Saturday, March 29, 2008

social injustice

I've figured it out.

Part of becoming an adult in America is understanding that one is part of a larger community. The American community. This community needs its people to speak up when something is amiss. That's what democracy is all about. Well, the first thing on my agenda as a true American adult is: toilets.

You won't see legislators or even typical bloggers out there in cyberspace taking on this issue, but I see no reason to avoid it.

This whole motion-sensored life America is living in the bathroom needs to be re-examined. Soon the sensors will be so powerful that paper towels will spit out at me as I walk toward the urinal or stall. Each faucet will cut on and off as I walk by. The hand-driers will be set off as the door shuts behind me, turning the room into a tornado of paper towels. The scene will be as dramatic as a western gun-duel. These aspects of the bathroom are not my concern. It's when the business in the bathroom gets serious enough for stall use that I take issue.

Everyone knows those motion-sensor toilets never work like they're supposed to. Either they will never flush, and you'll wave your hands back and forth across the sensor to no avail, eventually being forced to leave your business unfinished as you exit the stall. Or the toilet will flush no less than 12 times before you're finished. This is a complete waste of water, and (WARNING: EXPLICIT MATERIAL) not to mention the unwanted mid-day bath you might receive depending on the strength of the toilet. The Baltimore airport was a perfect example of this last weekend. I would have been better off bringing a bar of soap, shampoo, and a towel. I have rarely had problems like these at the urinals, and I see no reason as to how urinal motion-sensors could have been designed with better technology than the toilet sensors. But such is life.

What is the reasoning behind these flushers? Well, I can imagine restaurants and airports were tired of people not flushing; so, they wanted to make it impossible for them not to not flush. Surely, some liberal threw in the matter of germs to the debate, and it was sustained.
Obviously, the result has become a complete back-fire (or should I say back-washing).
No one thinks a motion-sensor flusher is a bad idea, in theory, but it needs adjusting.
And I have figured it out.

There needs to be some trigger to set off the sensor other than someone getting up... Maybe we need to forget the notion of motion.
What does everyone do when they use a stall? They lock the door. What do they do when they leave? They unlock the door. You've probably figured it out by now. Make unlocking the stall door the trigger! No self-respecting, self-conscious American uses the stall without locking the door! Why not use this self-consciousness to better serve the American people?

I don't know how to go about making change. Do I go to my local senator or representative? Do I boycott public toilets? Surely, that will only be to my disadvantage.
All I know is: knowing is half the battle.

I'd like to thank people like George Costanza and Larry David (get it?) in encouraging me to speak out against social injustice. If it wasn't for them, I'd still be living in the dark.

speaking of...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Money is one of the seven deadly sins. You know why? Because it's sexy. There's nothing that turns my white bread into texas toast like a twenty dollar bill. So, naturally whenever I turn CNBC on, it returns the favor. If my TV had a homepage I would definitely set it to CNBC. My favorite part of CNBC is when the market opens in the morning. I love watching those happy faces at the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange light up when that bell rings at 9:30. Here's the problem: that's the only part of CNBC I understand. After that bell rings and all those suits shout and wave papers at the TV's at the NYSE like they're lost, they lose me. If they didn't have that ticker rolling at the bottom, I'd get bored; not because I understand the ticker, but because it mesmerizes me, and I know that those green plus signs mean money, and, again, I like money. It wasn't until I recently glanced up from the ticker and noticed one of the reporters that my interest in CNBC took a turn. That brings me to one of the other seven deadly sins: women. Put the two sins together and what do you get? Erin Burnett. There's nothing steamier than a fine woman talking about money. I've only recently noticed Erin; she grew on me. We have a 40 inch plasma TV tuned into CNBC 24/7 here in the Missourinet newsroom. It took me about a month to notice her, and when I did, I did what I always do when I have a crush on a woman: I googled and wikied her. As it turns out, Erin has recently written a story for Men's Health (somehow I'm not the only one that has noticed her). In it she divulges 8 ways to impress her. Naturally, I took notes. Here they are:

1. Pack Your Bags
Any guy who can plan a trip to an exotic locale, such as Mongolia, Mozambique, or Papua New Guinea, would impress me.
2. Buy Me a New Atlas and Globe
You could unlock my heart by allowing me to dream up my next trip. I love to travel, and hope to eventually set foot in 100 countries. I have many more to go.
3. Do Something Special for My Parents
Family is important to me, so round-trip business-class tickets to Australia and New Zealand for my parents would earn you big points in my book.
4. Relax Me
Yoga keeps me calm, so I'd be impressed if you thought to send a yoga instructor to my apartment for private sessions.
5. Help Me Work Out
Finding an exercise bike at my door would be great for rainy days when my Raleigh M80 mountain bike and I are stuck indoors.
6. Edify Me
Reading is a passion of mine, so a gathering with a couple of my favorite authors, especially Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) and Robin McKinley (The Blue Sword) would make for an exceptional evening.
7. Please My Palate
Hiring a personal chef to prepare meals for the few nights a week I am home would be unforgettable.
8. Send Me Packing
A man who recognizes the importance of my time with the girls is a keeper. A long weekend spa getaway for my sisters and me would be perfection.

Now, I've seen the online reaction (the best kind there is). Many are calling her a gold digger. If after reading her tips, you're one of these gullible people, stop here. I don't want you to shift your opinion. If I'm the only one that still loves her, then we'll end up together. I'm just playing the odds.

If you're still reading, fine. You fell into her trap. Erin Burnett is actually the most down to earth , girl next door kind of a girl there has ever been. She just wrote this article to get rid of all the admirers. Don't take my word for it. Go next door, ask the girl there what she would do if she became famous and millions of men were going gaga over her? If she's a gold digger, she will say she'd love it. If she's actually the girl next door type, she'll say, "Golly me, I don't think I'd like that. I'd probably try and trick them into hating me." You see?! That's what Erin's doing, and it's not fooling me. I know what she wants. She wants a nice walk on the beach; not in the Caribbean, just the closest one, so as not to waste gas. She doesn't want an Atlas and a globe to plan her next huge trip that you would have to pay for, she just likes geography. When she says she wants you to help her work out, she just wants you to hold her feet down while she does her sit-ups.

She's a simple woman with simple tastes. Think about it, if she was a gold digger and she was writing this article, she would probably write... uh... okay, it might look pretty similar...
Okay, fine! Let her fool you! That'll just leave her to me. I'm okay with that. I'll just run down to Barnes & Noble and get that Atlas. I'll even circle all of the best bargain restaurants in her area before I give it to her. I'm sure that's what she wants. You'll see.


Hey, we all make mistakes.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

dreams of my father

Here's an inverse relationship:
The older you get, the less you can dream.

I don't mean you have less time to dream, or that growing up means you have to give up being a dreamer, but just that the older you get, the less dreams there are to dream. For example, when I was in fifth grade I still bought action figures. I remember one day I brought in all of my Batman figures to school for everyone to see. I had two Batmobiles (from Batman and Batman Forever), one Batwing, several versions of Batman, Robin, Two-Face, etc. I remember realizing as I brought in my figures that most kids in sixth and seventh grade didn't collect action figures anymore. I swore that day that I would not let the ebb and flow of society drag me along. I would continue collecting action figures as long as I loved it. I dreamt that as a senior in high school (a near grown-up to a fifth grader) I would still collect them. This dream consisted of a snapshot of my bedroom where I had them displayed and organized across my bookshelves for all the world to see, and I was unashamed. A year later, I no longer collected action figures.

Here's what I mean: When I became a senior in high school, I could no longer dream about being a senior in high school. It was reality, and it was happening. Now, as a 23 year old, there are many things that have already happened that I can no longer dream about. I always imagined what dorm life would be like in college, but I slacked off in high school and didn't get into the schools I wanted to, stayed at home my freshman year and never got to live in a dorm. I could go back to school and live in the dorms if I really wanted to, but, in reality, I need to let that dream go. The opportunity has passed. I used to dream about going to an extremely challenging school (Harvard, Princeton, etc.), and, of course I never expected to, but I still dreamed about what it would be like if I did, just for the fun of it. It's too late now. It would be silly to dream about that now because it's literally impossible. Instead, these old dreams are now replaced by realities. I can either be ashamed of how these realities didn't match up with my dreams, or I can embrace them as a part of who I am, and as experiences that are solely mine.

Dreaming has taken a different shape now that I'm "an adult." It's still fun, and I'll never stop doing it (of course, that's what I said about collecting action figures). In some ways, even though there are less phases and ages of life I can dream about (which are lessening every day), there are almost thousands upon thousands more dreams I can dream now that I'm unencumbered by any life-patterns I'm supposed to follow. I've left behind the student track, if I so desire. The possibilities are now infinite. I could go back to school for the rest of my life, and fill some wall of my future with countless degrees and achievements; I could find a path in life that would make me rich and comfortable; I could choose a career that forces me to pinch every penny for the rest of my life; or I could collect donations using this blog from whoever is willing to pay the Anniversary to reunite for a live performance of 'Designing a Nervous Breakdown.'
In fact, where I am right now might be the most dreamable place I've ever been. In contrast to my fifth grade dream of collecting action figures as a senior in high school, which dreamed I would display in my bedroom, there are now no settings, times, or characters forced upon my dreams. As a fifth grader, I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt, that in seven years I would be a senior in high school; but as a 23 year old, (single) news room intern in Jefferson City, Missouri, my dreams of myself in seven years are completely malleable. I could be anywhere with anyone doing anything.
I could allow this truth to scare me, but, as a dreamer, I'm going to do what dreamers do, and dream.

Of course, I could always just dream about having Totoro as my neighbor; a dream for all ages.


Here is proof that they are attempting to make an Arrested Development movie. Allow this and the next video to make you smile as you remember what it was like to let your television make you truly happy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

sweet dreams

Why dreams are never talked about I'll never understand. Why don't we ask our coworkers in the morning how their dreams were? Whatever happened to people saying 'sweet dreams' at night? Obviously, at some point in history, people acknowledged the importance of dreams. When we encounter someone in the morning who is in a bad mood, we generally just think he or she is a dick, but we rarely think about what could be causing that bad mood. For me, a poor night's sleep gets make me downright angry, and I'll usually carry that anger with me deep into the afternoon. Of course, for me sleep is a very delicate thing; I will sleep terribly for no good reason, which is probably why I get so angry about it. But one thing that is universal that can often times dictate our moods is a dream. We've all had dreams where someone we are close to has died or has done something terrible to us, and we wake up from those dreams either shaken up or convinced our best friend is a bastard.

I had a wonderful morning today. I was singing in the shower and dancing my way up and down the stairs, and I have little to attribute my excitement to other than a dream I dreamt last night. It was short and sweet...

There's a lot about the dream that's fuzzy, and, as we are all well aware of the nature of dreams, if I wasn't writing it all down right now, I would probably forget everything by tomorrow. But I do know that in the dream I wasn't me. I was an older, bigger, stronger, bearded man, and I had a hurt leg; I don't know any background, but I felt stronger, not to mention my hurt leg. I was having an intimate meal with an important man in his home. From what my memory tells me, he was Asian, he was rich, and he was evil. I know he was Asian because we were sitting on the ground at a very low table, and I know he was evil because of what happened next. It must have been something I said that made this evil Asian unhappy because he called in one of his henchman, who was also Asian. He wore a black suit and had a gun, which he proceeded to point at me. I immediately jumped into a hallway to escape, and it was at this moment that I know part of the dream was me writing it as it was happening, which might explain why I wasn't myself. I remember writing as I laid in the hallway something about how I would have fought the henchman had my leg been strong, but I knew I had to run (this is the last thing I remember writing). As the henchman appeared from around the corner I forward-rolled (is there any other way?) into a nearby bathroom and locked the door. The bathroom was small, about five square feet, and the ceiling was about twenty feet high. I knew the only way was up. I began to climb with my arms and legs stretched out against the tile walls. It was surprisingly easy to get to the ceiling, which, when I pushed up against, came off as easily as if it was made of styrofoam (don't ask why I went straight for the ceiling instead of going out the window I clearly remember climbing past). I climbed onto the roof and ran as fast as I could to the front of the house, where my car was parked along the street (which was, of course, my Accord). Somehow the two Asians appeared on the roof behind me and gave chase. All of a sudden, I had a back-pack strapped on, which I trusted to act as a mini parachute as I launched myself off of the roof; and it worked! I floated through the air, over the front yard and landed right next to my car on the street. It was here that I woke up.

I tried every sleep trick I knew to get back into the dream. But alas, I found myself in a dream reunited with old friends, which was fine, but C'mon!! It wasn't frustration, however, that I felt in the morning. The dream was so much fun that I became the most optimistic version of me I've ever been. I worked harder; I laughed louder; I felt like I had accomplished something. And I had. Because I know deep down in my heart that those damn Asians would have never caught me.

So, the next time your co-worker, roommate, lover, or partner blows you off in the morning or yells at you for drinking all of his Fresca, ask him how his dreams were last night. Chances are he dreamt about you drinking all of his Fresca, because, as everybody knows, you hate Fresca.


If you're as excited about this Democrat Primary race as I am, you'll probably want to remember Super Tuesday, because, like a dream, if we don't remind ourselves about it, it will fade away. This will jog your memory.

Friday, March 7, 2008

the ripe age

"I think every man needs a navy blue blazer and a pair of gray slacks," the wise Clyde told me a few weeks ago. He was sitting in the passenger seat as I drove us home from Blockbuster in my 1991 Honda Accord, complete with bright yellow tape across the rear passenger window and a gaping crack in the windshield, which, if the eye chooses to follow, draws attention to a busted rear view mirror, all on the passenger side. To ensure that the passenger side doesn't bear the entire burden of the car's old age, there are no less than four dents on the body; the locations of which are so disadvantageous that there are truly no attractive angles through which to view the car. Nothing can prepare you for the moment when no cars are visible in your mirrors, and you turn your head to find my car in your blind spot. You'd have rather hit it than see it. I used to jest that these idiosyncrasies only added character to the car. It's difficult to shrug them off now that I chauffeur multi-million dollar business executives around like Clyde. I became very self-conscious when we reached my car to go to
Blockbuster. To make matters worse, it was an extremely cold night and the windows had fogged up. Out of my desire to get the car trip over with quickly, I started to drive without giving the car enough time to defrost. I tried to squint through the square inch of clear windshield, but I realized it was futile and I put the car in park at a stop-sign, hoping no one would approach from behind. Maybe it was my self-consciousness that reminded me I wanted to ask Clyde about buying a suit.

"I don't know if you are the right guy to ask for advice on the subject, but I need a suit. I think I'm the only respectable 23 year old without a suit," I told him. I explained that I had attended my friend's wedding a few months ago, and I was the only guy wearing khakis. It was a sobering moment, indeed. My excuse for this is that I was a groomsman in nearly every wedding I had attended before this one, but this excuse doesn't hold much water. At age 23 I didn't even have a pair of dark slacks, for which there is no excuse; except maybe that I never planned on growing up.

Luckily, there are guys like Clyde who are willing to take younger guys aside, ride with them in their crappy cars , and tell them they need to grow up and get a damn suit. Let’s just say that I now finally have a respectable pair of gray slacks.


I have started to realize there are several issues every young adult needs to have his mind made up about. No matter how closely I follow the presidential election I feel inadequate every time there is a debate among the candidates on these core issues. These issues include: economic philosophy, national security posture, health care, gay marriage, the death penalty, and, last but certainly not least, abortion (which sort of includes stem-cell research). I wish there was some sort of placement test that every young adult is forced to take, something similar to a career placement test. It would ask you questions like: if you have an hour of free time, would you spend it a) surfing the internet, b) watching TV, c) reading, or d) playing Breath of Fire II on Game Boy Advance? -or- choose one of these foods to eat for breakfast: a) eggs, b) sausage, c) chocolate cake, or d) a 1/4 lb Hebrew National Hot Dog from Costco. If you are one of Bill Cosby’s kids you would probably choose chocolate cake, which would result in the test telling you that you are a hawk when it comes to national security; you believe in trickle-down economics; you disagree with gay marriage; you agree with the death penalty; however, you not only agree with stem-cell research, but you should pursue a career in it. See? they could even meld it with the career placement test.

I think, even more important than choosing sides on these issues, every young adult needs to select which national news network will tell them what to think. There are plenty now: CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Here’s a way to choose:

If you think it’s cute that on a show with a name as tough as ‘Hardball’, the host can’t help but grin and laugh every minute, watch MSNBC.

If you never laugh during the Colbert Report, but only nod in agreement; and if you watch television from a tanning bed, watch Fox News.

If you want your political anchor to report the news as intensely as you’d expect from someone named Wold Blitzer, and never ever smiles; and if you have time to watch from 10am until noon on weekends and are attracted to Asian-American women, stick to CNN.

Now, you won’t have to worry about thinking; they’ll think for you. It’s easy to know what side someone is on at work because in our news room everyone has little flat-panel televisions right next to their computers, and everyone is always watching the news (hence ‘news room’). This way, I get to broadcast my political affiliation without actually saying anything.
I won’t say which one I’ve chosen. But let’s just say it’s the oldest one.

Monday, March 3, 2008

a step in time

As you might have noticed from this blog, I'm sort of obsessed with my self at any age other my current one. But I'm mostly obsessed with myself circa puberty. I think it's important to put everything on the table about that version of me. So, I've compiled a list of favorites and interests and, to do a decent job, I picked an exact moment: ten years ago.  My memory is a little fuzzy on the exact time line of my hobbies, but I think after this you might understand my obsession:

Jon Allison
Age: Puberty (13)

Relationship Status: Single, but reeling from a serious relationship (6 months) with Megan Sadler. By serious I mean we wrote about three letters back and forth during the summer, and we sat next to each other at the lunch table at school. She had someone else ask me out and break up with me.
Current Crush: Ninon Koch (moving on wasn't so hard after all)

Listening to: Slick Shoes, Five Iron Frenzy, Value Pac, MXPX, Craig's Brother, "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls

Reading: either The Saint, Air Force One, Batman Forever, or Batman & Robin (you got it, all books based on movies)

Pastimes: Goldeneye, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, NHL '98 (played on PC with a joystick; don't ask how or why, but I was amazing), comic books, basketball, soccer, tab yoof group

Top Ten Movie List: It's hard to describe how monumental this was in my development. The designation of one "favorite movie" was huge. It meant that I was beginning to mold myself around conversation, and I began to mentally prepare myself to spout out a favorite movie, or band, or video game if conversation called for it. Having intelligent reasoning behind these designations was also crucial in getting ahead in middle school. The top two of this list show my first favorite movie giving way to another, and, as you'll see, the movies couldn't be more deserving...

10. Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade
9. Star Wars: A New Hope
8. Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back
7. The Neverending Story
6. Superman 2
5. Tommy Boy
4. Dumb and Dumber
3. Star Wars: the Return of the Jedi
2. Batman Forever
1. The Rock

So Close: Stargate, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter: the Animated Movie, Black Sheep, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3, Back to the Future 3 (I don't know what it was about that second sequel)

If you have criticism for my 13 year old top ten list, let's hear it; or, if you want to do something constructive, leave a comment with your top 5 or 3 movies at the age of puberty. You know you want to...