Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Colson Whitehead's The Noble Hustle

Hey, now!

You can read my review of Colson Whitehead's The Noble Hustle on Bookpeople's blog right here.

Colson Whitehead is a phenomenal writer. I could give two pieces of beef jerky about poker. I've never read anything about poker but for some reason, this book struck me as something to read.

Two pieces of beef jerky.

Sure, I like playing poker for pennies with friends as poor as I am but I'm not one of those guys that watches tournaments on ESPN or really cares about the rules of poker. Still, this book, this book is well written and has a dry sense of humor that was consistent and hilarious throughout.

It's dark - not in the sense that people are dying and we're all laughing at it - it has a brooding sense to it. There's something isolating about the way Whitehead describes his life. I consider myself at least part-Anhedonian. I can find pleasure but usually, as soon as I notice I'm having fun, I find excuses to paint the experience in a shade of gray.

It's a very good book.

Google image search for writing on the air.

I will be on KOOP radio's Writing on the Air show next week, Wednesday, June 4th at 6pm. It's an Austin radio show so everyone out of state can tune in via their website here.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Yorker Caption Contest

Like Roger Ebert, I aspire to one day have the winning caption for a New Yorker cartoon.

Unlike Roger Ebert, I do not intend to ever compete officially.

"You need to come in here and watch me kill this thing."

"They don't even appreciate the effort."

"I'd say we worked him to death but really, we straight up fucking killed him."

"I'm trying to retrace my steps. I think I left my body in a shallow grave in your backyard."

"Honey, please, go to fucking bed. You have no talent."

Monday, May 19, 2014

A short Utah adventure

Sometimes I call Utah the Saudi Arabia of America. That's not nice.

Utah is a beautiful state full of mountains and the best planned road system in the history of western civilization. You can never get lost in Salt Lake City thanks to its grid. All the streets are named with oppressive numbers. I'm too stupid to explain it but it makes total sense once you're there. It's nothing like Texas where a street travels in a million directions, stops inexplicably, and then starts again somewhere else. San Antonio was Google Maps Hell.

Getting to Utah was a Hell unlike Joseph Smith could have ever imagined. If he'd been through a five hour layover in Dallas I'm positive he would have renounced God. He wouldn't stop believing in God; he'd do worse. He'd believe in God and say that he was worse than the devil for allowing such an atrocity to occur to anyone.

The Dallas airport plays muzak constantly. It's loud, it's obnoxious, and it's accentuated by the fact that it gets interrupted every two minutes to announce gate changes and give tips on how not to be fondled by the TSA.

We passed by a Brooks Brothers store at DFW that advertised three dress shorts for $225. Three things come to mind: who the hell is shopping at Brooks Brothers while they're at the airport? Isn't "dress shorts" an oxymoron? Does anyone look at $225 as a reasonable thing to spend money on anything after they've sacrificed a baby to be able to fly? It occurred to me that I am not from the class of people they are advertising to.

One thing was great. We looked at our boarding passes and it said Priority AAcess. The double 'A' is no mistake. Priority seating from American Airlines. We didn't even have to pay extra for that. So after all the first classers and American Airlines Gold, Ruby, Silver, and Sapphire customers got called, we got to board before all the plebians assigned group numbers. This seemed good. It seemed like a blessing. We felt like people who could sip bourbon pinkies out without a hint of irony.

We were wrong.

After five hours waiting at DFW as our minds were being erased by a constant looping of a soprano sax solo, we boarded with Priority AAccess. We felt like rock stars, we felt like we could switch parties and become Republicans.

Then, it happened.

You see, a seat was locked in the resting position. If I was behind this seat, I'd complain unendingly to my girlfriend about it but I would never ever alert the authorities nor would I call attention to it save for my cursing the universe. The passenger on this plane was not like me. She raised a complaint to the flight attendant who raised the complaint to the captain. The captain, red faced and portly, came out agitated and said, "It's no big deal but now that I know about it, I can't take off. I have to call maintenance." He rolled his eyes to himself and went back to the cockpit.

It took an hour and twenty minutes for maintenance to come by, take one look at the seat, and then say, "I can't fix this." They needed volunteers to give up their seats and take the next flight. Looking back, we should have done so but we didn't. Next, the maintenance guy came back and put a sign on the seat that read, "Do Not Use." That's it.

An hour and twenty minutes for that.

Further proving that there is no god and if there is a god, he's a prick, the lady who complained was seated next to me for the rest of the flight. She smelled bad and I was forced to suffer in complete silence as we took off for God's country, the Saudi Arabia of America, Utah.

It was a good time and I have nothing else to complain about. Congratulations go to my cousin on her wedding. It feels like yesterday we were watching cartoons, now she's all grown up and I'm still watching cartoons.

Good news! On June 4th, I will be on KOOP radio's Writing on the Air. The show starts at 6pm on 91.7fm in Austin but will be streaming and available after the fact on their website. Mark your calendars! Here's their site. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ace your next job interview

People often ask me, "Andrew, how is it you're so frickin' slick in interviews?"

First, I think to myself, What the fuck do you know about my frickin' slickin' in interviews? Then I think, Word must get around. 

So here they are, my tips on acing your next job interview.

How you present yourself is very important. It doesn't matter whether you're interviewing with a Fortune 500 or Jack in the Box, dress like you just rolled out of bed and forgot to masturbate. This puts a certain fire in your eyes and releases pheromones that tells your interviewer you mean business. Try to wear clothing that has a lingering weed smell. This shows you're better than your vices. So much better in fact, that you don't give a fuck who knows what you do on your own time. It's a free country.

Show up a little late, nobody wants some anal retentive asshole with sweaty palms waiting next to the secretary and breathing too loudly five minutes early. Get there five minutes late. The secretary will nod her head and think, "That person is CONFIDENT." Confidence is where it's at folks.

Turn the interview around. When the interviewer holds out his/her hand, cower away. Be dramatic. Back into a corner, shivering, and yelling, "Stop it, mom!" When the interviewer is visibly confused, just shrug and say, "I thought you were going to hit me." You now have the upper hand.

When the interviewer starts describing the company, shake your head and say, "That's not what my dad said."

Now, be aware of your surroundings. Did you notice a desk between you and the boss-man? Break down those barriers. Roll the swivel chair around to the boss-man's side. Face to face, knees touching. Never break eye contact.

Even better, ask the interviewer to explain something you saw in the hall. The interviewer will get out of his seat and when you both re-enter the room, take it. Who makes the rules? You do. This is a very aggressive move that foreshadows your intentions. You're saying, "I'm interviewing today, but tomorrow I'll be sitting here firing your ass." Don't say that. Just grimace.

Always comment on their family photos, but instead of saying, "Beautiful family, what are their names?" say something like, "Wow, you have a lot of pets. Can I have one?"

Always, always, always comment on the smell of the office. You can say things like, "This place smells like shit," or, "What the fuck fell out of your ass and farted in here?" or, "Don't you have Febreeze? It smells like the opposite of Febreeze. It smells like fucking shit," or, "Holy shit it smells like shit," or, "What kind of perfume is that? Ball sweat and shit au toilette?"

Comment on your appearances. Say, "I didn't want to overdress," as you sniff your armpits and continue, "I mean, this company is at the bottom of my list for jobs. Do you have a smoke I can bum?"

If the interviewer looks uncomfortable, say something like, "Do I make you uncomfortable?"

If the interviewer answers affirmatively, stand up, kick your chair, and say, "I knew I wasn't good enough!" Start crying and whimpering and saying things like, "I guess I'll just go home to my dying children and feed them my toenails for dinner!" When shit hits the fan, you have to go for the guilt trip hard.

I'd be surprised if you didn't get the job the next day, bud.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tips on being broke

If you're in a position to buy cylindrical meat, spend the extra few cents on Slim Jim. There's nothing more depressing than watching a grown adult eat cylindrical meat, might as well go name brand.

Everyone's a potential employer so it's best not to ask every passerby for something, anything, to eat.

When you're at a restaurant with friends, ask every one of them if they're going to finish their food. If they say, "No," ask if you can take it home to your dog. If they point out you don't have a dog, say, "Yeah I do. I just didn't want to make a big deal out of it."

Start a Kickstarter for a fictional down-on-his-luck artist. Keep all the money. Say raising the money was an art project in itself. Get some press in your local anarchist weekly by claiming it was a commentary on the idiocy of capitalism. Spend the money on Slim Jims and Nike socks.

You'd be surprised how many fictional down on their luck artists show up in Google Image Search. 

Life Hack: Tying your shoes takes 5 seconds of the day you could have better spent finding new ways to peel a banana. Fuck shoes, man.

Nobody likes a bum. Next time you're bumming a cigarette, dress very frat-couture. You know, Oakley shades, spiky gelled hair, flip flops, and designer jeans. Ask the biggest hippie looking motherfucker who's smoking for a cigarette. They'll give it to you because you look so cool and hey, you only smoke when you're out with the bros.

Ok, we get it. You're cool, guy.

Print out coupons for Chipotle except you have to photoshop out the part that says, "No Double Coupons," to make it say, "Only Double Coupons." To do this, don't waste money on Photoshop. Cover the part that says "No" with your pointer finger. On your pointer finger nail, write "Only." Chipotle workers aren't paid enough to examine things with their eyes.

When going to parties, always bring a guitar. Inside the guitar, have a tiny portable radio doohickey. Pretend to strum and sing and watch the money roll in. If anyone says anything, say, "Somebody's jealous," really loud and make dismissive gestures their way.

Start a religious cult. People throw money at broke assholes claiming to have a direct line to god all the damn time. Just take a mainstream religion, add two doses of batshit crazy, and add one dietary restriction. Voila! You've got a fucking cult, bro.

"I'll turn your money into a bottle of wine."

Monday, May 5, 2014

A goldfish named Tuna

I saw George Clinton last week at the Empire Control Room in Austin, TX.

The first time I ever saw George Clinton was at the House of Blues in Anaheim in 2010 a few days before I left California for Texas. He was fucking incredible. He was sans his trademark dreads in 2010 but the man could still funk things up. He played for three hours.

Four years is quite a burden when it comes to time.

Fear not, the funkiest man in the universe still has it. 

He didn't play for three hours this time around but he still got down. It was an incredible show. I took the above picture with my phone and promptly uploaded it to twitter (@AHILBERT3000) only to find that whoever runs George Clinton's twitter account had retweeted it. Hey, it's not that much to brag about, I know. Still, it's pretty cool. 

Why do I love George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic so much? They are a total package. They have a concept that they execute on every level. It's funk, it's from outer space, and for whatever reason, the repetitive hooks go down my spine and funk me up. 

I also love them because I grew up with my older cousins who were gangsta rap devotees. Snoop Doggy Dogg's Who Am I was the soundtrack of my second grade year. Imagine when I first heard Atomic Dog? My mind was blown. George Clinton's predated Snoop and Dre's samples but managed to sound more current. 

Anyways, enough of that. The Austin band Riders Against the Storm opened the night up. They were incredible. I didn't know who was opening but I'm sure as hell glad that they did. Riders Against The Storm - Check them out. 

All right, my ears are still blown out from the concert but here's some good stuff you should check out: