Thursday, June 30, 2005

What the he** is a Nieescort?

This is totally fun. As much as I hate to admit it (given the drivel spewing out of Lucas' pen in the prequels) I'm still fascinated by all things Star Wars (except the prequels and anything related to them). According to the formula, my new name is:

Jashe Glrug,
Nieescort of Zithromax

I totally like the new first name - it makes me sound like a dashing, star-hopping, devil-may-care smuggler who you just don't know whether or not to trust. Yet the new last name makes me sound like some sort of sluglike-creature, living in a hovel where I spend my time alternately plotting against the forces of good and using my evil slime-powers to subjugate the otherwise freedom-loving denizens of my planet.

As for my title, while I'm totally happy that I get to be from someplace as cool-sounding as Zithromax (yay for having a sinus infection!), the title of Nieescort makes me sound like I'm some sort of prostitute. But using the first car I drove is still better than using the first car I owned (which would have made me Nieprobe of Zithromax, and I don't want to be probing any Zithromaxians if I can help it - they are a very aggressive people and quick to take offense at being probed).

So, until later, I remain your favorite dashing sluglike slime-whore Zithromaxian...Jashe*

*Come to think of it, my brother used to call his security blanket a name that always sounded like "Yes-she" (although I never knew the spelling because I never actually saw him write it down)...coincidence?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

But I *love* maple syrup!

The Canadian parliament passed a bill last night legalizing gay marriage. I’m a little saddened by this because if the conservatives are right (and when aren’t they?) this will result in the collapse of Canadian civilization, as all canuck children rush out to join the happy throngs of cheerful, well-adjusted homosexual married couples. After all, the only reason I stayed straight my whole life is because I know that gay folks can’t get married – it has nothing to do with my appreciation for breasts at all…nope.

Even sadder is that once all little Canadian boys and girls “jump the fence” they’ll grow up completely unable to have children, so they’ll have to resort to adopting all the orphaned and abandoned kids from overseas – stealing the future from backwater countries like the United States. This will result in the US Congress declaring a trade embargo on our brothers to the north – banning any future arrangements where healthy, impressionable American babies are taken from their crack-addicted, alcoholic, physically abusive parents and sent up to live with families of loving, emotionally stable homosexuals in their well-kept homes. The Canadians will retaliate by banning the trade of maple syrup, hockey, and comedians to the US.

The weight of these sanctions coupled with the non-existent birth rate will result in the total collapse of Canadian civilization. Entire communities will be dissolved as the Canadian society devolves into a Road Warrior-like semi-nomadic existence. Bands of gays will wander up and down the Trans-Canadian Highway searching for fuel, children, and new curtains for the RV from Bed Bath and Beyond Thunderdome.

Yep…sure glad I live here in America, where
we keep our priorities straight.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Of course, skirts usually don't have pockets, but still

99% of the time, I’m incredibly happy to be a guy. There are just so many reasons why it’s better to be a guy than a gal – even if you exclude all the societal crap (e.g. salary discrepancies, workplace discrimination). I also don’t have to worry about being a target of mind-bogglingly silly research by mind-bogglingly silly women’s magazines. I suppose, though, one could argue that Maxim’s Hot 100 list is nothing more than a giant survey of men (by a mind-bogglingly silly men’s magazine) of “Which celebrity do you want to boink the most”.

Despite that, I think the fact that the list is now considered the authoritative voice on who America wants to boink (complete with hourlong TV specials) has moved it from “mind-bogglingly silly” to “respected academic research”. Therefore, Maxim has obviously moved from “mind-bogglingly silly mens magazine” to “monthly academic journal”; meaning kids - if your high school library doesn’t have an archive of copies freely available for your research paper on “Which Light Beer Sucks the Least” you can sue them for limiting your access to academic research!

Despite the obvious advantages of guy-ness, there is one aspect of womanhood that I do envy during this time of the year – the ability to wear skirts. It’s been so frigging hot in Chicago for the last week that I can hardly stand it. Yet everywhere I see women in skirts looking perfectly comfortable. I imagine that it would feel something like walking around wearing nothing more than underwear and what is essentially a belt. That must rule.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Yes, he says "I'm Batman" in one scene

The GF and I went to see “Batman Begins” this weekend. Very entertaining. And Katie Holmes is soooo not dating Tom Cruise totally for publicity. It’s obvious by the way she plays the character of Assistant D.A. Joey Potter that she can rely on her boundless ability to develop new and distinct characters to keep her in the business for years. I mean we've already seen what she did with the role of Joey Potter as Michael Douglas’ student in Wonder Boys, and as Joey Potter the amateur drug-dealer in Go. Rumor has it she's lining up to play Joey Potter the aspiring wizard in the next Harry Potter movie…

But still, the movie itself was quite good. Thank you Christopher Nolan for de-sucking the franchise. I liked that almost the entire movie was backstory and initial character development. I actually feel like I understand what drives and motivates the characters now, not to mention how so many crazy weirdos decided to live in Gotham and take up crime as a career. Plus, I now understand where the relationship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon comes from…all wonderful cinematic deliciousness. And stuff blowing up. And seeing all the familiar spots in Chicago cleverly disguised as Gotham city (because if you never see the Hancock building or Sears Tower – nobody who doesn’t live here would recognize Chicago). And best of all – as the GF pointed out – no stupid sappy pseudo-love story wedged in with its “You’re so mysterious, why won’t you let me in?” silliness.

The best part was that they actually made the villain scary again. Not since Jack Nicholson’s star-making turn as the Joker in the first one had there been a villain that I was actually scared of (I mean, Ah-nuld as Mr. Freeze? Jim Carrey as Riddler? Please, I’m more afraid of Jar Jar Binks…). But the Scarecrow is SCARY! Which, considering the name, is pretty apropos.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What, no pony too?

In another example of conclusive proof that America is going to heck in a handbasket, a woman in Lexington, KY has filed a lawsuit against a local radio station claiming that a contest she won was fraudulent and that the station is in breach of contract. One of the station’s DJ’s ran a contest where the 10th caller would “win 100 grand”. Naturally, the actual price was a Nestle’s 100 Grand candy bar, not $100,000 in cash. So the woman feels deceived, and like any good American, she files a lawsuit and sues.

Now I’m not about to rip on her for suing. The FCC does have rules against these kinds of "misleading" contests, so I presume she’ll win or that the station will settle. My issue is what she said in an interview for the story: “Before her family went to sleep that night, Gill says, she promised her children — ages 1, 5 and 11 — that they'd have a minivan, a shopping spree, a savings account and a home with a back yard.”

Here’s the problem with that. If you win $100,000, the government will take about a third to half of it right off the top in taxes. So now she’s at $66,000 – best case. Figure $20K-$25K for the minivan (she buys a relatively cheap new one) and she’s got maybe $30 grand left after taxes and fees and whatnot on the car. Take away another $5-10K for your shopping spree and savings, and you’re left with about $20 grand will not buy you a house with a backyard in Lexington. It won’t even get you to a 20% down payment. I’ve been to Lexington, and sure, it’s cheaper than Chicago – but it’s not that cheap. It’s just sad that people have no idea how to manage money. No wonder everybody is up to their ears in credit card debt.

Side note: On my way into work this morning, I saw a Toyota Echo driving down the street by a young BCWB*. It was “pimped out” with the fake spinner hubcaps and copious Mardi Gras Beads on the rear-view mirror (Actually, doesn't sporting mardi gras beads signal to the world that you flashed your top to get them? Am I to believe that he scored those showing off his man-boobs?). I laughed so hard I cried a little. I’ts hard to understand the humor in text, I know – but he just looked so proud of himself… “Yeah, it’s an Echo, my own little rice burner. 100 horses ready to throw down. I did all the accessories myself just like I saw on that episode of Pimp My Ride. Got my bling bling on the mirror. Spinners, and a game boy wired in the back seat. Check out my sound system. 2-speaker FM radio…*with* cassette. Awwww SNAP!”

*Baseball Cap Wearing Bohunk

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Even though the real list is pretty lousy

Inspired by the AFI’s list of the top 100 movie lines of the last 100 years, I’m assembling a list of my favorite line from every movie that I own. These aren’t necessarily the best lines from each of them – usually they are ones that make me giggle a little because they are funny, particularly in hindsight or when taken out of context. Others give insights into the character that aren’t immediately obvious. This is just the first batch that I could think of off the top of my head, and in no particular order.

  • “I’m nobody’s little weasel.” – Amelie
  • “WHAT’S THAT FLASHING!?!?!” – Star Wars
  • “I know kung fu.” – The Matrix
  • “A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.” – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  • “I'm a convicted murderer who provides sound financial planning.” – Shawshank Redemption
  • “Back when I was picking beans in Guatemala, we used to make fresh coffee, right off the trees I mean. That was good. This is shit but, hey, I'm in a police station.” – The Usual Suspects
  • “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – The Princess Bride
  • “The day we stop lookin', Charlie, is the day we die.” – Scent of a Woman
  • “Sugar? No thanks, I take it black, like my men.” – Airplane!
  • “What, so if you had a bit more energy we'd stay split up, but things being as they are, with you being wiped out and all, you want to get back together? Is that it?” – High Fidelity
  • “Do you see her face? Girls like that are born with a boyfriend.” – Beautiful Girls
  • “So, she smokes.” – The Royal Tenenbaums
  • “I don't want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone's *really* hoping makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated R movie, you know, the guy you're not sure whether or not you like yet.” – Swingers
  • “Maybe I'm spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks.” – Rushmore
  • “Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler. He did a lot. But don't we all wish he woulda just stayed home and gotten stoned?” – Tao of Steve
  • “All I'm saying is that, when I'm around you, I find myself showing off, which is the idiot's version of being interesting.” – LA Story
  • “It's not a lie. It's a gift for fiction.” – State and Main
  • “But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?… You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.” – Dr. Strangelove

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sapphire bullets of pure love

Just a few bullet-point musings on the weird state of the world lately...

  1. Dude, this guy is one baaaaad mother, maybe he is Shaft. I mean, how does that idea get in your head? “Hmmm, I’m being mauled by a leopard. What to do, what to do… I know, I’ll rip its tongue out with my bare hands!”. Still, good to know. Too bad I didn’t know how effective this technique is when I got attacked by dogs in Ecuador.
  2. How much cooling power could a leaf of cabbage have anyway? Surely it wouldn’t be enough to get you through an entire baseball game. This means that for the last 6-7 innings this guy’s out there running around with a warm, slimy piece of foliage on his head.
  3. Just when you think people in official positions of authority in large organizations get it…they go and screw it up again. Now, I don’t dispute that the reason Danica is getting so much hype is because she’s a very attractive woman. Is she a good driver? No doubt about it. Frankly, I hope she wins every race she’s in for the rest of her career (because she’s the only IRL driver who’s name I’d recognize). But does anyone think she’d be getting all the hype and the media coverage if she looked like Kathy Bates? Seriously? It’s kind of sad that our society can’t just enjoy the game. But it’s not about the game anymore, it’s about the players. And if you’re a female athlete – nobody cares unless you’re hot. Or a lesbian. Think of the media hysterics if a hot lesbian athlete came on the scene…hold on…I think I’ve just hit on the next big reality television series, somebody get Mark Bunett on the phone!
  4. Lions are endangered for a reason. Not habitat distruction, not poaching, nope. Obviously, it's because they are stupid. I mean, yay that the girl was rescued, but the whole logic of "the lions must have mistaken her for a lion cub" doesn't gel for me. That presumes that the lions would disregard her lack of A) fur ("Maybe she's just got a bad case of mange." they say to themselves), B) a tail ("Oh, the poor little cub must've been in some sort of horrible accident with a farm implement during the meat harvest"), C) fan affiliation with Detroit (NFL), British Columbia (CFL), or Penn State (Big Ten) ("Maybe her jersey was stolen by poachers!"). All of this adds up to Lions not being terribly bright. Unless they figure out how to drive tanks, I think they're screwed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mi-ya hee!!! Mi-ya hoo!!!

I’ve become totally obsessed with the Numa Numa Dance phenomenon. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a while back some kid made a video of himself totally rockin’ out to a song by some Romanian pop group that involved love and linden trees. He posted it on and the rest is history.

Needless to say, it’s pretty darn funny and swept through the interweb. There’s just something grotesquely fascinating about it. Beautiful and repellant all at the same time. Naturally, the internet being full of people with lots of creativity but no originality, it has spawned multiple
parodies (including one involving Napoleon Dynamite) and various fansites of both the pro- and anti-numa numa camps.

Myself I’m most fascinated by the wave of “anti-numa numa” people. I mean, it’s one little video, with absolutely no consequence whatsoever. But people go off on it, claiming “it’s not funny, it’s stupid”, “anybody could have done it” and “the video is poor quality”. I don’t get what the big deal is. Just because the chunky kid thought of it before you did doesn’t make it not funny. If it wasn’t funny, nobody would watch it. I think that, much like the comments section on the videos posted on big-boys, the only people who actually care enough to make their opinions known are twelve year old boys hopped up on mountain dew and pop rocks. In which case they’ll grow out of it eventually just like I did.

Anyway, I’ll bet that after you hear that song the first few times it’ll be stuck in your head all day.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The sad state of science in Ohio

A recent study by some crackpot at Miami of Ohio university has come to the conclusion that when one compiles a list of which states in the lower 48 have the most lakes – Minnesota is not at the top of the list. Instead, Texas tops the list with 269,976, followed by Florida, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi and then Minnesota. When queried about the obvious unusual nature of his results, the lead researcher stated that it had to do with the way the study was conducted – by reviewing satellite photographs, looking for any body of water large enough to show up on said photos (i.e. about 100 feet across or more) which would include things like water hazards in golf courses, cow ponds, and large swimming pools.

This should serve as a warning to all parents of children studying at Miami of Ohio to pull their students out immediately, as they are being taught by doodooheads. Any study which shows Minnesota in any way inferior or subordinate to Texas must be immediately taken with a grain of salt unless it involves one of the following statistics:

  • Per capita sales of Jeff Foxworthy memorabilia
  • Average temperature in July (warmest to lowest)
  • Proportion of School Board members without High School Degrees
  • Percentage of residents using middle name as part of their given name
  • Per capita consumption of chewing tobacco, DVD box sets of “Hee Haw”, “I’m with Stupid” t-shirts, or mud flaps with the “nekkid lady” silhouette

Seriously, why would anyone call a cow pond a “lake”? It’s absolutely criminal to refer to some of the crap this guy is calling “lakes” as such. I mean, just because it looks like a lake from space – doesn’t make it a lake. I mean think of all the things that could possibly be confused with what they actually are when viewed from 100 miles or so directly overhead:

Example (Looks like from space)
Actually is
Kilimanjaro (A zit on the face of Africa) A giant mountain
Paris Hilton (A talented actress) This year’s Christina Aguilera
Wyoming (Colorado) That other square state
Runaway Bride (Poor victim of hype) A zit on the face of marriage

So come on Professor Doodoohead. Get out of your ivory-colored vinyl-sided tower in Athens and come on down to reality. Once you’ve done that you owe everyone in Minnesota an apology. We’re a forgiving people, but it might not hurt to bring everyone a nice jell-o salad to help “grease the wheels”.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A living paradox

I ran across a reference to this site on (which I still read and I'm not going to apologize because inside I'm still a 12 year old boy).

The ironic thing is that due to the "minimum income requirement" - Christ himself couldn't join. Therefore, when you ask yourself "What would Jesus do?" I think you'd have to say he would probably not join this site.

Therefore, if Jesus wouldn't (couldn't) join, obviously, any good christian wouldn't join either.

So, logically, does that mean that everyone who does join this site is a bad Christian?


Red Warrior needs food...BADLY!!!

After being gone for a week, and having not bought groceries for about 3 months prior to that, my cupboards were looking pretty bare by the time I got back from Ecuador. Some of you may wonder "Why wait three months between grocery shopping trips? What do you live on once the fresh food goes bad? Frozen food and beef jerky?".

The answer is that I have a love/hate relationship with the grocery store. Not because I don't enjoy grocery shopping - I actually like thinking "Ooo...I could have that for dinner!" to myself as I walk up and down the aisles. Actually my issue is that whenever I enter a grocery store, I enter a sort of time warp, wherein time inside the store passes slowly, while time outside speeds up so that you end up wasting an entire day inside the grocery store. Sometimes I've gone in right after work, only to emerge well after dark. It's really frustrating, since I hate feeling like I've wasted an afternoon that I would've otherwise spent watching the Discovery Channel or playing my old school Nintendo.

Another reason is that since I don't shop at the same grocery store every time, I never can remember which stores have which stuff and where it is located. The Cub Foods by my house stores its pancake batter near other breakfast type foods in the cereal aisle, but the Jewel Osco nearest to work stores its pancake batter in the aisle marked "Cooking Oils, Jell-O" ("Oh, of course! Cooking oils! Why didn't' I guess that!"). This explains why it took me an hour and a half to find everything I wanted on Monday. Half an hour to find everything else plus another half-hour going up and down every aisle guessing which ones might contain maple syrup. Stupid store layout people...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Thoughts on a weeklong trip to Ecuador

After spending a week in Ecuador, here is a short summary of what my thoughts are on the trip itself:

  • I really appreciate living in a first world country. It's nice to be able to do things like easily find good medical care and drink water from the tap
  • Llamas make the weirdest sound
  • Altitude sickness can really screw people up
  • I can actually remember a lot of Spanish from high school – totally enough to get around
  • Haggling is fun
  • The GF is way tougher than she appears, and I don’t get sick of her company even after 8 days of 24 hour exposure
  • Germans can be really snotty
  • It’s often uncomfortable to be a minority in a mono-racial culture
  • When walking through the Ecuadorian countryside you can be attacked at any moment by dogs, so carry sticks and rocks to keep them at bay

I put up a bunch of pictures from the trip that follow this. It’s not everything that I took, but it’s enough to get the idea of what we saw.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The view from right outside our first hotel. Posted by Hello

The Hotel Vieja Cuba, where we stayed the first night. Posted by Hello

View from the paddleboat we rented to cruise around the pond. It's designed for people *much* smaller than me. And I'm not that big.  Posted by Hello

In the park was a little festival with hand-powered ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds. And lots of vendors on little tricycles selling various ice cream products. Posted by Hello

View from downtown Quito of the mountains surrounding the city. Posted by Hello

More from the botanical gardens. Posted by Hello

Inside the orchid house at the botanical garden. Note the GF's kickin' backpack. Posted by Hello

Some of the orchids from the botanical garden. Posted by Hello

As we left the park, we saw these two little girls making off with one of the ice cream vendors' tricycles. Little devils... Posted by Hello

The dinner entertainment on Monday night at La Ronde restaurant. Native musicians and, later native dancers. Absolutely fascinating and good tunes, too! Posted by Hello

A view from the bus as we rode from Quito to Latagunga. Posted by Hello

The bus terminal at Latagunga, where we transferred to a different bus for the final ride along dirt mountian roads. Posted by Hello

The bus naturally broke down for an hour and the driver hammered away at it, using all sorts of swear words I never learned in high school spanish. Posted by Hello

While we were at the Black Sheep Inn, every afternoon the clouds would decend and fill the entire valley. By morning they'd burn off and it'd look like... Posted by Hello

...this. The whole valley from high up at the top of the camp. Posted by Hello

View from the back of the pickup truck as we rode to Quilotoa. It was an hour's ride along dirt roads, needless to say my keister was killing me by the end. Posted by Hello

Walking around the rim, back towards the Black Sheep Inn...not lost yet. Posted by Hello

Native Andean people selling trinkets at the rim's edge. I bought a little native-style painting for $6 and probably paid too much but I was only just developing my haggling skills. Posted by Hello

This is the wide view of Laguna Quilotoa, a huge crater lake in the middle of an extinct volcano. It was pretty amazing... Posted by Hello

Hiking down from the rim, little did we know this was leading us to disaster... Posted by Hello

Back up at the rim of Quilotoa, we look back down at what we climbed. We were a little stunned that we made it. Posted by Hello

This is about halfway down the Quilotoa volcano. We still have to walk until about where the clouds are decending on the right hand side of the mountain on the other side of the valley. This is about an hour or so before we got attacked by dogs the first time... Posted by Hello

This is where we are about to hike down into the canyon, and still have to hike all the way back up the other side. Yup...walking. It's about 1500 feet down and 1500 feet up the other side. Posted by Hello

This is the view from - yes - the toilet. Yep, when you're doing your business, you can look out the window at this vista and more llamas (next to the stack of tires). Posted by Hello

On the way back to Quito from Black Sheep inn we got so high up that you can see the clouds only about 50 feet above the ground. The native folks are quick, so they are a little blurry. Posted by Hello

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