A moment of the surreal with Al Roker

July/2004: Media - Late last year, I received an email from a producer at Al Roker Productions about what we do at PeeJ. Immediately, I said "Al Roker has a production company?" before finding the website for his company, and what sorts of shows they do. I had only known Al Roker as "America's weatherman" or by his hilarious one-shot cameo on the TV Guide edition of Seinfeld, where he sees Elaine reading an Al Roker TV Guide, and then hits on her. So when I was asked if I'd interview with Al for the documentary they were in the beginning stages of planning, I said yes, of course. Not only to get the message of the site out, but hey, I actually wanted to meet Al Roker too.

To be completely honest, I never would have wanted to meet Al Roker if he didn't own the production company. Sure, he was a celebrity, but I'm not into celebrity by itself. There has to be something more. The fact that Roker produces hard-hitting documentaries for CourtTV was that "something more." I was, and am still pretty impressed by the fact that he's used his weatherman celebrity and built a production company out of it. On the list of celebrities with meaningful production companies, Al Roker would have come in dead last on my "I bet that guy does!" list. No offense to him, but when you see someone only as a goofy weatherman, you can't imagine the person putting together documentaries. So I thought it would be cool to do the interview, and meet someone who actually used his celebrity for something more than telling Katie Couric if it's going to be sunny.

So I agreed to do the interview down in San Francisco, which lead to the update I did in April about "B-roll" and it's many evils. Consider this the bookend to that update. We arrive at the Hotel where the Roker people had a room set-up for the filming and interview. First off, beautiful hotel. My god. Just beautiful. I felt like I was trespassing and should be kicked off the property. So we get upstairs and the camera-people spend a lot of time setting things up, getting it perfect, the usual meticulous job that camera-people do. I can't imagine the poor spouses of these people, because they are absolutely detail-oriented. Everything gets set-up, and we do some B-roll footage of the website itself, myself at the computer, typical B(oring)-roll shots that have to be done.

Then we eat dinner and wait for The Roker, who was flying in from New York that same night. If his plane were to be delayed, no Roker, because I had to leave that same night. Thankfully his plane was not delayed and he arrived in order to do the interview right on time. Here is where the funny part, at least to me, comes in. The day prior, I got a call from the assistant producer who was in charge of the shoot. Confirming plans, etc, etc, and at the last, she mentions the "hat issue." See, on all my interviews, I wear my hat. I do this because frankly, I always wear my hat and there shouldn't be a problem with this when it comes to the media. I inform her that no, I will be wearing my hat and that I always wear my hat. This becomes key later, if my suspicions are correct.

During the interview, Roker asks me pretty much what I expected to be asked. Usual site background stuff, and then of course he started throwing in common "criticisms." You know, the "Suicide" angle (Which I have one hell of a response for), the "entrapment" angle, the "vigilante" angle, you know, the usual stuff. Easy to answer questions, since I've answered them so many times. The thing about the questions though, is that he was very grave, almost cautious about everything. Very, very serious. Not at all how I would expect Al Roker from his TV appearences. Then, out of the blue, perhaps the oddest experience of my life happens...

Al Roker asks me, very, very seriously, if I'm a nazi.

Yes, Al Roker thought I was a nazi

Not only had I never been asked that by a media source before, but it's Al Roker! Immediately I recognize that during their research, they must have stumbled across the article I mocked on my website, the one by the "Side of beef" in Kansas City where he tries to paint me as a nazi because the handle "AngryGerman" is a tribute to John Rabe, a great hero of China and history. It also explains, at least to me as I could be wrong, why the producer in charge of the story slipped in the thing about the hat. I keep my hair cut fairly short, and you can't tell, usually, if I have any under my hat. I think she wanted to see if I am a skinhead.

Immediately after being asked by Roker in a very serious tone if I'm a nazi, I start laughing. Because the idea of myself being a nazi is positively humorous to me. I'm not a nazi. I have no nazi sympathies. I do not believe in "white" (or any color) "power." I am not a skinhead. I like gay people. Etc, etc. So the idea that someone, let alone Al "TV's friendly weatherman" Roker, thinking I'm a nazi is hilarious to me. So I just blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind, which was of course... "well, you're Al Roker, and I like you, so how could I be a nazi?" I think that's a pretty damn good question. Then, remembering that I'm supposed to be somewhat professional, I switch into a serious answer which is that I'm not, I support Israel, blah blah blah. Still, my immediate response got a laugh out of Al, breaking the ice, which lead to a more relaxed atmosphere. He would later get me back by making faces at me while we were shooting some more B-roll together, causing me to laugh.

All in all, Al shot some tougher questions at me than I had expected, I handled them pretty well, and we got out of there to make my flight just in the nick of time. While doing the interview is great pubicity for Perverted-Justice and the goals and cause we espouse, the most memorable part of the media aspect of the trip, for me, will forever be the knowledge that TV's favorite Weatherman thought I am a nazi. Who apparently fights pedophiles online. I know, surreal to me too.

Life doesn't get any stranger than Al Roker asking if you're a Nazi.

Plug: Check out part of the interview in question as I represent PeeJ on Al Roker Productions presents Katie.com airing Wednesday night on CourtTV.

A Cause You Can Believe In

July/2004: Fast Food - As most know, I love Taco Bell. I have always loved Taco Bell. Growing up, I looked at Taco Bell as the pinnacle of eateries. Even after criss-crossing Portland, trying hundreds of restaurants... guess what?

I still consider Taco Bell the pinnacle of eateries.

Taco Bell has a variety of cheap items that are as tasty as they come. My typical Taco Bell menu consists of a Double Decker Taco, a Chicken Quesadilla, and one of those keen Beef and Potato Burritos. Truly scrumptious. Once in a while, I'll swap out an item for a Pintos and Cheese, or an Enchirito. Depends if I'm feeling experimental. However, that was not always the way of the ordering.

Back in "tha" day, before PeeJ, before AngryGerman.com, the menu ordering was far different. It was a Mexi-Nugget (since discontinued for crappy "Fiesta potatoes"), a side of nacho cheese, two double decker tacos and a Chilito.

Yes, a chilito. The Chili Cheese Burrito was the most glorious burrito ever served by Taco Bell. Ringing in at a cool buck, it was a blend of chili and cheese, simple, delightful, wonderful. It was the "main event" of the Taco Bell dish. Everything before it was leading up to the grandest burrito of them all.

So imagine my anger when I head into a Taco Bell to discover that the Chilito was no more. I do not like change when it comes to quick culinary dishes. So I said "Shit" and went to another Taco Bell in our area that still carried the burrito. They kept it for a while, but then got rid of it as well. You see, Taco Bell is giving franchisees the choice of carrying the item. Some do, some don't. None in my area do.

They should ALL carry this pinnacle of fast food burrito.

For the last couple years, I thought this was pretty much a solitary complaint. However, it is not! To try to rectify this terrible situation, a new force and cause has arisen, that of Chilicheese.org! - Link!

If you are a fan of option, or fast food, you need to sign this link. Hopefully the group behind this website can become quite large and stick up for those of us who miss our favorite menu items. You can sign their petition Here. Please sign the petition, and support this group's efforts to regain some sanity at the higher-ups at Taco Bell.

God bless you, ChiliCheese.org.

Help with the Instant Messages for You!

July/2004: Contact - Hello all, lately, I've been getting a lot of instant messages from people. Unfortunately, it seems that some individuals on this planet have no idea of how to instant message properly. All too often, people think of the instant message as a text "phone service." It's not. You don't use the same rules of communicate on IM that you do on the phone. Let me give you an example as we cover some of the sins you can commit on the IM.

Example #1. Thou Shalt Not Ask Dumb Questions:

What did John do wrong in the above? Obviously, the answer is the "What's up?" question. Please remove this question from your vocabulary. If I'm online, or if anyone is online, the answer is "I'm online." What would one expect me to say? "I'm here making pancakes and flipping flapjacks!" I'm on IM. I'm therefore online. That is what is up. As well, John goes on to commit the unpardonable sin of then repeating the same insipid question when I gave a curt answer. "How you doing?" is better than "What's up?" but not by much, and certainly not right after the first dumb question.

If you have no reason to contact someone other than to say "What's up", then you really should go find something to do, or stress those braincells to come up with an actual topic. However, even that can do dreadfully wrong.

Example #2. Thou Shalt Have Patience:

I hate to inform people that I am not a robot, but I'm not. Often, I have to go to the bathroom. Sometimes I go and get some Kool Aid (highly recommending the strawberry kiwi) which, I hate to inform people, is not an evil thing to do. Sometimes, I'm just playing fetch with my cat. The problem comes in when people think their topic is that important that I should respond right away. Again, this is not a phone. This is IM. It's "quicker email." If I don't respond fairly quickly, there's a good reason for it. It's not "I hate you" but "I'm busy with some other shit right now." I refuse to have to put up a "BRB BATHROOM!!!!" message. You guys don't need to know that.

I also am not responsible to TELL everyone I'm talking to at that point that I'm in the bathroom. IM'ing, when it's done right, is basically a tit-for-tat exchange. One person writes something, the other responds. Writing fifteen short sentences in a row is not what IM is about. Condense it into a paragraph and then wait. But hey, at least this person HAS a topic that COULD be interesting. When one doesn't, it's pointless and annoying.

Example #3. Thou Shalt Not Be Pointless Noob:

Yes, I am that guy with the website about the perverts. It's true. That is me. The website is called Perverted-Justice.com. I get three of these IM's a day. Look, it's great that new people hit the site and take an interest in what we do. But when that interest is nothing more than "Hey, you're that guy aren't you!", it gets a little old, quickly. About 80% of the conversations don't progress beyond that. It's just "hey, you're that guy." I suppose it's semi-akin to what celebrities go through, which makes their hatred of the common public make a lot of sense. I'm so fucking glad I'm not suffering like they do on that. "Hey, you're that guy!" Ugh.

Don't get me wrong, love the support, it just means more when people go to the forums and post their support that way. It's awfully tiring when people don't understand that the site is a group effort, a team effort. Not the effort of any one person. But perhaps worse than the "one guy" conversations are the forgetful idiots out there.

Example #4. Thou Shalt Not Be A Forgetful Idiot:

This is far worse. Here you have a person who, in a fit of apparently meaningless fancy, added my name to their list. Then, when I have the audacity to pop on, it's time to be grilled on who I am. If you don't remember who I am, then you shouldn't give a shit to find out who I am, as it wasn't worth remembering to begin with. Just move on. It's not exactly a modern mystery marvel of the world. I often look at my list and think "Who the hell is that?" Then, immediately afterward, I delete the name. If they're not important enough to remember, they're not important enough to jog my memory about.

Yet I get an IM like this once a week. They get really angry when you ask them "Does it matter if you can't remember?", as apparently, I'm supposed to be really interested in having them remember who I am, so I can talk to them. I don't know them in the first place! But worse than that sort of defensiveness is the defensiveness of someone who simply doesn't grasp that not everyone has the same IM set-up.

Example #5. Thou Shalt Change Your Font:

I use Trillian. As you can tell, it's Black and Silver with a white background. That means that if you have a screamin' hot turquoise font, I can't read it. Same with giant yellow fonts. Even pink! The color of your text isn't important. Getting mad at me because I use a superior IM client is silly. Just change the color. The best thing to do is simply stick with the default color, as it will render as white or black depending on your background. Then, you can have conversations without fear of having to do anything! Isn't that great? Sure it is.

Please take heed of those five examples, and do not annoy individuals such as myself with such obviously silly IM habits. If you follow these examples, you too can be an expert IM'er! Just follow the five step process and you'll end up in a happy land full of text and proper conversation.

You People Suck on Saturday Nights

July/2004: IM Convos - Saturday night is the worst night to be online. Why? Well, I explain in my desperation-bored series of conversations.

the_angrygerman: Saturday night is the most boring night online.
the_angrygerman: Nobody is online. Ever.
the_angrygerman: It says you're online.
the_angrygerman: But even you are not online.
satine: No she is not.
the_angrygerman: Apparently not.
satine: nope, she is sitting on the bed telling me not to talk to you.
the_angrygerman: You going to let her boss you around like that? What are you? Some kind of BOYfriend?
the_angrygerman: Not a manfriend, obviously.
the_angrygerman: But a boy.
the_angrygerman: Feel that burn.
satine: Oh yes, it hurts so much! It even hurts in the side.
the_angrygerman: No, that's syphilis.
the_angrygerman: I don't think I want to talk to you anymore.

XavierVE: This is boring. No one is online.
Aces: I was thinking the same thing
XavierVE: Obviously they're all gay.
Aces: heh
XavierVE: Only gay people go out on Saturday nights.
Aces: right...good thing we are straight...and have the ablility to sit in judgment
XavierVE: Without a doubt. Word up dawg style.
Aces: I am so effing bored
XavierVE: At least you're not gay.
Aces: tru
XavierVE: That's the choice.
XavierVE: Gay or bored.
Aces: I was gonna bust, but the whole talking sex to old guys has been sooooo done before
XavierVE: There is a point, when you get so bored, that there is nothing you can do.
XavierVE: Not work. Not anything fun.
XavierVE: Just bored.
Aces: ugh
XavierVE: It's a vortex which sucketh one in.
XavierVE: I'm IM'ing random people.
Aces: haver you ever been tired as hello...but bored??
Aces: I just hate that
XavierVE: Yep.
Aces: too bad its illegal to shoot people. That seems fun
XavierVE: I'd rather rob banks.
Aces: oooh
XavierVE: Then I would have money.
Aces: good call
XavierVE: And not be bored.
Aces: exactly
Aces: you donwn for hitting one of those 24 hour check cashing places...it's not as secure as a bank, but has a bit of cash on hand..
XavierVE: God, that seems so ghetto.
XavierVE: No class in robbing one of those. At least bank robbers are glamorous.
Aces: cant argue that
Aces: and looks good if you get sent to prison
Aces: people line up to be your bitch
XavierVE: Yep.
Aces: hey. Do yourself a favor if you haven't already done so and buy, download or steel the new coldplay album. Fucking rules
XavierVE: They have another new one out?
Aces: steal*
XavierVE: Or is this the only one and you're just behind?
XavierVE: old.
Aces: cold rush of blood to the head?
XavierVE: Yeah.

the_angrygerman: Tonight is boring. No one is online
ruby: yeah, it's sloooow
the_angrygerman: You want to know why?
ruby: other than that, how're you doing?
ruby: what's up?
the_angrygerman: Because all the gay people go out on Saturday nights.
the_angrygerman: That's why.
ruby: lol
the_angrygerman: Only us straight people are online.
ruby: you have a good point! ;)
ruby: Though I have to admit, I was out until about 12:30 or so
the_angrygerman: You're gay then.
ruby: lol, I was out gaming. . .
ruby: Ruby = Geek
the_angrygerman: Gaming? What sort?
ruby: our bastardized version of Vampire: The Masquerade
the_angrygerman: Yeah, you're gay.
ruby: lol
ruby: ah well
ruby: so, once a month I'm gay. :)
the_angrygerman: Obviously.
ruby: meh, I SHOULD be checking my work e-mail, but I don't feel like pulling the laptop out of the backpack and switching the DSL cable over
ruby: I haven't had a chance to pick up a hub yet
the_angrygerman: Ah, that must be frustrating.
ruby: annoying, but yeah
ruby: might go do that tomorrow. . .not much planned for Sunday
ruby: yeesh, I'm not used to it being so quiet around here
the_angrygerman: Yes, all the gays are out.
ruby: yes, and some of us have come to our senses and returned home
the_angrygerman: You're still gay.
ruby: thpppppppppppt
ruby: so I'm a gay male trapped in a woman's body?
the_angrygerman: Basically.
ruby: ok, I can live with that

XavierVE1: There is no one online.
XavierVE1: This is boring.
erinyes: its saturday night
XavierVE1: So?
erinyes: all the cool people are out grazing for easy fucks
XavierVE1: Only gay people go out on Saturday night.
XavierVE1: That's what I say.
erinyes: uh
erinyes: i just got home
erinyes: hmph!
XavierVE1: Obviously you're gay then.
erinyes: heh
erinyes: it was the old mans bday we took him to chucky cheese
XavierVE1: Did you guys jump in the ball pit?
erinyes: no but we hogged all the games that gave out alot of tickets and I got a pair of fuzzy pink dice
erinyes: Im afraid of the ball pit
XavierVE1: True, could get pregnant in there.
erinyes: you get the balls on your face and little germy kids have been coughing all over them and shit
erinyes: haha
XavierVE1: Balls on your face? That's definitely gay.
XavierVE1: Explains a lot about why you went out tonight.
erinyes: not if you have a vag
erinyes: oh mr funnypants tonight
erinyes: fiesty!
XavierVE1: Tonight is boring. My regular IM people are not online, so I'm trying some of you kids out.
erinyes: so what are you up to
XavierVE1: Messaging people randomly and letting them know that only gay people go out on Saturday nighs.
erinyes: hmm I think they are only gay if they are single and going out
XavierVE1: They are gay regardless.
erinyes: youre funny
erinyes: can I call you george
erinyes: or javier
XavierVE1: No.
erinyes: not even Javier?
XavierVE1: No.
erinyes: What if english was my second language
XavierVE1: Then you really should have gotten around to learning it quicker.

XavierVE1: It is boring tonight. No one is online.
DJ: As is exemplified by your messaging me. :)
XavierVE1: Exactly.
DJ: But yeah, it is a slow night.
XavierVE1: Because you and I are the only non-gay ones.
XavierVE1: Only gay people go out on Saturday nights.
DJ: Yeah, I end up working most nights anyway.
XavierVE1: That is the same of a heterosexual.
XavierVE1: sign.
XavierVE1: It is too boring to spell properly.
DJ: How is Peej doing, anyway?
XavierVE1: Good, two arrested today.
XavierVE1: Sick people.
DJ: But I thought LE hated you guys? ;)
DJ: Whew, Erika's online, we can end our awkward conversation and use her as an intermediary when we disagree.
XavierVE1: Already one step ahead of you.
XavierVE1: XavierVE1: It is a boring night.
XavierVE1: Where were you?
XavierVE1: Did you get a social life? Damn your eyes.
XavierVE1: I had to resort to IM'ing Fat DJ.
DJ: Haha. Good night, then.

XavierVE1: It is a boring night.
XavierVE1: Where were you?
XavierVE1: Did you get a social life? Damn your eyes.
XavierVE1: I had to resort to IM'ing Fat DJ.
Erika: Haha. Watching the Godfather, and then Matt came over after work since he stays the night on weekends
XavierVE1: Obviously you're gay.
XavierVE1: Only gay people are not online on Saturday nights.
Erika: I'm online now!
XavierVE1: Too late. You have been judged.
Erika: :( I like the Godfather though.
XavierVE1: All homosexuals do.
XavierVE1: We heterosexuals like being online.
Erika: You don't like the Godfather?
XavierVE1: I do.
XavierVE1: Best opening scene in movie history.
Erika: So what does that make you?
XavierVE1: Non-gay. I watch it on Tuesday nights.
Erika: Haha, okay. I'll have to complain to CBC for tempting me with it tonight rather than on Tuesdays
XavierVE1: Obviously another in a long line of Canadian Conspiracies.

You're all gay. That is the explanation.