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May 17, 2005

Advice Column for May 17, 2005


Okay, some of you are back to your old tricks. Remember: I usually ain’t interested in answerin’ questions that be all like “oh man help me what liquor should I drink” or “this girl and I are fifteen and she is acting like she is interested in this other dude what can I do.” Guys, come on. I have been at this game a long time and I am interested in helping with more challenging problems (however, nothing involving suicide, as that does not interest me). Please keep that in mind when you think I should spend time reading about what you have to say. Sorry to be a D about this.


Listen to the theme to Ray's Place, by Milwaukee Youth Children's Choir, aka MC Frontalot

I am on the verge of graduationg [sic] from high shcool [sic], and expect to end up pretty flush in the next couple of months (grandmother slipping me envelope full of cash, mother giving me money to 'go and pretty myself up'). I am male, and would like to know what would be some useful things to buy before I go to college.
FF, Internet

Dear FF,

Glad you asked. As many people know, I did a quarter at San Pablo Valley Community College, which actually has its own dorms, so it is mostly like a regular college. Based on what I learned there and what I have read on the subject, you will want the following things before setting foot on campus:

1) A necktie. Hang this off your doorknob to signify to your roommate or Residential Assistant that you are in the act of scoring and do not wish to be bothered. A bowtie will also work, but people will think you’re bangin’ Christopher Kimball.

2) Water balloons. College students don’t tend to have a lot of money, so throwing water balloons out of a high window or off a rooftop can be a lot of fun. Especially good is if you have one of those three-person slingshots.

3) Two hats. If you’re like I was, showering and combing your hair often take a backseat to the sheer need to get to class on time, and you’ll want to cover your nasty old mop with a ball cap. You need two caps because sometimes one cap will prove to be unlucky (midterm, pop quiz, teacher all in your face about who Magellan was) and you’ll want to wear the other hat next time to try and improve your luck.

Good luck out there. College is a huge pain in the ass, but you have to do it.

This one's maybe for Teodor (if so, throw it his way maybe?) but I'm looking at buying a new electric guitar, and I'm wondering if you have any insight into a decent blues axe under $1000? I'm considering a Telecaster, but am not as interested in a Strat. I like old Delta blues, as well as blues-rock such as The Allman brothers and Clapton. Hollow bodies, ala B.B. King are too pricey I think. I don't care much about brand, I'm just looking for some sparkling blues magic.
J in ATL

Dear J,

Man, you ain’t got to go asking Téodor about no axes. I know my way around pretty well from the collector circuit and I have a lot of thoughts on the subject.

Yeah, you ain’t want a Telecaster (or Broadcaster) ‘cause they hang funny due to body weighting. Some guys like Clapton and Summers like the weight this lands in their fret palm, but most names dis the model. Strats after ’68 are just no way to go, very little retained value due to undocumented offshore parts (pegs, nuts, tails). In semi-acoustics, let me swear you off of ANYHTHING made 73-74 since there were major droughts in all pine-producing regions which led to a hollow and insincere tone (excepting the Carlsen series by Gibson, which used 10 year-old book-matched).

I’d put my money on soon-to-be auctioned acoustics owned by the likes of Killed Ben Warren, Blood-Eye, or Two Lemon Eyes Daniel. These were minor bluesmen and their axes should go for under your $10,000 price point. Good luck!

As a college student, I have been given many accounts, some of which include my voicemail accounts. Normally, there would be a lighthearted recording of my voice to let people know that I am unavailable (or just pissed off enough not to answer the phone), but lately I've had to replace those types of recordings with basic greetings on account of my friends and family becoming fed up with them. Do you have any advice for a non-annoying, non-offensive style recording with some style as well?
Lost in Communication

Dear Lost,

It sounds to me like you were one of those people who had way too over-the-top of an answering machine message, like where you recorded a snappy bit of back-and-forth dialogue between Will and Grace but replaced Will’s voice with your own, and the editing wasn’t completely clean, and there was a lot of tape hiss and pauses when your voice parts came on. Parents and friends can get extremely annoyed about having to sit through forty-eight seconds of badly doctored Will and Grace dialogue before they can leave you a message, and this sounds like one of those times. Use my basic rule: imagine if there was an emergency, and your mom’s femoral artery had been slashed, and the ER doctor was standing there in his scrubs waiting to ask you about heroic measures, but he had to sit through nearly a minute of Will being catty about the shoes Grace wanted to wear to her wedding with Harry Connick, Jr.

Just say “Hi, this is (Matt). Please leave a message.” People will figure out what to do.

To make a long story short [Reader: good instinct. — Ray.], I'm in my mid-twenties, and just recently decided to go back to school and get a degree. It's going well, but the problem is, I've developed a thing for my English professor. We've gone out to lunch a few times, had some nice conversation, always super-casual, but we're clicking. If we met each other on the street, I'd go for it, but I'm not sure what the rules are in a situation like this. I wouldn't want to do anything unethical or get her in any trouble, but I also don't want to pass up the opportunity to get to know her better. What's my move?
Torn in Boston

Dear Torn,

I have advised a person in your position before. I think I said something pretty academic about like assumed roles not being definitive identity in the intellectual economy, but basically what it boils down to is that as long as you ain’t in her class, you can knock boots ‘til the sheets become revolting and you both have to leave. Unless she has tenure, of course. Tenure was designed as a way of allowing teachers to have job security in addition to knocking boots with anyone they wanted, so if she has earned tenure, ain’t no worries. Make sure to use an IUD or V-SCUD though, to make sure you ain’t get a baby.

I am going abroad in September to study in Budapest, Hungary. I've never been abroad, before, much less for a four-month stretch. Since you've traveled abroad yourself, I was hoping that you could lend me some of your wisdom. Do you have any advice on what I might want to do to prepare for my trip?
Anonymous, Internet

Dear Anonymous,

Man, good thing it ain’t too late to change your plans! The hell do not go to Hungary. Sure, it might sound fun to go to the paprika capital of the world, but after you try the paprika you will look up and the camera will zoom out incredibly fast as you start to emit a huge, long scream. Why will you scream? Because you are in a country that has four different kinds of umlaut, some of which go under the damn letter and look like two commas. Seriously, you will never get a hang of that crazy language and you will end up renting a motel room with a plywood toilet seat and some dude named Igen will be passed out in the bed. You don’t want to live with Igen for four months, man. Go to Prague, the chicks there get mad kinky and the parks are mostly topless at lunchtime.

I've been with my girlfriend now for almost a year, and we can't go to any of her freinds' [sic] weddings/the mall/funerals without running into someone who asks us when we're going to get married. She never says anything and I usually make a lame joke to change the subject. I know I don't want to get married anytime soon, but how do I let her know that I don't want to? I think maybe she has some delusions of marriage and maybe children within the next year or so, but that just ain't my style. How do I broach this subject?
Stuck in Columbus.

Dear SIC,

First of all, anyone that asks you when you’re getting married to a girlfriend is a total tool (even if that person is your gramma — grammas, though sweet, can be total tools at times). Put the person in their place with an acrid, “well, looks like you’ve got all the social graces of a Calcutta shitsweep!” Then turn on your heel and walk off (make sure the girl comes with you).

Anyhow, genius, you should tell your girlfriend that you don’t want to get married and have kids right now.

Being a huge Achewood fan for nearly a year, I have decided to invest in the newly available "signed copy" of a particular strip. Probably gonna spring for the frame too, so I can hang it in my bedroom, or perhaps the kitchen. However, I just can't seem to decide which one would be best to display. I figure it can't be one that's too offensive to family or friends (Phillipe [sic] in debt, contemplates suicide; you and Beef steal sheet containing "pickles"...though I love that one) or one that doesn't make sense without knowing the strips before it (Phillipe [sic] marries Petunia, Vlad hijacks Pat's Subway website) Since you are the obvious star of the strip, I thought I'd ask you: Do you have any suggestions, or favorites?
-Rosa, Queens NY

Dear Rosa,

I don’t really read the Achewood comic strip that Chris does. I’m not much of a comics guy, in general, except for occasionally I’ll look at an old Far Side book. Anyhow, I called Chris up and he said that most people just start with the first one and go from there. Apparently there are enough Achewood comic strips that you can have them covering the entire interior surface of a 1200 square-foot house? I don’t know, it’s hard for me to give advice on this.


I recently acquired a can of whale meat. This is actually perfectly legal in Japan, where I live. My problem is that I do not know how to serve Minke whale meat, or what an appropriate side dish or drink might be. Any preparation ideas would be much appreciated.
Isaac, Tokyo, Japan

Dear Isaac,

Man, I just had me some kinky amount of fresh Minke two weeks ago. I pounded the filets into paillards about a quarter-inch thick, floured ‘em and fried ‘em in butter. Oh, first I soaked ‘em in milk overnight to cancel out the oily taste. You might want to make a pan sauce out of white wine, chives, dijon, butter, and a little owl stock. Cooked that way, you will definitely enjoy ‘em. Serve a crispy old Pinot Grigio with ‘em.

I am a female college student enjoying what may be the peak of my physical attractiveness- this is not a time in my life that I want to let pass by without taking advantage of it.

Over the course of the past academic year, I've developed an ongoing flirtation with one of my unmarried (and totally hot) professors. In the interest of keeping things professional and not awkward, I've kept the flirtation to a discreet minimum and things have gone no further between us.

Now that the academic year is over, we no longer have any professional obligations to each other. I can't think of any reason why he wouldn't be interested in seeing me socially a few times, seeing as how he's in his thirties and unattatched [sic] and I'm in my twenties and reasonably intelligent. I'm interested in seeing if I can possibly mack this one out... any suggestions on how I can do this without seeming like a silly college kid?
-Sarah, Portland

Dear Sarah,

I have advised a person in your position before. I think I said something pretty academic about like assumed roles not being definitive identity in the intellectual economy, but basically what it boils down to is that as long as you ain’t in his class, you can knock boots ‘til the sheets become revolting and you both have to leave. Unless he has tenure, of course. Tenure was designed as a way of allowing teachers to have job security in addition to knocking boots with anyone they wanted, so if he has earned tenure, ain’t no worries. Make sure to use an IUD or V-SCUD though, to make sure you ain’t get a baby.

* A Gentle Reminder (“Disclaimer”): This is advice from a cartoon cat, and should not be taken seriously. We are not responsible for anything you do based on what Ray says, or otherwise. Do not commit suicide or otherwise interrupt the lives of others. Continue on with your life as though you had never read this column. Erase your browser history. Not for readers under 18 years of age.