Sunday, December 20, 2009


I don't know why, but I love stereotypes. Not so much stereotyping others, I consider myself pretty good about avoiding stereotyping other people because of their race/gender/high-level-of-nerdiness. However, I love embracing as many stereotypical things as I can for myself. I mean, what's not to love? Here's some examples:

As a guy I don't need to shower every day. As an engineer, I don't need to shower every week. As a combination of the two, it turns out I don't have to shower every month. Which saves me all sorts of time, is environmentally responsible, and just plain awesome.

No matter how much I may seem to be aimlessly wandering, I'm a guy so I'm never lost and don't have to ask directions.

Since I'm a guy, I can fix anything. It doesn't matter that I have no prior experience fixing cars or whatever, I can just open it up, start banging away, and viola, fixed. No actual technical/mechanical knowledge necessary.

I wrote (drew) a screen play for a great and manly movie. Average working man (played by the Rock) leaves his home one day to go to his average office job. As he does, it blows up. He goes to the tool shed and pulls out a few pistols, automatic rifles, and a grenade launcher. He fights terrorists, ninja assassins and barbarian hordes in the middle of the jungle. He finds a secret lair and fights the bad guy in his robot contraption that is loaded with guns. And, of course, it ends after the 40 minute fight scene with no explanation as to why his house blew up or who the bad guys were. Now that's what I call a pretty sweet movie.

As an engineer, I am not expected to have social skills, so it is expected of me to commit at least one social faux pas a day, if not seven or eight.

As an engineer, my vocabulary sucks, and I don't even know what faux pas means.

As an older brother I am expected to tease my younger sisters. Not only do I embrace the stereotype, I go above and beyond the call of duty on this one. My sisters are extremely lucky to have such a good older brother.

I'm pretty sure there are a lot more, but, as a guy, I'm lazy and like to think as little as possible, so I'm not going to bother trying to come up with anything else.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and meals are the most important thing in my life, so how have I not blogged about breakfast yet? The time has come to fix that.

When I was young, I didn't really understand breakfast. I remember thinking things like Cookie Crisp and Reese's cereal were great. I still remember the commercials for Reese's, where the kid would at some point think: "Wait, Reese's for breakfast?". That commercial should have clued me into some truths that I didn't learn until much later. Now, as a mature grad student, I have a much more sophisticated approach to breakfast. Gone are the days of Cookie Crisps and Reese's cereal. In are the days of cookies and Reese's. And fudge, and peeps, and brownies, and just about anything that tastes good to me, and is, therefore, good for me. These foods are spectacular for breakfast. If I knew a more spectacular word than spectacular, I'd use that. If I had the choice between starting my day by finding a hundred dollar bill on the ground, or having brownies for breakfast, it'd be brownies in a heartbeat.

Here's a picture of recommended breakfast foods. And I swear, if anyone so much has hints at a dislike for any of these particular the Peeps... (Yes, that is a menacing trailing off, in case the "..." didn't tip you off)

Now, a word of warning: Not all foods are breakfast foods. And I'm not just talking about cold pizza (seriously people, warm it up. Cold is weird.) I'm warning you against things that are much worse. Foods that would make you want to move your bed into your closet so that you could hide in your closet, under your bed. That bad. Top on that list (and really, the only thing on the list) is a Mexican candy called Pulparindo. My roommate did a piƱata for his birthday a while back, and acquired some Mexican candy for it. He had left overs that were just sitting on the table. The bright yellow wrapper of the Pulparindo caught my eye as I was eating breakfast. Knowing that candy makes an excellent side for any breakfast, I thought I'd give it a try. First off, it didn't taste good. The second problem was that it didn't taste good and it was pretty spicy. My third problem with it was that it really did taste horrible, and it didn't get better the longer you chewed fact it got worse (not originally thought possible, but found to actually be true). It was like I was eating death flavored horribleness, covered in a thick layer of torturous agony. Seriously, not a good breakfast food.

Absolutely, positively, not good for breakfast. You may make all the disparaging comments about Pulparindo you want.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I realized I'm doing this blog thing all wrong. My blog is supposed to be me, I should be using this to talk all about me! I thought I'd give it a try for this post. I'll spare you a post about my obvious manliness, awesomeness, toughness, wonderfulness, and manliness, since most of you are well aware of those traits (I was, after all, voted alpha male unanimously in 2009 by all those who participated in said voting). Instead I'll talk about my hair and it's ever increasing length.

For much of my life, I have fought against the semi-curliness of my hair by keeping it short enough that there was no room to curl. Whenever my hair would get long enough to begin to curl, I would attack it with a vigor that can only be compared in ferocity to that of a battle between a great white and a crocodile, the two most feared animals on the planet. So most may assume that the new hairstyle stems from me either being too lazy to cut my hair, or from my being an engineering grad student, so it's only natural that I throw all personal hygiene out the window. Both are pretty much right.

Scary, I know. This picture probably shouldn't be shown to small children, or those with weak hearts, Actually, this picture probably shouldn't be shown to anyone, and I apologize to all those who will suffer from severe nightmares now.

At first I held off cutting my hair because I had received vaguely positive comments about it ("I like your hair longer, it hides your face more" and "Your hair isn't looking completely horrible anymore.") Fueled by friends and enemies alike (you know which you are) commenting that they thought my hair looked good longer, I've held off on cutting it...though I've come close a few times... But recently I came up with an even better reason to grow my hair out. With it just a little bit longer, I'll be able to combine the three most awesome and influential hair styles ever known to man. I am, of course, talking about the fro, the mullet and the mohawk. Just imagine, fro on the sides, mullet in the back and mohawk to top it all off. Actually, I did a Paint mock up of what it would look like, so you don't have to imagine. I'm pretty excited now, and for the first time in my life, I wish my hair would grow faster.

Behold, it all it's glory, the frollet hawk!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mail: Boost to the self esteem

Have you ever come home, flustered and discouraged? You go through the mail and find that all you ever get is junk mail? Do you throw that junk mail away? If so, I'm here to tell you to stop. Junk mail is the answer to all discouragement problems. In fact, I stopped calling it junk mail, I now call it "overly polite, complimentary, feel good and uplifted mail", or Opcfgau mail for short. This was a pretty recent discovery for me as I did something unusual one day. I opened one of the envelopes and actually read (well...scanned) the letter inside, instead of just straight up throwing it away. Let me share some of the things I've learned about myself.

This is what it's like when you view your mail as junk mail. You've got to change your attitude!

First off, I am a Member-Elect of an insurance company I'm not even signed up for. Member-Elect. That sounds important. That sounds like me. I deserve to be a Member-Elect, and they recognized it. That same company let me know that I "cannot make a mistake..." (There was something after that about by joining now, but I'm pretty sure the main message was that I just can't make a mistake).

I am also one of a credit card company's most valuable customers. I deserve MORE. Then they offered me many things I didn't need, but the point was, I am very valuable to them, I am important, and I deserve more, and hopefully they will decide later just to send me free cash instead of useless offers.

Throw away that junk mail attitude and start getting Opcfgau mail. Just look at the difference. It's all in how you view your mail.

Insurance and credit card companies have let me know I've been pre-approved due to my greatness. Cable companies tell me I should go boldly into the land of more. Everyone let's me know that I deserve more. So to make sure that all of my friends realize how great I am, and how much I deserve, I have started forwarding my Opcfgau mail to them. Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finding the Blog

Many of you may have noticed my blog has been missing as of late. No, it's not that I haven't been updating it, it's that the blog has been missing so I've been unable to update it. For those who don't understand and view blogs as merely an internet site that cannot possibly go missing, I say "Phhh, you don't understand. You could never understand." My blog was missing, and this post is of the journey I undertook to recover it.

Here is a map to help you follow this great journey I recently undertook.

I left home and headed in the direction I could sense to be the right one. I first approached the cruel, fearsome mountains of inevitable suffering. As I drew closer, I slowly began to develop a subtle sense of dread. I noticed it as I passed an old wooden fence. At the end of the fence, sat a lone crow, the harbinger of doom, cawing at odd intervals. Shortly thereafter, as I entered the woods at the base of the mountains, I saw the venomous black widow, harbinger of sorrow. Further along, after my path was crossed by a cat as black as midnight, the harbinger of bad luck, I came to a small river. Flashing in the sunlight as it jumped, I saw a rainbow trout, the harbinger of good fortune. It was snatched out of the air by a great horned owl, the harbinger of metaphorical disaster. It killed the small fish in it's cruel claws and devoured it until it was no more. I decided that my feelings of misgiving were probably all in my head, so I continued onward. If only there had been some sort of sign to tell me how hard this journey would be, I may have never attempted it. Anyways, to make a long story vaguely shorter, I crossed the cruel, fearsome mountains of inevitable suffering with great difficulty, overcoming many trials and hardships. I was on the brink of death more times than I can count (approximately ten, as I tend to struggle with numbers having more than one digit).

Next up on the journey was the uncrossable burning lake of freezing death. This lake is famous for burning with a heat intense enough to burn you to your very soul, while the the water itself is so cold that the average man or woman will freeze to death at just the thought of it. The lake does a fair job of defying logic and passage across it. It wasn't easy, but I was able to swim across it by skimming the surface at the interface between the awful heat and the frigid cold. It also helped that I am, by nature, a fair amount tougher than the average man or woman.

Finally, I arrived at the location of my blog, the cave of horrible trials and great rewards. It was indeed horrible, but I made it through, at last arriving at the room of hidden wonders. There I found my blog, resting between treasures of equal value, such as the fountain of youth and world peace. Not wanting to be taken as greedy, I only took my blog and left (well, I did technically take a sip of the potion of manliness, guaranteed to make you the most manly guy on earth. I was not surprised to note that I remained unchanged after drinking from the potion.)

I decided to try an alternate route home. It was getting late, and I was somewhat anxious to get my blog home. This route was similar to the first, only instead of uncrossable burning lakes of freezing death and cruel, fearsome mountains of inevitable suffering, I crossed over meadows of wildflowers. This route was slightly longer, but in the end proved to be significantly faster.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The McMurtrey family curse

Having visited family recently, the ominous McMurtrey family curse was made fresh in my mind. It's not something we talk about, and rarely to those outside the family. But, I decided, if you're really to get to know someone, you should know about any family curses. And what better way to reveal family curses than on a blog?

We do our best to act like a normal, happy family. But there is constantly a dark cloud hovering closely around, never far from our minds...the McMurtrey family curse.

I'm not completely sure when the curse started, so the parts of the following story that I don't know, I'll exercise a bit of artistic liberty to help the story flow. Here's the mostly true story of the origin of the McMurtrey family curse: Sean McMurtrey, my great great great grandfather, lived in a small fishing village of the coast of beautiful Ireland. He was known for being a handsome, strong, extremely manly, intelligent, tough, rugged man, traits that had always seemed to run in his family, and would for generations to come. Often, as the sun peaked over the Emerald Isle, Sean would take his young son fishing. He enjoyed these times, reeling in fish after fish with his son. He would continue to enjoy them, until the day the the family was cursed forever.

This is that fearsome place where the McMurtrey family was placed under a curse. I stress that this is definitely the place, and not just the first picture that came up on a google image search for Ireland.

On that fateful day, long remembered by his descendants, Sean took his son fishing early in the morning. As the cool breeze blew across the shimmering lake, Sean thought: "Today will be a wonderful day." He couldn't have been more wrong. Not long after he cast in his line, Sean felt a fish nibble on the bait. At that same moment, an old woman came up behind him begging for alms. "Wait jest a moment, I think I've got one!" The woman only begged more loudly, crying and sounding miserable. Sean feared she would scare away the fish. "Can ya not see that I'm busy? Isn't there somewhere else ya could be beggin'?" He said. He ignored the woman after that, staring intently at his line in the water. Suddenly a clap of thunder was heard, coming out of the beautiful blue sky. Birds in the forest took flight, and a horrible screeching sound came from the forest. Sean turned to see the old woman, skinny arms clawing strange signs into the air, hair blowing wildly, though there was no wind. "For caring more about fishing than the good of those that ask your help, I curse you and all of your descendants. Never again, when you go fishing with your son, will luck be with you." She cackled horribly and then vanished, leaving only the stench of burnt hair in the air. From that time forward, McMurtrey's have never been able to catch more than one scrawny fish in any father and son fishing trip. I have many memories of fishing as a family when I was a kid...but few memories of ever catching anything. I was recently reminded this, as my dad wanted to go fishing when I was home. To ensure success, he decided we would get a professional fishermen to show us the best places to fish. For trying to go around the McMurtrey family curse, my father was rewarded with a large thunderstorm the morning of, and a cancellation of the fishing trip.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Well, I'm on vacation, so I thought I'd take a vacation from my random posts, and actually post about what I've been up to. Plus I have just a little bit of time, as I accidentally got myself out of the game I was playing with my family, so I have to wait for them to finish so I can jump in on the next one. My vacation can probably be summed up by Friday's experience. I woke up from my afternoon nap on the couch at 4:00, saw my dad walking through the room, and asked "So what's planned for the rest of the day?". He thought about it for a second, and replied "Nothing." Beautiful, I thought. This is what vacationing is all about.

Other than taking it easy and playing games with the family, seems like we've been spending a good amount of time in either a lake or a pool. I haven't done a lot of swimming in these last few years, so that's been a bit rough...especially playing sharks and minnows. I've played a different version with some friends before, but the way we play it in my family is basically like tag where you can't be tagged while you're underwater. This means the "shark" has to trap people while they're underwater and force them to surface before tagging them. And that means the game is pretty closely related to drowning. Next year I'll have to practice up on my swimming...and drowning...skills before visiting home. Anyways, I'll be out here at my parents house in Texas until Wednesday, and then back to the joys of work and such...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Early mornings stifle creativity?

So, originally I wasn't actually going to put up a new post this week. I just haven't been able to think of anything to write about. I admit, I didn't exactly "try hard", but let's be serious, you're not supposed to have to try hard to come up with a blogging topic. Usually if I have to really search for a topic, I end up writing just to write something, and it's feels forced and not so good. As I was trying to figure out why I couldn't seem to come up with anything, I realized it's because early mornings kill creativity. Here, I made a chart to make sure it's clear.

Bottom axis is supposed to be wake up time. I realize now that I should have made the time go forward...but I wanted the creativity to go downwards, so...anyways, it's already made, and I'm not about to go back and fix it.

I remember never being a believer in the old saying "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." It wasn't until I read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, that I realized how the saying's supposed to go. If memory serves me well (usually doesn't), the quote goes something like this: "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes." I've had to get up early for the last week and a half to use a machine that is always booked during the day by other people. Since everyone else seems to realize that getting up early actually makes you a worse person, the early morning times are usually free and I've taken up scheduling them. On a side note, there is a computer set up in this lab so you can get on the Internet while the machine is running. It's a Mac. This is my excuse for the lack of quality images in this post. After an epic battle with the mac version of excel and then photoshop, I was able to get the graph made. I'm not willing to risk my life trying to make any other sort of graphics. I did, however, find an icon labeled time machine...I will most likely double click it at some point after I post this, so if you never see me again, I probably died in the future, or the past. Hard to say which, given my Mac-using abilities.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun and useful

Well, there's been a lack of blog posts lately, mostly because I've been traveling. Now I don't want you to think my blog is unimportant to me, and that I dropped it as soon as I found something better to do. So I've prepared a great story about how I was going to update it while traveling, but just as I went to upload the new posts, I was attacked by a large group of men. Only it turns out they weren't men, but were actually beings from another dimension disguised as men. And they weren't just attacking me, but had plans to destroy the entire world. After I subdued them, I found that nearly two weeks had passed and the first thought that passed through my mind was "Curses, I haven't been able to update my blog yet." So as you can see, the blog is of utmost importance to me, I just was unable to update due to unexpected attacks on my life and the planet I live on. Someday, this event will mostly likely be made into one of those movies based on actual events, so I don't want to go into more details than that, otherwise I'd ruin it for you. But, having my life nearly come to an end that way, made me realize I'd better pass on some more wisdom to those that read this. Here's a couple of the most important things I've learned in my life.

Pooling comes with hot and cold rinse cycles, commonly called hot tubs and normal pools, to help your clothes get extra clean and retain their vibrant colors. Please be advised that the use of bleach is typically uncalled for while pooling, especially if multiple people are pooling nearby.

Do you know about the importance of pools, especially during the summer time? Yes, they're fun, but what makes them important is how useful they can be. Pools can replace showers! It's a great time saver, plus it makes getting clean fun. Instead of showering, you could be pooling! The chlorine in the pool acts as a disinfectant, plus it leaves you with that nice clean smell that everyone loves. Worried that your hair might not be getting the nutrients it needs? Don't worry, put a little shampoo in before jumping into the pool, and problem solved. Need some clothes cleaned but don't feel like doing the wash? The pool is the place for you, it cleans clothes just as well as it cleans you. So put those clothes on and jump in the pool.

This man has it all...well...a grill that bears his name. And in the end, isn't that all that matters? That alone makes him worthy of being anyone's idol.

Another fun time saver is the George Foreman Grill. I've been ignorant about how great these things are for most of my life, but that all changed about 6 months ago when I got one. Yeah, it's easy to cook on, and let's you grill from the comfort of your home, but what you may not have realized is, like all grills, the foreman grill doesn't need to be washed! You never wash grills, you just scrape off the charcoal from before and throw new things on. And this grill is no exception. My only hope is that someday I will be able to make as useful a contribution to society as Mr. George Foreman.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Acting my age

Earlier this month I went another step up on the age ladder. I'm now high enough that I don't have to pay extra when renting a car, but not so high that the rungs on the ladder are starting to get a bit rickety. Now that I'm up here, it seemed like a good idea to take a look around and make sure I was acting my age. So I spent the last week meditating on the things I should be doing by 25 (it was either that, or do actual work...). Here's what I came up with, and how I measure up.

Complain about work: check and check. This one just came naturally to me. By this age, most people are just getting into this. I've been going strong for years.

Complain about aching joints/back. I just started to get into this, but I now vow to put more effort into it. The little I have dabbled in this, it's been fun. It's a good outlet, and as an added bonus, it's very annoying to those around you when you do it. I don't see any downside to this. With any luck, I can throw my back out, and then no one will hear the end of it. I'm pretty excited about the idea.

Act mature and grown up. Check, check, and triple check. I mean, people have been complimenting me on my maturity, adulthood, prime of life, ripeness, mellowness and development for years (Sometimes using the synonym feature in Word gives you interesting results...). When you look up maturity on wikipedia, it just shows my picture (provided you look within the next 10 seconds before it gets changed back to a less true definition).

Clear cut and to the point, you can always trust wikipedia. Just like you can always trust everything said on this blog (with possible exception to things said in the comments).

Reminisce about the good ol' days. I don't know if this task actually falls into the responsibilities of my age group, but I'm willing to take it up just in case. Man, things were good back then. So much better than now. And have I told you how much better the cartoons were when I was young?

Yup, that's right, I'd definitely say I earned this.

Well, after this thorough investigation, I'd say I'm still on target with my age. I can't wait until the day I become old enough I can just sit on a rocking chair on my porch all day and just yell at the young whippersnappers as they run by. I'm hoping the word whippersnapper comes back into fashion by then, otherwise I may be calling them hooligans. Either way, I'm excited for it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adventure part 3ish

Not the best of my logos...but time is short if I want to finish this by the end of Sunday, and I'm trying to get back to being more consistent on my updates. I used a picture I took in Disneyland, so that's got to be worth bonus points for the logo grade.

How many adventure posts have I done? I think this is the third one. Chances are I could go back and look, but ever since I hit double digits on the posts, it's seemed like way too much work. So this week, I knew what I should write about, but I wasn't sure how to do it. I didn't want to just do a list of things I did, but also thought that out of all my weeks to write about, this one should be the easiest, since I took some vacation time and went to Disneyland with family (brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, mom, and two sisters). So I decided, since Disneyland is the place where fantasy meets real life, I'd mix fantasy with actual descriptions of what I did. There's a chance you may have to look closely to get what I actually did.

Among the untold stories of this adventure is the tale of the capture of my sister, sister-in-law and nephew by the flying elephant. I was OK with the loss of the sister, but had to fight valiantly to rescue everyone else. I taught "Dumbo" not to mess with me.

I went to California on Tuesday, spent some time on the beach, and then Wednesday we went to Disneyland. Started things off with a submarine ride. The goal: Find Nemo. I was all over that. I saw him in the distance, swimming with a shady looking turtle. Word on the street said the turtle went by the name Squirt. Sadly I was unable to retrieve Nemo, as I was informed by the captain that the submarine was not equipped with diving suits and I could not leave the submarine until the ride had come to a complete stop. I suspect the captain had been paid off by Squirt. You may have won this time Squirt, but next time, I'll bring my own diving suit, and we'll see who waits for the ride to stop.

This picture depicts one of the many lessons I learned at Disneyland. If at first you don't succeed, crawl. After attempting to run under this arch, hitting his head and falling backwards, my nephew got right back up and crawled under it. I will use this lesson throughout my life. Next time I fail, I will get right back up and start crawling until I succeed!

Next up, I received a call from space command. The evil emperor Zurg was stealing batteries to power his ultimate weapon. I wasn't going to sit by idly while he destroyed the universe that I live in, so I set off, hopped in my star ship, and started blasting things. Luckily Zurg marked all his minions with a Z so I knew what to shoot. As you may have noticed, the universe has not been destroyed. I confronted Zurg and his weapon of mass destruction and took him down with my laser blaster that lit up in three different colors! After being highly praised by Buzz Lightyear himself, I set out into the world again. It should be noted that Zurg, who apparently wasn't killed, tried this scheme three more times, but don't worry, I took him down each time. Anyways, the rest of the trip was filled with action and adventure as I took on pirates, towers of terror, and let's not forget, Goofy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I believe that everyone, at some point in their life, has one idea that enters their minds that exceeds the caliber and quality of all other ideas they have ever had and will ever have at any point in the future. This idea can be life changing, for them and the world around them. A moment of sheer, unadulterated genius. It is, of course, up to them whether they are willing to give flight to that idea, or stifle it and let it rot and die in their mind. After nearly 25 years of waiting, my idea finally came. And don't worry, I put it to action and let it live. And now I am going to share it with all of you.

Here it is, in all its magnificent glory. I give you the Oreo combined with a peep. I can die happy now, knowing I have made a contribution to mankind's progress. I expect the rest of my life to go by uneventfully, with nothing coming close to the awe inspiring ingenuity of this idea.

That's right, sometime last week, my stroke of genius came. I was trying to decide whether to have some Oreos or some peeps. Then it came to me. Like a tidal wave of brilliance lighting up my mind to new and glorious possibilities. I realized I didn't have to choose between them, I could have the best of both worlds. In one fluid motion, I quickly placed a peep between the Oreo cookies (on top of the double stuffing of cream) and put the Oreo back together. The above picture doesn't do this creation justice. Everyone of you should try this and see it in real life. If you need peeps, I have a few left...but after the creation of this idea, I can't guarantee that they'll last long!

I haven't experienced a culinary stroke of genius on this level since the day a friend of mine thought to put Easy Cheese on Cheetos. Sometimes I wish I knew a more amazing word than genius to describe the amazing and awesome nature of extremely good ideas like these. If I did, I'd be using it all over this post.

If you haven't had your moment of genius, don't worry, it'll come someday. But let me warn you. The jealous crowds may try and discourage you. They hide the fact that they are amazed with the brilliance of the idea with ridiculous comments like "Ewww, that's gross", and "Tell me you didn't eat that...". Don't give in. Remember, your idea may someday change the world we live in. I fully expect mine to.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Webster's online dictionary defines a roommate as "One of two or more persons sharing the same room or living quarters - also called roomie." This is important because this post is centered around roommates, and it's important that everyone knows what one is. Many people have "roomies" at some point in their life. I currently have three. We get along well, and rarely have any problems...until this last week.

Look at this place. It's not an ordinary house, made of cement and wood. No, this house is made from the stuff that dreams are made of.

My roommates and I, along with some friends, have been considering leaving our apartment and renting a house. We found one we really liked...but didn't get it. Something about working through a realtor, who was working through a listing agent, who was working with the owner. Also, it is possible the owner was looking to rent to a family, not a bunch of college guys. I guess it's also possible I shouldn't have stood outside the owner's bedroom window at night, softly chanting "rent us the us the house...also, install a pool, with a high dive coming off the roof...". So, with that dream gone, I looked for another house. A friend of mine sent me a link to a beautiful, 7 bedroom house, with 6200 square feet of goodness. A little on the pricey side, but with that kind of square footage, we could have fit like 20 guys in there. A great idea, right? I thought so. Sadly none of my roommates seemed to catch the dream. Despite my bringing it up every 4 minutes for 6 days straight (yes that includes all night long too), they refused to budge on the idea. They tore my dream house apart, one dream brick at a time.

Two out of three roommates agree: Raccoons living on your balcony is not a good thing. Well, two out of three roommates are wrong!

If that were the only offense, I could have forgiven them...well...technically I probably still wouldn't have gotten over it any time soon, but might have some day in the distant future forgiven them. But that same day, more excitement entered my life that I tried to share with my roommates, only to be met with cold eyes, doubtful shakes of the head, and one yelling at me to get out of his room, he didn't want to rent that stupid house. I had woken up that morning to a crash from somewhere in the apartment (or just outside the apartment, as it would turn out). I went out, prepared to fall down and play dead if I saw a robber. But instead of a suspicious looking character putting our TV in a large bag, I saw that, somehow, two raccoons had gotten onto our third floor balcony. Exciting, right? Who doesn't want raccoons for pets? I'm not sure if we're allowed to have cats or dogs, but I'm certain there aren't any rules against raccoons. And think of the benefits. We wouldn't have to take our trash all the way to the dumpster any more, we could just throw it on the balcony and the raccoons would eat it. I'm pretty sure there was no downside to this. Yet, disappointingly, only one roommate seemed excited about the prospect of raccoons living on our balcony. In the end it didn't matter much. As mysteriously as they appeared in the morning, they disappeared in the night, leaving no trace...nor dead raccoon bodies on the ground from a three story plunge.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Battle of the Blinds

It's national poetry month...though I haven't done very much to celebrate it. Several friends have been celebrating it by posting favorite poems, or poems they made up, on their blogs. I don't know my poetry all that well, and I have the writing skills of a three-legged mongoose, so I've held off on doing too much. But, as the month comes to an end, I feel like I should do something. So I decided I would make up a poem for this blog entry. But to save myself the embarrassment of not being a great poetry writer, I also decided I would claim this poem was written by me in the third grade. Understand, though, that this poem, that I wrote while in the third grade, is about recent events in my life.

Though turned, these blinds aren't open. See how the room is enveloped in darkness? Can you feel it wear at you to the very soul? Thus begins the Battle of the Blinds.

The Battle of the Blinds (allegedly written some many years ago)
Have you ever suffered such,
that pain and loneliness were nothing new;
And death's destroying touch
Carelessly hovered, hanging over you?
I once did, and here's the tale told,
Of a fight fought with a heart bitter cold.
Spring, season when hearts are light,
When winter's grey at last begins to flee,
Windows and blinds, once shut tight,
Thrown open wide, in hopes the sun to see.
But for me, the blinds opened not,
Tangled tight, stubbornly they fought.
Cried my heart, heavy with wrath,
Begone blinds that bind me and hold back
The noonday sun to light my path,
And the air with freshness my room does lack!
Fear not, I tugged till tired and sore,
I battled with the blinds, I won the war.

Open at last, after hours of desperate struggling, nigh past the time when fervent hopes of the heart fell lost into the dark bleakness of misery. Hurray for perseverance, the winner of wars!

Monday, April 20, 2009

You don't always win when you gamble.

During the two weeks since I last wrote, having missed writing on Easter, I actually came up with several ideas that I could write about. That's no good, since that means I have to choose between them. So I stopped thinking about them for a few days, until I could only remember one, and that's what I'm writing about. The idea that stuck with me, though, is the one I wish I could forget. It is about events that adversely affected me this last week. Adversely affected me in a very strong and horrible manner. We're talking hope crushing, dream destroying, life changing (for the worse), soul gnashing (sounded good...may or may not actually mean something) events. You could say I gambled...and lost horribly.

I used to feel invincible, like nothing could touch me, I could do whatever I wanted...until I lost horribly. My seat on top of the world was taken out from under me, and all my delusions smashed to fine grained dust, sifting through my hands and out of my grasp. Then I was faced with my own mortality, my human frailties, my now obvious vulnerability to hardship and failure.

It wasn't money that I gambled away though, you can recover from that. I basically gambled away my right to happiness, my ability to feel joy, and any opportunity I had for good fortune. And all to try something different and save a little money. In retrospect, I don't think it was worth it. There I was, blissfully moving through the week, picking up some food to help me get through it. One of my roommates got me hooked on oreos a while ago, so I thought I'd pick some up. After all, it makes me drink more milk, which is good for me. As I went to get them though, I suddenly didn't feel like normal oreos. I thought I'd be adventurous, explore some new area of oreo flavor. I saw mint oreos, chocolate covered oreos, white oreos, white oreos with chocolate filling. But what did I end up getting? Peanut butter oreos. Peanut butter and chocolate go well together, right? A good change up I thought. If I have ever been so foolish before in my life, I don't remember that time. Peanut butter oreos aren't bad...but they aren't the type of oreo goodness that I had come to expect. Oh the disappointment I experienced when I got home and tried them. The heart wrenching realization of what I had done! The misery and depression that followed almost proved too much for me...especially with this next gamble I would make.

Where were you, Cadbury Creme Eggs, during the post-Easter sales? I searched the store for hours. I checked the top shelf, I check behind the peeps, I rummaged through other people's shopping carts when they weren't looking. eggs were to be found.

Easter, a time for religious celebration, a time for family and friends, laughter and games. A time for special Easter candies, like robin eggs, chocolate bunnies, and of course, creme filled Cadbury eggs-the undisputed king of Easter candy (I put undisputed, so don't bother trying to dispute it now). Being the smart shopper though, I decided to wait until after Easter to buy my fill of delicious, heavenly Cadbury eggs. Folly! Foolishness! How could I possibly believe that any of this creme filled goodness had even a remote chance of lasting beyond Easter? The shopping trip the day after Easter held only further depression, despair, and several boxes of peeps for me. I thought I could wait, I thought I could save some money. I gambled. I lost.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Canned joy

I was going to add more to the logo, but I thought I'd keep this one simple and tasteful, rather than action-packed and tasteful, or awesomely cool and tasteful like some of the other logos have been.

I hate to revisit a topic that I so recently blogged about, but I had a pretty successful day foraging at Kroger's recently. So successful, that I'm pretty excited to share it with everyone. So it started out like any other shopping trip...I'd been out of food for about a week, and shear desperation forced me to drive the 1.3 minutes to Kroger's to restock on food. And, as is tradition, I went with no plan, or even a vague idea, of what I was going to buy. I got there, and the foraging commenced.

So there I was, out in the middle of Kroger, foraging for much needed sustenance. I had nothing but my wits to keep me alive and guide me through this expedition. It was long and grueling, fraught with danger, peril, and a hazard or two. But in the end, it was totally worth it.

As part of the traditional shopping trip, I headed to the canned fruit section where I'd normally grab a thing of pears, peaches, and apricots. I don't want you to get confused and think I buy this stuff for health reasons. I usually make sure to get the fruit soaked in heavy syrup, and just to make sure I get enough sugar intake, I drink like half the syrup after eating the fruit. Anyways, so there I was, looking at the cans of fruit, when suddenly a flash of light caught my eye from the top shelf. I glance up and immediately my eyes fell onto something new. Something exciting. Something you might even call exotic. New types of canned fruit that I had never seen before. Fruits that I would never have thought to can. As I looked at them, the can of purple plums seemed to tilt, as if nodding to me, and I thought I heard a voice in the wind whisper "Yes Mike, we are here for you. No we don't cost much more than normal fruit cans. Try us. Add us to your cart. We will never abandon you." Afterwards, lightning struck and two cans, glowing with power and sheer amazingness, fell into my cart. It was quite the experience.

A picture of my cabinet after the addition of the can of Red Tart Cherries (pitted), and the whole purple plums (not pitted it turns out). How do they fit so much goodness into a can? I suspect they take an entire fruit tree and put it in the can, and then remove the less good stuff like roots, bark, branches, trunk, etc.

I hadn't had a shopping trip experience like this since the one time I went to Meier's and found a can of mangos. My hobby used to be to try new types of fruit whenever I saw them at the store. As of now, my new hobby is to try new types of canned fruit. I'm excited to have my eyes opened to the wondrous and exotic world of strange fruits, stored in small, metal cans.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friendly insults.

The process of choosing a blog topic is very intricate and complex. It involves such steps as random thoughts going through my head, and me deciding to write about them. The random thought for today's post came while I was talking to one of my friends from BYU (where I did my undergrad work). After a brief exchange of pleasantries, some small talk about the local weather, and an involved discussion on world peace, I realized that we didn't actually do any of these, and mostly we just traded what I would call friendly insults. Basically from greeting to farewell, we shared friendly insults, with little bits of news from our lives scattered sparingly between. And this of course, strengthened our bond of friendship at least 232 fold. So, for those who want to make their friendships stronger, I thought I'd share some of the secrets from the art of friendly insulting.

Friendly insults are usually similar to real insults, but changed slightly to add that friendly feel. Take the word "jerk" for instance. It is curt and harsh, and can inspire feelings of hatred and malice. But, add the suffix weed to it, and it becomes "jerkweed". There's an insult that inspires feelings of brotherly love, peace, and harmony. There's quite a few modified insults out there. Another personal favorite is taking the angry "Sucker" insult, and changing it to the happy-go-lucky "Suckahfish" friendly insult.

Consider the difference between these two very real examples. When the insult jerk was used, everyone felt angry or hurt. However, when jerkweed was used, there was laughter in the air, friendships were strengthened, and steps towards world peace were made.

Now that you've got some of the classics down, let's move on to the slightly more advanced friendly insults. These are the ones you make yourself, using some key words. The most important of these is "face". Face, by definition, is a term of endearment (note: It's somewhat possible that definition was made up by a friend). So by adding face to the end of nearly any insult, you immediately lighten it up and change it to a friendly insult. See how nice it sounds when you change lame to lame-o-face? The o isn't usually needed when you add face, it just makes this one flow better. Hopefully this has been educational for you. There are many more rules, but hey, let's just start with the basics. Now you're equipped to strengthen any friendship.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A weakness

All my life I've been taught you should make your weaknesses your strengths. No one ever told me how to do that though. I guess it's supposed to be one of those things you learn as you go through life. I'll let you in on a secret I discovered though. There are two ways to make weaknesses strengths. You could actually work on overcoming them and all that stuff, OR you can find a way to make your weaknesses look like strengths. That's the goal of this post. I've found recently I have a new weakness. I can't make what I do sound exciting, so either I need to think of a new way to describe my work/research, or I need to convince everyone out there that science, when described in a monotone, unexcited voice, with long drawn out details, is really cool!!! Please use a tone of voice for that last sentence that merits the three exclamation marks. You can use your really excited voice, your awestruck voice mixed with wonder and amazement, or you can use your cool voice, with undertones of rocking out.

Monotone science explanations are now cool. They're the new black (I don't know enough about fashion to actually know if that means something).

So let's look at the different parts of how I explain what I do. First off, I use a monotone voice. 'Mono' means one, and 'tone' is some how related to pitch or something like that. But what people don't realize is that there's a third thing to look at with this word. It has the word 'mon' in it, which is a cool Jamaican way of saying man. So what using a monotone voice means is that I only use a cool manly pitch when describing my work. That's good. It's kind of like listening to Arnold talk as the Terminator. Cool and manly.

There's no need for a caption here, but, since I'm one to belabor the point, let me again point out, science rocks. The more details the better, and if it's told in a sweet melodious monotone voice, even better!

And as for science itself, Webster's online dictionary uses these words, among others, to define science (note that the order of the words may have been rearranged to enhance readability): "Science: Something obtained through a physical sport." So that means talking science is normal, like talking sports. In fact, it's manly for guys, and cool for girls, just like talking sports, otherwise Webster wouldn't have put those words somewhere in the definition.

And let's not forget the old saying, "the devil is in the details". So going into the long drawn out details is like letting your rebellious nature come out. And everyone likes a rebel. So, as you can see, my descriptions of my work really are pretty awesome. Check that off for another weakness turned into a strength.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Foraging, the new manly

So, back in the old days, it was manly to be a hunter, and not so manly to forage around and gather berries and such. I mean, think about it. What could be more manly than taking a sharpened stick and tracking down viscous wild boar? Certainly not frolicking through the forest with a basket looking for raspberries while humming sweet little melodies to yourself. But now with today's modern grocery stores, things have changed. It is now more manly to forage than to hunt. How do I know that? Well, because I forage at stores, therefore, it obviously must be more manly.
Gathering and foraging in the old days was not very manly. The fuchsia border is supposed to help you understand that. Fuchsia is not a manly color. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

People who hunt in stores know exactly what they want. They have items in mind and they track them down. Us foragers are much more care free. We have no idea what we want, nor where it will be found, we just wander aimlessly, picking things here and there as they catch our eye. Usually large sale tags catch our eyes, but sometimes the random things like cherry flavored carrots just nag at your curiosity until you slip them into your cart. Some may claim that we just don't have a plan, but that's not true. Our plan is just so good, that it doesn't need to be thought about before hand. It just kind of happens.

A picture of today's modern forager. Tough, manly, and cool. There's nothing sissy or weak about this.

So here's the moral to the story: It's now manly to be a forager, however, it is still not manly to hum sweet little melodies to yourself.

Also, I've been forgetting to do this mention this, but my roommate started up a roommate blog where we each put a quote on it, and people vote through the week on which one they think we should put on our fridge. So far, in the two weeks it's been going, I've won once. Yeah, I know. That's good. Sadly things aren't looking so hot for week three, but I'll still be one for three...that's not bad. Feel free to check it out: I'm not allowed to tell people which quote is mine, but if you're really my friend, you should know, and should vote for it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A visit from the sister...!!!

So my sister came and visited me two weeks ago. It made me realize a couple of things, mainly that I don't know how to punctuate to show horror. For trailing off and sarcasm, I often use "...", for confusion I use "!?!??!", surprise "!!!", and such. What do you use for that horror tone of voice, accompanied by creepy music? I hope ...??? did it, because that's what I'm going for in the title.

Here's a picture of my sister and me. If you are thinking the letters on my side seem so much cooler than the letters on my sister's side, that's probably just the letters reflecting my much higher level of coolness. If you think the letters on my sister's side seem cooler, that means the hours and weeks I just spent playing with word art were wasted on you.

So the week with my sister here was pretty good. She's been in Japan of the last year and a half, thus the picture of us eating sushi (before that, she wasn't a seafood fan, like most in my family). Despite her long time in Japan, I was still able to finish my meal before her using chopsticks. She will claim it's because she was full and couldn't eat anymore, but that's like the slow kid who quit the race and said he felt like he had run far enough. Incidentally that kid would then go on to drop out of school. He would quit jobs on and off for the next 15 years until people would stop hiring him. Then he would join the foreign legion but quit that shortly after joining. They wouldn't take his desertion very well though, and eventually they would find him and put him into a prison camp for the rest of his life, where he would die hungry and alone. Just an interesting little story I heard once.
I should have realized a younger sister's visit could be as dangerous as a nuclear explosion. Despite the fact that I've always done those good older brother things (You know, protecting her from bullies, helping her with homework, picking her up when she fell), I fear she may have spread rumors while she was up here, and for all I know is now spreading rumors to the rest of my family. I think she gets this from my older brother, who loves to spread all sorts of rumors. It took me a while to realize why my mom seemed very concerned for me when I first moved to Michigan. It turns out my brother was having a blast spreading rumors to her that I was depressed...

So yeah, sister came, we did fun things, and I of course was a good older brother, meaning I'm sure I was very encouraging of everything she did, and I showed great restraint and didn't tease her in the slightest. Yup, I showed great restraint...only letting a few things here and there possibly slip out...but very small, modest teasings...nothing too big. Well, for the most part.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm not dead

Well...blogging hasn't been happening much lately, but don't worry, I'm not dead. At least I don't think I am. I don't have any of the symptoms (lack of breathing, no pulse, cold skin, inability to move, etc.) Each week that I haven't posted, I have at least started entries. One I didn't finish, then the other I didn't like so I spared you...not to mention I didn't finish it either. Things have been busy, though not too stressful...I think. Sometimes it's hard to tell busy and stressful apart. They're like friends that hang out around each other too long so they start acting like each other and almost seem the same.

Well, this was a convenient find. I was getting ready to go through the grueling task of editing a picture of a tombstone to say what I wanted. I was unhappy about the time it was going to take, and grumbling quite angrily to myself, when I stumbled on this site that puts the text in for you. It's a blogging miracle!

This blog post is going to be short. The main idea is to get something up so that rumors don't spread about me being either dead, or having fled the country for some criminal act. Don't worry though, I'll make up for it with a teaser for the next blog post.

Doesn't this raise the anticipation for the next blog post? Is it going to be funny, or serious...or scary (given the title, scary is probably a good guess)? Are you so excited, you won't be able to eat nor sleep until it comes? In case that's true, I'll try and get it up this hang in there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Written Sunday, posted Tuesday...why is that? Read to find out!

Sometimes I've sat in class and thought: If society collapsed tomorrow, none of this would help me. Who cares about thermodynamics when the human race is on the brink of extinction? What I would really need would be survival skills. Or at least some useful skills that would make a tribe leader think I was important enough to keep around and feed. Needless to say, these kind of thoughts made many of my chemical engineering classes seem pointless. Now I've veered away from chemical engineering and my studyies are more focused on steel. Now that's useful. If I could make steel, everyone would think I was useful, they would definitely keep me around and not abandon me in the terrible wastelands that would be left after society collapses. This has been a big motivator to work hard in my classes and studies now. The only problem is, no one has actually taught me how to make steel in the real world. I may need to do some outside research...I mean, do I just find some red rocks and throw them in a fire, and out comes iron? I don't think so. But I don't know.

Here it is. This picture single handedly delayed this post from going up until today. The entire post was written, and the other picture was done on Sunday, but I couldn't decide what to do for this first picture. I searched online for images of ruined wastelands...but a rare fit of guilt at randomly stealing other people's pictures for my own puroposes, no matter how great and noble those purposes might be, suddenly kicked in. I have shamelessly stolen bits and pieces of other people's pictures (and sometimes the whole thing) numerous times. I'm not sure what happened. But it did, and I had to create my own ruined wasteland. So I searched through my pictures, found this one, edited it, and put it up. I guess I'll put the original below so you can see some of the wonderful ways paint can edit pictures (though technically the color changing was done in some other program that is on my computer). But the point is, this is what the world could look like tomorrow. Are your classes preparing you for it?

Speaking of classes, school's going pretty well for me, despite great obstacles and opposition. And by that I mean I'm doing fine, but you always hear those stories of people overcoming great odds to do something. That makes me feel like I should be doing something more, since I don't really have any huge setbacks (When I was young, I once went on a shopping trip with my mom and sisters that lasted for many, many hours. That nearly killed me...but I feel like it's just not quite the same as some of the obstacles other people overcome). So rather than work harder and do more, I decided I would invent difficulties in my life, so my meager accomplishments would look like huge triumphs of the human spirit. Maybe someday I'll go into more detail about these huge obstacles I face on a daily bases. You know, the type of obstacles that would make a lesser man give up and surrender to the bleak realities of a stark and cold future that surely awaits him. But for today I thought I would just go on vaguely about what's going on in my life for the people that care (I know you're out least one or two of you...if all else fails, I'll call my mom and make her read this. She has to pretend to care.)

This is what I claim my life to be like. Well..understanding that the lightning, pit of vipers, torrential downpour, and deadly briar patch are symbolic for the many grueling hardships that I face on my journey. Don't worry though, as hard as my life might be, I continue pushing on and making meager accomplishments, despite the metaphorical (and possibly literal) pits of vipers that I must face.

This weeks been pretty good. I learned some interesting things. One, playing a mobster card game (Family business) the night before Valentine's day, makes for a different sort of Valentine's day. I don't think I've ever been wished "happy Valentine's day...massacre!" so many times before. Nor have I ever seen so many red and pink cards with veiled...or not so veiled...threats on them. Secondly, I've learned...well...actually, that may be it. I try not to overload my weeks with too much learning. In other news, my younger sister got back from Japan this last week, after having been there for a year and a half. It's exciting to have her back...but lest you think I'm actually a good older brother, I should probably point out, this sister has always been pretty easy to tease...and teasing by email just isn't quite the same. While she's been gone, I've had to up the teasing on all other sisters quite a bit to make up for her absence.

Monday, February 9, 2009

If I had a million dollars...or more!

You know the song "If I had a million dollars"? I've been thinking seriously about that lately (as seriously as I think about anything in life). What if I did have a million dollars? Probably, I wouldn't buy you a house, like the song says. Sorry. I don't know how many people read this, but if I bought each one of you a house, I'd lose my million dollars pretty quickly. Maybe I'd buy you a hat or something. This got me thinking though. What if I had a billion dollars? Then maybe I would buy you a house. But just one, for all of you. You'd have to work out amongst yourselves how you were going to share it. But what else would I do with the left over money? There's all sorts of things I could do with a billion dollars. I made a pretty good sized list of what I would do with a billion dollars, here's some examples.

1. Eat at a buffet everyday.
57. Get it all changed into coins, and store it in a money bin that was roughly the size of a large sky scraper.
91. Buy an island and make my own country (I'm not sure how that works, but if I had a billion dollars, I could pay someone to find out).

I could do all sorts of things with a billion dollars. I could buy servants, friends, and much, much, more! Yup, owning a billion dollars would be the best...or would it?

This should be roughly a million dollars. Not that I counted. When you have this much money, you pay someone else to count your money. But you need to watch them to make sure they don't steal any. Not that you watch them though. When you have this much money, you pay someone to watch the guy you paid to count your money. You may even want the second guy watched too. Just in case.

What if I ruled the world? Now that would be something. I'd be a benevolent first. Then power would definitely corrupt me. You know the drill, I'd probably throw my sons in prison (this assumes in the future I have sons) because I'd be worried they would try and take my throne (solid gold by the way, very ornate, lots of precious stones, and plenty of platinum and silver worked into it in nice little spiral designs). Towards the end, I wouldn't want to die, so I'd start forcing all the scientists in the world to find a way to make me live forever. Then I would get angry when they told me it wasn't possible, and I would make a decree that as soon as I died, the world would end. I'd have some sort of switch hooked up so that when my life ended, nuclear warheads would go off in the center of the earth or something. That would encourage the scientists to work harder. Then, as I got older and there was still no hope of not dying, people would start coming out to save the world. You know, like Harrison Ford, Will Smith, and other world saving people that we see in the movies. I would win though, because I've seen the movies, and because I rule the world and have many billions of dollars by this point. By the end though, I would realize the errors of my ways, and not want to destroy the world. On my death bed, I would tell my advisor (who would not be the typical evil advisor trying to supplant me) the code to disarm the bombs. Unfortunately, my change of heart may not come quickly enough. As I finish telling him, and he runs to the control panel to type it in, I would probably pass away. Would the world be saved? Who knows. The only way we're going to find out is to make me the ruler of the world and see how it plays out. So next time we get together to decide who should rule to world, pick me, and we'll solve this mystery.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Orange juice isn't sleep, and other disappointing realities

This past week I've had the great blessing to be able to work overnight shifts in the lab. Please note the usage of the phrase "great blessing". It's meant to cause jealousy in others who didn't get this same opportunity, while at the same time hide the fact that I may or may not have been really excited to do this. So it turns out, not getting enough sleep can make you feel sick. But drinking orange juice can help stop you from getting sick. To me, it seemed obvious that this means that orange juice can replace sleep. Not so. Despite drinking a fair amount of orange juice the first night, I still felt pretty groggy towards the end, and somewhat sickish, until I got a pretty serious nap in. So it turns out, orange juice is not a good substitute for sleep. Don't trust me on this though, feel free to test this out yourself. I know I was shocked to learn this.

Orange juice, it supposedly does the body good. But apparently it's not a sleep substitute...very disappointing...see if I ever drink it again.

Did you know socks don't last forever? It's sad, but true. It seems like they should, I mean, it's not like you grow out of socks, they're not quite one size fits all, but they're close enough. But it turns out, socks wear out. Just one of those cold, dark realities of life. I've been faced by this recently, when I started realizing more and more of my socks had holes in them. I would put my socks on in the morning, note that one had a hole in it, and make a mental note to throw it away later (it was too late to throw it away at this point, obviously. I was already wearing it). Sometimes I remembered, more often than not I forgot. Eventually it seemed to always happen, and I had to go and buy new socks. Sad, but true. Don't worry though, Kroger carries socks, very high quality brands I'm sure. While I've accepted the fact they don't last forever, I'm hoping to at least get 25 years out of them.

I realized that a lot times I put the pictures before the paragraph they pertain to. I like to think it builds up suspense for the next paragraph. What could the last disappointing reality be? Is it about the chicken? Maybe the playing cards. Probably not the very tough looking hand, that obviously belongs to a very tough man...probably,,,

And the last disappointing reality that we must face in life from time to time is that forks can't cut everything. I'm not much of a knife user, I definitely prefer just to use the side of the fork to cut off whatever I want. And it works most of the time. Sometimes though, you have to break down and actually use a knife. I guess that's why it was invented...people eventually realized that forks just couldn't cut through everything. Secretly I'm not sure if it's socially acceptable to cut food with your fork, or if you're always supposed to use the knife. I like to think it is...if it isn't, don't tell me. Ignorance is, in reality, bliss. Ignorance will never be on my disappointing realities list.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My life is one filled with danger.

Starting a couple of months ago, I realized I was taking my life in my hands every morning when I left my home. There's lots of reasons for this, I'm sure. The world is a perilous place. Healthier, stronger men than me probably die every day. Sickness and famine abound. Wars and terrorist attacks are not unheard of. Crimes of all natures occur. Crocodiles have been known to attack people. But these aren't what worry me when I set foot outside the door (well...with the possible exception of the crocodiles...have you seen a crocodile attack on TV? It quickly rose to the animal I'm the most afraid of, even passing great white sharks, which were high up there after shark week on the discovery channel.) What worries me, as I set foot outside, are giant icicles. Seriously.

This is a picture, taken today, of the door I walk out every day to face the world.

Out side my apartment were some of the largest, deadliest looking icicles known to man. I was literally risking my life every time I moved about a foot outside of the entryway into my apartment. I say was in the past tense, because apparently it got to be serious enough, that the apartment people must have come by and knocked them off. All entrances in the complex suddenly had no icicles one day. So unless they all fell at once, they must have been removed on purpose. And had they all fallen at once just by chance, I'm sure I would have heard about the 10 or so deaths that it would have caused.

Sadly I have no pictures of the door before the icicles were knocked down. This is an artist's (using the word loosely) rendition of what it had looked like.

At first I was glad that my life was safer and I no longer feared death when walking through the doors. But at the same time, I felt an emptiness without the icicles there. That sense of adventure every morning and evening as I wondered "Will this be the day an icicle falls on me and ends my life?" Also, my roommates and I would use the icicles as a show of bravery. Whoever could stand under them the longest was the more courageous. It's intense to know that any second you could die, and you only had to take a step forward or backwards to be safe, but to do so would show cowardice and intelligence, two things we try our best to avoid. It worked out well for deciding who's turn it was to wash the dishes. Whoever moved first had to go up and clean them. Well...maybe we never played these games, but I'm sure we would have started if they hadn't knocked them down. So farewell icicles, now that your gone, I can walk out the door and worry about my lesser fears of war, crime, and crocodiles.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Warning: Thief at large

So, I realized I must have been robbed within the last two weeks. What was robbed? Not valuables like diamond necklaces, expensive watches, priceless ancient urns. Not family members (that would be classified as kidnapping, I think it's different than stealing). Not even something less valuable like my wallet (which I keep traditionally empty...a tradition I've had for as long as I can remember...maybe someday it will change). No, what was stolen is hard to put a price to. It's like trying to attach value to a sunrise, or shaking the president's hand, or beating your arch-rival in some sort of daring feat of strength. Someone, or something, has been stealing time from me.

This is from a birthday party I went to a week ago. Could the thief be one of my "friends" Hmmm.....everyone's a suspect.

Now the thief, as most are, is very sneaky about it. It's not like I'm watching the clock, and suddenly it jumps forward 5 hours. But I've noticed my time just doesn't seem to always be there when I want it. And, despite what some may think, it is definitely not because I am wasting and squandering it all. No, it is definitely being stolen. Take last week for example. Sunday is typically my blogging day. And yet, before I realized it, Sunday was gone and blogging time hadn't come. The thief stole blogging time! The only thing worse than that is to steal meal time...and that is serious enough of a crime, even the most morally corrupt, lawless, evil, hateful thief will not go as far as to steal it.

I'm pretty confident in my thief catching skills. I mean, I just watched Batman, The Movie yesterday. You've got to learn from the best, and let's be serious, 1966 Batman and Robin were obviously the best thief catchers out there...whether the villains were stealing time, or dehydrating world leaders, Batman and Robin caught them in the end.

That's not all, every day it seems the thief has been slowly sapping away my time. Days have flown by, I think with only 18 hours in them. I'm pretty sure I only had 5.3 days in the week last week. I worry the thief will only get more ambitious the longer this goes on. Someday soon I may wake up to realize I've lost years of time. Any information that leads to the capture of this thief, may possibly kinda almost be rewarded. So let me know if you've heard of any suspicious characters lurking around.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Traveling for the holidays

It seems like I've been hearing about exciting travel stories from a bunch of different people. Well, exciting could mean frustrating here, as most the stories are about delayed/missed/canceled flights, but that could be thought of as exciting. I didn't actually have an exciting holiday traveling story, but if I did, here's how it probably would have happened.

The day started like any other. The sun rose, the wind blew. In the distance, the wild turkeys could be heard making turkey sounds. Nothing could have prepared me for the grueling journey on which I was about to embark.

Thursday Jan. 1st, 2009. 4 a.m., China Spring, Texas.

Woke up, loaded bags into vehicle for transportation to the Dallas Airport. Loaded self into vehicle for same purpose. Removed self from vehicle in order to go find someone to drive me so I wasn't awkwardly sitting alone in the passenger seat of the car. Went to Dallas airport, checked into flight, waited at gate C 24.

Thursday Jan. 1st, 2009. 8 a.m., Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Listened to announcement declaring my plane unfit for travel. Transferred to a different plane at gate E 38. Got on plane two hours later than original departure time. Promptly fell asleep.

Thursday Jan. 1st, 2009. 3 p.m., Cairo, Egypt.

Woke up from unusually sound sleep. Plane was unloading. Got off. Looked around. Became confused. Looked around again. Confusion increased 8 fold. Talked with flight attendant. Became apparent that I transferred to the wrong flight. Instead of a layover in Philadelphia, I was in Egypt. Confusion was replaced by fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety were replaced by hunger and sleepiness. Was informed I needed to purchase a ticket back to the U.S. They did not accept Visa. Realized I could not but a ticket. Decided to walk back. Struck out across the desert.

At first I was intimidated by the vastness of the desert. Then I realized, it wasn't the vastness that killed people traveling across. It was was the vastness, the heat, the lack of water, the venomous wildlife, and the marauders that killed travelers. No long intimidated by just the vastness, I struck out for home.

Thursday Jan. 1st, 2009. 7 p.m., Egypt and surrounding countries.

Discovered a lost pyramid during my travels. Excavated it from the hot, burning sand with my bare hands. Found interesting artifacts. Carried them out. Donated them to a museum on my way back to Detroit. Bought lotion for my hands to help soothe the burning pain from the sand digging. Very quickly ran through the countries of Libya, Algeria and Morocco.

Thursday Jan. 1st, 2009. 9 p.m., Atlantic Ocean

Constructed makeshift raft from drift wood, fishing line, and an old sock. Rode quickly across ocean, carried by the winds of a hurricane. Made good time. Nearly eaten by shark north of Haiti. Ate shark instead. Rode winds north to the shores of Connecticut.

Thursday Jan 1st, 2009. 10:00 p.m., Eastern United States.

Sold raft for 50 dollars. Used money to take a taxi as far as the eastern shore of Lake Eerie. Started to swim. Halfway across the lake, wished I had kept the raft. Finished swimming just south of Detroit.

Thursday Jan 1st, 2009. 10:30 p.m., Detroit

Walked the rest of the way to Detroit. Got there 20 minutes later than I had originally planned. Picked up my suitcase from the baggage claim. Found my ride was still waiting for me. Got in car, rode back to Ann Arbor. Trip completed.

Here's the map showing my trip. As I was drawing the dotted lines, I hummed the Indiana Jones music. You should also hum it while you look at the map, if you didn't, you should start humming it now, and look at the map again.

And that's my story of how I went from my parent's house near Waco, TX, back to Ann Arbor, MI where I am currently sitting and writing this blog post.