Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The dream was strange, stranger than normal.

We're fixing a woman's apartment, perhaps her dorm room.  It looks like a tornado whipped through.  We straighten mirrors, throw away food wrappers.  Vacuum.  Windex.  We replace her old, broken things with new ones.  A radio.  A television.  Then we sneak out.  She'll never know who we were.

A grocery store, next.  One of those stores where all the produce is stacked in wooden crates to give it a farmer's market feel.  The line is slow and we're late.  In front of us, the cashier weighs a roast chicken.  He smiles apologetically and shrugs as if to say "These things take time."  Then he takes the chicken apart and weighs each piece separately.

We get back to campus late.  We've missed orientation and the ice cream social they have for new students.  The campus is overwhelming.  Sure, we know which dorms we've been assigned, but we've forgotten the room numbers.  They wouldn't tape our names to our doors, would they?

The uncertainty makes it exciting.  The night is fresh and cool around us.  The world is endless and full of possibilities.

I wake up knowing I'll never get back to sleep.  It's four am.  Anything I do will wake you, or the kid, or the dog.  I slide the wooden drawers open with a grinding noise that makes me wince, and gather my clothes, my keys, my phone and headset; I'll need to call if I get hurt.

I step outside into the cool air and run.  I run like the evil robot from Terminator 2, with large steps, windmilling hands, and a grim determination.  I run like Inspector Gadget, with springing limbs far too long.  It's night.  Nobody can see me.

I hit the end of the neighborhood.  This is where I turn, making a mile-long rectangle before I return home.  I don't want that.  I need to be uncomfortable, scared.  I keep going straight, down the long street towards the rest of the dark city.

I want a coffee.  I didn't bring my wallet, but have the Starbucks app on my phone.  I slip the earpiece on, and it reassures me with a cheerful series of notes.  I click it, set it to text, and speak into the air.

I hope you turned off notifications.  I have to talk.

I'm winded now.  If I get hurt, how will you find me?  I click again.

I'm running down.  Shoot.  I can never remember the street names.

I pass a church.  Click.

I'm on the street with the church.  Not the one with the big cross.  This one has a

It's got something like the Washington Monument in front.

It's the one with the big penis.

Headlights in the distance.  I look down at the road to avoid being blinded.  The light grows beneath me.  If the car decides to run me over now, how would I know?  Would the light on the ground change?  Would I notice in time?


I'm going to go to Starbucks.  The one in the mall by the uh Panda Express.  I have the app on my phone so I can pay.

It's been months since I exercised.  This week I did two, one-mile runs.  My thighs are cramping in protest.  Fuck them.  We run with the legs we have, not the legs we wish we had.


I want a donut.

I text my personal trainer.  Click.

If I'm tired and sore tomorrow, it's because I'm running in the middle of the night, not because I'm a slacker.

I switch my phone back to my wife.  Click.

Do you think my trainer likes me or just pretends?  How would I ever know?

I see light inside a house.  I stop.  Is there someone inside unable to sleep like me?

It's beautiful, the home of a tasteful, wealthy family.  Dark red, velvet chairs.  A painting.  Leather couches.  No people. It's empty, staged so a realtor can show it off.

I think of the people sleeping in my dark home.  My wife.  My daughter.

She's not going to be ready for college.  I've never taken her to concerts, games, poetry readings.  How is she going to talk to other kids, make friends?  How's she going to get laid?

I sure never did.  Click.

She needs a better life than mine.  She should go out into that first night and know that there's something new; her last chance to start over.


I mean okay everyone starts over but it's the first one that counts.


She needs to learn how to talk about what movies she likes her favorite video game.  She should know how to dance.

I'm at the strip mall.  There's an old, battered, blue pickup truck driving in a circle through the empty lot.  I see someone get out and do something in the back where a lawnmower is tied down.  He gets back in and drives on, his tires squealing a little as he drives off.

He could run me over. 

I'm at the place where our dentist used to be.  There's a Chinese dentist there now.  The sign is half in Mandarin says Great Care Deal.  No. Great Care Dental.  Great Care Deal sounds better.

I turn the corner by the Panera Bread and the smell of cinnamon is everywhere.  I can see men working inside.  Wish they were open.  Wish something was open.

The Starbucks is closed.  Guess I'll to go to the one downtown.

That's quite a distance.  Good.  I haven't hurt myself enough yet.

She needs to exercise every day.  Get used to the idea.  Make it a habit.

Running faster now.

I pass the Holiday Inn Express.  They're playing music out their front doors, but there's nobody to hear it.  They're playing music to the empty night.

Another car.  Click.

Why are people up right now?  It's the middle of the night!

I hit a street light and press the walk button.  There aren't any cars, but I wait.  I'm hungry and sore and winded.  Ah, forget going to Starbucks.  I don't need coffee.  I need to go home.

Green.  A little white man with a floating head like in The Legend of Sleepy Hallow beckons.  Run.

I pass by that terrible Italian restaurant my parents like.  We should try them again.

A carpet store.  They're going out of business.  Why is every carpet store going out of business?

There's that tiny coffee shop with no windows.  Why haven't we ever gone there?

That tiny barber shop with the red and white striped pole in front.

Why do we always go to the same restaurants barbers coffee shops? Shouldn't we go out into the night?  Try new places?

There's a full parking lot, but no people, no apartment.

A car audio place.

A Pete's Coffee with nobody inside.

Pete's!  Okay, it's not a Starbucks.  Their coffee tastes like... Well, coffee.  Still, I slow to a walk and turn towards their door.  I don't have any money.  Pretty sure they won't accept the Starbucks app.


I never went to a big school where you could get lost.  Mine was only a few blocks long.  Why didn't I go someplace scary?

College would have been so much easier if you had been there.  Fun.  Knowing I screwed up that first night makes it worse.

I remember that time when a friend invited me to her veterinary hospital.  They were tending a baby bear.  You could play with it.  You held up your hand and it would slap it.  I told her I'd stop by in a couple days.

That night, I met someone at a bar where they play movies.  2001: A Space Odyssey.  We kept glancing sideways at each other.

Afterwards, the owner of the bar got on stage and talked about how science fiction films had declined.  Why weren't they making anything about defying authority, about breaking away from the bonds of society?

"Babylon 5!" the woman and I shouted simultaneously. We had something in common. We agreed to meet the next night at a coffee shop.

But I was visiting my parents.  My mother wanted to go out with me.  I blew her off.

That night, I waited at the coffee place for hours, then tracked down her hotel.  I got them to give me her room number, saw the light under her door, and knocked.  Nothing.


Am I creepy?

The next morning I skipped playing with the baby bear so I wouldn't upset my mother again.  I thought "I'll never get a chance to play slap hands with a bear again."

Doors close every day.

I remember a girl in college.  I saw her crying on bleachers by the little tennis court by my dorm.  Blonde.  A nose too squashed to call her gorgeous, but who wasn't beautiful in college? She said she was homesick.  Everything was so alien in college.  Hard.

I made her laugh.  Introduced her to the freaks I hung out with.  I saw her from time to time, but it was always awkward.  Click.

Seriously, am I creepy?


The sun is coming up.

I can't run anymore.  I turn back towards my neighborhood.

And he walked back to his safe little home in a safe little neighborhood in a safe little world.  The end. 

There's something soft under my feet.  It's a grey rag.  No, it's something else.

Squirrel!  Dead.  Dead squirrel!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

I like my coffee like I like my...

I haven't been able to think of much that's funny these days.  Sure, there are twice as many GOP candidates as there are Friday the 13th movies and the anti-vax, anti-GMO, anti-evolution, anti-abortion, and anti-global warming evidence groups are still funny.

It's just that I've done those to death.  It's just that I couldn't think of a fresh topic anymore.

Note to self: rip off Hot Topic by starting another store full of crummily-made, pre-teen crap called "Fresh Topic."

Anyway, I was despondent about writing this blog and then... Something struck me like a gold brick hitting a bowl of jello perched atop Donald Trump's hair.

(Just try and get that image out of your head now.)

Coffee.  I was struck by coffee.  Actually, I was struck by the labels on coffee.

Bear with me here.  Watch this video.
Of course we'd never joke about child sexuality today, but it made me think of how difficult it is to find a mate online.  Women are so besieged by men, they have a hard time filtering out the ones they don't like.

Anyway, look at these:

So, here's my idea for a dating filter.  Ask women (or gay man) what kind of coffee they like and apply it to find the right guy.  Do you like them:

Intense, bold, and full bodied?

With a hint of dark chocolate?

Rich and nutty?

Intense and smoky?


Beautiful with bright notes?

Rustic and satisfyingly earthy?


Buttery and fragrant?
Yeah, okay, the analogy only goes so far.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Liberal Movies for Conservative Audiences 2

It must be tough to be a conservative looking for a movie to watch.  Nearly all of them ooze liberalness.  Liberality?  Whatever.

The point is, Hollywood films are written by liberals, produced by liberals, and performed by liberals.  In films, villains are driven by greed, heroes gather strength from defying corporate bullies, and bombs explode while animated monsters fly through the air.

Okay, conservatives like that last one, too.  Anyway, my point is there aren't many Hollywood movies that feed conservative values.
At least until Mel Gibson finishes the sequel.
What we (and by "we" I mean not me) need is someone to re-edit popular Hollywood movies to release them for conservative audiences.  Here's a few suggestions:

Mad Max: Fury Road
As in the original movie, Max and Furiosa defeat Immortan Joe, take over his stronghold, and release all the water to the poor masses.  In the conservative version, the masses continue to take more and more water until they become fat and lazy and refuse to work.  Then the water runs out and everyone dies.

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
Thorin Oakenshield, defeats the dragon (by pulling himself up by his bootstraps) and is attacked by the lazy unions of Laketown, who demand he pay taxes on his wealth.  The unions brings the tree hugging elves (who tried to imprison Thorin's people for enjoying a national park) to fight.  Thorin retaliates by summoning goblins, his own family, and finally giant American eagles.

The Great Gatsby
Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, but doesn't feel he's good enough for her.  He decides to prove himself by fighting the scourge of Prohibition.  Under the guise of selling medicine, he provides whiskey under the table to customers.  When Daisy finally arrives at one of his parties, she realizes he's a better man than her husband and leaves him.  They all live happily ever after.

The Minion Movie
Actually, you don't have to do anything about this one.  It's already about blindly following the orders of villains.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sepia Banner

Today's post is for you those who've been told you're "part of the problem" at one time or another.

Have you been:

  • Called a "sheeple?"
  • Told you don't understand, no matter how qualified you are or how much research you've done??
  • Insulted by a coward who uses the anonymity of the internet to criticize you???
  • Ridiculed for a position contrary to others in your political party????
  • Threatened for denying dogma?????
  • Condemned for picking science over superstition, pseudoscience, or folklore??????
  • Ignored by those who cling to outmoded ideals????????
  • Unable to use any more question marks????????????????

I made this banner because I've been told I'm part of the problem for supporting the evidence that GMOs are safe, for understanding there's a balance between safety and freedom, for voting for a controversial ballot measure, for thinking.

Yes, I'm part of the problem, if you define "problem" as "writing my opinions on the internet in a forum that literally gets about forty hits a week (fewer since I've stopped posting "See [model/actress] Nude!" to boost my numbers)."

This banner is for all you problems out there.

Well, okay, I made the banner because I couldn't think of a topic and haven't made a new banner in a few years.  What did you want?  Humor?  Insightful writing?  A cute animal picture?

Oh.  Okay, fine.

Friday, July 3, 2015

My Coke Rewards

We are all victims of the Cola Wars.  Maybe you're too young to remember, but my generation -- the greatest generation -- lost a lot of good people.

We still have nightmares.  Max Headroom.  The Pepsi Challenge.  New Coke.  Pepsi Stuff.

We thought we were in the clear.  Specifically Pepsi Clear.  Or, well, Crystal Pepsi.

See what I did there?  Never mind, the joke worked better in my head.  The point is, people actually gave a damn about which brown, carbonated, sugar drink was gnawing away at their teeth.  It was part of their identity.  You chose Coke if you were into nostalgia.  You chose Pepsi if you were into...

Actually, I'm not sure what makes people choose Pepsi.  They probably chose it because the Coke machine was a few feet farther away.  We were pretty fat during the Cola Wars.

The point is, there's no real difference between them.  If one company bought the other but kept selling both brands, nobody would know.

Maybe this has already happened.
Next stop, a soda fountain IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
I never gave a crap about which one I drank until I started wearing Nikes.

No, it makes sense.  Bear with me.
Not that kind of bear.  Not that other kind, either, pervert.
Different shoes have different numbers for each size.  In Nike shoes, I'm a size "ten."  In Reeboks and Adidas I'm a size "Fuck if I know."  It'd take too much time to figure out.  I'd have to call for a shoe guy, stand on a cold Brannock device, try on a dozen types of shoes while my wife shook her head disapprovingly, and so on.

Hey, I'm a veteran of the Cola Wars!  Just standing up is a victory.

Nike also has these cool shoes called Nike ID.  They're customizable.  You can pick different colors and add words to the sides or fronts.

There are restrictions, of course.  You can't write "FUCK FACE" on them.  Not that I'd try.  Unfortunately, you can't add "JOY STICK" either.

Nike hates gamers.  And joy.  And sticks.  And fuck faces.

I really love designing my own Nikes, but they're expensive.  Like "why the hell would you spend that much on a stupid shoe that's as dumb as caring if you drink Coke or Pepsi" expensive.

However, there are My Coke Rewards.

On ever can, bottle, and case of Coke is a unique ID code.  You enter those codes into their website and accumulated points to get rewards.  Towels, movie tickets...

Nike gift cards.

It took thousands of points to get a $50 Nike gift card.  I started buying Coke.  I started buying a lot of Coke.  I got my friends to buy Coke and give me the codes.  I snuck into my neighbor's recycling bin at night and stole their codes.

Hi.  My name is Matthew.  I'm a My Coke Rewards Addict.  Now give me my shoes!
I got enough points to buy new shoes.  They wore out.  I spent a year collecting points.  I got new shoes.  They wore out.  I realized how silly the cycle of consumerism was.  I stopped spending my time and money on useless consumer crap and left it all behind, spending my days in personal fulfillment and acts of kindness.  I spent another year collecting points.

Just as I got enough points for a Nike gift card, the cost went up.  Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  Things change.  Just as I got enough points for a Nike gift card, the cost went up.


And then again.

And then the website changed.  Now not only do you collect points, but you also need "status."  You start with bronze status.  If you want the $50 Nike gift card, you had to have enough points and gold status.  That's right.  Coke is saying "Your money is no good here" after issuing the fucking money.

But, hey, maybe status isn't that hard.  I've been a loyal Coke user ever since I realized I was too lazy to measure my feet.  How do you get status?  You post Coke promotions on your Twitter account.

That's right.  You want to use your points?  You do free advertising for Coke.  I wrote and told them I didn't have a Twitter account.  They wrote and told me how to go fuck myself.

So, I have decided to get a new Twitter account, a Twitter account I use just to post Coke Rewards ads.  I call it:


Well, it was going to be that, but Twitter said it was too long, so I got:


Nope.  How about:


No?  Damn it!

Ta daa!

You can find out how Coke is the official drink of American Sportsmanship or Coke's dedication to quenching your thirst or all the fabulous things you can buy with My Coke Rewards points if you have gold status.

Now give me my fucking shoes.