Friday, November 30, 2007

It's ok, I'm not even reading this anymore either.

It’s not that I’m against smoking in restaurants; I’m just against being around smoke while I’m in a restaurant.

I am not a fan of smoke, there’s no question about that. I do understand not wanting to be told what to do. I do understand wanting to have a choice. But what I don’t understand is why the choice of non-smokers doesn’t matter? When you light up in my presence, my choice not to smoke is completely invalidated. It hurts my feelings.

If we’re going to have smoking sections in restaurants, then they need to be better separated. I’m from California, where all indoor smoking is banned. I’m spoiled over there and I know it. Right now, I’m visiting an area of the country where such bans do not yet exist. Their idea of smoking sections = this table isn’t, the table right next to it is. That means that pretty much the whole restaurant is a smoking restaurant.

Why not give them there own separate room with a nice air dam to seal in the smoke? I would support that. Why give me a headache and take away my ability to taste food? Am I really asking too much?

Also, could I possibly have a better topic for tomorrow’s post? That might be asking too much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ohio encourages poor judgment

I don’t currently own a chain of successful restaurants. This is a gross oversight on my part. I hope to correct this sometime in the future. When I do, you can be sure of a few things:

I will always serve fresh, delicious food.

I will require my employees to wash their hands excessively.

I will never choose to name my restaurant in a confusing manner.

This is a restaurant I will never own.

Look, all I’m saying is Park first, Eat second… seems a bit more logical to me. I don't care if it is the best breakfast in Cleve at special prices!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Spice up your life

Let’s talk about being stupid and eating things just to prove you’re not a sissy. Scotch Bonnet peppers are the item of the day. They rank fairly high on the Scoville heat rating scale. For a quick reference point, a jalapeno pepper rates somewhere between 2,500 and 8,000 on the scale. A Scotch Bonnet lands somewhere between 100,000 and 350,000 on that same scale. For the sake of my ego and legend, I’m going to pretend that I hit the top end of that rating system.

The worst part of trying to prove you’re not a sissy is that you can’t complain at all when you screw up and eat something that burns you from the inside out. On the plus side however, if you’re having trouble producing excessive amounts of mucus, or perhaps there’s not enough deep red in your complexion, those issues will be resolved by eating just one Scotch Bonnet pepper.

I now have a chemical burn in my mouth and I can’t even complain about it. You’d think that after awhile you’d get used to the pain, but not so much. In fact, it only seems to be getting worse. You’ll have to excuse any spelling errors in this post as I cannot see that well right now. The tears I’m holding back are not from the pepper though, they are from the loss of my soul, which I granted freedom from the hellfire within me now shortly after I swallowed that pepper. I’m hoping for some massive good karma based solely on that move. Of course, I realize the irony of building up karma for a soul I no longer possess…

At this point, my biggest complaint would be that the super market where this pepper was purchased did little if anything to help the average, ignorant customer. They separated the peppers into three categories: Mild, medium and hot. That’s all well and good, but there’s a pretty big difference between a jalapeno pepper and a scotch bonnet pepper. Were it not for the very well informed, leather clad biker (seriously, I make a lot of stuff up, but I’m not making that up.) that knew the names of all the peppers, I could have easily confused this cute little orange guy with having a harmless nature. How hard would it be to put up a little name card with a picture of a skull and cross bones next to these guys?

Somebody kill me. Kill me now.

God help me...


Then I got lost in Ohio.

None of this matters though. Right now, I need everyone in the country to focus on one singular goal: Carson Daly needs to be taken off the air.

Look, I know there’s a writers strike going on right now, and I fully support the writers, but at the same time, something needs to be done about this. I’m smart enough not to watch, but there are others out there that don’t have a choice. Please, help me get this show off the air.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I may have exaggerated slightly before when I said that I was going to take a trip around the world. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I’m taking a round-trip in the world, but that I will only be going to the Midwest.

Chicago is the first stop. It’s cold. Ohio will be the next stop. I hear it’s cold there too. Already I’m feeling like my travel agent screwed me. To be fair, I said I had a limited travel budget. Then, for seemingly no reason at all, I also casually mentioned that I had a pretty nice coat for cold weather situations. Honestly, I was just trying to make conversation, but I see now, in retrospect, how that could have been misinterpreted.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go prepare myself mentally for the voyage to Ohio. As I understand it, it can be quite taxing if you’re not ready for it. They say it’s like Vegas, New York and Paris all rolled into one. And it’s like that for the whole state, not just in vacation hot spots like Columbus and Kent. I only hope I can find the time to continue posting through what I assume will be the single greatest party stretch of my entire adult life. Fortunately, since I’ll be driving in, I’ll be able to soften the culture shock of Ohio by driving through Indiana first. I don’t think I could take it if I just flew straight into the belly of the beast like that.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ways to test my patience

Let’s talk about what is acceptable and what isn’t today. In my book, the game Minesweeper* is a very acceptable game. It is a game of skill and awareness. Not just anyone can be good at Minesweeper; it takes a special blend of patience and determination in order to succeed at the highest levels.

At least that’s what I had thought. Then I started my journey around the world. While I was sitting on the plane, I witnessed a game of Minesweeper being played by a boy I assessed to be in his late teens at best. He seemed pretty savvy with the keyboard shortcuts, so I can assume he’s not new to computers or the game of Minesweeper. I’ll tell you right now that if I were a scout for the national Minesweeper team, I wouldn’t spend much time on this kid. He was making bad moves and getting stuck when there were still plenty of obvious mines to mark and move on. It was hard enough just to watch him struggle through his bad moves, let alone not go over there and manually instruct him on how to play the game. Then he did something that made me want to press the call button for the flight attendant and request that he be forcibly ejected from the plane. He got halfway through the board, was stuck, SAVED the game, made a wrong choice, then reloaded from the save point!!!

This, my friends, is unacceptable! The game of Minesweeper teaches us valuable life lessons about how to make good, logical, well-thought-out choices. You need to know that if you choose wrong, you will die in a fiery explosion and the game of life will end. You can’t just save it, test your choice and if you get it wrong, reload from that save point! It’s completely against the code of the Shuck N Jive. It is something that I will not stand for. As soon as I landed, I sent a letter to the M.A.N. (Minesweepers Association of Nantucket, the foremost authority of Minesweeper players everywhere) to officially have his Minesweeper license revoked for life.

I wish that’s where the story ended, but it is not. The reason the letter was sent as soon as I landed and not shortly after I landed is because after saving and reloading nearly half a dozen times, he “beat” the game and gave an overly enthusiastic fist pump as a means of self congratulation. This is beyond unacceptable. There can be no celebrating that victory, only mourning the death of your self respect.

*You’ll notice that I never explain the rules of Minesweeper. That is because I believe this game to be more popular than soccer, so it would waste our time as a society for me to bother explaining it. It should also be considered redundant and unnecessary. And if you don’t know what it is, then I probably don’t even want to talk to you in public anyway.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Road Show

I think it’s pretty obvious that everything has gotten stale here on this blog, so in order to spice things up, I’ve decided to take this show on the road. I’ll be traveling all over the world in order to bring you some of the most exciting blog fodder you’ve ever seen/read.

I left from Los Angeles international airport. I flew Southwest because, let’s be honest, they’re cheap. I’d like to commend Southwest on their new boarding system that they didn’t bother to tell anyone about. Basically, there’s a new system that involves both letters and numbers. Think of something really confusing, multiply the confusion by 10, then thumb wrestle an alligator and you’ll have a small glimpse of what the new system is like.

I’m on the move right now, so I’ll get back to this later, in the mean time, I’ve got a globe to trot.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey day

Thanksgiving is a time to look back on your life and appreciate the good things. It’s a time to spend with family and friends and enjoy a good meal together. But mostly, Thanksgiving is about football.

A few years ago I had a chat with then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, or P. Tag as I like to call him (but I do want you all to know that I spelled his name right on the first try), and I was just spitballing a few ideas at him. Sure, just writing them down would have been easier, but P. Tag and I have a unique relationship that allows us to have fun even when we’re working, so I can wad up these ideas and spit them back at him. He’ll only acknowledge the ones that stick to his glasses, so we were only able to discuss one of my ideas.

My idea was simple. Football on Thanksgiving is the best, no question. But I said to P, “Look, Detroit and Dallas are classic. I love watching those games, but at the end of the day, when that second game is over, I think to myself, man, I could do one more. How about we have a triple header on Thanksgiving?”

I had to thumb wrestle him before he O.K.ed the deal, but I had been training for that moment for over 17 months. He never saw it coming. Point is, we now have 3 football games to watch on Thanksgiving because of my spitball aim and thumb wrestling prowess. I explained to the commish that the beauty of the third game will be that we can schedule any two teams we want! That way, that third game will always be one we look forward to.

Then they released the schedule for this year. Indy VS. Atlanta for game number three today. Rodg really dropped the ball on this one. I’m obviously going to have to have a sit down with him. I need to show him I’m serious, so I’ll be bringing Ed Hochuli with me. We shouldn’t have this problem next year. I apologize to everyone that has to watch this game.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This will all be on a quiz someday I'm sure.

I’m all about self-discovery. Figuring out what makes me tick is always interesting. Conversely, figuring out what does not make me tick is also very interesting. The thing that I love most about self-discovery is that it can happen at any moment and at any time. There are no rules when it comes to this sort of thing. For instance, yesterday, I found out that I write at an elementary school level. That’s good info.

Today, I discovered something equally as important. I found out that one of my least favorite things to do in this world is replace the toilet seat on a toilet. This was not a discovery made slowly over the three-hour course of operation: New Toilet Seat. No my friends, I made this discovery very early on in my mission. There are only two bolts holding on the toilet seat and this might give someone the false sense that it’s and easy project, but just wait until the first bolt strips out like it’s made of loosely packed sugar.

You might be thinking that this is a good time to bust out the Gator Grip. You’d be wrong. For that to work, you’d need some semblance of an edge to grip onto, or at least and oval shaped head. That is not the case. Instead you are left with a perfectly circular nub. I momentarily halted my operation to bring in a team of scientists with some really expensive equipment to confirm this. It was a perfect circle. I think they're going to publish cross referenced articles in both "Plumbing Mishaps Monthly" and "The Scientific Journal for Circles and Circles Only." That second one is bi-weekly (and by that, I mean that it comes out every two weeks), so keep your eyes peeled.

I won’t elaborate on exactly which power tools I used, or how much my fingers may have bled, but suffice to say, there’s a new toilet seat installed now. Word to the wise though, don’t ask me to help you change your toilet seat unless you’re in desperate need of a slap to the face.

An Apology

By a show of hands, who here thought that the streak had ended?

Wow. That’s a lot of hands. I didn’t even realize I had that many readers. Of course, I did not specify, but each person should have only been holding up one hand, not two. Still, point taken.

I want to share with you all a very important lesson I learned today. The fact that I learned it today should be mostly irrelevant to you, but I do hope that you learn from my mistakes.

I found out from this website, that in order to read and comprehend this blog, you need to have, at the very least, completed junior high. This came as a bit of a blow to the staff here at The SNJ. We’ve been in operation for coming up on three years now and we had no idea that we had let ourselves go like this. We have standards. We have principles, and because of this, we feel it is necessary to apologize to everyone in the entire state of Rhode Island, as well as the unincorporated territory of Guam, for having let ourselves sink this low.

From this point forward, The SNJ promises not to be such a smarty-pants. Hence forth, you can expect a severe dumbing down to take place. No more fart jokes that go over everyone’s head. No more passing notes during class. No more advanced geometry! We’re going to bring The SNJ back down to the kindergarten level where it belongs.

Starting tomorrow, you can expect to see a lot more posts about finger painting and how NOT to eat play doe. I can only hope that it’s not to late for my actions to still mean something. God help us all if I am too late.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

No seriously…

So, I have this friend. I’ve known him for a while and I get along with him pretty well. We had an improv class together a while back, and since that class ended, we’ve gotten together several times to continue practicing and sharpening are fairly dull skills. We’re trying to keep the cost of hiring a coach down to a minimum, so we’ve been looking for a few additional people to join up with us. We haven’t had a lot of success, but it’s been pretty fun so far. We’ve had several different coaches, which is a good thing because we’ll get several different views on the topic of improv. Also, it’s been amazing because we’ve been able to get some of my favorite improvisers from UCB to coach us. If you’re in the Los Angeles/ Hollywood area, I’d strongly recommend that you check out Convoy at the Wednesday night Cage Match. They are amazing. Or, you can check out the Monday night Harold teams. The three members of Convoy are all on a team called Sentimental Lady.

Almost none of the information listed above matters to today’s post. Just one thing; My friends initials are J.K. Usually not that interesting, except every time he sends out an email, he signs it with his initials, JK. And no matter how many times I see this, I still read every single one of his emails like this:

“Hey guys, we’ll be having practice again on Wednesday. This time we’ll meet over at XXXXXX at 8:00. See you there!

JK (but I read this as, Just Kidding!)

So I’m never sure if we’re having practice, where it is, or if he'll be there. I don’t know if I’m the only one doing this, but I’m going to ask some very subtle questions about it tomorrow. Questions like, “Hey, does anyone else read Joe’s emails like he’s ‘just kidding?’”

Hopefully no one will figure out exactly what I’m up to, but some of these guys are pretty sharp, so you never know. I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Why I shouldn’t think too much

So I’ve been thinking. A lot. Too much really. And this is the conclusion I’ve come to:

If we lived in a world where reincarnation was a proven science, and we had laws that required you to list all of your previous existences on you résumé when you applied for a job, don’t you think that having say, Adolph Hitler, or Joseph Stalin would be a bit of a red flag to certain employers?

I don’t know about you, but if I were Adolph Hitler in a previous life, and I had to list that on my résumé, or face a fine of up to $10 or possibly get a verbal warning from a low level security guard, I’d probably risk it and leave Hitler off of my résumé. Sure, it would be nice to think that we’d live in a world where people wouldn’t judge you so much on your past lives, but let’s be realistic. It’s human nature to think less of a person that was responsible for the deaths of millions of people in a previous life. Who’s to say they won’t try it again?

Sure, it would be nice to have been a John Lennon, or maybe a Gandhi on your résumé of previous lives, but that’s just the dark side of reincarnation that nobody wants to talk about. The fact of the matter is that someone has to have been Hitler in a previous life.

I hope you’ve all learned a valuable lesson today about how to properly fill out your résumé.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Word of advice...

If you absolutely, positively have to destroy someone's life, at least have the decency to take every measure possible to make sure you have no other choice.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Brace Yourselves

Bad news. I was diagnosed by a team of 17 professionals today as being completely addicted to Guitar Hero. Apparently, I suffer from violent mood swings and bouts of depression when I don’t play GH for more than an hour. This has made getting any reasonable amount of sleep almost impossible.

There’s no reason to point fingers, but I think it’s fun, so I’ll go ahead and use both hands to point directly at my friends for putting me in this position. They introduced me to the game in the first place. Without them and their XBOX 360, I probably never would have played the game in the first place. Now I’ve got this addiction to deal with. Thanks guys.

It’s not going to be easy to kick. They have a step down program. I have to replace the addiction with something slightly less addictive and work my way down. Tomorrow I take the first step. I get my shipment of heroin tomorrow. Supposedly, I only have to be on that for a year or so, then they move me on down the line. I guess heroin is easier to kick than GH. We’ll see how it goes.

Don’t be surprised if I never mention this ever again on the blog. I’m a pretty private person, especially when it comes to nonsense that I make up in order to sound much cooler than I really am.

I’ve only got one more night of freedom left, so I’m going to go play GH until my fingers bleed and I pass out from loss of blood. I really can’t think of anything that could be better than that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today’s tech tip:

Sometimes, when working with your computer, you’ll find it to be somewhat non-compliant. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it can be quite frustrating. I understand this as well as anyone. I’m currently flanked by two separate computers that I have running almost all the time, and I’ve recently embarked on a diskless thin client project that has yet another computer in the mix, but more on that later. I think if I were to count up the number of working computers in this house, (I’m using the term “working” loosely. By that, I mean that they boot up. However, I would be hard pressed to get any real “work” done on a 286 these days, even if there are several of them harnessed together to form one semi-useable cluster. But not useful like Voltron, think useful like a graphics calculator, only with no pictures, just words.) it would probably reach double digits quite easily.

I guess that’s just my really long-winded way of saying, “yeah, I’ve been there.” Today’s tip is aimed at helping out the less technically savvy folks out there who may also be experiencing this frustration from time to time. I’m going to try and keep it as simple as possible so I don’t confuse anyone, but if it gets too technical, just let me know.

I’ll use an example I happened to come across today. I was working on my Mythbox, which runs a version of MythTV known as Knoppmyth. Knoppmyth is a modified version of Knoppix that allows you to install MythTV onto almost any reasonable computer setup you might have and it does so in a fairly reasonable amount of time. (About a half hour if everything goes according to plan.) I’m a big fan. It’s worked out well for me so far. Recently, I’ve been trying to make a secondary box that can connect to the main box and basically share all the recorded shows over my home network. I want it to be small, quiet and energy efficient, so I started looking into thin clients. I was able to procure 3 such thin clients on eBay for the whopping sum of $30.00. They came without power supplies, but that was easily cured with yet another $4.99 eBay purchase. That brings the total money spent up to about $15 per machine. This is a good number for someone that is currently unemployed.

From here, I set the thin client to boot over the network, something I thought would take me the better part of today in order to get working properly. Turns out, you just run knoppmyth_diskless_frontend.bash and you’re done. Go figure.

Here’s where the problem starts. The frontend isn’t extremely powerful. It has an 800 mHz processor with 512 KB of RAM. It can handle the shows I have that have been compressed, but it cannot handle the raw HD programs that I have. Those run about 7 GB/hour vs the 350 MB/hour that the compressed shows take up. So I needed to find a way to compress the shows down after they were recorded. I did a little research and found just the program I needed with some handy step-by-step instructions to get it all up and running. This is where things hit a small snag.

When I went to reboot after all the proper changes were made, I found that I was no longer able to watch and record TV. Seeing as how this is the sole function of the Mythbox, you can understand why this caused some frustration for me. Sure, I went through the usual steps, double-checked my settings, made sure everything was pointed the right direction and plugged in. But in the end, I went with the tried and true shortcut that I will share with you now.

----Finally, the stupid tip you’ve been waiting for----

Stop me if this gets too technical, but what you want to do in this situation, is flatten out your palms and try and mash down all the keys at once. A slightly more advanced technique involves flipping your hand over, so the backside is facing the keyboard, and using only your fingernails; run your hand back and forth over the keys like you would on a piano. You’ll want to do this for at least 10 seconds, but not more than 15 otherwise you might damage the computer. After that, just hit the reset switch on your computer and everything should boot up back to normal. It’s practically foolproof.

That’s all for today’s tech tip, I hope everyone finds that helpful. It certainly got me out of a jam today. After all, there’s a lot of great TV to record on Thursdays.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I think you know you’re at a crossroads in your life when you start making ridiculous concessions to accommodate video games. I find that I now have to discipline myself into doing other things before I reward myself with some Guitar Hero. This game has taken an unnatural hold on my life. Worse yet, I’m treating myself like a spoiled little child. I’m not doing anything before I play GH.

I keep telling myself that I’ll do whatever I have to do after my arm cramps up from too much GH. Problem is, I’m not cramping up anymore. And if I do, I’m just fighting through it. I’m so detached from society right now that I don’t even know who Hannah Montana is. I don’t even recognize myself any more.

It gets worse though. Today, I woke up and saw this on my guitar:

That’s the symbol for anarchy people. I don’t remember putting that on there. Am I really becoming an anarchist? And note all the stars around it. As if to say, not only do I support anarchy, but I really, really like it, so I’m going to add some orange stars because orange is my favorite color and stars are my favorite gaseous objects. Weird, isn’t it?

Then I looked at my computer, it was already on and playing this:

Yeah, it was on easy, but I don’t remember ever completing that song at 100%… I’m starting to think I might have a problem…

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Admittedly, not so good

Have you ever had one of those moments when you are absolutely positive that you're forgetting to do something? You're not sure what it is, but you know that you're definitely supposed to be doing something. You'll probably remember what it was that you were supposed to be doing the next day, but in the mean time, you just play more Guitar Hero.

Has that ever happened to anyone?

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Hero's Song

Guitar Hero III features a section of songs called the European Invasion. It starts with Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the U.K., Sonic Youth’s Kool Thing, and Weezer’s My Name is Jonas. It’s my second favorite section of the game.

Some interesting facts about this section: Sonic Youth is a band from New York. Weezer is a band from Los Angeles. And they wonder why America’s youth are terrible at geography? It’s been awhile since I last attended grade school, but back then, New York and Los Angeles were not a part of Europe. Have things changed? Did I miss a headline in the newspapers or something?

That’s not the most interesting fact about the section though. No, that belongs to The Sex Pistols. As any punk fan knows, they are royalty. Mostly because of songs like Anarchy in the U.K.. At any rate, when you select the songs to play, they always say who the artist is and when the song was originally released. For Anarchy, it said 2007. I thought about it for a second and decided they were wrong, but I wrote it off because they apparently think that N.Y. and L.A. are in Europe.

Turns out, they were right. Yes, I looked at my copy of Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols and saw the 1977 copy write date. But then, in the game I bought the video title The Sex Pistols where I learned that in some bizarre series of events, the record label either lost or sold the masters to all of their songs. Nobody knows where they were, so for the game, they assembled the available members of the band and rerecorded the song this year.

What I found to be most amazing about that was that I couldn’t tell. Normally, when you’re familiar with a song, then you hear a rerecorded version; you can tell that things have been changed slightly. Maybe the tempo isn’t quite right, maybe they don’t hold certain notes as long or they hold them longer. But this was not the case. Considering they originally recorded this song 30 years ago, I’d have to say they did an amazing job recreating it. But really, would you expect anything less from a guy named Johnny Rotten?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How to jinx yourself in 3 easy steps!

Step 1: Find something that you care about in an almost inappropriate way.

Step 2: Post your most secret desires concerning almost inappropriately cared for something.

Step 3: Watch your team finally win a game on Sunday after you finally convinced yourself that you want them to lose. Then watch Miami lose for the 9th time in a row, proving that they want to win less than anyone in the NFL.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This is what it’s all about

Little known fact about me that I brag about constantly: I wear a Rams pin every day. I’ve been doing so since my junior year in high school. It’s safe to say that I’m a fan. And if you weren’t sure, there’s this:

Still totally unsure of why I got fired.

For the most part, the pin goes unnoticed. Lately however, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy/razzing for it. It turns out that when your team is 0-8 and making a strong bid to become only the second (or third, depending on how Miami finishes up and who looses their last game first) team in NFL history to go 0-16, people feel the need to acknowledge this publicly.

Just to set the record straight, this is completely unnecessary. Contrary to what you may think, I’m quite aware of how badly they are doing. I don’t need to be brought up to speed, thanks. In fact, I’m now in that weird twilight zone where I’m rooting for my team to lose. This does a couple of things for a fan in my position. First, it gives you a chance to be right. If you’re rooting for them to lose and they do, you feel good about it. You got what you wanted. Second, as my team continues to lose and lose, they put themselves in a better and better position to get the number one draft pick next year. That could make a big difference next season. This season was filled with injury after injury to the offensive line, and anyone that knows anything about football will tell you that if you don’t have a good offensive line, you don’t have anything. They might also tell you that the Rams have a terrible defense, and they’d be right, but you really don’t need to rub it in.

This is new ground for me. I’ve never rooted for a team that was playing so poorly that they didn’t have at least some ridiculous outside shot of making the playoffs. The part that really hurts though, is that the Rams are in the NFC West. There are rumors that the NFC West teams have been practicing against Pop Warner squads in order to build their confidence, but they’ve been losing, so it hasn’t quite worked out as planned.

So remember, every time the Rams lose a football game, a paraplegic child is healed. Won’t you join me in rooting against them? Remember, we’re not really rooting against them so much as we’re rooting for a number one overall draft pick. Oh yeah, and to help those paraplegics too.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Crap, it’s only day 9?

I’ve noticed a fairly disturbing trend in the entertainment industry lately. Given my lack of time constraints lately and the fact that I’ve become an entertainment garbage disposal, capable of watching anything with moving pictures, I think that I’m almost over qualified to analyze what I’ve seen.

I believe that the entertainment industry has a certain responsibility to maintain a good level of moral awareness. I’m not saying they always have to teach us how to do the right thing, but I think they should show us that bad things are definitely bad and good things are definitely good. I just don’t want the morally black things to become too gray if that makes any sense. For instance, not washing your hands after you use the rest room is WRONG. I don’t want Hollywood ruining the minds of our youth with the idea that you don’t always have to wash your hands. Before you know it, nobody will be washing their hands and we will live in a filthy, 19th world society (yes, 19th… we will be that much worse than a 3rd world society because we will have both the technology and the awareness with which to wash our hands, but we will choose not to, and that will drop us down a full 18 notches on a scale that usually only goes to 3.).

I never thought I would say this, but I believe that Hollywood is failing us. I’m starting to question whether or not they really do have any standards. How else can you explain to me why Two and a Half Men is still on the air, much less the number one comedy in America? No wonder other countries don’t like us.

Arrested Development, one of my all time favorite shows, had to kick and scream to make it through three seasons, and yet, here we are on season 5 of this Two and a Half Men crap. I can’t confirm this, but I’m almost 99% certain that the reason the writers are on strike right now is because of this show. If I had to keep writing that, I’d go on strike too! (seriously though, check out the user ratings on both of those shows... which one would you watch?)

Of course, we really have no one to blame but ourselves. Can anyone out there give me some legitimate justification for watching that show? Could you possibly provide any sound argument as to why that show should even be considered entertainment? I’ll be waiting in the comments with a menacing look on my face and my arms crossed to shoot down whatever crazy theory you have about why that show is worth airing. Don’t let that discourage you though, I promise I won’t… never mind. That should totally discourage you, I can’t promise anything.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Please put on your shades… this future is pretty bright

Things are changing for me. I won’t be the same after today. I’ll be embarking on a new chapter in my life. An exciting chapter that will no doubt be filled with many twists and turns, many difficult choices and of course, lots of great music. I imagine the audio version of this chapter will be much better than the written version, but that’s mostly because of the music.

From this point forward, you will no longer know me simply as Jon. Hence forth, you shall know me as Hero. That will of course be the nickname for my Rock Gods given name, Guitar Hero the Third. But try not to put me on a pedestal. Try not to think of me as greater than every other human being on the face of the planet. I will still be Jon, but I will be superior in almost every way.

I don’t expect the journey ahead to be easy. I imagine I’ll be devoting a significant portion of my time and energy into something other than this post. It’s to my understanding that I’ll have to master 5 different colored buttons. It may take me an entire week to do that. The most difficult part of my journey will be learning rhythm. I’ve proven on countless occasions in the past that I am completely void of any and all rhythm. This will need to be remedied before I can assume the mantle of the Hero. My only option at this point will be to embark on an intense 3-5 minute montage. I wish there was another way, but there isn’t. It has to be like this.

I think it is both fair and safe for you to expect to be reading headlines in your local paper about how I am vanquishing evil left and right with the use of only game pad in the shape of a guitar. I will defeat evil with rock and roll, and my instrument of justice will be a plastic, wireless pseudo-guitar. If I were evil, and as part of my evil attire, I wore boots… I’d be shaking in those boots. I’m coming for you evil, and I’m bringing my video game prowess.

If you see me in the near future, don’t be alarmed that I’m wearing a pink mesh tank top with surprisingly little belly coverage. I’m just doing my job.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This one is kind of geeky

I like to keep myself occupied with surfing the internet, talking to my girlfriend, watching terrible movies, TV shows, and of course, lots of sports. But I find that those things don’t necessarily take up all my time. This requires that I engage in plenty of projects and activities to help fill up the rest of the time. Then, before I know it, I don’t have enough time any more. It’s a catch 22, but I’d rather be busy than bored.

Every once in awhile I get the chance to combined my projects with my already existing activities. Lately, the Mythbox has taken a priority and I’m happy to say that I’ve got a pretty nice setup. I’m watching free, over the air HD television. In my area, there are approximately 30+ HD channels that are free and over the air. You really can’t put a price on that, but if you had to, it would be around $10. That’s approximately how much it cost me to build the antenna that I use to receive these glorious signals. When I did some research online to find an antenna, they were going for around $100 or so. I thought that was a bit pricey, so I did some more research and found out that you could build one yourself, literally out of coat hangers if you wanted. It sounded too good to be true, but it wasn’t.

Turns out, if you follow the instructions here, you can build yourself a pretty crappy looking, but amazingly effective HD antenna. How effective you ask? Well, it’s based on a $100 antenna that claims to pick up signals from as far as 50 miles from the transmitter. It just so happens that I’m about 70 miles from the transmitter, and I get 95% signal strength on all the channels. Actually, full disclosure, I had to build two antennas and connect them in parallel so that I could properly receive all the channels. FOX broadcasts from a different transmitter, so I had to point one antenna in one direction, with the other pointed in another direction. It’s worked exceptionally well up to this point. There are a few glitches here and there, so I’ve made it my project today to add on a reflector to the back to help boost the signal strength. On rare occasions, mostly during the day, the signal strength goes down into the 60-70% area, which leads to slightly glitchy reception. Not tear your eyes out painful, but kind of annoying.

I’ve purchased some cooling racks to act as the reflectors. It’s really high tech, I know. Both of the antennas that I have built reside in the attic, where they get the best reception, so I don’t ever really have to see them. So the fact that they are hideous monstrosities doesn’t bother anyone because they can’t see them. All they see is the beauty that is HD.

My Mythbox project has reached a fairly advanced state now. I have made it girlfriend friendly, which is a fairly significant step. You can operate the whole thing now with a remote control, so it feels just like a regular DVR. Only it’s so much better… Ok, that’s enough Myth obsession for today.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Serious Business

Do you ever have those moments in life when you’re going about your regular business, and then you come across a situation where you can’t help but scream, WTF out loud? This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it still catches me off guard. Allow me to explain.

I play fantasy football. I play a lot. I have the misfortune of playing with this one particular person in two different leagues. Think of those special words you reserve for people that you despise and insert them here ______ when available. This ______ started off on the wrong foot with everyone by being a total ______ to begin with, but then it seemed like he was bound and determined to show everyone in the world what a ______ really was. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but he was amazingly successful in his quest.

It was decided for one of the leagues that he was in that we would hold an email draft because everyone was really busy after work and could not afford to get together for a couple hours to have the draft. ______ had the 3rd overall pick in the draft. I was against the email draft because last time we did one it took us a little over a day to finish. I may be unemployed, but I’m not that unemployed. Well, ______ decided to give us taste of what we were in for. Normally the first 8-10 picks go like dominoes in the first round because it’s pretty damn obvious whom you should take… especially with the number 3 overall pick. ______ took an hour and a half to make his first pick. We were already forming a line to punch him in the face.

It took us a little over 3 days to complete that draft, largely because ______ was taking his time to research every 3rd string kicker in the European leagues. ______ has already been banned from next year’s fantasy leagues, but that doesn’t save us from having to deal with him more this year. He proved to us today that he’s still got something left in the tank though.

In our fantasy leagues, you can make up to 40 moves for the entire season not including trades. I.e. you can pick up free agents that are doing better than the guys you drafted to make your team better. Adding one player and dropping another is considered one move. You can do this up to 40 times in the season. Seems fair. Well, ______ is up to 36 moves with 4 weeks plus the playoffs left to go. As you can see, he hasn’t been very judicious with his moves. This is another reason we don’t like ______. He doesn’t even really watch the games, he just checks stats at half time and picks up the guys having huge games.

So today, ______ puts up a post in our league asking if anyone has any objections to raising the number of moves from 40 to 50 to help accommodate those of us who’ve had injuries. Nobody else in the league has made more than 25 moves, so we’re all feeling pretty comfortable. He’s clearly the only person that needs this help. He’s a ______ and I honestly don’t know how he avoids getting beat up every single day.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to the unemployment line…

I was relieved of my job a few months ago on a Wednesday. I did what anyone would do, I bought lottery tickets for Wednesday’s drawing, as well as Friday’s and Saturday’s. You may find this hard to believe, but I didn’t win any of those jackpots. It took me all of Sunday to get over that. But then something strange happened. I stopped wanting to win the lottery.

Since the week I was let go, I haven’t checked the jackpot to see where it was at once. I used to check it several times an hour while I was at work. In retrospect, that may have had something to do with my being let go… but we’ll never know for sure. Some of my former colleagues have a theory that my wardrobe played a factor in the decision. They have this ridiculous idea in their heads that because I used to wear a shirt that said, “I hate this job and you can tell the president of the company that I think his mom smells funny!” that I lost my job. I don’t see how a shirt like that would play a factor at all, but like I said, it’s just a theory. The shirt was given to me as a Christmas present from another coworker that I initially thought didn’t care for me, but once I received the gift, I knew we would be bestest of friends. I thought it would be rude not to wear the shirt at least 3 times a week, but never for more than three days in a row.

I think it may have been a situation where I cared so much about winning the lottery, that I was destined never to have such luck. It turns out that the statute of limitations on the desire to win the lottery is approximately 2 months. No, I didn’t win the lottery exactly, but I might as well have. I pulled a pair of shorts out of the dryer yesterday and put them on. When I checked the back pocket, I found $33 in there. If that’s not the equivalent of winning the mega millions jackpot, I don’t know what is. I should be covered for at least another 5 or 6 months now!

I don’t know how you sorry working folks do it… That’s no way to live. Just find cash in your back pocket, that’s what I always say.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thinking of you

It's been two years since our first official date. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Happy anniversary. I love you!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Manager’s Decision

I gave up 19 runs* in the first inning of my softball game last Saturday. Normally, when you give up that many runs, the manager will come in and try someone else out on the mound to see if they can stop the free flowing, gaping wound you just inflicted on the team. In what can only be described as a strange sequence of events, it turns out that I, the pitcher that just gave up 19 runs, am also the manager.

I took a seat on the bench and looked myself square in the eye. I asked myself to be honest with myself. I asked if I had enough left in the tank for another inning. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Yeah, I guess… whatever.” But I could see that deep down inside, I really did have enough left in the tank. So I continued to play myself.**

We lost that game 30-8. Not bad when you consider that they scored 19 of their runs in the first inning. I think the scariest thing about it all was that I only walked one guy, and it wasn’t in the first inning.

Today was much better. I had to pitch again, and this time I only gave up 9 runs in the first inning. That dropped my ERA a fairly impressive 90 points. Find me another pitcher out there that has made such a drastic improvement from one start to the next. At this rate, I should be able to some how force the other team to spot us one run by the end of the first inning in the next game***. By the end of the season, most teams should enter the game in such a deep hole that we won’t be able to lose. It’s hard being this good.

We still lost today’s game 21-9, but I think the improvements we made, or more specifically, the improvements I made, were much more important than a win. I also genuinely feel that when our third baseman, and two of our four outfielders finally save up enough money to purchase some baseball mitts, we’ll be a lot better on defense. Don’t count us out yet, we’ve still got our eye on that 6th place trophy****. It’s ours to lose right now. We control our own destiny.

*Seriously, that’s not a misprint, I really gave up 19 runs in the first inning. That made my ERA for the inning 171. Team morale was a little low coming off the field. Nobody said it, but I could just sense it.

**Also, there was no one else on the team that even wanted to try pitching. That may have affected my overall decision.

***This is definitely not possible.

****Believe it or not, they actually have a 6th place trophy, and it’s shaped like a pumpkin. Mark it, that’s three posts in a row about pumpkins. The streak remains intact. Anyone that didn’t realize that the main focus of this post was the 6th place trophy clearly wasn’t reading the words between the lines. Yes, they are small words, but they are words none the less.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Truth

Were you prepared for 30 straight days of pumpkin posts? Too bad, that’s your mistake.

I mentioned yesterday that I had carved two pumpkins, of which the more impressive of the two was stolen. I’m still pretty upset about it, but I thought I’d put it all into perspective for you. The pumpkin below is the one I consider to be the less impressive of the two.

Initially, looking at it, you might think it is reasonably impressive in its own way. I won’t argue with you. But you might be thinking that as compared to the other, stolen pumpkin, it’s not that much less impressive. Again, I won’t argue with you on your initial assumptions as I believe they are reasonable. But here’s what you should know. The stolen pumpkin was more impressive because I say so. The magnitude of all that should hit you even harder when you see this next photo.

As we all know, the dollar bill is the universal measuring tool inside photographs. I assure you, this is not a giant sized dollar bill. And I think after seeing this picture, I can also assure you that I am amazing. Now think about how much more impressive that stolen pumpkin must have been. It staggers the mind.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Love Hurts

NaBloPoMo is arguably the happiest time of the year. Children and adults alike look forward to the magic that happens every year around this time. That is what makes this so hard. I didn’t want to start off like this, but I don’t have a choice. Someone else made the choice for me, and had they taken the small amount of time it would have taken to consult me, they would have found out that I would not have made the same choice they did. It is with a heavy heart that I write this post.

Last night, October 31, 2007, a coward among cowards did the unthinkable. Someone, or something, stole one of my pumpkins. I’ll give you several minutes to soak that in and deal with the flood of emotions that has no doubt washed over you at this time. Take as much time as you need. 30 full seconds if you have to. I’ll be here waiting semi patiently.

Ok, now I need a minute to gather myself. You see, I had just carved the kidnapped pumpkin this afternoon. I was too tired to do it yesterday, so I saved it for today. I was worried that it would be harder than the first one I carved, so approached it cautiously. Little did I know that all of the prep work the day before (which was all done by my mother, thus making the crime that much more horrifying) would make the actual carving that much easier. I was actually quite proud of what I did. No, it will never match my girlfriend’s carving of the previous year, but few things in this world could. So I was content with what I had made. I looked forward to nightfall when I could take a picture of my glowing pumpkins. Alas, that picture would never be taken.

All I have left are a few baby pictures from when the pumpkin was freshly carved. There’s no dancing candlelight to really bring the pumpkin to life. I’ll never get that chance, and it makes me sad. I’ve attached a photo below. Please do me a favor and hum Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” followed by the long version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” as we, the world, mourn the loss of this great pumpkin.