Nakedmanatee's Blog o' Mirth.

In which one man, through a series of holistic misadventures, attempts to break the barriers that hinder communication using only a computer, a handful of Wheat Thins--sun-dried tomato flavor, and the Talking Heads CD, "More Songs About Buildings and Food." Guest starring Rita Moreno as herself.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Research Video

Please watch this video. It's about research. It's called Research Minutes.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Check out the footage

The actual footage

This blog beat me to it... Check it out!

Can You Believe, Baby???

Monday, January 01, 2007


We came. We saw. WE KICKED THEIR ASS!!!!

Oklahoma goes down... to Boise State!

GO BRONCOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Story on Yahoo News

Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Clit is Throbbing: A Tale of Christmas

I work the night shift at a hotel. Many of you know this, but perhaps some of you don't. People who have an opinion about the odd hours I keep invariably have a negative opinion. "11-7," I say, watching the muscles in their face involuntarily wince. "I couldn't do that," is the most common response. I've decided that this is the fundamental division between me and the rest of the world. As an English major, I'm fond of metaphors, but here's something that I could take quite literally...the difference between me and the rest of the world was day and night. I go back and forth on this. Does working at night give me a release from the daytime obligations of relating to people? Does it encourage my not-so-latent misanthropic tendencies? I wonder.

Working at night isn't a complete isolation from humanity, as much as I wish it was. If anything, it strips away the mundane and leaves me with those who, to put it kindly, do not color within the lines. I can say this, I can make this dubious generalization because I consider myself one of them. Sometimes when I am feeling grandiose, I like to pretend I am their leader. But deep down inside, I know better. We're stragglers; we're lost. We can't be led.

Every night when I drive to work I wonder what is going to happen. What I really mean is: What is going to happen that will tear me away from my homework or my books or the movies I watch in the meeting room at 3a.m.? Occasionally, a guest will find me watching some pretentious French film. "Uh, excuse me, I'd like to check out," he'll mumble. "At three in the morning?" I think, irritated, fumbling for the pause button. I hate having the flow of Robert Bresson movies interrupted. I think it's disrespectful to Robert Bresson and if we, as a society, cannot respect our artists, what do we have left? Unfortunately, my early-morning check-out was not a fan of "L'Argent."

Last week, December 23rd, to get specific, I had brought with me a handful of Christmas presents to wrap. Having worked here (and again, I use work in the loosest sense) for two years, I had come to appreciate the spacious counters in the dining room area as excellent surfaces for wrapping presents. I flipped on the plasma screen, finding an airing of "Scrooged." Pleased that I had found the appropriate festive white noise for wrapping presents, I spread out my wrapping tools: scissors, tape, decorative papers and tags. I fixed a cup of hot chocolate and began to eye the gifts' various sizes, trying to determine just how much paper would be needed. I am notoriously bad at this. I haven't used a whole role of wrapping paper to wrap a bottle of cologne, but I've come damn close. After deciding that Hello Kitty paper was borderline appropriate for some adults, the inevitable happened: the phone rang. Christ, I'm trying to wrap Christmas presents here!

I picked up the phone and said my spiel: "Thank you for calling the Comfort Suites. This is David, how may I help you?"

The voice that answered was clear, sharp, acidic, and quite loud. "I HATE YOUR FUCKING FACE!" she said.

Now I've recieved all manner of calls, both of the serious and the prank variety. I've dealt with the assholes demanding to speak to the owner so they can complain about the lack of Western art in the hotel (no joke). I've also dealt with the drunken teenage boys calling me up to posit that all-important query: "Duuuude. You got some weed?" I feel like I've handled both with grace, humor, and aplomb. But I wasn't quite sure how to react when this girl (and she sounded teenager-ish) called me up and yelled this strange revelation.

So I laughed. "WH-hhaat?" I said in disbelief. She confirmed her feelings. "I HATE YOUR FUCKING FACE!" I quickly put the caller into the category of crank. Sarcasm always seemed like an appropriate defense. "Aww, really?" I said, making my voice seem disappointed. "That's so mean," I said with a overly fake whimper.

"Don't you hate my fucking face?" she said, her voice now registering in normal tones. It was almost awkward, as if she were asking me directions to somebody's house. I switched gears from sarcasm to blunt honesty. "Well, I try not to hate anybody," I said amiably. The phone was silent for a few seconds. "What are you wearing?" she purred.

I should note: I like prank phone calls, usually. I see them as a challenge. Very rarely do I feel like somebody has got the better of me on a prank phone call. When faced with one, I do not shrink away. I fully engage the prankster. The whole idea of a prank phone call is to embarrass or fool the one on the recieving end. A typical prankster lives for that moment when they fluster the hapless victim enough so they hang up, leaving them feeling angry and helpless. Knowing this, I have never hung up on one. I will keep it going. It is a war. A war in which I will annoy or pester or bore the other person into hanging up. I know. I shouldn't be so infantile. But I have to admit. It's kinda fun.

Despite my prank phone call experiences, I had never had anybody male or female ask me what I was wearing. I started laughing in disbelief. "What do you think I'm wearing?" I shot back. "I work at a hotel." Not missing a beat, she continued. "I hope you're wearing black slacks, a blue dress shirt and a tie." I stopped to think...well, that is the Comfort Suites uniform. Except I never adhere to dress code standards. Usually I wear khakis or sometimes black jeans. And I never, ever, wear a tie if I can get away with it. "I can see you," she whispered dramatically. I laughed again. "Really." I fingered my collar. I'm not wearing a tie, I thought.

"I'm really turned on right now," she said with a little moan in her voice. But she said it rapidly, nervously, almost. She might have been taking a dare from her drunk friends, and she was up for it, but she sounded rather unconvincing. I decided to play it straight. I had no intention of engaging her with more sex talk. "Why?" I said flatly. "I have no idea what you are talking about," I added with a laugh.

"My clit is throbbing for you," she said in a breathy sort of voice. I had to give her points not only for the sense of fake urgency that she was conveying, but that she was comfortable enough with her body to discuss whatever sensations she was feeling in her clit. Major clit bonus points. In fact, I suspect her tactic really wasn't different from any other prank phone caller. Embarrasment. Most people don't like to talk in erotic terms and certainly not with strangers. This girl was trying to embarrass me in a way, thinking I would get flustered and hang up. Or that I would actually be hard up enough to get turned on just by the word "clit." Well, she may have known the official uniform of the Comfort Suites employee, but she didn't know much about *me*. If she did, she'd know that I walk willingly into embarrasments. I leap into potential humiliation. I eat the stuff up with a spoon and ask for seconds. Thirds, even. At some point I decided that life was a series of humiliations and that the best defense was a good offense. To this end, I really am shameless. "What's a clit?" I asked, nonplussed. "I've heard *of them*," I explained, bemused by the surreality of the conversation.

Perhaps she mistook my unassuming tone as the manner of somebody who hasn't had any sexual experience. Who was not used to hearing the word "clit." Well, to be fair, it was a fairly safe assumption to make as I am generally socially polite about such things and do not engage in everyday conversations concerning such matters. Still, I'm not a monk cloistered away in some monastery. Things happen to me. To wit, it was only about a year ago I met up with a co-worker outside of work. To protect her identity, I shall call her Sarah, in honor of my favorite NPR contributor, Sarah Vowell. I was just leaving my Biology class (appropriately enough) and I heard her voice call me. "David!" I turned and there she was, with friends, sitting on the grass in front of the main doors, sunning herself. She motioned for me to come over. "Hey, Sarah," I said. "Do you want to see something?" she asked. "Sure," I said, my eyes going down to her bookbag. I anticipated a book or an essay, perhaps. But no. She lifted her shirt, Girls Gone Wild style, and revealed her newly pierced nipples. I blinked rapidly. "I got them pierced," she informed me. "You did," I said dumbly, nodding my head. "Looks painful," I managed as she lowered her shirt back down. I was caught off guard, it was true, but I think I covered it pretty well. That was shocking. The phone call prankster was going to have to work harder than that.

"I want you in me," she said, more determinedly. "In you? What are you talking about? Where?" I asked. "In my pussy," she responded. At this point, I switched gears, still trying to figure out who this girl was. Why was she harrasing me in such an unusual way? And more importantly, why wasn't she hanging up? I had tried to make it as unfun as possible for her. I tried to put on an air of concern. "Don't you have a boyfriend you should be saying these things to?" I asked, not trying to be sarcastic or witty, but to geniunely engage her, honestly. "Or a girlfriend?" I asked. "Yeah, I have a girlfriend," she moaned. "We want you to join us." I snorted. So much for genuine interaction. So far everything that she was saying was a bad porn cliche--a commercial for bad porn. Oy.

"Are you hard?" she asked.
"Let me check," I responded. "No, not yet."
"I'm so wet right now."
"Did you just come out of the shower?"
"No, my pussy is wet. I want you so bad."

Then the other line rang. I laughed and said "Okay then. I'm going to put you on hold." And I did. I let her sit on hold for a few minutes before the call dropped off. It was completly understandable. Our hold music is designed to wear down the most determined customer trying to get through. My opinion is, if you make it through the automated music and ads for a minumum of five minutes, you've earned the right to make a reservation. Anything less and you don't really deserve to stay here.

I wondered if she would call back. I realized I didn't ask her many questions. Like, what are *you* wearing? What's your name? When your clit is aroused do you ever think to yourself: "Wow, my clit is...well, I guess it's throbbing. Yes, throbbing is the best way to describe it. Beating isn't really the word. Thumping? No, throbbing."

Many hours later, I think I figured out who it was. I narrowed it down to a couple of ex-Comfort Suites employees that I think I may have pissed off. Let's say their names are Zuzu and Betty. They were 19-20ish, I believe, and would often show up in the middle of the night during my shift, bringing their friends in tow, all alcohol-saturated, cackling in the way that only smashed 19 year old girls can cackle. They were strangely aware of their nascent sexuality, but not old enough to truly articulate beyond phrases that they may have heard coming from a television. They loved to have their pool parties. This, of course, was at distinct odds with my nightly French film festival and I told them that they could not come to the hotel at night drunk. I made up a reason, like say, the boss would disaprove of such behavior. In reality, I didn't care if she fucked a donkey in her spare time. I just didn't want to be a witness to it. They were pissed, but said nothing. They left and I never saw them on my shift again.

Looking back, I felt bad, in a way. Maybe I was too hard on them. After all, they were just kids. The first time I met Zuzu, she was very nice to me. She was an attractive girl, but what struck me the most was, despite the fact that her body was sexually developed, her demeanor was playful and adolescent. I didn't want to have sex with her. I wanted to be a big brother. While she talked to me, she doodled on a pad--hearts, flowers, smiley faces. Yep, that was her. That was Zuzu. She was the one that had called me, going on about her clit. I felt oddly protective of her when I figured it out. I wished she would call me back. I could tell her that I never meant to embarrass her by lecturing her and Betty. I could ask her if she sat around thinking about how much she fucking hated my face.

She never did call back. I like to think that she worked out any animosity towards me...for her own sake. So, Zuzu, you're not reading this, I'm sure, but I wish you a Merry Christmas nonetheless. I hope the next time your clit is throbbing, you're not thinking of me.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I've made it through my penultimate semester as an undergrad and damn does it feel good. It was an intense semester and it's so nice to finally catch my breath. Which means I have a short window of actually getting to choose what I read and watch! I've already wolfed down Tales of the City (soooo good & I have to fit the next one in soon) by Armistead Maupin. It's wonderful escapist material and the characters are so endearing, you can't help but make friends with them all. It didn't take me too long to wish I had my own flat at 28 Barbary Lane. But right now I'm taking a detour with "The Shadow of the Wind" (thanks, Amy!) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I'm about 75 pages in and it's got a great Gabriel Garcia Marquez feel to it. Plus, at it's heart, it is about a love affair with books. So it hits me where I live.

As far as movies go, I've got a stack of must-sees. Tonight I'm going to watch Jean-Luc Godard's "Masculin feminin," but a couple nights back I watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca." Here's my lil' mini-review...

I can't really talk about "Rebecca" without mentioning the now-classic opening line "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." The opening 1st person narration (by Joan Fontaine, looking more luscious than Scarlett Johannasen could ever hope for) is remarkable for a film of this type. Hitchcock crafted a superb Gothic romantic thriller that drew equally from the film noir/femme fatale elements, which generally are marked by a male 1st person narrative. To deviate from that is, most likely, no more than an adherence to the structure of the novel that it's based on, but regardless, the mechanics of the film's narrative is no unimportant thing. This is a story about women, from a woman's point of view, and the empathy engendered by this opening is crucial to the film's success. Of course, if you're going to put a director on the psycho-analytical couch, you'd be in good company to start with Hitchcock. The man is notorious (ha!) for his misogynistic subtext. Now you can make the arguement that everything torturous that our heroine endures is sharply felt because of a concious (or subconcious)desire on the part of Hitchcock to put the screws to her. It's kind of an interesting film exercise to pick the movie apart that way. It doesn't really matter though, as the statements about our heroine's place in a patriarchal society are as valid as they are brutal. In short, Hitchcock didn't invent the social structure, he's just pointing out how it operates.

Joan Fontaine's character is never given a name except for when she is married to Maxim de Winter. Then she is known as Mrs. de Winter. The *second* Mrs. de Winter, actually, as she has to contend with the ghost of Maxim's first wife, Rebecca, whose spirit affects every aspect of their palatial estate, Manderlay. In the novel (and in the credits) the character is simply called "I," which is strangely appropriate somehow. You could very easily do a feminist reading of the movie as she is essentially "NO-Name" until she becomes Mrs. de Winter. I'm just going to refer to her as "Joan." ;)

Joan is a quiet, meek sort; occupying that space between mousy and demure. She is working as a companion/servant for an older, more brash woman, who verbally browbeats her. Maxim spots her and the contrast between the women is striking. The older woman is socially duplicitous, all smiles and charm, but like a viper to Joan when no one else is around. Joan defers to everyone and shyly averts her eyes when Maxim speaks to her. But Joan is who she is. Her inner weakness and humility is established as a positive trait when contrasted with the elder woman's rude and devious nature. Maxim, of course, spots perfect wife material.

In the traditional film noir/femme fatale narrative, there is often a "woman of virture" in contrast to the femme fatale. Now Joan's elder companion is too old to be considered a femme fatale or rival for Maxim's affections, which leaves the movie in interesting territory as we slowly learn more about Maxim's first wife, Rebecca. In this movie, the dead woman is the femme fatale that Joan must compete with. The crux of the movie is this: can Joan's redeemer character work her inate goodness on Maxim?

Maxim is the typical mix of Lord Byron/Heathcliff tortured Romantic leading men figures. He is played with resolve and flint by Laurence Olivier, which is appropriate as Olivier had done this sort of thing before, playing Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights." He's not a kind paramour to Joan, instead skirting between bad boy and father figure. I'm not sure if this is what women want, but there's no denying that all women uniformally find strength and confidence appealing and Maxim has it in spades. And Joan's easily malleable character is irresistable to such a man. In fact, besides her obvious beauty, it may be the one characteristic that truly sells Maxim on her. Throughout the film, he asserts his dominant masculinity, often comparing her to a child. He doesn't do this as an insult, but as an endearment. His marriage proposal is in the classic Clark Gable mode: "Marry me, you little fool!" (Maybe I'll use that line someday.) ;) Maxim even forbids her to ever be "36" suggesting that her babyish qualities are what Maxim truly loves.

The movie is perfectly constructed and shot and Manderlay looks gorgeous. The acting is stellar throughout, especially Judith Anderson as the creepy Mrs. Danvers. It's not Hitchcock's best (that would be Vertigo), but it's right up there. And even if you're not into the all the sociological gender subtext hoo-hah, it's a damn good thriller. Perfect for a rainy Friday night.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This is really hot

Friday, December 08, 2006


If you're looking at the cover of today's USA Today (the COVER, mind you!)and you don't live in Idaho, "yeahbutwha?" might just be your reaction. But yes, that's Boise State University's Ian Johnson laughing triumphantly, presumably at our 12-0 season. Or maybe it's because he's the nation's second-leading rusher (147 yards a game.) And oh yeah, the guy crochets in his spare time. The BSU Broncos are near and dear to Boiseans' hearts. And BSU students have particularly stuck with them through thick and thin. I remember the dark years of the early 90's quite well, especially the rather humiliating defeats against our in-state rivals, the Idaho Vandals. I can let any game go, but when it comes to our yearly match-up, I turn into a frickin' caveman. But due to our ascendancy and the Vandals descent, they're not even on our radar anymore. The stars have aligned and BSU has made it into a bowl game. January 1st we'll be playing the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. Many people will be writing BSU off immediately. The Sooners are one of the greatest football programs in the nation...blah, blah, blah. Yeah, we're the underdog, and quite frankly that's our greatest strength. So go ahead. Underestimate us. I can't wait.