Friday, September 28, 2007

A Random Stranger the Greek

Because the place I work is more boring than a funeral at a mime convention, I've instituted various events to fight off the tedium. Last week I introduced a football picks league, where we all pick the winners of the week's games and at the end of the season, the guy who's right most often will win a commemorative pot luck lunch in his honor.

What these fools don't know, and I'm not about to tell them, is that my mother's grandfather was 100% Greek, and as we all know Greeks are unnaturally superior sports gamblers. So this thing is basically in the bag already. I'm just letting these sad sacks have their fun for a couple months and then 'round about the first of December I'm going to bring the hammer down.

So here are my picks for this week: Houston, Cleveland, Miami, Chicago, NY Jets, Green Bay, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, San Diego, Indianapolis, New England, and the New York Football Giants.

PS: Past events I've created include the annual peer award, complete with carved Atlas statuette, and throwing items up into the skylight and getting them stuck on some support beams that run across the opening. We have ten items up there right now:

  1. A plastic bear
  2. A pad of Post-It notes
  3. A stress relief ball
  4. A toy alien from a children's meal at a fast food restaurant
  5. A foam hammer
  6. A talking stuffed bear that, when squeezed, says, "How ya doin'?"
  7. A Koosh ball
  8. A can of silly-putty-like material used to make farting noises
  9. A small plastic man, about the size of a Mighty Man
  10. An Austin Powers action figure

I've also created a game called OfficeBall, which is like soccer played with a beach ball while sitting in computer chairs, but no one will play with me for fear of management walking in mid-game and asking what we're doing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Don't Tase Me, Bro!"

This post has nothing to do with tasing. I just didn’t want to be the only blogger in America to not have a post entitled, “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!”

This post does have to do with recalled toys. Specifically, Thomas and Friends toys. My kids have a lot of them, and it turns out they are all made out of Chinese lead. Or at least that’s what the local news wants me to believe. “New in the first five minutes: children chewing on bars of lead!”

But my kids aren’t sucking all the paint off 3,000 different toys, so I’m not too worried about lead poisoning. I’ll just mail the toys in and get new ones in return because I want to bankrupt Red China.

I hate the stupid consumer decisions that Americans make. Why has the parental consensus decided that wooden toys are educational and plastic toys are banal? Every museum gift shop in the country is full of wooden toys that are the exact replica of the plastic toys for sale at Wal-Mart. The wooden toys will set you back twice as much, but it’s okay because Hunter or Kimberleigh’s education is worth it.

The worst offender is Manhattan Baby, a company seemingly founded on a bar bet to see just how stupid American parents are. At the shareholder’s meeting they say, “If we make this Barbie out of wood and call it a Multicultural Girl, we can all buy speedboats!”

Since no one reads this blog, I can make fun of my friends’ friends with impunity. One friend wrote on her blog about the last round of toy recalls and a friend of hers commented that they never, never buy plastic toys for their little precious. Sorry, but the Thomas toys are wood. You know, educational wood. Like the $30 stick you bought from Manhattan Baby. Oh, that’s right: it’s not a stick, it’s a “wooden learning rod.”

Also, I hate that television has become more than an entertainment medium. Last night Persephone was watching “CSI: NY” and the adds for “CSI: Original Recipe” were telling me to “brace myself.” For what? For a TV show? For an actress who’s been in contract disputes having her character removed from the show? That’s not really a paradigm-shifting event. Why does it require bracing?

Television shows are nothing but a means of advertising. That’s why they’re free. You pay for them when you buy products with higher prices. The characters are the way they are because having them that way makes you buy more of the advertisers’ products. If you stop buying the advertisers’ products, the characters will change or go away. Television just compounds the already stupid consumer decisions people make by having them make stupid entertainment decisions.

Bart: Mom, Dad, just so you don't hear any wild rumors, I'm being indicted for fraud in Australia.

Homer: That's no reason to block the TV.

People who get emotionally involved with television shows are fools. It’s not even like a movie that can take two hours to craft a relationship and verisimilitude. TV takes a break every ten minutes and says, “Remember we are only here to get you to buy things. Here are some things we’ve been paid to tell you to buy.” It’s like falling in love with a girl who tells you six times an hour that she’s a prostitute and if your check doesn’t clear she’s going to have to ask you to clear out. Fools.


Title from a quote of that dude who was famous in Florida for a week or so.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jumping the Shark

Persephone was watching "CSI: Miami" the other night, and evidently Horatio now has some troubled-youth son that no one knows is his son except him and some lab tech. I said to Persephone, "This show's jumped the shark."

When we were watching "Alias" on DVD last year, we started up Season 5 and Persephone said, "Wait, I can't remember what happened last," and I said, "They went to the zombie city and--" and then we both laughed and we knew that "Alias" had jumped the shark.

I think blogs can jump the shark. If you find yourself saying the same thing every three weeks or so, your blog has jumped the shark and should be put to rest.

But if blogs are just documentation of lives, that means if your blog has jumped the shark, so has your life.

My blog has jumped the shark. If they were to make a movie version of my blog, the part of me would be played by Ted McGinley.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"So Much Stinkin' Sweat"

I know, I know that's not what he's saying in the Rooney song "I'm Shakin'," but that's how I feel today. My deodorant has become too predictable and now my body has mutated its stink into an Old Spice-resistant strain. Why is my deodorant brand Old Spice? Because I forgot to bring deodorant with me to the MTC and that was what they sold in the tiny little store. Ten-and-a-half (!) years later, my body has finally caught on.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Grab Bag

Speaking of “grab bag,” I read this today in the University Daily Kansan:

On Sept. 1 in Eugene, Oregon, fans cheered as Oregon University [sic] mascot, Donald Duck, beat up Houston University’s mascot Ultimate Fighting Championship style. After a combination of kicks and punches, Shasta the cougar was left defenseless on the ground. The duck added insult to injury by finishing the beat down by “teabagging” the wounded cougar. As a result of Donald Duck’s assault, he was suspended for one game.

A week before the duck incident, a University of Oklahoma fan faced aggravated assault charges for a crime of passion against a University of Texas fan. Allen Michael Beckett, a 53-year-old church deacon, was in an Oklahoma City [bar] when 32-year-old Brian Thomas walked in wearing a Texas Longhorns shirt. Some words were exchanged, signaling a warning for Thomas to pay his bar tab and exit. Before exiting, Beckett grabbed Thomas’ [sic] groin and would not let go. By the time Beckett’s hand was pulled from Thomas’ [sic] bleeding groin, his testicles hung outside of his torn scrotum.

Shazbot! I went from laughing about teabagging a cougar (isn’t that what Ashton Kutcher is doing these days?) to crying about having ovum al fresco, so to speak.

But that’s not why I’ve come here today.

I had another misheard lyric that I liked better the other way. In the song “My List” by The Killers (a band that my wife calls “The Keelars” so we don’t have to try explaining to our daughter why they would want to call themselves killers), I had thought the line was: “And your friends, they’re not stable,” but upon further listening today, I realized the line is: “And your prayers, they’re not fables.” But I liked the idea of unstable friends better than the idea of fabled prayers.

Second order of bidniss: my family’s been giving me a hard time about wearing a wristband, which they all call a bracelet. As in, “Why does Daddy wear a bracelet?” “I don’t know why Daddy’s wearing a bracelet.” It’s not a bracelet, okay? It’s a wristband.

I am supposed to pick up my new bike on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

From a Comment on a YouTube Video

this REALLY WORKS! TRY IT OUT!

1. Say ur name 10x

2. Say ur mom's name 5x

3. Say ur crushes name 3x

4. then paste this to 4 other video's, if you do this your crush will kiss you on the nearest friday! But if you read this and did not paste this, then you will have very bad luck and ur dad might lose his job.

It Doesn't Matter What I Call This; No One Will Read It Anyway

So I read a news report today (on company time, of course) that said men and women are more likely to look at attractive people. The researcher speculated this is because Evolution (a "scientific process" that somehow manages to take independent action and even emote) has taught us to be constantly looking for new mating partners or to size up potential rival mating partners.

Here's a simpler explanation: attractive people are attractive.

People enjoy pleasant experiences. Evolution didn't teach us that. We just do it. Looking at something pretty is pleasant. So we do more of it. This is why art is art and dog crap is dog crap. If we enjoyed looking at dog crap, we'd call it art. But we don't, because it's not art. It's dog crap.

Cars are designed to look nice because Evolution has taught me to be ever-watchful for a new car to hump. That way my genes get passed along. What is there about passing along your genes that is so vital? Why does the process boil down to an inexplicable undetectable subconscious urge. Who even knows if it's there? "Oh, it's there." Right. I forgot that this "scientific process" doesn't require evidence.

But anyway, I enjoy looking at good-looking people more than I enjoy looking at ugly people. Not because I want to spread my seed or ward of threatening rivals, but just because good-looking people are nice to look at. And I don't subscribe to the theory that, once you're married, you've got to pretend like everyone else in the world is ugly. It's just not true.

Anyway, none of this is worth reading. (I should probably have put that at the top and saved you some time.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

God Doesn't Want Me to Fast

So I'm fasting today, and now I'm going to hell for telling you. (Verily, I have my reward.) But the point is, I was walking on campus past a building that, in the basement, on the other side of the building, has a Chick-Fil-A inside, and somehow the smell of Chick-Fil-A wafted over me and I thought of the line from "The Simpsons" when Homer goes on a hunger strike and a kid throws an ice cream cone that lands on Homer's head: "Nice try, God!"

Then I got to work and everyone said, "Oh, you should go next door and get some pizza. We just got pizza from Rudy's for everyone." But since I am fasting (and since Rudy's pizza has wine in the sauce), I said no. Then everyone was shocked, since I've had workplace confrontations over the fact that I eat too much when there's free food, so I had to tell them that Rudy's sauce has wine. There were three reactions to this:

  1. "But it cooks off." (No, it doesn't.)
  2. Embarrassment as my religion and their alcoholism come together yet again.
  3. "I'll tell them so next time they order something different for you."

While the last sentiment was nice, it would only lead to more problems, since the office manager seizes every opportunity to let me know she wishes I didn't work here. (Witness last week's Dave's Meal fiasco.)

Chick-Fil-A and pizza sure would have been tasty today. Instead I get to ride a bike home hungry (and weather.com says that will most likely be in the rain).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Kevin Federline Update - FER REALZ, YO!

Okay, the whole Britney Spears thing just became so much more interesting to me with this line from a story on foxnews.com:

Meanwhile, "Entertainment Tonight" reported that the FBI and LAPD are investigating legitimate leads on a contract hit on Spears' ex-husband Federline's life.

Oh man, I hope this gets a lot crazier before it gets any better.

Uppity Morons

What's up with stupid people getting angry at smart people because the stupid people can't understand something? My Econ 630 class (which is supposed to be a junior/senior class, which means you've already had introductory micro and macro) is full of people who literally yell at the professor that what's on the board is stupid, when really it is they who are stupid.

For instance, today the professor was showing us how on the homework, given market demand and the number of firms, we were supposed to have derived each firm's level of output. He solved for demand, then set that equal to supply. One kid in class was yelling at him, "Will you show us how you know what supply is?"

"It's 600," the professor said, pointing at his equation for market demand.

"No, don't just tell us the answer, show us how you got that answer."

I said, "Because at equilibrium supply equals demand." Which is something he was supposed to have learned his first week of introductory micro. Instead of getting angry about not knowing what he's supposed to know, maybe he should be embarrassed about it. I know I would be.

"So you just assumed market supply is going to be the same as market demand?" he asked.

"Yes," said the professor.

Man, I would love to know what that guy gets on the test on Wednesday.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"Concerned But Powerless"

Radiohead rocks. Subtly.

So bike shopping has taken about three months longer than I wanted it to. Here's what I know so far:

Novara Fusion: can't even order it for two more weeks, then they have to make it in China, send it to the warehouse in Washington, then send it to the REI store in Saint Louis, then I have to go to Saint Louis to get it. And all that won't happen until the middle of November. So it's out.

Giant Tran Send: Giant is the latest in a long line of bike companies who don't understand what the word "average" means. For instance, if the "average" man is 5'10", and there are no 9-foot giants walking around, then you can say that about half of all men are taller than 5'10". However, Giant sees no need to make a line of bikes available to people over six feet tall. The lowest version of the Tran Send and the highest version of the Tran Send are not available in XL. So that means I'm stuck with the middle level, which is $70 more than the lowest one with the only real difference being disc brakes. I would like disc brakes, but I would also like an internal rear hub. I might have to go with the middle-of-the-line Tran Send, but I don't want to.

KHS Urban-X: This bike is harder to find than a KU virgin. (Hello!) We have a call in to a bike shop in Kansas City, but we will have to see what they tell us.

So we'll see what we end up with.


Title from Radiohead's song "Fitter Happier."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lawrence Zeiger

Or, as you know him, Larry King.

That's right, it's time for random ideas that totally suck.

The widespread use of Bluetooth devices is making it increasingly difficult to tell if strangers are crazy self-talkers or just Bluetools on a phone call.

There's a block party outside my office right now, which means I get to see an endless parade of drunk parents who think their children have suddenly become comedic geniuses.

The song "Heat of the Moment" is nice because it tells you right in the song that it is from 1982.

It is impossible to go bike shopping and hope to end up with the best bike for your budget and your needs. All you get is the bike that the one bike store in your town has decided to stock. But on the Internet you can see all the bikes that exist in the world that you will never be able to see in real life.

I bought a pound of Swedish Fish today because I was hoping to eat some and take the rest home for this evening. I ate the whole bag in about ten minutes.

The Cryptoquip is easier to do than the Cryptoquote because you know there's going to be a pun somewhere in the thing.

When you see two people walking down the street and one of them is telling a story and the other one seems like he's listening, he's probably really thinking, "I can't believe I got stuck going to lunch with the annoying new guy; his stories don't even make any sense; I hope we don't see anyone I know."

I saw a guy today wearing a polo shirt with a white sports coat, jeans, and flip flops. I think he thought he was dressed well.

Phoenix is a better city than Las Vegas.

Mitt Romney should answer all questions regarding his religion with, "I don't worry about bigots; why do you?"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Misheard Lyrics

I was all set to write a blog posting about the line from "There's Never Been Any Reason" by Head East where he sings, "Woman with the sweet lovin' better than a white line." I thought the essential message was fabulous: "My girlfriend is better than cocaine."

But there's a problem: it turns out he says, "Woman with the sweet lovin' better than a white lie." Not as hilarious.

I know they have a word for these things (mondegreen), but I don't like that word because, having read the story of how the word was invented, I'm pretty sure the person who invented it has the type of personality I hate.

"What type is that?" you ask? Well, usually my misanthropy is pretty all-encompassing, but there's a particular type of person, the one who thinks everything he says is pricelessly original, that drives me crazier than a crap-house rat. So you've misheard a lyric and think it says "mondegreen"? And for some reason you and your misheard lyric are so important and/or unique that we should name the entire phenomenon after you? Hell, why not just give everything a name that revolves around you? We can call lunch "Dave's meal," because somewhere there's a guy named Dave who likes to eat lunch.

Speaking of Dave's meal, getting my Dave's meal today was a pain. Our company will usually buy everyone lunch one day a month. I don't work an eight-to-five schedule anymore, but my schedule is regular and posted in print version (because no one's really sure if these new things called "computers" are going to catch on in the future). Other people who don't work regular hours are always included in the monthly Dave's meal, but most of the time our hillbilly office manager excludes me because "I didn't know if you were coming in today." A co-worker of mine made said hillbilly call the restaurant back and put my Dave's meal on the order, which was a big to-do this morning, while I was home tucked up in bed. (I was up until four last night, then took a test at eight, so I went back to bed between nine and noon.)

I'm going bike test riding in ten minutes. Oooooh! I'm so excited! Today I'm going to try out the Giant Tran Send. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Larry King Time!

I'll take Raman burps over egg burps any day of the week!

People find monkeys funny because through them we can live vicariously like animals.

Things are becoming more expensive because consumers are becoming more stupid.

Forty percent of all women between 16 and 45 are attractive without even having to work at it.

Ancient Rome sure did last for a long time after it started to head south. So America probably still has at least ten years left in it.

There is a type of uppity Mormon who thinks BYU sports is the equivalent of NASCAR.

Somewhere there is a man who was the last person to pay the old price for the iPhone, and when his iPhone-induced erection goes away, he's going to realize that he's a fool.

Bugs: there sure are a lot of 'em.

Ten percent of all women between 16 and 45 can never be attractive no matter what they do. We should be nice to those women.

Hillbillies think they are sophisticated people who just happen to like country music and crystal meth.

Toes are surprisingly necessary.

Friday, September 07, 2007

What K-Fed Is Doing With His Time

So now that Britney and K-Fed are history (I know, it's difficult to accept, but sometimes we have to face reality and try to move forward with faith that maybe Christina Aguilera will marry a garbage collector or something), I don't know about you, but I spend a disproportionate amount of my time thinking, "I wonder what K-Fed is doing right now."

Well, I don't need to wonder any more, because I have my answer: from 10:00 to 10:50 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he's in Room 452 of Snow Hall at University of Kansas, in my Economics 630 (Industrial Organization and Antitrust Policy) class.

I first realized K-Fed was in my class yesterday when I saw this guy with a three-day-growth beard, a tee shirt that had been torn into a tank top with arm holes down to the hem, and an enormous diamond earring in each ear. A coworker of mine speculated that maybe he's just trying to win that reality-TV look-alike contest show. I don't think so. Given his completely wrong answers in class today, I'm pretty sure he's actually K-Fed.

It's not the first time I've had a class with a famous person. At Moorpark College I had a Calculus class with Tahj Mowry. The last two semesters I've had classes with a guy who was written up in USA Today. So I'm no stranger to celebrity education.

On a totally related note, I ate the Jimmy John's Gargantuan today. It was really good, but I don't think it was "over eight dollars" good. Two coworkers put in three bucks to help defray the cost. "And how is this related?" you ask. Well, it's because K-Fed is probably working in a sandwich shop, smart ass. You best give me my props or I'll pop a cap in your et cetera.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Smörgåsbord!

So many different things, and none of them worthwhile on their own, but together they make a cornucopia of suckage that cannot be ignored!

  1. I just ordered a Vito. I've gone to the Vito because it's cheaper than the Italian Night Club and I'm poor. So the Vito it is. It might actually show up before I'm finished typing this post. UPDATE: As I typed that last sentence, the girl from Jimmy John's walked in the door. I'm now going to take a break and eat my sandwich before continuing on this whirlwind tour of crapulence.
  2. Sandwich report: the sandwich was dry. Usually they bathe it in so much Italian dressing that, despite the fact that I eat it over the wax paper wrapper, the dressing still seeps through and makes a shiny spot on my desk. But today, not that much dressing, and one thing the Vito lacks that the Italian Night Club has is mayonnaise. And another thing: when I order hot peppers added to my sandwich, that doesn't mean I want to eat a hot pepper sandwich. I almost felt like I was at Subway eating a lettuce sandwich with trace amounts of meat.
  3. Speaking of Subway, my wife and I tried to count how many Subways there are here in Lawrence. We counted seven, but then a few days later I saw a Subway a half-mile from our house that we didn't even know existed. How do they keep so many locations in business when I haven't eaten there in so many years?
  4. Tonight we're going to the women's soccer game between KU and BYU. This will be my fifth BYU sporting event away from Provo (men's basketball at UCSB and at Pepperdine and football at the Stadium Formerly Known as Jack Murphy and at Berkeley), which will be more than the three I actually attended in Provo (one women's volleyball match, one women's soccer game, and a football game against UNLV).
  5. Last week I e-mailed a professor (not one I have for a class) and asked when I could meet with him, since I'm at work during all his office hours. He suggested a time I was in class, so I told him when I would be available. Tuesday morning I got an e-mail that asked me to meet with him at 10:50 that day. I e-mailed back that that would be fine. When I got to his office, the door was locked. I knocked, waited, then knocked again. At eleven I left, figuring the reason he had suggested 10:50 was because he had a class to teach at 11. So later that afternoon I got an e-mail from him that said only, "So where were you?" How do you politely respond, "Uh, where I was supposed to be"? So I wrote back and his response was much friendlier, and I met with him today and he was as friendly as can be. But maybe I just think he's so jolly because he's so short.
  6. Yesterday the bathrooms at work were backed up again (at least this time they didn't flood the office with sewage as they've done four times in the past year), so while we couldn't use the can here, I had to walk across the street and take a dump at Borders.
  7. I found a website yesterday (it goes without saying that it was on company time) that told me how to adjust my glasses to fit my head, and so now I don't think they make my head look so much like a watermelon. Maybe like a honeydew.

That's it! Peace, I'm outta here! [hits self over heart twice with right fist, then points two fingers to the sky]

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My New Glasses Make My Head Look Like a Watermelon

I ordered new glasses off the Internet from some optometrist in England. They came in the mail yesterday. I like how they look on their own merits, but when combined with my giant head, they accentuate my head's enormity and the problem is evident. Also, when I was a kid my older brother and sister learned at school that you can put your finger just barely off the skin of someone's face between their eyes and even though you're not touching them, they can feel it. It's a very creepy feeling and I don't like it. My glasses give me that feeling all the time now. It's not like I've never worn glasses before. I've had then for five or six years now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Telephones Totally Suck

All right, fools! Here are my two biggest complaints against cell phones.

  1. Dropped calls.
  2. The lady who walks you through leaving a message.

As for the first, I especially hate it when the call is almost over, or it wasn't that important anyway, but it gets dropped and then I have to call the other person back just to say, "I didn't hang up on you; it was a dropped call." For instance, my mother called me in the library and at the very end of our conversation, the call got dropped. I imagined her thinking, "What a rude way to end a phone call." Honestly, all I had left to say was "Bye," but because I didn't say it, I had to leave my computer, walk up a level, and then call her five times. She didn't answer any of them, so I had to call her home line.

As for the second, I think it's a phone company racket to take our minutes. Seriously, who doesn't know how to leave a voice message these days? And who leaves a numeric page AT ALL?! So why give me that option? And who wants "more options" after leaving a message? Only control freaks who shouldn't be allowed in public anyway. But thirty seconds of my cell phone minute is gone before I even get to the beep. I hate it.

On a related note, I hate when people leave a message for me, especially if all the they say in the message is, "I called you." I know you called me; I can see it on my list of missed calls. So why make me spend cell phone minutes listening to the message that tells me absolutely no new information. Just hang up and let my phone tell me everything you were going to say.