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Friday, June 12, 2009

Brandon... and the Camry

Okay.  I'm currently in a frustrating artistic rut.  When such an event occurs, it seems that changing thing up a little is always a good thing.  So, what better way to vent my angst than speak of the great pet peeve that is "CamryDriver".

Anyone who has ever ridden shotgun with me understands exactly what I'm talking about, and yes, I intentionally combined the words together to form a singular vision of the greatest hazard facing road-going motorists today, as well as my worst nightmare as a motorcyclist. Worse than the old-people Buick. Worse than the self-absorbed Pruis.  Worse than any Hells Angels or Mongols or two tons of broken beer bottles spread over Mulholland Drive during a torrential rain storm.  CamryDriver will kill you if you're not careful.  CamryDriver does not distinguish between a three ton SUV and a Smart Car.  And, if I were President of the United States, my first act as YOUR leader would be to perma-ban Camrys for the sake of national security.

As individual entities, both the Toyota Camry and its occupant are, for the most part, quite decent.  The Toyota Camry has been, and probably always will be, a solid automobile. People who drive Toyota Camrys probably have been, are, and always will be, solid citizens.  Yet, when combined... well, consider it one of those bombs that detonate when separated chemicals are released and combined.  By themselves, they are inert.  Together... deadly.

Why?  How could two docile elements, alone uneventful and calm,  merge to form a single weapon of rolling destruction?  Consider the stand-alone ingredients.  Initially, they seem exactly what they are.  Nothing particularly unique stands out.  Dig deeper, however, and the truths begin to reveal themselves.

Let's begin with the Toyota Camry.  Safe, ultra-reliable, with the kind of leading-edge styling only a blind man can love.  A roomy interior that's nearly as bland as the exterior, a relatively compact price tag based upon what the vehicle offers,  and a legendary reputation for being the last car you'll ever own.  Sounds like a "can't miss" choice, doesn't it?  Well, that's due largely to the fact that it IS a can't miss choice -- a very "safe" choice, indeed.  You are not going to go wrong with a Camry.

Now, on to the Driver.  An always-working professional, usually with a non-intrusive taste for style.  Somebody who can blend in and disappear in a crowd.  Somebody who is always multi-tasking: maybe a secretary, or a salesman, or a mom.  Somebody who takes several minutes to order a cup of coffee, or the person who's been standing in the bank line ahead of you for several hours, but still isn't ready when the teller calls for them.  An elderly person, who's daughter and/or son purchased the Camry for their dad or mom (or both) based on it's reputation alone. 

Now, combine the two.
When I look for a car, I shop and compare.  I look for styling, standard features, reliability, performance, and price.  I chose my current Volkswagen due largely to the fact that it's an Audi parts bin car, which is a good thing since many of the features on my VW were once (or still are) features found on $40,000 Audis.  I test drive.  I ask questions.  I learn.  But the Camry is a different beast.  Aside from the before-mentioned reliability, there's NOTHING particularly special or daring about it. It's quite possibly the safest choice a car buyer can make, and the perfect choice for the person/people described above. I would be very curious to ask a Toyota salesman how many new Camry owners simply walk in and purchase the vehicle sans any sort of investigative process described above.  I would NOT be shocked to hear, "Quite a few".

Here's why....

The kind of person who buys a Camry, more often than not, is incapable of making a decision based on careful thought and comparison shopping.  Either they have better things to do with their lives (or has no time) and simply want a car that works, or will suffer an always-fatal skull implosion as the vacuum of low pressure inside the brain cavity crushes the skull inward.  The former, that being simply not caring about what they buy as long as it's reliable, is (in my opinion) the minority, relegated to some who can actually drive and the elderly described above, who would be dangerous in a Fiat, let alone a Camry.  It's the majority, the "skull crushers", that terrify me the most.

These people CAN'T make decisions in life, and it shows in their driving ability.  Their mind is either stuck in super-slo frame-by-frame reply mode, or have SO much on their mental plate that they simply miss things... like stop signs.  This is exactly why they purchase the Camry is the first place.

 "Buying a car is so hard.  My brain hurts.  I'll just buy the Camry", or...


The number one reason they purchased the Camry is, they didn't have to make a decision!!!
Ahhh... decision-making.  A simple concept, yet so very vital in the success of steering a 3200 pound weapon-of-mass-destruction AWAY from the rest of us, rather than INTO us.  Why Toyota installs side-view mirrors on Camrys boggles my mind, since no CamryDriver I've ever witnesses actually uses them.  Power steering? Perfect for last-second lane changes, left-hand turns right in front of you, and running stop signs.  Power brakes? Supreme for braking to a dead stop in the middle of the boulevard for absolutely no reason.  Economy? How's 25 BPG (brain-farts per gallon), perfect for barreling out of supermarket parking lots into oncoming traffic without sacrificing brain cells.  When scanning the road ahead of me, especially on my Suzuki, my primary goal is to spot the Camrys and Lexi (plural for Lexus,  basically a luxury Camry,  but that's for another blog) and steer clear of them.

Ask a new Camry owner why they purchased the Camry, rather than a Mazda 6 or Nissan Altima, or the American offerings of the Ford Fusion or Chevy Malibu.  Dimes to dollars, the answer shall more often than not be "Uhhh.  I dunno.  It's a nice car I guess. And it doesn't break down".

Lovely.  And what does a double yellow line mean? 

"Ummm.  It's so we can see it better, 'cause a single line is hard to see?"

Our only saving grace it that these people have conveniently clumped themselves together into an easy-to-spot group, so avoiding them merely requires a careful observation of the road.

And a prayer.,

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stinky Skin and UGG Boots

Those of you who know me intimately enough to understand the way my mind works (I apologize for that) understand my, apparently,  instinctive need to blurt out whatever is on my mind.  Sure, I attempt to employ a reasonable level of discretion, but usually my idle attempt at whispering beneath the requisite 4 foot radius of wandering ears -- namely the ears of my current target -- fails miserably.  So, I wait.  And wait. And wait some more until the mark is far enough from me so that I may speak in my normal tone of voice without the sound waves straying to the wrong set of ears.

Which, more often than not, bugs the living shit out of my audience of one.

Today, I was taking a leisurely walk with a friend to get some chow.  Before us, two women.... strike that -- two women dressed like teenagers.  Bodies, decent enough.  Faces, not certain, though one turned to show a slight profile for a brief second.  Kinda looked around 35 or so. Then again, perhaps she ages prematurely, and is closer to 20.  Really, it doesn't matter.

What DOES matter were the clothing they wore, and how they smelled.

That smell!  That sickly sweet scent resembling the bastard child of jasmine and vanilla.  It's range!  Easily recognizable from 20 feet, nearly unbearable from 10.  Granted, I'll take the disgustingly sweet stink of whatever these women were wearing over Patchouli any day of the week and twice on Sunday, but GIVEN a choice, I'd prefer a single bullet to my skull.  Don't get the wrong impression: I enjoy a woman who smells nice, especially if they understand pH balance and delicate application of chosen product.  Dumping your body in a vat of molasses-scented shit, however, is quite another story altogether.

When I happen across such an individual, three theories pop into my mind:

A) She has NO clue what the fuck she's doing, and probably runs through bottles of perfume like a drunken sailor runs through bottles of rum.

B) She forgot to take a shower and SMELLS like noted drunken sailor.

C) She had sex with a drunken sailor and never made it home. Wandering the streets, she happened upon a gas station, purchased one of those christmas tree air fresheners, and fastened it around her neck like some frickin' BFF pendant.

My money is on #3, since her and her friend were dressed, at 11:00am on a Tuesday morning, as though they're in desperate need of some bad-assed rave.  Who the Hell were they trying to impress, passing truckers?  

Then again, if the answer is #3 then, yeah, they most likely were.

Monday, June 8, 2009

An oldie, but...

We'll get to the Camry's and Patchouli-soakers of the world in a little bit. But first, I'll carry one over from TOS (that's The Old Site, for those who still own typewriters).

I pledge THIS -- buy enough of my merchandise, and I’ll utilize the $$$ to fund a scientific project destined for worldwide headlines. I’ll call it “Project Stupidity”.

See, I have a theory, and it’s quite simple: There are two levels, in my opinion, of intelligence -- knowledge and common sense. “Knowledge”, being information smart, and “common sense”, being instinctively smart. It is my personal opinion that a single person cannot attain high levels of both at the same instant. In fact, my hypothesis is that both are mutually attached to a sliding scale -- as one increases, the other decreases.

No dumbass, not like walking and chewing gum at the same time!!

More like riding a bike while talking on a cell phone to your friend while crossing a crosswalk....against a red light....on Ventura Boulevard!!!! Let me explain.

Several days ago I was on my way back from Baja Fresh, standing at the corner of Ethel and Ventura, awaiting the green light to cross. Across the street, at the northeast corner, were two boys on BMX bikes. One looked like some half black, half white, quarter asian mutt with an affinity for Big Macs and porn, the other a curly haired white kid fresh from a shopping spree with daddy’s Platinum card at Abercrombie and Fitch. Both had that WB “plug ‘n play” look (stick ‘em in any WB show, and they’ll fit right in). The mutt looks for an opening, then crosses the street in a little less than a hurry. Fine with me. Kinda dumb, but at LEAST he made an effort to rush across. 

A moment later came his friend.

Let’s call him Chad. Yeah, that’s an outstandingly “fresh” CW name.

Chad, wearing a button down print dress shirt with cargo pants and sandals, complete with that curly unkempt hair so popular with his “kind”, decided it was a good idea to cross at a leisurely pace while speaking on his phone (probably to his “baby” -- let’s call her Hailey).

Chad had found a way to lower the seat of his BMX bike without killing himself, as well as figured a method for dialing the phone he holds in his pedicured hand. Yet, when it comes to crossing a busy boulevard, slowly, talking on his phone, on his bike, against the red light, oblivious to 4000 pound objects made of heavy metal hurling forth at 40 miles an hour towards him only because THEY HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY...well, that’s far too much to comprehend. His brain must’ve flat out shut down due to it’s inability to multi-task so many events at once. But there he was, ignoring the vehicles braking to a stop to avoid hitting the jayriding little prick, and at the same instant risking another car slamming into the back of theirs. At the end of his “mad dash”, he and his friend continued on their way, presumably to Chad’s hillside estate.

It was the kind of situation you’d like to simply walk up to the stupid fuck and clock him with a right hook, just so that “something” hit him. Then, of course, I would’ve hit a minor (I’m certain he was under 18) before midday traffic, and that’s never a good thing. His daddy’s most likely a power player in whatever he does, and that would make the situation worse. Of course, that begs the question: if daddy is so Goddamn successful, then how could Chad be so friggin dumb?

Which leads me to the study. The idea is, the more that's happening inside your mind, the less space exists to crunch "common sense components", or CSC. Like how Photoshop uses empty hard drive space to work complex commands (scratch disk), I believe the same goes for the human mind. The clutter of current information temporarily takes up unused space inside our memory banks. At a certain point, this creates a bottleneck, which slows down the ability of the brain to access information relevent to the CSC. Our boy Chad might be a smart kid (I doubt it, but we'll offer him the benefit of the doubt for argument's sake), but riding his bike while on the phone with Hailey, while probably attempting to look CW cool at the same instant denied his mind the ability to access the necessary information to suggest that crossing the boulevard at a less than leisurely pace against a red light in the middle of the day was an incredibly bad idea.

We could easily call this "Encino Mom Syndrome" (EMS), but that's a Natural Stupidity for another day.

Natural Stupidity... now HERE...

Yep. Now the infamous Natural Stupidity editorial department of is HERE, safe and secure within the megamassive all-controlling world of Google.  Typical.