Slurry Beta

Infrequent ruminations on nothing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Road to the Bottom: Installments Two and Three (Plus Extra)

Nothing motivates me to write blog entries more than homework so, readers, you're in for a real treat-two posts on two consecutive days. I think this is the first time it has happened. Don't get used to it, though.

In case you've forgotten, I'm still working at becoming next year's Bad Fiction champion. As I read my drafts over the other day, I felt like they were pretty mediocre so I tried to really dig deep for inspiration and spent most of the weekend at the local landfill. These next two have a "Steinbeck writes about trash" sort of vibe...or maybe a "Slurry writes about trash" vibe. Same difference.

No. 2:

In a flash, it was over and nothing remained but a three foot piece of bailing twine, a small, malleable chunk of black weather stripping, and a chipped ceiling fan blade which Todd fashioned into a non functioning yo-yo for the amusement of his newborn daughter, Chloe, who may or may not have been alive and even if she was, no reasonable person could expect an infant to know any yo-yo tricks.

No. 3:

The question was answered but not to the liking of an experienced janitor as he, so he repeated himself only this time while stomping his feet like an insistent child, one of wealth and privilege who probably knew nothing of cleaning a dumpster or that the ratio of bleach to water was one to ten when killing tuberculosis bacteria, but by that point the question had lost its relevancy because the person he was asking was now operating a loud weed whacker and could not hear him anyway.


In other news, Attorney General Alberto "What's a Constitution?" Gonzales resigned. Does anyone else feel a really empty feeling when they hear of all these Bush administration resignations? They've already done irreparable damage to America's global standing, eroded our rights, and peed in our soup. Sure, it's nice to have some validation that they were horribly ineffective executives but now we've got all this inedible soup lying around that the French won't even eat. Bad analogy? Maybe.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Please Allow Me to Complain

Recently, I've gotten myself into a situation where my name is being frequently called out by those who have never met me and, hence, haven't attempted to pronounce my glorious moniker. It's not a difficult name: short, fairly Germanic sounding, no umlauts, and it rolls off the tongue pretty nicely, if you ask me. But for some reason, nobody can ever seem to get it right.

Sometimes it works out well for me. Often the phone will ring and I'll pick it up to hear, "Yes, is Slurry Brita there?" Click. Call over. I don't want what they're selling.

Other times, like in the context of beginning my first, wait, third advanced degree, it can get a little irritating. The other day, I was in a room full of Polish, Lithuanian, and Laotian students and some lady was handing out our folders, flawlessly pronouncing each name as she handed them their orientation folders. But when she got to me, she was all, "Slurry, uhhhhhh. Hmmmmmm. Now that's sure a strange, stupid, unpronounceable name. Oh, hell, I'm not EVEN going to try. Here's your goddamn folder, you asshole. Now get out of my sight." Before I knew it, I was getting the Stink Eye from just about everyone in the room. When I was on my way out of the building, some jocks grabbed me, gave me swirly and the worst purple nurple I've ever had.

It's tough being me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Seagal Watch: Kiss His Arm Breaking Ass, FBI

Longtime Slurry Beta readers are well aware of my love for Sensei Seagal. I can't help it. His man musk is totally irresistible. When I originally started this blog, I intended on running a regular "Seagal Watch" segment but apparently, I was about 13 years too late. As far as I can tell, he hasn't been doing too much lately other than getting fatter, making terrible music, and not stocking America's Seven Eleven convenience stores with Asian Experience, which I'm still sort of pissed about (how am I supposed to get my energy?). To be honest, I had all but lost hope in Seagal but, as it turns out, his drift into obscurity was the FBI's fault. In a recent L.A. Times article, Seagal ripped the FBI for not publicly clearing his name after facts of an investigation into his alleged involvement with the German mafia were suspiciously made public. Apparently, involvement with the German mafia-not being a terrible actor-tends to make Hollywood studios reticent about putting you in their next big budget shit fest. Instead, they're forced to go with their second choice, Johnny Depp. Well, Seagal wants an apology from the FBI.

Honestly, I trust Seagal here. The dude's been in dozens of movies over the past two decades and has a secret FBI past in each one of them so he knows a thing or two about your precious bureau. Plus, the accusations are ridiculous in and of themselves. Associating with the German mafia and intimidating journalists into not writing negative reviews? Are you kidding me? First, there's no German mafia. I checked. Second, Seagal doesn't get negative reviews. Never has. This whole thing wreaks of global conspiracy.

Apologize, FBI, and allow Sensei Seagal to finally release another hit film. I suggest something with "Kill," "Death," "Deadly," "Dangerous," or "Mortal" in the title.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Road to the Bottom: Installment One

Every champion has to begin somewhere. Fortunately, my brilliant ability to compose bad fiction began at conception, some 22 years ago, give or take. When I'm hoisting the Bad Fiction trophy (or plaque or maybe printed email) about this time next year, you'll be able to fondly look back at these yet to be released nuggets and say to yourselves, "How truly fortunate we are to even know who Slurry Beta is. He's moved onto greener pastures now, but it feels satisfying to know that he once spoke to us."

No, that wasn't the first entry; it needs to be one sentence. Here it is:

To be a fire fighter is to be adored and this was never more apparent to Anthony Gardner as he suited up for yet another shift at the coal mine; he thought about fire frequently and how many flammable objects there were in the world that need only a simple spark to ignite and require fighting, which he had neither the training nor the opposable thumb on his left hand to do.

Now be honest, people. Is this bad enough? My standards are, uh, low I guess.

I'll release the next one in due time.

**Late update: after consulting with James, I made a small yet significant change. The sentence is now exponentially better. I mean worse.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Zapruder Film of Miming.

It's a rare, special day here at Slurry Beta (for you, not me. My days are always special). Like the Loch Ness Monster or Sasquatch, catching Angel Moroni on video tape has historically been a near impossibility...until now. Knowing that he can always be found performing on Monday's open mic night at the local watering hole, my camera crew and I followed him for hours just to catch the three minute clip you see below. After a bit of practice in the bathroom mirror, Moroni delivered a performance for the ages; a three and a half minute pantomime odyssey that Pantomimus himself would have wept over...silently in an invisible box with perhaps a bit of wind. I believe he drew his inspiration directly from his daily morning routine. Keen viewers will notice the obvious lack of shower, toothbrushing, and deodorant pantomiming. I'm just saying.

Special thanks:
The camera crew
The unpaid joke consultant who basically came up with the punchline here
Angel Moroni for being responsible for 10% of my blog

Stay tuned tomorrow for my first bad fiction installment. You will hate it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

They Give Awards for This? Alternate Title: My True Calling.

Lately, a significant part of my day involves perusing the daily newspaper, which around here is usually the Star Tribune. Actually "perusing" may be a bit misleading. I read the whole damn thing, front to back and sometimes the classified section for no good reason at all. I look forward to Thursday's Taste section like it's the new Harry Potter book and I'm an awkward kid willing to put a striped tie and glasses on and wait or camp for hours in front of a bookstore.* I realize, as a blogger, I should be rejecting the print medium altogether and embracing my contribution to this populist movement but I need to get out of the house sometimes. Unemployment can get a bit lonely.

The point is, I read the hard copy. So why didn't I just get right to the point and say that directly instead of wasting your time insulting Harry Potter fans and revealing that I'm the only one I know that gets pumped for the Taste section? The answer: I'm a skillfully bad writer. That's right, it's not an oxymoron. Apparently they give awards out to those who can compose poorly written fiction. Since this blog is basically fiction, I may have found a literary award I'm capable of winning.

I discovered it while I was reading the paper about a week a ago because someone from Wisconsin won it, which means it was nearly front page Strib material. It's called the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and it gives out an annual award to the individual who can write the most horrendous opening sentence to an unrealized novel. It was apparently inspired by Edward George Bulwar-Lytton's book, Paul Clifford, which had the famous opening sentence, "It was a dark and stormy night..." Yeah, I didn't read it either nor do I care to. But I do like awards and I think I'm going to give it shot.

As such, I will be posting a few possible contest entries over the next week or weeks or years (Slurry Beta time cannot be restricted). Your job as an active reader of my blog is to read up on the award's past winners (you'll actually enjoy reading them, trust me) and let me know what you think of my possible submissions, which one is the strongest, weakest, etc. Keep in mind, I have a massive ego and will not tolerate criticism so, Moroni, I will blocking all of your comments. In fact, I may block all comments and keep my brilliance to myself if you all can't behave. I have reservations opening this up to input from readers, anyway, because I have less than three and I like to think of my blog as ridiculously popular. Hey mom, you might want to create a few more blogger names.

Just to give you an idea of the quality I'm aiming for, here's this year's winner:

Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.
Jim Gleeson, Madison, WI

A truly inspiring piece. Of course, throw potty humor into pretty much anything and I'll be inspired--to pee.

*Okay, that was a bit of an unnecessary Potter jab there. I know some of my readers are Potter fans but you have to admit, it's a little ridiculous for people to dress up like Harry Potter or another character and wait in line for hours for the new book. It's not like there are a limited number of copies, folks. In fact, you could've saved time by pre-ordering it or possibly reading it on the internets earlier than the release date, albeit illegally. But what do I know? I'm equally perplexed by Star Wars, Star Trek, and Grateful Dead fans. I suppose we're cut from different cloth. The cloth I'm cut from is made out of bear skin with "Slurry Beta" inscribed with intricate embroidery surrounded by flames and barbed wire while your cloth is most likely a poly/cotton blend. But enough about you, this is my blog.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cabin Fever

I spent the past weekend at a beautiful lake cabin in Wisconsin for the annual Longfellow Neighborhood MENSA Chapter summer conference. Some of the highlights included: a wonderfully poignant keynote speech from famed wine maker, Carlo Rossi; an absolutely stirring rendition of "Stand by Me" from karaoke virtuoso, Angel Moroni, which was delivered to a group of cougars in sashes and tiaras; a dive bar scavenger hunt; some late night pontooning; and, of course, the budgetary meeting on the last night which ran into the wee hours of the morning on Sunday and got very tense at moments. Angel Moroni refused to see my side of things even though I am the self-proclaimed moral compass of the group.

Perhaps the main event of the weekend involved a highly touted beer chugging match between Angel "The Talker" Moroni and DC "The Walker" Josh that took place on the infamous Square Dock Arena on a lake near Danbury, Wisconsin (A.K.A. Beer Town, U.S.A.). Security was tight so all of us photo journalists were forced to remain the restricted docked pontoon area. Because I couldn't get all that close, the photos aren't spectacular but I was able to accurately capture the drama that unfolded.

Let me set the scene. Moroni was practically guaranteeing a victory over any challenger. DC Josh, a strong but relatively unproven athlete on the circuit offered a surprise challenge in the late afternoon on Saturday. Promoters went crazy. There were nearly three spectators. The stage was set for an epic battle. Before the event could take place however, some ground rules needed to be established. First, a referee (not picture but in an inner tube nearby) was to ensure the participants began drinking at the same time. Second, once the beverage is finished, the cup needed be turned upside down on the participant's head to ensure it had been completely emptied. In close calls, the referee was to check for spills.

Alright, here are the photos I took of the historical event:This is a snap shot we used for the event poster, which was displayed in approximately zero locations. Both participants had to be separated immediately as tensions nearly boiled over. Once they were safely sequestered in their corners, they were brought back to the middle of the dock for the contest.In a dramatic upset, DC Josh narrowly defeated Angel Moroni. But Moroni cried foul, claiming DC Josh raised his cup above the chest too early. DC Josh vehemently denied the allegations.Controversy ensued for several minutes. The athletes had to be separated once again.In a last ditch effort, Moroni proposed a rematch. DC Josh, although reluctant, agreed to at least discuss the details of a second contest.Negotiations were heated and took several minutes. Comparisons of each other's wingspans were taken to discern if there DC Josh's beer had to travel a lesser distance or if his wingspan violated any other regulations Angel Moroni made up. I believe the referee, on his way back with more beer, stepped in to mediate from his inner tube and it was agreed there would be a rematch.
With yet another strong performance, DC Josh won the rematch in convincing fashion (see cup on head). Ever the good sport, Angel Moroni conceded and did not request a second rematch. In fact, no contests were held on Square Dock Arena for the rest of the weekend.
And, with that, the waters calmed...until next year.