Monday, September 22, 2008

Click here to begin

All of you faithful reader out there know how much attention I pay to commercials, even with my DVR, which I have not previously mentioned. I have a DVR, and it has kind of changed my life. Kind of. I still watch them. I still judge them. I still love the Sonic commercials, regardless of what one of my friends might think. Microsoft has made a big splash lately. They've got Bill Gates running around with Jerry Seinfeld. They've got Bill Gates running around with all sorts of other pcs. I guess he has a lot of time on his hands nowadays, now that he's no longer running the world from his evil throne. (Notice that I have not made a judgment about Gates; just his throne. Or did I?)

I don't know how I feel about the Seinfeld commercials. They're weird and avant-garde and memorable, but I can't say that they're funny. They're just weird for the sake of weird, and since they are both famous, people notice. The question, though, is when did Seinfeld stop being funny? Actually, Gates isn't too bad. But that's because he's Bill Gates on a tv commercial telling Jerry Seinfeld that he doesn't wear his clothes in the shower. That's weird for the sake of funny.

The other one is the answer to the Mac vs. PC commercials. It isn't that funny either, but that's not really what they're going for. It's actually a pretty cool commercial, except it's like 5 years too late. The Mac vs. PC commercials are ridiculous now (although I did laugh at the pizza one) and not really that relevant anymore. Where have you been, Microsoft ad people? Or Windows ad people? I don't really understand what the companies are anymore.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What is the best party story ever?

I think everyone loves Jeopardy, whether they freely admit it or not. There is something lovable about Alex Trebek and his feigned sympathy when somebody confuses Hirohito and Akihito. Everybody feels the same way about the inane stories people tell in the middle of the Jeopardy round, mostly how much more interesting we are than the people on the show and their stories about their cats and proposing to their wives at football games. Last week, I drove to Savannah to try out for the chance to tell my inane cat stories to millions of people all over the country, right before or after Wheel of Fortune.

It all started about eight months ago when America’s favorite quiz show put out its annual online online qualifying test. I had been waiting on this moment for a long time; probably since the very first time I heard the category title “Potent Potables.” This would be my time to shine.

Before the 8:00 pm start time, the 50 question exam could he about anything, from Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” to the reign of Tiberius Caesar or this year’s Best Picture winner. I do not remember a lot of the details, and since they kept most of the details hush-hush, they kept my score a secret. It reminded me a lot of “the permanent record” that teachers kept in elementary school. They also tell you that there is an element of randomness involved, I assume to keep your ego in check enough not to go around to your friends and discuss how you knocked the test out of the park. You cannot get on the show with out a little luck. In fact, you cannot even make it past the first cut.

Last month, though, I got word back. After eight months of waiting on pins and needles, I got an e-mail telling me to arrive at a hotel in Savannah. The only warning, the only preparation really, they offered me was to arrive prepared for a written exam, a personality interview, and a mock Jeopardy round. I expected the written exam to be a lot like the online test, and it was, and I had seen enough of the show to kind of know what to expect from a simulated game, but personality interview? What does that even mean? Do they have a personality type in mind? Are they worried I am going to arrive in an oversized hat? It is television, after all, and you never really know what it is they are thinking. They could be thinking something like, “His head will look huge on camera.” Oh they did have one more suggestion that I forgot: have fun!

When I got there, they gave us a little history of the show and explained how the trick is as much about timing as it is about knowing the answers to Alex’s Questions. Or questions to his answers. Or whatever.

The written exam was another 50 questions with eight seconds for each. It was just as tense as it sounds, since the questions about opera are just as hard in Savannah as they are from your couch. After it was over, the discussion was just like the ones that happen after tests in school or a after a poker game: obnoxious. I do not care if you knew who created Daisy Buchanan, this is competition. This is deathmatch. This is Thunderdome.

The next step was the mock game and the personality interview (they happened together). They ask you about your inane cat stories and your job and what you would do with the money. The trick, though, was that they did it at a rapid, television pace to catch the unwitting civilians off guard. Everyone did ok, unfortunately. The herd was not thinned that much at this stage.

They insisted that the mock round would not be “graded,” but I am a little skeptical. I think it was an effort to try to diffuse the nervousness, and every wrong answer was really black mark on our secret Jeopardy permanent record. It is a bit intimidating, there’s a lot to think about: wait for the question to be read completely, think of the right answer, buzz in, answer loud, smile, and please oh please do not forget to answer in the form of a question. This is all while you are standing in front of the other Jeopardy gladiators. One question sticks out in my mind – to which dynasty did Mary, Queen of Scots belong? I knew the answer, and kept saying in my head, “It’s Stuart, do not say Tudor.” Yet, invariably, I buzzed in and said, “What is Tudor?” Wrong. That is a black mark on my Jeopardy record forever, I just know it. I did get other questions right, but Mary, Queen of Scots will haunt my dreams.

They told us that they keep us on file for eighteen months. So, anytime between next week and a year and a half from now, I might get a phone call (hopefully from Alex himself) saying, “Mr. Hathway, we need you in Los Angeles right away.” Then I can start bragging to my friends about how I knocked the Jeopardy tests out of the park, and hopefully, will not fall on my face on television after doing so. Luckily for you guys, though, I do not have any cats.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Best. Campaign. Ever.

Here's another thing that I hate: people in blogs who don't write for a long time and then come back and say, "Oh, I'm sorry I have been away so long! Here's what I did..." That's not what this blog is about, and if you were expecting that, then I'm not sure you'd enjoy this blog anyway. Go read some camwhore's Amazon wishlist. Just assume I was doing pretty much what you were doing, except four or five times more awesome. Yeah. It was that good.

I try to avoid politics here, because I write about that other places and I know that not all four of you like politics. But the next few months are going to be amazing. We just finished the Olympics, where we were beaten in the golds by the evil Chinese, Democratic Convention was this week, Republican is next week, college football opens this weekend (I will be in Atlanta watching Clemson crush the Crimson Tide, by the way, look for me -- you'll know me when you see me), and McCain announced his running mate today. And it's a girl! (I think my little brother has a crush on her.) This makes this race exciting again, and maybe even more accessible to people who care more about Dancing With the Stars. (I'm guessing, I don't watch that show. Although I do think it would fun if Missouri settles their electoral votes by a dance-off. Maine should do a lobster-off. There need to be more competitions ending in -off in my life.)

Joe Biden is a fun pick too, because he's like your crazy old uncle who has opinions on everything and doesn't give a damn about who is listening. I love that in a politician. And an uncle. But most of the excitement on Democrats came when Obama joined this shindig, and that's yesterday's news now. Like bologna. That's right, I don't eat bologna anymore.

I'm pretty sure I've said this here before, but election season is like my World Cup. It comes around every four years, most of the country is really bored when it happens, and I like to wear a cape made from the flag of my favorite team while watching. I can't really intelligently make a soccer analogy, because I don't understand how the game works, but imagine if an extremely exciting game became boring (tough, I know) and then suddenly became the most exciting game ever played. That's what I'm looking at right now. No matter what happens, history will be made, like if a baby led the Lions to a Super Bowl. Can you imagine? The Lions in the Super Bowl?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sing it loud and sing it proud

People have their favorite songs and places to sing. Most folks say theirs is in the car or shower or even both. I don't get what the deal with the shower is, really. I'm not any more or less likely to sing in the shower than I am anywhere else. Is it a privacy thing? Or are there a lot of waterproof drum kits out there that I don't know about? (I want one.) Don't misunderstand me, I sometimes sing in the shower. I just sing in other places too, like when I'm making dinner or standing in line at the grocery store.

The car makes complete sense, what with the radio and all. There are etiquette questions that arise if you are not alone, though. How loud to sing the chorus of Angel is a Centerfold? How high do you go on I Get Around? That's really an indicator of comfort, isn't it? If you're in the car with someone and he or she is doing his or her very best Axl Rose on Sweet Child o' Mine, then you know there is a definite comfort there. Or this person just doesn't care what you think. Can you blame them? I don't either. (That's not true, I need your approval. Why else would I be writing this on the internet? Please don't go.)

One of the problems I run into, though, is the gender of the singer. What's your favorite Rolling Stones song? Mine is Beast of Burden. (If you chose Can't Always Get What You Want, you're close. If you said Satisfaction, you need to listen to more Rolling Stones.) Like most Stones songs, this one is about Mick Jagger trying to convince a girl to have sex with him. I saw Cobie Caillat at a concert (no, it's not what you're thinking -- I was there to see Hootie and the Blowfish) and she did a cover and changed the words to be gender appropriate. Bette Midler has a cover (surprisingly good, too) and I think she did, too. When you hear a song you like by a woman singer, do you change the words, or do you just go with it?

I found myself in this predicament when I heard The Tide is High by Blondie, when Debbie Harry says she's not the kind of girl who gives up just like that. I realized that I do it about half the time, because I am both self-conscious and lazy. It's probably a bigger problem for the ladies, since there are a lot of guy singers out there. What do you do about this?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Inline outline leave me alone

You know what I miss? Aside from Crystal Pepsi, I mean. Then again, my tastes have probably changed since then. I remember liking Wild Cherry Pepsi a lot, but I bought a 12 pack for a poker game and I don't think I like it quite as much. It might be because I have been drinking a lot more cherry flavored sodas lately, like Cheerwine (one of the glorious discoveries I made in Clemson) and IBC Black Cherry (2/$5 at Kroger!), both of which are like Naomi and Wynonna compared to Ashely, except in reverse. I hope that wouldn't be true of Crystal Pepsi.

That's not what I meant to get started on, though. I miss Roman numerals. I think they are a classier way of counting, and identifying things, numerically speaking. I know that Arabic numerals revolutionized math, what their zero and all, but why do we write Thurston Howell III and not Thurston Howell 3? Class, that's why. Also, crossword puzzles.

Think of all the things that Roman numerals are used for: fancy watches - classy. Kings and queens - classy. Super Bowl - classy. Sort of. Outlines - actually, this one isn't as easy to see. To be honest, it took me a long time to really understand how outlines were supposed to work when I was first exposed to them. I know you are probably thinking, "Wow. And you went to grad school?" My explanation is this: shut up. Taking notes was a little foreign to me, and organizing things in a number-letter-number-etc hierarchy just didn't click, like the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies. I grew out of it, though, I think. Let's see if that's true.

I. Good Actors
A. Actors
1. Anthony Hopkins
2. Paul Newman
a. The Verdict
b. Sells food with proceeds to charity!
i. Like salad dressing and spaghetti sauces
ii. Don't forget limeade!
3. Keanu Reeves
a. Just kidding.
b. Or am I?
B. Actresses
1. Amy Adams
a. I love her
b. I could be a driver
2. Zhang Ziyi
a. I'm not sure if it's Zhang Ziyi or Ziyi Zhang. It's the opposite here than in China
b. That hair stick scene in Rush Hour 2 is amazing
3. Meryl Streep
a. I hear she's pretty good
b. I saw a preview for Mamma Mia last night in Batman and that song is infectious
c. Death Becomes her
i. Totally underrated.
ii. She shoots Goldie Hawn with a shotgun!
II. Evil Actors
A. Actors
1. Mel Gibson
a. Racists are evil
b. Or was that Australians?
2. Russell Crowe
3. Keanu Reeves
a. Just kidding.
b. Or am I?
B. Actresses
1. Angelina Jolie
a. I think Brad made the wrong choice
b. She's crazy
i. Remember that thing with her brother at the Oscars?
ii. And her kids' names?
iii. And Billy Bob Thornton!?!
a) Vial of blood
b) Tattoos
c) Billy Bob Thornton!?!
2. Rosie O'Donnell
a. Does she even count anymore
b. I liked A League of Their Own
3. Winona Ryder
a. Shoplifting is illegal
b. Day-O

That's right, isn't it? And you what the best part of it is? Of course you do; you're smart. It's the Roman numerals! So everyone, go watch a sequel featuring Amy Adams.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

As some of you loyal readers know, I watch Law & Order from time to time. Over the weekend, I spent some time in the Homeland, and my parents watch L&O way more than I do. So I caught an episode or 8. It's hard to deny the entertainment value of Jerry Orbach's quips, but the thing that does it for me is the lawyer part. There is the pre-packaged, disposable hour serving size of television aspect that does make the whole experience interesting, but I think the real appeal is the awesome jargon that lawyers get to use. And, according to L&O, lawyers use it all the time. I hope I never have to sit for jury duty or get arrested for murder (and inevitably plea reject a deal where they offer Man 2) and have this vision dispelled. Dun dun.

I guess I should clarify that judges get some of the best ones, but they're lawyers, too, sort of, right? They go to law school and everything! I will point out a few of the highlights, a few of which I try to use in everyday parlance, although I have to wonder how often people understand what it is that I'm getting at with all this.

  1. I'll allow it. This is what judges say when Sam Waterston, the reason you watch the show, tries to do something that in real life would be a gross government overreach, but is great because he's trying to get the bad guy. This is unquestionably my favorite of all legalisms.
  2. Withdrawn. This one comes from the trial attorneys, not the judge. It's when one of them asks a question that is clearly illegal, but used to manipulate the jury. The judge always instructs the members of the jury to disregard, but really, how easy it to disregard something like, "So, it was the first and third child that you smuggled into tend your rose bushes that you didn't beat with a hose, but not the second?" It's a way to just surrender, and move on. How convenient would that be?
  3. Objection! Probably the most versatile, anytime you disagree, you can just throw this one out. "I did not steal your waffles." "Objection! Those are clearly my waffles."
  4. Overruled. You're wrong. Simply put. One word, can't beat that sort of efficiency.
  5. Chambers! Sam likes to yell this one too, and it always seems so forced. I don't really know what sort of practical application it would have, unless you are demanding a romantic rendezvous. That's also pretty direct and would be efficient, if it worked.
And this didn't even begin to discuss the Latin. Habeas Corpus? Latin for "That you have the body." I think you can imagine a few contexts where that would be handy while chatting. I'd consider going to law school just for the lingo. What do we get? A mathematical definition of "work"? Objection.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Graphs Aplenty: DOES NOT COMPUTE

This one is easily my favorite Graphs Aplenty so far. Venn Diagrams are almost inherently funny, but when paired with a dystopian future joke, that is a recipe for success every time. Come for the math, stay for the dystopian futures, guys! I miss the days I used to write about going to the bathroom.

This one is pretty self-explanatory, my favorite part is that our future oppressors will not only speak to us in a hybrid of the two most widely spoken languages in the United States now, but also a 30 year old programming language. So when the robots take over, programming technology will not have changed since you computer science 101 as a freshman in college. Although, to be fair, my roommate studied biology, which I'm not even sure uses computers.

Interesting side note: as a mechanical engineer, I would only be able to satisfy A and B of the diagram above. I never learned to program in C++. I know you are probably thinking, "How embarrassing!" Well, I speak Spanish and a little Irish and you're reading my blog, so I don't need your sass.

Interesting side note 2: my roommate is all grown up. He started his own blog! Go read it, the three of you who are still out there. And post comments! Comments are how we measure our self-esteem, like the way women do with their weight. Except more is better for us.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What is left?

Every left-handed writer, especially those who [try to] write humor, has written this column. The world is conspiring against us with awkward tools that we can use to kill ourselves, like right handed scissors or chainsaws. They are right, you know. It is probably the reason there are so few of us around. They do tell us (other left-handed people, that is) that there are more left-handed geniuses, per capita, than right-handed ones. I believe it, because we have to be smarter, on account of all the deadly instruments. Natural selection, really.

There are a lot of other things out there, too, that are designed for the less sinister of us. (Sinister is the Latin word for left [dexter is right]. Isn't that wild? The Romans thought we were evil! I assure you that we are not. Or is that just the sort of thing that an evil person would say to deceive the masses?) A lot of them are things you don't really think about. My friend has been complaining (a lot) that the whammy bar on his Xbox 360 Guitar Hero Les Paul is not suited for left-handed rocking out (I only have the Rock Band Stratocaster). Who would have thought that Guitar Hero would discriminate?

The thing that set me off on this (most recently) is my coffee mug. It is a Rose-Hulman mug that I got for free that proclaims our greatness via US News and World Report (we're #1!) vintage 2003. If I want to show that proclamation to the world, I have to hold it with my left-hand, meaning that I cannot write while I drink my crappy hot tea. Why else would I have a mug with a message that bragadocious, if not to show it off to the world? Actually, now that I think about it, if I have to use my left hand, does that make it left-handed? I'm so confused now.

Just like I was when trying to figure out on which hand to wear my watch around Christmas time. Pants are also right-handed. Left-hand drive cars are right-handed. Most desks are right-handed, so much so that the first time I found a left-handed desk in a classroom I got really excited and was determined to sit in it, regardless of where it was in the classroom. So I did, even though it was stacked on top of three other desks.

I am the only person I know who puts my mouse on the left side of the computer. You can always tell where I sat in the computer lab, and people will freak out if I don't put it back. I'm sorry to disrupt your apple cart, Mr. Right-hander, but welcome to our world, but it's all part of our sinister plan. I mean, there is no plan.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'll say "Go Tigers" instead of "Go Eagles," but I think he'd understand

One of my very good friends plays the saxophone. He was a pretty big deal in high school with it, and because of it, he influenced me a little to try to get into jazz. It worked a little; I saw Wynton Marsalis once, and he was good, but the "date" was less than ideal. But he loves Michael Brecker. Apparently, Brecker is one of the best saxophonists ever. I don't really know a lot about jazz, so I have to take his word for it. When you really get into a hobby like that, you really kind of get to know who the people worthy of admiration of in the field.

My hobby is writing and politics and journalism. Even though it isn't really as exciting or sexy as jazz music, there are still those people, those giants in my field, too, and you might look at those giants the way I look at those in the jazz pantheon: you can recognize that they are good, but really, the distinctions of their styles might be lost if you have never written a political commentary or tried to get information out of a person in a way that other people would want to read it.

Tim Russert died today. He was the biggest of the giants. He was Michael Jordan. He was Wayne Gretzky. He was Michael Brecker. I didn't decide to write because of him or start to like politics because of him. But I liked politics better because of him. I liked journalism better because of him. Not only that, but he made those things better, too. He made America better. Remember that time when John Stewart appeared on Crossfire to criticize the show about their failing the media and the country? Tim Russert was doing it right.

He had one of the five best jobs in the world, and he loved it. He loved holding powerful men and women accountable, and we got to see it at least once a week. When you see an actor, or an athlete, or a musician, having fun with their role, we can tell. Tim Russert was doing that. He was having fun, he was excited to be in the media, and whatever you feel about politics, you can't sit through an episode of Meet The Press and not see that. You just can't.

Interestingly, too, during Meet the Press, we did actually get to meet him. We saw how important his family, his faith, his hometown and his country were to him. He wrote a book about his dad, rather than one about his career, as impressive as it was. There was no doubt about his Catholicism, his loyalty to Buffalo, and his love of the American process. We got to see all that, we got to hear about Big Russ, his son Luke, his love of sports, and it was never imposing. He was the kind of guy who would be just as happy to talk about the NFL or baseball as he was the upcoming election (well, maybe not just as happy), and would probably know more about both than you. But you'd still leave the conversation smiling.

I TiVo Meet The Press. I get excited about watching his show on Saturdays (I know, I'm a nerd). There is a gaping wound in American journalism today. Even though I am only an amateur in this field, he was the best we had. He was 58, died at work of a heart attack. He was just one of those people who seemed to understand life so well, had his priorities in order, and had managed to keep all that in tact after achieving the summit of his profession. This is one of those times that the country has lost as much as his family has. While I won't forget them in my prayers tonight, the rest of us need it too. While I can't bring myself to say "Go Eagles," I can say "Go Sabres!" I think he'd get it, though.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stealing Bad Commercials

Have you guys seen the Pizza Hut commercial where they all go in and eat some fancy looking pasta, and, oh my gosh, the chef comes in and says that it's really Pizza Hut? You know, this advertising masterpiece? Everybody there gets a good chuckle, and one even says something like, "I like it better now" at the end.

You know, if it were me, I would be pretty darned pissed (that is, assuming that this isn't completely staged, which it clearly is) if I took my date out for Italian (although, it would probably have to be at least like a fifth date, because I don't like girls to see me eat noodles too early in a relationship. I'm messier than I am happy with being) and it turned out that it was really Pizza Hut, I would demand a refund. If I were at a seafood restaurant and Captain D came out and said, "Hey guys, it's fast food!" Engineer Sighted would have to have a mutiny on the Captain's ship. Although I could probably figure out that something was up. Unless it was a Northern, cold-water or freshwater fish, of which I am woefully ignorant.

This is not a good commercial. What makes this even weirder is that Hardee's ripped it off almost exactly. Don't believe me? Check this out, fools. The only difference is they are only trying to hoodwink one person, rather than the entire restaurant. That's laziness. If I'm tricking people in a restaurant, I am going for complete deception. Sometimes I tell the hostess that my name is Roger McDormand. (My name is not Roger McDormand.) And you know what? They never figured it out. If there is a person in there who is on to my game, then I have failed. And that's what I have to say about Hardee's. Failure. McDormand, party of 2, your table is ready.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

All hail my feet

Isn't it weird how different some surfaces that you walk on every day feel on bare feet? Like how completely different your car accelerator feels? I heard somewhere that it was illegal to drive with bare feet, but I kind of like it. I like to live on the edge. Someday, you may see a "Wanted" poster featuring Engineer Sighted, for driving barefoot. I will be the second celebrity to have the nickname "Shoeless."

I was in a rather long car ride today, and I found myself taking off my shoes, because as I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before repeatedly, but I hate wearing shoes. I prefer flip flops, and even then, it's iffy. The floor mats of the automobile in which I was riding was one of those new/old surfaces. They felt kind of fun. I, fortunately, got to avoid wearing shoes for most of the weekend because I managed to return to my homeland, Florida. We shy away from shoes down there in the same way that Britney does underwear. Beaches and sand are not conducive to shoes, you see. Sand gets pretty much in everything, and the fewer crevices, the better. That might be good advice all the time.

I decided to make take this trip because a week and a half ago my car got smashed by hail. It was like that scene in the iconic Apple commercial. They were like tennis balls falling from the sky. There is nothing good that comes from things that are colder than 65 degrees Fahrenheit, unless it comes in a glass. I had no car or way to get to work, so why not go to the beach? I thought so too. It was awesome. If I were here, I would have to wear all kinds of shoes.

But I'm back now. It's going to be a pretty hellacious transition, though, and I can't say that is going to be an enjoyable time. It's rather early and I am already ready to crash. I apologize for the "already ready" construction; I hate that almost as much as I do shoes. But right now, my bare feet are on the surface of my couch, and it's a nice feeling, so it is alleviating my concerns as I write this. I suggest you try it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Man I Miss Video Cameras: So You Think You Can Write?

I don't know if you knew this about me, but I used to write movies in college. Actually, all of you probably knew that already, since most of you were there. Well, I miss it. I wish I had a camera so I could talk my friends into making fools themselves and broadcasting it on the internet via something along the lines of youtube. Although, if I continue to generate the sorts of media I am like this blog and newspaper articles and (soon) movies, then maybe it should be time to invest in an actual domain of my own. I just need you people to tell your friends so I can make money off this endeavor. I know you are probably thinking, "Why should we do that?" For two reasons: you have nothing better to do at work and I would be happy to buy you a drink if I were making money off of this.

This isn't quite a whole movie, but it's a sort of preview. This will probably be the longest entry I've posted, but you might find yourself reading more things written in the style of a screenplay more often.

So U Think U Can Write?

[Fade in]

[Crowd of 20 somethings shown sitting in a classroom, writing in notebooks.]

[in voice over]

In a class of some of the best young writers in America

[Fade out]

[Fade into an office with STAN and an older person, INSTRUCTOR. STAN is seated, while the INSTRUCTOR is standing and reading from a notebook.]

You think this is good? You waste my time with this… this garbage? You’ll never get published with that. Do you even want this? You have to want this. Do you want this…?

[Fade out]

[Fade into a bookstore coffee shop. STAN is seated at a table by himself, three other 20 somethings are together, with coffee drinks.]

[ANGLE ON bookstore façade. QUICK CUT to STAN.]

Where the only thing that flashes as bright as the talent…

[ANGLE ON ERIN, TOM and VICKY. ERIN and TOM are clearly together.]

[looking at STAN]

He writes so well, but with his reckless attitude, he’ll never last in this career.

Some people just aren’t cut out for this.

I think you’re jealous, Tom.

[Fade out]

[Fade in. ANGLE ON chalkboard that says “Open Mic Night.”]

…are the egos.

[ANGLE ON TOM, ERIN and VICKY at the bar of the coffee shop.]

I killed! It was perfect.

[kissing Tom on the cheek]
Wonderful job, Tom.

[STAN approaches to pick up a tea and cookie.]

What did you think, Stan?

I really liked it. It was a little heavy on alliteration, though.

[TOM aggressively knocks the mug out of STAN’s hand.]

Too much alliteration? I didn’t see you up there, Tennessee Williams. You want a go, with me Oscar Wilde? I’m gonna shove your head so far up your ass you’ll be a walking enjambment!

Guys, no! Don’t hurt him Tom!

[Fade out.]

[ANGLE ON a party. ERIN and TOM are on a couch, surrounded by people. TOM is talking loudly but unintelligibly. ERIN does not look like she’s enjoying herself.]

This is the time…

[ANGLE ON VICKY talking to STAN]

You know she loves you, right?

Why should I care about that? She’s with Tom now.

Yeah, well she shouldn’t be. He’s a jerk. And he’s been saying that he doesn’t think you’ll ever get published. He said he’s not even sure you should call yourself a writer anymore. Are you gonna let him talk about you like that and get the girl?

Give me a damn pen.

[Fade out]


…when you have to ask yourself…

We shouldn’t.

I know.

[They go in to kiss but fades out in a way to make it seem unclear if they actually do.]

[Fade out]

[ANGLE ON TOM, VICKY, ERIN and STAN in the coffee shop.]

One simple question:

[yelling at STAN]
I know about you two! This should be settled the way men do this! On paper! See you Friday at the reading you lousy pulp writer!

[Fade out to title: So You Think You Can Write?]

So You Think You Can Write?

[End scene.]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Graphs Aplenty: Matt Drudge

I myself am not an avid reader of the Drudge Report. I'm not a reader of it at all, I guess, avid or not. Do you ever describe anything as avid other than consumption of various sorts media? (I am an avid watcher of the news. I am an avid eater of salsa. I am an avid sleeper. Do those work?) I don't have a lot of personal insight to add to this graph.

It is important, however, to note that the Y-Axis shows Personal Anger at Matt Drudge and not necessarily at the content being presented. As my avidness in going to the Drudge Report is so lacking, I cannot provide stylistic input as to the potential source of the anger from a "factual" point of view, so I'm just going to speculate that Mr. Drudge is a jackass, and that clearly shows through in his writing. But I don't know that for sure; I need to stress how I am speculating that Matt Drudge is a jackass.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A little information

I was made aware of the fact that one of my friends was unaware of the rules. No, not to Bridge, although I don't know how that game works either. I know how to play Euchre and Spades, which are like Bridge's less sophisticated Midwestern and less sophisticated popular cousins. I don't know where Spades is from, but I would suspect something like a military family, because it comes from everywhere. But, I wasn't talking about Bridge.

Also, some people have trouble with the rules to some sports. For example, football can be tricky to the novice. I myself have no problem with football, but hockey is like some sort of crazy game that Yetis and Canadians play. I'm pretty sure that the rules to that game change as it goes on, not unlike Marshgammon.

I was talking about relationship ages. I was pretty sure that the rule for this was common knowledge: half your age plus seven. That's the youngest girl that a guy is allowed to date. Wikipeidia says that it's just the older to younger regardless of gender, but I'm pretty sure that women have more leeway. If guys guy younger, then they are bringing more creepiness into the world, and nobody wants that. If you're the girl and allowing it, then you are abetting creepiness, and you have nobody to blame but yourself. But y'all knew that already, right?

Friday, May 09, 2008

That's our word for making fun of you! We need it!

I found myself watching some Hardball tonight, which is actually a pretty common occurrence in the Engineer Sighted household. Chris Matthews is my favorite of the cable news personalities, because he can go from angry and belligerent to inexplicably sycophantic faster than it would take Abe Lincoln to throw a punch while on a bender. Also, he (Matthews) has the same smile as my nephew when he laughs.

He was talking about Al Gore as a potential Cabinet Secretary, since he (Gore) just released a statement saying he didn't want to be one. (I don't know how much you know about politics, but that's tantamount to saying "I'm not interested in her. Really. I'm not. Not her smooth skin, beautiful hair or excellent smile. Not interested." [I don't know why I started with skin.]) Matthews goes on to say that Gore would make a fabulous Secretary of State, and suggested that it might be the best job in the world.

There are two issues with that sentence. First, SecState isn't the best job in the world; Vice President is and Gore already had it. VP is the best job in the world because you get all kinds of awesome perks and basically zero responsibility. So, pay attention, Matthews. The second thing, though, is the use of the word fabulous. It has pretty much been co-opted by gay guys and fans of Sex and the City. Or so I hear.

I don't like the fact that there are words and phrases that are relegated to certain groups. Whenever I want to use some sort of superlative word that begins with "f", I am stuck with fantastic. Not that I dislike fantastic, it's a great word. I like synonyms. Bourgeois is another one that is hard to use anymore, because of the Communists. I don't think I need to say anything more about Communists, do I?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I'm not Mr. Rogers yet

I found myself watching Family Guy, kind of by accident, and saw the latest installment of the Alltel commercials featuring Chad. I wanted to write about how aggravated I am by both of those things, but I didn't want to repeat myself. Although I do want to say again that Family Guy is really daggum overrated.

The thing that made me even more aggravated about the latest installment of the Alltel commercial (other than the fact that I wasted my college career studying engineering instead of marketing where I could have probably had an easier go of it and make more money because I'm not retarded) is that they ruined the large vans with wizards painted on them. No longer are those vans with giant wizards painted on the side limited to stoners and people who would rather be driving motorcycles. Apparently now it's for screwups trying to sell cell phones.

I, of course, have concerns about running out of new material, but I feel like this is a battle that needs to be renewed periodically. Both of them. It was like the tv gods were teasing me by rubbing my nose, naughty kittenlike, into the mess that they made. Family Guy isn't that funny. If you meet the actor who plays Chad, make fun of him for selling his dignity. Ask him how prostitution feels. And not the good kind.

Monday, April 21, 2008

But why a spoon, cousin?

I like eating things. I hope you do, too, because really, there are fewer pure pleasures than delicious food. I noticed today, while I was eating a rather tasty pizza [that I assembled myself], that there are a couple of pitfalls that one can run into when eating. One of the more obvious and moderately embarrassing is burning your tongue. This one is redeeming quality of burning your tongue, though, is the reaction that immediately and inevitably follows. It's always the same, too, no matter who does it: a quick ducking of the eater's head, pulling into the body along with the squaring of the shoulders and raising of the arms into a bracing position; a polite removal of the offending food and replacement onto its plate; a public declaration of "Ih ott", as if there were any doubt.

That's not what happened to me, though. That never happens to me. The pitfall I experienced was one that was less destructive to my taste buds but has a higher potential for humiliation. I was taking a bite of my tasty pizza when, due to all of the awesome toppings, the sauce and cheese touched my nose, causing some of it to remain on my face. I hate that. It happens sometimes with drinks like hot cocoa that has whipped cream on it (I also never burn myself on that) or like a cake that you eat with your hands. Or if you stick your face into a bowl of ice cream, if, for instance you don't have any spoons. I myself have a comical of excess spoons; I never want for spoons.

Not only was there the disgrace of pizza sauce on my face, that was pizza sauce that would never make it into my mouth. It would be wasted, tragically, on some paper towel, unable to fulfill its designed purpose, its destiny. I'm not sure if that's worse that getting spilled on the floor -- not it's not worse, because it's a bit easier to clean up and I have the added bonus of smelling pizza for the rest of the evening. But the point is, that bit of food is deliciousity that I don't get to experience because of an awkward bite. How unfortunate is that? Eight. It is eight unfortunate.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vampires aren't so bad

You know how people talk about classic literature like they're great, but when you had to read them in English class in high school, they were terrible? Like Great Expectations? Or Catcher in the Rye? How did some of these things get to be classics? If I met Holden Caulfield in person, I guarantee I would want to hit him. But then again, he wouldn't be the first fictional character for whom I have a heaping dose of contempt. That honor goes to a certain bi-polar train who went from painful lack of self-confidence to an excess of smugness after completing the task he was designed to perform. I think you know who you are, train.

I have discovered one of those books, however, that escapes this unfortunately common bit of literary boredom. I have, of course, found many others, but this one in particular made me want to speak out. You might remember this from a previous entry, but it has had a rather healthy impact on me: Dracula. It is excellent. I was warned that Frankenstein (note: not the young variety) was a pretty boring book, so I had my doubts. I'm not quite finished, but I am pretty sure that they kill the Count. Which is kind of weird, when you think about it, because he can do pretty much anything awesome at night but is pretty useless during the day. So how hard would it be to make sure that nobody can mess with you during the day? It does kind of sound like it's shaping up to be a little bit of the vampire version of Wile E. Coyote, though.

Anyway, he's still a pretty awesome villain. Way better than Frankenstein's Monster. This book has one of the coolest images I have ever read in the commandeered ship's captain (I don't want to give away too many details) and he drugs the help of one of the women that he feasts on with laudanum. Anyone who uses laudanum is automatically awesome. Case closed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Graphs Aplenty: Death Wish

Charles Bronson is a Man among men. Of that, there really is no question. So it was really only a matter of time before my old roommate demonstrated, in graph form, just how that works out when his famed Death Wish movies are compared to one another.

This one took a bit more analysis than the previous Graphs Aplenty, and it shows in the confusing but scientific multiple axes. This, of course, is only a qualitative comparison because it is difficult to get hard numbers without including the various hypotheses on what sort of drunkenness was reached. You see, this was only testing the one variable, not severity of inebriation. That is clearly for further study. Please make whatever comments you notice.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

[Insert overused catchphrase]

In a rather inexplicable and unfortunate turn of events, I find myself carpooling a lot less now, which "frees" me to listen to the radio morning programs when I can't decide on a cd with which to rock off my face. I sometimes go for the news, because you just need to know what is going on out there. NPR, however, isn't always the most dynamic or even relevant, because honestly, there are only so many times you can hear about how brutal the Chinese are being to Tibet and how uptight they are about the Olympics. Not to minimize the brutality, but I already don't like authoritarian governments. I'm on your side already on this one, NPR.

I normally default back to Lex and Terry, who I guess are one of those interchangeable morning DJs who are kind of funny and sometimes have a caller driven show. Typically, on this particular program, it is either about relationship advice or asking for some sort of merch. I can understand the merch, because who doesn't like free stuff? I know I do. In fact, callers into L&T even say, "GIVERS!" when they get on air, and are answered with "Us." So, I'm guessing this has some sort of precedent in the history of this show.

The thing that I don't really understand is why do these people call into Lex and Terry to ask if he or she should break up with his or her significant other who is clearly cheating on him or her? (Isn't that pronoun construction awkward?) I understand that there is nominally some variety of screening process in order to become a radio personality, but I have to wonder what sort of qualifications the callers think that our friends Lex and Terry might have that they can solve their problems?

On the other hand, it is really funny when these people call in with some story that really makes no sense and the resolution is to beat the crap out of the guy's sister's boyfriend. That is precisely the sort of entertainment I want on my way to work in the mornings.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Now Introducing: Graphs Aplenty

You know, for being an engineer, there has been a dearth of data analysis on this here blog. You know what? That ends here, right now. My old roommate, the one who likes both Vonnegut and Death Wish, started generating some graphs that needed a home (other than in the finest of scientific journals, that is), and luckily, I happened to have a blog that nobody reads. So, naturally, there will be more graphs in our future.

This, of course, is a Venn Diagram. I want to stress that this is not representative of my findings, and that this conclusion should be under the same sorts of review and verification that any other scientific result would be. There are plenty of other things that make me happily vomit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I am trying to be a better reader

Over the weekend, I added to my collection of books. I say collection of books like I have a Scrooge McDuck style bin of them, which I, sadly, do not. I have maybe 20 on my bookshelf, unless you count text books. The two that I bought were Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and Dracula by Bram Stoker. I just finished Cat's Cradle today, and I recommend it like I would recommend whole milk. (Which, by the way, I slipped and went back to after a noble experiment. It made me understand what it was like when smokers finally go back and have a cigarette after quitting for a few weeks. It was glorious. It was scrumtralescent.)

I was introduced to Vonnegut by my old roommate. He had a surprising appreciation for culture both high and low -- for example, his favorite movie was probably Death Race 2000, yet he frequented the ballet. (Interesting fact: He had a box of movies, in which was a copy of the original Batman. I thought he had stolen my copy, but he did not; it turned out we both owned the Adam West classic. He also hated Catcher in the Rye, as I did, so we got along famously. I really don't know in what other context famously works like that.)

Anyway, I didn't really appreciate Vonnegut that much at first. Breakfast of Champions was pretty dang weird. I really liked Sirens of Titans, though. Cat's Cradle is definitely worth your time.

The real reason I started to write this post, though, was that I wanted to say how awesome Bram Stoker's name is. Bram. Stoker. It sounds made up. I could see Javier Bardem playing a character in a movie named that, kicking ass while being awesome. Bram. I want to name my kid that.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More on spring

Hey guys, it's still spring. Hasn't changed from a few days ago. It's starting to look better, though. Warming up, getting brighter and greener. If you are anywhere near where I am (and probably a lot of other places too), things are getting a lot yellower, too. Pollen is everywhere. It is on my car, my apartment, my shoes, my eyes, everywhere. My toilet even looks like a bowl of chicken soup, from the yellow coloring. I keep my actual chicken soup in the sink.

This raises a few questions. First, is my invincibility starting to be in question, since my eyes are a little itchy? But that's small potatoes, all things considered. You know, if two dogs were having sex on your lawn or car or shoes, you'd probably shoo them away or spray them with a hose or something. But all this pollen is basically lots and lots of tree sex all over us. But we don't get nearly as outraged. Why is that? I can imagine some rhododendrons or ficuses (fici?) sitting around and looking and tree porn that would look a lot like what we're living in now. It's too bad that trees don't have money; we could make a fortune in the dendro-pornography business.

The other major question how much effort is it worth for me to wash my car? It's just going to get yellow again in a few days. Then again, this is really gross looking, and I don't know how long I can abide by it. Since I don't have a hose, I have to go take it somewhere to get it washed. I'm thinking it's not that worth it. Back home, we didn't have this problem. Palm trees are much more prudish than, say, cedars, so they keep their mating behind closed coconuts.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is here, blogger skeptical

Today is the first day of spring, which is supposed to be this super exciting time when the birds start singing louder, pheromones are unleashed, and the weather gets awesomer. You know what? Poppycock, I say. This is the coldest day that it's been for like three weeks. It's like the calendar is drunk. I know it was just St. Patrick's Day and all, but come on calendar, you have responsibilities. The weather is not any awesomer today.

Although, I do have something positive to say: I figured out a gimmick that would make a chicken fingers place get all kinds of crazy buzz. It doesn't necessarily have to be a chicken fingers place, but a restaurant that specializes in food that come in discrete and countable amounts -- chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, any variety of chicken in some sort of bit form, shrimp, etc -- but not French fries, because you can't count them. (I do have a question -- which term [finger, strip, tender, etc] is the proper one?) You know how excited you are you when you find that you have an extra chicken nugget? Well, my restaurant would always do that. All of the relevant things on the menu would be like four chicken fingers, but you'd get five. Twelve fried shrimp, but you'd get fourteen. None of the servers would talk about it and it wouldn't show up in humorous Sonic style faked improv commercials. It would just happen. Order six jalapeno poppers and bam get seven.

The word of mouth advertising for such a place would be through the roof. They would have to be pretty good, too, I guess. But there'd have to be something about everything on the menu. For deli style sandwiches, they come with two pickles or something. Hamburgers might have to be out, since hamburgers are a deeply personal experience and arbitrarily adding ingredients may not be endearing in quite the same way; ordering a double cheeseburger is considerably different from ordering a cheeseburger in ways that getting an extra fried mushroom is not. I know you are probably thinking right now, "Man, I wish such a place existed so I could spend my money there and tell my friends how great it is to spend my money there!" Hopefully, soon, that will be realistic.

I was also looking over my tags and found one that I didn't remember using (pi is delicious) which led me to this post, which reminded me that I owe one of my most loyal readers a larger picture of Ana Ivanovic. And since this is the first day of spring, why not?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

That's nice, but does she come in black?

I'm sure you've probably heard by now that Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York, has tendered his resignation to the people of that state after being implicated in a prostitution ring. Although I haven't read a lot, and I do not know if he had a preference for a particular race of call girls, I really liked that title. I have two questions about this situation that I would like to discuss with you today.

I. I have decided to number my questions the way that Julius Caesar would have, because Roman numerals are vastly superior to all other numerals. This question is why on earth would the governor of the second most populous state in the country need to pay for sex? Was he really such an assbag that he couldn't convince someone who was both attractive and discreet to sleep with him? Or was his ego so big that he had sexual demands that somebody who wasn't a professional wouldn't be able to handle? This is the angle that I think needs more attention.

II. If this guy was good at his job and actually cleaned up stuff as the attorney general and governor, is this bad enough to make him stop? Sure, he's a raging hypocrite, but really, everyone is. (Maybe you don't rage quite as hard as he did, but you can't be consistent all the time.) Certainly he lost a lot of credibility. But I don't mean just for Spitzer -- let's say that it turned out that Abraham Lincoln was actually a violent alcoholic or Gandhi owned a sweatshop full of British children, how much would that overturn of their life accomplishments?

Probably all of them. Because remember when I said everyone is a hypocrite? I meant to exclude myself. You see, I am rigidly slavish to my opinions. Spitzer should lose everything. I just wish he wanted to fight it because impeachments are rare and fun. I wish I could impeach my neighbors. Also, I don't think I would drink with Abe. He is clearly a belligerent drunk, and with his height he'd have like an foot reach on me and that's a recipe for disaster.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Can I wander in your garden

I have heard a few Led Zeppelin songs on the radio lately, and quite frankly, that pleases me. I wish there were a station in Augusta that played only Led Zeppelin. Actually, that doesn't seem all that practical, considering I do own their entire studio catalogue. Anyway, I just wish I could hear whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I know what you are probably thinking, and it involves an mp3 player and I don't want to hear it. I am not going to buy an iPod and it is unlikely that you are going to convince me otherwise since I don't really have a good reason not to buy one other than I just want to resist the temptation of selling my soul to Steve Jobs for a little while longer. Also, I still kind of want an iPhone, although now my job would make it pretty much completely useless.

The drawback, though, to Led Zeppelin is that I can only sing along if I am alone in the car. You see, my singing voice is not what one would call "pleasant." I am a terrible singer, although I do enjoy singing on Rock Band. I don't a care who's around for that, because the computer generated AI fans love me. This also applies to other bands, like AC/DC, G'n'R and the Beach Boys, all of which are comically out of my range. When I try to be Robert Plant, I sound like an angry person screaming It's been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time sped up quickly, in the style of the Chipmunks. AC/DC is a little bit different, but my throat hurts after I listen to that cd for a while.

Listening to a lot of classic rock can get to you sometimes, though, because really, they don't really make a lot of it anymore. So I feel like I've pretty much heard all of the songs in the genre. And there are only so many times one can listen to Peaceful Easy Feeling without screaming and throwing rocks and other cars on the highway. Sometimes, though after going long enough without hearing a little Zep you can be reminded of how kickass they really are. I could listen to Gallows Pole like nine times in succession without any problem, especially if you throw in a little Custard Pie. I'm pretty sure that last song is dirty, though.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Invented by Terrorists: Don't blame me, I voted for Amanda

My mom called me tonight and demanded that I give American Idol a chance tonight. Apparently there is a lovable little guy who sang "Imagine" that blew the doors off the place. As it turns out, that would have been good information to have a few days ago, based on how this show's schedule runs. It's on more often than SportsCenter, but all American Idols are not created equal. I know this is breaking news, since this show has been on the air in this format for like 70 years by now. This is, in fact, the first time I have seen an episode in its entirety.

I can't say that I really got it. I don't watch it normally. I know people who do, and they seem to enjoy it. Each year, you get maybe two or three people who can perform the songs they sing better than the people who made them famous, so it seems like a lot of musical vomit from wannabes to watch before you get to the good stuff. I am not ashamed to concede that the Katharine McPhee "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was one of those performances. But you see how I avoided committing to a tv show for like 90 hours each week?

Well, I watched tonight and I think I figured out the appeal. I have figured out what the magic formula is that keeps people coming back. The singing is part of it, sure, but the trick is the voting. It's the same thing that you get when you watch Family Feud -- you get to yell at the retards who voted the wrong way and feel superior. Also, watching a chick breakdown and cry after being told she sucks by 30 million Americans is pretty compelling television. Hillary Clinton won't get told she sucks by that many people when she inevitably loses the nomination to Obama. And quite frankly, I thought the girl who got voted off who sang "If You Leave Me Now" was way better than the girl with the comically ostrich-like hair who sang "Carry On My Wayward Son."

And you know what? After it's over, I'm probably going to call my mom and tell her that. Which means I am turning into a gossipy old woman and the terrorists have won.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Inspired by a webcomic

In a short amount of time (19 days), my fourth favorite holiday will be upon us. St Patrick's Day is awesome. Or should I say, Tá sé uamhnach lá Fhéile Pádraig. There will be food, spirits, shamrocks and music. I might say a few words i nGaeilge and try to impress people who don't really seem to care that much. But more on that closer to the day. (Also, the best part about the Irish language is that you can have capitals as the second letter of words. How weird looking is that?)

After reading a particularly clever and nerdy webcomic today, I was considering inserting into my play list filled largely of The Pogues, Flogging Molly, the Dropkick Murphys and Gaelic Storm (I have left out a few other Irish bands as well) inserting a certain number one hit song from the late 80s into the mix.

I just wonder if there would be a single person in attendance who would even understand. Your thoughts?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Never forget

I was washing my hands today in the men's restroom at work and noticed something amusing. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the awkward guy who will go descriptionless (awkward doesn't give you any hints among an office populated by engineers!) who neglected to wash his hans after a visit to the urinal. (Actually happened, by the way.) I noticed something startling about the soap.

Aside form the container being transparent, which lets us see that it is pink, which is only amusing because it kind of makes me feel like I am washing my hands with Pepto-Bismal (what do those words even mean? I'm both a sciencey and wordy guy, and I'm pretty sure I've never seen those roots anywhere else), it has directions on it. Directions. For soap. It would have been ok, had it read something along the lines of:

"Directions: Rinse hands, dispense soap, ha ha, are you really reading this! It's soap! You learn how to use soap before you learn how to read! Even the slow kid in your first grade class knew how to wash his hands!"

But it doesn't. It has real directions. It's absurd! Like on a Dasani water bottle where it says Ingredients: water. Thank you for that. It also has separate instructions for particularly soiled hands (you put the soap on before you rinse your hands in that case). I do like the use of "soiled" in place of dirty, it does add an air of classiness to the plastic, transparent container of industrial soap. The best part, thought, is towards the end when it says "for external use only," just in case someone really does think it's Pepto-Bismal.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's a shame, really

I was bored at work and came up with an idea that I wish I could make happen. I think we're probably still a few hundred years away, technology wise, but when it happens, people will look back on this blog entry and realize my genius. It'll be like Leonardo da Vinci and the helicopter. Oddly enough, the train of thought started with a joke involving seeing Tommy Tutone on MTV's Unplugged before it formed into this piece of majesty you're about to read. The path from that one hit wonder to animal sitcoms is a long and tortuous one, so I really don't know how to explain how I got here.

If we could make animal sitcoms, these are a few that I think I would watch. I think I'll stop at five, because I could probably go on all day. Feel free to add one of your own.

  1. Pelican Barbershop Quartet - A story about four lovable pelicans, each with their own quirks, who formed a barbershop quartet and travel the coast entertaining sea birds in exchange for fish and love. There really are not that many things which are more amusing than a barbershop quartet, and one of those is a pelican. Combine them? Instant success. For those of you who don't know what a pelican looks like, here is a picture I found on Google of a pelican trying to eat a bear.
  2. Loi et ordre: Unité Spécial du Paon (Law and Order: Special Peacock Unit) - By the time this becomes a realistic television option, every other Law and Order possibility will have been taken. It ties in with the NBC network, which I'm sure would have been overtaken by CSI and American Idol if not for Dick Wolf and Sam Waterston. For some reason, I think this concept of having peacocks in a courtroom works better if they have French accents and berets while they are arguing about Man 1.
  3. Dog Ross - A public access program where a German Shepherd shows us how to paint things like fire hydrants, cats, and other dogs' butts. I would imagine his hair to be a little frizzy, like an aging pothead's would be, if he were a dog. You know?
  4. Panda Gladiators - The resurgence of American Gladiators really opened up a lot of possibilities. But thinking of how lazy Americans tend to be and how lazy pandas are, this really seemed like a pretty good match. Also, I know of at least one reader out there who rather enjoys pandas, and this picture is really funny. The panda gladiators would need names a lot more hardcore than Ling-Ling, though. Like 1000 Golden Pandas of Fury. I guess that they would be named a lot like Chinese restaurants.
  5. Dr. Rocky - A talk show for raccoons, where they try to break stereotypes of things like looking like burglars and eating garbage. They are just like me; they have to eat and can't help what they look like. And, really, who hasn't looked at a mostly eaten chicken bone and thought, "There's still another good two or three bites of meat on that"? Also, they would discuss the fashion merits of coonskin caps.
Ideally, we'd be able to watch some of these shows before the end of my life. Frankly, watching pandas shoot tennis balls at each other is better than like 85% of whats on tv now. And if you say that you wouldn't be interested in hearing a pelican sing the bass line of "Hello My Baby," I'm basically calling you out as a liar right here on these internets in front of God and everyone.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Week!

Hey, I heard there's a football game on today. It's supposed to be super. Every single person I've spoken to has said that they aren't particularly excited about the game, because at this point everyone hates the Patriots and nobody liked the Giants before anyway. I knew a guy at Clemson who liked Eli, though, which always amused me; it was like wishing that Rambo would have starred Frank Stallone instead. Frankly, I think that the Pats are unstoppable, but I can't say I'm terribly happy about it. Also, I hope the commercials are a little better this year than they have in the past years.

Tuesday is also a super day. Super Tuesday, in fact. I think it's also Mardi Gras, but I'm neither Catholic nor Cajun, so it really doesn't have a huge impact on me. I did make gumbo for the game tonight, though. But I think I'm looking forward to Tuesday than I am about the game. You see, this is the first time I get to go to the polls to vote for President of the United States. (I had to do it by absentee ballot before. As far as civic satisfaction goes, you don't get quite the same feeling as pulling a lever, or in my case, using a touch screen to identify my candidate in the same way that you make reservations at Epcot.) Afterwards, I get to come home and drink martinis while watching the returns come in. Election day is too class a day to drink anything other than martinis. I want to have a small party for it. I already know that I am taking off Nov 4.

Here's a little way to make Super Tuesday more fun (as if it could be any more fun!):
-Every time somebody says "Too close to call," you drink.
-Every time a future press conference by a candidate is referenced, you drink.
-Every time Keith Olbermann takes a gratuitous shot at Bush, you drink. (Be careful if watch MSNBC with this one...)
-Every time Keith Olbermann does something unnecessarily smug while trying to make a joke that isn't funny, you drink. (This will be the last Keith one, because this game could be dangerous. I don't want to be a case study for a Law & Order episode where somebody dies from reading a blog entry. Actually, that would be pretty awesome.)
-Every time Chris Matthews throws in an unnecessary compliment to some guest on his show that you've never heard of, you drink.
-Every time Chris Matthews's smile reminds you of the smile of your five year old nephew (not to mention haircut), you drink.
-Every time Brit Hume looks disgusted by the lack of professionalism by someone on his panel, you drink.
-Every time a pundit is confused by a disagreement between polling data and actual election returns, you drink.
-Every time a candidate who lost a state makes it sound like they really won it, you drink. (You may have to stay up late for this one.)
-Every time someone says "Billary," you drink.
-Every time someone compares Obama to JFK, you drink.
-Every time someone talks about Mitt Romney's hair, you drink.
-Every time someone talks about how conservatives don't like McCain, you drink.
-Every time we are reminded by a commentator how relevant Huckabee still is, you drink.

If you aren't laughing at all of Romney's and Olbermann's jokes after an hour with this game, then I don't know what to tell you. Sláinte!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sweet and delicious. I am probably going to weigh 900 pounds.

I have been thinking a lot about desserts lately. That's not to say I don't think about desserts a lot in ordinary circumstances, because I do. Like cake. But this was precipitated by a few other happenings, notably a coupon finding its way into my possession for an entire dollar off of two packages of Pillsbury's version of break and bake cookies. They are so handy, but a little dangerous because there's only so much willpower a person can have. I think I may have eaten an entire package over the past two days. I used to eat like six oreos a day, though, so I think I'm ok. Also, these all go with the drink of the gods, milk, rather well.

I was also thinking about key lime pies again. It's such a great dessert, and I want one. I just don't have any key limes. I even exhausted my supply of conventional limes today. I feel food naked. Key lime pie is undoubtedly the greatest of all pies, and I have been under fire for saying so. Challenges coming from such nonsense as strawberry rhubarb and cherry (you know who you are) make me really wonder if these people could identify a key lime in a lineup. Poppycock, I say! But I guess it's not all their fault, though, because if you do a google image search for key limes, most of the results are not actually key limes. These are key limes.

Aside from its complete and total deliciosity, though, there is more to love about key lime pie. For one thing, it's the state pie of Florida, a state which is probably better than yours. How many other states have state pies? According to wikipedia (if you believe them), two: Vermont and Oklahoma -- apple and pecan, respectively. I only have one word to say about that: lame. Actually, I have nothing against either pie, but apple is pretty ordinary. Also, apparently a state congressman wanted to fine people $100 if they mistakenly labeled a key lime pie as such if it did not, in fact, contain key lime juice. How awesome is that guy? I'll tell you: very. This paragraph has an awful lot of colons, and fortunately, not the gross ones. Here's what you can do: tell me something hilarious or awesome that your state has made official. Like, hopefully, the state pro wrestler of South Carolina is "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. It doesn't have to be factual! Just ask wikipedia!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stunning realizations

This weekend, I opted to escape my apartment briefly to the mighty Atlanta. I saw mighty because it is bigger than Augusta, they have Fellini's pizza, and word on the street is that they want to steal our water. Those big cityfolk shan't have it! I don't really feel that loyal to Augusta just yet.

But it snowed this weekend. All of you northernfolk are probably saying, "So? It's January." January isn't supposed to work like that down here. It snows like once every two or three years. Guess how many times it snowed this week? If you said twice, give yourself a cookie, because that's how many times it did in the State of Georgia. I'm not particularly ok with that, and if I have to look for an engineering job in the Bahamas to get away from this weather, I guess that may just have to be the price I will pay. Then while watching all those football games where the temperature is smaller than the number of right thinking people in the Spears household, it makes me wonder how people live like that. I feel the same way about winter the same way I do when I look at pictures of mud huts in National Geographic. It's a shame, really.

The bloke in whose apartment I stayed, though, had a rather interesting feature in his bathroom that made me a little uncomfortable: a full length mirror. It's a little unsettling because as I was standing over the toilet, if I looked up BAM there I was. Right in my face. I don't think I'm necessarily a nervous goer (but then again, it's never really come up), but I don't like the idea of a person standing over me as I do. Even if it's me, especially considering the unnatural angle of me having to watch what that other me is doing. What exactly is the purpose of such a tall mirror? Is it for little people? I hope they appreciate it, because it is creeping me out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's not boring, really!

I love this time every four years. Primary season for me is like the World Cup for pretty much everyone who is not an American. I'm a bit of a news junkie and a politics nerd, but I don't care. I still think that's less lame than reading Harry Potter, and everybody does that. There's a big one coming up on Saturday, the next state up from me and my old grad school stomping grounds, the Palmetto State. If that doesn't excite the cockles of your heart, then you should go watch soccer, commie.

But really, this is a pretty exciting time. This is a really unique alignment of confusion, and really, the American political process and media is an engine that runs on chaos, similar to the propulsion system in that book by Doug Adams that runs on improbability, so I'm not the only one going nuts. It's also kind of fun to see the look of terror that appears in people's eyes when I start talking about how exciting and unexpected that John Edwards came in second in Iowa, beating Hillary. I'd kind of imagine it's the look that people get when they start to suspect that you might be a werewolf.

This is also pretty important. We are looking at possibilities that we've never had before -- a real shot at having a First Dude instead of a First Lady, someone who's not a WASP or a Kennedy, the guy who should've gotten the nomination in 2000, or possibly a Baptist preacher. Aside from the historical firsts, they each represent pretty serious differences in policy direction, and we have a lot of leeway as to which direction we can choose, particularly in open primary states. The races are still pretty open and probably will be going into Super Tuesday (which I think is the same week as the Super Bowl and Super Thursday, which is super because I'm pretty sure I don't have to go to work on the following Friday). So pay attention, and then leave comments about how smarmy Mitt Romney is. Besides, the guy's name is Mitt.

It also exposes the media pundits who think they know so much screw up with their predictions. It's fun! Remember New Hampshire, guys? Everyone though Obama was going to run away with it, and he didn't! Classic! Also, I am jealous of those pundits.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Name three things

I have gone back on three things that I toyed with before this week, and finally made the plunge. I am not opposed to trying new things, in fact, I rather like doing that. You know the first time I ate cake? I don't remember it, since I was probably like two, but I bet that was pretty freaking awesome. Just think on how much cake I would have missed out on if I didn't have that kind of courage back then. I'm a pretty big fan of cake.

I am also a pretty big fan of milk, as well. Especially with cake. I have been pretty loyal to whole milk for as long as I can remember. It is creamy and delicious. However, I no longer have the metabolism of a jungle cat or a meth addict because I sit in an office for the better part of 9 hours a day. I scaled it back to 2%, and it's still pretty delicious. But it isn't creamy and delicious. It's a little bit watery by comparison, but it still has some of that wonderful, life-giving fat in it. Twice as much as 1%. I won't even begin to discuss skim; it is an abomination.

One of my Christmas gifts was a watch. It's Swiss and fancy, so I imagine it's good. If there are four Swiss things that I trust, they are these: Swiss banks, Swiss chocolate, Swiss Misses, and Swiss watches. I also like Swiss cake rolls, but I'm skeptical that they actually come from Switzerland. I haven't worn a watch in ages (probably since the days of Shark watches -- man, they were so cool), so this has taken some getting used to. We also had a big discussion about which wrist the watch goes one between me and my also left-handed mom. We decided even though she wears it on the right hand, she's doing it wrong.

I also decided it's time to go back to the fusion. My old razor that was three razors was leaving me wanting, and the cartridges were getting hard to find. And I figure life's too short not to use an unnecessarily excessive number of razor blades to perform a morning task that I hate. I also am making pretty good money, so I can afford to spend an extra three dollars on my razor blades and have a face as smooth as a well shaven baby.

So are these steps forward or steps backward? Will I miss that Whole minus 2%? Will I be a changed man now that I always know what time it is? Will I be satisfied with 6 blades? Stay tuned for the next installment of... How Observant.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The guy is everywhere

Sometimes I have to wonder what sorts of people watch infomercials. I don't really have any idea, but it 's really kind of compelling that there is a definable profile, my guess is very lonely people who quietly sit at home in bed at night eating bugles in bed before they turn off all of their appliances with the Clapper. It seems like it must be a definable sort of person because the same guy sells everything, so he must appeal to somebody.

I know you know who he is, you just may not know his name. I think he is most famous for selling OxiClean, but don't fall into the trap of thinking that's all he's good for. Oh no. His wikipedia page is full of all sorts of useless products that this energetic bearded man is trying to convince you that you need. He is, of course, Billy Mays.

Why Billy Mays? What makes his screaming so much more special and marketable than other people screaming? Why would anyone want a picture of him to be autographed? How did he even get that job? Does it pay well? Can he get into posh clubs with his late night cable celebrity? I certainly hope so; I wouldn't want to party at any place that would turn this man down.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I am not a [strong] man

There are some things that I feel like I should be able to do. Some of them are pretty grandiose, like I feel like I should be given an orb and scepter as visible symbols of my awesome. I also wouldn't mind getting paid for this. I have no shame for wanting to sell out. Writing nonsense for a living? I'm pretty sure that's the life that Jesus wants for me. Also, I want some sort of animal or robot to do my laundry for me. Are those things too much to ask for?

Well, not all of them are so dramatic. I think I should also be able to blow a bubble out of gum, but I can't. It's really the secret reason that I don't chew gum anymore. I'd like to be able to tolerate the less interesting, but I'm just not that big of a person, sadly. It's a lot like the attitude that Rudy Giuliani has for Iowa. I just don't see the point.

The thing that I am thinking about, though, is that I would like to be able to release the emergency break of my new car with one hand. I can't; I have to grip the handle with both hands, much like I would imagine Arthur did when he grabbed Excalibur out of the stone,
so I can drive my car after I park it on a hill. I don't really know what sort of exercises I can do with my thumbs in order to make this dream a reality. There really hasn't been anything that makes me feel quite as weak as this. Not the time I was barely able to bench the bar, not the time that couldn't pick up my backpack in high school, and not the time I got beat mercilessly by a class of kindergarten girls in tug of war. My last vehicle was a pickup truck, so I only had to use my feet to engage this break. I miss those days, because I kick like a mule.