Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Right to Bear a Hobby Horse

My dog is what some might call a "vagine." I mean, when you think about it, one of the pragmatic uses for even having a dog is protection, right? But I bet if I asked my dog what her job is...she might respond "eating" or "sleeping" or "licking her ass, then my face."

These are not paid positions (and there are no more openings).

So a few weeks ago, when I was awoken by her growling and snorting in our bedroom, my first response was "Maggie...SHUT THE HELL UP! IT'S TWO AM!!!"

But the growling kept going...and she started to pace in the bed. The next thing I know, Tauni is shaking my arm and says "I think I hear someone in the kitchen."

Of course, my first instinct was to say "Tauni...SHUT THE HELL UP! IT'S TWO AM!!!" but I am more pragmatic than the dog...and I thought I better not. I did try to ignore her, but with the combination or growling and the incessant shaking, I eventually, slowly, begrudgingly woke up. And I heard it.

No...that couldn't SOUND! And another sound. In fact...that sounds like...someone...NO...moving...rattling...NO F'IN WAY!

And my heart sank...because it was my time to be "the man."


Being a man has a lot of perks in life. First of all...I can pee standing up OR sitting down. Really...I enjoy this choice. After a long day...sometimes, I am not embarrassed to admit, I sit to pee. Sue me. This makes me no less of a man. In fact, I think it makes me more of a man. Yes. A manly man I am for sitting to pee.

I also don't have to care about stuff...being a man and all. Some women assume men don't have feelings, but we do. It's just so little is actually expected of us...we can play it up! Centuries of men saying "I don't care" have built upon themselves in a form of ancient viral marketing...and now...when we choose to...we can pull out the "I don't have feelings" card almost at will. It's brilliant if you asked me!

But there are times it sucks to be a man! And I can tell you...hearing a sound in your kitchen in the middle of the night is DEFINITELY one of those times. What the Hell am I supposed to do at 2 AM with rustling...RUSTLING emanating in the room on the opposite side of my house? Ask my eighteen-pound-pussy-ass dog to protect us? Turn to my five-foot-nothing girlfriend? was time to be a man. So I did what any man would do...I picked up the closest blunt object within arm's reach of my bed and started to head for the kitchen....of course, this being me, the most violent instrument within arm's reach from MY bed...was a fucking hobby horse. Doesn't this look scary:

So, if you can imagine...I am tiptoeing down the hall way...hobby horse in hand...and on my way to beat the living shit of what I presumed to be a 7' tall monster waiting for me in the other room.

Here is an artist's rendition:

Luckily for me...on the way there, with my vicious dog cowering behind my every step, I realized the sound was nothing more than a raccoon that had gotten into the kitchen to eat Maggie's food through our open back door (now closed and locked every night). So...I started banging the hobby horse and clicking its ear. Why? So it would neigh and make some galloping sounds, or course! Worked like a charm...and whatever was eating my dog's food scurried away as brave little Maggie went ape shit...after it had gone.

And we all were safe and sound. Mark MANasse with his HOBBY HORSE...saved the day.


A fun little postscript:

Maggie has taken a big dump every night by the back door to try to cover up the smell of the raccoon who came in to eat her food. So that's been really fun. Way to show the raccoon who's boss, Maggie. You rock!


Monday, November 02, 2009

Television Preview Sucks My Ass (A Not-So-Hilarious-Tale of How I Was Scammed!)

I preach and preach to my students that just showing up, butt in chair, does not lead to success. It's important to do your homework...because failing to prepare is preparing to fail! Hokie...but oh-so-true!

If I had taken my own advice, my Friday night wouldn't have sucked major balls. You see, a few weeks ago I received a seemingly innocuous piece of mail from a corporation called Television Preview claiming (I thought) to need my advice about future television shows.


Did I think about how they got my name? Why they were asking me? Investigate them even one tiny bit? Of course not...all I could think of was watching some never-before-seen pilots and giving my clearly valued opinion.

To make matters worse, I shared my excitement with a friend of mine the day of the previewing. I explained that I had "somehow" been "randomly selected" and my Friday night would be filled with Must See TV to be!

She then mentioned how a friend of hers went to something that sounded very, very similar before. Unfortunately...the TV shows were actually quite old, and this was a scam to get people to watch commercials and give input about different products.

My balloon sufficiently deflated...I of course decided to put her in the "hater" category and let Debbie Downer know that I appreciated her concern, but there were major TV companies vying for my opinion...and I was going to give it to them!


Well, wouldn't you know it? Tauni, a friend of hers, and I went to the screening and we were greeted by the following by Television Preview:

1997's Soulmates. Oddly, while the host claimed that the show took place in 1999, then 2003, and eventually ended up in present day...what we in fact saw was flannel, big hair, and gigantic cordless phones. Bullshit much? And OH MY GOD...not only was it old...but it SUCKED. I mean really, really sucked. Worse than any Lifetime movie made for TV type of sucking. Perhaps this was to get us to look forward to the commercials they made us sit through?

This was then followed up by 1997's Dads. The best part about this show was that C. Thomas Howell was in it...and any 30 something dude knows he was in Red Dawn...sadly...he only played "the friend" in Dads. How the mighty had fallen! This show was better than Soulmates...but 1997? Come on!!!!

But the commercials...holy mackerel! Every few minutes, the shows would stop and they would come of which stands out much more than the rest. It was a TP commercial and literally talked about how other TPs SMEAR POOP while theirs is 3x more SMEAR RESISTANT....and they proved this by showing PICS of the other brand smearing poop! Clearly...this intrigued me....but still...not appropriate for a TV commercial, even in my book.

After being there for a few minutes, we started to think this seemed a little suspicious. So THEN (not before), we decided to investigate. We pulled out our phones and did our homework....just a little too late. Here is Television Preview's take on what they do:

Television Preview® events have been taking place for over 30 years with the sole purpose of testing material being considered for broadcast. By participating in the Television Preview screening event, you have the opportunity to directly influence what you may see on television in the future. You will be participating along with people from across the globe.

Our goal is to simulate your television viewing environment. You will be asked to view pre-recorded 1/2 hour segments (including programs and commercials) just as you would in your home.

It should be noted that our company does not seek to sell you anything. Your opinion on the material you will be viewing is what we want. These data will be analyzed and passed on to the producers, directors, sponsors, and other people that make decisions as to what makes it to air and what ends up on the cutting room floor.

As our way of saying thank you, there be will be approximately $250.00 in attendance prizes awarded throughout the Television Preview screening. We look forward to seeing you at the screening.

Clearly...they aren't lying...but they are TOTALLY misleading...if we just would have gone to good ol' Wikipedia we would have seen this was all BS!

But gets worse!

The host was a PAINFULLY unfunny, skeleton of a man. He made terrible joke after terrible joke...most including AWFUL sexual innuendo. Seriously...he actually said things like:

On your form, it asks for sex. Please check off yes, no, or sometimes.

I didn't know people told that "joke" after junior high. Now imagine...TWO HOURS...TWO F'IN HOURS of that!

My favorite thing this guy did had to be when he introduced his assistant...the one he deemed "exotic." Want to know why...what possibly made her so exotic???? She was Asian. Yeah...that's right. Asian. Now, don't get me wrong, her silver-skin-tight-and-too-short-dress-with-gigantic-pink-high-heels-ensemble was not what I would call "normal," but this isn't 1960. You don't call someone exotic because she happens not to be white, jackass. I was waiting for him to say "oriental," and I know he would have if he could have stopped making a buffoon of himself for five seconds.

Another thing they did that was completely shoddy was to put signs on EVERY DOOR...EVERY DOOR...that said "This door is for emergency exit only" to try to keep people from leaving or perceiving a way out. I took one of these signs as a keepsake...and then we turned it into the hotel's manager when we tattled on them!

But BY FAR...the cherry on top of the cake had to be the couple sitting in front of us. First of all, at one point, the wife said "this was so much better the last time I came." HUH...WHAT?...You see...she didn't know it was a scam...and went back for more...and brought her husband! As soon as we let them know this was all BS...the husband took out his phone, turned to a fart program he had previously installed (Never know when THAT would come in handy, I guess), and proceeded to create different types and lengths of fart sounds while the Host was talking. This guy made long fart sounds, short fart sounds, wet ones, loud ones, airy name it...he did it. Again. And again...and after he and his wife almost rolled out of their chairs with laughter...Tauni, her friend, and I bidded Television Preview adieu...with visions of farts, smeared poop, exotic Asians, and terrible late 90's TV dancing in our heads.

And this is exactly why doing your homework is important.