Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monsoon Working

I just got caught in the downpour, and to be fair I'm not in my nicest clothes, but still I don't want to be wet and working. I got out of the subway station today to prepare for the crosstown sojourn/final leg of my commute. And as soon as I got up the stairs, my umbrella broke! At this point there's an onslaught of rain coming down so hard you'd think God's water broke.

So much for the shower/combing/Axe body spray session. I knew I looked bad off when my co-worker gave me that look like I was a zombie who just crawled out of a swamp. No one actually rocks a wet look like you see in music videos. It's more like the wet dog look. Blergh! And I ran into an ex-co-worker of mine (who I didn't even know worked here) in the elevator. And here I am, looking all shitty in front of her. Double blergh!! A writer once said that life is a series of small humiliations piled on top of each other - and right now I'm kind of hoping that this is the lowest point right now. I need some good karma - STAT!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Funderemployment: Work Irony

While futzing around on the internet today at work, I found an article entitled "7 Easy Ways To Get Fired." Surprisingly, one of the ways wasn't "Wasting 10 minutes reading this list instead of doing your job."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Four Food Groups Again!

Wow, I just cashed my paycheck and I treated myself...to diner food! No joke, I watched my "server" bring out a cheeseburger with French Fries and my mouth started watering. I treated my meal like it was fancy ballroom dinner - I had the whole napkin-in-the-lap deal and everything.

I haven't had real meat in a while and let me tell you, dead animal is good! I'm sorry PETA, but nothing compares. Maybe it's a poverty thing, but I've been so used to having starches and water with the occasional fruit on the side. I remember the halcyon days when I chose between chicken and beef, as opposed to now where I choose between the value dollar fries or the value dollar pies. Of course, I'm still broke. But my finances are going to be in the black soon...and I finally had a decently cooked burger instead of some fast-food meat patty job with "mechanical separated animal parts" (what is that? It sounds like a cyborg came and ripped the poor animal apart like a Fatality. I just imagine the poor cow wobbling about and then someone in the background yelling "Finish Him").

Finally, temping offers me a positive! Now if only it could offer me benefits...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do NOT Go To John & Tonys West Pizzeria

Okay, about a month ago, I just finished a comedy show that some of my friends came to (you guys are awesome by the way). Afterwards, the four of us (all minorities) decide to go somewhere cheap to grab a quick bite to eat. That's when I came upon this empty pizzeria restaurant:

John & Tonys West Pizzeria: 547 Ninth Avenue between West 40th and West 41st Street.

First of all, all the slices had that plasticky jaundiced look that you see from food sitting out for days. Then, my friend had asked for a pepperoni pizza and he said he "could not make any more." (err...how can't you? You just put pepperoni on a pizza! Plus he already had a pepperoni and sausage pizza out). My friend Warren did not have a good feeling about it and neither did I, but my other friends Heather and Danielle said they'd try the place.

I was like "Fuck this guy, I'm buying a soda." Because I know that can is sealed and was not made by his hands. We're talking at normal volume and then he starts yelling at us "You're making a spectacle of yourselves. You're disturbing the business. Please be quiet." Ummm...we were the ONLY people in there. Heather starts looking around like "I know he's NOT talking to us" but we said "Okay we'll be quieter."

We lower our voices and continue talking and then he says "You're scaring away the business. You scare away my customers." Oh hell no! I didn't realize that too many minorities decreased the property values! I didn't know we formed a dark eclipse that made the restaurant unbearable to be in. My friend got so mad she was about to curse this guy out; she didn't even finish the overpriced slice. At this point, I said "We need to leave." I saw Do The Right Thing; I'm not about to go the Radio Raheem route.

We barely made it out the door before we start shouting all kinds of obscenities and made our vow never to eat there again.

But wait, there's more...

Two weeks later, I do the comedy show again and Warren, Heather and I decide to walk past and glare at the place through the window. As we work up the glare, Warren sees a mouse strutting through the area where the food is kept. Not running in and out, he's strutting like he's on a catwalk. And then two other mice came out into the area too. Needless to say my first thought was "EWWWWWWW!!"

How the hell is he going to chase us out when he has at least 40 health code violations?! He's going to complain about our "classlessness" when he has Fievel putting his paw prints all up in the flour. These were not cute Disney mice; these were mice that look like they were from the mean streets! It was like a ghetto Ratatouille going on in his oven. Disgusting!

We were telling passersby not to go in and pointing out the mice to them. The same owner came outside wanting to know what the fuss was about. We starting going off on him and pointing at the vermin running around in his shop and he...JUST SHRUGGED! He had the nerve to shrug! What?!!?! Were these rats helping him pay the rent? Is this the verminous version of Friends? Because I don't care; I do not want to support a small racist-owned business with rat droppings everywhere. Feces does not equal decoration and mice do not equal ambiance, sirrah.

Moral of the story: DO NOT EAT THERE. Not just on principle (he was so racist!), but also because you might catch bubonic plague from eating a cheese slice. I don't even want to know where the man gets his "pepperoni" from.

Free and In NYC This Thursdee (Thursday)

NOTE: I just wanted to rhyme in the title. Anyway, plugs for my comedy/music show this Thursday. It's free-ah and there's sangria. (Okay I'm no Shakespeare, I get it)

TITLE: Nouveau Poor
LOCATION: Tagine Dining Gallery - 537 9th Avenue (just south of West 40th Street)
COST: Free
DATE: Thursday October 23rd, 2008
TIME: 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
DRINK SPECIALS: Yes! Sangria discounts!
TAGLINE: 100% Talent, 0% Health Insurance

"Calvin S. Cato (GSN, EVL, Naked Comedy Show) presents a wonderful blend of comedy and music in a cool Moroccan venue. We have comedians who've been featured on MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and top comedy clubs around the country as well as musicians who've played at the top indie venues in New York City. Plus, there's belly dancing and hookah afterwards! Check out the only show that's like Casablanca in Technicolor."

Angry Bob (Last Comic Standing)
Hilary Schwartz (Time Out NY's Joke Of The Week)
Emily Epstein (HA! Comedy Club, Laugh Lounge)
Joe Pontillo (East Coast Comedy Tour)
Scout Durwood and Alyssa Wicks (MTV's A Shot At Love)
Jessica Delfino (London’s Soho Theatre, Village Voice’s Best Of Award)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nine Ways A Employer Can Cause A Temp To Quit "Unexpectedly"

Hey Employer Man! Do you always wonder why you hire temporary or permanent employees who suddenly quit without warning? I know you think that in these economic times, anyone should be happy to work $10 an hour Xeroxing documents and fiddling around with Excel, but sometimes you may do and say certain things that "unwittingly" let your temp know how much you really value their time. Here's a list of 9 ways to drive a temp running into the foothills of unemployment:

(1) Constantly calling your new temp by the previous temp's name.

(2) Talking within earshot of your temp about a contingency plan in case he or she quits.

(3) Having a one-on-one "meeting" with your temp to explain the difference between dry and wet trash after falsely accusing him of throwing out a paper cup in the wrong bin.

(4) Asking your temp why he or she feels the need to have bathroom breaks longer than 2 minutes.

(5) Telling your temp a 10-minute-long story about hanging out with a rapper, then concluding the story with "I never thought I'd have so much in common with someone so...urban. You know what I mean?"

(6) Explaining to your temp that his or her current task involves a lot of math and then inquiring about his or her "adding skills."

(7) Talking to your temp about a relative who's marrying a black person, then expressing worry that their future child will have "to deal with that difficult black hair...no offense!"

(8) Responding to your temp's "Good morning" with "uh-huh" and then slamming your office door.

(9) Saying "Oh I didn't realize you were a reader!" in response to finding a novel on your temp's desk.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funderemployment: Comedy Shouldn't Come From Pain

My feet hurt. Badly. I'm currently working at a place with an actual dress code. I have to wear real grown-up shoes, and like a retard the only footwear I have that fits this code are "interview shoes." These are the kind of shoes that are meant to be worn because they look nice when meeting with HR and shouldn't be on your feet for longer than 15 minutes. But no, I wear these things for at least 10 hours (8 hours at work and 2 in travel time, not counting any stray comedy shows I do) and I feel like I'm binding my feet. My feet hurt so bad that I'm shuffling through my house like I'm wearing genie pants and I'm trapped in a harem.

I'm tired of walking around dressed in a sweater vest and super-pressed slacks like a McCain supporter. Why do we have office dress codes? I sit in a back room huddled within three pseudo-walls. The only people who are looking at me are my co-workers and my boss; I don't need collar stays to enter data or answer phones. If I'm on the phone, people don't hear hints of denim in my voice. Frankly any dress code more strict than "Please don't come into work with a hypodermic syringe hanging out of your arm" is ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Funderemployment: Day 5

So...I'm temping again. Of which...more to come. But I do hate one aspect of my job. People complain about the annoying paper clip, but you know what's a more annoying office icon? - The Adobe Acrobat guy.

He looks like a super-gay temp with a half-flattop. Honestly, what is it about converting files to PDFs that causes any sane person to leap around and flash jazz hands? Anyone working in an office who ever acts like the guy in this picture should be strait-jacketed and checked into Bellevue. Also is it breezy in this office, what's up with the fly-away tie? Is the Central Air on too high or something?

This is the kind of douchebag who says things like "Someone has a case of the Mondays." Which is a dumb phrase to say. Whenever people say that to me, I just stare at them and say "No, I have a case of the Everydays. I have a case of the I Hate This Jobs. You know what'll cure that? A case of the Huge Severance Packages."

Finally, where is he going? It's like he's the Paul Revere of software. "Lo and behold mighty temps I have found a way to make a document into a pseudo-picture. Rejoice for I have saved you minutes upon minutes of time. Now you don't have to respond to e-mails from people saying 'I can't open this file. Can you save this in another file extension?'" Apparently he's following an arrow somewhere. You know where that arrow's leading to? - A dead end job, that's what.

Calm down, Buttonless McNoZipper. Get a grip, sit at your cubicle and browse Craigslist for better jobs like the rest of us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Argh! Distracted By Internets!!

I'm ashamed to say that I've been doing some final edits on an article that's a little overdue and I was somehow drawn to the Snorgtee's page. Though, I'm starting to see the appeal of ironic hipster Tees. There is something almost moronically funny about a person who can wear a shirt with a contrived saying on it and keep a serious face. It's like the white version of that odd trend where it was cool for black guys to wear pink. It's a statement that says that a person is so beyond judgment that his outerwear doesn't matter. How interesting. I probably won't write a thesis on it, but it's a seed to think about.

Either way, this is a fun way to waste time. Come on, you can't not like this shirt!!

And this one's pretty funny, too...

NOTE: Well aware of the fact that his taste in humor was flagging, Calvin decided to gracefully bow out of this blog and stop procrastinate. Let's hope he doesn't navigate to Wikipedia. Then it's game over.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Superheroes I Like: Ms. Marvel

[NOTES: I wrote a review of Secret Invasion #6 at least a month ago but it was so distressingly negative that I can't post it until I find something of note to say about that comic. Needless to say it's hard. So instead, you're getting a review of Ms. Marvel #31 (admittedly not the best thing I've written in a while).]

Ms. Marvel #31 - When Comics About Women Are Written Well

I'll be honest; I've wavered a lot on the Ms. Marvel series. The whole "Ms. Marvel fights her classic alien nemesis" arc was OK, the Warren Traveller stuff was odd, and the two-part Rogue issues were just not good. I was one of the few who actually liked her Civil War arc, but I understand that watching someone beat up another superhero in front of her kid doesn't sit well for a lot of people. But once she got her own task force (and the offensively pornographic Greg Horn covers started to get tamer), things really picked up for me.

Ms. Marvel is a solid well-done comic featuring a powerful superhero who wants to be the best at what she does and doesn't want to settle for C-List status. With the wrong writer, this premise could lead to whiny stories; but Reed has done consistently well by making sure Ms. Marvel's altruism is at the forefront of her actions. I stuck with the book for so long because it is such a relatable premise. As a struggling writer/comedian, I can really empathize with many of the issues this book raises about what it means to be somebody and get one's act together.

Far too often, female hero leads descend in levels of T&A that are downright embarrassing. But Reed manages to avoid throwing in cheesy cliches and misusing feminist notions. It's a book about a person doing her job - which involves saving people from menacing robots and freaky sorcerers.

Which brings me to Ms. Marvel 31 - arguably one of the best comics I've read this year. If you haven't checked out this book, this is a great point to get on board. Why?

One - because the character's backstory is so extensively and efficiently recapped. Trust me, her origins are more than a bit complicated, but the recap was done so well! Hell, I found out more about Ms. Marvel's past in 22 pages than I ever did on Wikipedia. And there weren't tons of captions and strange shadowy people littering the panels (yes, Wovlerine: Origins, I'm talking about you).

Two - For once, we have a superhero who actually checks in with her parents. Here is a woman who saves the world on a constant basis but doesn't have the time or energy to call mom and say "I'm doing fine. Don't worry about that Fox News segment of me getting hit in the face with a Volkswagon." It's a great way to incorporate a real world issue into a fantasy genre. And the reintroduction of Ms. Marvel feeling out of place with her family because of her mental assault worked very well with the story.

Three - There was no gratuitous violence! It's someone in plain clothes hashing out issues with her mom and trying to say goodbye to her dying father. No cackling villain shows up hurling bombs. No time-travelling conqueror kidnaps anyone to be his mate. Nothing! The story's simple, straight-forward and warm.

There isn't really much more to say about the book, other than it's a solid well-drawn piece of work. Please support this book if you have money to spare (I know the economy's in the toilet, and my own personal finances are perilously close to the red zone, but still you should shell out $2.99 for this)!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Night of 1,000 Pauses

Don't worry about the title; it's an inside joke that so far exclusive that I don't even understand it. If it helps, it has something to do with noise.
[NOTE: This was the final part of Multi-Borough Open Mic Tour (which was written about a week ago). I accidentally hit save instead of send (a common problem I seem to have nowadays) so I effed it all up. The point is that I booked a show at Botanica Bar and only 2 real audience members were there. Read this entry with a grain of seasoned salt!]

Multi-Borough Comedy Open Mic Tour: Botanica Bar

Technically this wasn't an open mic, but as there were only two legitimate audience members (and one of them was my ever-lovin' brown-eyed roommate), things kind of devolved into workshop room mode. That being said, the room was actually a lot of fun and I learned a lot about my fellow comedians as well as a lot about why I should never leave my joke book at home and think its a good idea to wing it.

I think I'm done with this tour (plus, I only went to one other borough - and there wasn't even an open mic there). I can honestly say that I do a lot better with real audience and less cynicism.

On a Duncan Sheik high (don't hate), here's some stuff you should check out for next week's Multi-Neighborhood "Booked Show" Tour.

President Jackson Show @ Pinetree Lodge
326 East 35th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue (New York, NY)
TIME: 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
I'm hosting and Joe Dixon's headlining. Who's on it? - Funny people that's who! Check it out!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

CSC: YouTube Sensation?

I did this YouTube video a little bit ago with Joe Dixon and Andy Kleiman. I'm Thug #2 from the left in the audience (which means I'm a weekend-day player).

Black People Have The Darndest Names!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sometimes I Like Mainstream Things...

In the interests of staying positive in the face of adversity and mediocrity, I am putting up a link to a funny South Park episode. Conveniently, the clip also befits our current election: South Park - Douche and Turd.

I think we could all learn something (funny or serious) from that episode...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Plugs N Hugs - Free Comedy/Variety Show @ Tagine Dining Gallery

Are you free October 9th (this Thursday?!!)

Come celebrate autumn with a wonderful blend of comedy and music in a cool Morrocan venue. We have comedians who’ve been featured on MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and top comedy clubs in the city as well as musicians who’ve played at the top indie venues in New York City. Plus, there’s belly dancing and hookah after the show! Think of the show as Casablanca in Technicolor. Oh and did I mention that everyone who attends gets a free resume?

Hosted by: Calvin S. Cato (Game Show Network, Naked Comedy Show)

Jessica Delfino (London Tour, was recently denounced by the Catholic League...oooh)
Danny Rouhier (Animal Planet's The A-List)
Susannah Perlman (Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad, Last Comic Standing)
Matt Daly (Los Angeles Comedy Festival)
Julia Weldon (Nightingale Lounge house musician)
...and possibly a surprise special guest!

Tagine Dining Gallery - 537 9th Avenue (just south of West 40th Street)
Cost: FREE
TIME: 8:00 PM
DRINK SPECIALS: Yes! Sangria discounts!

Hope to see you there.