Wednesday, December 09, 2009

(untitled 320)

I get weird, amusing images in my head every now and then. They always make me laugh, but they're difficult to share with others, since, you know, they're in my head.

Thanks to modern video editing technology, however, the impossible is easy!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

(untitled 319)

I've been fixated on achieving the Tim Tam Slam for some time now. The only snag is that it's surprisingly difficult to find Tim Tams here in the States, since they're Australian products. Undeterred, I found a somewhat reasonable substitute. Fudge Grahams, or whatever they're called. Fudge-covered graham crackers, anyway.

Turns out they make an adequate substitute. I advise all of you reading this to buy them and attempt the slam right now.

Also, be advised that it doesn't work if you just hold the cookie in the chocolate. The key is to get the chocolate inside the cookie, so it melts it from the inside. Mmm.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

(untitled 318)

The new job is going well. It's just that my supervisor is the spitting image of an ex-girlfriend.

It--it's a little weird. Not gonna lie.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(untitled 317)

I've just finished getting over a cold this last week. The cold itself wasn't remarkable - it wasn't any more or less bearable than any other cold I've had - but it was noteworthy in that it was the first cold I've had since having a beard.

I can now tell you with utmost certainty that having a cold is the second-worst thing that can happen to a bearded person. Why? Two little words: snot beard. Blowing your nose is virtually impossible without getting some or most of the mucus into your mustache. It's not a good thing.

(The worst thing about having a beard? Why, that would be puke beard. It's only happened to me once, and I had to burn the beard off immediately.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

(untitled 316)

You guys aren't going to believe this, but I may have found what is objectifiably the single greatest video game in the history of this or any other universe.

I know, right? I'm an idiot, right? Mario 3, Chrono Trigger, The Ocarina of Time, and the entire Mega Man series. Can't be better than any of those, right?

Not unless it features...


Seriously, that's the actual name of the game. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. Check it out here!

Monday, September 14, 2009

(untitled 315)

I just started a new job today, and it's been a not entirely unpleasant experience. Most of my previous jobs have had training experiences like the one seen in the video below:

Today, they actually took a whole day to just talk about the company that I'll be working for. They'll do the same tomorrow and start talking about my job on Wednesday. For a week and a half. I'm actually being trained! Someone cares about me!

I compare it to a woman who has had a string of rotten, abusive, horrible ex-boyfriends. Suddenly, she starts dating a guy who is decent; not perfect or flawless, or even above-average, but just decent, doesn't yell at her, pummel her, or anything like that. By comparison, this guy looks like the most kind and loving person on the planet.

I'm not saying I'm ready to commit for the rest of my life, but if nothing else, it's at least nice to work for a company that isn't actively trying to make my life worse.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

(untitled 314)

There's a new Strong Bad Email up at Homestar Runner. It's going to be the basis of this discussion, so I'll go ahead and wait here while you watch it.


Have you watched it? Well, even if you haven't, I'm going to talk about it anyway. Strong Bad provides us with four suffixes to be added on to nearly any word, creating humorous results: -valanche, -quake, -rnado, and -onsoon. He provides us with the following sample sentence:

This suckquake of a movie is a complete wastenado of my seven bucksonsoon.

For the most part, the connotations of each suffix are clear; they imply a greater degree of the noun to which they are appended, but in a pejorative sense (such as the case may permit; each non-frivolous case involves a negative noun). What interests me is that despite never having seen any of these suffixes used in this manner before (since they are all invented), I can clearly understand the meaning behind each of them through my native speaker's intuition. But can we divine the rules governing the use of each of these suffixes? Let's try.

-valanche. To me, this is the simplest of the suffixes. Adding -valanche to a word implies that there is a great deal of the noun in question, usually to an undesirable, or even catastrophic, degree. Examples given in the email are crapvalanche and pukevalanche, both of which are self-explanatory. The suffix tends to be appended to words with a negative connotation, although this does not always have to be the case (ex., "I can't believe I paid eight dollars for this cheesevalanche of a sandwich"). -valanche sounds most natural when appended to a word of only one syllable. Compare cheesevalanche with tomatovalanche* or dressingvalanche*.

-quake. Somewhat more complex than -valanche, -quake also implies a negative degree of a quantity or quality (ex., suckquake). However, this can also be used to imply a large amount of something in a positive sense (ex., meatquake). Since the suffix can imply either degree, its connotation must be determined by context, as well as the word to which it is appended. Compare "I can't stand the emoquake that is Panic at the Disco!" with "Which pizza would you like, sir? I'll have the pepperoniquake". -quake does not seem to suffer from the one-syllable limitation that -valanche does.

-rnado. Unlike -quake, -rnado seems exclusively to denote a negative degree. A term such as fishnado would imply an undesirable quantity or degree of fish (whether the creatures themselves, or simply the smell). Interestingly, Strong Bad initially refers to the suffix as -rnado, but only uses -nado. The -r, presumably, is frivolous. If -rnado is applied to a noun of neutral or positive connotation, it creates a somewhat unsavory feeling or condition (ex., cheesenado and sexnado).

-onsoon. Derived from "monsoon" and clearly frivolous.

See, these are the things that I think about that, for whatever reason, no one wants to give me a job considering.

Monday, August 17, 2009

(untitled 313)

When I went outside to take my break at work today, I saw the following scratched on the stone next to me:

good lovin
be here 2:30

I sat there for a good 15 minutes (2:30 - 2:45), but I never found anything remotely resembling "good lovin". Sigh.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

(untitled 312)

Just now, I was sitting here at my computer watching a gamecast of the Rockies-Pirates game and listening to music. The final battle music from Chrono Trigger (you know, where you're fighting Lavos) came up just as Carlos Gonzales hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

Suddenly, I felt like a supervillain demolishing a weak, insignificant foe, and it was FANTASTIC.

Listen for yourself and imagine!

Yes, I may be a gigantic nerd, but you know what? I don't particularly care, so long as I'm happy with it.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

(untitled 311)

And now, without any explanation or justification, my list of the ten greatest juvenile fiction books of all time:

10. Bridge to Terabithia
9. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
8. Charlotte's Web
7. Where the Red Fern Grows
6. Holes
5. The Westing Game
4. Matilda
3. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
2. A Wrinkle in Time
1. The Giver

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

(untitled 310)

I've been watching a lot of old Looney Tunes lately. Most of them are absolute gems. This is one of my favorites.

Go ahead, watch it. It's worth the time you'll spend, trust me. Everyone needs to watch one of these every once in a while and get in touch with their childhood again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

(untitled 309)

I just started a new job, which is good in that it ends my nearly six months of unemployment. Unfortunately, it's a really crappy job, which is bad in that it's really crappy. I call people who partially fill out order forms online to see if they're still even a little interested in ordering the product. 98% of them aren't interested. They aren't happy that I'm pestering them, and frankly, I'm not happy to be pestering them. It's unpleasant for everyone involved.

As I was driving home, words like "reprehensible" and "predatory" kept running through my head. I really don't like being the guy who bothers you and wastes your time like that. As I stepped into the grocery store to pick something up for dinner, I decided to visit the bathroom for a moment. A horrible stench greeted me - apparently someone, clearly unfamiliar with the basic rules of restroom etiquette, had decided to defecate on the floor directly rather than the conventional method of using a toilet.

I looked sadly at the poop on the floor. "Today, I know just how you feel," I said.

What a day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

(untitled 308)

Nirvana's "In Bloom", as sung by the author:

Sayyyy dakih bamoooooo
Wayyyy dachih samoooots
Say a chip again
Reap a duck and grass


Again, something
All our pretty guns
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun, but he
And I say
And I like our pretty sun, and he
Likes to sing along, and he
Likes to shoot his gun, but he

Meeee, kanab, samo
Nature is a whore
Eaaat some fruit
Tan the retch and bloom


etc., etc.

And now, Nirvana's "In Bloom" as performed by Nirvana:

Friday, April 10, 2009

(untitled 307)


Is there a better time to be a fan of the Portland Trail Blazers? Scientists, after an exhaustive study, have concluded that there is not.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

(untitled 306)

An email I just received from an education job site:

Here is a list of jobs that match districts that you have requested notifications on.

School(s): Liberty High School
Position Title: E0060 Head Cheer Coach / Liberty High School
Closing Date: 4/8/2009

Did I miss something, or is the entire world conspiring to shoehorn me into the cheer profession?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

(untitled 305)

More adventures in substituting:

Sometimes it's a lot of fun. Sometimes it's very boring. And sometimes, it's downright awful, like on Friday, when I was called in to teach a cheer class. (Guess when they told me it was a cheer class, and not a health class? Minutes before the class began. Thanks, friends.) I called an audible and made it into a study hall, which quickly turned into a dozen shallow girls talking about their boyfriends, boys they want to make into boyfriends, and which character from Twilight they would rather take to prom. I am not making this up. I'm so glad I didn't know any cheerleaders in high school. I've written about this elsewhere, but it's been a long-standing policy of mine to keep my distance from hot girls.

Today, however, was a fun day, as it usually is when I head to an elementary school. (Did I mention I got to go to my first day of kindergarten a while ago? My parents skipped me out of kindergarten straight into first grade, so I never got a chance to go.) I was teaching fourth grade today, and it turned out to be the experience I never had, but always wanted, when I was nine (or ten, or however old fourth graders are). They all thought I was cool and wanted to tell me jokes and stories. One of the boys asked me if I wanted to play basketball with them at recess. This was, of course, an opportunity I never had as a fourth grader, being a year younger and only 3'4" or so. It was also an awesome experience, since I love basketball, but don't have the physique to play like I'd like to be able to. Even if I were any good at the game, I'm short enough that I'd probably be a guard. I've always wanted to be a dominating center, grabbing the ball down low and stuffing it into the basket with a mighty flourish. Like I said before, I'm not an especially tall person, but when you're playing with kids that are 4'2", 5'9" is pretty intimidating.

So I got to play center. I got to go up for dunks down low and grab rebounds out of the air with ease. It was an awesome feeling. I think I put up a line of 2 points, 10 rebounds, and a couple of blocks in about ten minutes (while keeping injuries to a minimum). It also turns out fourth graders are my peers in terms of basketball skills. They can't make a shot to save their lives. Neither can I, thus the paltry two points.

So if you're looking for some easy and fun work, consider becoming a substitute teacher. You just might get a chance to dunk on a fourth grader's face. Or you might end up teaching cheer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

(untitled 304)

Did you serve an LDS mission? Can you remember where it was? If so, a friend is looking for you to add your mission boundaries to Google Maps. He's trying to create a global map of all LDS missions, and it's as easy as tracing a line around your area. Take a couple of minutes and help out! Just go to, click on "edit", and have fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

(untitled 303)

Because eleven specialty blogs weren't enough: I proudly present another blog where I plan on yelling about things that bother me. If you suspect that you'll find yourself on that list, or if you feel like the type who might bruise easily, you may want to stay away. It's not intended to be mean, just loud.

Back to our regular programming.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

(untitled 302)

I'm back in the elementary school this morning. When I was signing in, I realized as I was writing the date that it was St. Patrick's Day. And I realized I was wearing a red shirt and not a trace of green.

"Oh crap," I said.

"Oh crap," the secretary agreed.

We both hurried down to the teachers' lounge to hurriedly make a green clover or frog or something we could pin to our shirts so as not to be at the mercy of every pinch-happy kid in this school. An elementary school is no place to be caught not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

(untitled 301)

Apologies for yet another video, but I think this one bears sharing. This guy went through hundreds of YouTube videos, found samples of music that matched up with each other, and turned them into, essentially, his own song. He's distributing it to anyone who wants it, free of charge.

It's absolutely incredible. Even if you aren't the sort to watch videos other people share (heaven knows I'm not), take just a few seconds to listen to this one. It's absolutely staggering.

You can find more of these at

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

(untitled 300)

Because just one wasn't enough. Voting for the Sweet Sixteen starts now! Make your voice heard!

(untitled 299)

I'm subbing for a friend today, so I'm teaching a special education class. Essentially, these are just regular kids who need a little extra help outside for whatever reason (trouble reading, doing math, etc.), so it's a mix of several different grades. The sixth graders were helping the fourth graders with grammar and punctuation. One of the students really REALLY wanted to write the sentences on the board, but I told him I was going to do it, since I'm the friggin' teacher. He responded by bursting into tears and running to the bathroom. (Surprise! He's in special education because he has a hard time controlling his emotions. He's very sensitive.) He eventually came back in, but when I accidentally erased the sentences before he had a chance to write them down, he ran back out of the room sobbing again.

The whole experience was aptly summed up by one of the fourth graders, who simply said, "I feel awkward."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

(untitled 298)

I've been working as a substitute teacher when I've had the chance lately (it's an unpleasant job, but we need the money), and I've noticed something that the rest of you probably already know - people today are giving their kids some weird, freaky names.

That's probably what people said about the rising generation twenty, forty, and sixty years ago, but I'm going to stand by my accusation. I'll list eight of the strangest names, and see if you can determine the gender of any of them. (Yes, I purposely chose the most gender-neutral of the batch, but that doesn't excuse the rest of them.)


Maybe it's just me, and you can make immediate sense of these names, but I found them all strange. Someday, I could have a president named "Tasmmy." Worse yet, that candidate could be opposed by one named "Kyrston." Yikes, America. Just yikes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

(untitled 297)

The wife and I started watching Diamonds Are Forever (hint: so is the movie) around 6:00 tonight. Around 6:30, we saw flashing lights outside our window and saw that a police car was parked blocking off our street. Within 15 minutes or so, a second car had appeared, as well as a tow truck a block away. The second policeman started placing cones across our intersection. When the movie finally ended (seriously friends, don't bother watching this one), we looked out our front door to see the two police cars, the tow truck, the cones, a fire truck, and an ambulance. After about ten more minutes, they started jackhammering on our street.

You're not going to believe this, but I can hear helicopters, too. No idea about what's happening here, but if it's not a rescue mission or something, I'm going to be seriously disappointed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

(untitled 296)

Not that most of you are nearly as into pro basketball as I am, but the NBA All-Star Weekend is going on right now, and one of the events is the Slam Dunk competition. A couple of guys were worried that the contest would lack the flair and style of years past, so they bought a five-foot rim, set it up outside the arena, and got passers-by to dunk the ball and try to show up the stars.

Even if you aren't a basketball fan, there's just something awesome about seeing a five-year old pulling off a 360 windmill dunk. Check it out.

TBJ AZ 03: The People's Dunk Contest from The Basketball Jones on Vimeo.

Friday, February 13, 2009

(untitled 295)

Coming March 2.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

(untitled 294)

Slate Magazine is undertaking a project to find the person responsible for the "25 things" craze on Facebook. Someone had to have posted their list first, and they intend to find them. They're asking participants to tell them when they first saw a "25 things" note appear on Facebook.

I responded, but I'm not nearly as deeply connected in Facebook as I imagine some of you readers are, so I'm posting the link (yes, that was it, that blue underlined text there) so you can all help. The first time I saw a "25 things" note was January 14, but I imagine a few of you can go back further than that.

Feel free to share thoughts on the "25 things" craze here. I don't have any problems with it, really, but it seems frivolous to me, so I haven't bothered to make one. I rarely read the ones people send me, anyway. (ATTENTION THOSE WHO HAVE TAGGED ME IN THEIR "25 THINGS NOTES". YOU ARE STILL VALUED FRIENDS, EVEN IF I DON'T READ 25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOU IN THEIR ENTIRETY.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

(untitled 293)

In the midst of all of my worrying about unemployment, finances, and the future, I came across this passage yesterday:

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

In short, relax. Do what you're supposed to do, and leave the rest up to Him. Peaceful words for troubling times, I feel.

Friday, January 30, 2009

(untitled 292)

I was working as a substitute teacher at an elementary school today and was presented with an interesting situation. We had four students working on a worksheet, all of whom needed significant amounts of help (going over questions, reading/pronouncing words, etc.), but I didn't have enough resources (read: time) to help all of them as much as they wanted. There was an aide there to help, which was nice because one of the students was particularly uncooperative. When he wants to work, he's just fine, but when he's decided that the assignment is "hard" or whatever, he flops his head on the table, rolls around, makes weird chirping noises, and generally acts ridiculous. In order to get him (we'll call him "Lego", since that's all he ever talks about in class) to make significant progress in class, he would probably demand something around 95% of my attention and resources. The other kids would require something like 20-30% each. While the aide was there, she focused primarily on Lego, leaving me to deal with the other three. Perfectly manageable. Once the aide left, I couldn't help all four students to do a good job. What do you do?

Essentially, I just ignored Lego. He spent his time whining, flopping on the ground, and asking me if he could show me something funny on the computer. I told him no and to stay in his seat every minute or so and helped the other three do their work. I ended up with a 75% success rate (three kids did well on the assignment, and Lego completely punted it), which is better than I think we would have done if I'd tried to keep Lego focused. (Dealing with Lego is sort of like wrestling a water buffalo, or convincing a brick wall to move aside for you.) If I'd tried to deal with Lego and gotten him to do anything, I probably would have been closer to 40%.

The moral of the story? Sometimes you have to leave a child behind. It sounds horrible, sure, but if I were in that same situation again, I'd do the exact same thing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

(untitled 291)

I bought a steak yesterday so I could make fajitas. Everything fried up nicely, but it turned out the spice mix that I used was ancient (it expired a year ago - why do I keep things like that around, anyway?), so it didn't end up like I'd hoped.

Today, I marinated the steak, fried it, and ate it with a salad and french fries. AMAZING.

This concludes this session of "List All of the Things Optimistic. Has Eaten Lately."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

(untitled 290)

Seriously, guys. Not cool. Someone needs to get on this.

Monday, January 12, 2009

(untitled 289)

I know I tend to get excitable about sports, but oh man, the Portland Trail Blazers. These guys are so much fun to watch. We got to see them play at the Rose Garden while we were home, and what's more, we got to see them take down the Boston Celtics. (AWESOME.) And tonight, I got to catch snippets of their game against the Chicago Bulls. Greg Oden, the behemoth pictured above, was responsible for single-handedly murdering the Bulls at the end of the first half.

Seriously, friends, this is like the Rockies mania I had a year and a half ago, only more so. Gotta love these Blazers. And you've gotta believe I'm going to be making jump shots and dunks in my house until the NBA season is over (i.e., June).