It is Pez. It is the Pez.

April/2004: Random Surfing - Pez is wonderful. I know I've written about this before, but it is. It is wonderful. So tasty, the perfect candy. Lots of flavors, lots of tastes, very fun to eat. Not too hard, not too soft. Candy perfection.

That is why you will already know my obvious excitement to find the following URL while I was searching for a picture of a package of Pez for one of the title graphics:

Now, do not misunderstand, I do not like the Pez dispensers. I think people that collect those are foolish. I love the candy itself. Don't lump me into those crazy dispenser freaks, I am merely a sugar-addled 75 year old feeling individual.

The link I gave is very cool. It is one of about a million Pez fansites online, sure, but it is the best one I've seen. Look at some of these Pez candies!

(All images taken off the McPez site)

Cola Pez! HOLY @#(*!

Chocolate Pez! God, that sounds great.

Menthol... Pez?

I never would have imagined. I would kill to try that Chocolate Pez. I wish I knew someone who lives in Austria, where it is made and distributed.

Regardless, as cool as that Pez site is, it led me to something cooler. Far cooler, in fact. Something I never would have thought to look for online. That's right, an official Pez website. With, of course, an online store. Where you can BUY Pez by the bulk for cheaper!

Cases... of... Pez.

Cases... of... Pez.

My god...

Cases... of... Pez.

This is the first time in a long time that I wish I were rich.

My Social Nature in a Nutshell

April/2004: About Me - I am bored and can't figure out anything decent to write about for my site (Actually I can, but most of my GOOD stories have to wait for when I can talk about them. For instance, the pop-culture celebrity who asked me in a serious tone if I'm a neo-nazi and why at that moment, I realized that I am not living my life, but the life of someone else, for no life of mine could be so weird), I figured I'd write about my social life.

I mean, why not? I am bored. You are bored as well, this I know. Why do I know this? Because you are reading my personal site. Let me warn you now, this will not have a coherent flow. It was going to, then I wrote it. It did not. I will not edit it. I refuse.

Anyways, social life.

I have none.

This typically does not bother me. After all, it allows me to do TV without a blurring of the face because hey, when nobody knows you, sees you or talks to you, how will they know who you are? Exactly. Since I can't do the uber-smooth "take my glasses off and now I'm Clark Kent" thing, I figure this is a good runner-up.

In addition, the lack of a social life is very relieving on a stress level. Friends are a pain in the ass, typically. Relationships, moreso. Think of how many fights you get into with your friends, how much needless drama they cause. And that's the easy part, it's far harder to even make a friend in this day and age (Unless you're stupid and will befriend anyone) as there are so few decent people to talk to about the weather, let alone what book you read or what movies they have recently seen.

Friends are also wonderful for rapidly changing their personality and becoming abhorrent people to speak with. Myself, I don't change much. I change some opinions, may change my mind from time to time, but there's a lot that doesn't change. A few examples of things that just don't change...

-I hate parties and will not attend them
-I refuse to dance
-I like to stay home
-I do not eat vegetables
-I do not get drunk, do drugs, or smoke
-I do not speak with strangers in public settings
-I do not flirt with strangers or ask people out on dates in general
-I like to argue
-Tattoos and piercings are annoying to the point of physical disgust
-I dislike almost every male I meet

That is a small list of what would be a larger list if I took the time to write it. Those elements have been in place since I can remember. Throughout elementary, middle and high school, hell, to this very point, I have not changed. Not an iota, other than getting drunk twice during college.

The things I have not changed on? They are all very popular. That has nothing to do with why I do not do them, however. I was not aware at say, 10, that vegetables would become very popular. Or that tattoos and piercings would. I just knew I didn't like them. I still do not like them even though MTV has decided that most of you should like them.

Due to these elements, and my strong passion for opinion, I have never been well-liked. I have one or two friends in Portland. Neither I have known for more than three years. My friends have a shelf life of about five years. Then they burn out and are no longer friends with me.

As one of my favorite characters in Cinema, William Somerset, once said... "I've found that anyone who spends any significant amount of time with me finds me disagreeable."

The fact is, I am not an enjoyable person.

I am content to stay at home, watch movies, eat ice cream, play video games, fight online groomers and write boring blog entries. If I were to be taken out to Karaoke, I would sit there and eat good bar food and watch others sing. I will not sing. I do not sing. I would enjoy myself, but others would not enjoy my presence. If I were to be taken out dancing, I would sit at a table and watch people dance while drinking pepsi. If I were to be taken out to coffee, I would probably sit and remark on how weird it is to sit and drink coffee. It's a pretty weird thing to do.

How did coffee become this big social thing? I missed that day. I remember era A, when coffee was used by people in the morning to wake up. Then era B happened and it was something to go do and talk. I do not know when era A became era B. I do not understand why it is a good thing to go sit in a coffee shop with very hot liquid discussing topics of the day. I don't get it.

My idea of an ideal weekend day with someone I'm in a relationship with would be thus:

1. Wake up next to the person.
2. Make some waffles.
3. Eat them.
4. Watch some news.
5. Discuss whatever comes to mind.
6. Read a book together.
7. Separate for an hour, doing our own thing.
8. Go out to dinner, preferably Chili's or the Olive Garden. Or steak. Anywhere.
9. Watch a movie.
10. Come home, eat some ice cream, go to bed embraced.

I could do that without deviance everyday in a relationship and be happy. Sure, anything more extravagant would be fine. Still, it would not be that much more or less enjoyable than anything else. When in a relationship such as that, it matters only to me to spend time with the person, and not so much what that time is spent doing. That is not exciting enough for people.

Apparently I am supposed to suggest hiking, or something outdoors, or something else "new" and "different" according to popular culture. I cannot do that. I don't like doing those things. I'll do them, but why would I suggest them? Trees are trees. They are brown and green with leaves. The beach is a lot of sand with a lot of water. Both terrains will do shitty things to your clothes and make you uncomfortable. Skiing is okay. Still, it's cold.

I don't even know how to do anything with friends anymore. I think I've basically forgotten the concept somewhere. It's better to have a roommate. Then you have a friend at the ready at any moment, but you can ignore the person at any moment as well because it's a roommate. That's what you do. No pressure, no need to impress.

The worst part about making a friend is that moment where you will have to excuse yourself from the friendship. Say, if they suddenly start talking about their 15 year old hookup, or how much fun it is to smoke pot all the time, or how they can't wait to vote for Nader. It especially blows when you have invested time into the friendship. Yet something will happen. And if it is not you axing them, it is them axing you. Or even worse, no axing occurs.

The phone rings, you answer, babble happens (typically with the person speaking about their own life and problems), you finish the conversation. An hour has passed. You do not want to be this person's friend anymore. Yet, you cannot bring yourself to break it off since the person needs friends. So the friendship continues and then at some point you hope to find an easy out. If it doesn't happen, then these friendships build up and you're stuck doing all this garbage for people that you realize, deep-down, you don't even like.

I will admit to getting bored once in a while and saying "You know, you should have friends. You should have people to converse with. Individuals with which you can travel through life in lock-step with." But then I turn on the news, ride the MAX or simply observe others in other public places and am instantly reminded why I don't. Humanity is, at best, a festering sore of illogical individuals who strive to be special flowers, unique and open-minded. Befriending people, with all their problems, simply invites something worse than having no social life...

Having one you hate, that burdens you without rewarding you.

So I will continue to live my life the way it is set up. No friends, no real activities, nothing. A life that must seem crushingly boring, devoid of interaction and stale. The only life for myself, really. Pleasantly boring, drama-free and stressless. I need not burden others with my old-school habits and others need not bother me trying to get me to change them. A wonderful agreement between life and myself. It stays away from me and I stay away from it.

Everyday, I remind myself of how thankful I am for growing up alone.

It prepared me perfectly for dying alone.

Moammar and Me

April/2004: TV Pitch - As the "King of All Hits", I know that there are at least 5 TV executives that read this site out of my 100 visitors a day. Why do I know this? Law of averages. After all, 5% of the nation has the job of TV Executive, right? Sure.

So for you five TV executives, I have a pitch. Everyone else, feel free to stop reading... wait... now.

Currently, American television is missing out on it's next huge star. And by huge, I mean "George Clooney on ER" huge except that this guy would be smart enough not to star in anything Joel Schumacher directs. Basically, he is the "next big thing" if anyone is like me, and is brilliant.

Moammar Ghadafi should be televisions next big superstar.

And Gaddafi knows it.

Now, I know you five are TV executives, so I will have to explain who Moammar is. Colonel Moammar Ghadafi (more spellings here) is currently the kinda-dictator of Libya. You will recognize the country "Libya" from such classics as "Pan-am 103 blown up by Libya", "Ronald Reagan blows up Libya" and of course, my favorite, "Libya says 'hey, we down' and turns in chemical weapons."

Moammar has been in charge of Libya since 1969 when he came to power in a bloodless coup. Since then, he has commanded Libya to be one of the most unique nation-states in the world due to it's leader, who changes his stripes every decade or so. In fact, his changes have mirrored American cultural changes. Don't believe me? Observe!

1970's - Moammar is a laid back socialist-spewing Palestinian-concerned leader. Writes a book. The dictator equivalent of Disco.
1980's - Moammar changes his game, going completely hair rock by funding terrorist groups as diverse as the IRA to as common as Arab extremists. That's right, very Guns'N'Roses.
1990's - Moammar gets grunge as he sullenly withdraws from the terrorist scene, and bitches at the nations around him.
2000-2004 - Reinventing himself again, Moammar comes out swinging against Al Qaeda, the Arab world, the Taliban, his own stockpile of chemical weapons and decides to hug the western world after seeing Saddam get pulled out of a small hole.

People talk about Madonna changing it up, nobody beats Moammar for on-the-ball trendiness. Then again, one thing that doesn't change is Moammar's fashion sense. Quite frankly, no dictator has ever dressed as well as Gaddafi. The proof is in the pictures.





I could show picture after picture of Gaddafi's bad-ass sense of style. The man knows "how to hat" and probably doesn't even give a shit if he's wearing a girl-hat. Plus, his robes make even robe-experts like Ric Flair jealous. Nobody beats Gaddafi for strange and great looking clothes. Why he hasn't gone into fashion is beyond me. Do you think Versace would be able to get in his way (if Versace is still alive, no clue here) if Gaddafi wanted to win a fashion award? No.

And when Gaddafi travels? He does it in style. One controversial South African visit had the self-dubbed "Golden Leader" arrive in not one, but two boeing 707's. With six million in cash on hand to spend. With sixty armor plated cars. And 27 top-of-the-line assault rifles. And a ship that arrived with a couple thousand pounds of goat carcasses. With buses. And of course, one tent (Gaddafi always travels with one tent, and pitched it in the presidential compound in Egypt). The South African authorites were not pleased, but that's the star-power of Moammar. The crowds loved him and his trip was a huge success.

Dictator, trendy, fashion-conscious. The man is already a star, he just needs to be on TV. But these attributes are not why I suggest Gaddafi be the newest reality TV star. No, as we know that TV is a visual medium, clothes don't get people talking. What people say gets people talking. Quite frankly, if you're looking for water-cooler buzzworthy soundbites, get the Moammar.

Gaddafi has made a career out of saying the thing you would least suspect at the moment you would least suspect it. First, he breaks the mold of what an Arab dictator should say on every level. One of the major tenets of Islam is the subserviance of women. Moammar scoffs in the face of that. Why? Because Gaddafi is a feminist.

Gaddafi on Females:
-Gaddafi's personal bodyguards are all gun-toting special forces FEMALES. This always causes problems when he visits other Arab nation-states, but Gaddafi has choice words for them about such things, telling them to, in essence, screw off. And when Gaddafi is threatened? They rush in, evidenced by clashes with Egyptian Security Services when Crown Prince Abdullah threatened Gaddafi over his use of females in such a service.

Think it's BS? Check out one of Gaddafi's specially trained females:

Challenging Arab sexism

-Gaddafi is quoted as saying many times, that women are "better than men and more capable."
-Out of all the Mideast and African nations, only Israel has a better record of rights for women than Libya.
-He has led the fight against female genital mutilation in Africa.

However, Gaddafi's breaks with Arab culture do not come simply in the form of respect for females. Gaddafi turned his secret service against militant islamists before 9/11. Why? Because Gaddafi has been a target of Al Qaeda for longer than most people realize. He has led the fight against Al Qaeda in Libya, as Al Qaeda has attempted assassinations of Gaddafi as early as 1995, and most spectacularly in 1998. In response, Gaddafi went on the warpath against militant Islam long before we were roused from our slumber on 9/11. He has consistently warned against militant Islam while no one was listening.

Gaddafi breaks with modern Arabs:
-"Libya has for too long endured the Arabs, for whom we have paid blood and money."
-Gaddafi called for Israel to be included in the Arab league.
-Gaddafi called for the Israeli-Palestinian quesiton to be solved by a new joint state: "Israetine." If that isn't entertainment, what is?
-Gaddafi, while being against Israel in speech, has recognized the right of a Jewish homeland. His disagreement is on location, saying that there should be one in France.
-After a rebuke from Gaddafi, international hypocrite Abdullah from Saudi Arabia went on this rant:

"Your Excellency president [Gaddafi]; your comments are rejected. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its people are not a slave of colonialism like yourself and others. Who brought you to power? Who brought people like yourselves to power? Tell us the truth, who brought you to power? Do not talk about things which have nothing to do with you. Lies precede you and the grave is ahead of you."

-Speaking of Al Qaeda, he describes them as a "crazy and insensible people."
-Gaddafi spoke out against the growing movement of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, and suggested it be held accountable for the actions of Al Qaeda... an extreme position that even America doesn't take in the war against terror.
-Gaddafi held a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Turkey that almost ended in the PM's recall from Turkish politics. Strongly supporting the Kurds and noting that Turkey and most Arabs are hypocrites over the Palestinian issue when they oppress the Kurds, Gaddafi stepped up and called for a Kurdish homeland while standing within five feet of the Turkish PM. Turkey went absolutely nuts and Gaddafi smiled, knowing that once again, the Mideast Maverick had outfoxed the dull-witted Arab leaders.

Has Moammar done some dumb things during his life? Sure. Should he support Israel, the only other Mideast state that respects the role of women in society? Yes. But is Moammar a bad guy? I would say no. His "human rights abuses" have come largely against the terrorist groups Al Qaeda have set-up in Libya and his terrorist acts are over 16 years gone by. Gaddafi is a statesman, but more than that, he is an entertainer.

On the world scene, no leader is half as entertaining as Moammar. You can see it by his eccentricies, the man is a first-rate character. He would be perfect for US Television in a type of show akin to "I'm with Busey." The problem with "I'm with Busey" is that really, who gives a fuck about Gary Busey? He's an old cracked out idiot. A replacement in "Moammar and Me" would be far better. Consider these ideas for shows...

Half of the series is Moammar teaching me about Libyan life. Including:

-A tour of his female special forces, their training and shared laughter at moron Arab countries that reject the abilities of females.
-Some one-on-one teachings from his Green Book.
-Of course, his cool-as-hell tent.
-And of course, Moammar shows me how to get down with Gaddafi Fashion.

Of course, all would feature some American sarcasm and Gaddafi verbosity.

Then, the other half is myself teaching Moammar about western culture. Since he just completed an extensive rapproachment with the West, it's time to get Gaddafi up-to-date on how we run things on the West Side.

-Gaddafi discovers the X-Box.
-Bowling with Moammar.
-MTV with Moammar.
-Moammar and I play a game of Risk.

Among other adventures that myself and the Libyan dictator undertake. Screw the boring Busey, Moammar would set Comedy Central, Spike TV or FX on fire with his unique personality, flair, and sublime sense of humor. Of course, the real key to success is having someone as the opposite who understands Gaddafi-Style and why it is simply so damn cool. The only challenge would be to make sure that you don't anger him to the point of his throwing you in prison, but hey, "New Gaddafi" doesn't do that anymore.

Culture clash on an extreme level, eight episodes of "Moammar and Me" would be fairly cheap to produce, as I am sure the man with the armored caravan would jump at the chance to co-produce and split costs. And hey, with my pay requirement being low, you have a series in the can for less than a few hundred thousand dollars.

Moammar and Me. Make it a reality.

A defining geek-out moment on a Friday after-noon

April/2004: Random Thoughts - After doing a long interview for a documentary, and then picking up my check from work, I hit the Lloyd Center for some shopping. In the middle of the shopping (I bought nothing, so any point could have been "the middle"), I decide to have some food. Neurotic as I am about mall-food, I decide to get the best deal possible. I walk through-out the mall, stopping at every place to contrast and compare deals. I'm feeling scientific, even.

Steak Escape? Would have gone for it, except the fact that they overcharge for fries and a drink when you get a meal deal.
Villa Pizza? Great stuff, still, 3.79 for a stuffed pizza is robbery, no matter how good the pizza is. Airport pizza costs less.
Pretzelmaker? Great pretzels, but two bucks for butter, salt and hard bread? C'mon.

So what do I end up doing? I get tired of going between each place three times and decide to just get some food. What do I get? Mrs. Fields cookies. Twelve small cookies. 3.60.

How stupid. I could have had two pretzels.

Then, as I'm walking away, I get thirsty (cookies make you thirsty, wow) and buy a can of Pepsi for a buck from an espresso place.

Now, I'm out 4.60 for some small cookies and a soda.

How fucking stupid.

So I walk over to the hat-stand in the Mall where I buy all my hats. I find a great hat. Huzzah. I try it out, it looks good. Very funky, loose, floppy material... I'm liking it. Then, a familiar question hits me. A terror, really. That terrible question?

"Is this a girl hat?"

I am male. I cannot wear a girl hat. I cannot tell if the hat I an contemplating to buy is a girl hat or not. Check the tag, no gender mention. Time to ask the salesperson in the usual manner. "Hey, is this a girls hat? I like it, but I don't want to walk down the street and have people know that I am wearing a girl hat while I stride obliviously, in my girl-headwear state. I suck at this." The woman I ask this to pauses, says "uhhhh" and then tries to tell me that the hat is made "for a girl or a guy."

Right, it's CK1 in hat form. No hat is made for a girl or a guy! It is impossible. This woman just wanted the commission and didn't give a damn if she sentenced some guy to walking down the street in a girl hat. I can just imagine it, girl hat. So I grimace at her, knowing that she either doesn't give a damn to find out and is guessing, or, the more likely scenario, she's simply lying. I don't buy the hat. I like the hat. But it could be a girl hat.


Anyways, after blowing the food purchase in spectacular fashion... not to mention screwing up what should have been a simple purchase, I had the coolest "geek" moment of my life. Cooler than my first pair of black-framed glasses. Cooler than LOTR Risk in San Francisco (a damn fine game). Cooler than making a pyramid of pez on my desk at work.

As I'm getting on the MAX, I hear "Hey Xavier!" Wondering who in this city would know me, I turn, not knowing what to expect...

And who is it? No other than Little Lost Robot getting off the MAX train!

There is nothing more geek-cool than randomly running into someone whose bloggeresque website your bloggeresque website links to. I was so shocked at even running into someone who knows me, let alone the momentous geekcasion before me that all I could say was "hey man!" before getting on the MAX myself.


The scourge of the B-roll

April/2004: Random Thoughts - On Friday, I got to go downtown and shoot a long interview for an upcoming documentary being made about PeeJ. Thankfully, it wasn't one of the typical media shoots where you need to act stiff and rigid, but a relaxed shoot where you can curse a bit when the camera is off and put the feet up. The hilarious part of the process was the inevitable B-roll, as it usually is for me.

"B-roll" is a term used for filler footage shot in order to splice images into an interview. Think about the various interviews you've seen on TV outside of the 24 hour cable news networks. Take a news-magazine show, for instance. They'll have a shot of the guy walking, or in his apartment, or with his dog. That's B-roll. It's quick, you don't really notice it and it leaves little impression. It's filler, and we pay it no thought.

Doing this site has led me to discover this funky filming method, and how alternatively annoying and hilarious it can be at the same time.

For PeeJ, what can you really shoot to cut-away to for "excitement"? Think about it, the contributors sit at computers doing these conversations and I... sit at a computer directing things, organizing things... doing my typical admin work. It is not exciting to shoot. Yet, it is always shot. Doesn't matter if they're using film, tape, or digital. Doesn't matter if the filming itself costs money. There is hours of it sitting around of me doing goofy stuff.

-Example: I sit at a clear glass table with a beautiful Mac set-up. Nearly two hours of myself typing is shot from every conceivable angle. From underneath the table (yes, the classic "here's a guys crotch while he types" view, to across the room... from behind, through my glasses. Typing, typing, typing.

-Example: Sitting at a lap-top in an old rustic house for CBS National news, typing, typing, typing. Riveting footage, my friends.

The best example happened recently in San Francisco. A documentary was shooting B-roll of myself sitting outside at a coffee shop, typing on a lap-top. Took about an hour of shooting. That is when a table of patrons behind me from inside the shop got to discover what it is exactly that I type.

I have created a little "B-roll typing game" for myself. Think about it, sitting there for an hour trying to look natural typing in a completely unnatural situation for myself (let alone the camera, I'm as natural feeling at a coffee shop as Elliott Smith was at the Oscars) in order to gain footage that most likely will not be used is boring. Sure, I completely understand why they want it, it just bores me to tears. Hence, my game. I try to make myself laugh with utter sarcasm and cynicism. Not the type I write out here on this website, just the natural flow of my mind on paper, which is usually enough to make myself laugh at something I come up with.

So I'm sitting at this outdoor coffee shop table, blazing away. On fire. I'm winning, as I'm not laughing (although it was tough to control my "Nobody knows what I'm typing smirk"), but apparently some other people were. I was later informed by my friend that, behind me, this guy with a baby was reading what I was writing to the people at his table, who were all cracking up. And they had good reason to. I sit there and basically pour out my sarcastic mind on paper.

I was told to look up at a nearby park about fifteen times. So mentally, I dub this "the look" and then type out how exciting this look is for the camera. Something akin to "Okay, they want me to do the look. Oh man, best look ever. I looked at that park as hard as I could and I looked some more. Oscar, baby!" Along with other sarcastic observations, such as the fact that the term "crazy style" comes up as grammatically incorrect in Word, usually. This angered me and I spent five minutes trying to find a grammar situation where "crazy style" is not underlined in green. Yeah, that's how my mind works. Those are the things I sit around and think about.

Yep, I found one, and celebrated to myself on the lap-top... and of course, to my appreciative audience behind me. Oops. It's a fun game, and makes the B-roll of typing tolerable.

However, the B-roll I was shooting Friday is the least tolerable. The "walking" B-roll. Nothing is worse than the "walking" B-roll footage. I would rather sit and attempt to crack myself up for hours on end than shoot two minutes of "walking." You look like such a tool. There you have someone with a camera and they're filming you walking. Again, I understand the why behind it. Still, I cannot imagine anything that looks more pretentious. And what am I supposed to do? I end up look either straight ahead as I did Friday (which is easy), or they will have me "look around" like I did over the weekend prior.

What the hell am I supposed to be looking for? I end up having to "act" like I'm looking at something. It looks so freakin' stupid. If any of the walking footage I've had shot of me ever airs (which I would bet against, since all the walking footage I've shot in the past has never aired), I'll look like a loon. Like I'm scanning the streets for pedophiles. I feel like an utter jackass doing it, and if I were someone else who had the displeasure of watching that foolery, I'd want to walk up and ask what the hell is being looked for?

I would seriously love to compile all that typing and walking footage into a single show, call it "Xavier Typing and Walking" and put it on public access, all sequenced one after another. Only then would B-roll look as absurd as it feels when you're doing it.