Sunday, September 20, 2009

So I'm getting into this "blogging" thing

It's just the coolest! See, weblogging -- or 'blogging for short -- is where you update your homepage with links and stories about all the shit you do and want friends and strangers to know all about! I found out about it from these guys Matthew and Jake from MIT. They're sort of iconoclasts; one wears a JESTER'S HAT and the other has dyed his hair purple. PURPLE! Anyway, weblogging is hot shit right now and everybody's going to love it. I'm hoping this "Yahoo" homepage that Matthew and Jake have on their reverse links page might "link" to my weblog. I wonder who I'd need to write for that?


But seriously folks.

I got an offer for a freelance writing gig, based on the Bon Jovi post. At first I was excited -- I like writing, and I would love being paid for it. The trial assignment was reasonable enough, but the client wanted something hip with recognizable pop culture references and I realized pretty quickly that I know jack shit about pop culture. (Also, I'm not hip, but that's well-known.) I know a lot about some things -- namely classic rock -- but my main exposure to current pop culture comes from radio hip hop* and The Hater; and even with those I have to refer to Urbandictionary and Wikipedia constantly to get references. So I flaked on the dude (if you're reading this -- sorry!) and somehow that completely killed my ability or desire to write. I think I didn't want to look like an asshole by writing for my own pleasure after I left somebody else in the cold.

But the reality is that I am, in fact, part asshole. I occasionally need to scream out "I DON'T WANT NO PART OF YOUR TIGHT-ASS COUNTRY CLUB, YA FREAK BITCH!" This blog is the Franklin to my Buster.**

With that in mind, I'm about to type something so annoying, so asshole-ish that I would never in a million years say it aloud. Are you ready? Here goes: I don't have a TV.

"Oh, for fuck's sake," you're thinking, "not one of these douchebags. Get off your fucking high horse already you hipster piece of shit. Go ride your fixie down to Best Buy and order a fucking bigscreen already." Your internal monologue isn't afraid to work blue and is surprisingly hostile but I'm going somewhere with this, so calm down already. Ever since I moved out of my freshman dorm room, I haven't had a TV. At first, I just didn't buy one because I didn't get around to it. Then I realized that I actually like not having a TV of my own (I've lived with numerous TV-owning roommates in the intervening years). It's partially due to my extroverted personality -- watching TV by myself is unsettling and I can't pay attention.


Regardless, when I realized I was going to be one of those people without a TV, I decided not to mention it if I could at all avoid it. This decision -- ten years running -- has given me an especial dislike for people who LOVE to mention their TV-less status whenever possible. The other day I was talking to a new employee who happens to have the same last name as a character on 30 Rock. When I mentioned that fact she said, "Oh I rarely watch TV -- I actually don't even have one." Oh really? Well, la-tee-dah, lady. Aren't you just St. Francis of Assisi? Look, I've been "rarely watching TV" since you were "rarely" watching the Smurfs in your Underoos, so S-T-F-U already.

Of course I didn't say any of that to her face -- I'm just going to make a point of asking who she likes on American Idol every time I see her.

* Shut your mouth, this shit is delightful.

** Yeah, I know Franklin is GOB's puppet, but he's most brilliant in the hands of the eternally-repressed Buster.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the internet, everybody knows you're a perv

I'm going to start with a digression. The title of this post is a reference to a famous New Yorker cartoon by some guy named Peter Steiner. The cartoon has one dog using a computer, talking to another dog. The computer-using dog says: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." And that's the joke. He's a dog, and nobody knows it -- on the Internet. You know it's a good joke because it has the word "Internet" in it, and the internet is inherently humorous if you're a print cartoonist or Jay Leno. It's really quite droll, trust me. Just think about it.


Oh, there it is up there. Ha! A dog. Oh man, the life of a New Yorker cartoonist must be difficult. First you have to find out what are some good joke topics by spending upwards of five minutes listening to CNN while you make breakfast, and then you have to come up with a sentence that includes one of those topics. And then draw a picture. (In defense of Peter Steiner, his quotes in the linked Wikipedia article make it sound like he thinks the joke was dumb too.)

Anyway, a few years ago I was innocently browsing the IMDB user reviews of the movie Hook (I have no idea why), when I noticed an interesting review by one "Mr. SNL." Here it is, in its entirety:
I liked this movie a great deal. I enjoyed the actors performances a lot and I am glad to see such great actors in these roles. The story is well done as well with all of the original cartoon's aspects as well as some new ones. My favorite scene in the movie is where they're all at the table eating their imaginary supper. That is, until Peter starts a huge food fight. That's why it's enjoyable for kids because they all end up getting pies in the face and getting messy. I liked how they even threw pies at Tinkerbell. And it always makes me laugh to see Tinkerbell's bare feet get covered in messy pie and then she slams her bare feet down in the mess. I also find it hilarious when all of the cake and mess squishes up between her toes. Even Robin Williams stands in the mess on the table in his bare feet. I like how actors will do lots of stuff like this. This is a very good film.
I clicked on Mr. SNL's name to see the rest of his reviews, and I started to notice a theme. Let's see if you can detect it as well, dear readers. Here is the review that Mr. SNL (email address: simmadownnow) wrote for "Malcolm in the Middle":
They're a real family, bare feet and all!

This show is very realistic. I especially like how all of the characters act like real members of an average family. They all seem like they ARE part of a family. I also like that they don't always stay in their shoes like on other shows. They walk around in bare feet and the actors aren't afraid to take their shoes and socks off and show their bare feet and soles on camera. All in all, this is a very realistic show.

And his review of "Bill Nye, the Science Guy":
Great show for kids!

This is a great show and i hope it sticks around for a long time. It teaches kids many different things about science and uses things that they find enjoyable and fun to watch. For example, on the dinosaurs episode, they had two kids put their bare feet in paint to make footprints on paper...kids love to get their bare feet very messy! On the momentum episode, they had pies thrown at Bill's face. I don't know anyone who doesn't like getting a pie in the face! Kids like to walk around in bare feet also, and in one episode, these two guys were in their bare feet and they fell over in their chairs so you could see their bare feet. It was great. I really like how this show relates to kids. Kids love it and I hope it's around for a long time!
Although he wasn't quite as positive about the 1999 Seth Green vehicle "Idle Hands"; it seemed to be lacking some important elements:
Amazing movie, but....

This is a very funny movie from start to finish. It is very interesting how the actors interact with the hand. I like how Devon Sawa did very well manipulating his hand the way he did. I notice in films and on TV that actors sleep with their socks on. I like the way that Devon slept in bare feet and put his bare soles on the table for us to see. They were dirty bare feet which was also realistic because after walking across the floor, your bare soles do get dusty. I think an added piece of humor would have been if someone popped up and smashed a pie onto Devon's bare feet. It would have been interesting to see him react to his bare feet being covered in pie. I think Seth Green should have been in his bare feet in his house too. All in all, this was a good movie.
If only the director had listened to the fans for once, then Idle Hands could have been a blockbuster, at least among the pie/foot fetishist set.

FAP FAP FAP FAP FAP

I encourage you to read the rest of Mr. SNL's reviews. They're full of childlike naivete and/or unspeakable perversion. The best comments are those in which he makes suggestions like "I think if they wanted to make it funny, they should have used cream pies instead of mousetraps and still had them walk in their bare feet and step in the pies," or just when he makes little observations such as "kids love messy feet," and "kids love having messy bare feet," or even "Who doesn't love pies in the face and messy bare feet?" Who indeed. It's like this guy's never heard of porn. Frankly, he would be a lot less creepy as a porn collector than as somebody who watches regular TV shows and movies in the hopes of glimpsing a bare foot and/or pie. However, he is less creepy than accidentally stumbling across a foot fetishist's flickr photostream, and infinitely less creepy than the time an innocent flickr picture of my wife was favorited by -- I shit you not -- an apparent gaucho pants fetishist.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A question for cellphone designers

Is there a functional reason why cell phones are deisgned to explode like a Rock'Em Sock'Em Robot when dropped? I'm only asking because I would feel slightly better to know that my phone's histrionic part-shedding explosions weren't just for the benefit of some sadistic product designer who gets off on that kind of thing. Of couse it can't be the work of one man, since literally every phone I've owned has lost its battery and back case when dropped from more than a few inches.


The first person who tells me their iPhone doesn't explode when dropped gets punched.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back again, my face

I'm back. I was in El Salvador last week. No, not for the last month. I just haven't felt particularly inspired with the blogging and whatnot.

What was I doing in El Salvador, you ask? Why, I was building houses. Houses for POOR PEOPLE. What were you doing? Something not as awesome, I bet. (I am fronting here because in the real world I feel a mixture of (a) reticence about mentioning that this was a charity trip so as to not sound like a self-righteous dick and (b) genuine excitement about the fact that I did actually get to do something really cool that helped some really needy people. But that kind of complexity doesn't play well on the blog, see?)

The highlights of the trip were spending time with a great team of people from my church, building a house, hanging out with lots of kids, and eating a shitload of beans and rice. We had a $275 food budget for 10 people over 7 days -- and we made it! On the other hand, it will be a while before I can see a corn tortilla without retching. I'll cover the trip more later. In short, it was a great time and I got to translate the phrase "lago con fuego y azufre" (lake of fire and sulphur, that is) at least once. Good times.

Getting home was kind of a pain in the ass. My flight was to land in Houston -- where Baby and the girls were waiting for me -- but it got diverted to Austin due to poor weather. But I couldn't get off the plane in Austin and had to wait for the plane to refuel and fly back to Houston, so that I could take the airport shuttle to the crazy half-finished hotel Baby chose for us, where we stayed the night before driving back to Austin. The girls liked the hotel, but a roach encounter early on meant that they were talking about roaches the whole time we were there. (Mainly this consists of Alia saying "Daddy! Woach! Daddy! Woach! I saw woach!" over and over again.)

Shortly after getting back to Austin, I decided I was going to surprise Baby by shaving my glorious, full, beautiful beard, the pride of my face. (I did this partially because yesterday was our seventh anniversary, and partially because my sunburn/beard/tattered clothes combo was making me look more homeless than I usually aspire to.) Unfortunately my face seems to have grown accustomed to my laissez-faire shaving policies and has revolted against the razor. In short, I look like Michail Gorbechev headbutted me on the mouth and his birthmark came off on my face. Or sort of like I have face herpes. Or perhaps like the Phantom of the Opera. Or maybe it's more like I'm wearing a pain muzzle. Or possibly that I'm sporting a youth minister goatee made of suffering. Regardless, it's fucking embarrassing to be seen in public. I am really looking forward to getting my beard back, but it seems unwise to grow it out until my face is healed from whatever the fuck is wrong with it. Yesterday, nobody at work was tactless enough to mention the SARS mask of abomination clinging to my face, so I thought "perhaps it's not as noticeable as I'm thinking." But that was only because Mustafa took the day off. The first thing he said to me this morning -- after ten merciful days of not seeing one another -- was "what happened to your face?"

And I had nearly forgiven him for saying my beardlessness made me look "very chubby" when I shaved last year.

Friday, June 26, 2009

MJemories

Four memories loosely associated with Michael Jackson.

(1) 1984. The first cassette in my Fisher-Price tape deck was either Thriller or Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D. Therefore, literally the first song I can recall listening to is either "Beat It" or "Eat It."

Later, I would put the Thriller cassette in Teddy Ruxpin's back, but he could never move like Michael. Or Weird Al for that matter.

(2) 1985. When I was five, I remember for some reason comparing things I did to imaginary things my favorite celebrities would do. For instance, when I flushed the toilet before I was done peeing, that was something Bill Cosby would do. When I frantically wrestled with the pillows on my parents' bed, I told them it was something Michael Jackson would do. My other favorite celebrities were Eddie Murphy and Mr. T, but I can't remember what actions I attributed to them. I also tied a bandanna around my knee to be cool but my brother called me out for imitating Punky Brewster so I cut that shit out.

(3) 2001. Kinsolving cafeteria. My friend Bryan was singing Billie Jean: "Remember to always think twice." Two strangers, apparently independently of one another, simultaneously responded with MJ's trademark "HEE-HOO-HOO" scream and then looked at each other in utter shock.

(4) Last night. After class, this guy named Rick paid tribute to MJ by attempting to moonwalk. He knocked over a row of chairs and fell over. It was pretty hilarious.

Rest in peace, MJ.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

That's "Señor Hollyfeld" to you, pendejo

So this blog has really been taking off lately.  Actually, that's the opposite of what the blog has been doing.  It's more like I've been taking off from the blog, right?  I know, right?

Basically it's like this: I am incredibly unmotivated to do anything.  I'm not sure why exactly -- it feels vaguely like depression, but it's not actually, since I'm not, you know, depressed.  But what little motivation and time I do have is routinely divvied up among my family, my job, the class I'm teaching, YouTube videos, the blog, and now Twitter.  Yeah, that's right, I joined Twitter.  It's pretty cool actually -- it's the good parts of Facebook (interaction) without the nonsense (quizzes, groups, spam, photo galleries, profiles, etc.).  So I get it now, and it's good.

All that to say, sorry blog.  This is what feed readers were invented for; I'll probably pick up with more regular posts and cutting observations on the state of music, fashion, and Beyoncé sometime soon, but it'll probably be slow for a while.  I know my moods and brain chemistry well enough to know that I will be posting the shit out this blog in about three weeks.

Now the good news:

1. I just got a promotion.  Booyah!  My formal title was "Desktop Support Specialist."  It will now be "Sr. Desktop Support Specialist."  Yes, the title officially has an abbreviation at the beginning.  It technically stands for "Senior" but I'm going to alternate between pretending it stands for "Señor" and "Sister" (as in a nun).  I have also officially gained the unofficial title (ah, bureaucracy) of "IT Manager."  This is pretty cool, since it means I can talk to people in other parts of the University without them wondering who the hell I am, but it's also a little intimidating since I am now officially responsible for the lazy undergrad losers I've hired to work in my lab and if one of them doesn't show up for a week I'm expected to notice and do something about it.

2. Baby and I are going to Mexico tomorrow!  Woo!  We're going to an island off the coast near Cancun.  It'll be awesome and I'm very much looking forward to it.  Baby's mom is watching the girls for three whole nights.  Woo!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A comparison

Fuller's new library looks great and all ...



... but I can't help but be reminded of something else:


In-put.  Need in-put.  I'm looking forward to seeing that library in person some day.  Hopefully it doesn't look like Johnny 5 in real life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Twitter digest, 5/18

It has been suggested that I join Twitter.  It is out of sheer obstinance and a fear of the unknown that I have thus far avoided really figuring out what the point of Twitter is, and it's looking pretty unlikely that I will join anytime soon.

Instead, I'm going to give you, the blog reader, all my tweet-worthy thoughts of the previous day, in digest form.  This may seem rather pointless, but ... well, there's no second half to this sentence.


5/18 10:31am -- Chick-Fil-A's new "Chick Fil A" sauce (honey mustard plus something creamy) is fucking delicious, but I'm sticking with Polynesian sauce.

5/18 10:44am -- Listened to the Commodores' Night Shift on YouTube.

5/18 10:55am -- Rode the lollercoaster after watching this.

5/18 1:49pm -- Fuck this, I'm out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Insert Jim Anchower reference here

So it's been a couple weeks since I blogged.  Mostly I've been busy with the class Arkay and I are doing.  In the process of planning the class I discovered a German theologian named Horst Balz.  I couldn't find a picture of him, but here is a picture of his car:


That is all.  Aside from the class, I'm finding that not being busy at work makes me extremely lazy and unmotivated.  WTF is up with that?  I'm supposed to walk across campus now to work on a problem I've been putting off for several days now, but it feels like I'm wearing one of those lead aprons you wear for dental x-rays.  WTF.  I already drank my coffee, too.

Also we've been driving around looking at houses for Rupe and Conk.  We're really looking forward to them moving here, and not because I'm running out of amusing sound effects and Indigo Girls songs to add to the videos we make.  Oh no, I have plenty of those.  I am really enjoying driving the beige minivan through various ghettos with a video camera, and I will miss that once they've moved here.  Maybe we can just make it a thing we do for fun.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Can nobody think of a decent title anymore?

So, you know that terribly-titled Coldplay song "Viva la Vida?"*  Well, apparently some stupidly-named band called Creaky Boards claimed that their ironically-monikered song "The Songs I Didn't Write" was the basis for it.   (Most honest line: "when you heard the notes that would have vaulted from my throat, there is a meaning past the awfulness.")  I'm not sure if they actually sued or what, but shortly after Creaky Boards started making this claim, Joe Satriani stepped up to claim that Viva la Vida was actually a ripoff of his song "If I Could Fly" from the abysmally-titled album "Is There Love In Space?".  (Best line: "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK.")  Coldplay did what anyone would when faced with allegations of listening to Joe Satriani and claimed that those CDs were their brother's and they have no idea how that shit got in their car.

Regardless, Satriani is suing Coldplay.  Creaky Boards -- perhaps afraid of being called to testify and potentially having to listen to that Satriani song at deposition -- rescinded their claim and speculated that perhaps everybody was actually inspired by a song from Legend of Zelda.  The obvious question at this point is which Legend of Zelda song sounds like Viva la Vida, but apparently I'm the only one who cares and I can't find anything even remotely like it online.  


Anyway.  Then, my personal hero Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf "Radical" Islam) stepped in to bring a dose of sanity into the proceedings by pointing out that actually all three songs sound quite a bit like part of his "Foreigner Suite."  (Best/worst line: "Heaven must have programmed you."  Cylon reference?)  He's not suing -- unlike when he settled with The Flaming Lips over similarities between their "Fight Test" and his "Father and Son."  (Speaking of which, Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips looks a lot like Cat Stevens, don't you think?)

The best thing to come out of this whole mess is easily this video by someone named Michael.  It is definitely the best song yet recorded with the phrase "ride the bone roller coaster" in it.

All that to say: I am not a Coldplay fan but I can't really hate them after seeing Chris Martin on Extras.  Also, he's married to Margot Tenenbaum.  What, where did you think this was going?  

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fashion angers and confuses me

Before I begin, I need to say two things.  

First, I need to say that both of Craig's comments on my last post made me laugh aloud (I believe the kids call that "LALing.")

Second, I need to tell you that I'm currently wearing cargo shorts with black socks and tennis shoes.  For the first time I can recall in my married life, my wife said, "you can't wear that to work," as I left the house.  I explained to her that there are certain relaxed standards for fashion applied to IT staff.  Also I couldn't find any clean pants.  This to say I don't know shit about fashion, and if you are looking for an informed opinion about fashion and style, you should go elsewhere.

Moving forward.  As I mentioned the other day, I recently found this excellent website dedicated to making fun of the physical appearances of hipsters (and apparently their cats).  The site has opened my eyes to the depths of terrible terrible style out there in hipsterland and makes me feel a lot better about myself -- all while demeaning others.  After reading the site for a few weeks, I found it hard to believe that it really represented either mainstream or cutting-edge hipster style, so yesterday I took a look at a few fashion-type blogs and was shocked at some of the clothes being presented as blogworthy.  Here are a few specimens:


(From Facehunter.)  I first encountered the 80's style revival when Baby and I went to Paris seven years ago.  I thought "thank God this will never catch on in America."  When it did, years later, I thought "well thank God early 90's fashion will never come back."  Looking at Blossom up there, though, I'm forced to acknowledge that the 90's are back.  I think I'm just going to embrace it.  From now on I'm taking all my style cues from this video.  At least the boring-ass style of the late 90's will never come back.

Oh shit.  Okay, this just pisses me off.  Anybody who has shopped in thrift stores for a while knows that these clothes have been readily available in great lots for a long time.  This is the stuff you're supposed to PASS BY because it looks STUPID.  When I look at that girl I'm forced to recall listening my high school ladyfriends prattle on about Fresia body lotion, Friends, and Ross King.  (Hell yeah I mentioned Ross King.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, substitute Jackopierce or Caedmon's Call.  If you still don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself very lucky.)

No.  No, no, no.  Not allowed.  This cannot come back.  Stop it.

This is okay with me, actually.  This can come back.  I will get a kick out of seeing people wear this for a few years, even if that dude looks like he's about to walk down those stairs and get graped.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thank you for being a friend

First, the swine flu kills over a hundred people.  Then horses turn into hipsters.   Then Bea Arthur dies.  What is the world coming to?

Why couldn't it have been Blanche?

Dorothy was always my favorite Golden Girl.  There were essentially four jokes on the show: Rose is dumb, Blanche is horny, Sophia is old, and Dorothy is sarcastic.  At least sarcasm is funny.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What I've been doing instead of blogging

Reviewing a theology book.  I only had to write 500 words, but I could have gone on for thousands about how much this book sucked.  Baby can attest to that, as she was the one who had to listen to me bitch and moan about it as I was reading it.  Since the review is running on an independent bookstore's site, I had to emphasize the few good aspects of the book -- i.e. why anybody would want to buy it.  The next book I'm reviewing for them looks problematic, but at least it will probably be interesting.  I couldn't read this last book on the bus because I'd fall asleep every time I cracked it open.

Pitching a class to my church with Arkay.  I was really nervous about this -- I hate public speaking -- but it was actually a lot of fun.  Let's hope the class doesn't suck and everybody ends up hating me and I lose all my friends.  Now that we've planned part of the class I have a lot of reading to do, though.

(Picture unrelated)

Baiting hipster-haters on various websites.  I don't know what it is about me, but sometimes I just can't resist getting in arguments online.  It's probably a sickness.  Maybe I just don't have enough real drama in my life, so I seek out pretend drama.  My favorite part about the hipster-haters is that I don't really disagree with them generally, so it's easy to figure out how to piss them off.  And these are some angry, angry dudes.  I think New York hipsters must be a lot more obnoxious than the LA variety.  

(Before somebody says something about cognative dissonance or hypocracy or whatever for loving theology and hater-baiting, know ye that I'm pretty tame compared to say, Paul of Tarsus.  That dude knew how to troll.) 

Working.  Seriously, when am I going to get a competent co-worker?  I spent four hours yesterday babysitting a file transfer because I couldn't trust Mustafa to do even that.  Also recently I have had the treat of going to great lengths to make a purchase recommendation that was not only completely ignored by the prof I was working with, but that was actively contradicted.  And now I am cleaning up the significant mess resulting.  Bollocks!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The beginning of the end

I stumbled upon a sign of the impending end of civilization yesterday morning, in the form of an empty "beer" can that looked something like this:


In case you can't read that, it says "Budweiser and Clamato."

The existence of Clamato has often been considered a sign of the beginning of the end: the unholy miscegination of tomato juice (a vile creation in itself) with FUCKING CLAM JUICE is interpreted by some as the "man of lawlessness" of 2 Thessalonians 2 whose revelation is being restrained by an unnamed entity.  It is now clear that that restraining force has been removed, as Anheuser-Busch has revealed the identity of the anthropos tes anomias by combining it with their abominable brew.  Soon it will "[exalt] itself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that [it] takes [its] seat in the temple of God, declaring [itself] to be God" and the Day of the Lord may arrive.

Personally I'm stoked.  Although Paul says that "the Lord Jesus will destroy" the anthropos tes anomias "with the breath of his mouth," it's kind of hard to imagine breath more powerful than the combination of American lager, clam juice, and tomato juice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Protecting my legacy, cutting down trees

First things first: yes, Christie, I really did have minivan posters on my wall as a kid.  My brother made me take them down, I guess because he couldn't handle that much awesomeness.  I'm not sure if this led directly to our brief running competition to surreptitiously pin the trashiest pictures from the Victoria's Secret catalog on the other's wall, but whatever the case I really did love minivans, cargo vans, and station wagons.  I was particularly fond of fake wood paneling.


Speaking of wood paneling, I've been really into milling lately.  I have a strong desire to cut down a pine tree and mill it into 2x4's to build one of these.  I think an Alaskan chainsaw mill would be best for my particular application -- anything less portable might require moving the felled timber with a skid loader or tractor, and I don't have one of those.  This is one of those things I will not have time to do in the next couple decades or so, but if anybody else has a desire to play with dangerous gas-powered tools in the piney woods near Bastrop, Texas, give me a holler and maybe I can find the time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

White Power Bill hates White Power Bill

On Saturday, an unnamed once-and-future Austinite visting for the weekend from Los Angeles gave me $5 to buy a plunger.

As you can see up there above, there is a URL for a prominent white supremacy website on it.  Evidence of neo-Nazi activity in Dave's wallet or an extremely oblique Arrested Development reference?  You decide.  (Props to Baby for noticing.)

As a bonus, when I bought the plunger, I got this coupon in return:


Now that's effective cross-marketing!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kids say the darndest shit, v. 1

The other day, Older Daughter was refusing to eat the carrots out of her soup. She often picks one component of any given meal and declares that she won't be eating it. There's not much we can do about it, but I half-assedly tried to convince her to eat her carrots this time.
Me: You know, some people call carrots nature's candy.
OD: And SOME people call them nature's potty drunk!
It's pretty hard to argue with that kind of logic.

Carrots on a typical Friday night, fighting the loneliness with booze and casual sex

And yes, I am aware that nobody has ever called carrots "nature's candy." It's never too early to instill a child with an appreciation for inanity.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just clarifying some things

On Wednesday, I sent an email to Mustafa because he was grumpy that I didn't answer the phone when people called.  (It's his job.)  This is how the email began:

Mustafa--
Here is some written documentation about how faculty and staff should contact us, and what we should do once we’ve been contacted.  For the purposes of this email, I’m going to call us the Office of Information Technology (OIT) in the ----- of ------.  The purpose of defining our contact methods is to allow us to serve the ----- faculty and staff as well as possible while keeping the process of using OIT for support easy for faculty and staff.

This was the beginning of his response, Thursday morning:
Hey Lazlo,

What is OIT.



October 20-something 2009 is Mustafa's 65th birthday.  Oh how I hope and pray he will retire immediately.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A day of reckoning

Yesterday I bought a van.  A minivan to be precise.  In fact, a beige minivan.

For some men, getting a minivan is looked upon as a moment of defeat -- as the moment when a man finally admits (for a decade or two at least) that he's no badass* whose lifestyle is befitted best by a Toyota MR2 or a t-topped Trans Am -- but for me it's quite the opposite. 

As a child, I didn't have posters of sports cars on my walls.  Instead I had ads for Nissan Quests, Dodge Caravans, and Chryslers Town and Country cut out of Popular Science.  After college, but before I started dating Baby, my career plan was to save up enough money to buy a solid diesel van (preferably a Sprinter) and outfit it to live in.  I was going to live outside a library at UC Berkeley.**  I have no clue what was supposed to happen after that, but during times of great stress I sometimes daydream*** about that life in the van.


So for me, this transition is not a defeat -- it's a victory.  After years of waiting and dreaming, I have finally attained van status.

Since we bought it used, I didn't really have a choice of colors, but I really wanted beige from the beginning and that's what we got.  Nothing says "I don't give a shit" like a beige minivan.  You could almost say that having a beige minivan is punk rock -- that is, if describing things as "punk rock" wasn't the least possible "punk rock" thing that could ever be done.  Baby and I thought about getting a diesel Suburban or Expedition and converting it to run on waste vegetable oil, but I decided that purchasing my fuel at a gas station was a compromise I am willing to make, when compared to hanging around behind Chinese restaurants with an industrial grease pump and particulate matter filter (read: crab wonton filter).

Now, in the complete opposite vein, I discovered that I have free access to an electronic vinyl decal cutter at work, so I'm kind of thinking about taking advantage of that little perk.  Any decal suggestions?  Somehow I feel that Boli may have something to offer here.  Flames are kind of played out, but a screaming falcon could be nice.

* "Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad."  --Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash

** What do you mean "naive?"

*** And by this I mean I use Cylonic projection.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My sincerest apologies

I feel I owe the world an apology for my botched April Fool's Day joke yesterday. I have removed the offending post and will never be attempting a gag like that again.

Please rest assured that all offended parties have been offered specific personal apologies: the State Department, the Monastery of Franciscan Poor Clare Nuns and their tiny charges (especially poor, sweet, innocent Buttercup), the estate of Johnny Carson, and the Nigerian Consulate in Houston.
  
Just to clear things up: I am not -- and never have been -- an official representative of the European Respiratory Society, and none of the ideas I promoted in my post should be attempted under any circumstances, especially at high altitudes or if you have history of seizure, stroke, or if you already have two felonies on record in California or Washington state.

If you read my post yesterday, please try to go on with your life as if you hadn't, if at all possible.  Also, for Marcus: my high score in Brickbreaker is 10,440 -- not 10,490 as I had claimed.

This site regrets the error.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Our new lens

Our new 35mm f/1.8 Nikon lens arrived today!  For those of you wondering what that means, perhaps this highly inspirational quote from the Nikon press release will clear things up:
When mounted on a DX-format camera body, [this lens] enables photographers to document their world with a lens that produces a picture angle similar to the field of vision as seen through the human eye.
 In other words, it's basically like looking at stuff, if you're a human.  My spine tingles.  This lens is actually really great for us, though, because we have been using a 50mm portrait lens for everything.  Our old lens takes beautiful pictures, but you have to be pretty far from your subject unless you want a closeup.  The new lens will allow us to take pictures that don't make our house look like a closet.

So far I've been able to document what I saw when I opened the fridge this morning:

Ah, the pleasures of living with small children.  That Saurolophus really made my day.

Also, I am finally able to take a picture of the bike hutch I built for $5:

Previously I would have had to stand in my neighbor's yard to take that picture.  Now you can see the whole hutch, plus a bunch of crap in my yard!  Hooray!  Oh and if the hutch looks rickety, that's just uh, barrel distortion from my new lens.  Yeah, that.

Monday, March 30, 2009

You know what annoys me?

I'll tell you what.  It annoys me when people describe their music taste in one of the following ways: (a) eclectic or (b) "anything but rap."  

The former (a) is only annoying because when somebody says his or her taste is eclectic, it's almost never true.  It usually means they like Nickelback AND Bob Marley.  It often also means that their tastes run towards the shitty, for some reason.  (Which is to say that they don't have the refined tastes of this blog's humble author.)

The latter (b) makes me want to say: really?  You're into Norwegian black metal, shoegaze, lounge music, contemporary Christian music, Shomyo Buddhist chants, Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, free jazz, Southern gospel, and Raffi*?  Just as long as nobody attempts to rapidly speak rhyming phrases over a sampled beat.  Huh.  That's weird.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: if you somebody asks you what kind of music you like, you're best off just sneering and saying "you wouldn't have heard of anything I like."  Or, you know, naming some specific bands or genres.

*(Well, not all Raffi, I guess.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let the sucky rumpus start

As a kid I was no great fan of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are."  To me, it glorified Max (the protagonist) and his bad behavior.  Also, I thought it was silly because it was all about some jackass kid's imagination, and the last thing I wanted was to be seen as silly.  I'm not sure what was wrong with me; although I had as active a fantasy life as any other kid, I thought the imagination was just dumb.  I hated it when TV shows talked about how your imagination could take you to magical places and other such nonsense.  I loved watching Reading Rainbow but Geordi LaForge sure did like to talk about my imagination and how awesome it was.  Also, the theme song* and intro made me want to puke -- what kid wants to be Ben Franklin?  I mean, I loved reading about Ben Franklin, but it was totally beneath me to pretend to be him.  I wanted adults to treat me like an adult, but adults seemed to think the imagination was some wonderful thing only kids are posessed of.


Now that I'm over all that (Monty Python cured me of my hatred of the silly sometime around eighth grade) and have kids of my own, I really enjoy "Where the Wild Things Are."  It's a perfectly told story that gives us just a slice of a fully-realized yet tantalizingly hidden universe that only Max has access to.  Older Daughter loves the book.  Alia probably will too, if she doesn't tear it in half and cram it down our dog's throat.  (As of last night, she just roared through the whole book.)

Anyhoo, it turns out they've made "Where the Wild Things Are" into a movie.  This is a bad thing.  The preview is great and all -- I love the acoustic Arcade Fire song they used -- but WTWTA is like a 32-page book.  The world doesn't need a feature length movie about Max.  We don't need backstory.  We don't need CGI Wild Things.  We don't need to know more about the mysterious ocean voyage.  The Wild Things certainly don't need to be anthropomorphized and tamed.  We don't need subplots.  Just leave a good thing alone for once, dammit.

* I now recognize that the RR theme song is actually totally awesome.

UPDATE OF SORTS: Since writing this post (but before posting it), I have run into approving commentary from numerous friends about the WTWTA trailer.  There are a lot of impressive names behind the movie: Spike Jonze directing, Dave Eggers writing the screenplay (?!), and not the least, Maurice Sendak giving this blessing to the project.  Regardless, I remain skeptical.  Also, the Wild Things' movement looks cheesy and their faces are all wrong.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gave dude a dog

In an attempt to close the puppy gap between this blog and Craig's, Baby and I picked up a new dog last night.  Actually, my dad realized his daschund Alvin (previously pictured here) was a bit more than he could handle, so we took Little A off Dad's hands.  I had kind of anticipated this happening when we got Dad the dog (at his insistence), but I had hoped it would happen after Alvin was older and more housebroken.  Oh well -- it looks like Baby's mom might take him home with her this weekend.  


At the moment, though, things are a little rough; Ramona (our seven-year-old black Lab) wants Alvin to leave her alone and Alia is terrified of him.  Older Daughter just wants to lock him in his kennel -- not because she doesn't like him, but because she feels like that's his "home" and so she puts him there like she would put a doll in its house.  He's actually a very good dog and seems to be pretty clever, but he's quite a nipper and he pisses everywhere.  But you know, that's kind of just what you get.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My daughter the gnostic

Me: What's that you made?
Her: It's Shootplane, he shoots fire at night so kids aren't scared, but if they're scared, he sends ghosts to play with them!  Pretend it has a mouth and eyes and talks to you.
Me: Okay.  Hi Shootplane, what's going on?
Her (as Shootplane): Last night I shot fire and made the earth planet!
Me: That's great, but I thought you told me God made the earth.  [Referring to an earlier conversation.]
Her (as Shootplane): Actually, God is my cousin.  He didn't want to make the earth planet so he let me do it.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Begun the SXSW has

So, I'm on spring break.  I don't technically get this week off, but I could probably have not shown up to work for the last two days and gone unnoticed.  Case in point: I had to take down the building's network for a little over an hour yesterday, and my administrator forgot to send out the email; I got one phone call about the outage.  During this time nobody in the building could print, use their email, surf the web, etc.  You would think this would be a great time for extracurricular activity, but in truth having nothing to do at work turns my mind to mush so that the only thing I can do is indulge in some newfound guilty musical pleasures* and watch Flight of the Conchords online.

Yesterday was not only St. Patrick's day but also an old friend's birthday, so I met him and several others at the Draught House pub for good times.  By "several others" I mean that there was a line out the door snaking through the parking lot** and that people in the know brought camping chairs to avoid sitting on the pavement while drinking.  It was good times, though -- I only had to wait in line for a few minutes since a friend was near the front and gave me cut-sies.  Booyah!  Take that, civility!

Spring break is an awesome time to be in Austin, mostly due to SXSW.  For the first few days -- during the film and "interactive" portion of the festival -- the town is flooded with fat, ponytailed computer dudes and thin, ponytailed movie dudes.  After that wave the ironically-ponytailed music dudes and sideponied scenester dudettes from all over the world take over the city with a million SXSW-sanctioned shows, free corporate-sponsored RSVP parties, non-sanctioned house parties, panel discussions, label showcases, etc.  It's also apparently a really great time to release massive clouds of pollen if you are an oak tree.

I'm taking the next couple days off work to hang out with some out-of-town friends staying with us and try to catch some new music.  The conversational go-to around Austin during this whole month is "so what are you going to see during SXSW?"***  I honestly have no idea what I'm going to see; other than a day party tomorrow and a showcase that night, I have nothing planned -- but the best times at SXSW are usually the ones that come up at the last minute.

* As far as guilty pleasures go, I could do a lot worse than Yelle, but I have also found some good stuff lately.

** For people in LA: in many parts of the world it is considered unusual to wait in line at a bar on a weeknight.

*** By the way, it's always pronounced "South by Southwest" and never spelled out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Five karaoke anti-jams

The key to karaoke, as I think I mentioned before, is commitment.  It doesn't matter that your voice is bad if you know the words and you can sell your song.  However, there are certain songs that should be avoided unless you really know what you're doing.  These are they:

1. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen); Other people would like to use the stage sometime tonight.  Also, if you're picking this song, you probably think you're being original.  You're not.  Attempt this only if: you hate humankind and want to inflict pain others.

2. Virtually any rap song; Even the worst rappers have better flow than you.  I promise.  You just don't know it because you've never rapped in front of a crowd before.  Also, you don't really know all the words to Gin and Juice, let alone City of Compton.  And there's nothing less entertaining than watching you laugh and read the lyrics off a TV.  Even your friends aren't laughing with you.  Well, except the really drunk ones and the ones who have a secret crush on you.  Actually, maybe that's a good relationship test -- if s/he laughs through your shitty rap karaoke, then s/he's still in the infatuation stage.  Hold off on any major decisions until s/he is at the "politely feigns amusement" stage.  Attempt this only if: you are a rapper.

3. Any song you don't know the words to; Arkay and I once did Whitney Houston's "I want to dance with somebody." Did you know that song has bunch of parts that aren't the part that says "I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody?" Yeah, it does. And those parts suck.  Attempt this song only if: you are drunk and you think you know all the words to REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It."

4. Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf); Not just for the obvious reason -- namely that beer commercials and movie trailers have turned a halfway-decent rock song into a cliché so overused that it now represents exactly the opposite of what it was originally intended to -- but also for the fact that is has a two-minute guitar solo in the middle of the song, during which you have to figure out what you're going to do with your hands. And the thing about karaoke guitar solos is that they're not the original songs, so even a good solo sucks in the karaoke version.  This rule applies to pretty much any Steppenwolf song.  Attempt this only if: it's the only song available.


5. The Friday the 13th theme.  Well, I mean, it doesn't have words.  What's the point?  I just had to say something about the fact that it's Friday the 13th.  Attempt this song only if: you are a conductor, standing in front of an orchestra.

A winner is you!

Yep, it was "Psycho Killer."  

Bonus blog points to Christie and Tyler.  Bonus laff points to Craig -- I hope he finds them helpful when he's stuck in summer school and all his friends are hanging ten or shredding the gnar-gnar or whatever the kids do these days.

Pictured, R to L: Tyler, Christie, Craig (who isn't quite sure what to do with his hands)

As for elcaballo's suggestion of "Under the Bridge" (via email, since comments weren't working at the moment) -- well, I'm not sure what to say about that.  Perhaps, like Tyler's "cheeseless pizza" comment, it is best left alone.

UPDATE: Whoa!!  I didn't actually know the name of "Tell it to my Heart" until Craig inadvertently made me look it up.  I get that melody stuck in my head all the time, so I'm really glad to know specifically which "eurodance classic" torments me day and night.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cleaning out the cameraphone

A softer, gentler blog entry today; these are some of the pictures accumulated on my cameraphone.*
I don't know what happens if Alia "gets you" with her terrible black arm, but I have always assumed it's really really bad.

Which is better: Dog A above (Alvin Blacktail) or ...

Dog B (Ramona)?  I don't want to make any judgements until BOTH of our rugs are fully dried out from the horrors Ramona's colon inflicted on them Tuesday night.

Speaking of abominations before the Lord, who is up for some Onan's Pizza?  I'm not sure if there is a less appetizing Biblical character to associate your foodstuffs with.

From underneath the bridge next door to my house:

"Good luck going my shit."
"Bitch I'M all over Austin."

Just for the record, I didn't write either of those things.

A small sample of the amazing inventory of an optician's office also near my house.  These frames are new old stock (meaning they're authentically from the 70's or 80's) and remarkably, they are being offered unironically as glasses people might really like to wear.  The story is that the optician ordered way, way too many frames when his shop opened and has never been able to unload the old stock.  He also sells modern frames.

And finally, check out this awesome viking logo I saw the other day.  Kind of makes you want to go back in time.

* Bonus blog points if you can identify the song referred to in this video which seems to have become an inadvertent theme of comments on my blog and Craiger's.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Top five karaoke jams

There was a time, not so long ago, when I would not have gotten on a stage in front of strangers and belted out soul classics.  That time is no more.  Now, when somebody suggests karaoke, I'm the first to agree, and also the one who makes sure we go to the kind of karaoke bar where all the patrons have to hear you sing, not just the people in your booth.  I make no boasts about being talented -- anybody who knows Jessie already knows who the undisputed ruler of all karaoke is, she being possessed of a great voice and the ability not only to dance, but to make up choreography for songs apparently on the spot.  (Either that or she spends a lot of time at home coming up with dances for Britney Spears songs.  Dave?)

Anyway, here are my top five karaoke jams.  I have not been karaokiing as much as I would like, so anybody who has been with me has heard at least one of these.

1. These Eyes (Guess Who); Although this song has the classic karaoke problem of being much longer and more repetitive than you probably remember it being, it brings tons of energy and possibly even creepy dudes pretending to play the trumpet to the dance floor.

2. I'll Be Around (The Spinners); It's all in the phrasing.  Not that I'm good at it or anything, but you have to sell it.  Sell it!  If you delivery is shitty, own the shittiness!  The singer in the linked video certainly is.  What happened to him?  It sounds like had to re-learn English after an extended coke bender.

3. Cat's in the Cradle (Harry Chapin); This is the song I've gotten the least positive reaction to, but it's really fun.  If nobody else gets it, fuck 'em.  Must be sung with maximum heartstring-pulling pathos.  Plus, the song "scares [Harry Chapin] to death," which is always a bonus.



4. Treat Her Like a Lady (Cornelius Bros. and Sister Rose); "Strange as it seems / you know you can't treat a woman mean."  Actually Mr . Cornelius, that doesn't strike as all that strange.  This one makes me wish there was karaoke for background singers.  If there was, though, "Midnight Train to Georgia" would be the best choice.

5. Twilight Time (The Platters); I've never actually done this song live, (not counting numerous family-only engagments) but it's definitely on the list for next time.  This song has everything: long coherent sentences, shitloads of metaphors, rhymed iambic pentameter -- and it does it all with such aplomb.  I look forward to slaughtering it. 

UPDATE: My brother reminded me of an infinitely better link for "These Eyes," so that has been updated.  Go ahead, click it.  Also, have you heard the Celine Dion "version" of "Treat Her Like a Lady?"  I have never liked Celine Dion even slightly, but I thought she at least had a modicum of taste and class.  Either I was very wrong or there is a wider cultural gap between the U.S. and Canada than I could ever have imagined.  This song is atrocious!  

I got nothing

So, let's see.  My dad got a dachshund puppy named Alvin.  He's cute.  I think he got him 40% for companionship and 60% for giving his granddaughters a reason to hang out at his house.  I'm cool with that.  Also, it has worked so far -- my daughters have been over there at least three times since we picked up the dog on Saturday.

Today Baby called me a bureaucrat because I said "this deaf Taiwanese girl took up a ton of my time today -- reminded me why I should never make exceptions to the rules."  In my defense, she really did take up two or three hours of my time.  Individual undergraduates who don't work for me, as a rule, should take up no more than three minutes of my day.  And even that much time is a bit taxing.

I built the top of this "bike hutch" or "bike cave" (as my older daughter calls it) thing this weekend.  I made it almost entirely (with the exception of a few metal brackets and one 1x4) out of scrap lumber from a pergola.  Do you know what a pergola is?  I didn't until I carted off the remains of one to build a hutch.  I have since discovered that most people actually do know what a pergola is.  Cost of project: $5.  Booya.

Also, losing an hour really sucks when you have kids.  Benjamin Franklin should have shut his smart mouth.  And this is funny.

UPDATE: Aw, shit.  I have 11 subscribers now.  Horseballs aren't going to cut it.  I'm usually slightly better than this, I promise.  Fucking time change, new puppy, mumble mumble mumble.  The New Yorker did a whole piece on Beyoncé a few weeks ago and I missed it because I didn't want to pay $4.95, but from what I could read in the novelty/holiday/periodical section of HEB, they did talk up her song "Apple Pie à la Mode" as a sign of Beyoncé's genius songwriting or something.  I'm listening now and I can't say I'm blown away; I'm not sure how this is any better than a TLC single.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reader response, feat. face-rocking comments

I have received several great comments and questions in the last few days.  I'd like to take some time to respond.

1. Faithful reader and assprint maker Craiger would like to know the resolution of the wireless network problem I alluded to yesterday, and whether the wind is causing his own wifi network to go out.  Although I don't think there was really any problem with my wireless network at the office, I am fairly confident that your problems are caused by the wind.  Perhaps the satellites are being blown off course by large gusts.  You may want to consider tethering them better, or switching to dialup.  Or maybe reinstalling AOL.  Hope this helps!
  
2. Keen observer of the human condition Marcus points out that I look like Joaquin Phoenix in that infamous Letterman interview.  You are not the first person to note the alleged similarity; the night after that aired I was forced to put on Blu Blockers and chew gum for the amusement of my hosts at a dinner party.  Well, not forced exactly.  Actually, you could say I was kind of tipsy and I forced my hosts to watch my "hilarious" and "perfect" imitation of Mr. Phoenix.  However, I think it's just the beard and hair, and I recently trimmed by beard for a wedding, which is a bummer because with a suit on I really could have pulled off the look.

3. Style guru xieferris suggests that my wife is both radical and insane due to the intensity of her hatred towards a certain 19th century poet!  I can't help but agree, given the evidence at hand.

4. And finally, Marcus also brings up a crucial point about the nature of Jon Bon Jovi's face-rocking, suggesting several alternate readings to my own implicit interpretation of face-rocking as a musical/psychological act.  Although Nick J. ably rebuts Marcus with regard to the relevance of his concerns to the study at hand, I believe there are legitimate questions to be asked about the nature of face-rocking in general, and perhaps a detailed study of the phenomenon (or even the phrase itself) could shed light on the plausibility of JBJ's audacious claims.  However, if I am correct in reading a sexual interpretation of the phrase into Marcus' point (c) ... well, that's just a mental image I would rather not have to deal with.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Incompetence update

For the third time in two business days, Mustafa has implied that atmospheric conditions may have an effect on my building's wifi network.  Specifically, he wondered why the wireless was so slow "even though it's not cloudy out or anything."  The first time, I just dismissed it as me possibly misunderstanding what he had said.  The second time, I was too busy to correct him.  The third time, I felt the aura of his incompetence encroaching and I was forced to flee, lest I be sucked into the swamps of incompetence like stupid, stupid Artex.

A student today complained to Mustafa* that nothing was coming out of one of the printers in the lab, although the other one continued to work.  I'm not sure what Mustafa's troubleshooting procedure was exactly, but he ended up asking me to help diagnose the problem.  Long story short, I printed a page to each printer, then walked into the lab to discover a long line of students waiting for their printing.  Waiting in vain, of course, because there was no paper in the printer.  What the fuck.

I'm not used to being the most conscientious and competent person in my office.  Sometimes when I'm walking across campus I daydream about what it will be like to hire Mustafa's replacement.  

* At least the student went to Mustafa first.  Other than not having to listen to Mustafa chew, the greatest benefit of my tiny private office is that the students have stopped bothering me about every minute thing that happens in the lab next door.  However, I am still treated to some of the most inane and inappropriate hallway conversations, courtesy of large groups of undergrads standing outside my door.  Recent topics have included eyebrow dying, UGGs (!), cell phone bills, and how the undergraduettes (thanks for the word, Baby) outside my office were planning to make Valentine's day "really special" for their boyfriends by breaking out of the humdrum collegiate coitus they have become accustomed to.  I'm sorry, but if you're an 18-year-old and you have to figure out ways to "spice up" your sex life, there might be something wrong with you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ur guide 2 English, pt. 1: literally

I have noticed a number of my fellow "netizens" misusing common words and phrases, and as some kind of grammar authoritarian, I feel the need to put some of these common misapplications of English to pasture, like so many abused horses. I think a blog post or two should clear things up for you all, my dear fellow internet users.

We'll start what may be the most commonly misused word on all the internet.

Literally. Definition: "figuratively" or "very." If you want to say something is like, really intensely the way it is, then use the word "literally." For instance, if your head is hurting you very badly, don't simply say that; go for the $5 word and say "my head is literally exploding!" If your head has actually exploded, then you won't be able to express yourself anyway, so there should be no confusion about this one. Baby has pointed out that the British are particularly adept at using the word "literally" in the proper, emphatic sense. This makes sense, considering that the British invented English and are naturally experts in its proper use.


Some purists insist that the word only be used when one is trying to convey that something that is usually referred to metaphorically is actually happening in a non-metaphorical sense. For instance: if a person's flesh actually changes hue when he covets another's property, he could be said to be "literally green with envy." This kind of precision of language is BOORING and should be avoided if you are the kind of person who has an uninhibited, fun and unconventional attitude (e.g. a Pibb Xtra drinker).

When to avoid: 9-1-1 calls.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy birthday, Tad

Today marks the birthday of a great friend.  This blog knows him as Chet, Tad, or Barton Keyes.  As usual, he has decided to celebrate in seclusion, but at least this year he gave me fair warning that he was going into hiding.  I kind of wonder what he's afraid would happen if we were to actually celebrate his birth in person.  Perhaps he turns into some sort of werewolf of golem once a year and goes into his secret lair to protect his friends.  Or maybe it's just a massive coke bender.  Who knows?  Only the mysterious cadre he's going out of town with.
  
I kid, I kid!  Happy birthday, man.  Where would Baby and I be without you?  Stuck with nobody to help us move, is where.  Also, my addiction to trucker speed would have surely spiraled out of control by now, and there would be no fine whiskey in my liquor cabinet.  

Don't break anything on the slopes.  

UPDATE: Apparently Tad killed the bottle of Dickel's last time he was at my house.  Damn!  At least some people are easy to shop for.