants were all on the list. But we were not emotionally prepared for the elephants just dropping the biggest shits you’ve ever seen. And after enough time, we started to smell it. Matt remarked that they looked like ice cream scoops and that’s when we lost it. We both were doing that crying, silent belly laugh for a solid minute before we could even recover.

Jonathan May

Recently my friend Michael came back into town for a visit for California. A group of us who all played kickball together arrived at another friend’s house to drink and talk and the usual. One guy from the team had grown out some very slight facial hair, like a mustache/goatee combo. He was going to shave it off the next day, so the host of the party decided tonight was the night to dye it black. They ran down to the store and bought men’s black facial hair dye. The host slathered the purplish-blackish sludge on our friend’s face; neither had ever dyed anything before. After waiting the requisite ten minutes, our friend goes to wash it off. Of course, you’re not supposed to get this stuff on the skin. So he washes his face, and when he looks up, he had this huge black oil spill encasing his entire mouth, and it’s not going anywhere. This guy has a suit and tie job in the morning. Everyone was crying with laughter. I had to leave soon after, but I still wondered how hard he must have scrubbed his face all night.

Mike Hannemann

The hardest time I ever laughed was one of the dumbest moments of my life. There was a cancer awareness walk (this story is starting off terribly) where students were encouraged to walk through a designated path for 24 hours. You could take breaks and shifts and my then-roommate and I took a 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. shift. This was a college event, but no drinking was involved. We went back to our place at 4 a.m. and instead of going to bed, we turned on the TV. An episode of Franklin the Turtle was playing. I don’t remember what I said, but the joke was dumb we nearly doubled over from laughter and not sleeping. It was one of those rare moments where you’re so exhausted… anything is funny. Including some stupid turtle who blows his life out of proportions.

Brent Hopkins

I think the hardest I ever laughed was a very intoxicated evening in Seoul. My sister was visiting and I wanted to show her how they party in Korea: buckets of alcohol and dancing until 6 A.M. My buddy Gil was fully sauced and we got to talking about chest hair. This guy is smooth as a baby, as are many East Asians, so I started giving him crap. My friend was recording this whole interaction and he proceeded to rip a handful of hair from my chest and run around with it as if it were a victory. Everyone was shocked and everyone laughed about it for the rest of the night. Weird experience, but one I will never forget.

Tough Questions: What’s the Worst Thing You’ve Paid More than $50 For?

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Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the worst thing you’ve paid more than $50 for?

Rules are simple: What do you regret blowing half a c-note on? We all spend money on things we regret, but when did you really mess up? Did you get into an eBay war and lose sight of just how important collectable glassware is? Did you buy a plane ticket to somewhere you didn’t even want to go? Did you go to grad school, like, at all?

Alex Russell

Every year I go to Vegas with a few friends. We go in March, both because Chicago is miserable in March and because March Madness in Vegas is always full of degenerates, but mostly your happier, saner degenerates. A regret story about Vegas is nothing new, but it’s hard to pin down a “bad beat” any easier than this one. We were early for a dinner reservation, because your life in Vegas revolves around when you’re supposed to be where for what, and there was a roulette table right outside the restaurant. Vegas wants you to play, of course, but they want you to play impulsively. The $100 bet on black because I was hungry and frustrated was straight out of an anti-gambling PSA, and even though I know in my heart that Vegas is smarter than me… it’s rarely that damn obvious.

Alex Marino

Remember netbooks? It was that awkward time between laptops getting smaller and the iPad’s debut. People swore that netbooks were going to be the next big thing. I bought it because I wanted something for taking notes on in graduate school. I only installed what was absolutely essential for school stuff to keep it running fast. Well, it wasn’t fast. It sucked. And now I have a $200 dinosaur collecting dust in my closet.

Mike Hannemann

When you go to Epcot, sometimes you will want a drink. When you want a drink at Epcot, you’ll notice each country the park is divided into has a beer from that country. When you figure this out, you will want to go on a beer crawl of every country. When you do this, you will drink nine beers with high alcohol content. When you complete the beer crawl you will go to the Japan portion of the park and buy a $75 backpack that is a Goomba from Super Mario. When you do this, your parents will think you need to go back to therapy.

Andrew Findlay

I bought a pair of Mephisto shoes for 150 dollars. I was in Europe with a group for my friend’s wedding, and after they went off on their honeymoon we went to Paris. I had a pair of old, ratty tennis shoes, and I was ironically worried about them causing foot pain from the miles and miles I would walk there. My solution was to go to a shoe store and buy those damned Mephistos, which are like the Cadillac of supportive shoes. Seriously, podiatrist-recommended. They felt great for the first day and a half, and then I started experiencing sharp pains in the balls of both feet. One day in particular, waiting in line to go up the Eiffel Tower, the standing for more than an hour really did a number on me. Once we got up there, I immediately sprinted to the nearest bench and sat down without informing my friends of what I was doing. Because there are a shit-ton of people at the Eiffel Tower and because I’m an idiot, I did not see them again until we all made it back to where we were sleeping. I spent the rest of the vacation limping around, complaining about my feet, and being generally annoying to my companions. To this day, the balls of my feet still cause me pain, ranging from slight to significant depending on the day. I’ve bought a lot of crap I regret, but these motherfuckers ruined my vacation and gave me a lasting injury, and I paid out 150 dollars for the privilege. Clear winner.

Brent Hopkins

Fifty dollars was much harder for me to figure out than I would care to admit. I am a fan of saving money and spending it on big purchases, so I rarely have things that I am just disappointed in. There was something recent that didn’t sit well with me, and that was a motel I stayed at when my sister came to visit. Now, this motel was 38 dollars per night and we stayed two nights, so it amounted to over 50 in total, but I would have rather roamed like a vagabond than stay there. There was nothing aesthetically pleasing about this place and the bathroom looked like it had seen the Korean War in its prime. This was supposed to be a relaxing vacation but we were both awake by 7 a.m. and out the door to spend as little time as possible there. I was around there a few weeks ago again and just looking at the facade of the motel made me feel dirty. Never again will I go that far by my purse strings again.

Pay Day and Pineapples

 

Brent Hopkins

There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting paid monthly or biweekly, depending on your job. That is the main incentive people have of going in and grinding 40 hour weeks for the majority of their lives. I am like most people where the synapses in my brain fire when I check my bank balance and see the money is a few grand higher than before. I always felt this was unrelated to other outside influences and that the feeling of getting paid would always have that endorphin buzz attached.

This month, I started a new job and I am the only person who gets paid on the 25th of the month. I was pretty excited for this because I had taken a bit of a break from work and had not been paid in awhile. I was pretty surprised to find that I was almost completely unenthused when I checked my bank account and it took me awhile to figure out why.

A large portion of the glee from getting paid is tied to all the people around you getting excited about the day, without that it is like clapping at the end of a movie with no other spectators… it just feels a bit empty. I wonder if I got paid more would this sentiment be different, but I don’t think it would. Pay day is one of those few things that are a regular celebration that goes across language barriers and cultures; it really needs to be shared to get the full benefit.

This is how I expect my next 11 pay days will look.

I love fresh pineapple and I have gotten quite good at carving them up as opposed to buying them pre-sliced. Pineapples aren’t the cheapest of fruit but I managed to grab some for three dollars each. I felt like I had just stolen them from the pineapple plant (not tree) they were so cheap, so I took my bounty home to make some smoothies.

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Incredibly disappointing compared to the tree most people have in mind for pineapples.

These pineapples were small so when I got to carving I got rid of the outer layer of armor and about 20% of the fruit was gone. Then I cored the thing, because biting into that is akin to chewing sweet bark. After all was said and done I was covered in juice and had about a cup of pineapple. This is the most disappointing ratio of work to delicious in the fruit world, hands down. Maybe it’s because I live alone and I have to converse with myself but I looked down at this thing and seriously considered ways to use the remains of the pineapple. It took all of me not to blend that core into a gummy mess and consume it. I honestly believe there are few things worse than feeling like something you invested in was wasted – small pineapples will do it to you every time.

Off to my sad corner

Images: Funky Space Monkey, Corbis

Tough Questions: Which of Your Last Twenty Status Updates Would You Want to Be Your Last One Ever?

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Every Monday we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week?

Which of Your Last Twenty Status Updates Would You Want to Be Your Last One Ever?

Rules are simple: take one of your last twenty Facebook or Twitter updates and have that be your last one, forever. If someone looked you up on the Google, they’d find your social media. What would you want them to find that represents you FOREVER?

Scott Phillips

My Facebook statuses usually alternate between being appreciative or silly — and sometimes salty — observational humor. Since I don’t want to go out looking like a chump for thanking Luol Deng or my Facebook “friends” for a great 2013, I’ll go with my Facebook status about the worst NFL player of the year: Chicago Bears starting safety Chris Conte.

In case you don’t know who Conte is, he’s made blunder-after-blunder throughout the 2013 season, missing tackles, being out of place in coverage and generally getting burned by faster receivers on a regular basis.

Don’t know what any of that football jargon means? That’s okay. You do know what a tackle is, right?

So, when Conte made a crucial blunder against the hated rival Green Bay Packers that pretty much cost the Bears the game, and the season, in their final home loss — among many other blunders, but it was the pinnacle moment of a particularly pathetic season for Conte — Chicagoans naturally took to social media to ridicule Conte.

He received death threats. Seriously.

I hate Chris Conte, but it’s a sports hate. I’d never say anything bad to his face because I’ve certainly fucked up a job before and never wanted anyone giving me shit about it, let alone death threats.

So, I made a Facebook status at 7:45 p.m. on December 29th that doubled as a Conte joke:

“Chris Conte probably misses when he attempts to give hugs to family members.”

It’s non-offensive, topical, shows my hatred of Chris Conte in a subtle way and I think that most people can generally understand the gist of the joke.

Plus, did I mention how much I hate Chris Conte?

Mike Hannemann

This is easy because I use Facebook solely as a joke machine (with the occasional spot of sentiment if something so important the moment truly warrants it).  I was especially pleased with “Ah, TBOX. The one special day a year that people of all faiths and denominations set aside their differences and gather together to agree that people are just the worst.” because, well, I’m vain and laugh at my own jokes.  It’s funny and mean spirited just to the point of not offending any one particular person. Which I think that is the closest representation to the type of humor I try to bring to my very important social media platform.

Alex Marino

“The Subway-Hunger Games commercial is our advertising Icarus moment.” Remember the days when a fast food movie sponsorship just meant you got a shitty collector’s cup or some toy in the kid’s meal that your child can choke on?  Now everyone tries to make some awful pun or compare a product to the themes of the movie.  In the NBA they promote some action movie by showing an explosion from the movie and then a dunk from LeBron James because they’re just so explosive (kill me).  So when the marketing execs at Subway sat down and tried to come up with how their brand related to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire they realized the word “Fire” was in the movie’s title and also they had a spicy sandwich.  It’s the laziest marketing I’ve ever seen.  And let’s not overlook the irony of a fast food company sponsoring a movie where one of the main plot points is that the people of Jennifer Lawrence’s district are STARVING.  Go to hell Subway.

Alex Russell

“WHY CAN’T I BE FOURSQUARE MAYOR OF THIS PLANE?”

I don’t know why I use Foursquare. I have no idea why I care about this thing. I checked in at a fucking grocery store today. I think there’s no better way for someone to get a sense of what I’m all about than to see just how stupid my whole world really is. Most of the rest of it is all jokes, but you better believe I went to that Trader Joe’s. You don’t even have to ask me. You’ll just fuckin’ KNOW.

Andrew Findlay

“Faulkner used the word “dingdong” in his Nobel speech. #fuckyes #thesouth #whuskey”

I guess I’d want this to be my last tweet because it would serve as a good epitaph. I was born and raised in Memphis, but I don’t live there anymore. Coming off of the Christmas family visit back home, I am suffering through a heavy nostalgia attack (listening to B.B. King as I write this). I claim Faulkner as part of my home city’s cultural heritage. People in Oxford probably have a better claim, but I’d like to remind them that Faulkner once said that Mississippi begins in the lobby of a Memphis, Tennessee hotel, and that many of his novels, most notably The Reivers, feature Memphis as a central setting. I also love the rumors that he gave his Nobel speech while blind drunk. Finally, I love whiskey, any and all types. I draw the line just this side of Kentucky Gentleman, but respect those who go beyond it. Besides, this tweet makes me look a hell of a lot classier than the ones about my wife preventing me from eating a Cinnabon or me puncturing my foot by stepping on an earring.

Brent Hopkins

Looking over my social media history I think I would have to pick my Facebook post from New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day. (“Got to watch the first sunrise of the year about as far east as I will ever be.”) I live in South Korea, so when the New Year rolls around it is pretty common for people to pack up and travel to the eastern coast to see the first sunrise of the year (romantic, I know). I tend to have a mediocre time on New Year’s and I really do think it is a bit overrated in terms of importance but I had a terrible 2013 so I thought this would be a nice “reset” of sorts emotionally. I went there and pretty much froze to death because it is the middle of the winter on the coast. I happened to go with my ex-girlfriend whom I am still quite close with because we are both gluttons for emotional punishment and we took pictures and posted them on Facebook. The aftermath of this trip was a nice lady I had been dating (not my ex) seeing this post on Facebook and angrily calling me stating how much she hates me and how I wasn’t honest with her (untrue as I told her about my the trip and my ex) and how bad a guy I am. I usually am a bit of a fighter for women but I just agreed with her and said have a nice life. Looking back on that it really sums up my love life and just general living. Good intentions with explosive and somewhat comical results. I wouldn’t mind leaving that as a warning beacon to all women that search for me.