I made this.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Trip

Premonition: do you believe in it? It’s a weird thing, to be sure. Why just this evening, as I was about to leave school for my trip to Rocklin, I had the overwhelming feeling that I should bring along my headlamp. There was no real rhyme or reason, just a feeling that kept insisting that I bring along my cranial lamp. So I did. What followed was an adventure of the uninteresting, uninspiring sort. Allow me to explain . . .

This hasn’t been a great couple of years for me. I have had a pretty long streak of unlucky happenings, which isn’t to say there haven’t been some really good parts. On nights like this, however, one tends to focus on the things that have gone wrong over the recent past.

It’s midnight thirty Saturday morning, I’m driving the back way from school to Rocklin, Fried Green Onions is on the stereo, when I hit a pothole, which, upon retrospect, was probably the size of a small shantytown. Pegasus (my car) took the hit pretty hard, and about twenty seconds later I decided I had better check out what Napa County’s irresponsibility in road work had done to the Silver Blur’s shoes. Sure enough, old front-righty was out of commission like Joe Theismann’s leg, flat pretty much to the rim. Wonderful, I thought. At least it is warm out. At this point, I was very happy that I had listened to that still small voice in my head which suggested that I take my headlamp on this increasingly ill-fated trip.

So I’m lying there, in the dirt on the side of the road, using a jack clearly designed by some sadist who is afraid of using too much metal or who can’t stand the idea of a functional tool, when I hear an entirely disagreeable sound. From a short distance away, coyotes begin to wail to one another.

There is a primal fear in every person which you cannot understand until you feel it. Although the fear lasted just a moment, until my logic set in and I was reminded that the likelihood of a pack of coyotes attacking me while I clanged away with my sadist jack on the side of a deserted road in the middle of nowhere was unlikely. Had I heard a cougar scream, there is no doubt in my mind I would be “sleeping” in my car even at this very moment, but being somewhat familiar with coyotes and their timid ways, I felt comfortable continuing my task of removing the rear tire, replacing it with the spare, then removing the damaged front tire and rotating in the old rear tire.

I was soon (that’s relative; it took about 40 minutes, what with all the rabid-coyote-induced-paranoia) finished with my charge and on my way again, although I had to travel much slower because it is unsafe to drive at high speeds with a doughnut (road talk for a spare tire, city folk). As I drove on my way, I was hit with a realization: everything I go through, everything I have gone through, good and bad, can be used and has been used to benefit me. In the past year and a half, I had experienced two separate flat tires before latest one. These were immensely frustrating and, compounded with all the other stuff going on in my life at the time, gave me a very “why me?” kind of feeling. However, as I replaced my spare tire on a virtual island in the middle of the night while defending myself from all sorts of wild animal attacks in near record time this morning, I was grateful for the practice I had been afforded in better circumstances. The same can be said about other negative things that have happened to me: I’m better for the experience. More jaded, perhaps, but there are definitely ways in which I can admit that, if things haven’t already worked out, they soon will.

If I may attempt to draw yet another parallel, the world is going to end, according to some, in t-minus 15 hours. Without getting into an argument about when the world will end, why people keep on trying to predict it or eschatology as it is understood by people who actually research it, it does at least make me think about the end. I am looking forward to it. There are a lot of amazing promises in the Bible, but the best, in my opinion, is Jesus’ promise to take us home with Him. How is that related to my experience today? Well, it was a pretty lousy drive overall, but as I walked through the door, I was relieved that I was back home. I sat with my friend Justin and talked about life and other things of less consequence. In the end, I was reminded that the trip, though it is long and has some potholes that tax money just can’t seem to take care of, at the end we will be where we belong. I hope I belong in Heaven. I guess we’ll see.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's a Christmas miracle

All those cursive writing lessons are finally paying off, right? Honestly, when was the last time you wrote in cursive? The only time I really consider writing in cursive is when writing thank-you cards, but, honestly, that line of action usually breaks down once I realize I have forgotten how to write a cursive "J."

I am toying with the idea of doing a "year in review" post, but that would require me to try and recall any happenings older than two months old. It's a stiff task to say the least. I will have to consider whether I actually want to do it or not.

So what's the Cheetos cheetah on about? Eh? Chester's a bit of a wild card. Talk about a cool cat. He wears sunglasses. Also, he engages in dangerous extreme sports and, if his more recent commercials are any indicator, seems to support a healthy amount of hooliganism from his consumers. Keep it spicy, Chester. Furthermore, have you visited the Cheetos website? In my extensive research for this paragraph, I did just that. The top headline? "Stolen Jewelry Found In Cheetos Bag." Hey-oh! If that's not solid advertising, I really don't know what is. Way to capture the hard to reach 18-35 year old white male crowd. Evidently several New Jersey teens stole $7 thousand worth of jewelry and hid it in a Cheetos bag in their apartment. Given New Jersey's residents' well-documented decision-making track record, do you suppose that at any point they accidently stole $7 thousand worth of Cheetos and hid it in a jewelry bag? I sure hope so. Another fun fact? One of the other main stories on Cheetos.com is about a New Jersey-based environmental firm that develops speakers from recycled Cheetos bags. New Jersey is clearly doing its part to discover new uses for former snack reticules. Step it up, rest of the continental US.

What did you do yesterday? I did nothing. And Kevin Garnett said that was impossible. . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I was taking finals at school when I got an interesting assignment from a professor. He required that our final paper be turned in at sunset on a Sunday. At first, I was annoyed. What does sunset even mean? I wanted a little more structure. However, upon much reflection, I realized that this was how I wish all deadlines would be given. Because, in the end, the deadline of sunset sounds like a rendezvous, which is awesome and fun to say. I like where my professor went with it, but maybe it could be more exciting. Let's get a train involved. Also, a riddle wouldn't hurt. Make me feel like my expose on organizational communication is actually a list of the numerical launch codes required to make Kim Jong Il knock it the heck off. I'm not saying you should hire trench coated men with accents and scars to stop the delivery of my paper (though I am open to the idea); just make me feel like James Bond. Once. I guess that's the point of my college experience, really. I want to feel like I'm in Her Majesty's Secret Service. Nick Nack and Jaws? I'm in. Maybe they will make an appearance. Doesn't hurt to ask. Although I don't know how you are going to get into contact with Herve Villechaize.

I was reading my old posts the other day (because I am a proponent of hilarity), and I realized something. I have a bear fixation. Nothing serious (I hope), but it's there. There seems to be some evidence that, if I turn some of my attention to orcas (which I pronounce "orchas" because it is fun to do so), I will be able to continue on in my life in a normal fashion. I probably shouldn't even make this observation, but orcas are a lot like panda bears. Except they spend more time in water. And less time eating bamboo shoots. Also, there is the whole fur difference.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Happy Christmas y'all.

"Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots."
-Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, in his song, "You're A Mean One, Mister Grinch." The term grinch is often used to describe people who despise Christmas, especially those who are parsimonious around Christmas time. That's you, people who give underwear as a gift.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Affliction

I know, I know. The title sounds very dark. Don't not read this simply because you have apprehensions about the title (or the author).

What I actually want to talk about today is mutations. The truth is, I have one. Now, it would just so happen that I did not get one of the cool mutations--I can't fly, my body does not spontaneously regenerate itself when I get wounded (well, it does, but it takes the usual amount of time that it takes any reasonably healthy, non-hemophiliac human being) and I can't control electrical currents. Even my Hulk powers are limited. No, I got color blindness. I would argue that it is cooler than male-pattern baldness, but not by much. Yes, I am color blind. And not necessarily in the socially-conscious, everyone is equal way. Google Health (I know! I had no idea such an entity existed either!) describes it as such: "Color blindness is the inability to see certain colors in the usual way." Which I think is slightly narrow-minded. After all, what comprises usual? Not too long ago I saw a documentary about a woman who married the Eiffel Tower. Ok, so that is unusual and off-topic, but how else was I going to let everybody know?

I have met quite a few people that were excited by the fact that I am color blind. I don't really see the appeal, though. I mean, I can't use my special power to fight crime, and as far as I know, they won't even let me be a fighter jet pilot. I'm not like the kid from Little Miss Sunshine who dreamt of being a fighter pilot, but even if I wanted to unleash hot death from the red skies, the knowledge that I CAN'T, well that is hard to take. (Fighter jet pilot can be added to the list of things I will never be. Also on the list? Physicist, keeper of The Orb and bear. All mystical endeavors, to be certain.) However, the novelty of my color blindness usually wears off pretty quick once (I assume) others figure out I can't get special discounts at restaurants or cure people with a gesture. Perhaps the original draw is just that color blindness makes an individual unique. Only 1 of every 10 men have this mutation (Google Health calls it a "Genetic Problem." I say, hey, take it easy, Google.) and even fewer women are color blind.

Now recently I saw a headline that said, if my memory serves, "Color Blindness Cure Found In Monkeys." At first, I was excited. Finally, right? Then reality struck me . . . how am I going to get a hold of a monkey to cure my poor eyeballs? I'm pretty sure it is illegal to own a monkey in California, even for medical use (or is that just ferrets?), and once I have the monkey, then what? Do I eat the monkey? Do I need to somehow inject it into my body? If so, must it go into my eyes? I don't think I can fit a whole monkey into my eyes. . . . Perhaps I must absorb the monkey? If so, it sounds like I will have to acquire a special machine to make that possible. Can I buy a machine? What will the shipping costs be? How much room will it take in my dorm room? You see my concerns now. Of course, after reading even the first several words of the article, I understood that the monkeys themselves did not hold the cure to color blindness (though I think we can all agree that they have many other answers in store for us), but that people had simply been experimenting on monkeys with color blindness. The point is, there is hope for those of us who dress funny or have never really experienced the color purple (at least not in the way Prince intended; come to think of it, I'm not sure if anyone has ever experienced the color purple the same as Prince has).

"I'm gonna wait 'til the midnight hour. . . ."
-Wilson Pickett, who was evidently unaware of my uncle's maxim that "nothing good happens after 11 o'clock."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Point A to Point B

The natural progression of my thoughts could be described as bizarre. Allow me to elaborate by giving an example:

I was driving to Sacramento several days ago, when I saw a dead squirrel on the side of the road. After expressing the proper amount of joy that at least somewhere something is being done about the overpopulation of what some people call the "Gray Plague," I was reminded of a recent trip I made in which, deep in the blackness of the night, I (unintentionally) struck and (I assume) killed a pedestrian rabbit who happened to be crossing the road. I then considered "deer crossing" signs and a) how much damage a prancing eight-point buck would do to my Focus and b) how rarely one sees a deer cross the road in the leaping position the signs depict. Naturally, when one is on the deer crossing sign mind track, one is forced to consider other signs delineating an animal and its inclination to cross a motorway. Let's see, we have the equestrian, the occasional moose, child chasing ball, hand-holding foot traffic, bovine, armadillo, kangaroo (if you're down under) and, of course, the duck with ducklings in tow. Now, two thoughts enter my mind when I contemplate the duck with duckling train crossing sign: first, I think about the immense joy I would feel if I saw a whole squad of baby ducks following momma duck (it seems that daddy duck is rarely in the picture). In my mind, there would probably be a light rainbow behind the glistening mountains in the background, perhaps the ducks are whistling softly, I don't know. The second thought which stumbles into my mind like a guy who lives on the subway arriving late to an ill-fated job interview at, ironically, Subway, is the Berenstain Bears. Stick with me on this one. I don't know what your memory of the Berenstain Bears includes, but the most vivid picture I have is this sequence: The bears are on a road trip, when all of a sudden they strike the car ahead of them, which has unexpectedly stopped for no apparent reason. Poppa Bear is FUMING. He's ready to rumble, and, as a bear, we can expect a certain amount of carnage as a result. But, the driver of the car in front of him steps out of his car and guess what? This dude is huge. He is at least three-quarters grizzly and was only recently released from the penitentiary for crimes in relation to disorderly conduct, assault and public indecency (we assume). We can practically hear Poppa Bear gulp in fear. He gets out of the car, asks his children, the aptly named Brother and Sister, not to watch, and approaches the furious driver. However, once the two meet, and Poppa Bear sees the actual situation, which of course is that they were at a duck crossing and Mother duck and her ducklings were crossing the street in a row. Poppa Bear feels foolish, apologizes, and, in the end, it turns out that the bear in the car in front really isn't that upset and is just glad that nobody was hurt. What was the intended lesson here? Some say this story illustrates our need for just a little understanding . . . a sentiment with which I agree. However, I would add a caveat: this story illustrates our need for understanding, only if the person in the car you just hit gets out and happens to be larger than you. Otherwise, let the fisticuffs begin.

And, there you go. That's pretty much the route my brain follows. Squirrel=childhood suggestions of road rage.

"We're not like real rocking rockers. We'd rather write about feeling and emotions."
-The Fray, a band who sings songs like "How To Save A Life," a diddy which surprisingly makes no mention of CPR.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One topic. Just one.

Guess what, guys? Football is on the decline.

So tonight I am watching football, as one does in the evening. What should catch my attention but the evident rule changes in the National Football League. What we have here is the wimping (yes, I verbed the word wimp; I also verbed the word verb) of football. I watched one penalty in which a receiver missed a pass and a safety struck him from behind (if at this point you are lost, there is a good chance you don't understand the sport of football). Now, the ball bounced off the receiver's hands (put him on the bench, coach, them hands are fer catchin) and probably a half second afterwards the safety collided with the receiver. Usually this would not be a foul, but because of the rule changes, the referee felt inclined to say it was a personal foul. Not five minutes later, I was informed of the rule that, as soon as a player's helmet is removed, a play will be whistled dead. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a perversion of the sport which we love. No longer are players allowed to hit one another. If we continue in this fashion, five years down the road tackling will no longer be allowed. The downward spiral from that point will go as follows:

2015: Tackling disallowed; two-hand touch rules initiated
2017: Unnecessary touching disallowed; flag rules begin
2018-2020: Dark ages of society and sports; analog clocks disappear from society along with the understanding of basic grammar and the necessity of real human contact
2021: Flag-pulling ruled offensive; games become orchestrated, televised games of hide-and-seek; Lions perform uncharacteristically well
2025: Different teams considered unconstitutional; television time is instead devoted to three hour crafts workshop
2026: Moon strikes earth because of density of humanity; thousands are glad (or would be if the earth hadn't been crushed by lunar body) they did not waste time at medical school

In a country which allows mixed martial arts (for the record, I am not arguing against the brutality of mma, but rather against the milksopping of football), it is hard to believe these rule changes. You see, occasionally someone in an mma fight will get kicked in the head. Controversially, in professional football, excessive pushing is considered an extreme offense. I'm just saying, let's have a little continuity. Some of my favorite memories are of football and I hate the idea that it could disappear. I hope that someday my children will be able to cheer a well-choreographed touchdown pass or laugh at the expense of the Oakland Raiders and Al Davis' bizarre draft choices. But if they are forced to sit through a hit-free football game, well, then, NFL, I don't have any answers for you. You've taken it all. What more could you possibly want?

"I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault."
-Jack Tatum, retired player of the sport formerly known as football (possible new names? "Run and touch," "Shareball," "Powerwalkball," "Minimal-contact Twinkletoelery." Vote for your favorite or submit your own).

Monday, August 16, 2010

The fable of the clock: an inspiring tale

When was the last time you heard someone play a sitar really well? Oh, all those sympathetic strings. Fantastic.

Following what is arguably the best introduction to a post ever, allow me to attack one of the major problems today: which way do you pass the food? Now, people will tell you different things, but the most agreed upon direction is to the right (or counterclockwise, as the resident horologist likes to say). I have no beef (literal or otherwise) with the passing of food starboard, but I do think that we need to set in stone the rule, because there are few things that are as awful as that panic when you have two dishes in your hands, each headed in a different direction, and no way to serve yourself food. My hope is that someday, probably about 20 (if I'm being pessimistic, which I am) years in the future, when our children have become too dumb to fend for themselves, this will come in handy. Take, for example, this scenario: Little Billy has discovered an ancient relic, in pieces, known by historians as an "analog clock." Now, nobody has seen one of these in use, and, really, humanity's understanding of time as a useful tool has slipped to the same level as our being able to ever rationalize the purchase of a cinnabon prior to an airplane ride or a local Shakespeare festival in the middle section of our country; this being said, Little Billy has an extraordinary drive to accomplish something in which others his age are uninterested (probably due to the fact that his parents did not "spare the rod"). He decides he will attempt to recreate the analog clock in its full functioning capacity. He listens not to the whining masses about the possible implications a working clock has on the poor icebergs; rather, he works harder than ever to find out all he can about how to reconstruct the clock. Eventually, after the clock is completely rebuilt and refurbished, before it is wound, the philosophers and even individuals in the useful branches of science will ponder aloud, "I wonder in which direction the 'hands' of the 'clock' will travel?" And at that time, if all goes well, Little Billy will respond, with a certain sense of entitlement, "Counterplatewise."

That story was long and possibly worth it.

"The biggest misconception people have about me is that I'm stupid."
-William Michael Albert Broad, or Billy Idol, hard-rocking rock star who liked to rock hard and live life to the fullest. Rock. Hard. Oh, and he was blonde. Tight shirts? Yeah, he's a fan.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

With nothing better to do

Bulldozers are cool. We can all agree on that; however, do they really merit an hour-long show on natgeo (it used to be National Geographic, but evidently natgeo is more hip)? However, just when I was thinking that this show was boring, they decided to drive a Komatsu over a pickup truck. Nice.

How have you all been? I have not written anything for a good long time, and it is possible that most of you do not even remember who I am or why you would have read my blather in the past, but let's get this post on the road before all the goodwill is used up.

Squirrels: it is well understood among literate individuals that by using the word "snake" or "serpent" in the Bible, Moses likely meant the more correct translation of "squirrel" when describing Lucifer's actions in the fall of man. You would think that by this point in history, the squirrel population would have been entirely eliminated, but this is not the case. An example of twisted squirrel evil: whilst camping, a grey squirrel stole a biscuit and left a fecal nugget in what can only be interpreted as some sort of deviant tooth-fairy-esque act. If there was ever a declaration of war, this would be it.

Mosquito hawks? My opinion? First, thank's for asking; second, it is key to my argument that you understand that these insects do not actually eat mosquitos. They do not kill mosquitos. They do not even drive past mosquitos houses real slow late at night and give the stink eye. Therefore, I say this: they have been living falsely through their reputations as mercenary mosquito life-bandits for far too long. Retribution should be swift. Remember when you were a child and, having already run out of large, furry animals to persecute, turned your innocent, child-like rage to insects and your mom stopped you moments before you superman-punched a mosquito eater out of the atmosphere by saying, "Don't do that; that's a good bug. It eats mosquitos." Do you remember how you regarded that bug for the next bunch of years? You probably looked at it and said to yourself, "Oh to serve such a purpose as this insect does!" I bet you feel foolish now. And so did I when I learned nature's dirty little secret about the mosquito hawk.

Whew! Information overload, right? This post is like the straight to vhs version of if a Snapple lid and the entire catalogue of ranger rick animal magazines had a love child, but the child was fathered by Walker, Texas Ranger (the character, not the actor who played him), and had Stever Irwin's daughter and the security guard from the Kaplan College commercials as godparents.

That's ridiculous.

"Sink me, your tailors have betrayed you."
-Sir Percy, from the untouchable classic, The Scarlet Pimpernel. Any movie in which the French get bashed is okay by me.