Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross


Posted on November 5, 2010


The New York City Marathon is coming up this weekend. Every year, I go through a very specific ritual to prepare for it.

Friday and Saturday nights, I carbo load. That means huge plates of pasta. Tonight, for instance, I had penne with peas and prosciutto in a creamy tomato sauce. Tomorrow, it’ll be fusilli with homemade pesto. Carbo loading is probably my favorite part of the marathon.

I can get pretty nervous leading up to the big day, so I’ll allow myself a drink or two. Usually something high in carbs, like a Guiness. It’s important to double up those carbos.

The morning of race day, I wake up before dawn. I’ll eat a modest breakfast—two bowls of farfalle in a lemon butter sauce. After that, I’ll stretch for an hour or so to loosen up my hamstrings. I apply BodyGlide anti-chafing gel to my nipples and inner thighs to keep friction from rubbing them raw. Then, I head down and watch the marathon.

It’s nice. I’ve staked out a good spot next to a fire hydrant, in case I need to lean against something. I have a hard time standing after eating so much pasta all week. Stretching out my hamstrings helps but not enough.

I’ll usually get real sleepy from waking up so early. Eating orange slice helps, because of the sugar rush. But, the volunteers tend to want to save those for the runners. They get real mad if you steal orange slices out of the runners’ hands.

I love watching the runners drink from the little paper cups and then toss them on the ground. Littering like nobody’s business. Because, you know what? They’re too busy to stop and find a trash can. Just like me.

My favorite part is the people who run wearing full costumes. Like some people dress as Batman. Sometimes people dress up as nuns. I once saw a guy wearing a huge hot dog outfit. It says, “Hey, marathons are so easy, even jerks can run them.” It really gives me confidence that maybe one day I might run a marathon.

Marathons are so inspiring. It’s all about watching people push their bodies to the very limit. Their weird, ropy bodies. Bodies that look wrong somehow, like marionettes made out of turkey jerky. It is truly inspiring how years of training can make your body so sexy and then eventually unsexy.

About fifteen minutes into watching the race, it’s time to apply more BodyGlide anti-chafing gel to my nipples and inner thighs. So, I’ll grab a cab home. Most of the rest of my day is spent watching the marathon on TV and eating bowls of pasta. Usually wrapped up in a Mylar blanket.

Like I said, it’s my yearly ritual.


Lie Detector Test

Posted on November 4, 2010

Thank you for purchasing Andy Ross’s How to Be Awesome Correspondence Course. If you are listening to this cassette tape, that means you have completed Lesson One: Blowing Smoke Rings and also Lesson Two: Nunchucks.

Welcome, now, to Lesson Three: How to Fake Out a Lie Detector Test.

Everyone knows that lie detector tests are totally fake and stupid. That’s why they’re not admissible in court. (I know that for sure, because I offered to take a lie detector test to prove that I didn’t steal that garden gnome, but the stupid judge wouldn’t let me.) So, everybody knows lie detectors are B.S., except the people who still use them. Like the FBI or suspicious girlfriends or junk.

Is it possible to fake out a lie detector machine? You bet your ass it is. And, since your check or money order has cleared, I’ll tell you the secret: It’s all about messing with the baseline readings.

Every lie detector session starts out by establishing a baseline of your physical responses to simple questions. Like, “What year is it?” or “Are you a duck?” After asking basic questions, the lie detector technician compares all your later readings to those first ones.

Here’s how to crunk up those baselines:

1) The thumbtack trick. Spies are taught to mess up the baseline question by putting a thumbtack inside their shoe. And, whenever they answer any question, true or not, they step down on the tack. Boom, their nervous system goes apeshit, and the needle jumps equally every time. That’s some real James Bond shit right there.

If you don’t have a thumbtack handy, like because you’re in the jungle doing karate or something, you can try this…

2) Change the “truth.” Truth is all in the eye of the beholder, right? So, if they ask you the year, you can say 2010. But, in your head you can know that you’re lying. Because, according to the Mayan calendar, it’s some totally different date that I don’t feel like looking up on Wikipedia right now.

Or, let’s say they ask you your name. Just change your name before you take the test. You can do that at the Social Security office. I’m pretty sure the first time is free. Just don’t change it to Andy Ross, because I’m already googling really poorly, and I don’t need the competition.

I’m serious. If you think you’re funny by changing your name to my name, I’ll show up at your house with my nunchucks. We’ll see who’s laughing then.

3) Get your heart rate up. This one’s easy. Remember the pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? Ah ha! See? Your heart rate is up already.

4) Become a Level 5 Zen Master. This one takes awhile. Not for me. But, for somebody like you, it’ll take years to have total mental control over your physical being. I wouldn’t recommend this one for beginners.

5) Use finger quotes. There’s nothing illegal about using finger quotes to turn any potential lie into merely sarcasm.

The thing is that you have to use air quotes for every answer, true or false. ‘Cause, if you just use them for the lies, the technician catches on. I learned that one the hard way when mall security asked me who was spitting in all the Jamba Juice cups when I worked at Jamba Juice.

6) Storm out. Pretty self-explanatory. Just pretend you have morals and that lie detector tests are “beneath you.” I mean, if we can’t trust each other as a society, where are we? Try to knock something over on your way out in order to make your point.

So, yeah, those are your tips for beating a lie detector. Good luck, and remember to carry around a thumbtack if you can.

The next lesson in the series will be Lesson Four: Sliding Across the Hood of a Car, Starsky and Hutch-Style. Expect your next cassette in like a month or two, because I’m real busy doing some other stuff right now.

Now, get out there and be awesome.


My Worst Day

Posted on November 3, 2010

I’ll never forget my worst day.

I was walking down a gravel road. Just taking a stroll and enjoying the pleasant summer weather. The sky was clear, and there were birds singing.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I stepped down onto a pile of melted gummy bears. Right there in the middle of the gravel road. How did gummy bears get there? Did somebody drop them? Kids playing a prank? I had no idea. All I knew was that my sneakers were suddenly gunked up with sticky, gooey candy.

Can you imagine it? Picture it. Colorful, melted gummy bears sticking in between the tracks of my sneakers. Are you picturing it? Awful, right?

And, very quickly that candy was mixing with bits of gravel and sand. I tried to scrape it off on the grass, but then clumps of grass and dirt got all mixed in. I tried pushing it off with the end of a stick, but the stick kept breaking. It was horrible. The frustration of it all kept building and building.

Suddenly, I was getting hot, and I was sweating. I went to take off my shoes, but I realized I couldn't walk barefoot on gravel all the way back to the cabin. I remember thinking, I can’t imagine how this day can get any worse.

Just as I thought that, an adult male moose came out of the woods and kicked me directly in the testicles.

It was my worst day ever.


Winter Squash

Posted on November 2, 2010


Winter squash seems to be everywhere this fall. It’s overflowing farmers’ market tables. It’s decorating front porches. It’s bulging out underneath elderly shoplifters’ overcoats.

If you’re like me, you can’t get enough or its earthy, savory flavor. But, for those of you who’ve never experienced to delight that is winter squash, allow me to run through a list of my favorite varieties:

Butternut Squash – The sweetest of the winter squashes, easy-to-peel, and perfect for pureeing. Eager to please without coming across as desperate. Good with kids and pets.

Acorn Squash – Wonderful for roasting or sautéing. Bold and adventurous with a cheeky sense of humor. Often disobedient towards authority figures. Fashion-forward.

Hubbard Squash – The largest winter squash. Stores very well for up to five months. However, it can be quite pushy. Has kind of an eldest child thing going on. Well-meaning, but often unwilling to compromise. Idealistic.

Pumpkin – Terrific for making the classic namesake pie. Can be cloyingly innocent at times. The kind of innocence that hides an oblivious self-interest. Often stumbles its way into situations that give it an advantage. Did it really simply happen upon such beneficial reward, or was it planned all along?

Spaghetti Squash – When cooked, its stringy flesh produces spaghetti-like strands. Staunchly conservative to the point where you have to avoid certain topics like healthcare or the war altogether. Has a habit of answering its own questions before you have a chance. Example, “What do you think of this new school chancellor we’ve got? I’ll tell you what I think of him…”

Kabocha Squash – Sweet and slightly nutty. Perfect for soups. Brown-noser. Constantly grubbing for attention from its superiors. Anxious when it goes awhile without adding its yes-man opinion to every conversation. Jumpy.

Delicata Squash – Thin skinned with a distinctly corn-like flavor. Kind of a nothing personality. Boring at parties but fine to have around at work. Nods a lot.

Turban Squash – Oddly shaped with a slight hazelnut flavor. Sees what it wants and goes for it. Sexually aggressive but quick to tire of a lover. Enjoys extreme sports and late-70’s progressive rock.

Calbaza – An ancient squash that served as one of the “three sisters” of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cooking. Crotchety. Hard to please and quick to criticize. Has the kind of tough exterior that hides years of pain and hardship. It once had dreams of a life in showbiz, but family responsibilities kept it home, and those dreams withered inside, like a burning match that slowly fizzled out. Farts in its sleep.

Banana Squash – Looks like a big banana. Pretty great. Pret-ty great.


Amazon Wish List

Posted on November 1, 2010

Dear friends,

I would like to apologize for an email you may have received from me earlier today. It seems I accidentally sent my entire address book a link to my Amazon wish list. This was simply a computer error and has nothing to do with my upcoming birthday.

I would be mortified if you all thought I was pointing out perfect gifts for my birthday, which is coming up right around the corner. Gifts like the Where the Wild Things Are on Blue-Ray or a used copy of Steve Martin’s 1979 book, Cruel Shoes. I was definitely not doing that.

I don't know how this happened. I guess Amazon must have a new "export to all contacts" function. Somehow, I mistakenly pasted in a list of email addresses and then clicked “send” and later clicked “I’m sure.” You can see how it was a simple mix-up.

Again, I’m very sorry to have bothered you with that earlier email, which might have gone into your spam folder, in case you want to check your spam folder to make sure you got it.

If you did receive the email or have now salvaged it from your spam, please delete it. There’s no need for you to click through the easy-to-follow hyperlink to see my Amazon wish list.

It’s mostly just things I would never buy for myself, because that wouldn’t compare to the excitement of receiving them as gifts. Things like the Complete First Season of Modern Family or a USB-enabled LAN adapter for my Wii.

Birthdays aren’t about gifts. They’re about celebrating together.

Like the celebration I had last year for my 30th birthday that many of you couldn’t come to because you had other plans. Which I’m sure you now regret and wish you could make up to me. Perhaps by chipping in with a few other email recipients to buy me a Wacom PTK640 Black Intuos4 Medium Pen Tablet with Pen & Mouse (Factory Refurbished).

So, again, I apologize for the mistake. Especially coming now, just barely within the special promotional window of free shipping for orders over $50. It was never my intention to pressure you into making me feel happy and loved.

Sorry again,

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