Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Things We Learned from the Weather Apocalypse of 2011

Unless you’re either ignorant or some kind of a recluse, you’re probably aware of the fact that the East Coast has been having a pretty rough summer, having already suffered an earthquake and a hurricane that completely shut down New York City. Also, if you’ve been reading this blog regularly, (and according to my Blogger stats you haven’t) you’ve probably recognized that our modus operandi can pretty accurately be summed up by the phrase “y’know, there’s a lesson to be learned here.” So, what do you get when you combine those two things? You get the blogosphere’s most reliable cop-out: A list made up mostly of unsupportable rumor and innuendo! So without further ado, I present the Daily Bright Side’s list of Things We Learned from the Weather Apocalypse of 2011.

1. NEW YORKERS ARE IRRITABLE – The earthquake that hit New York this month was the first of its magnitude in, let’s say, a hundred thousand years (Editor’s Note: Totally and completely factually inaccurate). And once the hullaballoo had died down, what did most New Yorkers do? They took to the internet to start haranguing said earthquake for not being powerful enough, naturally! “You call dat a fuggin earthquake? Ey-o, my cousin Anthony’s farts cause more devastation!” said Twitter user “PaulieKneecapz” from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx (Editor’s Note: Quote and Twitter user, like the aforementioned statistic, have been completely fabricated). Similar reactions were elicited from Hurricane Irene, which turned out to be little more than a really bad rainstorm. “This is bullshit,” said literally everyone in Williamsburg, “I totes could have ridden my fixie to the community garden in this!” City Hall was certainly not spared the public’s ire, falling under criticism for overreacting to the storm (y’know, because underreacting worked so well when a blizzard crippled the city back in January). The point is, New Yorkers will complain about literally everything. I’m allowed to say this, of course, because I was born and raised in Lower Manhattan. Whaddya mean this blog post is totally asinine? HEY FUCK YOU TOO, JERKSTORE! See?

2. CALIFORNIANS ARE INSECURE – As a native New Yorker who’s been living in Southern California for five and a half years now, I can comfortably state that New York is still, in fact, the greatest city in the world. Much as I love Los Angeles, it just doesn’t hold a candle to New York’s prestige. Those few things that Southern California can lay claim to that New York cannot – namely earthquakes and year-round good weather – we protect like a hawk protects it’s young. So every time someone in New York posts something on Facebook about what a gorgeous day it is, you can bet your sweet bippy there’s a Californian right behind them ready to point out that it’s nice here all year round. Of course, the same happened when the earthquake hit New York. It was only mere minutes before the first posts started rolling in from SoCal’s snarkiest: “Pshhht…We wouldn’t even categorize that as an earthquake here. NICE TRY NEW YORK” said Twitter user LakerBandwagon (Editor’s Note: Sigh…). Trust me on this: There is nothing that makes Californians more nervous than the prospect of New York being better than them at something.

3. RICH PEOPLE ARE IMBECILES – My Dad gets credit for this one, both for taking the above picture and for pointing out how ridiculous it was in the first place. Yes, that’s a Jaguar with its back window smashed in by a fallen tree. A Jaguar. Parked on the street. During a hurricane. Need we say more?

Let’s sum up what we’ve learned from this little imbroglio, shall we? To all my New Yorkers out there, you don’t need to complain about everything just because you live in the complaint capital of the universe. Sometimes it’s okay to just say “y’know what? We’re all still alive, and that’s what matters.” To you Californians, it’s time to get over the inferiority complex. It’s really unflattering and it makes you look petty. And to both sides, we’re not morally obligated to feud with each other. Does nobody remember what came of the East-West War of the 90’s? Biggie and Tupac are both dead. We don’t need that to happen again. And if we are going to go to war with each other, can we at least nominate as our coastal representatives musicians that nobody likes, like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga? I’m pretty sure nobody would care if those two had gotten shot up instead of two of the greatest rappers in history. And lastly, to the filthy rich…Well, if you’re too busy bathing yourselves in liquefied diamonds to move your freaking car off the street in the middle of a hurricane, you’re beyond saving.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mondays Are the Devil’s Handiwork

Oh, hi there. Please excuse my disheveled appearance; I didn’t see you come in. How have you been? Good? That’s fantastic. As you’ve probably noticed, it’s been two weeks since our last Bright Side, and for that I humbly apologize. There were a few reasons for this hiatus. Most notably, my job has been taking up a lot of my time lately. I was supposed to go to Six Flags for a buddy’s bachelor party one Saturday afternoon and instead ended up getting called in to the office where I worked for 13 hours. This job is straight up kicking my ass.

Last week, however, my boss was on vacation, and so I got the week off. No commute. No office. No pants. (Seriously, I spent a week straight wearing sweats.) It was glorious. And not just for me. My girl was thrilled about the fact that I was home when she got back from work, rather than stumbling in bleary-eyed and exhausted at ten every night. We cooked dinners. We watched movies. We talked about things other than how much my job is killing me. It was like the good old days again, when I was unemployed, and spent my days writing and writing and writing, and sure I didn’t have much money but I had my life, and it was mine. It was a near-perfect reversal of that time I said I missed having a job. I missed being the master of my own domain. And for that one week, even in spite of my boss faxing me shit to do all week long, my domain was mine again.

And then I had to come back. Today, sadly, marks my first day back in the office. And even though I’ve barely been here for 45 minutes and my boss isn’t even in this state right now, it’s been God awful. Part of that, of course, is because of the fact that I’d been dreading coming back to the office since yesterday. Yesterday’s Sunday Blues have turned into today’s Monday Misery. (“But wait,” I can hear you saying, “today’s Tuesday!” Thanks for the helpful tip, Poindexter. Now you can leave.)

We all know this feeling; after all, we’ve been feeling it since we were kids. Having to get up for work on Monday is always dreadful, whether it’s just another Monday after a regular old weekend, or whether it’s your first day back after a week of pantsless glory. Mondays are, as the title of this post infers, the handiwork of Satan himself. All Monday does is make you miserable. So what do we do with this no good bastard of a weekday? Well, as always, there’s a Bright Side for that.

A wise man once told me that discipline is doing what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it. I was actually driving to work at the time, and suddenly I felt a little bit better. I felt empowered, proud of myself, as though going to work on a Monday was somehow akin to running that third mile at the gym instead of stopping at two. Mondays, it occurred to me, were like that hard-ass teacher we all had in High School who we hated at the time, but who actually taught us more than any other teacher ever had. There’s nothing harder than getting up for work on a Monday. And yet we do it, every week, and will continue to do it for the rest of our lives. And when you think about how many Mondays you’ve gotten through, and how incredibly disciplined we have to be in order to do that, it makes you wonder: What else can I do? What other obstacles can I take on? Because whatever those obstacles are, believe me, you can take that motherfucker down, because you square off against Monday every week, and every week you win. So the next time you start feeling all bummed on Sunday night about going to work the next day, remind yourself of how proud you’ll feel when you charge into the office full-force and level Monday with a roundhouse kick to the face. You can do it! You have the power! Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. (Editor’s Note: There’s nothing harder than waking up on Monday? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Have you even heard of famine? Do you have any idea how much radiation is floating around Japan right now? You know what’s worse than Monday? BEING HOMELESS. Y’know what? This man is an imbecile. I quit.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reality Television is Rotting Our Brains

In the interest of full disclosure, let me start by saying that I am a full-fledged “Jersey Shore” addict. When I discovered that the entire second season was on Hulu, I watched like four episodes a day until I was caught up. There was a year where I was hooked on “American Idol.” I find “Celebrity Rehab” perversely entertaining. And though I may attempt to justify my own viewing habits by high-and-mightily saying “oh, well I only watch these shows because these people are such glorious imbeciles”, as though implying that reality television is some kind of human zoo, in the end all that matters – and if you ask any television executive this, they’ll attest to it – is the fact that I’m watching. This, of course, is what makes reality television so wildly popular: We watch, utterly repulsed, insisting to ourselves and the people around us that we’re above these cretins, and yet we cannot look away.

Even as a self-avowed fan of reality TV, I strongly feel that the genre is almost entirely devoid of merit. It’s entertaining as hell, but it’s the most mindless of entertainment, no more “real” than your average daytime soap opera, and arguably twice as destructive for masquerading as “reality.” It allows the vapid and talentless to create long-standing careers for themselves built on doing absolutely nothing. Seriously, I’ll give a hundred bucks to the first person to tell me five things that the Khardashians contribute to society. (Ed. Note: Did we mention that this man is also hooked on ‘Keeping Up With The Khardashians’? Sigh…) Reality television is the new Publisher’s Clearing House: A mystical opportunity to get filthy rich by doing nothing at all. It’s actively making us all dumber, and the worst part is, it’s never going to go away, because we’re never going to stop watching it.

Yesterday, however, reality TV had its proverbial curtain pulled back by the most unlikely of people: Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. Yes, those two, arguably the biggest fame-whores in history. If you haven’t read the article I’m talking about, take a few minutes right now to read it. If you’re too lazy to read it (or only have a few minutes in between commercial breaks), I’ll summarize: They’re broke now, living with their parents, their well having long since run dry. They talk in depth about how they were coerced into playing characters by an assortment of shady producers, and how the line between who they really were and the characters they were playing quickly blurred. Spencer recounts a particularly chilling episode in which one producer tried to get him to punch his sister in the face, then goes on to talk about how he’ll probably never be able to get a legitimate job again thanks to the stigma that’s now permanently attached to his name. It’s heartbreaking. These two, at one point the biggest stars in reality TV, have nothing left. Their money? Gone. Their families? Alienated. The public? Hates them. They come off sounding like two people who have just woken up from a decade-long nightmare, like the kidnapped kids in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

Now, that’s not to say that these two are pure victims. They made their own decisions in life, regardless of how coerced into those decisions they were. But in a weird way, it’s these two that I feel worse for. They have nothing to turn to now, no skill set to fall back on, nothing but their tarnished names and the hope that maybe they’ll end up on another reality show someday. So what’s the bright side? It’s that these two finally woke the fuck up. And that hopefully, maybe, they’ll serve as a wake-up call to the other “stars” of reality television, both current and aspiring (because believe me, somewhere there’s a ten year old kid whose only aspiration is to be the star of their own reality show). This is not a career. This is not a lifestyle. It’s a machine, and it’ll spit you out just as quickly as it sucked you in. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can get out. You don’t have to play these parts forever. Rise up, reality TV stars! Your future is entirely in your own control! Ah hell, what am I wasting your time for? I’ll just let the incomparable Ricky Gervais show you how it’s done: