Friday, April 29, 2005

And...... Scene!

Well, this is it. We all knew it was coming. No, don't cry. Really, stop. Everyone's looking. You're making a scene. Here, wipe your nose; there's snot everywhere. No, it's not you. It's me.

No, but seriously, I want to thank everyone for reading the blog. I honestly had the best time writing for it, and I'm certain I'll start a new blog very soon (for anyone interested in following me). Maybe even by the time I finish writing this entry. I'll post a link here as soon as it's established.

I want to thank my supervisor Julie, and everyone else at Comedy Central, for being so cool. It's a great place to work, and I learned a great deal about writing and humor there.

I know I poo-poo on New York quite a bit in my posts, but it's all in good fun. For the most part. Listen, the NRW subway station at 59th street and Lexington Avenue really is an very smelly place. And the city really is that expensive. And the DVD bootleggers really are time travellers.

But anyway, these are a few of my favorites. Ones that I had as much fun writing as I hope you did reading...

Happy Chinese New Year! ... Get Your Traditional Chinese Watches!
Chinatown 2: The Revisiting
If You See Something, Say Something
St. Patrick: Patron Saint Of Slurring
What The Scientologists Are Really Up To
10 Things You Didn't Know About Interns
Why I Love The Asterisk

There are others, too, like "God Versus Satan..." and the entire "Interns: A History" series. Let's put it this way: I had fun writing everything on this blog. How I became "blog-famous" is a unique story, which I won't go into, but once people actually started reading this blog, I felt sort of obligated to make it worth reading. I wanted to make it worth your time. I wanted to stay away from giving you random bits about my day mixed with pseudo-comedic observations that went nowhere. "This morning I had granola for breakfast. What's the deal with granola anyway? Am I right?" I wanted to avoid that.

A Brief Paragraph That Implies This Blog Is Much More Important Than It Really Is...
A blog can really help your writing, even if nobody is reading it. Of every good writer I've ever listened to, read about, or had the great fortune of speaking to, they all give the same advice: If you want to be a good writer, you have to write. 85% of everything you write, I write, anyone writes, will likely be crap. So, if you want to hit that 15%, you're going to have to work at it. Blogs are great for that.

And finally, I'll leave you with a quote. It's one of my favorites.

"With whate'er gall thou sett'st thy self to write,
thy inoffensive satires never bite."

- John Dryden's
Mac Flecknoe

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Choose Your Own Adventure: INTERN EDITION

It's fitting that this is my last topical blog entry for this particular blog, because it may be — and I'm as modest as they come — THE MOST AMBITIOUS BLOG ENTRY EVER. In fact, it is.* It's long, it's elaborate, and I can only credit my supervisor, Julie, for implanting the idea in my head. And also my countless hours of not doing anything more meaningful with my time. Though I had trouble keeping myself from rushing it, I'm pretty proud of this one. So enjoy it. Or don't. Either way, I still love you.

Choose Your Own Adventure books were once very popular. For those unfamiliar, Choose Your Own Adventure books present you with a story by which, more often than not, you play the main character, and ever so often you are forced to choose the direction of the story. And various outcomes and events result depending on your choices.

My older brother, God rest his soul — I'm just kidding, he's very much alive. Little brother-to-brother humor there. Just kidding, big brother. Anyway, my formerly deceased brother owned quite a few Choose Your Own Adventure books, and the genre was sort of on the way out by the time I learned to read. People say 20 is a late age to learn to read, but I not agree. 20 provides a nice comfort zone. It's not too young like, say, a fetus, but not too old like, say, a much older fetus — we're talking a 30 or 40 year old fetus.

But they were a popular draw for children (and one sad 20 year old), and I thought it would be nice (as well as challenging) to create an intern version of Choose Your Own Adventure. Again, it might be long but I think it's broken up enou — oh, for crying out loud, just read it! Reading doesn't hurt you. It's good for you. So, without further delay...



You are an intern.

Your workplace depends on you to
perform the menial tasks no one else
wants to perform.

Will you get all your work done, make
the right decisions, and survive the day?

You gently rustle in your sleep. Slowly, you awaken to another beautiful day in the city. What city? Why, it's New York City. You came here to intern. Remember the internship? The one that requires you show up in the next fifteen minutes? "Oh, shit!" you yell, throwing the covers to the floor and bounding out of bed.

It seems like I'm going to be late no matter what, you think. So, should I show up late, or just call in sick?

If you want to dress and get ready for work, even though you're going to show up late, go to the section marked A. If you want to call in and tell your supervisor you're sick, go to the section marked B.


You quickly throw on some pants and a shirt, even though it smells rotten. As long as I get there relatively quick, you think, everything should be fine. Thank goodness for you the subway was running on time that day and you arrived only twenty minutes late. It could have been much worse.

You enter your building through the revolving doors. As you approach the elevator, you're not paying attention and bump hard into another person who seems to be in quite a hurry. You hold on tight to your bag, but the stranger's things are scattered all over the lobby. "Dammit," the man says under his breath. "Sorry," you say. You graciously help the man gather his items, but he doesn't seem thankful. He hardly looks at you and he's sweating profusely, wildly searching for every last item. A security guard walks over to help, but this makes the stranger gather his things even quicker. And before the guard can help, the stranger has already rushed toward the revolving doors. Odd, you think.

You continue towards the elevator doors. Suddenly, you spot something on the ground. It's off behind one of the planters in the lobby. You casually check to see what it is. Gee-wiz! It's a diamond necklace! This must be worth a gazillion dollars!, you exclaim in your head.

Maybe I should turn it into the security guard. Or maybe I should keep it. After all, they don't pay me anything to work here. I should get something out of this, right?

If you want to turn the diamond necklace into the security guard, go to the section marked C. If you want to keep the diamond necklace for yourself, go to the section marked D.


You reach for your cell phone and dial the number of your workplace. "I'm not feeling very well," you say, throwing a random cough in the conversation here and there. Your supervisor tells you to get well and that she'll see you tomorrow. You end the call with a clear conscience. "Everything turned out fine," you say to yourself.

Fifty blocks away, your supervisor hangs her phone up, rises from her desk, and goes to the wall in her office. On the wall is a board labeled, "World's Coolest Interns." Your name is at the top. But not any more. With a disappointed grimace, she sighs and removes your name from the top slot. You're lowered significantly, placed above the intern who kept inappropriately touching people, but below the intern who came to work once on ecstasy.**


I can't keep this, you say to yourself. You nod in agreement with your Christian upbringing. It's the right thing to do.

You walk to the guard station and holding the diamond necklace out to display to them, you say to the guards, "Here, I found this lying on the floor over there behind that planter."

"Oh, thank you so much," says one of the guards. "We'll notify management." The guard picks up the phone and dials management. He tells one of the executives that he found a diamond necklace in the lobby. The executive is apparently ecstatic because you can hear his voice from where you're standing. He tells the security guard that he'll be getting a raise for this, and that from now on the sky is the limit. "You've got a fine future ahead of you," the executive says before hanging up.

The security guard gives you a condescending look with a subtle grin. What an asshole, you think, once again walking to the elevators. But, at least you'll be going to heaven, and he'll roast nicely in eternal hellfire. You take solace in that as the elevator doors close.


Yes, why shouldn't you keep it? Eternal hellfire can't be that long. Looking around, you place the diamond necklace inside your messenger bag and go upstairs to your workstation.

After you sit down you see one of the other interns — your arch nemesis, to be exact. Evil Intern. He looks at his watch, alluding to your tardiness, and throws you a evil smirk. God, I hate him so much, you think. "Well, it's nearly lunch time, and I've been here for hours, so I think I'll grab a bite." He gets up and leaves for the elevator.

If only murder was legal, you think watching him the whole way down the hall. You go back to your work and try to think of a way to smooth things over with your supervisor. Suddenly, Evil Intern's bag drops off of the chair in his workstation and into the aisle.

Hmm, you think. But should you? No, you couldn't! Could you?

If you want to simply pick the evil intern's bag up and put it back on his chair as if nothing happened, go to the section marked E. If you want to plant the diamond necklace in the evil intern's bag, go to the section marked F.


You don't plant the diamond necklace in Evil Intern's bag. You choose to just pick the bag up and place it back on the chair. Evil Intern goes on to become the President of the United States. And all because you didn't dishonestly ruin his reputation. Enjoy your life of goodwill. Loser.


You quietly grab the bag and transfer the diamond necklace from your bag to Evil Intern's bag. Then, calling your supervisor over to the scene for something completely unrelated, you "accidentally" knock over Evil Intern's bag. The diamond necklace falls out.

Your supervisor has a look of shock on her face. "What the hell is going on?" she yells. "We've had a series of jewel thefts in the past few days — this intern is responsible? Well, he'll feel my fiery sword, that's for sure!"

You try to look as shocked as she is and even throw in a few meaningful quips. "He seemed like such a nice guy," you say. "You think you know someone, and then... this." Your supervisor nods in agreement. "So true," she says.

Well, by comparison, your work is looking excellent, and your supervisor wants to take you to lunch. This is your big chance to make a good impression. You both grab your coats and head out to a nice restaurant down the street. The time comes to order. What you order could have a lasting effect on your professional relationship.

If you decide to order veal, go to the section marked G. If you decide to play it safe and just get a salad, go to the section marked H. If the pressure is too much and you can't make up your mind, go to the section marked I.


You order the veal. But you don't know that your supervisor is a staunch animal rights activist. She slaps you, throws a glass of water in your face, and storms out of the restaurant. "Butcher!" she yells from the doors. Clearly, you've been fired.


You play it safe and order a salad. But you don't know that your supervisor is a staunch salad rights activist. She slaps you, throws a glass of water in your face, and storms out of the restaurant. "Butcher!" she yells from the doors. Clearly, you've been fired.


You can't make up your mind. This lunch may be the chance of a lifetime to make a good impression. You're sweating all over. The pressure to choose wisely becomes too much for you to handle. You have a major panic attack and frantically stumble out of the restaurant.

You don't know where you're going, but you don't care. You just need to get as far away as possible. You clumsily run down a busy New York City street. Too many people. You feel a second panic attack coming and quickly to a deserted alley. The air is cool and stinky, but you're alone, and, finding a comfortable spot against a brick wall, you begin to relax.

Suddenly, you hear a loud bang from an open door in the alley. It's not a sound you've heard before.

If you decide to ignore the loud bang and remain where you are and relax, go to the section marked J. If you decide to ignore the loud bang and try to go back to the restaurant, go to the section marked K. If you decide to go find out what caused the loud bang, go to the section marked L.


You decide to ignore the loud bang. Furthermore, you ignore everything completely. You let all the muscles in your body relax and you sigh deeply as you tune out the rest of the world. This is nice, you think, falling into a pleasant sleep right there in the alley.

You wake up. It's night time. You're in tremendous pain, but you don't know why. Rising to your feet is very painful. The side of your shirt seems to be wet. Oh, Jesus! It's blood! What happened? Running your hands over every inch of your midsection, you come across some stitches. Oh goodness. Your down-to-earth, Midwestern mother was right. This is exactly what she said would happen if you fell asleep in an alley. Someone stole your kidneys.


You ignore the loud bang and decide to go back to the restaurant and attempt to explain your little outburst to your supervisor. But you don't see her. She must have gone back to the office. You've lost your chance. Sitting in the booth, you place your head in your hands and you cry openly. "Little girl" openly. As you reach for the napkin holder to dry your tears, you lock eyes with your supervisor. She's sitting in the next booth over. She quietly removes herself from the booth and, as inconspicuously as possible, rushes out of the restaurant.


You get up and carefully walk over to the door. You feel as if someone is following you, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone in view, so you ignore the feeling. There’s just a curtain hanging down from the top, no physical door. You pull the curtain aside and step in. It’s dark and you can’t see anything. The wall feels like riveted metal. What’s this? Feels like a light switch. You flip it on. A long descending corridor appears. Looks like it goes pretty deep under ground.

You follow it along until you reach an elaborately designed metallic door. Again, you turn around, thinking you hear someone behind you, but no one seems to be there. The door looks futuristic — I’ll bet this thing could withstand a bomb blast, you think. To your right is a keypad and above it there are five small digit spaces. Must be a five digit code to unlock this giant door.

“I should probably go back,” you mutter under your breath. Still, it can’t hurt to try, right? “I’ll try three times to open it and then if that doesn’t work, I’ll give up and go home.” But which three button combinations will you try?

If you want to enter “32183,” your birthday, go to the section marked M. If you want to enter “01110,” the first five digits in the Binary language encoding of the word “poop,” go to the section marked N. If you want to enter the first five numbers off the top of your head, go to the section marked O.


You enter “32183,” the date of your birth, just for fun. “That is the incorrect passcode,” says a feminine computer voice. Suddenly, a tiny panel of the wall opens up to your right. A small laser emerges and waits only a moment before severing your hand from your body. You cry out in pain, but no one will hear you so far under ground. You run frantically away from the secured door. You come again into the alley. You’re thankful to be alive. You have a new lease on life. Now it’s time to go back to the restaurant and show your supervisor that you’re the best intern out there. You should seek medical attention, but you’re far too driven. Who cares if the wound becomes infected? It’ll be the most successful infected wound on the job market.

You reenter the restaurant, keeping your severed hand in your pocket so as not to freak out your supervisor. You apologize for the outburst you had had earlier and tell her it was probably because of something you ate for breakfast.

“It’s not a problem,” she says. “Why don’t we forget lunch and just talk.” JOY!, you think. “I wanted to ask you if you were interested in joining our company softball team. You seem athletic, and we really need someone who can swing the bat.”

You stare deep into her eyes, as if she’s just told you that she shot your best friend. And then used your best friend’s severed arms to beat your favorite dog to death.

You jump out of the booth and run out of the restaurant once again, screaming to high heaven.


You decide to enter “01110,” the first five digits in the Binary language encoding of the word “poop.” You can’t help but giggle as you press the keys. Just as you suspected; it doesn’t work. Nothing happens. “Very funny,” says the feminine computer voice.

It was pretty damn funny. **

Go to the section marked O.


You decide to enter in the first five digits that come into your head. Okay, you think. How about 1... 2... 3... 4... and 6 — no wait, 5. Yeah, “12345.” You take a breath and then enter the combination into the keypad. You hear two beeps followed by a metallic thud. “Passcode correct. Lock disengaged,” says the soft, feminine computer voice.

Incredible. What are the chances? It’s almost as if you existed within a story and the author was simply using inexplicable luck to move the plot forward.

The door is fairly heavy and to avoid drawing any unwanted attention to yourself, you don’t shut it and instead leave it open just a crack. You appear to be in some sort of laboratory or warehouse. There are large crates stacked all over. You quietly come to an opening and see a long boardroom type table with chairs all around it.

To the right you see a giant computer screen and a map of the globe. You can’t really tell what’s going on, but your curiosity has gotten the best of you. You move closer. Coming into the clearing, an entire other area of the complex appears to the left. The place appears to be deserted.

Then, you see it. What is that? Within a large clear chamber, bolted down to an upright steel slab, is some kind of creature. It looks humanoid, but it clearly isn't human. It has two massive horns attached at its temples. There's a bloody wound at its side; that's probably what that loud bang was. A gun perhaps. They must have shot it, whatever it is. It looks like some kind of... some kind of —

" — What the hell is that?!" shouts someone from behind you. You turn to see someone you hoped never to see again. It's none other than your arch nemesis, Evil Intern.

"What the hell are you doing here?" you bark. "Are you following me? Weren't you fired?"

"Yeah," he says. "But I have this strange feeling that you had something to do with that?"

"Don't look at me, jewel thief," you reply. You switch your attention back to the creature. Evil Intern walks to your side to examine it with you. "I think it's being held captive," you say. "Why else would they shoot it?" Evil Intern remains silent.

Suddenly the creature awakens with a weak growl. "RRRRelease me," it says is a hard gritty demon voice. "I mean no harm to anyone. I only wish to return to my home." The creature winces in pain from the bullet wound. "RRRRelease me. If you release me, I will reward you with riches beyond your wildest dreams." It looks very weak now, and it once again goes unconscious.

If you decide not to open the chamber, go to the section marked P. If you decide to open the chamber and free the creature, go to the section marked Q.


You decide not to open the chamber. You convince Evil Intern to let it go and you both exit the complex, never speaking of it again. Except on your resume. What? The demon creature is a viable reference. ... What?


You decide to open the chamber. It hisses and steam shoots out the sides. The creature awakes to the sound and slowly emerges. You and Evil Intern take a few steps back unconsciously. "Thank you," says the demon creature. It wants to bring whoever freed him back to its lair to reward that person for what they've done. You don't really like the sound of "lair."

But it doesn’t matter, because Evil Intern has already taken credit. Evil Intern is too keen on traveling to the demon's lair, but he's so annoyingly proactive, he'll become friends with a demon if it means advancement.

The demon is about to take Evil Intern down to his lair, when he pauses and looks at you. He grins. "Are you sure you weren't the one who freed me?" It's almost like he knew. But what do you tell him?

If you want to tell the demon it WAS Evil Intern who freed him, go to the section marked R. If you want to tell the demon that it was in fact YOU who freed him, go to the section marked S. If you want to tell the demon that NEITHER of you actually freed him, go to the section marked T.


You decide to tell the demon creature that it WAS Evil Intern who freed him. "Very well," says the demon. With a boom, he opens up a fiery prtal and dives in. You can hear Evil Intern's screams of horror.

Finally, things are looking up.

Just then, a hand grabs your shoulder. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???" It's a man in a lab coat; a scientist, you assume. He looks absolutely panicked. You now see that there are a group of men surrounding you. Some look like scientists, some look like business men. They grab you and force you in a seat.

"Do you realize what you've done?" says one scientist. You look at him innocently. "You've released a demon back into the world! The end of the world is now going to come thanks to you!"

"I don't understand," you say. "Who are you people?"

"We're representatives from every nation on Earth," says one man, dressed in a black suit. "That demon was holding information that is key to Lucifer's success in world domination! And now Lucifer will get that information!"

"I still don't understand."

"You don't need to understand!" yelled one man. "The demon must be stopped, and you must be the one to stop him. You're responsible. You need to slay the demon before he reaches Lucifer!"

"I can't slay that thing," you say.

"You can with this," says an old priest, carrying a large sword. He slowly walks to the front. "This is the sword of St. Michael, the archangel, used to guard the gates of Eden. We discovered this ten years ago. When we recently had it carbon dated, it turned out to be older than... well, anything. Older than the universe itself. The markings, the style; this is the sword of St. Michael. We're not talking stories of the Bible here — he really existed. You're going to take this sword. You're going down to hell, and you're going to find that demon before he reaches Lucifer."

The old priest kneels before you and holds out the sword. "Will you, or will you not accept this quest?"

To refuse St. Michael's sword, go to the section marked U. To accept the sword of St. Michael, go to the section marked V.


You decide to tell the demon creature that it was you who freed him. He smiles devilishly and tosses Evil Intern aside. He grabs you and you shoot down a portal to Hell. There, he tortures you and steals your soul. You are to die slowly and painfully, but first you ask the demon for one last request. He allows for one request, at which point, you, on the brink of death, say to him, “My supervisor will throw a fit when I don’t come in on Friday... please deliver the appropriate message for me.”


You tell him that neither of you actually freed him. The demon becomes enraged by the utter dishonesty. “I’ve never been so insulted in my whole life! Your were going to reap rewards which you did not deserve?? OUTLANDISH!”

Instantly, you’re both killed in fiery flames from Hell. “I try SO hard sometimes,” says the demon, fighting back tears. “And what does it ever get me? Used and abused, that’s what! This world is SO getting damned!” He sniffles and then descends slowly into Hell.


You refuse St. Michael’s sword and run out of the underground complex knowing full well that you have brought about the end of the world. It’s just too much pressure. What can one little intern do? Oh well. Anyway, there will be very little time left.


Maybe I can still somehow impress my supervisor before this all goes down, you think, running back to the restaurant.


You accept St. Michael’s sword — the sword he used to guard the Gates of Eden — and you accept responsibility for your actions. You need to travel down to Hell and smite the demon before he reaches Lucifer. Holding the archangel's sword in your hand gives you a strength you've never felt before, like the power of God is flowing through you.

A second priest emerges from the back of the group and presents to you an amulet. "This will allow you to travel back and forth between this plane of existence and Hell." You take the amulet and place it around your neck, still not entirely sure about any of this. The two priests back away cautiously.

With a bright explosion of light, you arrive in the Unholy Land, Hell. Immediately, the smell of death is making you want to vomit. The air is filled with ash and you find it difficult to breathe. But your mission is clear and you press on. You come to a long bridge overlooking a vast lake of blood and fire. Then, something you don't expect. There is the demon creature you're looking for. On the bridge. He's waiting for you. He sensed you were coming, and he is too proud to run away from you. His pride may be his undoing.

You walk out to meet him. He pulls a flaming sword from its sheeth. It's somehow dark and blazing at the same time. Truly hellish. With attitude, you remove the archangel's sword from its sheeth. The glare momentarily blinds you. The creature grunts in pain.

Within seconds, he lunges for you, but you block his attacks. Left. Right. From above. Left again. He's trying to over power you, but you're quick. You don't know where the strength is coming from, but you feel it with every swing of your blade. The creature starts to become frustrated. Clank! Crack! Shwing! CLANK! He becomes sloppy and clumsy. You push him back toward the end of the bridge. He's confused now. You're power is too much for him. Just a few more moves. You throw him off balance and sever his sword hand in one clean swipe. His sword falls to the ground with a loud clatter.

He's crying out in pain now. You hold the tip of the blade underneath his chin. Now what?

If you want to spare the demon's life, go to the section marked W. If you want to finish him off, go to the sction marked X.


You decide to spare the demon’s life. You’re Christian upbringing — turn the other cheek — has served you well. But you warn him to forget the vital information in his brain and that you’ll be back if he makes any more trouble. As you turn to leave, he leaps up and grabs his sword, stabbing you square in the back. It’s very painful. You’re Christian upbringing has totally screwed you over.


You place your boot on the creature's throat. So pitiful, you think. With a bright flash of holy light, you bring the sword down hard, beheading the beast.

You stand for a minute, breathing heavily, studying the surroundings. Hell, huh?, you think. But there's no time to look, because a bright flash brings you instantly back to the lab you were started. The group of secretive men thanks you for your work. They take the sword and amulet away and push you out the door with little more said. As you walk out, a younger priest says, "You should know, several days have passed since you left. It seemed instant in that world, but time works differently here."

Oh no, you think. Can I still make it to work today? Will I be fined or suspended?

If you decide not to go to work today, go to the section marked Y. If you decide to go to work today, go to the section marked Z.


You've decided not to go to work, and that, after fighting the Devil's minion, you have a new lease on life. You don't need an internship. Everything is now in perspective. The world seems brighter. Food tastes better. You stopped the end of the world. Take a few days off. But stop walking like a sissy. You beat Satan. Walk like you just beat Satan. No, that's not it either. Forget it. Let's go home, intern... let's go home....


You decide you can still make it into work today. They'll be pretty impressed that you fought a demon and saved the world from Satan. You're walking a little taller now and people seem to notice. "Hey, you, can you copy this for me? Thanks." Ah, what a past couple days it's been. Now, get to work.

* Yes, it is.
** A real person.
*** The word “poop” in Binary is “01110000011011110110111101110000.” The scary thing? Some of you didn’t need to be told.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

One Last Chinatown Trek

My friends Jake, Melissa and I wanted to see Chinatown once more before we left the city. Even after going there as many times as I had, I was still not used to the complete and utter bombardment of illegal activity that is Chinatown. It wasn't so much that we wanted to be there; we had to be there. Because there was one more thing we needed to get before we left for home. We didn't need watches or purses or sunglasses, all of which look strikingly similar to the designer name-brand version of the same product. I mean, heh-heh, you could probably attach a fake Gucci label to a knock-off hand bag and sell it as if it were Gucci, but, come on, this is Chinatown. Nothing like that goes down here. Silly billy.

No, we needed only one item. A blinged-out medallion with supernatural powers.

If there's anywhere in the world where you can pick up a supernaturally powered medallion at a low, low price, Chinatown would be it. So, we set off into the hustle and bustle of Canary Street on a quest to find the coolest looking — most reasonably priced — medallion or amulet with supernatural powers that we could find.

We poked our heads into all the shops we could find, but no one wanted to provide us with a medallion that had supernatural powers. There were plenty of medallions and amulets — money signs and crucifixes and Superman symbols. But alas, none of them would allow us to steal and contain the souls of others, or breathe fire, or live forever. We wanted one like this...

Image Hosted by

Finally, after searching for a number of hours, we met one man who said he could deliver the merchandise we were looking for. He took us into a back alley, passed all of the purses and watches and sunglasses.

"I believe this is the item for which you seek," he said, stroking his mustache. "I received this dragon medallion from a wise old Chinese man outside of Kunming. He seemed hasty to rid himself of it. Only when I discovered it's true power did I understand his urge to sell."

We all sat in awe, eager to discover the magical properties of this medallion. "What does it do?" asked Melissa.

"Oh, it is a very special medallion," said the man in a dark whisper. "When worn, it allows you to inhabit the bodies of other people and then extricate their essence from their physical body — YOU WILL STEAL THEIR SOUL! MWAHAHAHA!"


"Sweet!" we all said simultaneously. "Dude, we will so take that!" I said.

"Twenty dollars," said the Chinese man.

"What?" said Jake. "That's crap! We're not paying twenty for that. Come on, guys. Let's go. There's probably a supernatural medallion store down the street."

"Very well," said the Chinese man. "Fifteen dollars. Final offer."

"Sorry, buddy," I said. "No deal. Too bad, too. I really felt like stealing some souls today. I guess me and burdensome ten dollar bill will have to go elsewhere."

He never went lower than fifteen. But he did show us some fine Rolexes. And Prada bags. Prada bags... Rolexes... soul-stealing medallions.* A fine selection. A Chinatown selection.

We never did find the soul sucking medallion we wanted. No one seemed to have one. Well, they had them, but twenty dollars? F that. We might have even settled for non-blinged out supernatural medallions, too. Honestly. It didn't necessarily have to be decked out in ice.**

Anyway, that guy was a complete waste of time. So, if you see him in Chinatown, don't do your business with him. He's a shady dude. Twenty for a soul-absorbing medallion? Give me a break. I found this picture of him. Spread it around. Warn any other Chinatown shoppers you know.

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* And over-priced at that.
** "Ice" means diamonds. And in Chinatown, "diamonds" means "These are not diamonds."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Parting Tips For Future New Yorkers

Since I'll be leaving in a week, I thought I could give a few tips, a few bits of info, to people interested in becoming future New Yorkers. As is obvious by this blog, I know very little; these are just random things I've noticed and made a mental note of at some point during the adventure.

#1 Don't Come To New York City
Don't come to this place.

#2 If You Must Come, Bring One Million Dollars
You'll need a lot of money if you want to live in New York — one million dollars will start you off pretty well. The odd thing is, I have absolutely no idea why. Everything is expensive, true. But why it costs more is beyond me. It certainly isn't the quality level. Sometimes I think people in New York simply pay for the thrill of living in a big city. It's similar to if NASA opened up a theme park and charged people for the chance to experience what it would be like to live on the moon. New Yorkers are being charged for the chance to experience what it would be like to live in New York. There's no other explanation.

#3 Always Walk Around Like You're Looking For Your Next Victim
When you walk the streets of this city, you need to look like you may snap at any moment. Crazy people come in all kinds, and you never know who is a psycho and who isn't. The crazies don't seem to bother other crazies. So, get crazy.

#4 Get Used To "Atmosphere" Restaurants
Atmosphere restaurants are restaurants whereby you pay money for really no services rendered at all. New York isn't the cleanest place and so these restaurants need something going for them. It's called "imaginary cool restaurant." Often the food isn't that great, but it's the atmosphere you're there for. Basically, you're paying more to feel like the restaurant you're eating at is much more important than it probably is. For instance, this blog is free, but if I charged you ten dollars to view it, and got a bunch of initial suckers — wait, I shouldn't call them suckers... no, suckers works fine — to pay for it, then people would start saying, "Hey, this blog isn't free, but it's pretty popular, so it must be worth it. I'm in." Then, regardless of how blatantly clear it is that this blog sucks, you would still think it's cool, because everyone else does.

#5 Don't Go To The Empire State Building
It costs about twelve dollars to go to the observation deck. I went with a friend and we waited approximately three hours to get to the top. Yes, it is very tall. But, honestly, this is why we invented cameras and pictures. One person takes one for the team, goes to the top of the building. That person takes a picture. That person comes back down the building and shows the picture to other people, who then do not have to go to the top. Trust me, it's solid logic.

#6 Seriously, The Empire State Building Isn't Worth It

#7 Don't Walk In The City Unless You Are The Flash
If you aren't DC superhero The Flash, don't walk around in Manhattan. Because even The Flash, with his incredible speed, will get dirty looks and annoyed sighs from New Yorkers for not walking as fast as he should be.

#8 Disposing Of Trash
If you acquire garbage while touring the city, don't worry about it. Just do what everyone else seems to do; toss it off the platform and onto the tracks of a subway station.

#9 Don't Go To Subway Stations
Just buy a rickshaw. Did you see that episode of Seinfeld? That was a good one.

#10 Taxi Drivers
Every language has a word for "nutcase," and if you take cabs in the city, you'll likely hear all of those languages and meet plenty of nutcases. Again, rickshaws are awesome.

Keeping those things in mind, you should do all right here.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Little Tale About A Mohawk And The Intern Who Gave It A Home

The following post is true. I do have a mohawk, though it's grown in quite a bit. And I am very cool. But since truth doesn't really sit well with me, first I'm going to tell this story in the third person. Like a fairy tale. I will be playing the role of Intern Andy. Also, to make it more fairy tale-like, my character will be a rabbit. And I will wear people clothes. The other characters in the story will also be animals. They will also wear people clothes. So, sit back boys and girls.

There was once an intern named Andy. Intern Andy was a rabbit. Intern Andy really loved his internship, and his internship really loved him. Intern Andy wanted a mohawk more than anything in the world. Unfortunately, Intern Andy didn't have the money. See, Intern Andy was an intern, and interns more often than not receive no wage for their services.

78% of interns resort to some form of cannibalism as a result of not having the money to eat. 50% of those interns become so distressed by life that they get mohawks. 0.005% of those interns is named Intern Andy. Intern Andy has a mohawk. Ipso facto, Intern Andy eats people. The real Intern Andy, I mean. Not the rabbit.

Everyday, Intern Andy would pass by the pet store, see all the little mohawks playing in the window and dream of someday owning a mohawk. And sometimes, Intern Andy would cry when he realized he might never have one.

Intern Andy's two friends, Intern Melissa, a luck dragon, and Intern Jake, a bear, knew that Intern Andy wanted nothing more than to have his very own mohawk. They also knew that Intern Andy's birthday was fast approaching.

Intern Melissa and Intern Jake didn't buy Intern Andy the mohawk and it was the source of bitterness for years to come. But they were interns, too, and had no money to spend on mohawks. When Intern Andy's birthday arrived and he received no mohawk, he knew that desperate times would call for desperate measures. This was of course after he cried though the night.

Intern Andy robbed a bank later that week and was caught instantly. Well, he's a rabbit and rabbits can't really hold guns or money, or slip away undetected. Intern Andy went to jail. And Intern Andy didn't like jail. It was a scary place for him. He was there for nearly a year when his friends Melissa the luck dragon and Jake the bear finally broke him out. Quite easily in fact. Well, because they are a luck dragon and a bear. Seems pretty obvious how they would do it.

To their amazement, Intern Andy came out of prison with a mohawk, which he had apparently crafted out of random debris he had found in the prison yard. Intern Andy was also hard as shit and talking all kinds of street talk. Intern Andy's new name was The Viper Den. He had all sorts of trouble readjusting to society, but he now he had his mohawk, and that completes the story arc. Also, he could kill a man with a towel and a bar of soap. That's impressive for a rabbit. And, being an intern, he knew exactly where the towel and soap went after he was finished disposing of someone in the prison's shower area.


I had always wanted to get a mohawk. Coming to New York all by myself allows me a certain amount of anonymity. Though I've gotten to know a lot of great people since arriving in the big city, it's a different situation than it would be owning a mohawk in the Wisconsin town I grew up in. Whereas in New York, freaks are welcomed with open arms — by other freaks, as it turns out, some with no arms at all — in my hometown they're welcomed mostly by angry mobs and torches.

Just kidding. Little Midwest humor there. The angry mobs in my hometown rarely use the torches anymore. Now the townsfolk simply ostracize. "Point and ostracize, children!" the parents would say. Kidding again. Children in my hometown don't need to be told. Again, more of that Midwestern humor.

Actually, mohawks are not welcomed so warmly in New York either. The people here seem to look at it with the same frightened curiosity they do in Wisconsin. Well, when I finally decided to get a mohawk, I went to a small barbershop in the subway after work. As I received "the hawk," the entire 4,5, and 6 train community looked on. I even got people stopping to take photos.* I was a freak, put on display. At the time the hair was being cut, people seemed very interested, but walking home that day, no one thought anything of it. And it's a testament to the people of New York. They see these kinds of things everyday. "Wow, a mohawk. Interesting. MOVE, ASSHOLE!"**

People look at you differently when you have a mohawk. They sort of keep their distance from you, as if at any moment you're going to let out an ear-piercing scream and start head butting them. Now, of the thousands of people-encounters I've had during my stay here, only twice have I resorted to head butts. Screaming is a given, but head butting is a wild generalization, and I resent it.

I personally receive a large number of curious looks on account of my mohawk. But also because I'm a rabbit. And also because I'm a rabbit wearing people clothes. And I hang out with other animals. And they wear people clothes, too.

* The truth.
** So much truth your mind has just been blown

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Sad Truth

Well, my internship at Comedy Central is nearly complete. April 29th will be my last day. Then, I'll be flying back home on the 30th. What's more heartbreaking — for you, that is; not so much for me — is that this particular blog will need to end soon. I'll probably keep on blogging, but it won't be under "I'm A New York Intern." I'm inspired by the great blog Things I Hate About My Flatmate and ending the ride appropriately. I'll think of something. However, blogging about being an intern in New York when I'm no longer an intern in New York would be shameless. And though I am completely shameless, I'm also very, very tired.

There's a lot in New York I haven't been able to write about, but that won't stop me from trying to cram it all in in a half-assed way before I go home. I promise to make it a fitting end. And then I expect you all to follow me like zombies to wherever I happen to go next.

And now, for no reason whatsoever, here's the Voltron animation...

(click on me... I'll bring you Voltron.)

Google Satellite Maps UPDATE

This is really half of a post, but I couldn't just ignore this amazing new find. As luck would have it, my family and friends escaped the Marshmallow Man unscathed. But upon further review of the satellite imagery, I discovered something even more unbelievable, more incredible. I discovered just why they escaped. The photo of the Marshmallow Man was but a snapshot. I went back and reviewed the video footage. Truly, luck was on our side.

No worries, mom and dad. Falcor and Atreyu are on the case. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is jacked.

And save me some marshmallow. Remember the end of Ghostbusters? Save me some marshmallow.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Google Satellite Maps

Living in New York for so many months has created a void in the fabric of my being. Also, I'm very, very deep. You can't say "fabric of my being" without having first attained a certain level of deepness. And my new-age life coach tells me that, after my check clears, I will have attained that level of deepness.

Though I can think of lots of reasons I'd want to stay in New York, it'd be nice to see my hometown, see my house. If only there were some sort of satellite that I could utilize to capture high resolution images of my hometown in Wisconsin. If only...

Well, do you believe in miracles, folks? Because that's not what happened. This problem was solved with good old fashioned internet link-sendin'. No miracles. None at all. Thanks, God. No, really, I'm so glad I spent all those years in private school praising your name. God could easily acquire some high resolution shots of my neighborhood. So why doesn't he? Simple, really. God hates high resolution pictures of my neighborhood. Yes, his hate is so specific.

Anyway, my great friend Nate sent me a link the other day. The link,, allows users to scan the higher populated areas of the United States and zoom to near-street-level shots. It's quite impressive.

Perfect, I thought, having just drawn a perfect circle freehand, as the artist Giotto did to prove his skill to Pope Boniface VIII. But also perfect because this link will allow me to see the neighborhood I grew up in without leaving the comfort of my own New York residence, warmly referred to by the neighborhood locals as "that place" and "a God forsaken hole where demon's spawn and demon babies eat smaller, less cool demon babies, leaving only one demon baby who is inevitably considered the coolest demon baby in the neighborhood." Those neighbors sure are quirky! But they do put up with the demon babies, so you've got to love them!

I located my general area using Google's satellite maps. I wasn't even completely zoomed in and already I was impressed. Look at this incredible shot, is what I would say if the picture was bigger and clearer. Since it isn't, I'll just say, "Hey... look at this!"

A little breathtaking, I know. I was pumped. Finally, after months, I was going to see my hometown. I was going to get a little slice of home away from home.

Then I zoomed in closer. I was not prepared for the sight, ladies and gentlemen. I only hope that there is still time to contact my family and friends before they've fled the city.

Pray with me, fellow bloggers.

WARNING: 1980's references will never not be cool. Flux capacitor, the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man -- get on board, folks, or get the hell out of the way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Bootleggers In Grand Central Are Actually Time Travelers

There's no doubt that I've done quite a bit to spread the word on the variety of characters to be found in New York's Grand Central Station. I'm not saying it's a freak show, but there's really no other way for me to finish this sentence. Except by writing "there's really no other way for me to finish this sentence." Which is in a sense finishing the sentence, thereby ruining the joke and my credibility.

Anyway, you can't help but notice it. A blanket, spread out on the floor of Grand Central, carrying DVD's and CD's which everyone in New York refers to as "bootlegs." But I'll let you in on a little secret. The "bootleggers" are not bootleggers at all. They're time travelers. Their merchandise? It's not cheaply copied five dollar DVD versions of films which have not yet officially been released to DVD but were recorded in a theater using a video camera. Heh-heh, that's one wild imagination you have there.

No. These people are time travelers — TIME ADVENTURERS, if you will — and their mission is a noble one. They've traveled back in time with official DVD releases from the future to bring us New Yorkers big, big savings!

But a few questions still remain. Why, if they are official and from the future, do these DVD's feature such substandard packaging and poor video quality? I think the best guess is that the loss in quality is a result of the time traveling process itself. The flux capacitor probably uses so much energy when it rips open the space/time continuum that your copy of Hitch, starring actor, rapper, breather of air Will Smith, has slightly deteriorated by the time it has exited the wormhole.

I approached the time travelers/bootleggers a few days ago and asked if they would take some photos of their time machine the next time they went back to the future for more DVD's. They agreed. I turned around to leave and — surprise, surprise — there was the same person I was talking to just a second ago and now he had photos of the time machine in his hand.

Confused? See, the way time traveling works...

...and that's how time travel works.

But I took a look at these photos. And, sure enough, I immediately spotted the problem. It seems that these time travelers were so busy worrying about time travel and bringing us unbelievable savings that they forgot to properly store the DVD's while traveling through the wormhole. Here's one of the pictures. It really explains the whole thing...

See how they're just carelessly stacked around the flux capacitor? Just as I suspected. That can't be good for quality.

I went immediately to the time travelers/bootleggers in Grand Central to explain my findings. They couldn't believe they had been so stupid. "All this time traveling and bringing of big-time savings has caused us to forget the little things," said one. "Well, from now on, we'll store the DVD's away from the flux capacitor. Thanks, citizen."

"We should get a bin of some kind," said the leader. "Nothing too fancy. But something that looks nice. Are there any stores around here?" he asked.

"There's a Duane Reade about five feet from here," I said. "And if you're feeling adventurous, there's a larger one about six feet from that one." Suddenly, a look of shock and horror came over the man's face. "What's wrong?" I asked.

Duane Reade is a popular store in New York. It's similar to Walgreens. There are a lot of them, and I'm sure they will be sprouting up in a town near you very soo — oh, too late. There it is. Looks pretty nice, right? Actually it doesn't matter what you think. Look, there's another behind you. And in the time you took to turn around, the first one was demolished and built again.

"Please, citizen of this time, do not use that name in our midst," he said.

"I don't understand," I said, not understanding.

"In our time, Duane Reade is the oppressive Supreme Overlord of Earth. That's why we come here to bring you savings on DVD's, CD's, and sometimes batteries," he said. "We're slowly trying to whittle away the Supreme Overlord's power in this time, so that his reign of terror will end in our time."

So, there you have it. The bootleggers in Grand Central are actually time travelers. They come from the future to bring us savings, but also to topple Duane Reade, who apparently becomes Earth's Overlord in the future in what I can only assume is a tyrannical dictatorship of pharmaceutical, Walgreen-esque stores. And now that I've solved the problem with the DVD's and the flux capacitor, the "bootlegs" in Grand Central should be top-notch quality. So, buy away.

Since there a lot of unforeseen occurrences with time travel, it would be naïve of you to think that I, a humble intern, would have all the answers regarding the subject. Being that they're from the future, wouldn't they have known about the flux capacitor problem beforehand? And if Duane Reade is such a problem in the future, why not go back and alter the past so he's never born at all? These are all great questions. But, only a loser would ask these questions. You're not a loser, right? Of course you're not.


So, the Pope died, huh? Yeah, pretty crazy...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Off-Topic Post #224: Why I Love The Asterisk

Few characters in the written word are so versatile. Few characters have the ability to say so much in such a small glyph. Three lines of equal length, crossed at their centers, placed equidistantly around a Z-axis.

My asterisks, because of the font, take a different form, similar to a star. That fact might derail this entire post, but we'll just sweep that little inconsistency under the carpet. And... I have a feeling you won't remember it anyway...

This is the marvel that is the asterisk. Placed at the bottom of a page, an asterisk allows an author to interject and further elaborate on material presented within the body of a piece while still maintaining the continuity of the work.*

Now I’m sure many have noticed that I am quite the utilizer of the asterisk. I like them. They make me feel safe, like a security blanket. Like a security blanket made of asterisks. And also silk. Possibly chocolate. Silky, chocolate asterisks.

There are reasons I use the asterisk more than, say, the tilde (~) or the umlaut/diaeresis (ë). Those particular characters lack the flavorful, literary zest of the asterisk. But mostly, they’re just dumb and stupid, and no one loves them, and no one will be sending them Christmas cards this year. The asterisk will be inundated with Christmas cards this year, and I’ll bet it’ll receive a few holiday fruitcakes as well. People love the asterisk so much they’re going to be sending baked goods to the asterisk on Christmas. The tilde says it’s Jewish and that it doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but I think it’s a front created out of humiliation. It gets no cards. It gets no cards at all.

But let’s get to the specifics. What exactly makes the asterisk so great, besides the fact that it totally kicks ass?

There's no need to be certain of anything. Worried that your material needs "facts" or "a point of view"? An asterisk allows for the most noncommittal of writing. Is this true, or is it the opposite? Why not both?**

It acts as a pit stop for readers. The asterisk allows the reader to take a short break from reading to do some reading. People who read are not having enough words thrown at them at one time. Sure, a page full of words is okay, but I often stop reading in frustration simply because there aren't enough words entering my eyes. Even if for no logical reason at all, the asterisk crams more words onto the page.***

The asterisk will weed out readers who are under the influence of drugs. It sounds far-fetched, I know. But the asterisk has powers -- supernatural powers, really -- beyond its conventional uses. It has the power to identify and subsequently freak out readers who are currently reading your work while on drugs. I'll demonstrate, but not because I want to alienate anyone reading this who may in fact be on drugs. If anything, I want to keep you happy, because your standards are so low. With you, I don't have to work as hard. Because you're on drugs. And everything is funny to you. I could really do anything. Anything at all. Like this...

If I know the drugged audience as well as I think I do, right now they're either laughing uncontrollably, hysterical with fear, or chasing a bouncy ball that just passed into their field of vision. Go! Go get it!

If you're clean, the asterisk below will remain the same the entire time. If you're not clean... well, no one really knows how the asterisk operates. It's rumored to focus in on the fears of each reader individually and exploit those fears. If you fear, say -- oh, I don't know -- Care Bears, then the asterisk will sense that. Or if you fear, say -- again, off the top of my head -- the Quaker Oats guy, the asterisk will sense that as well. So, take a deep breath. Relax. And good luck.

(click on me... I weed out druggies)

* Like this.
** And neither.
*** Like this. See? No reason at all.

Retroactive Epileptic Seizure Warning
For those of you who may suffer from epilepsy, it was probably risky for you to have viewed these animations given their intense and colorfully crazy nature. In retrospect, it would have been better for you to have skipped those crazy seizure-inducing animations. So, let me give you a heads up, a word of warning: You shouldn't have looked at those.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Interns

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Interns
(using no particular order or logic)

Interns Are Edible
The good news is we're made of candy. The bad news is that candy is black licorice. I know there are probably some people who like eating black licorice (statistically, someone has to), or, as it's known in France, "le black licorice." The name changes from region to region. In third world countries and other places where food is scarce, it's known as "Seriously, we don't have anything else?"

Interns Can Unite To Form Voltron

This rarely happens, but when the city is under attack, it's nice to have five interns clad (respectively) in suits of green, blue, orangish-yellow, red, and black to form the mighty Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Of course, the member wearing blue will later be injured and then replaced by the pink suited intern.*

"Help us, Voltron! The city is under attack!... also, this coffee has way too much creamer... work on that. Thanks a bunch, Voltron."

As I said, it doesn't happen often, but when it does, look out! If I could add the theme music, you better believe I would...

(click on me... one-way ticket to goodness)

Interns Have Feelings Too
Even though we're made of black licorice, our blood runs red** just like everyone else's. So, if you get the chance today, hug an intern. But not for too long. We have feelings, but for a select few interns, also rabies.

So, if you get the chance today, shoot a rabid intern. Mouth frothing. That's the key. And aim high. Bullets to the chest just anger rabid interns.

Interns Are Not God, For Crying Out Loud!

We try to save everyone we can, but sometimes they're just too far-gone to be brought back. You think we like watching people die?? We're doing the best we can, dammit! We're not God!***

Interns Aren't Robots

It's true. Though our movements are very robotic, and though we don't have the capacity to feel love, we are human. Technically. Don't confuse our constant need to do "the robot" with the true biology of our species.

Interns Are Capable Of Photosynthesis



Interns Did Not Steal Your New Found Glory CD

Though your New Found Glory CD has been missing for the last week and a half, interns did not do it. Don't look at us; we don't even listen to that kind of music. Honestly, whoever stole it did you a favor. What? Stop rifling through our drawers!**** Dude, we don't have it!

Interns Once Drank A Whole Case Of Michelob And Puked All Over His Bed

There was, like, this crazy party at Jon-Jon's house in the 'burbs! And, like, someone totally snuck in, like, a whole case of Michelob! And Interns just sat in the corner and drank the whole thing himself! I thought he was going to fuckin' bleed out his eyes or some shit! Anyway, I heard from this one dude that Interns totally went home that night and puked all over his bed and then just, like, totally fell asleep in it. That guy's hardcore, man.

Interns Are Not Vin Diesel

Though it seems like a logical conclusion, interns are not Hollywood action star Vin Diesel. You may know Vin Diesel from films like XXX (pronounced "Triple X"), The Chronicles Of Riddick (oddly enough, also pronounced "Triple X"), and the smash hit, critically acclaimed, Oscar buzz-worthy sensation The Pacifier.

We're not him.

Interns Are Incorrigible

Interns have a tendency to get themselves into hilarious jams week after week. The conflict begins unexpectedly and usually resolves itself about a half hour later (unless it's a two parter). Strangely enough, it occurs the same day and time every week. Of course, every episode ends the exact same way...

(click on me... I'm good for you)

* If you know what this means, then you are truly sad... as am I. Let's embrace.
** Licorice. Yeah, I know, that was a bad joke. But I'm certain you all would have gone crazy waiting for that inevitable punch line.
*** Dammit!
**** "Drawers" is not spelled D-R-O-O-R-S. Sure, it sounds like "doors," but this is the English language, we don't need your "logic." I mean, we have doe and dough, and we have toe and tough. Our language is on the pot. Or rather, "potgh." The "gh" is silent.