Confessions of a Frustrated Blogger

17 04 2010

Such a sad, strange, man.

Disassociated Press, 4/16/10

Zach Arnold takes a long drag off his Marlboro Light before tapping the ash down to the concrete.  He’s a short man, rotund.  Comparable to the Penguin, one of Batman’s several nemeses.  Or perhaps that Travelocity gnome, which proclaims affordable deals for all travelers.  Tonight, however, as we sit on the patio of a TGI Friday’s, he most resembles what several of his generation have become…a frustrated blogger.

“You see people…” He takes another drag off his cigarette.  “…When most people go online, they aren’t looking to expand their worldview.  Nah, they wanted to do that, they’d read a book or…or a newspaper.  Nah, when people get online, they’re looking for escapist entertainment.  I mean, how else can you explain LOLcats and keyboard cats and dramatic animals…”

I nod.  Not in agreement, but to avert Arnold’s eyes as I close out my Twitter page on my iPhone.  Our drinks arrive.  The waiter sets my cranberry juice in front of me, and a Yuengling with a tiny umbrella inserted into the mouth is placed in front of Zach.  “That makes it classy,” He chuckles, pulling the umbrella out, nearly stabbing himself as he sucks out what little beer was absorbed into the wood of the toothpick.  He then asks me where he was.  I slide my notes over to him, which he pores over with intent eyes.

“LOLcats…dramatic animals…right, yeah.” He shoves my notepad back over toward me before leaning back in his chair, the tempered steel of the seat groaning under the massive pressure his grotesque body exerts upon it.  “Now, you see, I started blogging a while back.  Probably 2002, 2003, something like that.  And at first I was having fun with it.  LiveJournal.  Just putting random thoughts down, entertaining the few friends that read it.  Then I got to thinking that hey, I could use my writing prowess for something productive.  Get some debate going.  I was having people write some decent comments out, so why not fan the flames a little?  The first entry was supposed to foster a discussion on if our President at the time, George W. Bush, was using appropriate measures in his fight against terrorism.  I put that blog up and guess what?  Not one single comment.  Only 2 hits.  I know one of them was mine because I logged in at the library, see if anyone had posted anything.  That night, I put up a post debating the merits between eating ice cream in the hot seasons, and eating ice cream in the cold seasons.  Know how many hits that one got me?  65.  The writing was on the wall, baby.”

I had no idea why Mr. Arnold had addressed me as “baby”, but decided to push that aside.  This man was obviously getting drunk off one beer, or had been drinking before arriving at Friday’s.  I glanced at my watch.  Where the hell were my fried green beans?  A loud belch from across the table snapped my attention back toward my portly interviewee.  Swallowing the small amount of bile that had crept into my throat, I asked him to continue.

“Let’s see…ah, yeah, after that LiveJournal thing, I stumbled onto blogspot, and spent maybe a year or so using that thing.  My heart wasn’t really into it, though, and I stopped posting maybe 8 months in.  But!” He exclaimed, snickering as he leaned forward, resting his short arms against the table.  “I got asked to join this spectacular improv group, called Made of Bees.  And whaddya know, we get a website going on WordPress.”

I nodded again, this time in agreement.  Yes, Made of Bees was an improv group nothing short of phenomenal.  Over the past two years, they had entertained hundreds of people, leaving a residue of hilarity with every crowd they encountered.  Truly, greatness personified.

My eyes return to Mr. Arnold, who while I pontificated on the magnificence that is MoB, had fallen asleep.  A quick shake arose him from his slumber, followed by five minutes of assuring him that yes, only five minutes had passed.

“Sorry about that.  Anyway, I decide that hey, I’m in this group, I need to start contributing in some way, other than sheer sexiness.” He leers at me, a sloppy grin across his face before continuing.  “So I start writing on there.  And I figure that since we’re a comedy group, I need to write some funny stuff.  So I had blogs about me and my cousin wrestling in the backyard, how I named my sideburns, all that crap.”  Arnold accosts our server just as she places my appetizer down, requesting another Yuengling with umbrella, punctuating his drink order with a “darlin'”.  After watching our server leave, he continues.  “So I get a few posts into it, and once again, I got people putting comments up!  Telling me how they’re enjoying the hilarity and cleverness and that they’re looking forward to my next tale.  Once again I had ’em in the palm of my hand.”

Arnold looks off into space, a mix of nostalgia and drunkenness clouding his eyes.  “I had power.  That felt good.  It felt…right.  But I wanted to use this power for good.  To bring some light into this world.  So I started writing some satirical stuff, like about how Obama was getting in trouble because he wanted to address all the schoolkids.  People reacted well to that.  And once I got that reaction, it was like a drug.”

His euphoria wouldn’t last long, however.  Arnold’s eyes grow dark as he begins the next part of his saga.  “And then…Aaron had to come and screw it all up.”

Aaron Grant, another member of the spectacular Made of Bees, was also a regular contributor.  He had written three pieces.  One decrying the former Ukrop’s market chain for utilizing senior citizens as cart pushers, and two which detailed his adventures in the gym.  The first entry discussed a woman with a horrible tattoo on her lower back, while the other discussed the inability of old men in gym locker rooms to be clothed.

“And what do you know?” Arnold slurs, his eyes closing and opening slowly.  “When I come back on to check the blog, the views on Grant’s entries sky-freaking-rocketed.  I looked at the search terms, the words people used to get to the site.  I was…shocked when I saw that 20 people had come to the site using the search term ‘elderly nudes’.  I mean, ‘elderly nudes’? What kind of sick freak looks up ‘elderly nudes’?”

A plethora of them, apparently.  Grant’s blog entries quickly became the crown jewel of MoB’s site.  In fact, his first volume on the disturbing things he’s seen in his gym has garnered over 3,500 views alone.  That’s almost half of the total page views for the Bees’ site itself.

I look back at Arnold, who is now weeping openly.  There, at this TGI Friday’s, sits a broken man.

“I’m done, baby…” Again with the baby.  I brush it off.  “…From now on, no more suave political commentary.  No satirical stuff.  Just straight, flat-out funny stories about my life.  I mean, everyone loves to hear stories about fat guys getting stuck on things, right?”

I assure him he’s correct.  He smiles a sad smile, leaning back in his chair, of which the legs are now bowing out.  “I’m proud of Grant, I am.  That boy knows what the people want.”

I nod in silent concurrence, glancing back at my iPhone, enjoying a silent triumph as I become the new mayor of Friday’s in 4square.  My victory is only slightly marred by my now-cold fried green beans.

Fin

-ZA

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Prom and Blazing Saddles.

6 04 2010


I try to stay optimistic.  I really do.  There’s a lot of good in this world, I promise.  There are still people out there who believe in the flourishing of the human species, and that kindness is a currency that can be freely spent.

This instance, however, is not one of them.

Lesbian Teen Sent to Fake Prom

How in the world do you find it correct to send a person to a decoy prom, solely because you do not agree with her lifestyle?

I am going to deal with this the only way I know how: Through humor.

Thus, I present to you “The Greatest PTA Meeting Ever!”

It’s 9 pm on a Wednesday.  Teachers, administrators students, parents have all gathered in Altoona High’s gymnasium.  There are multiple dialogues going on throughout the crowd.  Laughter comes from the rear seats.  Finally, Principal Wallace steps up to the podium.

Wallace: (Bangs gavel) If I could have everyone’s attention.

The crowd goes silent, all eyes on Wallace.

Wallace: (Clears throat) Now, I’ve called this meeting because it seems that we have a…uh…situation.

Mama Thomas stands up in the back

Mama T: A situation?!  This is a crisis!  This is the worst thing to hit upon our little town in the time we’ve lived here!

Members of the crowd murmur in agreement

Wallace: Settle down, now.  I realize that you are all upset that we have a…lesbian in this high school.

Student 1: And she wants to attend prom with her girlfriend!  What’s up with that?!

Jock: Hey man, could be hot.  Two chicks at the same time, know what I’m sayin’?!

Jock gathers high-fives from the other jocks.

Mama T: I don’t want my precious little girl having to see that preposterous affront to the big man upstairs, especially on what’s gonna be one of the best nights of her life!

Parents all murmur in agreement

Wallace: I understand your worries, Mrs. Thomas, and don’t worry, I’ve come up with a great idea.  We want you normal students to have a prom.  But we also have to set something up for the…lesser people.  Which is why I’ve come up with this…

Wallace pulls out a DVD of the Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing SaddlesThe audience looks at the DVD, then back at Wallace, confused.

Wallace: For those of you not familiar with this movie, there’s a scene toward the end where the evil guy is threatening to come in and destroy the small town that is under the protection of…what was that black fella’s name…

Voice from the back: Cleavon Little!

Wallace: Ah, yes!  Thank you Jim.  Cleavon Little.  Anyway, he gets all the townspeople together, and they create a replica of the town.  Not a full-fledged replica, just the storefronts and a few wooden cut-outs of the townfolks.  Then, Little and the town all just move to another place, and let the bad guys go and find that decoy town.

Mama T: So what you’re saying is we need to make a decoy prom, so that immoral shrew can go be with her other immoral shrew, and the normal kids can have a fun, gay-free prom?

Wallace: Exactly!  And we’ll send a couple of the special-ed kids to it, too.  That way all those photos you students will be taking to put on your Facebooks or MySpaces will be gay and mentally-handicapped free!

Cheers erupt from audience.  Multiple high-fives are given.  Tears pour from the eyes of the morally conscious parents, clutching their innocent sons and daughters to the bosom.

Jock: You the man, Principal Wallace!

Mama T: You are so moral!  But where are we going to get the funds for a decoy prom?

Wallace: We’ll take it out of the budget for the theater department!

More cheers

Jock: Yeah!  Because everyone in theater is gay!  That’ll show them!

Mama T: My baby’s prom is saved!  Thank you, Principal Wallace!

Wallace: My pleasure.  And if I may paraphrase from this movie (Gesturing toward Blazing Saddles) “Lesbians?  We won’t allow no stinkin’ lesbians!”

And Scene.

Way to display a love for all people, Mississippi high school.  Good job.  Really.

-ZA

Thanks to Jezebel.com for posting this story.





A Guide to Surviving Snowfall.

18 12 2009

Here in Virginia, a state of emergency has been declared in advance of the massive amount of snow we’re allegedly going to be seeing within nine hours.  Snowfall in Richmond is expected to reach anywhere from 3 to 5 inches.

Yes, Virginia, it’s time to panic.  Civilization as we know it is going to devolve back to the days of the cave-people.  We’ll be fighting wooly mammoths in no time.

Fortunately, having lived in Virginia all my life, I have made a guide to surviving the catastrophe known as a moderate snowfall.  Join me, won’t you?

24 HOURS BEFORE SNOW

This is when you venture out into society in an attempt to scavenge all you can for the two or three days you will be buried under snow.  The main places to visit are Home Depot/Lowes, and your choice of grocery store.  Be sure to stock up on toilet paper, milk, bread, eggs, ammunition, and multiple shovels (one to dig yourself out of snowbanks, the others for melee combat).  Also, be sure to purchase at least one red bandana.  The bandana, as decreed in the Great Blizzard of 1993, is a symbol to all that you have no intention of raiding their supplies.

12 HOURS BEFORE SNOW

Here is where paths diverge slightly.  For those living in single-family homes, especially on cul-de-sacs, be sure to get a jump on slippery roads by pre-salting your driveway, steps, and sidewalk.  If any deer attempt to eat the salt, shoot them and strip off the pelts.  Once the world economy collapses due to the moderate snowfall, deer meat and pelts will be considered the newest and best form of currency.

For those living in apartment buildings or condos, be sure that your doors and windows have multiple locks, and that they are in use.  Cabin fever sets in quickly for our ADD-addled lifestyles, and you don’t want some guy coming into your apartment at 3am, wondering if you’d like to engage in a game of Strip Risk.

6 HOURS TO SNOW

Pray.

SNOWFALL

Stay inside, but near a window with your photographing tool of choice, be it a camera, camera-phone, or iPhone.  Those with internet capabilities on their phones, send a photo and an update every five minutes.  Acceptable captions for photos include: “It’s so pretty!” “I’m glad we closed early!” “I don’t want to be out in that!” or any variation thereof.  Those who are more of the business sense would be inclined to take photos of any surplus supplies they have, accompanied with a caption detailing how much you are selling each supply for.  The ground rules for resale are as follows:

Toilet Paper: Half deer pelt per roll.

Bread: Full deer pelt per loaf.

Milk: Full deer pelt, along with 5 pounds of deer meat.  If not able to recompense with deer, the rights to the first-born offspring is an acceptable substitute.

Shovels: Do NOT sell your shovels.  You don’t want to further arm your neighbors-soon-to-be-enemies-of-your-territory.

6 HOURS AFTER SNOW

Depending on depth of snow, you may wish to venture outside.  This brings one of two advantages: 1) You will be one of the first out there and able to declare yourself the new King, and 2) You can see which of your neighbors is not fully prepared, and exploit it to your advantage.

AFTER THE SNOW HAS MELTED

Dispose of any spoiled deer meat.  Keep the pelts.  Go around to your neighbors and apologize for placing a crusade against their household.  If necessary, return the first-born offspring.

Have a good laugh, and forget about everything you just read until next year, when the same hysteria resumes.

-ZA





Tweet this, b****es!

19 10 2009

Carl and Sarah are walking through a forest.

Carl:…And then I thought my status update was hi-lar-ious, so I went ahead and liked it myself.  You know,  so people would see how clever I was.

Sarah: Yeah, I saw that.  Oh, did you see Lenny’s link to that video of that dude singing karaoke in his bedroom?

Carl: That was so great!  I’m going to do the same thing, except I’ll sing pop songs instead that Linkin Park shi…Ow!

Carl collapses to his knee, grabbing above his ankle.

Sarah: What is it?!

Carl: Something bit me!

Sarah: Let me take a look…oh yeah, it looks like a snake bit you.

Carl: What if it was poisonous?!

Sarah: Don’t worry, I’ll look up how to get the venom out.  Just give me a second…

Carl waits, sitting on the ground, clutching his ankle, grimacing in pain.  Sarah gets on her iPhone and quickly begins typing.  After 15 seconds, she’s still typing.  30, still typing.

Carl:…Well?!

Sarah: What?  Oh, my bad!  I wanted to let everyone know what had happened, so I logged onto Facebook real quick.

She looks at her phone while Carl slowly begins slumping down.

Sarah: Ooh, and people have already started to comment! Hehe, Jerry said that you’re finally one with nature.  That’s so funny.

Carl continues his descent into the dark void known as death.  Sarah is oblivious.

Sarah: Hey, I know!  Let me get a quick pic of the bite, so everyone can see!

Carl’s unresponsive, laying flat on the floor.  Sarah picks up his bitten leg, holding it up to take a photo with her iPhone.

Sarah: There we go.  Now just upload it to twitpic.  Let’s see, what’s a good tweet for this…Got it!  “Carl bit by snake…or angry forest nymphs?!”, asterisk, “conspiracy”.  Excellent…

Sarah looks down at Carl, who by now is dead.  Completely dead.  Gone.  Kaput.  Sarah gives the body a quick jab with her foot, then shrugs.  She starts walking, her focus on the screen of the iPhone.

Sarah: (Typing) Carl’s dead…F…M…L…(She continues walking)What, Lenny, you liked that?!…Oh, your comment is explaining that the “Like” is supposed be a “Dislike”, I get it!…

The screen fades to black as a voiceover begins.

Ressurection App?  Not yet...
VO: The iPhone 3.0.  We can’t bring your friend back to life, but you sure as hell can tweet about his untimely demise.
ZA




Many Facebook users are victim of ongoing Mafia war

27 09 2009

Disassociated Press, 9-26-2009

Zach Arnold

Ryan Rezinski woke up this morning to find his Facebook profile in shambles.

“Someone came in overnight  and just ransacked the whole thing.  My favorite quotes, wall posts, photo albums…all of it’s been destroyed.” Rezinski said, fighting back tears.  “I don’t understand…I didn’t do anything wrong.”

This recent attack is not an isolated incident.  Over the past year, there have been multiple reports of Facebook users’ profiles being ransacked, ultimately leaving the familiar blue & white page a shell of what it once was.

The reason behind this epidemic?  One needs to look no further than the large scale Mafia war that has broken out across the site.

At last count, over 24.5 million people on Facebook have joined the ranks of the Mafia.  One of the requirements in gaining acceptance, and in turn more power, is recruiting your friends to become part of the Mafia.  Many do accept the offer, but for the few that do not, the consequences are heartbreaking.

Lynne Wapnerson is one of those people who dealt with the consequences.  “It was 6 pm on a Friday, and I got a message saying my friend Rita was offering me a chance to join her gang.  Now, I’m just on Facebook to find old friends, maybe play some FarmVille in my free time.  I never wanted to be part of a Mafia.  So I clicked the ignore button and thought that was the end of it.  Well, on Sunday, I got another request from Rita to join her gang.  Except this time, she sent me a message telling me that she ‘couldn’t be responsible for what happened’ if I didn’t join up.  I thought she was joking, and I clicked the ignore button again.  Monday morning, I go to my profile, and everything is ruined.”  Lynne’s eyes go misty as she stares straight ahead.  “And my farm?  On FarmVille?  It was razed, completely demolished.  All my crops, my cattle, everything was either dead or dying.”

Since that incident, Lynne has closed that profile and created a new one under an alias, created with the help of a government agency.

“We are taking these Mafia wars very seriously.” A spokesperson for the FBI commented.  “Ordinary people who desire to live their lives in peace should not have to deal with these aggressors.  We do have people on the inside, and are hoping to bring down the organizations within 3 years.”

Until then, though, how many more innocent people must lose their profiles?  For some, that blue & white page is their livelihood.  Notes replacing diaries; Favorite Quotes replacing the desire to have “Of all the things I lost, I miss my mind the most” tattooed across their shoulders; Friend Requests replacing…friend requests.  “Most people just want everyone to know their opinion about Fall Out Boy,” The FBI spokesperson said, “And until we bring down those Mafia organizations to cease the wars, the FBI encourages people to continue posting and updating their profiles.  There is an end in sight.”

If you or anyone you know has either been involved in the Mafia war, or has been attempted to be recruited, please contact the nearest FBI agency in your area.

ZA





Obama challenges kids to take responsibility, causes riot.

8 09 2009

Disassociated Press

9/8/2009

Zach Arnold

Earlier today, President Barack Obama presented a speech that was available to every school in the country.  Already rocked by scandal, Obama maintained his aggressive stature, speaking volumes of propaganda, most of it containing the message to students to fulfill their responsibilities.

After hearing this message, several students decided to take this propagandist rumbling to heart.  Many of them were later seen at the library; some could be found walking through the rows of books, opening their minds to subjects that they previously dismissed as unworthy of their time.  Others were on the library’s computers, visiting such websites as the official one for the White House, some even going so far as to visit the official site for their state.

“I honestly had no idea that Obama used to be a junior Senator for Illinois,” Tom Popiate, a senior at Yancy High School in Turpin, Alabama said, “Seriously, the only Senate I’ve ever really known about was the Galactic Senate in the Star Wars movies.”

Several of the opponents to Obama’s speech went on the offensive afterward, incensed at their children taking an initiative to improve their lives.

“I’m physically ill that my daughter is now looking into colleges,” Franklin Johansonsmith of Ering, Michigan ranted, “For the past 16 years, all that me and her mother have told her is that a woman’s place is at home, taking care of the two children she’s supposed to have, and now here we have No-bama telling her she should challenge herself?  She doesn’t need that stress!”

Many of the opponents to the President’s speech have come together in hopes of creating a counter-presentation, due to be presented in the following two weeks.

“I was telling my daughter about the plan for our speech,” Johansonsmith says, his hand running nervously through his hair, “And she replies with, ‘Oh, just like the minority leader in the Congress makes the address after the State of the Union.’ Hearing her say that made me shudder.”

Would the students be as willing to listen to a counter-argument in which they are encouraged to continue being apathetic?  “Sure, I’d listen,” Popiate says, “But I don’t think I’d go back to the way I was.  You hear about this whole ‘Electoral College’ thing?  Crazy.”

ZA





An Open E-Mail to Congress. Re: Fat Tax.

21 08 2009

Dear Congress,

On my way to work Wednesday morning, I was introduced to yet another new kind of tax that you were kicking the idea of levying against people: The Fat Tax.  Also known as the Twinkie Tax, and et cetera.

For those representatives in the Senate and House who have either been absent or haven’t cared, the Fat Tax is simple: People whose Body Mass Index or Body Fat Percentage is higher than what the standard is, would be taxed according to how far above the standard they were.  An example would be if someone whose standard weight should be 180 lbs, but weigh 200 lbs, would be taxed relative to the excess amount of weight.

And for those of you who still don’t understand what I’m talking about, I’ll make it even simpler: Tax the fatties.  Tax ’em all!

Now being the large guy I am…Ah, hell, let’s skip with the pleasantries, yeah?  Being the fatty I am, one would think that I would be up in arms, rallying my overweight compatriots to action!  We’re mad as hell and we won’t take it anymore!  Circle up the Rascal scooters, we’re staging an eat-in!

Predictable, yeah?  But oh no, Congress.  I’m quite on the other side of the argument.  In fact, I am all for this.  Hell, I’m ready to be the most ardent supporter!

My only qualm is that this does not go far enough in eliminating the plague that is Obesity which taints our public beaches and pools, our hip nightclubs, our amusement park rides.  Therefore, I have prepared a few ideas that I want you to take to those gloriously healthy hearts you all have.

1) Propaganda: No good movement ever went anywhere without some awesome propaganda, right?  You need to make posters, t-shirts, coffee mugs, anything that you can get the message that being a fatty is bad!  Using my rudimentary artistic talents, I have taken to MSPaint, using myself as an example of those horrible fat fat fatties you want out of your lives:

Fat and doesn't own Photoshop?  I'm useless!

Fat and doesn't own Photoshop? I'm useless!

Now like I said, this is completely rudimentary.  But I’m sure you could have one of those fit, fabulous interns spiffy something up for you in a hurry.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, dear friends.  I can see it now…You have a photo of a beautiful woman, looking out seductively, as if she is beckoning you to join her in the vast sea that is her love.  But, what’s this?…Under her photo you can have something that reads: “Want this in real life?  Eat a carrot, Fattie!”

It’s imperative that you use an epithet for a large person every chance you get in this propaganda.  Other suggested insults include Tubby, Lard-ass, Fat-Neck, Butterball, The Crisco(TM) Kid, and Fatty McFatterson.

2) Discrimination: Let’s face it, us fat people bring down the scene wherever we are.  No one likes to be near us.  We sweat profusely, occasionally have trouble breathing, and more than likely eat all the dip while leaving too many chips.  So what better way to convince us that we are loathsome, horrible people than by alienating us even more?  Have two classrooms, one for normal students, another for “sizable” students.  Don’t worry, I know you gotta be politically correct in most schools these days, so I’ll let the omission of the word “Fat” slip by.  And the reason I’ll let it slip by is there will be no way whatsoever those kids in the “sizable” class will not realize that they have been the bane of normal-sized students’ days forever!  Yes, the chairs will be reinforced with titanium!  The corners of the desks and tables will be padded, so as to avoid torn clothing when their bulbous bodies scrape against the wood!  At the cafeteria, the shelves containing the junk food will be nailed high, so that the only way to get to them is to use a ladder that can carry no more than 250 lbs!  It’s brilliant!

And finally, Number 3) Relocation: Just relocate the fatties.  Get rid of ’em all.  Put ’em in, I don’t know, North Dakota.  Who lives in North Dakota, anyway?  I know the answer after we move the fatties to North Dakota.  The fatties will live in North Dakota, far away from any beaches, landmarks, or tourist attractions.  And there’ll be no worry of a revolution.  Sure, the fatties will fight against it a little bit, but they’ll tire out quickly and probably just take an unintentional nap in the chair of their Rascal scooter.

I know number 3 sounds harsh, but hey, relocating a large group of people into an area that is not their own has worked out great for the USA before, right?  I mean, it worked great when we moved those Native Americans into Oklahoma.  It was especially efficient during World War II, when we had those camps for people of Japanese descent?  Yeah, they both went smoother than Land o’ Lakes on a piece of toast.

Uh-Oh, looks like this Fatty is getting hungry again!  Ha ha, ain’t that always the case?

Well, I guess I better get going.  You know, so much self-loathing to do, so little time!  Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with this tax, and I hope you seriously consider some of my suggestions.  If you need to contact me, by all means do so!  After all, you already have my information.  Just don’t come by at night, otherwise my sleep apnea might just drive you crazy!

With love (Ugh, fat love, the worst kind!),

ZA