8.31.2007

Couch Potato 2007

I can feel it, can't you? It's almost that time. The bees are angry, my friends. The air is humid, and the skater punks are back to loitering in front of our house. Summer is coming to an end, kids will soon be back in school if they aren't already, and soon many of us will be back to evening worship of that glowing box thing in our living rooms.

I've had an interesting Summer to say the least. Though not my choice, I changed jobs and somehow landed on my feet. It was a challenging three months, with the usual band obligations on weekends and the usual late nights during the week, all the while getting closer to what I had been told would be my last day. I don't know how I would have found the time to go on interviews or even prepare for interviews if there was anything new on television. Sure, there were sacrifices, the occasional DVD I'd wait two days to watch, but in the end it was all worth it. Now when I get home from work, I can collapse in front of the television and have no concerns until the following morning.

I can't say I've heard a lot of buzz about the new season. Of the admittedly long list of 18 shows I plan to watch, only one of them is new. At some point I might try or at the very least during commercials flip to Cavemen, Pushing Daisies, K-Ville, Back to You, Chuck, and New Amsterdam, out of some curiosity, but I expect they either won't grab my interest or, the ones that do won't last. Every year I try to add fewer shows than were cut the year prior, but I've never had a clean slate. As much as I watch, people are always recommending things like Eureka or Psych: “I can't believe you don't watch ______! ______ is such an MCF show!” As it is, I'm only now catching up on Stargate SG-1: 15 down, 199 to go.

So, here's an alphabetical breakdown of what I'm looking forward to in the Fall, including a few shows that I'll have to wait until the beginning of 2008 to see new episodes:

24
Last season was so promising at first, then so uneven and at times unlikely. When Jack Bauer returns in January 13, 2008, things are supposedly going to be very different from what we've seen so far. I didn't think this concept would go beyond one “day”, so I can forgive the things that didn't work last season and hope they pull out all the stops for the next two seasons that are planned.

30 Rock
Tina Fey is brilliant. On paper, a show about people behind-the-scenes on a familiar looking sketch comedy show might not seem that interesting, but her witty writing and ideas along with a talented cast made for a great and funny new show last year. I can't believe some of the stuff they pulled off, especially a certain joke involving fireworks in lower Manhattan. October 4, 2007 brings the return of this show along with a very special guest.(Don't click if you don't want to be spoiled.)

The Batman
It is not, can not, and will never be Bruce Timm's rendition of the character. After 15 years and appearances or starring roles on five or six animated series, it's an untouchable legend. Still, The Batman was good enough, and over four seasons has carved out its own niche while gradually resembling elements that made the previous incarnation work so well. With the JLA unexpectedly introduced at the end of last season, I can't wait to see what season five unveils on September 22, 2007.

Battlestar Galactica
An insane cliffhanger leaves fans waiting until 2008 for the official start of the fourth and final season, but this Fall we'll get Razor, a two-hour flashback episode.

Bionic Woman
There hasn't been a decent action/fantasy/sci fi series with an attractive heroine since Buffy or Alias. I was a fan of the original Bionic Woman so I'm really looking forward to this new series, which debuts on September 26, 2007.

Family Guy
It's amazing to have a show literally raised from the dead by DVD sales. Clips of the sixth season premiere leaked a few months ago, and I'm giggidy to see them spoof Star Wars on September 23, 2007.

Heroes
Rey once wondered why Marvel couldn't make a good movie. Comic book movies got good after X-Men and Spider-Man were made with a simple formula: take the stories from the comics and set them in the real world, the world we know and not a four-color facsimile. Make it something regular people can relate to, and you'll reach a wider audience. Each week last year, Heroes' cast of characters, ordinary people with extraordinary abilities, succeeded with the same method. There were no costumes, no teams or secret bases with themed vehicles. Yet there were enough elements to make it our world but more interesting, and hold comic fans and non comic fans alike. Chapter 2 of the epic saga begins on September 24, 2007.

How I Met Your Mother
What can I say about the only sitcom with a laugh track that I still watch? Season 3 is going to be legen-...wait for it....September 24, 2007. Have you me me? Suit up!

Legion of Superheroes
Newsarama reported on some new heroes, and new character designs for the second season. I didn't expect to like this show initially, and was worried it would be another goofy anime treatment along the lines of Teen Titans. Thus far, it's managed to strike a balance, and though the simplified animation and character designs approaches Titans, it maintains enough complex plots and nods to comics lore to please older viewers. September 22, 2007 will see the return of this vast array of futuristic young heroes.

Lost
There are some exciting guest stars coming up and, as always, new mysteries to accompany the answers to old ones. I wish we could flash forward because February 2008 is a long time to wait for season four.

My Name is Earl
I might confuse this with another show further down this list, as our hero finds himself behind bars for most if not all of the third season. He'll still be going down his own list though, righting the various wrongs he's done in his life with hilarious results. Earl is back on September 27, 2007.

The Office
Buzz can wear me down eventually. Last year I finally caved and gave the show a second chance, marathon viewing the first two seasons while incorporating the third into my weekly schedule. I even watched the British series when I needed a fix at the beginning of the Summer. Season four of our Office starts September 27, 2007 with several one hour episodes.

Prison Break
After a second season with the characters on the run, the show reinvents itself again and sets up a situation in the third season to justify the name of the series. The new prison looked brutal and the one from the first season will seem like camp after a few episodes. Great characters and great writing have carried a premise for more episodes than I would have thought possible. Escape via escapism on September 17, 2007.

Scrubs
I've been watching the syndicated episodes every night from 11:30-12:30. It's amazing how the same show can be silly and funny and serious and heartbreaking all in the same 22 minutes. I'm sad that the seventh season is the last, glad they're wrapping up while it's still good, and I can't wait to see the resolution of last year's cliffhanger on October 25, 2007.

The Simpsons
The Movie was hilarious. At random moments I'll think of certain lines and just crack up. It's amazing that they've lasted 18 seasons, and even the average years were still worth a smile or two. I'll maintain a Sunday night tradition and tune in for the 19th season on September 23, 2007.

Smallville
I've had a love-hate relationship with this show for years. As bad as some seasons were, such as the fifth, every season had a strong start and a strong finish. Last season had an amazing first half and brought in plenty of other heroes to the mythos, while the finale was decent. Promises of the “real” Supergirl showing up(they had a fake one a few seasons ago) have piqued my curiosity, and I'm looking forward to seeing Helen Slater show up as a guest star. The seventh and final season begins September 27, 2007.

Supernatural
It's a solid, consistent series about two brothers and every supernatural foe imaginable. It's delivered for two seasons, and I'll be back for the third on October 4, 2007.

TMNT
I stopped watching halfway through the sixth season, mostly due to a scheduling conflict. The whole ”Fast Forward” saga, bringing the characters in to the future while making the show more kid-friendly, took away everything I liked about the new series, which up until then had been darker and truer to the comic book source material. I may give it another chance, and eventually catch the unaired fifth season which they skipped to get to the appropriately named revamp. Right now, it seems like those episodes may air beginning in January, 2008.

8.30.2007

I Knew Everything

Darrell recently wrote about the lyrics of several popular songs that dealt with the topic of abortion, including The Verve Pipe's “The Freshmen”. I remember singing along to that song many times, interpreting to the best of my knowledge a theme of youthful arrogance and naiveté. I had the right idea, that “When I was young I knew everything” sets up the journey of realization we all go through. We only think we know everything when we're young, and ironically wisdom comes with the realization of the opposite. The more we learn, the more we realize there is that we don't know. I just missed the specific lesson that clued the singer in to this fact.

This week, many are wondering why Owen Wilson would attempt suicide. He seems so chipper and carefree, in and out of character, but who can say what's going on in a person's mind? When the story first broke on the news, details were vague. A statement asking for privacy accompanied reports that he was recovering from fainting. I found it ironic that the media was reporting on the story of a celebrity asking the media to leave him in peace.

A fan of his work, I wasn't satisfied with a cryptic report. It didn't take long to find reports online of a 911 call. Details varied, with some saying his brother Andrew found him while others said it was Luke. At one point I read he had consumed a large volume of pills and was slumped on the floor with one wrist slashed. The full story may or may not ever be known.

Why? What drives a person to try to take his or her life? We've all had low points. Whenever I thought about it growing up, I couldn't get around the pain. A cut would hurt. Hanging would hurt. A bullet would definitely hurt. Pills might work, but surviving would mean a stomach pump. I had an aunt miss my college graduation because she was in the hospital after downing a bottle of pills and having her stomach pumped. It's a stupid thing to try, and as bad as whatever drives a person to it might be, if you screw it up you're likely to be in worse shape.

It takes time and experience to learn that bad times don't last, and that the things we think are so terrible are nothing compared to the trials ahead of us. After I lost the girl I was sure I would end up with, I wallowed in despair for years, long after taking positive steps to improve my life in other ways. I remember putting together a portfolio for a job interview, trying to get out of the company where we once worked together before she left. I pondered how poetic it would be for an artist to slash his wrists with his knife. I didn't think about doing it; I thought about what it would be like as the concluding chapter of my “story”. After that split second, that nadir, I shook off the notion. Losing her was one of the worst things that ever happened to me, but it wouldn't be the worst thing. I'd go on to endure real trials, and not the sort of thing that seems like the end of the world when a person is young. I learned how fierce my desire to cling to life was only when a birth defect nearly killed me.

We only know as much as the point we've reached in life. Things are hopeless only if we decide they are. The moment you begin a thought with the words “I'll never...” is the moment you start going down a dark path. I thought I knew everything many times in life, but over time I've realized that with each new beginning I'm a freshman again, with a lot to learn but a lot of potential. I don't want to miss what happens next in this show called life. Who knows when a very special episode could air?

Emotions are both a blessing and a curse. We can become intoxicated, losing ourselves to extremes of pleasure or misery, rational thought barely protecting us from doing something we'll regret. Our actions can cause other people pain and regret as well. Last year a friend's fiancée fatally overdosed, leaving behind her two children from a previous marriage as well as parents and a brother. It cannot be undone. It's a final act. Thankfully this wasn't Owen Wilson's final act, and I hope in time we'll see him in new roles. We only think we know everything. Grasping that concept frees us to new ideas, personal growth, and God willing, continued existence.

8.29.2007

PBW: A Beam Back There

A few weeks ago, my dad mentioned that a beam had fallen in our basement. It was only an additional support beam, and apparently the house was in no imminent danger of collapse, but it was still reason for concern. He prepped a new beam and asked for my help putting it up. Though I was headed to a barbecue, he assured me it wouldn’t take long.

Once on the other side of our oil burner, I noticed some flaws in his plan. The concrete floor had sunk under the old beam over the years, and was uneven. My dad was sure “shimming it up” would solve every thing, and had me tilt the heavy beam until the bubbles in his level lined up perfectly. “That’s it there!” he exclaimed in jubilation, but I noted some problems. Only two corners of the base were actually making contact with the floor, and in tipping it I’d moved the top so it was no longer aligned with the wood in the ceiling where the old beam had clearly been. The floor had to be level.

He handed me a chisel and some sand paper, and I went to work, chipping away loose paint and hammering away the oddly gnarled concrete. “I think I’m down to soil...” I said, but he was sure I was wrong. When I pulled a rock from the dirt, he had to concede and decided to whip up a batch of cement.

I’ve never done cement work before. It’s not exactly like frosting a cake, which I haven’t done much of, but it is similar. Time isn’t on your side though and there’s not much room for error. A trowel can act as a smoothing agent or as a shovel, and the key seems to be not putting too much weight on it and pulling the pointy side away. I got the feel pretty quickly, and then used the splintered block of wood I was next handed to smooth out any small rough spots. That worked better than you’d expect. Of course, now that the floor was even, the beam had to rest on the floor nearby for another day, until the cement set.

The following weekend we worked two days in a row with our band, and it was only this past weekend that we were free to finish the project. I was achy and chilled from my cold, drifting in a state of partial consciousness after foolishly cutting the lawn in temperatures over 102°. “You’re holding the beam steady, right?” At times, I think the beam was holding me up. Still, when all was said and done, it was quite level. As my dad hammered blocks of wood between the beam and the ceiling, sawdust and other particles rained down on me. I cast my eyes to the floor quickly. It didn’t help my breathing, but I wasn’t blinded. Hours later, even after what I thought was a thorough shower, I still found particles behind one of my ears.

The beam is in place. The cement is holding. I was surprised that my dad didn’t actually drill in any bolts or make any permanent connections. It’s just sort of wedged in place, but he expects it to stand. I think I understand why the last beam eventually fell...

Here are some shots of this project for this week’s Photo Blog Wednesday:








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8.28.2007

Rey's College Observations

My massive sorting of papers this weekend uncovered a lot of garbage I never should have been saving, but there were a few forgotten treasures as well. Back in college, my buddy Rey once compiled a list of 120 random observations. I'm not sure how the process worked, if he jotted things down in his sketchbook or a notebook and later typed it up, or if he typed it from memory one bored evening. Back then, the internet barely resembled what we surf on today, so in lieu of a blog, people would keep actual journals or type up random things. Years later when we were working for the same company, he came across this classic while cleaning, and passed it on to me. It was a fun trip down memory lane, seeing which observations I shared, and how some of his predictions turned out. After one marriage, three kids, and three moves, I'm sure he's thrown a lot of stuff out. After living at home for 32 years, I've thrown very little out.

I found his list again while cleaning this weekend, and it definitely went on the pile of things I saved. I'm thinking I may compile a similar list about my current experiences later this week, things that occur to me at lunch or during my new commute, as I adapt to my new routine. Meanwhile, as a prelude, I'm going to share my friend's old list, with minor edits to protect people's identities and remove things I think he'd object to having publicized. Here are some things Rey noticed 15 years ago:

Rey's College Observations:
“A Whole Lot of Happy Looking Things.”


1. Woman by elevator. Pressing button. I already pressed it Ho; why would I be waiting here?

2. Ragweed (n) [rahg•wid]: The rose of the Devil.

3. Kurt Cobain was stupid, but damn could he invent music.

4. Man, Movie Soundtrack
(class) is cool. Casablanca rocked.

5. This class is a good class, but 20 minutes is way too long to wait for the professor.

6. How everyone stares at you when you're the first to leave. Like lambs looking at a shepherd...mindless.

7. Why do so many women look beautiful in the ‘90s? I see pictures of women back then and only a few of them stand out. Nowadays, I snap my neck looking around so much.

8. Descending the stairs into the lower levels where hardly anyone goes.

9. Bumping into someone you once knew...can't seem to remember their name, yet they know mine.

10. Say goodbye to the same person. Fake their name by turning away with a barely audible grunt... “See you, Rua;anw!”
(Ravindra?)

11. Who plants Ragweed? The crap grows everywhere. No matter how many times you pluck it out...it grows right back.

12.
[Attractive Female Classmate] is like the Goddess Aphrodite incarnate. And I mean in the flesh. YUMMY!

13. How non-Art Majors look at us Art Majors. We become the equivalent of feces in the toilet when one stares down as it's being flushed.

14. How a person can have so many things going for them, yet one thing wrong can throw them off.

15. Men's fascination with breasts. After all, they're just oversized sweat glands (don't let me lie...they are pretty good-looking sweat glands).

16. The walls down here need some illustrations.

17. How one eyelid closes by itself when you're sleepy.

18. Why do jerks bob their doglike heads in front of you when they see you are falling asleep and ask the same question? “Are you going to sleep? Huh?”

19. My pure abortion of Ragweed and my asthmatic protests to its evil existence.

20. Why do people say “Get better!” as if you had a power over “getting better”? If I had that power I wouldn't be sick in the first place, bastards.

21. The warm embrace of sleep stealing over someone.

22. The
[our University's sports brand] sneakers are really ugly.

23. People look more mature wearing ties. Or is that just a fallacy of our society?

24. Sculptures tend to stare at everything with a blind look.

25. Hunger in one's stomach doesn't mean one is hungry in their soul.

26. They should make wireless headphones. These chumpies are annoying.

27. Rechargeable batteries eventually die out.

28. Why do they put a date on sour cream or yogurt? Isn't it too late?

29. Soap is fat or scented lard. Why do we use it to clean our bodies?

30. Everyone doing the elevator dance. Look to the lights then to the floor...back again.

31. Why does Rob think that
[Attractive Young Female Professor #1] looks better than the (Goddess) [Attractive Young Female Professor #2]?

32. Some professors can't shut up, and boy do they love tangents.

33. Some people do the same thing. Get to the point; don't give me all this extra crap!

34. Some people are naturally funny. God gives them a face that even a mother would laugh at.

35. People using the word “Basically” and then going into a long, drawn-out explanation. If that's the case, one should use the word “Complicatedly”.

36. People begging for money, yet wearing a pair of Nikes.

37. Why would one say that they own a cassette that's not released? If you own it, it's out there; it's released.

38. British people when they sing sound so American.

39. All learning documentaries have a British voiceover; why is that?

40. Bob Dylan is annoying.

41. People hate when you insert your finger into their ear. Not that I would do that.

42. The Wu Tang are modern day poets.

43. Why did MC Hammer come out with a new album?

44. Why can't Marvel Comics make a good movie?
(Clearly, Stan and Avi had a copy of this list as well, 15 years ago, and they took it as a challenge...)

45. What the hell happened to
Alien3
? It SUCKED!

46. The fact that everyone is getting taller except me and
[MCF].

47. It was a sad day when Archie Bunker's show ”All in the Family” got canceled.

48. Not being racist, but why are so many Indian men taxi drivers?

49. What the hell does our tuition pay for?

50. Does it pay for the food on campus? Why do we then have to pay for it again?

51. If we pay for intramurals (the weight room, Taekwondo, Fencing, the Gym), this is the most expensive Jack La Lanne.

52. If we pay for the buildings, shouldn't we have our names on them like Newman, Perboyre, Fromkes, Reynoso?
(Whorenelli?)

53. If we pay for the basketball team's tuition, I'd rather switch it. They suck. I would rather transfer my money to [rival school] or [another rival school]...at least they play better.

54. If we pay for the library, I should be able to keep the books.

55. If we pay for the computers in the microlabs, I should be able to take them home.

56. It doesn't pay for parking, because we gotta register with 20 bucks.

57.
(Rey didn't have a #57)

58. If the tuition pays for the professor's salary, I should be able to fire whoever I damn well please.

59. Why do we have to pay ten bucks to take something home that
[our University] is throwing away?

60. Ragweed is the bouquet of whores.
(I'm not sure, but I'm starting to think he didn't like Ragweed...)

61. Why the hell is Rob so superficial? Move on, big guy.

62. Why do people speak of their girlfriends, yet we never get to see them?

63.
[Another Attractive Female Classmate] has to be the most beautiful woman...move over [Aforementioned Attractive Female Classmate]/Aphrodite/Venus.

64. All 11-24 year old males are horny.

65. The girl in Contempo was gorgeous! She was so beautiful that even if she was just a floating head(no body, just a head), she would still be drop dead gorGEOUS!!!!

66. Men shouldn't wear sweat pants because of sudden rushes of blood...know what I mean?

67. Who is MacClean and why do all of the maintenance crew on
[our University] wear his shirt?

68. Why do Spanish people have flavor in their food and _______ people don't? Do _______ people have something against taste?

69.
[MCF] knows too much about comics. We have to get him out more.

70. Why do some numbers have sexual connotations (eg. 69)?

71. Who decided that the middle finger should be a curse? Was it a caveman thing in the prehistoric days?

72. How a woman's eyes could draw you in like some sort of magnet...

73. The evil, the complete evil, of morning classes.

74. The evil of the dentist I have to meet after this class.

75. It's not really your mouth they hurt, it's your damn wallet.

76. What should be a curse word: “ROOT CANAL”.

77. Dry land—University's Spiritual life.
(I can't make sense of this one...)

78. Presumed intelligence in those who wear suits. Almost as if the reason you pay so much for them is that they make you look smarter. The smarter you look, the more expensive the suit.

79. Example: Dan Quayle looks smart.

80. Changing face of a cloak and changing face of man.

81. Stupidity of others thinking that ties make one more respectable and presentable. A tie is but part of a hanging noose—but decorated.

82. Air conditioning when it is cold and rainy is not a happy thing.

83. Only when you are cold, do you start appreciating what is heat.

84. Will this light ever change? It's been red for about twenty minutes already.

85. Shaved legs look a whole lot better than hairy legs(on a woman that is; on a guy it would look kind of queer).

86. Unpredictability of temperature.

87. Why do so many trumpet players have big cheeks? They could have controlled that when they were younger. Did they think it was an attractive thing?

88. Cold is based on an area. In a 90 degree area, 70 degrees is considered chilly.

89. “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean I'm not following you.” Nirvana, Nevermind.

90. Legs when tired can feel numb or it can hurt like hell.

91. “Only in America do we have film composers; everywhere else it's composers who write for film.”—Bernard Hermann.

92. Imagine the reason why Hitler killed the Jews is because some defender of the Jews from the future threatened him in the past? Cool story line.

93. New York is being closed off. Traffic, mail, and busy signals on the phone are all signs of it. We're completely oblivious to it.

94. “Learn English.” Why? I thought we were American. We fight a war to get out of English rule, but we subject ourselves to all of her laws.

95. People are gullible. Kids are pretty dumb too, but not as dumb as adults.

96. The future is heavy laden with fat people, sitting at home experiencing life through video games.
(One of the scariest predictions on this list; did he foresee me playing Escape-the-Room style games now?)

97. What's in that box? Why does he have that on the train?

98. The dastardly and elusive Scarlet Pimpernel.

99. On Off On: The Binary number system may be good for computers, but it sucks for humans.

100. Never pass a bus with flashing red lights. Not only $175, but 5 points on your license.

101. Boredom is a powerdrill going deeper into the recesses of one's enfeebled mind.

102. Tangents are those evil sidenotes which appear in conversations of people who like to listen to their own voices. “Blah, Blah Blah which reminds me of more Blah, Blah, Blah.”
(I just had a surge of self-consciousness...)

103. Do I want to see your chest, man? No! Button up for Goodness Sake. (I think this one actually is referring to someone else, not me.)

104. Professors are the dentists of words; they bore you to death.

105. Hand motions as a form of primitive communication. Once more proving evolution wrong...we should be above that stage of communication if evolution was true.

106. Monotony should be as much a deadly sin as gluttony and lust. The eight deadly sings. It should be represented by a four-eyed professor.

107. Garbage as a gift. Smile and be happy as you give away the trash others give to you.

108. Support Recycling...Keep stuff in use.

109. Some buttons have two holes, others have four, and yet others have three.

110. Does God speak another form of English? Using “thou” instead of “you” and “thither” instead of “there”?

111. Long bony fingers can be threatening when they are moving in front of your face.

112. The chair in a class room as a personal prison: the worst part is you're paying to be there.

113. The masochism of society: school work, pollution, and politicians.

114. Something about nurses makes my temperature rise.

115. A beard as a station of wisdom and vivacity.

116. Green Knight's hair long like a cloak.

117. Crutches as extra legs; you don't go faster but slower.

118. Green Day and Silverchair suck...but at least Green Day is original, not like Silverchair who sound just like Pearl Jam.

119. It's not good when you're a carbon copy; Xerox machines serve that person.

120. I love the guitar and those poseurs who only play power chords are an abomination to the beauty that is the instrument.

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8.27.2007

Phantasmic Links 8.27.07

At the risk of jinxing myself, I'd say the worst of my cold is over. Granted, when I coughed up a little blood on Sunday morning I was concerned, but both my parents assured me that it was a sign that it was breaking up. My dad has some wacky medical ideas sometimes, but my mom is more knowledgeable, especially in respiratory matters, given her life's experience with asthma. I just hope my dad isn't catching what I went through this week; he was complaining of a tickle in his throat, which is where my problems began.

There are advantages to being sick. I was fortunate not to have any band obligations this weekend, so I probably could have slept all day on Sunday. Boredom gripped me though, and before I knew it, somehow I was sitting in the hall outside my room with a three foot stack of papers. I grabbed all the stacks in my room, from medical to dental to financial and more. I found old insurance plan brochures and stock prospectuses. I had printouts from when a friend gave a lecture at work about HTML back in the year 2000. There were museum brochures, magazines, and old newspapers. I found things that were sentimental, and a surprising amount of things that had actually lost their sentimental value. “Why was I saving this?!” I asked myself, many times.

Five hours and two garbage bags later, I had kept (mostly) the current, necessary, and personal items, filing them by category and chronology. I felt a profound sense of accomplishment, though my room looked exactly the same.

Here are this week's PHANTASMIC LINKS:

Picklesickle, anyone? I'm green just thinking about it. Hat Tip: Darrell.

As one version of the story goes, a couple buy a farm from some folks in Portugal who need to pay bills. There's a large barn on the property, welded shut, and when curiosity gets the better of the new owners they find an amazing cache of vehicles. Snopes clears up the actual details of this story, but it's a sweet collection nonetheless. HT: B13.

This Godfather portrait made from the film's entire script is an offer too cool to refuse. HT: Rey.

Scientists develop a sugar-based battery. Sweet Fancy Moses; I've been getting energy from sugar for years.

Optical art rocks. HT: J-No.

Have no fear, Bouncy Pink Asian Guy is here! HT: B13.

How steady is your hand? Stay on those beams...

”I LIKE KITTY CATS!”

Three seconds into trying to escape the room in Muselock, I exploded. Of course you know, this means war...or I'll look for a walkthrough...UPDATE: Died twice, which it tracks, but I made it out of there.

300 Mexicans. Blame: B13.

This is why I was never a fan of going at the office... HT: Rey.

Asteroid's Revenge III was a lot of fun, continuing to flip a classic gaming concept. The victory screens(below) seem to indicate another sequel as well. HT: Sean.



Have a link to a game, movie, article, or anything else you think might be “phantasmic”? E-mail me and it just might appear in an upcoming PHANTASMIC LINKS!

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8.26.2007

Waspinators

”No. You're not going to do this.”

It was 102°, but since I had chills from my cold I felt quite comfortable. A five foot Sicilian woman stood between me and the shed. I picked her up by the shoulders and moved her aside easily, stepping in to get the lawnmower.

The doors slid shut behind me as I moved boxes and rakes aside. I opened them and pushed past her, looking around and spotting where she'd “hidden” the container of gasoline on the other side of my car. Between bad weather and working with my bands, I'd let the lawn slide for three weeks. One more day probably would not have made a difference, but clogged lungs and a brain deprived of oxygen do not clear thoughts make.

She gave up and went in the house as I slowly made my way around to start with the backyard. As I crossed our jungle of a front yard, I noticed a lot of mounds of dirt, like ant hills, strewn about.




Closer inspection showed the holes to be huge, some as much as two inches in diameter. I wondered about mice or moles or some other kind of rodent, and I went back to ask my mom if she or my dad had dug holes to put in posts of some kind. She said she thought it was actually some kind of hornet, giving me another reason to reconsider my actions. Still, I pressed onward.

Weak from illness and feeling the heat, I took 45 minutes to do a half hour's worth of labor. I passed over each mound of dirt cautiously, and at one point I did see some kind of large orange wasp hovering. I froze until it suddenly zipped out of sight, and I completed my task unmolested. After helping my dad with a beam in our basement, I went online and, near as I could determine, identified the species as a Mud Dauber, what my friends and I referred to as “Mudwasps” when we were kids. The one I saw when I was cutting the grass was so large, it might as well have been Waspinator. So, I made the only logical decision someone with a fever and a lawn full of wasp holes could make on a ridiculously hot August afternoon. I went outside with my camera.

Even though the internet told me these things were not likely to sting, I still ran back in the house when one zipped toward me. Without the noise of the lawnmower to scare them off, they were a little friendlier. I say “they”, because while I had only seen one the first time, at least three were zipping around from nest to nest.

I took a few blurry shots, relying on my zoom lens and keeping my distance. The best time to shoot was when they'd land at one of the holes, but they didn't linger long. I couldn't see what they were doing, but I knew from my research that they bring spiders and other prey back as food for their offspring once eggs hatch. After a few minutes of not seeing any of them, I walked through the minefield of my lawn. Something shot past me like a meteorite, crashing in to the bushes. I raced across the lawn in time to see one of the wasps wrestling with a cicada twice its size. Both were vibrating and buzzing loudly, and the wasp seemed to win as it pulled its prey below a leaf. There was a deathly silence, and I thought about moving the leaf aside. I reached forward, and a cricket leapt from underneath, not wanting to be near the fight that had crashed near it. I decided to follow the cricket's lead and leaf...uh, leave well enough alone.





These creatures won't be here for long. Soon they'll move on, and their young will awaken to find a cache of dead insects. They'll feast, and move on themselves even as colder temperatures prevail. It was still a vicious sight to behold, formidable giant flying insects capable of tackling larger prey in midair. It might have been “interesting” to see how a sting would react with my current infection, but even if I wasn't waiting for my new job's medical insurance to kick in I'm fairly certain that would have been a terrible, terrible idea. At least in cartoons they're ultimately harmless and easily dispatched with...



8.25.2007

MCF's COMMON Bondz 2

When last we left you, my intrepid readers, MCF's COMMON was nearly defeated! Once again, people came close to finding the COMMON bond uniting the elements of each quartet, but fell short. A fragment of the coveted Mysterious Master Prize™ remains safe for another week, but at this rate someone's definitely going to crack all five in future installments.

Here's who played this time:

B13.

Lyndon.

Rey.

Jeff (Who included a nifty reciprocal group of his own quartets).

Sean.

20 items. 5 COMMON bonds. Here's what I was looking for:

GROUP 1
(A) Eject.
(B) Rewind.
(C) Steeljaw.
(D) Ramhorn.
Eject, Rewind, Steeljaw, and Ramhorn are, as nearly everyone correctly identified, members of Blaster's team of Autobot cassette warriors..

GROUP 2
(A) “Porch”.
(B) “Garden”.
(C) “Deep”.
(D) “Release”.
Two out of five people knew that ”Porch”, ”Garden”, ”Deep” and ”Release” are the last four tracks listed on Pearl Jam's Ten.

GROUP 3
(A) William.
(B) Patrick.
(C) Avery.
(D) Kate.
As three of you indicated, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, and Kate Mulgrew all held roles of authority on various Star Trek series.

GROUP 4
(A) House Painter.
(B) Gas Station Attendant.
(C) Student Teacher.
(D) Art Director.
Too easy; everyone knew that House Painter, Gas Station Attendant, Student Teacher, and Art Director were jobs I've had in my life so far.

GROUP 5
(A) Danny.
(B) Peter.
(C) Logan.
(D) Bruce.
Finally, the tricky one in which only Rey knew all the players but not the bond: Danny Ketch(Ghost Rider), Peter Parker(Spider-Man), Logan(Wolverine, A.K.A. James Howlett), and Bruce Banner(The Incredible Hulk) all formed a New Fantastic Four back in the ‘90s.

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8.24.2007

Plague.

Germs often behave like fads. First, a few people have them, but soon everywhere you go people are sick. I sometimes wonder about the path infection takes. An episode of Scrubs once illustrated via a green tint the way people transmit disease, and the chilling opening to Outbreak shows how an airborne virus can spread quickly.

It's been cold lately, especially at night, and raining for days. It's supposedly August, but feels much later in the year. I haven't been complaining though, and save for being caught in the rain while marching through Little Italy on Sunday, I couldn't think of any other reasons why I had a tickle in my throat on Wednesday morning. It turned in to a full blown sore throat by day's end, the worst cold symptom in my opinion. I don't mind sneezing or a pesky cough, but a sore throat is unbearable and I go through cough drops, ice cubes, and mouthwash at a frightening and futile pace. Time is the only true remedy.

I've heard some sniffling and coughing at my new job. I have my own office now, so I suppose shutting the door and closing my blinds is an option to create a quiet, healthy environment. I've never had an office before though, so I don't know the etiquette there. It might be rude, and I've only done it once to make an important call about my 401K plan. Having a door to close is still a very nice option.

I find myself visiting the break room at least twice a day for some complementary hot tea, and I realize by doing so at 10 AM and 4 PM, I'm already developing a new routine. Faced with his own concluding employment, an older former coworker once told me loss of a routine was his biggest fear until he came to the realization that he'd just get a new routine.

I wondered if the rain caused my vulnerability, or if I was in an infected new environment. I ran out of Vitamin C a few weeks ago and hadn't gotten around to replacing my supply. Having since corrected it with mega doses of 1,000 MG in the morning and another 1,000 at night, I seem to be knocking this thing out after only 2 days. The sore throat is gone and except for an occasionally sneeze or runny nose, my biggest complaint is my legs. My legs ache like I've run six miles, which is ironic considering the fact that it's been days since I last ran. My new company doesn't have their own gym, and I'll have to look in to expensive outside gyms if I want to continue my daily exercise. I did notice that I had less colds during the years I was working out regularly. On the other hand, getting home several hours before 8 PM every night this week has been kind of nice. Maybe it's time to get out a wrench and tighten my old stationary bike. If the weather was nicer, I might even consider jogging outside. So far I’ve only had one decent day this week to walk around at lunch and explore the new neighborhood.

So, since I haven't exercised in a week, stopped taking one of my vitamins, started a new job, got caught in the rain a few times, and Iwoke up freezing at night because I hadn't put blankets out yet, my cold really wasn't a mystery. Any or all of those elements could have contributed. Of course, there was one variable I didn't account for. Chatting with my pal Sparkplug on Thursday, I joked about him going to England to see the girl he made out with last Friday. “She gave me a cold! Darn her...” he grumped.

Like that episode of Scrubs or that scene in Outbreak, my brain rewound the events of the past week. I saw some foreign plague alighting on a couple of girls as they boarded a plane and unintentionally exported germs. I saw them hopping from bar to bar after a week of sightseeing in Manhattan, picking up a combining strains into mutated hybrids. I saw them handling glasses of beer, and passing them to me. Finally, I remembered leaning in close to hear one girl speak, her unusually warm breath on my ear sending shivers down my lonely, lonely spine.

My friend shouldn't complain about being sick; at least he got to kiss Typhoid Mary.

8.23.2007

Angry Again

Janet is looking for “angry” music this week. Maybe wedding planning is proving frustrating, but more likely it's just a random topic from her endless vault. Personally, I'm not finding a whole lot to be angry about this week, and though a combination of dropping temperatures and a lack of exercise has made me vulnerable to germs and left me with a pesky sore throat, I still feel like whistling the Andy Griffith Show theme wherever I go. I'm enjoying this mood as long as it lasts.

Still, it is a good topic. Just last Friday, when my friend Sparkplug asked his brother the musical value of the Slipknot song he'd selected in the jukebox, I pointed out that sometimes music isn't about technical skill or lyrics. Art expresses emotion, and occasionally rage is called for, accomplished with screaming and atonal guitar chords. My first selection below isn't as angry as I remembered, but I felt it appropriate to include given the title. The others definitely fit the bill, and as Darrell pointed out, music can be therapeutic in releasing anger. Therefore, the following singers are probably a lot more well-adjusted than they appear, and not “all on drugs”* as my parents would say. I'm also wondering if I would have whistled more back in college with cheerier tunes...

1) Megadeth, “Angry Again”:

”Enraged my mind starts to smoke.”

2) Smashing Pumpkins, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”:

”Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.”

3) Pearl Jam, “Porch”:

”What the f*** is this world coming to?”

4) Metallica, “One”:

”Darkness! Imprisoning me...”

5) Korn, “Freak on a Leash”:

”Something takes a part of me...”

6) Nirvana, “Territorial Pissings”:

It's not what he sings; it's how he sang it.

7) Nine Inch Nails, “Something I Can Never Have”:

”Just a fading f***ing reminder of who I used to be.”

8) Alice in Chains, “Angry Chair”:

”I'm a dull boy, work all day. So Im strung out anyway.”

9) Rage Against the Machine, “Killing in the Name”:

“F*** you; I won't do what you tell me!”

10) Public Enemy, “Fight the Power”:

“Our freedom of speech is freedom or death. We got to fight the powers that be!”

*(OK, maybe some of them were on drugs)

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8.22.2007

PBW: One Last Circumference

I’m experiencing a lot of emotions this week, mostly positive, but though one chapter of my life is off to a great start, I sometimes think about the one that just closed. I took a lot of pictures during my last week, and though I can’t really share the majority of them, I can share the ones adjacent to the ones I can’t show.

Something about a new locale invites me to explore the surrounding area. I’ve already gone for a long walk outside my new office, and years ago when I first started working at my last job I walked nearly every day with my friends through a great neighborhood. I revisited a lot of old places and memories as I made one last circumference for this week’s Photo Blog Wednesday.















That’s a drawing of my old computer as a robot, once pinned to my cubicle wall and now in a box somewhere, waiting for me to dig it out and put it on the wall of my new office.



And that’s the first place I had lunch outside my office, on my second day. In the year 2000, those seats were full...



But, when all is said and done, that last shot sums up my current mood quite well.

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8.21.2007

Career Tracks 6: Live Free or Balboa

I don't often write about my career for several reasons. Besides the potential of being a horrendously boring topic for anyone outside my field, there's the ever present risk of being ”Dooced” and losing my job for something I wrote on the internet. I'll allude to vague work things as they relate to my personal life, but one never knows when even one wrong word will have dire consequences. So even though I don't use my real name, nor would I ever name a company I worked for, I'm still apprehensive to approach the subject. Though the subtlest hints may have slipped in to posts over the Summer, I managed to avoid letting on that my position had been eliminated.

Layoffs are a scary but inevitable part of the business world. While most people advocate changing jobs often as a matter of increasing one's salary and growing in a career, I think a person potentially risks playing “layoff roulette” by staying anywhere too long. Sooner or later, a bullet might have your name on it, figuratively speaking. I had a great job though. My friends were excellent and my team was nearly perfect, a collection of editors, marketers, a writer, and a researcher all proficient and professional in their responsibilities. These people knew what they were doing and I could always count on them. I was happy, and I knew what I was doing. The unfamiliar is scary and, lacking a push, I might have stayed in the same place for the rest of my life.

I can't get in to why my position was eliminated, nor how many others fell. I can say that I was given very generous notice, and more than enough time to make preparations for my future. That “colleague” I mentioned, the one whose last day we were celebrating on Friday was of course me. It was hard to say goodbye, and I really do hope to keep in touch with the friends I've made over the past seven years.

On a happier note, I started a new job on Monday. I had a great first day, with one of the most thorough orientations I've ever experienced, complete with movies and a tour. My boss seems cool and, for the first time ever, I have my own office, which is as exciting as the free coffee, tea, and soda in our break room. It's the little things in life that make all the difference, and though it's only been one day and my workload has been manageable so far, I may already be a happy employee. There were a lot of friendly faces, and a barrage of names that may take years for me to remember. By the time I left my old job, though I might not have known all my coworkers personally, I could attach almost every face I passed in the hall with a name.

I wish I could say more, but confidentiality with my new employer gives me a new reason to be vague. I don't think saying “I lost my job at one great company but found another one at another great company” betrays any secrets, but those of you who know my secret identity understand my paranoia. Comments that divulge more than I've let on here may have to be deleted, so please be equally vague or contact me via e-mail instead.

It should prove to be an interesting and exciting week. Different systems and terminology loom before me, as does a ton of the usual new job paperwork. The previous occupant of my office left some challenges as well, such as a drawer full of sugar. I wouldn't have minded so much if it was in packets and not loose, but she also left a ton of pennies in there as well so the surprises weren't all bad. A lot of the people I met at my new job told me that people either stay for a year or two, or spend the rest of their careers there. It's too soon to know which category I'll fall into, but so far it's all good.

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8.20.2007

Phantasmic Links 8.20.07

After my ”wild” night out, I went on to have an even busier weekend. Saturday evening wasn't so bad, an Italian procession that only took about an hour. The highlight of that job was the search for our friend Bill's missing sunglasses, only to discover after the gig was over that the old guy had them in his hat, which was on his head.

My dad faced his own challenges on Sunday, as did I. Though a simple subway transfer would have left us half a mile from our destination, he was adamant about staying on the same train since it would only leave us 3/10 of a mile further away and there was no guarantee the other train would be there. I had to concede since there were several cancellations or diverted lines due to weekend construction, as is typical in New York City. The problem is, while midtown is a grid, easy to navigate, downtown is a series of circles, diagonals, and streets with names rather than numbers. I was sure we were heading in the right direction, but my dad had his doubts.

After climbing the stairs and pausing to catch his breath, he repeatedly asked me if we were going the right way. When I started ignoring him and pressing on, it wasn't long before he was asking strangers on the street, “Are you familiar with New York?” I thought it was bad when he openly talked about our destination or itinerary in the subway, a place in which I exercise silence as a matter of safety and common sense, but stopping people on the street was definitely worse. At one point he stopped a homeless woman that was muttering random phrases like “radish” or “cummerbund” to herself. He's hard of hearing and didn't pick up on the madness. When I pulled him away, he insisted that “he was wearing a uniform.” Apparently a lady in a stained blue jumpsuit qualifies as a guy in a uniform for my old man. At least when we saw a shirtless black man lying on the edge of a fountain moaning, “Crack did this to me!”, my dad didn't ask for his advice.

After doubling back, we actually passed an information booth and my dad got a map which confirmed I was walking in the right direction to begin with. We met up with the band and, except for a long wait and a little drizzle, had a good but exhausting day. I'm sure the week ahead of me will be almost as interesting as my weekend was, but we'll now deal with this week's PHANTASMIC LINKS:

The world lost a great artist and comic book talent last week with the untimely demise of Mike Wieringo. He had a great blog and I loved seeing his daily sketches as well as his finished pieces. SwanShadow had some words(and of course pictures) to remember “Ringo”, and Newsarama has a collection of remembrances from comics professionals.

TIME has a great collection of Antarctica photos.

Chihuahua or Gremlin? I know I'm scared. Hat Tip: B13.

”Phrogging” occurs when someone lives in a house without the owners being aware of their uninvited guests. What dangerous stunts will crazy kids think of next?

The Skeletor Show offers some of the funniest remixes of an ‘80s cartoon I've seen yet.

I guarantee this link will synthesize viral mindshare. HT: J-No.

Curt seriously needs to get discovered soon. To quote one of the people I passed this video on to already, “He's better than half the actors on SciFi Channel.” I'd have to agree.

Darrell has some truly scary examples of movie posters depicting REAL horror.

I really want to see more episodes of Street Fighter: The Later Years. Ras-putin! HT: Rey.

This Sketch-Fu is immensely strong, and immune to nearly any piracy. When it's properly used, it's almost invincible. HT: J-No.

Hey, who wants to watch stuff decay?

Bloonsworld takes a popular online game and puts level design in the hands of users. Very addictive.

Finally, how high can you jump your marshmallow thing in Avalanche? My current record is 219 ft.


Have a link to a game, movie, article, or anything else you think might be “phantasmic”? E-mail me and it just might appear in an upcoming PHANTASMIC LINKS!

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8.19.2007

After 5 AM

Whether truth or bragging, I remember high school classmates talking about getting home as the sun was rising, going to sleep as their fathers were waking up. At the time, I couldn't fathom that they were possibly telling the truth at their age, considering my own curfew was set well before midnight. Maybe I was overprotected or they were undisciplined. Perhaps it was a combination of both. I do remember being more naive in those days about a lot of things. When guys would talk about getting a “dimebag” I silently wondered why they were getting a bag of dimes. Years later I was glad I never actually asked anyone that question; I got laughed at for enough of the things I'd say back then.

When I was in college, I'd hang out a little later with my friends, usually in a basement somewhere watching cartoons, out at a movie, or occasionally at a bar for a party. I don't know that I ever got home later than 1 AM, and for the most part there weren't any conflicts with my parents over it. After college, when I had my first real job and first long-term relationship, I once came home from my girlfriend's house at 3 AM. I thought it was odd that the porch light was out, but it was even stranger that the screen door was locked and I couldn't even get to the main door with my key. I tapped on my parents’ window until they woke up, and had a long argument through it with my dad that included the position, “This isn't a hotel! If you want to live like a bum and come and go at all hours, get your own apartment!” I eventually got them to let me in, and explained that we had rented two movies and that since my girlfriend lived with her mom, there was adult supervision. At the time it didn't occur to me that I was technically an adult, but even now ten years later at the age of 32 I occasionally forget that fact.

In my mid-20s, a buddy of mine had an apartment in the city. Whether clubbing, bar hopping, or filming a public access TV karaoke show, I didn't have to worry about catching an early train because I always had a place to crash. With a seven or eight hour gap between trains on my line during the night, it was a good alternative to cutting a fun evening short. My folks still worried, but I never got in serious trouble and I think 4 AM was the latest I ever hung out with that crowd. Besides singing with inexplicable confidence, the worst side effect of alcohol was the one time I danced in the street before people pulled me out of the way of traffic. After that, I learned to sense when it was time to switch to water.

This past Friday, to celebrate a colleague's last day, I joined people after work for a couple of happy hours. After hitting a local bar, we headed in to the city. The first bar there was somewhat quiet, as Summer Fridays in midtown tend to be. My friend Sparkplug's brother works as a sound technician for a Led Zeppelin cover band, and he said his brother would have concert tickets for us should things get boring. Meanwhile, though people we knew gradually left one by one, Sparkplug's buddy had struck up a conversation with a couple of lovely young ladies at the bar. Things started getting interesting again, and the alternative of a concert faded as we decided to stick around. The girls were visiting from Manchester, England, and had some pretty sexy accents.

They joined us when we adjourned to a smaller bar up the road. We had some interesting conversations about music and life as they kept referring to us as “you Yanks”. I kept the evening's soundtrack lively with my jukebox selections, ranging from ”You Shook Me All Night Long” to ”Jump Around”. The only time things slowed down was when ”My Immortal” came on, and when my friend asked who picked it, I absolutely denied that it was me and blamed a couple of stocky blonde girls dancing with each other at the end of the bar.

As the evening progressed, Sparkplug’s brother joined us, and our lovely British friends took a lot of pictures to remember their trip. One was particularly critical of us “Yanks” and our lack of culture. I countered that we had popular culture, and had plenty to offer in movies, music, and television shows. She was adamant that travel is a necessity, that life is too short not to see the world, and that if you play it safe and stay in the same place, you aren’t living, only existing. In England, she said people who don't travel are considered to be poor. I didn't agree with everything she was saying, but she had some good points.

Sparkplug asked one of the girls which of us she thought was the oldest, and which was the youngest. She scrutinized four faces, and ultimately determined that I was the oldest, while Sparkplug was the youngest. I’m not sure how old his friend is, but I do know that he’s two years older than me, and four years older than his brother. She didn’t understand why we were all laughing, and I asked her how old she thought I, the “oldest”, was. When she replied “Twen-ty-sev-en?” in a rising inflection, I no longer minded being picked as the oldest.

The girls each insisted on buying me drinks, and I joked with my friend's brother that, much like driving on the left, they do a lot of things opposite across the pond. In addition to wisdom on life and travel, the slightly prettier of the two also said she didn't like to stay in one place for very long, and never kept a job for more than a year. Staying with one company for over seven years as I had was unheard of over there, and she pointed out that the only way to get a decent raise was to continuously switch jobs. As it got later, I sat at the bar, rested my chin on my arm, and closed my eyes for a second. There was movement to my right, and I opened my eyes to see the pretty British girl on Sparkplug's lap, seemingly trying to devour his face.

When they took a break to breath and she and her friend headed to the ladies room, I asked my buddy how he managed to make out with her when she told us she had a boyfriend, from Africa no less, and when he spent the better part of the evening insisting that guys just hate to travel while I ended up conceding her points. He said he asked, “what about your boyfriend?” and she simply replied “Well he's in England, isn’t he?” I also thought it was interesting that his friend ended up talking with the second girl for most of the night, when it was the first one he initially approached. He simply said that sometimes it's better to hang back, cool and aloof while someone else does the leg work, then swoop in. Had I a notebook, I think I would have been scribbling furiously. I also feared that the girl overheard earlier in the night, when he said that the original animated The Transformers: The Movie was one of the worst he'd ever seen and I defended it, going so far as to say I “...nearly wept when Optimus Prime died.” 32, and I still lack that inner voice warning me which things to keep inside.

Serendipity proved to be a better movie to talk about, and bringing up a romantic comedy about a couple's chance meeting in Manhattan only conjured more smooching. Again, I really should have taken notes. Still, a fun evening with good friends and interesting new people left me in a pretty good mood as I bid them farewell and walked back to the train station. I would have timed my arrival perfectly, save for one important detail. Apparently after midnight on Friday, they switch to a weekend schedule. I had to wait over an hour for the next train, which got me back to my car in the office parking lot a little before 5 AM. A nap on the train helped, and I was surprisingly awake and alert by the time I got home. I realized that for the first time in my life, I was perilously close to walking in the door as my father was waking up. What could I expect when I got home?

I'm an adult now, and I've proven I can be trusted, though my folks still worry about their only child and worry that I'll become an alcoholic like my uncle. Decades ago, before he got control of the problem and started going to AA meetings, he'd often get drunk, forget where he left his car, and call my mom or my grandmother in the middle of the night. Occasionally they wouldn't even get the phone call, and had to drive around looking for him to see if he'd passed out somewhere. I'm never going to do that. I tend to nurse two or three beers when I go out, and though my dad worries about me getting a taste for alcohol, socializing is what I find intoxicating. When I found the porch light still on, and the door unlocked, it was a small victory. After a new post and responding to a few e-mails, I settled in to sleep as the sun was rising.

The British girl spoke of crossing continents off her list so as to look back on her life someday and not feel she'd wasted it. My list isn't as ambitious, but I'm glad I can now cross off “came home after 5 AM”.

8.18.2007

MCF's COMMON 2

The game sensation that swept a nation returns sooner than expected! MCF's COMMON is back, with another five groups of four and it’s up to YOU to find the COMMON bond uniting the elements of each quartet.

You can answer in the comments, or show some link-love by posting on your own blog, and you'll have a week to come up with your answers. A fragment of the coveted Mysterious Master Prize™ is available for everyone who comes up with all the correct answers but be warned; this is harder than it seems...

20 items. 5 COMMON bonds. Can you name them all?

GROUP 1
(A) Eject.
(B) Rewind.
(C) Steeljaw.
(D) Ramhorn.

GROUP 2
(A) “Porch”.
(B) “Garden”.
(C) “Deep”.
(D) “Release”.

GROUP 3
(A) William.
(B) Patrick.
(C) Avery.
(D) Kate.

GROUP 4
(A) House Painter.
(B) Gas Station Attendant.
(C) Student Teacher.
(D) Art Director.

GROUP 5
(A) Danny.
(B) Peter.
(C) Logan.
(D) Bruce.

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8.17.2007

Bad Advice

The world is full of advice. Friends and family offer it. Even strangers make suggestions. In some cases there are truly helpful tips out there while in others, it's some form of marketing to get you to buy some product or subscribe to someone else's way of doing things. Sean recently posted a link to 100 Great Tips to Improve Your Life, and there's a ton of good things on there, many of which I might actually try.

Still, all advice, if not good, is usually offered with good intentions. A vacuum exists, to be filled with intentionally bad advice. Is it a list of what not to do, or a reflection of what people realistically do? I'm not saying I've followed any of the following “tips” or know anyone who has. Think of these as humorous hypotheticals:

1. You can never have too many donuts, preferably creme filled.

2. Green means “go”. Red means “stop” Yellow means “Hurry the **** up before the light turns red”.

3. Always strive to keep your desk cluttered. You won't appreciate the scope of what you have to do unless you're physically buried in it.

4. Never switch lanes when driving. You'll reach your destination eventually.

5. If ever faced with the prospect of unemployment, wait as long as possible before looking for a new job, especially if a severance package is offered. Life's too short to hurry something like that.

6. Save everything. You never know what you'll need until you need it and don't have it.

7. Accept candy from strangers. Candy is expensive.

8. The best time to eat ice cream or potato chips is after midnight when you don't have to share or explain yourself.

9. Never make lists. If something is important, you'll totally remember it.

10. Always check work e-mail from home; never check home e-mail from work.

11. Pens last forever. It may take a lot of spiral motion etched into your paper, but eventually that ink will flow.

12. Wallace Shawn was wrong. Always go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

13. Air bags, air conditioning, and power windows are never as important as good gas mileage.

14. Save time by brushing your teeth once a week. Save water by flushing once a month.

15. Read my blog every day and do as I command.


I think that's enough bad advice for one day. Feel free to add tips and tricks of your own!