Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I am a man now.

I can tie a necktie unassisted. No more being helped by someone by having it looped and then shoved over my head for me! No sir!

Tuesday, it's lessons in doing laundry without making a mess, Wednesday, cooking without severely burning myself and the food, and Thursday, how to NOT make the microwave spark and flash by NOT putting metal in it (which is something I've never done, but should probably learn just in case).

Speaking of the microwave, it does spark and flash and make grinding sounds from time to time. I was using it a couple days ago and standing with my back to it when I heard a garblegarblegarble sound and spun around to see these really bright blue flashes. I opened the door and maybe saved the house from burning down. What caused it was someone in this house cooking bacon without covering it. The greese clogged the air vent. Number 1, bacon is gross and it smells. Number 2, I don't want bacon residue resulting in my house burning down.

(Of course, I should note that I was warming up a piece of pizza in a cereal bowl because there weren't any clean plates and I wasn't about to wash one. I have no place to speak.)

# # #

Why didn't anyone alert me when this cereal once existed?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Friday, November 25, 2005

Craig's List post of the day (Boston)

He/she has some spelling issues, but there might be a point here.

# # #

secret to world peace

Reply to: pers-113528405@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-11-24, 11:12PM EST


Glutony & stress of visiting relatives! Stuffing everyone with food to the point of discomfort...such I did to myself today. No energy, very tiired. Shit the house could be on fire and I am not sure I would move!
Yupe feed everyone turkey till they can't move then follow that with lots of pie, cakes etc. People will be too damn tired to enduce war.

Large amounts turkey + emotional toil of extend family visits cramed into a single day = World Peace

this is in or around food enduced coma
no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

VH-1 Special: Elmo (circa 2012)

Squeaky-voiced and always cheerful, Elmo never seemed destined for greatness. For years, he served dutifully as a backup character to such Sesame Street icons as Big Bird and Cookie Monster. However, in the late 1990s, Sesame Street management wanted a change. They believed Elmo had a certain marketability the others could not attain. Sure, Big Bird was beloved, but executives did not believe young children could relate as well to a six-foot tall bird as they could to a small, harmless red figure.

And so the Elmo era was born. No longer in the background, Elmo was now the unofficial host of the show, garnering more face time than any other of the characters. It was Elmo's World now.

On the show, Elmo shined. His popularity spawned such children's merchandise as the "Tickle Me, Elmo" doll that sold millions of copies. However, off camera, success began to go to Elmo's head. Excess through alcohol, drugs and sex begat a decline that was painful for his co-workers to watch. It happened right before their eyes.

Whereas he previously helped newcomers along, Elmo even began taking Sesame Street veterans to task. In one highly publicized outtake, a drunken Elmo was seen accosting Cookie Monster in 2002. "Give me a fuckin' cookie, you blue piece of shit! You keep all the cookies for yourself, you asshole, now give me one! Oh, I'll, oh, just give me a fuckin' cookie! I'm hungry, man! I'm gonna beat your sorry ass if you don't give me a...give me that jar!" The fight was seen across the world, and Elmo was given a two-month suspension and ordered to check himself into the Betty Ford Clinic.

"It was painful to see," Big Bird said. "We all hoped Elmo would get help, and we were glad he did, but many of those on the show began to show disdain toward him due to his power-hungry attitude."

Upon his rearrival on the show, Elmo displayed signs he may have changed his ways. However, what was once shaded by drugs and alcohol use was now a full-fledged desire for domination of Sesame Street. Many cast members claim Elmo attempted to pit other characters against each other for his own gain. In an interview in 2004, Elmo described his plans.

"Now that my mind is clear, I see what must be done. I am Sesame Street. Children love me. Their parents love me. Who do you think makes the money around here? The Corporation for Public Broadcasting? I don't think so. It's Elmo. They can't get rid of me. They will never get rid of me. I am the lord of the street."

Elmo's Machiavellian tendancies drew much attention at the PBS offices, but executives knew they were in for a losing battle. With competition from other children's shows such as Teletubbies and various cable programs, keeping Elmo in the spotlight proved to be their only choice. However, it was one they would soon regret.

"There was only so much we could do," said one executive who wished to remain anonymous. "Yes, there is much regret over the fact we could have done more to save Elmo and the show's reputation, but you have to remember who we were dealing with. Unfortunately, it got to a point to where one character was bigger than the show."

However, by this time, Elmo had reached his peak, and the decline proved to be harder than the excess. In 2007, with his popularity waning from viewers believing he had become a stale act and a decision by PBS to market Oscar the Grouch, Elmo's spotlight began to fade. It clicked off when he was charged with soliciting a prostitute when taking an undercover police officer to the Sesame Street studios during nighttime hours.

"Bitch set me up! The bitch set me up!," Elmo proclaimed on national television as he was taken for finger printing.

After serving six months in prison, Elmo once again became a disgraced figure. Never allowed back on Sesame Street, he began taking bit roles in B-movies to make any middling amount of money he could gather. In 2009, gambling debts forced Elmo to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and he was seen at various homeless shelters in the Tacoma, Wash. area. The Elmo era was over.

A modern day Bobby Fischer, not much is known of Elmo's whereabouts these days. Some say he left the country. Others say he simply wants nothing of the public life. But the downfall of an individual with so much potential--potential that was used in a way that was harmful both to himself and others--is painful for even his biggest critics.

"I think it took a lot out of him," Big Bird said. "His passion, no matter how deceitful and wrongly used at times, was gone. Elmo's failure will forever be one of the more painful aspects of all of our lives. I wish there was something we could do."

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Carousel of Death

At work, there are two options for food during 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day. Go out or get lucky and don't die from the vending machine "food." For the other five minutes, the third option is the cafeteria, but rumors of it being open have yet to be proven. The vending machines feature your typical drink and candy bar cuisine, and there is a microwaveable boxed Italian food machine. The one that peaks my curiousity is The Carousel of Death.

The COD has some items that at best pass as food and at worst could kill an entire town of people. My ventures into the COD have been minimal, but I don't normally enjoy eating hamburgers that have been sitting in a vending machine for days. The burgers probably aren't even meat. They couldn't be. They're too shriveled. I don't even want to think about the hot dogs. As a rule, hot dogs are always made from the undesirable animal parts. These, with the plasticized relish and onions, are about three steps below that of ballpark hot dogs. In other words, eating them is probably quite fatal. Also frightening are the sausage breakfast muffins. Nothing more needs to be said about them.

About the only good thing in the COD are the blueberry muffins. Those I will eat because they look safe. Sure, the sugar content will probably put me in a diabetic coma, but that's the chance you take. I haven't seen it in awhile, but when I first began working here, the COD had chili as an option. This is a bad idea because, in general, the gastric systems of journalists are unstable. Some of the most flatulent people I know are journalists. (And I'm using our friend Mr. D.E.P. as an example here. You almost knocked me out several times, buddy.) Add chili to the mix, and there might not be a paper tomorrow. It's hard to be productive when your entire workforce is in the bathroom.

(I haven't read back over those three paragraphs.)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Crazy fortune cookies

Last night at work, when I was going to be off at 1 a.m. and knew I wouldn't sleep until about 4 a.m. because the same thing had been done for several previous nights, I get this in a fortune cookie with my dinner...

"Rest has a peaceful effect on your physical and emotional health."

To which I replied, "Screw you and your fortunes of irony." Like I need my dinner telling me what to do.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mmmmmm...Drano...arrrrrccccgggghhh

Thanks to the terrible Pepto Bismol commercial, this is now stuck in my head...

"Nausea, heartburn, upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhea, YAY! Pepto Bismol!"

Make it stop. It's such a bad commercial, too. Who writes the script for a commercial that has a conga line of people dancing around, grabbing whatever parts of their body are bothering them? Do they really have to grope their butts when it gets to that part of the song? Do we really need that mental image?

I've never tasted Pepto Bismol. When I was little, I always wanted to because it looks like bubble gum. There were a lot of things I wanted to eat or drink that now don't sound so smart. I did try all, except for the ones that probably would have killed me.

Examples included:

1) A stick of butter because I thought it would taste like ice cream. It didn't taste like ice cream.
2) Antifreeze because it looked like blue Kool Aid. It's also probably just as deadly.
3) Drano because I don't know why. I asked my mom if I could drink some, and I don't remember what happened after that. I do know I never had the desire to drink it again.
4) Raw egg yolk because it looked good. I did taste that, and it was pretty disgusting.
5) A bag of sugar because every kid wants to eat a bag of sugar. Weeeeeeeee!
6) A raw onion. It is probably why I hate onions now.
7) Gasoline because I liked the way it smelled.
8) Motor oil because it looked like really thick chocolate milk.
9) A bar of soap, which I did try, and it didn't taste as bad as you might think. Mountain fresh can be pretty good. However, I don't eat soap.
10) Rubber cement because that was some crazy looking stuff that had a chance to taste good, but I refrained.

Ten is good. I'm just glad I survived my childhood with all these temptations. I think the song is out of my head now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Barf

Don't...eat...multiple...pieces...of...string...cheese.

The first was OK. The second was not OK. So disgusting.

I love cheese, but this was not cheese. I don't know what it was. I used to like string cheese, and it always made my elementary school lunch reasonably paletable when it was stuck next to the soggy fish sticks my dad would pack for me (this explains a lot, and I'm convinced they were trying to kill me so my brother would have more, but they failed). Perhaps it was the combination of American cheese with the mozerella. It was a combo type of string cheese. I'll stick to regular cheddar and Swiss. They can't mess those up. I like to dip my cheese in ketchup, which goes in line with my other food dipping quirks, such as bread in bleu cheese dressing or fries in a milkshake, which one unfortunate person who is reading this right now has witnessed and can hold against me. (This last sentence was brought to you by the letter N.)

But yeah, be careful when eating string cheese.

Screw you, Borden dairy products

# # #

Coming up tomorrow: How Lucas Sayre pitted Daniel Pulliam and myself against each other in one of the more elaborate e-mail pranks ever conceived.

Or maybe it's best we not revisit that episode.

Notre Dame still sucks.

And did you hear the kids who were involved in that murder-supposed kidnapping were home-schooled?

And it begins. I really shouldn't be this feisty. I'm asking for it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The downfall of Ferris Bueller

I wonder what Ferris Bueller is doing right now. Ferris in the corporate world. That's a scary thought. If you figure that Ferris was supposed to be 18 when the movie was made in 1986, he would be 37 years old now. Some might wonder if he shaped up. That perhaps Principal Rooney's tactics turned him around. Probably not. I doubt it. Here is how Ferris Bueller's life went after the movie ended.

# # #

Despite Ferris' complete domination of Principal Rooney, he is still suspended for a week. However, this falls directly into Ferris' plan. No school means more fun. Plus, since Ferris decided to not go to college, he is determined to never go back to high school, so he drops out. Sloane Peterson still sticks with him, and they are married the next year.

It does not go well.

Ferris doesn't get a job. He sits at home and waits on Sloane to make him dinner. Over and over, she asks him to stop looking around and do something with his life. She didn't see it before, but she certainly sees it now. It was a mistake. Four children, not withstanding, this goes on until 2003, when Sloane decides to get a divorce.

After a brief period of sitting around and doing more of nothing, Ferris decides to drive his beat up 1974 Ford Ventura (a far cry from the Ferrari he took on a joy ride back in the day) to Cameron's house. Despite his success, Cam has stuck with Ferris. He credits Ferris for turning his life around that one day back in 1986. Cameron has a life, a family, a good job, money. Cameron has desire. Cameron has everything Ferris wants, but doesn't have the desire to put the effort toward. A couple blocks from Cameron's house, Ferris becomes despondant. Rather than continuing, he turns around and starts driving west.

Eventually, his car barely moving, Ferris arrives in San Francisco. Nobody knows he's here. Why bother telling anyone? Do they even care anymore after everything he's done, or not done? He's not sure what to do, so he sets up as a street performer in Height Ashbury, dancing to "Twist and Shout" for whatever change passersby will give him. He doesn't make much. After three weeks, Ferris turns to petty crime, stealing and grifting people for a little bit here and a little bit there. He even gets a job at a local department store. It's enough to find a weathered appartment with spiders, cockroaches, bad plumbing and neighbors who fight loudly day and night. He never sleeps and he has no one to turn to. Nearing 40 with no prospects and too much regret, the loneliness of his existence begins to get to Ferris. What if? What if? What if?

Several times a day, he picks up the phone to call Sloane, but hangs up at the first ring. He just wants to make things right. If he could just convince her to come out to San Francisco. But does he really want her to see this place? One time, he stayed on until someone answered. Apparently, Sloane found someone new. Ferris goes on a rampage, throwing the phone out the window, breaking his lamps and anything else within reach. Hearing the ruckus, Ferris' landlord marches up and bangs at the door. Ferris is evicted. Now he really has no place to go. Walking through the late night San Francisco fog, Ferris hatches a plan. It's a last resort. The next morning, his 37th birthday, Ferris steals a car, hot-wires it, drives to the Golden Gate Bridge, parks it diagonally across the lanes backing up traffic for miles, stands on the railing and jumps with television helicopters hovering above. Ferris Bueller is dead.

After his body is recovered, the coroner finds a note sealed in a plastic bag taped to Ferris' stomach. It reads:

"To whom it may concern: I was once very popular. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adored me. They thought I was a righteous dude. But I had everything mistaken. I thought everything would be given to me, but really, everything was taken. And it was completely my fault. Yes, life goes fast and you have to stop and look around, but you can't just stop. I stopped. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry to all those I disappointed. They set up "Save Ferris" signs, and I betrayed them. When I really needed help, no one could trust me. To Cameron, you were always right. Even when I made fun of you, you were always right. To my parents, thank you for caring for me even when you had to know I was lying about my fever. To my sister Jeannie, you were a raging bitch from time to time, but I loved you and you are cool because you kicked Rooney in the balls. To my children, work hard and have fun doing it. To Sloane, for all the times I refused to say it, I'm sorry. I love you all. Ferris."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The worst story ever written

I'm writing this with one eye shut because it burns. It was dry before I splashed some water in it. It was dry before I accidentally got a glob of soap in it whilst washing my face. I am a moron. I am a tired moron, and I don't really know what else to say, so I will leave you with something I wrote in April. After an especially bad story came into Dawgnet, I made a bet with Amber Butler and Marcy Wilhelm that I could write the worst newspaper story ever. This is what resulted after 10 minutes...

University project helps save the cats

By Daniel Bradley

INDIANAPOLIS --- There is a new project that Butler University is doing to help save the cats.

People say that cats are nice and other people say that cats are mean. But both can agree that only really mean people want to shoot the cats.

"Only really mean people want to shoot the cats," Society for Harboring Innocent Tabbies (S.H.I.T.) president Allison Romeneski said. "I love cats."

Romenseski commented that people who do not like cats are weird and that cats are awesome.

"Those people are just so weird and cats are awesome," she exclaimed. "I hope those people die painful deaths."

S.H.I.T was begun as a response to the people’s cry for help in saving cats. Not everyone likes S.H.I.T., however, because they say it is unnecessary.

"If you take a really close look at S.H.I.T., you see that it leaves a pretty bad taste in your mouth," Project for the Annihilation of Cats supreme leader and Campus Crusade for Christ head Thomas McCarnovich said. "Cats are the devil, and S.H.I.T. is the devil’s prophet. We must slay the devil and flush S.H.I.T. out of Butler."

But a ton of people might not believe that cats are really that bad.

Cats were originated in the lands of ancient Egypt or the Sahara Desert where they maybe or maybe not built the pyramids. They were good there, and they could probably be good here two.

"Cats are good everywhere. They eat mice," Romeneski conjured.

Mice cause the plague, and the plague killed quite a lot of people.

The ghost of a plague victim said he wished there had been more cats around when he lived.

"I might be alive today had there been more cats in my village. But when you consider the time I lived and the life expectancy, I’m guessing not. It was a good thought, though," the ghost of Vincente Palacios said.

But for everything that is talked about, cats will live on unlike that guy.

# # #

Eye update: Good news is the burning has subsided. Bad news is that it now feels like a dagger is puncturing it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cheese = The New Cocaine

Who knew there was a black market for cheese?

In El Salvador, police seized 24 tons of "contraband cheese," while in San Diego, authorities are concerned about "bathtub cheese" sold on the street that could be dangerous because it is unpasteurized.

I can't wait for the government to institute the War On Cheese and the cheese lords who break out and start cheese wars amongst rival gangs. Just wait until you're afraid to walk around a street corner at night because you might be confronted by someone asking if you want some sharp cheddar, real pure. It's the future, kids, and it doesn't look bright.

The little white house

My grandparents' old house is going to be sold to new owners on Monday. Grandma had a buyer this past February, but they backed out. I went there to see it for what was going to be the last time then, and I haven't been back. In my mind, there was a sort of closure with it as I drove away. It was kind of rough, as you'd expect it would be with the last time being in your favorite place in the world. The house was empty, and it was just weird to see. Even though the people decided not to buy then, I didn't go back again because 1) Grandma is living in an appartment in Plainfield now, and 2) it was over with in my mind.

However, now that it is going to be gone for good next week, I am trying to decide if I really want to make the three hour roundtrip drive Friday or Saturday before I go to work. I don't know. I don't know if I want to see it empty again, but I would like to go back and just get one last mental picture of it. The white paint outside. The smell inside. The way the doors creak. The way the indoor porch is always so bright when the sun is out and the best place to watch a thunderstorm at night. The little kitchen closet that I thought my great-grandfather was in after he died when I was four. The small yard where I played whiffle baseball. The place where Grandpa's desk sat where he and I would go over baseball cards for hours at a time until we'd check to see if dinner was ready. I don't know that I want to see that space empty again, though.

Just to get an idea of who I'm talking about when I mention my grandfather, here's a story...

It was in August 1996 when Grandma had a heart attack. My dad, brother and me went to Elwood to see her in the hospital, and we were going to stay the night at the house. When we got to the hospital, Grandpa looked lost. He didn't know what to do, and I'd never seen him that worried before. He was always supposed to be the first to go. When he was six, he contracted rhumatic fever and it did serious damage to one of his heart valves. From then until he was 50, every once in awhile he had to go to the hospital. It was also the reason he didn't fight in World War II. In 1969, he had the valve replaced with a plastic one that always went "click-click, click-click, click-click," and you could hear it across the room even if you weren't particularly quiet.

Anyway, back to the original story, at the hospital, we (Grandpa, the father, the brother and me) went to get lunch. After eating some bad hospital food, we were walking back, tired and concerned, when Grandpa looked at the wall, saw a picture of a man with a big, white chin beard and started "baaaa-ing" like a sheep. All of us just started laughing. It's an example of how you had to be there to really understand the situation, but he always tried to make us laugh, even when things weren't so good.

Another example of this was that night, when we were back at the house, we had all gotten ready for bed. Grandpa's room had a door that was next to the living room, and he was standing just outside the doorway. The four of us were talking, when he decided it was time to go to bed...right now. To let us know how strongly he felt about this, he said, "Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm going to bed." And then turned around, pulled his pants down, mooned us, walked/strutted through the door and shut it. It was amazing. One of the reasons being old sounds fun is because all the excuses you had when you were young come back, times 100. It is perfectly OK to moon your family members if you are 77. If I mooned family when they were over now at 24, they would all think I was weird.

But, yeah. I don't know yet if I want to go to the house or not. It's a decision between whether I want to add something to the memories I already have when what I would be adding is not particularly good. But we'll see. And this has gone on long enough. The end.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

RIP, Oinky

Say hello to Oinky the Collegian Pig.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I caught Oinky at a basketball game in 2002 or 2003. It was one of those promotions where they throw stuff in the crowd, and Oinky was my prize. I liked Oinky. Round, as he was, he always made some people laugh. Oinky did not make Yaw Anokwa laugh. Yaw hated Oinky. Every once in awhile, I would walk over to Dawgnet from the Collegian with Oinky. It was a force of habit, and (at first) I wasn't trying to get on anyone's nerves. However, once I saw how much Yaw disliked my pig, I decided to force the issue a little. OK, if my memory is correct, I forced it a lot. Yaw warned me that if I brought the pig around him one more time, Oinky would be stabbed or worse.

It was always one more time, so I didn't really take the threat too seriously, although he did get his hands on Oinky a couple times. And yeah, at one point, Yaw held his gigantic pocket knife to my pig's throat and cut him. Unfortunately, I never learned my lesson and I brought Oinky around several more times. Finally, Yaw kidnapped him when I wasn't in the Collegian office and made ransom photos such as this that he would leave at my computer. This went on for quite awhile, and I'm still surprised that Yaw was so interested in it. He really did hate that pig. Eventually, I got Oinky back, but lost him to Melissa Buford who wanted to borrow Oinky. The borrowing has lasted about two and a half years, and she has since gotten married and is now Melissa Gibson, so I doubt I will ever see Oinky again. So long, old pal.

# # #

Also, ignore the guy in the foreground because he has nothing to do with the picture, but the background is Vermont.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Maybe it was just that the weather was kind of gray and the tree-covered mountains were so green, but it is one of my favorite states. I liked all the states up there in New England. I'd like to live up there sometime. I wonder what it looks like now. Probably a painting. I really try not to, but ever since the two east coast vacations, I find myself cursing the midwest because it doesn't have so much of what I liked there. They have mountains and progressive thinking people (for the most part). We have corn fields and the extreme right wing (for the some part). They have oceans. We have, well, no oceans. We used to be able to claim that our people were nicer, but I doubt that anymore. We're not as nice as we claim we used to be, although, I doubt we ever were nice considering the history of some of the midwest states in terms of race. I like the midwest, and I'll always be a midwesterner, but some of the pictures I took are making me think.

# # #

I wonder what it would be like to be a mob boss. I guess I'd need a consigliere to advise me and some goons to do my dirty work. I'm not real big on the whole violence thing, but perhaps it wouldn't be such a problem if it were based on loyalty because I like loyalty. Loyalty is cool. Guns, not so much, but I wouldn't be the one handling the guns. I'd also need a completely legitimate front for the operation. I'm not real sure what I'm writing about, but it sounds good enough.