Tuesday, August 30, 2005

In the beginning…

Often times, nobody on the street stops me and asks how I got started in this crazy blog business. I often feel obliged to reply though. It is a tale far less harrowing than you might think, but I feel at this point in my career, I owe it to my readers to explain how this utterly pathetic blog raised itself to almost complete mediocrity in a mostly unreasonable amount of time.

Hard as it is to believe, there was a time in the Shuck N Jive history when nobody commented. No, not even myself. While I make no great claims to be above that kind of behavior, the fact is, the thought just never occurred to me that I could create pseudonyms and carry on largely uninteresting comment conversations with myself. These are the types of things we learn in hindsight. The truth of my life is often far less interesting than the fiction of it. The truth is, I started the blog with no intention of telling anyone about it, and I was to wait and see what fate would make of it. I find it’s best in these types of situations to just let fate take a crack at it, then if fate sucks, I can always step in and show fate a thing or two about how to suck at stuff.

Well, as fate would have it, I received my first comment from Jack Safety. I had only been blogging for a couple of weeks, but it sure felt like it had been several weeks. Up until that point, I had not truly grasped the power of comments. I had seen them elsewhere, mocked them in my head but had yet to do any commenting of my own. Shortly after replying to my first comment, I had an epiphany: What if I went out and actually commented on other blogs? I was pretty sure no one in the history of western civilization had ever even considered thinking about such a thing, but why would they, blogging has only been around for like a couple months, right? I knew I was on to something big. Probably the biggest and most profoundly important thing in the world, so I didn’t want to screw it up. I knew that I had to comment, but where, and how?

Legend has it that there was once a great blog about an intern in New York. So great was his blog that it was linked on the blogger home page and I can only imagine it garnered as many as 2 or 3 hits a day. (well above my meager totals of –21,365,468,161. That’s right, I was actually negatively page loading the internet and consequently making the internet shrink unnecessarily.) People would visit this great blog and glow in it’s majesty. Of the few lucky ones to be linked on this great and wondrous blog was the lovely Jasmine. (however, at this time she was not yet known far and wide for her glorious rack.) Through the intern, many came to play with Jasmine. I was not one of them. Though it was naturally assumed, in fact, my path to Jasmine was much more fateful. As is my want to do, I kept clicking “next blog” up in the top right corner, passing through the insurance ads and the foreign languages I had no chance of understanding (hard to do, I know. Much as I’d like to say I understand Sanskrit, truth is, I just don’t. What can I say? I had a below average kindergarten teacher.). I clicked away until I landed upon a long list. My first “100 things” list I had come across on a blog. The magnitude of it sucked me in. I read, I laughed, I cried, I drank some Gatorade, I read some more, I took a nap, I read some more, I resurfaced the driveway, I read some more, I planted some tomato plants, cared for them, nurtured them to full adult hood, enjoyed their bountiful fruits, and eventually I finished reading the list. It was a long list. (The true irony of it all is that Jasmine is notorious for complaining about the length of my posts. Can you say, “hypocrite?” I can, only I pronounce it, “Jasmine.” (at this point I’m hoping Jasmine knows I love her and that I’m only kidding, but should I die in my sleep tonight, we’ll all know that I had it coming.))

Um…. Where the heck was I? Oh yeah, so after finishing that enormous list, I notice that 5 separate and distinct people had taken the time out of their day to say things to Jasmine. Mostly regarding her post. I couldn’t help myself. (I often can’t.) So I read the comments. Having read them, I felt like I had nothing valid to say, so I decided to instead just make fun of the comments themselves. (it was really just the first comment that made me want to do it, but then I didn’t want to leave anyone out.) What transpired is now Shuck N Jive lore. I’ll let it speak for itself. Click here to be bored by yet another instance of my under-whelming maturity. For this reason, and also because Jasmine’s hellfire was not thrust upon me, she has now officially been elected into the Shuck N Jive Hall of Fame and also her ninja call sign has been changed for reasons I cannot explain at this time. It has also been retired and bronzed and some other cool stuff too. (this time though, it’s not that I don’t have any totally sweet pictures of everything, I do, I got loads of them, big, giant, truck loads of them. It’s just that we decided that no media be allowed inside those hallowed halls, so no one gets to see. Except those that have been elected. So, you know, get elected or something… good luck with that.)

That was the first, but certainly not the last, time I made an ass out of myself in the blog world. In spite of that, I somehow managed to make a few friends. Now I have links of my own on the right and I can honestly say that each and every one of those blogs are worth reading, plus their authors comment a plenty on my blog. That’s part of the deal too. I don’t link otherwise. I’m too lazy. Don’t think you can comment once and then get linked. Not going to happen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My First Milestone…

…worth mentioning. I’ve hit several milestones along the way, but up until now, none of them were worth mentioning. I mean, does anyone really care that my blog single handedly ended the thirty year civil war that plagued Konshciszistan? I certainly didn’t. Or maybe when I cracked the 100 spam comments in a 24 hour period… hardly something to be proud of.

No, we are here today to honor one of the Shuck N Jive’s 37 commentators. The milestone that was reached quite recently, in spite of the fact that many critics said the blog would fold in the first month due to its utter lack of anything worth reading, is the 500th comment. That’s right, 500 times someone other than myself was unable to restrain themselves and inwardly motivated to leave a comment that was 10 times more interesting than the actual post it was commenting on. (I had to remove myself from the count because otherwise we would be celebrating the 40,000th comment right now. Seriously, I think I have comment Tourrete’s )

This commentator has been here from the start. In fact, according to my records, their first comment was made on 3/2/04. Now, for those of you who are thinking, “But Jon… you didn’t start blogging until March of ’05?” Well, that’s what makes this commentator so special. They were commenting almost a year before I even HAD a blog. That’s dedication. And I refuse to believe that it's simply a time stamp error by a rogue email server. No, that's just not possible. I believe whole heartedly that this commentator was simply well ahead of their time. After crunching the numbers, I found that this person makes up 28% of all the non-me comments. No one else is even close.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the 500th comment came from the lovely and talented Cadiz 12. And given the aforementioned statistics… it really isn’t a surprise. (Seriously, you might think that you comment a lot, but you got nothing on Cadiz… trust me. She practically doubles up the next closest person to her. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed by that. There’s a reason she’s been inducted into the Hall.)

So Cadiz 12, we here at the Shuck N Jive institute solute you and your efforts and look forward to more of the same!

Given your heavy hitter status, The Green Ninja moniker will be forever retired and will never be worn by another blogger. A bronzed Green Ninja statuette will be placed in the Shuck N Jive Hall of Fame along with a with a short 5 hour movie detailing the growth and comments of Cadiz 12.

(at this point, were I a skilled magician of some sort, there would be a sweet graphic photo here of all kinds of Cadiz 12 Hall of Fame type stuff, but what do you think this is? omarphillips.net? No sir, no bandaids required here, we aren’t that cutting edge.)

I apologize for the brevity of this post, but it was mostly unplanned.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Waste of Time in Two Convoluted Parts

Part 1.

Ok, so this is going to sound so cliché, but I was abducted by aliens the other day and when they finally let me go, a freaking dog ate my blog post!! Can you believe that? I mean, what are the odds? I didn’t even write out my post on a piece of paper or anything, and the dog still somehow managed to ingest it. I tell you, science today… amazing.

So back to the aliens… a little over a week ago, like say, the day after my last post? Yeah, that sounds good. The day after my last post, I’m out for my evening constitutional, right? I mean, this fabulous 5’6” 120 lbs body doesn’t just happen on it’s own*, I kind of almost have to think about it a little to maintain my boyish figure. So I’m out walking right, and I could just feel the alien ship hovering behind me, and I thought, “just don’t look back, if you make eye contact, they’ll think you’re interested, just keep your head down and pick up the pace.” It was at this point in time that I wished I hadn’t brought the megaphone with me and decided to do an outer monologue for the rest of the neighborhood to hear because the aliens obviously heard it too. Why did I turn the volume up to 10? I still don’t know the answer to that question.

After a serious of awkward moments where I tried to avoid eye contact and just step around the aliens, they finally “wrangled me up” as they put it. They put me in a room with some equipment and I just rolled my eyes. How many times can they do this whole probing thing I said to myself. I decided to ask the obvious, “So are you guys going to like, probe me and stuff?” When they said no I was more than just a little shocked. I was offended. “What, I’m not good enough for you to probe? You don’t think I have valuable information hidden within my pancreas?” They just shook their heads and said they were tired of that nonsense. Instead they had prepared a questionnaire for me to answer. The room was full of recording equipment. As a glanced around the room a second time, I couldn’t believe I thought they were going to probe me with an 8 track. Or that they could even use an 8 track to record me with. These aliens were indeed good with the electronics. Especially the out of date unpopular electronics…

I was starting to feel better about this whole abduction thing, and then they started in with the questions… I don’t remember anything beyond the first question. All they said was, “Do you feel like you have a lot of stress in your life?” My heart sank… what have I gotten myself into I thought. These aliens were Scientologists. There was no doubt about it. That giant poster** of Tom Cruise hanging on the wall should have been a dead give away, but I’ve never been known for my astute observations.

I started giving the least stressful answers I could to every question so I could get out of there as soon as possible. They kept assuring me that this little survey was completely free of charge, but I was having none of it, I just wanted to get out of there. Finally I just told them that I thought Scientology was bunk and that horticulture was where it was at. That confused them long enough for me to make a quick exit.

Once I got of the ship, the sense of relief was great, however, it was fairly short lived. Any time you encounter a dog that has the ability to eat objects of yours that don’t actually exist in the physical world, you know you’re in for a bad day. I thought that look of satisfaction on the dogs face was both odd and out of place as he passed by, but when I got home and realized what had happened, that this dog had actually eaten my post, I wept a great deal. I’m not too proud to admit that. I’m a crier, that’s just how it is. A kid hits me square in the eye with a tomato from the back of the room, I cry. When a dog eats a blog post from my computer through telekinetic digital powers, I cry. When Ed and Carol finally got together on ED, well, 3 full boxes of tissues, that’s all I’m saying.

Ok, I’m going to go cry now.

Part 2.

There’s a few other things I’d like to discuss at this point in time, but I was totally unable to fit them into any normal part of the blog***.

Item number 1. The Tragedy of the House of Duke.

Does anyone else see the tragedy in three cousins living with their uncle? We have a lot of mothers absent from the picture. Was this normal in Hazzard? What kind of effects does moonshine really have? It seems to me that these folks are pretty happy considering there’s a well above average chance that there is an awful lot of death or deserting in that family.

Also on a DoH note, I did of course see the movie. In fact, I saw it opening night… by myself. If you are a fan of the show, the movie makes almost no effort whatsoever to be like the show. It should really be taken as a separate entity. I cannot recommend that anyone go see it unless they want to see some kick ass car stunts. They were pretty solid in my opinion, and they made it worth it for me. Only the General Lee remains true to the original from the TV show. Luckily for me that was my favorite character. I did a few highly unnecessary E-Break slides on the way home from the theater. I love it when a movie pumps me up like that.

Item number 2. Working sucks.

I’ve decided that work is just too time consuming. I’m going to petition for a 3 day work week and 4 day weekends all year round. The fact of the matter is, computers have made us faster. Quite simply, we can get more done in one day than we used to. And I say that rather than do more work, we do the same amount of work in less time and use the free time for relaxing and badminton. I’ll need as much support as I can get on this one guys, so don’t be a wimp, sign my petition several times under various names. Try and mix up the ink you use too, you know, make it look legit. I think I’m going to need approximately 7 billion signatures to pull this off, so if each of my readers can come up with a little over 3 billion signatures each, we should be golden.

Item number 3. Milestones.

Well, I’ve got a few milestones**** coming up. After only 6 months of slightly below average service, I’m about to hit 100 visitors. I know, pretty impressive. That is topped only by the milestone of using asterisks for the very first time. That milestone is actually being bronzed and displayed in the Shuck N Jive Hall of Fame. Right next to a picture of me eating some donuts. Some say the Hall is a weak exhibit, I say, give it some time and I’ll show you how much it can really suck.

Well that about wraps it up for this post. Thanks for joining us and I hope to see you again soon. Any bets on how long it’ll be before my next post? I’ll put the line at 8 days…

*Yeah, actually it does. I’m a genetic freak. I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want and it has no effect on me. I sit at a desk all day too, and I don’t exercise. I know, I hate me too.

** Seriously, this thing was like several stories high. It was a big room. I was the size of one of Tom’s crooked teeth. (it was clearly an older picture)

*** Normal part of the blog??? Have I lost my mind. Indeed. Basically this would be more accurately translated as, “stuff I just want to say but don’t want to make up much of an elaborate back story for.”

**** Not really, I’m just trying to make myself feel more important. These milestones pale in comparison to the true geniuses out there. All of which are linked on the right side there under ninjas.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Chronicles of Lancelot Phillip Tragglethorp the Eighth

Ok, so I have nothing to back that title up. I just like the way it sounds. Maybe one day I’ll write something that all the Shuck N Jive scholars will look back on one day and say, “Yes, you can see it quite clearly in this work here, it was most definitely the beginning of the end.” Then again, perhaps I overestimate myself… perhaps that day passed many moons ago, or as I like to say, three posts ago. For all I know, I’ve jumped the shark backwards, forwards, with one leg and even once while balancing a tray of fine exotic china on the tip of my nose… I’ll have to go back and watch the reruns to be sure.

It now occurs to me that I have done little if anything to answer the questions of why I’m blogging so little these days. Fortunately, I have a solution to that problem as I don’t really care to address it.

Begin distraction…

Ok, at this point in time, there should be a clown juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle just behind you… no, on your left… yeah, that’s him, right there. Ok, first, try and figure out how I managed to do that… the logistics alone should have you contemplating it for hours. I mean, did I really hire 3 separate chainsaw juggling clowns to stalk all of my readers until they accidentally stumbled across my blog again? You just don’t know, do you? And that’s why they call it magic my friends. Second, those are freaking 5 hp chainsaws! How in the blazes did they sneak up on you like that? Are you really that absent minded? I hope not. I’m sans mind right now, and too many people like that in connection can only lead to bad things. Things like walkie talkie cell phones… seriously, it was bad enough when I had to hear only half the conversation, but now that I’m privy to all of it, I’m positive I didn’t need to hear it at all.

So what were we talking about? Oh yeah, what a superb blogger I am and how much everyone wishes they were me. Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite blog topics.

Today lets explore how I manage to turn paragraph after paragraph of absolute drivel into a mildly readable (at a 2nd grade level of course) post. It’s really a lot simpler than you might imagine. First, I take my monitor and turn it upside down. This completely disorients me and makes it hard for me to clearly see what I’m typing. This allows me to misuse words, not punctuate things properly and in general improves the over all coherence level of my otherwise nonsensical gibberish. Once I’ve successfully mashed the keys on the keyboard for a good 25 to 35 minutes, my masterpiece is completely finished. No need to edit or proof read as that would only impinge upon the artistic integrity that I hold so dear.

Well that was quick… seems as though I’ve still got some time here to fill. Well let’s catch you up on what’s going on in my world. As you may know, I’m an avid slow pitch softball player. I’ll let this little story here tell you what kind of a player I am. I was on first base after cranking out yet another one of my trademark line drive base hits. The batter behind me hit the ball hard, but right at the shortstop. I had taken a few leadoff steps and was walking back to the bag after the catch. I did not see the shortstop rifle the ball to the waiting first baseman, and thus I was doubled up for the third out of the inning. Their shortstop was a girl. And while most guys may have found this to be humiliating, I found it sexy as hell. Sadly though, that is not where my softball stories end. I have noticed an increasing amount of pain in my shoulder when I throw the ball. So much though that I have scheduled and appointment with my doctor to have it checked out. For those of you that remember the horrific bruising from when I tore my hamstring, and also remember that that did not make me go to a doctor, then you may know how seriously I take this injury. Let’s not kid ourselves though, I have not stopped playing just because I may have a torn rotator cuff. I am not a sissy, and more importantly, I am an idiot, so really, it makes perfect sense.

Aside from that, moving back home to my parent’s house has reunited me with a lost love. I have a mini basketball hoop like you might find in an arcade. It has electronic scoring and everything. You get a 30 second clock. First 20 seconds each shot is worth 2 points, last 10 seconds shots are worth 3 points. It comes with 3 mini basketballs. My sister likes to play against me and we have developed several different categories. There is the traditional 3 ball game, and we also play a 2 ball game and a 1 ball game. I currently hold the house record for 1 ball with 36 points, 2 ball with 54 points and 3 ball with 66 points. The average 3 ball score is around 40 points. We also play a game called rafter ball, wherein we shoot the ball over the rafters in the garage and into the hoop. I think the high game on that one is like 12 points. It’s not easy. We also differentiate between right hand and left hand. Left handed (I’m a natural righty) rafterball is not for the squeamish.

Ok, let’s see what those critics over at the Times have to say about this post…