Monthly Archives: April 2008

Han Solo Says: Patrón Tastes Even Better When It’s Free

It’s 7:59pm on a Monday night. Do you know where your Boston Celtics are?

Wherever they are, they certainly weren’t on the court tonight. Because the top seeded, over-60-win Celtics were just beat for the second time in a row by the eighth seed Atlanta “We Hope to Break .500 Someday” Hawks. Mind you these Celtics are the same team that some have hailed as “the greatest team in the league…and possibly NBA history,” (quote courtesy of ESPN writer and Boston-ophile Bill Simmons). I don’t care one way or the other about Boston-area pro sports teams (although I’ll root for Tom Brady any day), but it certainly doesn’t do much to refute talks about how Eastern Conference NBA teams are less-talented than their western counterparts when the supposedly best team in basketball history drops two in a row to the 2,749th-best team in basketball history (right between the ABA’s ‘74 Virginia Squires and some guys from a pickup game in North Dakota in the summer of 1991). However, I can’t be truly unhappy after the Cavs snagged another win from the Washington “Bark > Bite” Wizards on Sunday, and are prepped to close out the series with another one back in Cleveland on Wednesday.

But enough banter, you’re here for the same reason I am: because you love me and you love hearing about me. So with that in mind, here is what you need to know to be in the now. As in, “now go get me some coffee.”

-I’m Not in it for You, Princess. I Expect to Be Well Paid-
I went in for my first day of training the other day, and so far the new job looks like it’s gonna rock. For those of you who didn’t tune in last week, I recently secured a job working for Harrison Ford’s son, Ben Ford at an upscale restaurant in Culver City called Ford’s Filling Station. The people are awesome, the atmosphere is just right, and I really feel a connection with this place. And they bought me a $35 steak for dinner last week. Very cool. I’ll keep you updated as I settle in more and learn the nuances and intricacies of saying complicated phrases like “welcome to Ford’s, how many?” It’s going to be rough.

-Great Kid, Now Don’t Get Cocky-
Had a very busy week, capped off with an equally busy weekend. And it’s looking like this week is going to follow suit. I’m overlapping my last week at UCLA Medical with some training shifts at Ford’s, so that is going to make for one very tired Dustin starting Thursday night. But oh yeah, I just remembered, I’m a baller and I don’t need sleep because I kick ass, so it’s not gonna be a challenge. Whew, good thing I thought of that ahead of time.

-Traveling Through Hyperspace Ain’t Like Dusting Crops, Boy-
I finally got a haircut from a stylist named Rhonda over the weekend (who is as talented at haircutting as she is portly. Which is very, if you didn’t know). I asked her to give me a shorter, more summery haircut than the one I had, and she kind of took that to mean that I wanted something that if I got drafted into the Army tomorrow, I’d fit right in. My hair is short, is what I’m saying. But in her defense, it did feel light and summery when I was on the beach, and I probably won’t need to get it cut again before I visit home and have Irene do it properly.

-So What Do You Think? A Princess Like You and a Guy Like Me-
I saw that movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall with a few people last night, and I must say, it was decent. Which was better than I was expecting. By far the best character in the movie was the self-centered, oblivious British rockstar character. He was more of a second-tier character, but the movie would not have been the same without him. The second best part of the movie was costar Mila Kunis. Longtime fans of That 70’s Show (not I) will probably already know this, but Mila Kunis is really really hot. I don’t know if I never noticed because she’s the voice of the very un-hot Meg on Family Guy, or if I overlooked her because I thought That 70’s Show was an abomination, but the fact of the matter is: she is really really hot. There was a bit too much male nudity for me to give the movie an A+, but that British dude’s performance coupled with the fact that Mila Kunis is really really hot pretty much make the movie worth the price of admission right there. Also, Mila Kunis is really really hot, you guys. Seriously.

-She May Not Look Like Much, But She’s Got it Where it Counts, Kid-
Ok, so this isn’t interesting, but too bad, I’m telling you anyway. On nice, sunny California days, sometimes I like to fire up the ceiling fan in my room to help circulate some air. But for some unknown reason, my ceiling fan doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, it turns on, it spins the blades, it even makes all the appropriate ceiling-fan-related noises. But it just doesn’t generate any wind or breeze or cooling sensation at all. I’ve tried reversing the rotation on the fan, in case it was set wrong, I’ve tried it at all the different speed settings, but nothing helps. All my ceiling fan is really good for is taking the all the dust that’s been collecting on it since the 60’s and evenly distributing said dust around the room.

Ok, I’m off to catch a show at The UCB Theater (using acronyms gives me a false sense of superiority), so I’m outie for now. And remember, don’t drink expensive tequila unless someone else is paying for it. Conversely, if you’re a random stranger and you offer to buy me and my friends a round of fancy tequila at the bar to prove what a badass you are, really all you’re doing is spending $85 to have us mock you all night.

Cheers,
Dustin


We already have a lime tree, now all we need is a tequila tree to go along with it…

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Gang Green is Here to Stay!

Hello, friend! If you’re anything like me, you’re an attention-starved 6’2” Caucasian male that weighs a little over 150lbs and has a love for asparagus that’s almost as odd as the matching, circular birthmarks on my upper chest (I’ve just been informed that in the world of medical science, these are referred to as “nipples.” Fascinating). As a fellow graduate from a small, private liberal arts college, I’m sure you’re as excited as I am that Earth Day is finally here, and that we can finally do our part to help the environment. By planting a tree. Yep, that’s all you have to do. Planting one small sapling is all it takes to reverse the effects of hundreds of years of modern industry that has ravaged our planet – not to mention the irreversible damage that each of us does every single day, simply by continuing to exist. Sounds wacky, I know, but all it takes is planting that one tree, or riding the bus for one day, or blah blah blah…I’m just kidding. No one gives a rip about the environment, and Earth Day is for suckers. My contribution to my grandchildren’s future is going to be paying for a lifetime of swimming lessons for them in advance. That way, when the polar icecaps finally go all Wicked-Witch of the West on us, my progeny will be the ones who can hold their breath the longest and talk to dolphins, while your guys’ grandkids are gonna be the chumps who are drinking their own urine out of a Brita filter, Waterworld style. There are billboards scattered all over LA telling us to leave our cars at home today and not to drive anyplace. Um yeah, I don’t know what day it is on your “Girls of the Greenhouse” calendar, but out here in the real world, it’s Tuesday, and that’s a weekday, so I’m driving my car to work. End of debate. If you want to pay me what I would’ve made at work to stay home for the day instead, or call my boss and explain why I was two-and-a-half hours late because I took the bus; then we’ll talk. But other than that, I’ll see you on the 405 along with the hundred thousand other heartless bastards out there who care more about contributing to their 401k than to their children’s future environment. Cheers.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, on to things that people actually care about.

-It’s Business Time-
If you have ever laughed, smiled, smirked, grinned, giggled, guffawed, chortled – or are ever planning on doing any of those things at some point in the future – then do yourself a favor and go buy the Flight of the Conchords CD which is in stores as of today. I’m a mere 11 minutes from sprinting out of the office to my nearest Barnes & Noble to pick up my own copy. If you’re not a total masochist, you’ll purchase season 1 of their equally-hilarious HBO sitcom as well. Laugh your arse off, amuse your friends with bad impressions of New Zealanders’ accents, and behave pretentiously to your friends who think “According to Jim” is a funny show.

-The Humans Are Dead-
If you still want to ease your Earth Day-related guilt, maybe try eating at Chipotle – they’re known for killing animals and pinto beans in as environmentally-friendly way as possible. And I’m pretty sure their paper products are printed on material that’s entirely recycled from the ashes of the Native Americans whom we killed in order to colonize this great country of ours.

-Leggy Blonde-
Finally, in my last piece of mood-elevating advice for the day, go buy Thrice’s new CD, The Alchemy Index, Vols. III & IV (Vols. I & II came out late last year, but are also worth picking up). Even if you haven’t been a fan of their stuff in the past, let me assure you that everyone can find something they like about The Alchemy Index, and it’s great music to simultaneously reflect upon your life with, or rock out to if you’re looking to get pumped up. If you buy it and aren’t 100% satisfied, just come track me down and I’ll switch out your copy with Ashlee Simpson’s latest release – since you clearly have no taste in music and probably wouldn’t know the difference. We’ll save Thrice’s art-rock masterpiece for someone who doesn’t know all the words to the song “Get Low.”

That’s it for now, see you little rascals in the future.
Dustin

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So Basically I Have a Mullet

…No time for preamble today, there’s too much good stuff, so let’s get to it!

-New Warden-
The biggest piece of updatedness I have for you is that Friday, May 2nd will officially be my last day at UCLA Medical. And no, I’m not simply predicting the day that my boss will finally fire me for “one too many herpes jokes,” I actually have another (much better, for me) job lined up to replace this one. Starting the first week of May and continuing on until I get fired for making “one too many herpes jokes,” I will be working for LA-based restaurateur Benjamin Ford (Harrison Ford’s son) at his upscale Culver City restaurant, Ford’s Filling Station. You don’t have to be Dr. Phil to realize that even though the lovely folks at UCLA Medical were wonderful people, that job was simply not an ideal fit for me or my schedule. Working at Ford’s will not only pay better, but will also offer me better hours and much more flexibility and fun compared to the more rigid world of corporate health care. The people there are awesome, the food is amazing (and expensive…I’m glad I don’t have to pay to eat there), the location is ideal, and my boss is a total hottie. I’m pretty pumped to get back to my roots as the no-responsibility ass-clown that people know me for being.

-Movin’ On Up, to the…Westside?-
In other news, our landlady is losing her house (either to foreclosure or some overkill Vegas betting) at the end of May, which means that my roommates and I have to find a new place to live starting June 1st. This kind of sucks for our landlady, but is actually pretty ideal for the roomies and I, since we were all looking for someplace better, cleaner, and closer to the beach to live starting in the summer. The only slight downside is that now, instead of us trying to find a new place by June, we HAVE to find a new place by June — so it adds a little pressure, but I’m not really worried. We don’t really know how things are gonna shakedown yet, except for that we all want to live with people we know and be somewhere on the Westside of town (near the beach, preferably). I’ll keep you posted as our options reveal themselves.

-What Happens in Vegas, Stains in Vegas-
If you checked my facebook at all over the weekend, or were any of the hundreds of people I called to kill time on the five-and-a-half hour drive home, you know I spent the past few days visiting a friend in Vegas. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I came out even on the trip, had a lot of fun doing normal Vegas things (getting dressed up, hitting the strip, etc.), and had an equal amount of fun doing more abnormal Vegas things (hiking in Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon, relaxing, etc.). But the most fun was spending the weekend with a friend from back in the Midwest, and getting to just kick back and catch up with an old buddy. An old buddy who made about $500 more than I did on the trip. Jerk.

-This Guy Loves the Wine…and Gold-
I like the Cleveland Cavaliers. I mean, really like. You could even say that I LIKE like them. But even though I’ve been to several Cavs games live and in-person at Quicken Loans Arena (aka The Q…and the namesake of the house me and the fellas used to share on Quail Hollow Dr. in Hilliard, Ohio), acquired plenty of Cavaliers swag, ogled the Cavs Girls on numerous occasions, and watched the Wine-and-Gold on TV countless times; I realized that my fandom had hit a new (and potentially unhealthy) level of addiction when I found myself cheering on the Cavs from the bar of a Las Vegas-based Chili’s at 9:30am on a Saturday morning. Even in the face of what will almost certainly be a second-round elimination from the playoffs (maybe third if we’re really lucky and the Pistons keep laying eggs like they did against the Sixers this weekend), I couldn’t help but get way too excited about LBJ & Co. laying the smackdown on a weaker (dare I say, overrated, Deshawn Stevenson?) Washington Wizards team. Seeing the Wiz lose by 30 tonight was even awesomer as King James pretty much put on a clinic on how to shut down a D.C.-based pro basketball team. A fortnight from now, my favorite small forward and his posse might be hanging up their jerseys until next season, but that’s what makes the playoffs so great: right now, in this moment, the Cavs are in the hunt for a championship just as much as Boston or LA; and as a fan, that’s all you should ever need to get excited about your team (…unless you’re a Bengals fan, in which case I’d settle for just ending the season above .500 for once).

-Credit Where Credit is Due-
A few posts ago, I relayed my thoughts on defining relationships via facebook as a guide to the clueless masses (that’s you). Now, not even twelve days later, almost a dozen of my friends have gone from “single” or “hidden” to “in a relationship.” Obviously I can’t take full credit (my good friends Cupid and Jack Daniels helped quite a bit, too), but I just want to take a second and give myself some serious props for hooking my peeps up with the pertinent information they needed to make mature, well-informed decisions about who to love. Great job, me. You guys can all buy me a round next time we go out (or at the very least name your first child after me. No? Well how about middle name, then? No one cares about those anyway, and “Dustin” goes with just about any other name — guy or girl! Don’t make up your mind yet, just think about it and get back to me). So with that in mind, I’d like to offer up a toast. A toast to me. As the famous poet/philosopher Sir William Smith once said:

“Let’s make a toast to never lie, steal, cheat or drink.
But if you must lie, lie about your age (it almost always helps your situation to be a few years older or younger than you actually are).
If you must steal, steal from your family, friends and acquaintances…they’ll be less likely to press charges if you get caught.
If you must cheat, cheat the blind, the homeless or any other sect of people who would have difficulty identifying you in a police lineup.
And if you must drink, drink tequila. No sense destroying your liver and/or your future just you can knock back a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades, right? You don’t want people to think you’re a wuss, after all. On second thought, better make it a double.”

…With insights like that at his disposal, it’s no wonder they crowned him the Prince of all Bel-Air.

Cheers to me,
Dustin


Not a bad place for a vacation, says I.

Wally Szczerbiak is a Good Looking Man When He Scores 28pts

Howdy! Sorry I’ve been so lax in posting for you guys, I’ve had a very busy week or so, and it’s not looking to let up anytime soon. On a related note, I have a semi-big announcement coming about a couple of things…but I’m working on trying to pack for Vegas this weekend among other things, so the news will have to wait until I get back. In the meantime, please enjoy this filler post.

A lot of you have asked me, on several different occasions, “Dustin, what exactly do you do for work?” I usually try and deflect the question by firing off a few quotes from Office Space, or changing the subject or something; but the truth is, there’s no real way to explain what I do for work by just using words. So to help you grasp all the nuanced intricacies of my job, I’ve decided to use a couple of visual aids. The first is this:

+Picture taken at 8:03am Tuesday morning+

As you can see, this is a bucket of rubber bands. This rubberband bucket (rubbucket?) was here on my desk long before I started working at UCLA Medical Systems HR, and in all likelihood, will be here long after I’ve lost my job due to larceny accusations and a pending sexual harassment lawsuit. How this rubbucket came to be here, why this desk’s previous owner felt the need to keep such an expansive collection of rubberbands when he or she clearly never used them, and why they didn’t take them along when they left if they felt so strongly about rubberbands; are all questions that I can only hypothesize an answer to. What I do know, however, is how these rubberbands represent the amount and depth of work that is required on me during a typical day at UCLA. Let’s say each of these rubberbands represents one minute of time where I don’t have any work to do at my job. And I’m not talking about times where I have work, but am procrastinating it (and I’m also not counting the 60-90 minutes I take for lunch on any given day). I’m just talking about the minutes that I spend at my desk with nothing — literally nothing — to do that’s work-related. Now let’s say that for each of those workless minutes, that I do something with the rubberband to mark each unproductive minute. Fast forward into my day a few hours, and this is the result:

+Picture taken at 2:47pm Tuesday afternoon+

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. This is no camera trick or cheap prop, this is that exact same pile of rubberbands, in that exact same rubbucket, approximately seven hours after I took the first picture. This would be amusing — almost funny, even — if I didn’t have a little over two hours left in my day at this point (keeping in mind that I also took an hour and a half lunch consisting of Chipotle, Starbucks and Pinkberry…all of the essential food groups).

So the next time you’re sitting at work and thinking about how boring your job is, or about how boring the class you’re in is, I want you to envision this rubberband-ball, and know that out there, on the fourth floor of an eighteen-story skyscraper in northwest Los Angeles, there sits a young lad who is even more bored and getting even less out of his job/class than you. And I want you to think on that, and smile, and count your blessings. Then I want you to bounce between espn.com, facebook, and cnn.com the rest of the day like I do. It will be like we’re conquering the world of boredom together, one workless-rubberband-minute at a time, nine hours a day, five days a week, at six dollars an hour.

Cheers,
Dustin

P.S. Every morning on the way into work, I spend the first main chunk of my time sitting in traffic on Interstate 10. During rush hour traffic, the 10 is kind of like an abyss: upon entering, you immediately lose track of how long you’ve been there, how you got there, and you’re instantly filled with a general hopelessness that there’s no escape or that you’ll never know any reality outside of coarse pavement framed by an endless sea of brakelights. This is the second-worst part of my commute. The worst part of my drive comes during the half-mile interchange where the 10-W merges with the 405-N. For those of you unfamiliar with how this intersection works, this interchange takes about three lanes from the 10 West, and T-bones it into about five lanes of the 405 North. I say “about” because during this particular stretch of freeway, there are no — none, zip, zero — lane lines. That’s no typo. In fact, there’s nothing to indicate that there ever have, or ever will be any kind of lane indicator during this multi-freeway merge. Furthermore, the traffic on the respective on-ramps loosens up enough for you to get going to about 60-75mph — just enough to do some real damage when you inevitably lose control and fly into the median and/or your fellow commuters. Add the extra two lanes of traffic merging in from the 2 (Santa Monica Blvd.), and you have yourself what is literally the deadliest half mile of pavement this side of the Rio Grande. Now picture yourself going from the braindead monotony of the 10, instantly into the frenzied, uncontrolled chaos of the 405 at 7am, with the sun directly in your eyes the whole time. Suffice it to say, I don’t drink coffee nearly as much as I used to — because after I’ve survived that gauntlet, I’ve got enough adrenaline pumping through my system in the morning to wrestle a coked-up hippopotamus and win. According to scientific research done in the same field, I’d have to drink 17 cups of coffee, nine espressos, and do three shots of tequila each morning to get the same effect. And it doesn’t make me urinate nearly as much. So the moral of the story is: if you’re trying to give up coffee drinking, your best bet is to load up on car insurance, move to southern California, and spend 45-60 minutes trying to get yourself killed on the freeway twice a day. I did, and I’m in the best shape of my life!

Sharing the Laughter and Love, as the Seavers Might Say

If you’re not married, your lovelife probably isn’t perfect. If you are married, then your lovelife definitely isn’t perfect. As someone whose IQ score soars well into the double-digits, my family and friends have always found me to be the perfect confidant and counselor for the trials and tribulations that arise in their lives and loves. It’s with this in mind that I’ve decided to publicly answer some of the oft-repeated questions that have been asked of me over the years. Today’s question comes to us in a letter from Eleanor Rigby of Boise, Idaho:

“Dear Dustin,
I was with my boyfriend recently, picking up the rice in a church where we had just attended a wedding, and I wondered, when’s the appropriate time to change my facebook (and less importantly, myspace) relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’? We haven’t been going out for a terribly long time (just about eight weeks or so), and we’re definitely a long ways off from classifying ourselves a serious relationship, but we’re also past the point where we’re truly single (i.e. neither of us would consider going on a date with someone else). So how should we be classified by social-networking-website standards? Are we still single? In a relationship? Is it complicated? I need your advice!

On behalf of all the lonely people,
-E.R.”

Well Eleanor, let me preface this by saying that no two couples (or relationships) are exactly alike, and each couple should discuss and use whatever relationship status-setting makes them feel most comfortable about their relationship. That said, here are some general guidelines to help bolster the lines of communication between you and your significant other.

Single:
This should be everyone’s default status, and is acceptable to use from dates 0-8 or any relationship less than five weeks old. As a “single” you’re free to date whoever you want, whenever you want, in whatever quantities you want. But, while your status is single, you also waive your right to not be hit-on and/or flirted-with by your peers, friends, teachers, homeless people, family members and various government officials (I’m looking at you, Spitzer).

Hidden Status:
This is where you take down your relationship status entirely, so that it doesn’t even show that part of your profile. Though most people assume this means you are taken — or at the very least aren’t looking for anything romantic — the handful of people who have an entirely delusional and unfounded/unreciprocated crush on you will still assume they have a shot at dating you if this is your status.

In A Relationship (no name):
This is the next level of progression, and is ideal for dates number 8-20 or any relationship that is between seven weeks and three months in length. It is mostly used as a deterrent to other would-be suitors, but is also ideal for people who don’t want everyone on the internet “all up in their business,” or judging them for who they’re dating. It also applies to people that are dating someone who doesn’t have a facebook (the poor schmucks who only have myspace don’t know what they’re missing. If you’re going to enter into a relationship with someone who is a myspace-only person, you should try your absolute hardest to convert them to facebook before you make anything official. I know, it sounds petty now, but trust me, this can be the exact kind of sticking point that can lead to an ugly divorce 20 or 30 years down the road. I’ve seen it happen a million times…poor schmucks).

In A Relationship (showing other person’s name):
This is the biggest social-networking relationship step yet; it’s a public and legally-binding declaration of your commitment to one another, and is perfect for any relationship between three months and three years in length. At this point in the relationship, it’s pretty standard etiquette to also change your “Looking For” section to just friendship — and maybe networking, too — but nothing more than those two, max. It should also be noted that anytime you see two women who are in this kind of relationship status, it almost always means that they are either recently-single and/or mildly-insecure, so they use this as a means of overcompensating and feeling better about themselves. They also manage to convince themselves that they are the first pair of women to have ever come up with this idea, and that it is hilarious and original. Sadly, this is not the case. Unless both chicks are hot.

Engaged:
If you’ve been dating someone for longer than three and a half or four years (mind you, this count doesn’t start till after you graduate from high school), then you should be engaged. Or at the very least, pre-engaged. A standard-length engagement is somewhere between 8-18 months. This gives the bride the requisite three weeks to make all the arrangements and plan the wedding, accompanied by the mandatory one year or so to constantly complain that “things will never be ready in time,” “I’ll never fit into my wedding dress,” and that she has “had to plan this whole [expletive] wedding by her [expletive] self because she can’t get any [expletive] help from anybody” (if you are married and you took offense to any of that, then you are the exact kind of bride I am describing).

Married:
If you’re on facebook and you’re older than 34 years old, this should be your relationship status, regardless of whether you’re actually married or not. Because if you’re in your mid-to-upper 30’s and you’re single AND you spend your free time on facebook, then you are a pedophile, plain and simple. Switching your status to “married” will prolong the amount of time it takes for the feds to hunt you down and lock you up for being the sick, pokemon-loving son of a B that you are. Note: the same tirade from the previous paragraph also applies to any two obviously-straight women who are listed as married to one another.

It’s Complicated:
This is not an actual relationship status, and everybody knows it. Anyone who legitimately tries to pass this off as their relationship status is either,
A) in the process of breaking up, and it’ll be changed to single or hidden within a week,
B) in the process of getting back together, and it’ll be changed to hidden or “in a relationship” within a week, or
C) are cheating on their partner and/or are in a long distance relationship, but don’t want to fully commit. This is also the preferred status of overly-emo kids who think that they’re the first people in the history of all mankind to ever experience unrequited love or a bad breakup. Look for lots of black-and-white profile pictures from these kinds of people, as well as depressing song lyrics in their “About Me” sections.

…And that just about covers it. I hope this guide has provided some helpful insight for everyone, and remember: it isn’t true love until it’s been posted on one or more social networking websites. Just like the Bible says.

Until next time I solve all your problems,
Dustin “I Put the Sing in Single” Heveron


…ladies? Surprisingly, this man is still available…

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