Questions For 1/31/09

Do not be deceived by the picture of the pencil. You should use a pen. The guy in this picture has no idea what he's doing.

You have 50 minutes. Please answer in complete sentences. Use blue or black ink. Do not use red ink. If you use red ink, an angel will get leukemia.

Red Robin
I’ve been to literally hundreds of Red Robins in my life, all around the world – from Eugene, Oregon, to Salem, Oregon, to Albany, Oregon, and I think I ate at one in Beaverton once, too. It’s one of the only things that haven’t let me down in some way.
Well, no, scratch that, I’d say just about everything has let me down in some way (the sequels to The Matrix, last year’s economic stimulus package, Colorado) and Red Robin is really no exception. The food certainly has never let me down, but the ambiance, man, they are just grasping at straws. Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, Red Robin – they’re all trying to be so lively and folksy and American, like a throwback to some classic restaurant that had been genuinely lively and folksy and American in the 40s until it went out of business and some meth heads burned the building down a few decades later. And I guess that’s cool, that they want to be like something that was great and unique back in the day, but there’s so many people trying now that what was once a really novel place to eat has now become sort of boring and played.
I mean, yeah, it’s amusing that you’ve got a plastic fireman’s axe hanging up over the door, and oh, wait, is that a group of waiters singing a birthday song and publicly embarrassing someone with a free sundae? It’s all well and good, but there comes a time when a man is ready to be done with the stuff on the walls and the toddlers and balloons and the forced jubilation and just wants to eat a fucking hamburger, you know?
My ideal Red Robin experience is this:
I walk into Red Robin and place my order with the first waitress I can find, paying in advance, in cash. I then walk two blocks south across wet pavement on a somewhat cold night to another restaurant with a name that is a proper noun of some sort (Rick’s, Ed’s, Bill’s, Dockside, The Place). The floors are heavily carpeted, the lighting on the dim side, and there are absolutely no children allowed. The food isn’t so hot, but I’ve got that covered. It’s my birthday, and the staff knows it, but they’re not going to sing or make a fuss or anything because they play it cool there. Ten minutes later, someone from Red Robin comes in, gives me my food, and leaves. And, excellent food in hand, I continue to pitch my idea for the MacGyver movie to Richard Dean Anderson.

1) Every Red Robin has the same décor – does Red Robin have a giant warehouse somewhere like in Raiders of the Lost Ark, only all of the boxes are full of pictures of Marilyn Monroe, sickeningly goofy art, and movie posters?

2) If so, how does that make you feel about America?

3) Remember how they used to have “The Kramer” picture from Seinfeld in Red Robin?

4) You remember how quickly those pictures disappeared after it turned out that Michael Richards was a crazy racist bastard?

5) Did you laugh? Because I laughed.

Extra Credit: Why did I see a poster for K-Pax in Red Robin tonight? I get hanging posters for film noir movies and real classics, but K-Pax was a forgettable movie about Kevin Spacey being a schizophrenic guy who just might actually be a schizophrenic alien. Is that the kind of pop culture we want to preserve?

Babies (As They Pertain To Movies)
It’s really inspiring that, no matter how stupid people are – how bone-ass, XFL loving, Git ‘R Done yellingly stupid they are – that they still just seem to inherently know how to have sex. I can’t really imagine how they’d figure the specifics out, seeing as most movie sex scenes are people wrestling under blankets throughout soft focus close-ups on the actors making funny faces. Porn, maybe? Or they could’ve gotten directions from their friends. They sure as hell don’t teach it in health class (I’m willing to bet that my health teacher Junior year probably watched XFL whilst yelling Git ‘R’ Done). It’s just really inspiring that even if you and your wife are the dumbest motherfuckers to ever live, you can still figure out how to reproduce.
You know how I know this? It’s because people keep taking their infants into R-rated movies – clearly, since these people have babies, they know how to reproduce, but since they seem to think it’s a good idea to take a tiny bundle of shrill crying and pooping and occasional vomiting into an area that demands silence and rapt attention, they are profoundly stupid.

1)Why would you take your baby with you when you go to see Benjamin Button?

2) Did you think, because he’s a baby at one point in the movie, that it would be a family friendly movie? Because, uh, newsflash – there’s violence and sex in there.

3) Or did you just think we’d all be cool with listening to your baby scream for half the movie?

4) Did you know how close I was to starting some shit with your deadbeat-parenting ass? No, I’m totally serious, I was this close to going down to where you were sitting and saying, “Hey, I think they’re still showing Beverly Hills Chihuahua down the hall – maybe you assholes should go see that.” It would’ve been awesome. I would’ve gotten a medal, probably.

Extra Credit: Rid Rock, seemingly unsatisfied with the fact that I’ve already taken him to task in my last two entries, is now starring in a National Guard commercial they show before movies in which footage of “him” “singing” is spliced together with shots of patriotic soldiers and, yes, NASCAR. Do you think that they’re testing us to see just how much we’re willing to tolerate in support of our troops? I think so.

My Job
This Oregon Daily Emerald stuff has been good so far. I’ve got a wider audience, I have interesting hate mail to put on my door, and they just refuse to stop paying me. Recently, the University of Oregon’s alternative libertarian newspaper, The Oregon Commentator, gave me props in a roundabout way for my article about community service. This is particularly impressive because the Oregon Commentator exists primarily to advocate alcohol, mock the Oregon Daily Emerald, and also write about the virtues of a free market economy if time allows. So in your face, people who say my stuff for the Emerald isn’t as good – sure, maybe you, my fans, don’t like it, but the people who built an entire page of their paper around making fun of me and mine sort of liked it!
But it’s been getting tougher recently, and traditionally When The Going Gets Tough, Truman Goes Somewhere Else And Watches TV. As an opinion columnist writing about campus life, I’m sort of restricted in that everything I write has to 1) Have an opinion and 2) Pertain to campus life. Seldom can I come up with something that fulfills both of those requirements, and usually when I do I’m so scared that my opinion will piss 20,000 people off that I’m unwilling to go with it.

1) Why can’t I think of anything to write about when there’s this whole big campus full of stuff happening? Is it my problem, or the campus’s?

2) What kind of opinion columnist is afraid of his own opinions?

3) Should I go to a party and have a Roofie Colada so I can write a hard hitting column about date rape?
(Extra credit for a “No” answer)

4) I imagine some Emerald and Commentator folks are reading this, seeing as I’ve mentioned the names of the papers a few times. What do you guys think?

5) Should I just pretend to have been date raped and write a column about it? That one sounds a lot easier.

Truman Capps kind of suckerpunched you with the serious bit at the end, didn’t he?