Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The face of evil

It's not every day you get the chance to stare evil right in the face. Even if you did have the chance, I'm not sure it's something you'd really want. I've been staring at it for the past two days and I can tell you for a fact that it is terrifying.

Take a gander yourself, but be warned, you might want to put on some diapers for this one.

There are supposedly a thousand words that make up the worth of this picture, but there are none to describe the horror that fills your soul when you see this creature dance the Christmas chicken dance. Fortunately for all of you, my iPhone doesn't do video. You can thank me now for not giving you a reason to end your ability to hear and see. Ok, maybe just for the hearing, but then again, you might not be feeling so thankful after revoking your own eye privileges. I understand and respect your feelings at this time.

This concludes my first official post with my iPhone. Oh yeah, I have an iPhone, did I mention that? Yeah, it's true. Now I can finally type résumé without anyone asking me what exactly I'm about to resume. That should clear up an extra three hours for me everyday now that I won't have to reply to all those resume vs résumé related emails. What am I going to do with all that free time? Perhaps I'll look into this myspace thing all the kids are talking about.*

* this last sentance is supposed to be funny because everyone knows that facebook is where all the cool kids hang out these days. Maybe writing out this explanation takes away from that humor, but I'm much more worried that people are going to think that I'm actually going to spend time on myspace.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, December 01, 2008


The mood here at the Shuck N' Jive is tense.  

Very tense.  

Very, very tense.

Let me back up a little bit.  I want an iPhone.

Let me back up a little more.  About 6 months ago, I had my first real encounter with an iPhone.  Up to that point, I wasn't that impressed.  I knew what it was capable of, I just wasn't that interested.  But then I got to hold one.  Here's a sad secret about my current, some say unhealthy, obsession with the iPhone:  

The thing that made it all click, the feature that made me think, "If I don't get one of these soon, I will consider myself a failure at life and possibly other things." isn't what you might suspect.  It's not an app.  It's not a better Internet in my pocket.  It's not even having a qwerty keyboard instead of a number pad with which to type words like, "Adequisivity," or "Strategery."  No, the thing that got me is the touch screen.  And I don't mean the fact that I can do things just by touching the screen, I mean the glass itself.  It's some sort of high-grade aircraft-certified glass.  (As a small side note, you might think that the glass, being the feature that put me over the top, would deserve some sort of cursory research on my part so as to determine exactly what it is that makes it so great.  But that would take away the magic for me, and if you know nothing else about me, know this;  I don't like my magic to be taken away from me.)  When my friend took his keys and tried to scratch the glass with a sharp edge and the device came away looking as pristine as ever, I literally wet my pants.  Just so we're clear though, I was sitting down and I did not pee myself, that would be gross.  The moisture was from the drool that fell errantly from my mouth.  This is also gross, but considerably more acceptable and way less smelly.

Let me back up just a tinsy bit more.  I'm insane.

I started downloading apps for the iPhone about a week and a half ago.  I am not ashamed of this fact.  I know people that have owned an iPhone for over a year and have still not downloaded a single app.  I think that's something to be ashamed of.  So, while some people out there may make fun of me for preparing myself for my eventual iPhone purchase, I will feel sorry for them because they probably don't have an iPhone and consequently will never feel joy in life.  Therefore they deserve my sympathy.

I'm sure there's at least one of you wondering what's keeping me from getting an iPhone right now.  That's a fair wonder.  I don't have AT&T, so I have to wait for my current contract to expire so that I can properly exploit my free agent status just like any other sub-par professional athlete would.  December 7th.  That's the day I become an unrestricted free agent. 

I'm not really at liberty to make claims that I cannot guarantee or back up with some sort of monetary leverage, but I'm pretty sure that once I obtain my precious, I'll be posting a lot* more.

*I reserve the right to define "a lot" as "a little," or "hardly any."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Magnet Puzzle Part 2

A few people have shown some interest in exactly how I made my magnet puzzle, so I thought I'd give a little more detailed account of the steps I took.  Feel free to skim over this as I will most likely saying entirely too many irrelevant things.

First up, SUPPLIES!  You will most likely need the following items:

1.  3/4" wood blocks.  You'll need at least 16 of these, but more if you plan on making mistakes.  You can find some at your local hobby shop, or you could purchase some from here online.  I've never purchased from this place, so I don't know what kind of service you're going to get.  Feel free to find your own wood block provider. 
2. 1/8" Diameter by 3/8" long neodymium magnets.  These are extremely strong magnets for their size.  You'll need a minimum of 96 to complete the puzzle, but I encourage you buy a few extra just in case.  I'd recommend this place.  They are well priced and I received them in about 4 days.  Again, if you have a favorite neodymium magnet warehouse of your own, feel free to use them.
3.  1/8" Drill bit.  (guess what's coming next...)
4.  Drill.  Preferably, you should do this with a drill press.  I didn't, but I really wish I had.  It's much easier on your hands and sanity.  
5.  Glue.  I used crazy glue when necessary, but probably anything will work.  It won't take much.
6.  Patience.
7.  Humility.
8.  More patience.
9.  Festive decorations for when you finally complete the project.

Some of those items are negotiable, but I'm pretty sure you're going to at least want some streamers to put up for the celebration.

Once you've got all the parts ready, it's a pretty simple process.   There's really just a few steps:

Step 1.  Drill some holes in some blocks.
Step 2.  Puts some magnets in those blocks.
Step 3.  Make someone put together the puzzle blocks.

That's pretty much it.  Below are a few helpful pictures.  I've included a map of how I laid out the magnets.  There is also a template for each of the two types of blocks you'll need to make.  There is also a picture of my blocks with the little drill guide templates taped onto them.  You'll want to drill those holes just a bit over 3/8" deep.  Putting the magnets in is pretty straight forward once you figure out how to keep the poles straight.  Most of mine fit pretty snug and stayed in on their own after I lovingly tapped them in with a hammer.  Some were a little loose, so glue was necessary.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  There are two types of blocks that make this whole thing work.  In order to get the magnets to line up properly, you have to make 8 of each kind of block and then alternate between the two as you put the magnets in.  I'd recommend laying it all out and taking your time.  Nobody wants a puzzle they can't actually complete.  If you look at the pictures of the actual puzzle in the post below, it should make sense.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  When I first thought of this, I didn't actually intend on making the magnets go diagonally.  I pictured them being side by side so that any piece could go anywhere.  But then I go the magnets, and I realized they were too big to work that way, so I found a way to fit the magnets I had in the blocks that I had rather than just buying shorter magnets.  I'm actually happier with it this way because I feel like it's hard enough as is without making the pieces even more similar.  However, if someone wants to make their life infinitely more frustrating, by all means, modify the plans to your heart's discontent.  

FINALLY:  If anyone out there does try and make this on their own, please leave a comment and a link showing us how it turned out, or if you have any design improvements, please share those as well.  Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the puzzle! 

REALLY THE FINAL THING:  If you're not sure you want to take on the whole thing, I highly recommend making just the four center pieces using all of the 32 magnets that would require.  I've found that just getting those four pieces together is a challenge in and of itself.

Also, if I didn't address any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments.  I'll answer any questions that I can and make up answers to the ones I can't.  Here's hoping I know the answer to your question!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Magnet Puzzle

You'll have to excuse me for a moment. Today we're going to diverge from the usual nonsense and chicanery to show you a little project I've been working on for awhile. It's a magnetic puzzle.

Basically, it's a puzzle made with magnets. It's kind of self explanatory like that. So far, I have only been able to put it together one way. I've come close a couple of times with slight variation, but the last couple pieces just wont fit, so I'm pretty confident that there is only one way to do it. There are up to eight magnets on each piece and I've varied which way the poles are directed to created the unique pieces.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, or you can email me direct at Enjoy the pics below!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nobody to blame but myself... but I'll probably still point the finger at someone else when they're not looking

Some of you may not be aware of my deep love of coffee cake.  Well, it's there and it is very, very, very deep.  It's blasphemously deep.  That is why the events that took place today hurt so much and brought about a level of shame usually reserved for fans of Kenny G.  

I was forced to throw out the equivalent of two slices of coffee cake.  I'd rather not get into the circumstances that allowed this travesty to happen.  Dwelling on the past wont bring those poor slices of coffee cake back.  Just know that deep down in my heart, I'm in a lot of pain right now.

I'm flying to New York tomorrow to try and escape the misery that I have created... or I may have actually booked the flight weeks ago so that I could visit my friends.  It's hard to be sure what the truth of the matter is right now.  The tears blur the vision something awful, that's for sure.  I should probably pack or something.

ok, bye.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What I did last night...

The following recording took place at approximately 1 AM following the Obama victory rally held at Grant Park in Chicago.  I am joined by Cadiz12 and Jazz as we reflect on what we just took part in.

Warning: The following contains fierce profanity and loads of adult situations.  I do not recommend that any adults listen to this.  You will also learn what I really sound like.  I cannot apologize enough for this.  

um... enjoy?

Transcripts of this recording are available for only $1,099.99.  Just send a self addressed, stamped envelope to the Shuck N Jive.  Don't worry, the Post Office knows where to find me.  I will also be personally autographing all copies, so that's got to be worth at least $.99.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This is from my phone

I'm at the barack obama rally right now. not sure he i'll make it good
any time soon. this is what posts from my phone look like. pretty
unimpressive, right?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Late to work

I do not envy morons.  Simps, if you will.  They have it a lot harder than people realize.  I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "Jon, how can you not envy the life of a simpleton?  They can screw up repeatedly without consequence because everyone knows they will and practically expects it.  How could life be any better than that?"  That is a sound argument.  Normally, I'd agree with you, but then, just as I do every once in awhile, I was reminded of exactly why I need to have some shred of intelligence inside my brain.

I woke up this morning fairly refreshed due to the time change.  You would think that in and of itself would be enough to make sure my faculties were in order, but such was not the case.  I left the house this morning without my ID.  I need my ID to get in and out of the building where I work.  It's only important if I want to get paid, but nevertheless, it should have warranted my remembering.  I was half way to work when I realized this, so I performed the moronic, about face turn in the middle of the block that probably makes me look like a crazy man.  As I neared my residence, I reached for my keys; Guess what else I forgot?  That's right, my pants*.

In retrospect, I should have realized this sooner since nearly everyone I passed on the street said things to me like, "Hey buddy, forget something this morning?" or, "How come you aren't wearing any pants?"  I just kept responding with, "Nice day, isn't it?" and smiling.  Truth be told, it probably was a nice enough day not to wear pants, so I can't really fault anyone for not pressing the issue further.  But the part that really makes me feel dumb is that I walk past a row of 7 consecutive buildings that all have mirrored windows at street level.  Worse yet, I constantly look at myself in those mirrored windows because I'm incredibly vain.  If only my eyes weren't so damn alluring.

I hate learning the hard way.  I'm hugely in favor of easy learning.  I plan on making that my platform when I run for king of the world.  "No more learning the hard way!  From now on, I promise all learning will be conducted the easy way!!"  I imagine that will be followed by rampant cheering.  I'm going to start working on posters for that now.

Oh, and by the way, Joe Biden and Barack Obama are staying at hotels located on either side of our building, so they're probably going to bug me about having dinner with them tonight.  Seriously guys, a little notice would be nice.

*A giant THANK YOU goes out to my girlfriend who lovingly came downstairs with my ID and pants so I didn't have to once again suffer the indignity of asking the front desk let me into my apartment because I forgot my pants.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I don't need much...

Rumor has it that Guitar Hero can be played in 3-D.  I'm pretty sure that's key to being really good at the game.  If I could experience this game in the third dimension, the way I believe it is meant to be experienced, then I think I could accomplish all of my goals in life.  Is it sad that all of my life goals are centered around a game that's only been out for about a week?  I don't think so.  I prefer to think of it as totally awesome.

My point is this, I clearly need to play this game in 3-D.  Fortunately, this isn't that hard to accomplish.  See, all I need is a second projector, a couple of polarizing filters, a set of polarized glasses and a nice silver screen.  I'm still surprised these items have not yet been donated to me, but I can't say it's the first time society as a whole has ignored my obvious need for something (I still don't have an iPhone, but give it another 35 days and then check in with me).

I'm not an unreasonable man though, I understand that it's not really fair of me to assume everyone knows what kind of projector I need (it's a Mitsubishi PK 10 by the way.  Sorry society, that excuse has now been thrown out the window.).  But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a brown paper bag filled with the one thousand or so dollars that I need to complete the setup myself.  What gives?  

I'll tell you what society, I'll make you a deal;  If you leave a "present" outside my door some time within the next two weeks, I'll forget that you ever insulted me in the first place and I'll have you all over for a GH 3-D party the day after Thanksgiving.  Deal?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Growing Up

Awhile back, I may have made a claim that Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock is the greatest game in the world.  I was young and naive then.  It seems foolish now when I look back on my younger self and see the things I thought were important then.  I'm older now.  I know that there are more important things in life than GH3.  

I've matured a great deal in the last year and this new perspective is what allows me to recognize that GH3 is a fun, relaxing game for Little kids to play.   Guitar Hero: World Tour?  That's for adults.

I'm taking a break right now to ice down my left forarm.  It's been a grueling six hours and I'm going to need to pace myself properly if I hope to defeat the game by Sunday night.  If I'm unable to accomplish this feat, I fear my work will suffer tremendously on Monday morning.

If you'll excuse me know, I have a career in rock awaiting me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Official!!

I'm half way to 62!!  And one third of the way to 93!!

Sadly, I'm only one quarter of the way to 124, but that's just something I'll have to learn to deal with.

To those that have helped me get this far, I humbly thank you.

Thank you to my mother and father for painfully obvious reasons.

It was at approximately 3:40 p.m. PST (but I was really born at 4:40 p.m., but that was prior to daylight savings getting pushed back.  Thanks mom for pointing that out.) that I reached exactly 31 years of breathing air.  Congratulations are not necessary, but greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The One Where I Get All Political

Normally I try to stay away from political posts. Some say it's because I'm trying to remain neutral so I don't affect the outcome with my impressive powers of persuasion over my many, many, many readers. Others say that I don't know anything about politics at all and fake broken legs to get out of any conversations that steer in that direction. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. That's all I'll say about it.

Having said that, in a rare showing of political awareness, I'd like to share with you my latest creation. I call it my "Obama Jar."

Yeah, it's for change.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Friday Eve Eve Eve Eve.

I'm still learning my way around the office and figuring out how everything works, but there's one thing I've managed to gather so far; These people are absolutely miserable.

I don't know if I can properly convey to you exactly how miserable they are without showing you some video surveillance of an average workday, but allow me to give you the best, singular example that I can.

Today, at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon, people started wishing each other, "Happy Friday Eve!"

It's Wednesday afternoon.

If the fact that everyone refers to Thursday as Friday Eve isn't bad enough, they begin celebrating "Friday Eve" on Wednesday. I feel it necessary to point out to everyone that there is nothing particularly special about this coming Friday. It is not the beginning of a week-long, overtime pay vacation for everyone. It is not the day we all receive million dollar bonuses for being snappy dressers. It is simply another work Friday in a seemingly endless line of work Fridays.

And this happens every week.

On my first day, several people that I was introduced to said, "Welcome to Hell." In my infinite ignorance, I thought they were joking.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lesson from the streets...

Anyone even remotely familiar with my everyday life knows that I have surprisingly little interest in fashion, or more specifically, keeping up with the current trends in fashion. Up until recently I’ve been ok with this. That’s 30 years of what some might call, “fashion recklessness.”

When you’re younger, it’s a lot easier to get away with wearing aqua shoes to church or perhaps a hypercolor T-shirt (with matching pants of course) to your aunt’s wedding. Growing up severely hinders your ability to wear whatever the heck you feel like to any given occasion. It’s the downside to maturity that adults are afraid to talk about. In spite of this, I’ve still managed to wear orange corduroy pants far longer than the average person would deem acceptable, and pair up said pants with a similarly colored (yet still a few shades off) orange T-shirt. Call it my greatest triumph.

Ok, I don’t wear that outfit to weddings or birthday parties or Dodgers/Giants games, but it does get worn. In public. When you do something as irresponsible as that for approximately three decades, it usually takes something pretty profound to change your way of thinking. Allow me to tell you a story.

A couple of weeks ago, my need for Gatorade, hot dogs, cherry pie filling and mayonnaise was unacceptably high. Fortunately for me, there is a store that carries all of these items in excess only a few blocks away. I waited 45 minutes to see if someone would randomly knock on my door and hand me a bag with exactly those items in it, but for some odd reason, the knock never came*. So I took it upon myself to venture out and retrieve these items.

The route to the store is pretty simple, but it does involve me crossing a large street, then going down three flights of stairs and crossing over a bridge that spans a river. As I finished crossing the large street and approached the stairs that lead down to the bridge, I could see three police officers looking at the bridge below and communicating with some other police officers via radio (at least that’s who I assume they were communicating with. As my journey wore on, I began to question that assumption heavily). I was not stopped by any of these officers as I walked by and began my trip down the stairs.

Once I arrived at the bottom off the stairs, I was flanked by two more police officers, both of who were wearing bulletproof vests. I looked ahead and saw two police cars stopped on the bridge, and three more officers detaining two suspects. All three of those officers were also wearing bulletproof vests. Again, no one was preventing me from walking right through the middle of all of this.

I believe this was the first time in my life where I really felt underdressed. Sure, there have been countless times in my life where I was under dressed, but this was the first time I truly felt it.

I learned three very significant, related things that day. I learned that fashion is important. I learned that I should probably wear a bulletproof vest** all the time because, most importantly, I learned that the Chicago PD will do next to nothing to protect me. I won’t even get a, “Hey buddy, why don’t you use the other side of the street for now.” At least then I’d be a harder target to hit.

*Which is absurd when you think about it. I mean, come on! The store is only a few blocks away! Why WOULDN’T someone buy those items and drop them off at my door free of charge?

**If you listen to the news much, you probably already know that this is generally a good idea in Chicago anyway.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I had a dream and it is now over. I’ve had many dreams in the past, so I’ll take a second to remind you all what dream just died.

I was hoping never to work again. I was hoping that, with no effort whatsoever on my part, an enormously large sum of money would be anonymously bequeathed to me. I guess some dreams were never meant to be. I think that’s a pretty sad commentary on the state of the dream business these days. When a man can’t even expect to have millions (not even billions, just millions. It’s not like I’m being greedy.) dollars anonymously donated to him, with no strings attached, what kind of world are we living in?

It is with much sadness that I must now report to you that I am, once again, among the ranks of the employed. I hope you won’t think less of me because of this.

Without going into much detail, (mainly because I can’t. I’m really not sure what I’m doing at all.) I’ll tell you a few of my highlights from my first day on the job. I’m going to count these down in order to build drama and excitement. Who couldn’t use more of that? So here’s my top 3 moments of the day:

3. The office tour – This was pretty exciting. Normally these tours are a formality to get you acquainted with the area, but what you don’t know is that I work in a linear labyrinth. What is a linear labyrinth you might ask? Well, it’s kind of like a normal labyrinth, only it’s much narrower and very, very long. If architecture can be artsy-fartsy, then the designer of this building had no intention of making any business residing in these walls even remotely efficient. If slowing down productivity and business was his main objective, then he is a gold medal winner in the Architectural Olympics of Making Business Unproductive and Slow. If you think the regular Olympics are stupid, you should try watching those Olympics. I once saw a guy that had to walk up seven flights of stairs so he could take and elevator to get to the floor below him. Then he had to take a zip line to a building 3 blocks away, catch a bus to the train station, take a train to the airport, fly to Canada, have his passport stamped, fly back, hire an untrained unicyclist to “juggle” him back to his office, present his passport to security, then climb up a 17 story cargo net in order to get back to his desk. And he had to do all of that just to make a copy of a copy for the backup file to the backup file. He was the bronze medalist. You can’t make this stuff up.

2. Learning the filing system – Typically, file systems rarely crack the top 1,000,000,000,000 in moments of the day, but when you find out that the person who occupied the job before you had a fairly loose grasp on the alphabet and that there are other filing hazards such as, “the Gonzalez file should be listed under Hernandez, but you can find it in the system under Atwater,” well, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. You may even start to wonder why they bother attaching the word “system” at all. It’s really just a bunch of files. Pull one out, maybe you’ll get lucky. I’m learning to retrain myself into thinking that they file cabinets are really more of a junk drawer than a place to organize your livelihood. I mean, why put them in some sort of an order when you can just toss them in there randomly? The less time I spend questioning these things, the faster I can pile the files in. I think it’s pretty obvious which way is more efficient.

1. Filing out my Ethnics form – It’s always good to hire people with good ethnics. That’s what I’ve always said. Sure, you might be thinking, “Don’t you mean ethics?” Were it any other office, I’d probably say yes, but not here. When I handed in my new hire packet full of all the things I’m not allowed to do as an employee of this company, the woman I handed it to asked me quite plainly if I remembered to fill out and sign my ethnics forms. For the uneducated, ethnics forms are where you listed all of your known ethnic friends. Let’s face it, sometimes you know someone that’s ethnic, but they still look pretty white, so you may be unaware that they’re ethnic. There was a plausible ethnic clause I had to initial incase I accidentally identified one of my friends as white when they were, in fact, ethnic. You’re also required to list which ethnicities you find attractive and which ethnic groups you wouldn’t invite to your Grandmother’s 90th birthday party for fear she might make a scene. It’s a pretty comprehensive form and was definitely the highlight of my day.

Tomorrow will be day two of my new job. I’m not allowed internet access at all, so I’m pretty much going to be silently crying to myself all day. It’s ok though, because no matter what, I get a half hour for lunch and nobody can ever take that away from me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To whom it may concern

This was my attempt to reverse jinx the Lakers and help them become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit. I failed miserably. I apologize to Laker fans everywhere because I understand that it is my sole responsibility to guide the destiny of this franchise. Who knew?
*****END UPDATE*****

For those of you trying to console me these past few days. Thank you. I know it hasn't been easy. These things hit us all pretty hard. And while I appreciate the care you have shown me these past few days, do not misunderstand my reaction. I'm not being a downer, I'm being a realist. Let's look at the facts.

First, in 6 meetings so far this season with the Boston Celtics, the Lakers are 1-5. That's not encouraging.

Second, In the 13 home games the Celtics have played, they are 12-1.

Third, no team in the history of the NBA has ever come back from a 1-3 deficit.

Fourth, did you see game 4? The Lakers had an 18 point lead at the half! Then they proceeded to play like tiny little girls in the second half! They didn't deserve to win that game after playing like that. Now they're just a young team on the ropes. Not a good place to be.

So given the fact that the Lakers now need to win 3 games in a row against a team that they've only managed 1 win in 6 meetings, and the fact that two of those games they need to win will happen in Boston, where the Celtics have only lost 1 game this entire post season and they have a propensity to play like little girls down the stretch, it's looking like a done deal. They basically have to climb Mount Everest three times in a row and on two of those climbs, there's guaranteed to be stormy weather and heckling fans. So, congratulations Boston. Congratulations Kevin Garnett. Congratulations Paul Pierce. You guys deserve it and I mean that sincerely.

Yes, I know Kobe said these finals are far from over, but he has to say that. He's the Black Mamba. And while I appreciate his enthusiasm, the worst thing you can do to a person in a time of absolute despair is give them hope. I do not need hope now. I need to grieve. Please let me grieve and move on with my life. We don't need to drag this on any longer. It's ok. We Laker fans have next season to look forward to. We'll have Pau for the whole season (yes, I know everyone likes to pretend like we've had him this whole season, but really, we've only had him since February) and more importantly, we'll have Andrew back. Then all of these size issues that have plagued us this series will disappear. The team is still young. They've got a chance to be contenders for quite awhile.

Ps, I knew this series was doomed from the start when ALL of the "experts" were picking the Lakers to cream the Celtics. That never works out well. Just look at the Super Bowl this past year...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finding a job is hard.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. I have accepted a posting challenge from my sister Madelyn via twitter, which is how I believe most posting challenges are initiated these days. As such, I am now obligated to post on a slightly more regular basis than I have been in the past.

So here’s what this post is about:

My time.

I’m losing it.

Since I’ve moved to the city they call Chicago, I’ve felt like time has sped up. This is particularly alarming considering the fact that I still don’t have a job. I’ve created a child-like pie chart to awkwardly illustrate how my time is being spent.

As you can see, a good deal of my time is spent preparing food. This is very new to me. When I lived in California, I would eat out approximately 26 times a week. Not bad for a guy with a college education. But since I’ve moved here, I’ve eaten out a total of 4 times in the past two and a half months. It doesn’t take an associates degree in general education to figure out what that means. It means I’m no longer substituting money for my time in the preparation of my meals. I’m still getting used to it, so bear with me.

As for this so-called posting challenge, what can you expect from me? Perhaps more terrible drawings using only PC Paint, even though I have better programs with better tools? Probably. As always, I remain predictably unpredictable.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Not for nothing…

Way back in the day, I used to live with more than one grape jelly user. I did not have the resources necessary to keep 24 hour surveillance on the jelly at all times, but I was always reasonably certain that I was not the one making the top of the jelly squeeze bottle all goopy. I believe that I possess superior jelly squeezing skills rivaled only by high level Tibetan Monks. Until recently though, it was only speculation.

I am now the only grape jelly user in the house. Aside from all of the obvious benefits, there’s also this:

After several masterfully crafted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and not one single swipe with a napkin, paper towel, old shirt I don’t care about or someone else’s shirt when they weren’t looking, the top of the jelly squeeze bottle still looks nice and clean.

I’m not convinced that everyone reading this has fully grasped the true horror that I have had to endure. Below is a simulated squeeze jelly bottle top used by any one of my former roommates/housemates/relatives/dad/sister whose name starts with m-a-d-e-l-y…

puppies and kittens sleeping in laundry baskets full of ice creamTake a deep breath. Now go image google puppies and kittens sleeping in laundry baskets full of ice cream to try to get that horrifying image out of your head.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Let’s catch up

I’ve been living in Chicago for around 3 weeks now. I do not currently have a job. Up until today, that hasn’t actually been a problem because there’s been a lot to do around the new place I’m living. In fact, given the things I’ve been doing, I think I’m now fully qualified to assemble any and all Ikea furniture by myself. Yes, even those items where the manual shows a picture of one, frowning guy awkwardly trying to lift a large piece of furniture by himself, encompassed by the red circle with a line through it. Then right next to it, a picture of two guys smiling happily and enjoying the lifting of that same large piece of furniture. (For the record, I don’t recall ever seeing anyone smile while assembling Ikea furniture.) The down side to that though, is that I’ve also learned that I am no longer qualified to ROCK at Guitar Hero. Let that be a lesson to all you young kids out there. Don’t stop playing your video games for too long or you will get rusty. That’s a free public service announcement from the Shuck N’ Jive. Normally, we charge a hefty fee for that kind of humanitarian good will, but not this time, it’s a good cause.

Ok, it’s pretty obvious from that first paragraph that I’ve forgotten how to write.

Pop Quiz!

SITUATION: You just moved into a new place in downtown Chicago. You’ve purchased a new, 37” HDTV and it has just been delivered. It’s a weeknight and you’ve only got half an hour before primetime starts, but you don’t have any cable or satellite services turned on yet. WHAT DO YOU DO?

You should have heard a buzzer by now. If not, it must not be working. That’s a pretty common problem when administering Pop Quizzes over the internet to random people at random times, but don’t worry about that because your time is up. Check your answer below and see how you did.

ANSWER: You build an HD antenna out of that solid copper wire everyone makes fun of you for carrying around in your backpack with you all the time and a 75 ohm to 300 ohm matching transformer that you can buy for $3 at the Radio Shack on Michigan Avenue. Then using some cardboard left over from a box that housed a now built piece of Ikea furniture and an empty 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade, you fashion a stand and hold the whole thing together with some electrical tape that you also carry around in your backpack all the time. (see figure A and B)

Figure A

Figure B

Ok, add up all of your points, subtract negative eleven, multiply by your great grandmother’s birth year, subtract the current age of your least favorite cousin, divide that by how many days you think your next pet goldfish will live and tell the next person you see to rearrange that number randomly. Once you have that number, submit it to the post office to be put into bar code format. Then take that bar code along with all the paper money you have, no credit/debit cards or loose change, down to the fifth best dry cleaner in your town, ask him to scan that bar code. If he does not have a bar code scanner, just ask him to guess what he thinks you should be charged. Try to get a 10% discount if he doesn’t have the scanner. Once you pay him, take the remaining change (coins only) left in your pocket and you’ll have your score. Check below to see how you did.

99-100% - You and I must think a lot alike. Chances are you suffered severe ridicule in high school. Why didn’t you make more of an effort to be social back then?

90-98% - You and I seem to have a fair amount in common, let’s hang out sometime. Maybe catch that new flick about those MIT card counters.

83.6 –89% - You’re on the right track, but most likely you need to drink more Gatorade. It’s time to step up from that sippy cup.

78-83.5% - Where’s your copper wire? Don’t tell me you had to buy that too? And try not to get too many more mustard stains on the cardboard.

43-77% - You can’t just go out and spend $40 on an indoor antenna at Radio Shack when you can build one out of spare parts for under $5.

22-42% - If you go through life paying someone else to solve your problems, you’re just going to end up having someone else chew your food. Is that what you really want?

20-21% - Watching someone else’s TV across the street with a telescope is wrong on several different levels, but really the worst part is that you have no sound.

12-19% - I’m not really sure that imagining what you think the characters of your favorite shows are doing is the same as actually watching the show, but at the very least, when you ask your neighbors to come over and help you act out the scenes, try to refrain from yelling at them when they mess up their lines.

8-18% - It doesn’t matter, Lost has been on hiatus anyway.

0-7% - You’re right, no one uses that TV in the common area downstairs anyway. Chances are you could watch whatever you want without any problems. Plus, the pool is right there, so when you find out that once again, Two and a Half Men is the top sitcom in the country, it will be easy to drown yourself.

EDIT: In case it wasn't obvious, the antenna does work. I get around 30 over the air HD channels with it at no cost to me. Well, minus the money I spent on the TV and antenna...

Monday, March 31, 2008


Dear Diary,

It's been awhile, but there are a few things I'd like to get off my chest...

I'm closing in on day 15 without any of my stuff. I was told by the shipping company that it would take about 4 days to ship all of my stuff across the country to my new residence here in Chicago. I dropped it off a full week before my flight out so that it would all be here when I arrived. After a few mixups, it was supposed to go out a days before my flight. No big deal I thought, I can go a few days without my stuff. The day before it was supposed to arrive, I called to get a tracking number. I'm not going to lie to you diary, I was really excited to get my stuff. I have a Wii now... oh, I didn't tell you? Yeah, I have a Wii.

Anyway, I'm really into Guitar Hero these days, but I wanted to consolidate my stuff, so I sold my PS2, then bought GH for the Wii. Yeah, I lost my whole career and all my accomplishments because they were done on the PS2, but that was ok because it was just another excuse to play the game a lot. Also, I'm trying to get my girlfriend addicted so that we can both spend nearly every free moment playing that wonderful game.

When I called to get the tracking number, I was informed by the shipping company that my stuff hadn't even left the building yet! I was pretty upset... mostly because I miss the Wii. But I also have my computers and some other cool stuff that I like a lot. I mean, I really like my stuff. That's why I paid a crap load of money to have it shipped here!

After a series of phone calls, my stuff was supposedly shipped. A day later, the receiving company here in Chicago called me to schedule an appointment to drop off my stuff. I got excited again. They said they would bring it on Monday, March 31st between 10am and 3pm. That was a pretty big window, but hey, it's my stuff and I want. Pretty bad really.

This is why I'm writing to you now diary. I sat there and waited all day... Nothing. They didn't call. I called them and left several messages. No reply. I miss my stuff!! I miss my Wii... I'm really starting to miss my computer. My laptop here doesn't even have spider solitaire!!

Sometimes, I just can't help but wonder, what if I had just bought a Big Red Wagon and just pulled my stuff here... It would have been faster and a lot cheaper.

OK diary, I know you're pretty busy these days, so I'll let you go now. Thanks for letting me vent. Maybe when this is all over, you and I will laugh about it, but right now, I just want to knock out a few rounds on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008 and then gold star a song or two on medium, but I can't. Later...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap this post

It’s February 29, 2008. I think we all know what that means. Today is the day we celebrate leap year by looking at pictures of my sister’s kittens. It’s a Shuck N Jive tradition that goes back as far as the beginning of this post.

I feel a strong need to protect the anonymity of these kittens because they would not sign a release waiver allowing me to use their images and likenesses in any Shuck N Jive promotions, so I won’t be using their actual names. But for the sake of my readers, we will be addressing the dark one as E, and the lighter one as O.

There are a few things you should know about these two up front. First, O and E are brother and sister, and from what I can tell, O seems to be in charge. Neither of them ever tires. I think they only fall asleep occasionally out of boredom.

Without further ado, I present to you O and E.

As you can see from this first picture, O is enjoying a nice piece of cake. I don’t know what the rules are on feeding kittens cake, but I can assure you they didn’t die, so that could probably be listed under the “Pro’s” section of feeding kittens cake. What you might not be able to tell from this picture is that O is not only eating the cake, he is also growling at E. She has gotten too close to the cake for O’s liking. Not close enough for him to stop eating, but close enough for him to be audibly annoyed. E has the look of a starving orphan on her face, but O has a heart of stone. In the end, E got a few bites of the cake, and I think it greatly upset O. As you’ll see in the next photo, O has a long way to go in his maturity.

This was taken shortly after the cake eating had finished. E was minding her own business and primarily focusing on digesting the cake. O, still quite irked by the fact that he had to give up a few bites of his cake, set about his revenge. In this photo, he is in the midst of tying E’s tail around her back two legs. Sure, it seems like an innocent prank, but E was hopping around tied up like that for almost an hour. We couldn’t help her because with all the fur, we couldn’t tell how exactly to pull the knot apart. O has apparently been spending a lot of time online learning how to tie some extremely complex tail knots. I have to give him credit for that. He doesn’t do anything half way.

Once E finally got her back legs untied, she was pretty worked up and decided to take her aggression out on O. They battled for what seemed like an eternity, neither one willing to back down. Has anyone seen the movie Beowulf? It was just like that, only with kittens and no CG and a much more compelling storyline. The fight ended rather abruptly.

As you can see in this picture, right at the height of their fight, they both landed a knockout blow, simultaneously knocking each other out and ending the fight. They both lay there unconscious for nearly three days. When they woke up, they both went to the bathroom because seriously, it had been three days. After that, they just left each other alone. I think O has a newfound respect for E. He’s leaving her alone and he’s moved on to bugging anyone that wants to use the laptop.
In contrast to my sister’s kittens, this is one of the cats I live with.

This is Spencer, and he simply doesn’t give a crap about anything, but I think that’s pretty obvious.

Well, another leap year, come and gone. I hope you enjoyed looking at photos of my sister’s kittens. See you next leap year (a.k.a., my next post)!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Beefy Lost

Before I begin, I just want to let everyone know that there are no spoilers located within this post. At least not that I am aware of. I realize that ABC gave us some pretty short notice, so I’m sure there’s a lot of Lost fans out there that forgot the show was even on tonight. After all, it’s been what, just shy of a decade since the last episode was aired? Something like that. But if we’re being brutally honest with ourselves, when has Lost ever answered a question without raising at least fifty more? So even if I do slip up and spoil something, I’m sure there are about a thousand other questions ready and willing to fill the new void.

I’m really not here to talk about the many beefs I have with Lost. No, that should be broken up into a weeklong rant consisting of anywhere from two to 14 paragraphs posted on an hourly basis. Instead, I’d like to focus on just one of those beefs. As a smattering of you probably know, the season premier was tonight (or last night, or last week, or three months ago depending on when you get around to reading this.). Because of the inconsistencies in the broadcast schedule for this show, ABC has attempted to help us get back into the grove by airing last season’s finale last night, as well as a one-hour special in front of tonight’s premier, detailing the story up to this point. Basically, we’ve been given two hours of old story to help us prepare for the new one hour.

I’m ok with all of this so far. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve pretty much forgotten everything that has happened up to this point. My mind can only juggle so many unanswered questions for so long. 37 months seems to be my limit. Two hours of recap was just about enough to remind me why I love the show AND why I loathe the show.

This is where things get ugly. This is where my beef comes into play. I’ve just been watching an hour of recap. I’ve been watching that little counter on the bottom right hand corner of the screen count down the last few minutes before the premier of the new season. Prior to this moment, I’ve been entirely unenthusiastic about the premier because I’ve been fooled by this show too many times (remember when we thought Jin was going to speak English? Yeah, I lit my pillow on fire and put it out with a combination of my tears and screams after that one.), but for a brief second, during the commercial break between the recap and the premier, I started to get a little excited. Then the premier started and the first three words I heard were, “Previously, on Lost…”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! You are seriously going to waste more of my time telling me what has already happened? I waited for THIS??? I just watched a whole hour telling me about “previously on Lost.” No more time need be wasted on this! I’ve had enough time since last season to watch every episode with commentary, without commentary, once with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon playing in the background and once with an old German guy that, oddly enough, only speaks broken French. I don’t need any more recap! And if there’s anyone just tuning into the show for the very first time, they don’t deserve to know what has happened previously. They haven’t suffered like the rest of us. In fact, they will probably have much fewer questions than those of us that do watch the show. They’re already winners like that!

It took awhile for the tears to dry, so I missed some of the opening. I recorded the show, and I’ve tried to watch the beginning 3 times already, but the tears just keep coming back. It’s an open wound right now, I need to let it scab over first, then maybe I’ll find out all the answers. Right? They answer everything right at the top of the show, right? Right?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year... hope you can hear

I've been told that what you do on New Year's day is important because it is a microcosm of what you will be doing for the entire year. I'm really hoping this isn't true.

I'll be the first to admit that I've become spoiled by having full use of all of my senses. None of the senses should be taken for granted. Image Union made sure that I appreciate my sight. Today, I flew home from visiting my girlfriend. I got sick on New Year's Eve. When we were descending down into LAX, my ears decided to forgo the usual pressure equalization process. I can't say that I agree with their decision.

The only thing more surprising to me than the loss of my ability to hear was the fact that when we landed, neither of the people sitting to my left and right were covered in blood. I was pretty sure that violent streams of blood were shooting out of my ears during the decent, but apparently the intense pain I was feeling was a bit misleading.

I'm sure this condition is irreversible, so I'm going to go practice my sign language and lip reading. I'll be honest, I'm hoping that I'm a natural at lip reading because I don't think any of my friends know sign language, save for a few vulgar phrases that I don't think will help clarify any questions I may have for them.