Monday, March 16, 2009

Slumber Party

This was written and performed for the Live Girls! Theater 10th Year Anniversary Season Kick-Off Cabaret.

Dear Diary:

Well, another day is over, which means that I am another day closer to my death. I realized this at the bar yesterday as I was laying another tall frothy Guinness to rest in the shallow grave of my tummy. It's an Irish pub, and hanging above the bar is a giant digital clock which perpetually counts down the remaining days, hours, minutes, and seconds until Saint Patrick's Day. As I watched the columns of numbers recklessly racing down toward a final terminus of binge drinking and cultural appreciation, I wondered if I had such a clock up in heaven, and if angel leprechauns are dusting off their little green bowler hats and plastering everything in shamrocks in anticipation of my death. Every second that ticks by is another grain of sand draining through the smooth restriction of the present and forming an ever-growing pile of missed opportunities and under-appreciated experiences at the bottom of my earthly hourglass.

My thoughtful reflection on the inescapable and irreversible flow of time was soon replaced by sheer panic. HOLY CRAP! I can't die yet! There are so many things I haven't done! So many places I haven't gone! So many people I haven't met! So many TV shows I haven't watched! So many no-good punk kids I haven't yelled at! So much porn I haven't downloaded! So many great books I haven't not read! So many hotel soaps I haven't stolen! So much beer in my fridge that I haven't drunk!

This was clearly bothering me, so I told my friend about my sudden paralyzing awareness of my mortality, and how this caused me to drink all the beer in my house. He told me to calm down, but I was like, "there's no time for that! The angel leprechaun clock is running and I only have so much sand left, and about a third of it is sleeping sand anyway, and there are so many places to do and TV to eat and people to steal that I don't even know where to start!"

My friend told me that maybe I should make a "bucket list" to keep me from getting overwhelmed. I stared at him blankly, so he asked, "you know what a bucket list is, right?" To which I replied, "...yes."

Okay, so maybe I didn't actually know what a "bucket list" was, but I knew that I didn't have time to waste on long explanations, and I ended up figuring it out pretty quickly anyway. Heaven is full of amazing things, like pearly gates, and angel leprechauns, and stairways, and unicorns, and clouds, and dead pets, but maybe it's the smaller mundane things that you end up missing. Like, I guess, buckets. You know, because why would you need buckets in heaven when you can just carry clouds around in your arms and stuff?

Anyway, so this got me thinking-- if I should be worried about not spending enough time with my buckets before I die, should I also be worried about not having enough of the small, ordinary experiences that make life interesting? But what are these bucket-level experiences that I should be enjoying before I bite the dust? Ugh, another question I don't have time to answer.

However, dear diary, in a surprising twist, it turns out that I knew the answer to this question the whole time! You see, there is an ancient saying amongst my people that I never truly understood before. Often, while regaling me with adventurous tales of yesteryear, my Grandfather would tell me as I sat upon his lap, "Grant, there is an ancient saying amongst our people that you must always remember: Slumber parties are the Buckets of Experience." Hmmm, this makes perfect sense now, now that I am older and wiser. Maybe Grandpa wasn't so crazy after all!

So I call up the dudes on conference call and I'm like, "hey dudes, before I die, SLUMBER PARTY MY PLACE TOMORROW NIGHT NEVERENDING STORY BRING PILLOWS," but the dudes are like, "what? no." Except one of the dudes is like, "you're dying?" But the other dudes are like, "I'm not going to a stupid slumber party. You're 29." So then I have to resort to permanent plan B, which is lying. "HEY DUDES MANLY DRINKIN' PARTY MY PLACE TOMORROW NIGHT NEVERENDING STORY BRING PILLOWS," and the dudes are like, "Manly Drinking Party!? Awesome!"

The next evening the dudes come over with beer and chips and stuff for "Manly Drinkin' Party" [WINK WINK]. As I expected, most of them forgot to bring pillows, but this is okay because I had purchased a large amount of "liquid pillows", which is what I call Tequila. At first, the dudes seemed sort of confused about why I was wearing pajamas, and why I was making them watch Neverending Story, and why I had so many buckets laying around, but they seemed to warm up to it after I gave them enough "liquid explanation", which is... also what I call Tequila. Eventually, after we watched the Neverending Story a couple of times, everyone started getting sleepy, and some of the dudes were like, "time to go home," but I informed them that they were too drunk to go home, but they were like, "we'll take a taxi," so then I called them a "liquid taxi", which is... another thing I call Tequila.

Well Diary, if I didn't appreciate buckets enough before, I sure do now, if you know what I mean.

This morning I woke up with an horrible upset stomach, and an awful, skull-splitting headache, and a disgusting dry mouth, lying face-down on my living room floor. Dudes were scattered all around me, passed out draped over tables, or curled up in the corners. There were pizza crusts and napkins and half-finished cans of beer everywhere. Bottles of "liquid bad idea" lay slowly dripping next to my poor desecrated buckets. The Slumber Party was over.

And with this latest important experience, dear diary, I think I'm finally ready to accept death.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I am not a shopping savant

The other day I decided that shopping was necessary. Ordinarily I fight these urges the same way I fight all reminders of responsibility: With beer and whining. This day, however, I wasn't really feeling that great, and also I had been putting off buying bathroom items for a long time and it was starting to bother me, so I figured I'd better bite the bullet and go to the store.

My bathroom items are simple: Toothbrush, toothpaste, bar of soap, shampoo, face lotion, and deodorant. You see, I tried to bury face lotion in that list, but it is impossible to hide my shameful addiction. Sometimes when people say "addiction", they actually mean "I just really like something", but not me - I actually think my face is addicted to the face lotion. If I don't put it on after I shower, my face gets the shakes, cold flashes, and puts in midnight calls to the methadone clinic. Also, it gets kind of dry. Because I am physically attached to my face, I feel it is best to keep my face happy, even if it means being a slave to the God of Lotion and the brand the God of Lotion has chosen for me, Kiehl's Soothing, Nourishing Face Creme For Men.

Unfortunately, lack of appropriate sacrifice has apparently caused the God of Lotion, or Lotionfer as I like to call him, to make it so I can't just walk around the corner to the grocery store to purchase this special addictive face lotion. Instead, I have to go to this annoying outdoor mall called University Village (although I have subsequently been informed I could also get it at Nordstoms. I reckon Hell hath such choices). Why is this outdoor mall so annoying? Here is the exhaustive list:
  1. Getting there is annoying.

  2. Parking is annoying.

  3. I hate it here so why can't I just go home?

So anyway, I sucked it up and went to University Village to buy my stupid face lotion. Fate made me park in such a place as to force me to walk past the GAP that every mall, indoor or otherwise, feels compelled to include. If I owned a mall, like if maybe I won one in a raffle or something, I would totally delete the GAP in favor of something more useful, like a bowling alley. I just kind of scowled at the GAP as I walked past it on my mission to the Kiehl's store. After purchasing my face lotion, however, I guess my disposition had improved to the point where the GAP didn't seem like quite as scary of a place, and hey! Maybe they have some T-shirts that I like or something.

The truth is, I had been looking for some blank, colored T-shirts that fit me well so I could paint my own designs on them for some time. Being that I had nothing better to do anyway, I decided that I would duck inside and quickly check out the T-shirts, and maybe the clearance rack if they had one. I discovered, to my lasting surprise, that GAP-brand medium "athletic fit" colored tees are the perfect size and fit for me! I grabbed three of them off the shelf, and this sweater that I found that I liked, and took them up to the counter. I was making excellent time.

The girl at the counter rang up my purchase and the subtotal came out to something like $63, which I figured was pretty good. I was starting to feel okay about this whole GAP place. The girl looked at me and asked, "Did you know that we're having a sale right now, where if you spend more than $75 dollars you get an instant $15 off?"

I informed her that I was, despite my savvy shopper appearance, not aware of the GAP's current special pricing arrangements, and started doing a little math in my head. "Let's see," I thought, "if I buy something else for $15, it's like I get it for free. I would be stupid not to grab another sweater or something." I left my items at the counter and turned to venture back into the untamed wilderness of the Men's section. As I was walking away, however, the girl held up one of my T-shirts and said "Did you know that this shirt is a 'Classic Fit', and these other two are 'Athletic Fit'?" She held the "Classic Fit" T-shirt out to display its considerable girth, as if asking me if I planned on gaining a bunch of weight anytime soon. Not if being in the GAP doesn't depress me so much I have to go home and eat a gallon of ice cream, GAP girl.

I told her I would swap it out for another, properly sized, T-shirt and departed from Register Town, USA. "Okay", I told myself, "just grab another T-shirt and the first other clothing item that you like, and we'll be out of here in no time."

First I went back to the wall of T-shirts and starting ruffling through all of the carefully folded clothing, looking for a heather gray 'athletic fit' medium shirt. Apparently, thin people are not allowed to don this classic gray color in T-shirt form, because there were none to be found. So now I had a tough choice of a third color: Dark brown, or this other dark brown. Hmm. I agonized over this decision for a good half an hour, asking passerby for their opinions, holding each up in different mirrors, cursing the difficulty of finding dark colors that complement my fair skin. Finally, I decided on dark brown #1.

At this point, I started experiencing what I like to call "shopper's trance". I was no longer capable of making decisions, I felt the need to check every tag even though I had already found my size, and I started humming along with the music that was playing. I shuffled, slowly, over to the sweater section, and began tugging witlessly at the clothing on the rack. If normal Grant is a horrible shopper, Zombie Grant is even worse. Finally (and I mean *finally*), I decided on another sweater, and took my new items up to the counter.

I put on a big, dopey grin and handed my clothing to the girl who had helped me before.

"Wow, took you long enough", she said, I guess as a joke.

"Yeah," I said, but really I was thinking, "must eat braaaiiinns".

She rang up my five items, and the subtotal came out to $61. I stared at the little screen for a minute until I could formulate some non-grunt words. "How did my clothes get cheaper?" I finally managed.

"Well, before you had two of one kind of T-shirt and one of another. We have this sale where if you buy three T-shirts (regularly $16.50), you get them for $12! Now that you have three of the same, it made your total less," she spat excitedly with a giant training-video grin.

"But that sweater is $20."

"No, actually it's $10", she said. I thought maybe she was going to tell me of this other sale that the GAP was having where everything you buy makes you have to buy more crap, but she just stood there smiling and blinking, so I turned from my pile yet again.

Having silently vowed to never look upon that cursed sweater rack again, and being pretty well stocked in that area by now anyway, I decided to check out the wall of jeans. Surely I could spend $15 here, I thought. I started pawing through the tightly packed cubby-holes looking for inspiration in this distressed, boot-cut world, but at this point my energy levels were getting dangerously low. If I was a video game character in a game where you are, uh, shopping or something, my "health" meter would be flashing red.

I grabbed a pair of jeans from the top cubby hole and tried to yank it out so I could inspect the quality of the cut and design in relationship to my body type in front of the nearest mirror, but the jeans were so tightly stuffed that I ended up spilling a half dozen pairs on the floor. I tried to wedge them all back into their compartment, but I am not GAP-trained in the ancient art of clothes-compression, so I figured I would just leave a couple of pairs on top of the shelves.

As in the classic movie "Goonies", so too is the GAP absolutely riddled with booby-traps. As I was lazily sliding my unwanted jeans onto the top of the cubby-hole wall, I disturbed a Plexiglas sign that was just kind of hanging there, informing me of my various fit options, so that it slipped from the shelf and crashed to the ground. I quickly bent down to inspect my destruction and to clean it up before I got in trouble, but failed to notice that in my haste to attend to the shattered Plexiglas I had also disturbed a much larger element of the display. Leaning against the wall, on the top shelf of the wall-o-jeans, were a dozen or so giant cardboard cutouts of stylistic silhouettes that donned actual GAP jeans and sweaters. I feel that cardboard was a poor material choice for such an application, since the weight of the clothing made the displays top-heavy and imbalanced. As I had pushed the jeans onto the shelf, I had unknowingly pushed the bottom of one such cutout too close to the wall, disrupting its precarious balance. I noticed this when, as I was hastily trying to scrape the bits of the other display I had ruined under the nearest clothing rack, all light was suddenly blotted out by the tumbling but well-coordinated cardboard model.

I threw my arms up just in time to catch the display, but the cardboard bent and tore as it hit my hands, and we collapsed together in a pile of distressed jeans and tasteful sweater/undershirt combinations. Good thing no one saw that....oh wait, that GAP dude has been watching this whole time.

We both apologized profusely, even though we both knew that it was entirely my fault and that I probably shouldn't be allowed to walk around unsupervised in public. He then stiffly asked if I needed help finding anything, but I declined, because I decided I really didn't want any of those stupid jeans anyway. I grabbed a thermal undershirt as I awkwardly escaped my wreckage, and quickly made my way to the counter....again.

That stupid undershirt turned out to be $10, so I was still $4 short of spending the same amount of money I would have an hour ago. I smiled at the GAP girl, thinking that maybe she would find my incompetence endearing, but she shot me a look that plainly said "You are the worst shopper I have ever seen. Also, you need a haircut."

I looked around at the counter for some stuff I could use to make my $75 quota, but I would have had to buy, like, 5 chapsticks, and I don't really use chapstick anyway. I gazed back into the Men's section, looking for inspiration and discovered that GAP dude had called in another GAP dude to help him clean up my mess. I looked around a little more and my eyes fell upon the socks and underwear section. Ha! Who couldn't use more socks?! I jogged over to the socks and grabbed heedlessly the first pair I could touch, as I was turning to bolt back, however, I noticed that there are two different types of socks - ones that cost $3 and ones that cost $5. I wasn't sure which one my lucky victim was, so I had to grab another pair just to be sure.

I took my socks to the counter and the girl scanned them. As she scanned the second pair, she turned to me with a smile. "We have a sale where if you buy two pairs of socks (regularly $3), you get both for $5!"

I almost had a heart attack, thinking that I would have to buy more socks, or maybe some gloves or something, but it finally settled in that I had done it! I had won! $76!! As the second pair was registered by the scanner, the total dropped to $61, $66ish with tax, and I heaved a sigh of relief.

"Aren't you glad that we are having this sale? Look at all this other stuff you got for the same price!" The girl beamed.


Well, one positive thing that I gained from my ill-advised GAP trip was that I was reminded of this awesome video! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Every once in a while I will be walking somewhere and think, "this seems like it would be a pretty good place to sleep if I was homeless". Not that I intend to ever be homeless, but I figure it can't hurt to have a plan just in case. However, one thing that I don't really have a concrete plan for yet is what I might put on my cardboard sign that I hold while milling around the freeway exit or outside 7-11. It seems that this is a pretty cutting-edge field in the landscape of being homeless, where innovation is heavily rewarded before it becomes adopted as industry standard. I'm thinking that the first guy that made the "It's For Beer" sign made a killing for the first couple of days before everyone else on his street adopted the "charmingly honest about my vices" approach. The thing is, it's probably not that people wanted to buy this gentleman a beer, but rather they were responding positively to the creative marketing effort he was employing.

I think the first sign I might try out would be the logical extension of the "It's For Beer" paradigm: "It's for her" with an arrow, and I would just hang out next to a prostitute all day. See, people would probably think, "I don't agree with his behavior, but I cannot deny that that guy is really honest, thus is probably the most worthy of my change", but in reality the joke would be on them because I'd probably use it to buy beer. Another thing I might try if I was one of those homeless dudes who has a dog would be to make a sign that said, "Need more ingredients for dog stew". I bet people would think it was a pretty good joke, chuckle, and give me a quarter or two, then a few minutes after they drove away the doubt would begin to creep in. Sign for outside a coffee shop? How about, "drip coffee instead of a latte could save you hundreds of dollars on an annual basis", then I could collect for my helpful money-saving tip when they exited the store. They would probably also appreciate the irony of receiving financial advice from a homeless guy and might kick in a little extra.

It is also entirely possible that the writing on the sign is completely irrelevant. Probably my first homeless project would be to build an abacus out of beer tops and coat hangers to perform some statistical analysis on the collective panhandling experience of my new colleagues. One guy in particular that I'd like to gather data from is the guy who operates the cardboard sign that reads "GOOBLES?" on the Greenlake off-ramp from I-5. Whether by the inherent lack of precision of his materials, or by poor stylistic choices and shoddy execution, it took me at least five minutes to figure out that it was probably intended to read "GOD BLESS". Since the "GOD BLESS" signage flavor is so ubiquitous, it would make an excellent control sample to base the specific performance of "GOOBLES?" on.

My gut would tell me that the brilliantly incomprehensible "GOOBLES?" should massively outperform the forgettable "GOD BLESS", for reasons not the least of which is the innovative quality of asking a question to inspire interaction with the end-user. I don't want to rely solely on my gut here, though, because if I'm wrong and the cleverness or uniqueness of the sign is irrelevant, I just wasted a dollar on a black marker that I could've put towards my next alcohol purchase. Kids, this is why studying statistical analysis is important.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


So I used to live in a tiny crappy rental house with Kyle and Brian. It was the only house that we could find to rent because as college kids, we were bound by our college kid duty to trash everything in sight. Our landlord, Ol' Crazy Ben, was not bothered by this impending demolition of his house, however, as evidenced by his willingness to rent it to us. We have reason to believe that this is probably because he was perpetually high.

Our rental house was on a busy street and it had a porch. It was a pretty good sittin' and watchin' porch, so we built a bench for it. We also kept a bucket of pinecones on the porch for one of our favorite pastimes, Plankball, which, um, involved having lots of pinecones in a bucket. Also we used the readily accessible bucket of ‘cones for throwing at stuff, like each other, or our occasionally operational van.

One day in addition to the bench and bucket of pinecones we found two bottles of beer and a hand on the porch. Wait, that didn’t sound dramatic at all. One day our socks were blown clear off with amazement and fear at the discovery of two bottles of beer AND A SEVERED HAND ON OUR PORCH! HOLY CRAP!!!

Okay, so it turns out that it was just a mannequin hand.

One of the bottles of beer was Corona, and the other was an unmarked brown bottle. Being that we were not yet of legal purchasing age, the fact that it was unmarked and came from an unknown source did not deter us from pounding that thing straight away. The booze was good, all the more so because it was free. It also helped calm our frayed nerves from the sight of the horrible severed hand!!! mannequin hand.

What compels a person to leave a mannequin hand and two bottles of beer on someone’s porch? Was it a warning? IS SOMEONE GOING TO CUT OFF OUR HANDS?! We had a mystery, and being that it was a weekday, skipping class was in order to try to solve this mystery. Also, solving mysteries requires a lot of brain power so we fueled up with a big pile of bacon before we set to work.

The first step to solving a mystery involving a mannequin hand is to pull your hand into your sleeve and put the mannequin hand there instead, and then pretend to cut it off. This is most effective with various household implements, like novelty baseball bats, remote controls, and spatulas. This helps you get into the mindset of the mannequin-hand-abandoning culprit.

Hours later we were still no closer to solving the mystery, and we were running out of things to cut the hand off with, so we got ready for our weekly dealer’s choice poker game. This poker game tradition involved dragging the kitchen table into the living room and putting a tablecloth on it and sitting around, waiting for other people to show up with various containers full of change. Kyle had a flower pot full of change that even had a fake flower in it to complete the illusion. I had a soup can. That is how I roll. I don’t remember what Brian used to hold his change, so in my mind I like to think it was a sock, so just in case we got out of line he could whack us upside the head with a sock full of quarters. [update: it was a Crown Royal bag.]

This dude Rowan just held his change in his shirt and then dumped it all over the table when he arrived. That guy is a step and a half below soup can. He brought beer, though, so I guess one can partially forgive him.

We realized that poker would be an excellent opportunity to grill our friends about the mannequin hand. The plan was simple-- just stare until they crack and spill the beans. All of our questions would be answered; Why did you leave us a hand? Do you think we stole something from you? Are you trying to tell us something? What’s the deal with that freaky unmarked beer? Do you have more? What other female mannequin parts do you have? Wait, don’t answer that. When did you leave us this cryptic message? What were you doing up before noon?

Well, the staring didn’t work so well. Not even a single trembling drop of sweat was produced by our furious gaze. Plus, all that grillin’ made us thirsty and sober so we got right to work rectifying that. Maybe we just needed a mental break to let the facts sink in.
  • Fact: A mannequin hand was left on our porch.

  • Fact: Beer is delicious.

  • Fact: None of our friends even twitched at our bad cop/bad cop/bad cop routine.

  • Fact: Rowan needs brake pads. You can hear them grinding for blocks.

  • Fact: Hey, Lorney brought cookies!

  • Fact: Where’s the rest of the mannequin? Oh no, has anyone been to the back yard yet today?! What will arrive tomorrow, a bloody mannequin head?!

  • Fact: It’s my turn to deal.

The best dealer’s choice game ever is, of course, Follow the Chicago Baseball Bitch on the L-Train from Omaha to Dayton. It is a quaint little split-pot 7-card stud game we painstakingly developed where all 3’s, 9’s, and Q’s are wild, plus whatever card immediately follows a face-up Q, plus all those of the same rank as the card following the Q, plus the highest card or lowest card in your hand, and, uh, 4’s get you a new card. I think we also had to pass 3 cards to the left, and there might have been 4 community cards and diamonds may have also been wild. Anyway, the pot was split between high hand, low hand, and possibly whoever had the lowest spade. It is also called “give each other some nickels”, or “Derek refuses to play this one”.

Well, after a couple hours of relaxing our brains and challenging our livers instead, we kicked everyone out and went to sleep. Actually, that’s a lie. After everyone trickled out to go to sleep, we stayed up to harvest mystery clues from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, which came in on the only channel we got on our trusty television, Glowbox. Glowbox never lets us down, and this was no exception. Of course! Someone must have been developing some Lost World fan fiction footage where a dinosaur rips the hand off of an Amazon woman! They must have gotten a little carried away and lost track of the hand! And the beer….well, that was probably Karma. Satisfied with our detective prowess, we went to bed. Well, after we played some Starcraft.

The next day we awoke just in time to hit the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at Godfather’s Pizza up the street. Amid the hunger and hustle to find our shoes and stuff, we let the mannequin hand slip quietly from our minds. We were just about to leave when we spotted the mannequin hand waiting dramatically in our entry way. A torrential flood of fear and poker-night-induced headaches swept through our now-troubled minds. Well, maybe not fear per se, but definitely some sort of troubling emotion. Some sort of headache-like emotion.

What we had deemed a distantly plausible explanation the night before now seemed hollow and lacking even the slightest hint of rational thought.

We cautiously opened the front door but found the porch devoid of additional cryptic warnings and free booze. There would be no new clues to mull over this morning.

[insert three centered asterisks to indicate the passage of time]

* * *

[good job with those asterisks]

Well, no new clues were revealed that morning, or evening, or the next day, or even the next, or later the next week. Or month, even, really. The sun arched in her time worn groove. Leaves shot out of branches, browned, and fell. The minute hand stood still, while the hour hand raced by (okay I stole that from crazy accordion dude who was at Bumbershoot that one year). Slowly time buried the mystery, and the mannequin hand was incorporated into our catalog of randomocity, and we used it in an art project, and we ceased to remember its tumultuous and mysterious beginnings.

Then one day Ol’ Crazy Ben was over poking around for some reason and he very slyly, or I imagine he felt like he was being very sly, began dropping hints like “hey guys can you give me a hand with this?” or “do you think you have a handle on this?” or “so do you guys like homebrew or what?” Being that Ol’ Crazy Ben was prone to blabbing on and on about stuff, and that I’m pretty sure that putting up with him was a component of our lease, we met these statements with the same blank stare we always gave him. “When is he going to leave”, we all thought as our eyelids drooped uncontrollably.

Ol’ Crazy Ben, perhaps slowly beginning to realize that his cleverly crafted joke was being unintentionally stonewalled by his bored and sleepy tenants, pushed on.

“Man, I’m aching”, he said, leaning slightly and putting his hand on his hip in an exaggerated theatrical portrayal of a sore back. “Man I’m Achin”, “Manemachin”, “Mannechin”, “Mannequin!”

He mouth was moving but all we heard was the slow motion drone of the cars on the street, and the wind above, and a pinecone falling. I can’t wait until Ol’ Crazy Ben leaves so we can play Plankball. Eyes…falling…so….sleepy…Ol’ Crazy Ben…so…crazy.

“I left you guys a mannequin hand and some beer. Didn’t you get it?” He said at last, losing patience and his morning buzz probably wearing off. I guess we had ruined his joke. He looked kind of put out.

We were shaken out of our inane-rambling-induced daze by the annoyance in his voice. We stood rooted to the spot, trying to figure out what he was talking about. Then the mannequin mystery of yesteryear came rushing back to our minds.


We stood there holding our breaths, hoping our hastily assembled response would satisfy our landlord. I tried to smile a little. This was just as awkward as when he accused us of growing pot in the basement and was disappointed when we showed him that we weren’t. But really, who leaves a mannequin hand on their tenant’s porch and then brings it up in riddle form LIKE ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER?

Ol’ Crazy Ben was evidently happy with the response, however, and he chuckled as he turned to putter back to his minivan and drive off into the sunset. Well, he drove north, so I guess he was actually driving off NEXT to the sunset. Well, if there was a sunset. It was only noon at the time.

[next time write a story with an ending]

Saturday, July 19, 2008


So one day Brian, Kyle, and I were in the front yard of our tiny rental house publicly demonstrating our professional-caliber skill at millin’, which is similar to chillin’ but with more movement. Usually the movement is back and forth between the living room and the refrigerator, but today we were taking our act to the people by millin’ on and around our front porch.

Millin’ is like a canon in music. You know, like Row Row Row Your Boat, where one person starts, and then another starts a few bars in, and so on. Each additional element adds a level of richness to the piece that belies the simplicity of each individual part.

Soon the combination of our individual ‘mills’ was a veritable ballet of slouching, whacking the hedge with a piece of wood, and chucking pinecones at FreeVan. It was beautiful. The glorious radiance of our millin’, combined with the low afternoon sun, inspired passing motorists to don their shades as they approached.

As the complexity of our millin’ increased, an amazing thing happened: Kyle, casually swinging his groundscore piece of lumber in the general vicinity of our neighbor’s hedge, happened to catch an errant van-ward pinecone in his sweeping arc.

The pinecone rocketed right into the side of the house, exploded, and a new game was born. There would be no need to find additional activities today.

After using the plank to generously deposite some pinecones around the front yard and into the street, we began launching them over the house into the backyard. The sharing of the plank became tedious, being that there were three of us, so we figured we needed to get some reinforcements. Fortunately, we had a pile of scrap wood in the backyard, and we had also, conveniently, just relocated some pinecones back there anyway.

We each chose a plank that suited our fancies and weren’t covered in spiders or anything. One of them was a No Parking sign we had stolen from outside the bar down the street. We found some of the pinecones we had crushed over the house and resumed redistributing them throughout our neighborhood. However, with three planks we ran out of projectiles in, like, two minutes, so we had to go back to the front yard with a bucket to get some more.

Yeah, so that bucket didn’t last very long, so we had to shake the pine tree to get some more pokey brown rockets to blast. At this rate we wouldn’t have ANY pinecones left in 20 minutes or so. We had already investigated alternate sources of projectiles, but rocks were even harder to find than pinecones, and the over-ripe plums from the backyard just kind of exploded over everything in a big sticky mess. We needed to begin a progressive pinecone rationing plan.

Phase one of the pinecone rationing plan was to use just one at a time. I think this is like the diet I read about on the back of a Corn Flakes box where you eat slower so your body realizes it’s getting full sooner. This was also like returning to our pre-three-plank roots of half an hour ago, so I guess there was a nostalgia factor as well.

Phase two involved researching the limited reusability of pinecones. You can whack a pinecone approximately three times before it just kind of becomes a weird moist sawdust lump. We sent a three-person away team to retrieve reusable pinecones from the street and the top of FreeVan.

Phase three involved realizing that we didn’t want to have to hold back three times before uncorking on those helpless little seed pockets. We wanted to launch them now!

Phase four had us realize that hitting pinecones at each other is hilarious.

Phase five brought the discovery that the planks could also be used to shield one from enemy ‘cone fire.

Phase six was sending Brian in to get some Coke. Wailing on stuff is thirsty work.

Phase seven was whacking enemy fire back to the sender.

Phase eight was whacking enemy fire at the other guy who doesn’t expect it. Sucker!

Phase nine was whacking enemy fire at another other guy and having him whack it right back.

Phase ten was sending the pinecone around in a circle and then obliterating it into the neighbor’s yard just as it was becoming a pulpy little blob. Plankball!

The secret to Plankball is being disciplined in your approach. To ensure the pinecone makes it around in a full circle before launch, we had to develop a volley strategy. After several iterations and more Coke and some tortilla chips shaped like little scoops (to hold the salsa in), we ended up with the following system:
  • Players stand in a triangle.

  • Player One “serves” the pinecone toward Player Two with a long narrow plank. This allows him to hold the 'cone in one hand and the plank in the other.

  • Player Two “bumps” the pinecone in a gentle upward arc toward Player Three with a No Parking sign held with both hands. The extra width greatly improves accuracy.

  • Player Three “sets” the seed back toward Player One with a mediumish plank chosen for its lack of spider eggs or earwigs. This is best done with an overhand stroke to project the pinecone in a roughly horizontal trajectory, much like a baseball pitch.

  • Player One then wheels around toward our sketchy neighbor’s backyard and TOTALLY UNLOADS ON THAT GRODY LITTLE LUMP! VICTORY!

You might be thinking “Hey, ‘serve’, ‘bump’, ‘set’... this sounds a lot like volleyball,” and you are right! Plankball is more like volleyball than any other sport. Similarities include:
  1. Both contain the word “ball”, although in Plankball it is not exactly a ball, it is actually a pinecone.
So after we honed our skills at Plankball, we could complete a full volley about 50% of the time. This is like batting .400 in baseball. It is likely that future Plankball players will harp for the days of yesteryear when the pioneers of the sport were Gods rather than mere mortal college students. I predict that the future of Plankball will find standardized plank dimensions, rules against treating planks with gross plum juice, and probably they will use synthetic pinecones. The sport that we love will have sold out.

Also, I think the future of Plankball will find a whole grove of pine trees in our neighborhood in 50 years.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reminder of my mortality


I certainly hope that I'm not the only person to remember the Crayola "Lemon Yellow" color, because I was informed upon inverting my Snapple cap today that that that color, created in 1949, was retired in 1990. Nineteen-fucking-ninety. I've been consuming my tiny morsel of time here on earth apparently unaware that the colors that I knew and loved from my 64 color crayon box (with built in sharpener) are apparently disappearing from existence. 15 years (!) worth of today's children have never pondered the reason for 2 identical colors (distinguished only by including the word "lemon" on one of them) occupying valuable crayon real-estate in that magical moment of promise and delight upon opening a new box of crayons.

And then I began thinking, why did that waxy flavorless reaper come for my lemon yellow, opting (apparently) to not break the brotherly bonds of the yellow-green/green-yellow twins and their indomitable space-wasting redundancy? And "Burnt Umber"? Why do bad things happen to good, honest colors like lemon yellow?

Sure, I'd rate yellow a solid "3" out of the primary colors, but how many shades of brown do you need? What's next- bumping "Red" to introduce "Light Raw Sienna-Plum-Maize"?

In my naive idealistic childhood, I embraced the vast variety of 64 "unique" colors each prominently represented upon those 3 tiers within that sacred box. (I even heard legends of an elusive 128-color set. Wow). But now that I think back to squeezing that last stub of red crayon while "Cornflower" remained perfectly preserved, frozen in time, reminding me that my precious wax drawing instruments were once new and perfect, and now old and dirty. Shreds of paper wrapping blowing in the wind. Unidentified additional color on the tip of "White". No more "Orange".

If I were to assemble a box of 64 colors today, there'd be 20 "Black" (for drawing the outlines of helicopters and tanks), 20 "Red" (for Nazi blood), 20 "Green" (trees are important for background scenery), and 4 motherfucking "Lemon Yellows" for establishing that this fucking drawing is taking place during daylight hours.

Am I living on borrowed time? The cruelness of this harsh world took "Lemon Yellow" 15 years ago, snuffing it's life like a tiny flame in a windstorm. If a color can be consumed so emotionlessly by the slow march of time, do any of us stand a chance? A once proud existence entombed within our dwindling memory and Snapple "Real Fact" #379.

Apparently, when I am no longer of this world, my best hope is to be so encapsulated within a refreshing beverage's trivia lid.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


So I don't really know anything about astrology, but every once in a while, completely unbidden, I will suddenly blurt out "what is your sign" if it comes up in conversation. I do it kind of jerky-like, as though maybe I'm not actually saying it but some sort of astrology-obsessed alien is using me as a puppet. I mean, once I get the answer I have no use for it. Or maybe, deep down, I still harbor a hope that one day I will ask someone what their sign is and I will be completely blown away by it.

"Hey, what is your sign", I say, kind of stiff and wooden, like a puppet.

"My sign is the Falcon. I am mortal enemies with those who bear the hapless sign of the Horrible-Scary-Snake", they reply, crossing their arms over their chest in a giant "X".

I'm pretty sure, though, that while I can't actually name all twelve signs, or care enough to look them up on Wikipedia, that I would have remembered if there was a Falcon sign. And this brings up another point: I have gleamed that a function of astrology is determining your compatibility with other people, but this is really boring. I mean, I think people would care a lot more about astrology if it was more of a guide to who you should choose as mortal enemies. I think this would lead to all sorts of great drama in our day-to-day lives. Can you imagine finding out that your cubicle-neighbor was born in August and is therefore YOUR MORTAL ENEMY AND MUST DIE AT ANY COST?! Drama!

Also, I think the mortal enemy connections should be chosen by the probable real-life relationship of the astrological, uh, mascots. Like, I'm pretty sure that I (a Pisces, which I guess is some kind of fish) would be natural enemies with whatever month has the goat. Sure the goat is larger than the fish, and could probably eat me in one bite, but maybe I am one of those fish with the really poisonous organs.

And maybe instead of just directing us to whom we should harbor irrational hatred towards, astrology could also direct us toward other passionate relationships. I bet Pisces would get along really great with the crab-thing, so why not just be BEST FRIENDS! BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!

Damn this astrology is making my life easier.

Oh, and I think that maybe astrology could help define other kinds of relationships so I wouldn't have to go through all the hard work of getting to know people! I'm thinking that one of the signs, like the lion (there is a lion sign, right?) could be a trusty sidekick! And maybe whichever sign has the magical unicorn could be like the harsh disciplinarian, but deep down they really just care about my wellbeing, but don't know how to show it.

How about it, astrology?!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We should barronk to tabo tuesday!!

From the opening of 'A Christmas Carol', by Charles Dickens: "There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate." I feel this is a pretty good format for the opening line of this story. With strategic word replacement, here is how my story is going to begin:

There is no doubt that 'Carpool' is in the dictionary. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

If you are not absolutely riveted by this introduction, you may choose to begin your reading adventure with a special edition "Alternate story beginning", which is pretty much exactly like the intended beginning, but for one important change:

[Special Edition Alternate Story Beginning] There is no doubt that 'Taco' is in the dictionary. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

If you do not believe me, you may see for yourself at that both carpool AND taco are actual words, and if you don't believe the internet either, you may choose to use your analog, flammable, paper dictionary to convince yourself that for once I am not lying to you. However, I am going to hazard a guess that your non-internet dictionary does not include as awesomely succinct of a definition for taco as "Mexican cookery".

Anyway, I find the "T9" predictive text feature on my cell phone to be amazingly handy for all of that intense tex'in that I do, and I am constantly amazed at how accurate it is, even for a lot of common names and places. Overall, I would have to grant "T9" the highly sought-after "pretty much awesome" rating. However, consider the situation in which you wish to enjoy discount tacos for a local sports bar's "Taco Tuesday" promotion, and you wish to consolidate transport among your colleagues to this event. A reasonable text message for this situation might be "Hey we should carpool to taco tuesday!!" Here's where the amazing power of T9 has a chance to save precious seconds to be used on tacos instead of pushing tiny buttons on your cellphone. After all, all of those words, as previously alluded to, ARE in the dictionary.

Eager for tacos, I watch as the magic T9 letters flow and unfold upon my cellphone screen:
Hey x
Hey we
Hey we s
Hey we pg
Hey we sin [who are you to judge, cell phone?]
Hey we shot
Hey we shoul
Hey we should
Hey we should a
Hey we should cc
Hey we should car
Hey we should cars
Hey we should carro
Hey we should carson
Hey we should barronk

At this point, I press the "+" key to advance to the logical next word in the T9 queue; Carpool. I press and press and press, but "barronk" has clenched it's iron fists upon the 2277665 number combination. Where is my "carpool"? Also, what the hell is "barronk"? Alas, my stalwart champion,, can provide no insight into this mysterious, sinister Barronk character, so I desperately turn to the greatest reference source ever devised by man: Never before have I been denied a definition by the finest compilation of real and made-up combinations of letters available to humanity....

Until now.

Completely striking out on Barronk, I glumly resign to splitting "car" and "pool" so as to proceed with my important message. I continue:
Hey we should car pool to t
Hey we should car pool to u2
Hey we should car pool to tab
Hey we should car pool to tabo

Again, I press the "+" key to cycle to "taco", for SURELY taco is part of a dictionary that includes the word "barronk"...

Nope. Tabo it is. Again, lets me down, and I am forced once again to slum around in that wonderful seedy wasteland of Unlike the failure with Barronk, however, urbandictionary comes through with the flying colors I have come to expect. Tabo, naturally, is a man with a small penis, and it even offers a suggestion for usage: "She couldn't even feel anything, he's a total tabo." THANK YOU URBANDICTIONARY!

What is my phone trying to tell me here? Why does it want me to communicate "Hey we should barronk to tabo tuesday!!"? Ordinarily, I would find this amusing and inconsequential, but I find it disturbing based on how common of a message this is. In fact, here is a graph of common text messages by usage patterns:

Clearly, subjecting 18% of it's T9 aided messages to a desperate plea for "tabo" is an indication that my phone has a problem. A sick, sick problem. And I'm still not sure what "barronk" is, but now it seems likely that it is some sort of dirty phone talk.

Anyone know of a good phone psychiatrist who might have some fringe techniques for scaring my phone straight?

Stir-fry or Stew, a MYSTERY

I have a mystery for you, detectives. I recently embarked on a journey to the grocery store for to obtain meats for my belly. I felt that pork was providing a strong argument for it's election to my innards, so I went to the deli to research my price and configuration options. I found a package of delicious-looking little chunks of former pig that seemed to fit all of the criteria I had assembled for my dinner, and was throwing it into my basket when I noticed that this meat came with a recommendation for it's usage: Great for Stir-fry Stew. Stew had been hand-written on the package with the same marker that had been used to cross out Stir-fry, a technique that I find lends a certain confidential-FBI-document-like touch. While it did take me a minute of angling the package to the light to decode the hidden stir-fry message, this was clearly sloppy document protection. The proper technique would have been to photocopy the blacked-out tag, thereby concealing the message forever in a pleasingly uniform black box.

I may not have gotten as far as deciding exactly how I was going to prepare the pork for it's journey into Stomachfornia, but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be stew. The written word, a handwritten deli meat label included, has a powerful effect on me, so I began to second-guess that this was my meat soul-mate after all. I was about to dip my feet back in the pork pool when I noticed that ALL of the little chunky pork bits came with the same modified recommendation. clearly, this meat is Great for Stir-fry Stew only. 30 or so packages had been modified to carry this special message, and I couldn't help but wonder why someone would go through all of this trouble.

Admittedly, I am no cooking expert, but something tells me that there is not nearly as much difference in stir-fry pig and stew pig as this marker-wielding grocery employee would have me believe. Am I wrong? Perhaps there are vast cultural differences between Pigs of the Stew and Pigs of the Stir-fry, a constant rift that threatens the stability of our world. Has my sequesterment from the threads of current events left me ignorant as to the shifting control over our nation's delis, and the reckless power play by the House of Stew (Pig Chapter) that instigated this seemingly trivial relabeling job? Or does it have something to do with corn?

This seemed like a diversion, a dead end, so I took a step back in this mystery of mysteries. I stood in the deli section, letting the facts swim about my head like a dark ocean about fleshy, um, head-shaped crags. At this point in the pulp mystery novel version of my story, a sinister figure knocks me unconscious with a cunning blow from a salami or a roll of aluminum foil or a can of chili, and I awake to make an important connection that I had hitherto ignored. I waited, but no clarity-inspiring concussion ensued.

It does seem clear to me, though, that someone is trying to tell me something. Maybe someone is in trouble, and this is their message to the world, a desperate plea, a riddle in meat.

Help me, detectives, someone's life may be in your hands. Also I'm hungry.

LIFE: KaBloomers, Des-truc-tion!!

I am filing this under "Life", because death is a part of life, and this story deals with death. The death of a building. I have heard that death is really just a transition from one state to another. I think this is especially true for buildings, where death is merely a transition from being a Building to being a Pile.

One morning, I woke up, stretched, and looked out my bedroom window to find that sometime between Thursday morning and Friday morning the building behind my condo had undergone the transformation from fully-functioning building to fully-functioning pile. Check it out:



I stared dreamily at the pile for a bit before deciding that I needed to go investigate closer, to check out if there was anything awesome to score from this wreckage. I went up to the next street up to check out the pile from it's natural vantage point:

King of the Hill!

Hey! The fridge is totally winning the King of the Hill challenge! You would think that the pile's construction would be analogous with the original building's construction; you know, roof material on top, and so forth. So how did the fridge get up there? Did I just never notice that there was a refrigerator on the roof?

Also, it brings up another interesting point: Why was the refrigerator still in the building when it was demolished? Wouldn't you have thought to remove all of the non-attached stuff before you started recklessly bulldozing everything? This is better illustrated by this:


Dude! That's someone's TV! This makes me wonder if someone went out to grab some tacos or something, and came back to find their home totally converted to pile. Crap! How am I going to catch CSI:Miami now?!

Another great feature of this pile is the requisite pile of beer bottles:

Party time!

If you look closely, you will find that not all of the empty bottles belong to the associated half-rack box! This means that multiple packages of Henry's were consumed to celebrate some element of this pile, and we are only seeing a tiny projection of this consumption onto our visible world.

What's great about drinkin' by this particular pile is that the Boxcar Alehouse is approximately twenty feet away. But no! I eschew the social acceptability of enjoying ice-cold brews served by an attractive waitstaff in the company of interesting people for sitting in the shadows of the messy remains of a crappy apartment building and pounding bottle after bottle of cheap local beer!

Alas that this aloofness is feigned, for I DO love me a twelver of Henry's Dark.

So at this point in my exploration I begin to circumnavigate the perimeter of the destruction, thinking that this is a pretty boring pile, TV aside, but lo! What is there to greet me on the north side but more evidence that this demolition was indeed in haste:

Oh dear

NOOOO! You left your dildo in the building! Now it is all covered in dirt and broken 2x4's! NOOOO!

You might be thinking that perhaps this device was planted on the scene after the actual demolition as a joke or something, but I poked it with a stick and confirmed that it is indeed half-buried in the rubble. Why would someone intentionally go through the trouble of submerging half of a dildo in the remains of a crappy apartment building?

I guess this is another one of life's mysteries.

Friday, June 27, 2008

MC3: You will buy the whole seat, but you will only use THE EDGE

My friend Brian and I are working on developing some fan fiction to explore the rich universe created by the Miss Congeniality movies. Here is a poster for the film adaptation of Miss Congeniality 3:


This is a Softer World ripoff comic about my friend Jason:

Here is one I made based on something my friend Kyle told me once:


I am a licensed tequila doctor. Here is a prescription for your use. (click to enlarge and print)


Being both energy-conscious and short-sided, I somehow have gotten in the habit of turning off the heat in my living room before I go to bed. I feel that this is a pretty decent thing to do, except that by the time I get up in the morning, my condo is roughly the same temperature as it is outside. Because of this, I have had to add a new task to my morning routine, so that now it looks like this:
  1. Hit snooze button
  2. Hit snooze button
  3. Hit snooze button
  4. Listen to NPR for a couple minutes
  5. Hit snooze button
  6. Complain about temperature
  7. Run to bathroom so fast that the cold can't catch me
  8. Damn, it's cold in the bathroom, too
  9. Shave, brush teeth, shower
  10. Get dressed
  11. Forget to grab lunch
  12. Go to work
I had this routine finely tuned until I began my ill-advised, one-sided war with my thermostat. Now that I added step 6, I am almost always five minutes late to work. The worse part is, I refuse to add another step that could greatly affect my comfort later. This step would be "11a. Turn on the damn heat a little." As a result of my stubbornness and miserly tendencies, by the time I get home from work, it is even colder in my apartment than it is outside.

You may be thinking "even colder than it is outside? Are you crazy?" The answers are both yes. To visualize how this works, imagine my condo as a thermos, a thermos filled with groundscore furniture, empty beer bottles, and love. You see, a thermos claims to keep both hot things hot and cold things cold, and does so by providing insulation from the outside environment. What this insulating ability does is slow the transfer of heat from the inside, where your chai tea or cocoa is, to the outside (or vice versa if you want ice-cold lemonade later on). Now, suppose you've started an experiment wherein you have made some delicious soup for lunch, but left it in your car under the pretense of "forgetting" it. The next morning your soup is pretty cold because it's been in your car all night. Later that afternoon, even though it is a lot warmer than it was in the morning, that soup it's still freaking cold because the insulating property of the thermos has slowed the propogation of heat from the environment into your Campbell's Hearty Beef soup.

My condo is like that soup.

Well, it's been really, really cold outside, so it's been really, really cold in my condo when I get home from work. How cold, you might ask if my use of multiple "really's" does not convince you? How about some made-up anecdotal evidence:

The other day I came home and it was so cold that my apartment was infested with snowmen! They were little, maybe a foot high, but they were large in mischief. They were running amok throughout my home, wetting stuff up with their little bite-size carrot noses. At first I thought they were cute, but then one of those little buggers bit my ankle and the rest started laughing and choking up little ice cubes that they probably pinched from my freezer. I called one of them "Frosty", thinking that maybe that was it's name, but I guess this really offends these little bastards because they started going all berserker on me. Soon, it was an all-out war. I started kicking the little shits hither and thither, but there were so many that I was having trouble keeping up with them. I managed to throw a couple in the dryer, and crunched some with my feet so that I could make some snowballs to throw at the others. This naturally seemed to disgust them, and hopefully taught them a lesson about respecting other people's property. Being pelted with the remains of their friends was disheartening, and some of the littler ones started to cry. Here is a valuable lesson about snowmen: Their tears are little icicles that shoot from their coalish eyes like tommy guns. Soon, the sobbing snowmen were shooting each other with icicles, and I seized this opportunity to stroll nonchalantly up to the thermostat and crank this war up to "70".

Soon, most of the snowmen lay dead on the floor, some by my ferocious Green River Community College 1-credit Karate Class skillz, others with icy snowmen tears dimpling their backs as they had tried to flee their distraught colleagues. One was tangled up in the blinds of my dining room window, right above my baseboard heater. I walked up to this one, and plucked his carrot nose off and ate it right in front of him. It just kept swearing and cursing little snowmen curses until his unseen mandibles must have melted and started dripping onto my floor. "I'll see you in snowman hell, you bastard," I said, trying to look as badass as I could while talking to a little minature snowman. After I went and made some victory cocoa, I thought of another one-liner I could use on the snowman that wouldn't imply that I was somehow going to snowman hell, but he was gone, just a puddle on the floor under my dining room window.

Okay, so it turns out that the actual reason why I had a puddle under my dining room window is that my stupid window leaks. The previous owner had these new double-paned (or double-pain, as I like to call them) windows installed, but evidently did not pay too much attention to the flashing on the exterior siding. As a result, water has been collecting on the top of the window frame and slowly soaking into my drywall. It finally collected enough to start leaking through the paint and running down my wall onto my floor. Sigh.


*This Bacon-related anecdote is a stub. You can help Grantipedia by expanding it to include a plot or a reason to be on the internet*

When I was in college I worked at a kitchen store. It was a cool job because half of the employees were college girls, and the other half were middle-aged women who always brought me their leftovers. Most of them were really into cooking, evidenced by them working in a kitchen store, and so these leftovers were generally pretty awesome. I would say in the 95th percentile of leftovers.

Also, I got lots of free kitchen equipment. Usually this was because a $100 pan would get chipped or something so that we couldn’t sell it. This is where I entered the picture. I pretty much took anything home that was still vaguely usable because there was no line in my imaginary college budget for “kitchen supplies”. I would take home things that were scratched, bent, or missing parts for myself and my roommates, Kyle and Brian, to use and promptly destroy.

One thing that I learned is that no matter how expensive a non-stick pan is, you still shouldn’t beat eggs with a fork in it. Another thing I learned was the value of durability. It is really annoying having to be careful with things so you don’t break them.

One evening at work, I was millin’ around the store when I decided to learn about our comprehensive line of authentic cast-iron cookware. I did this so that I would be better prepared for customer inquiries, and also to kill some time. It was then that I was struck by how awesome cast iron pans are; you could run that shit over with a tank and you would still be able to use it! Also, that stuff is really cheap. I guess when all you have to do is pour molten metal into some sand you can pass some delicious savings onto the customer.

The best pan in that particular line of cookware was a griddle that went over two burners on the stove. This enabled you to cook twice as much delicious food at once! One side was smooth, and you could flip it over and it had some grill ridges for making steaks or something on the other side. The best part was that we could not destroy this if we tried!

Being that this was the first pan I was actually ever going to buy, I wanted to treat it right. It turns out that whereas destroying the pan by brutal force is near impossible, nature can destroy cast-iron cookware effortlessly with it’s +10 Rust Spell! To avoid this, you have to not store it in saltwater (sad!), and you are supposed to keep some grease residue on the pan to protect the metal from airborne moisture. I think this is what bacon is made for!

We rewarded ourselves for our diligent cookware maintenance education by making a whole bunch of bacon. Not only did this protein-rich meal provide a necessary delicious component to our diet, it also tested out the bacon-capacity, or "bacapacity" of our new pan. We made, like, 20 pieces at once!

I think that we all liked bacon before, but I wouldn’t have called us hardcore bacon aficionados until we got the griddle. After that, our daily routine was that one of us would wake up and then awake the others by making a whole big pile of bacon. That scrumptious smell would waft into our rooms and gently nudge us out of our dreams, just like the legend of Folgers flavor crystals.

Also, we discovered the importance of having ancillary foods available to soak up all of the valuable bacon grease left on the pan. We discovered that this is probably why God invented frozen shredded potatoes.

[its a good thing you wrote this at work because this is easily the most pointless thing ever written]

Friday, June 20, 2008

Miracles of Modern Medicine!!

OK, so I was really sick last weekend. I think I was really sick because my body is so in tune with the universe that it can predict when I actually have interesting things going on, and swoops in to make sure I still know who's boss with the metaphysical equivalent of a bitch-slap. Anyway, even after an intense weekend of sleeping, eating saltines, and plotting revenge on my immune system, I wake up still feeling like crap on Monday. This is problematic because a) I actually really have to go to work and b) Explosions in the Sky is playing in the evening. Being that I have been unable to stay awake for longer than four hours at a time over the weekend, it occurs to me that endurance is going to be a potential problem. Also, being that I can't go ten seconds without blowing my nose or coughing, it simultaneously occurs to me that being closely packed into a warm damp crowd of other people is going to be a potential problem.

My first few snotty, sleepy hours of work only underscore these concerns, and even add the inspired flourish of a headache for good measure. After hacking through my pressing responsibilities at work in a bitter daze, I finally manage to peel myself away an hour early to rush home to feed my depraved sleep addiction. My trip home is like when a cartoon character falls in love and their eyes become throbbing hearts, except that instead of hearts my eyes are little throbbing beds, and instead of being in love I just really want to sleep. So actually, it's nothing like when cartoon characters fall in love. Except for the throbbing.

A couple of months ago, the building directly behind my condo switched careers from Professional Occupied Building to Professional Pile. The next stage of its strange life was a stunning transformation from Pile to Hole, and in recent weeks I have had the pleasure of witnessing the last link in the circle of life, which I like to call Phoenix Rising. In this gripping episode, a young and misguided but undeniably promising Hole learns that to succeed in this hard world, apparently you must belch forth the exact same building that was totally freaking destroyed three months ago. I call this Phoenix Rising because it is exactly like the ancient myth of the phoenix, a beautiful bird which bursts into flames every 500 years and is reborn from the ashes, except replace "beautiful bird" with "crappy apartment building", and "500 years" with "every 6 months or so".

Anyway, Phoenix Rising is currently in that stage of construction where a horde of workers swarm over every surface looking for something to shoot with their nail guns to appear busy. I'm pretty sure they are playing a game that I just haven't fully figured out the rules for yet. I think it's like Marco Polo except that instead of yelling "Marco" while blindfolded in a pool, the person who is "it" goes THWACK THWACK THWACK with the nail gun, and the other players, instead of answering "Polo", answer with a hearty THWACK THWACK THWACK of their own. Also, everybody is "it".

I lay in bed trying to simultaneously decode the finer strategic points of Thwarcko Thwackolo and maximize my afternoon sleeping opportunity, but I am just not a multitasker. Amazingly, however, the afternoon sun's gentle warmth and glow eventually mix with Phoenix Rising's fluttering wind of thwacks and grunts to concoct a fairly solid 20 minute nap. Upon rising from my painfully short sleep, I can finally begin to imagine the world in which I can stay awake long enough to make it through Explosions in the Sky, and maybe even actually enjoy myself. I drag my ass out of bed and head over to Capital Hill to meet up with the gang, now brimming with fresh confidence that I'm going to have a good time, but also still brimming with disgusting mucus.

After loading up my pockets with tissues, I join my peeps at a local drinking establishment where the time-honored process of "pre-funking" is being diligently practiced. Being sick, I opt out of my usual chain-boozing to suck down Coke refill after Coke refill while my colleagues and I swap hilarious anecdotes, spin enchanting tales of bravery and wit punctuated by thoughtful morals and keenly applicable life lessons, and call each other names. Although delicious and refreshing, the constant Coke stream also has a hydrating effect which makes my stuffed-upedness more of an immediate problem, and I begin to worry about the quantity of tissue I have in my pockets being adequate for this amazing amount of material my body is able to produce to attack my having a good time.

After repeatedly performing our amazing beer/Coke/fries disappearing tricks to the delight of our check-bearing waitress audience, we stumble over to Neumo's for the show. Now you must understand that not once throughout the entire day did I in any way crave delicious beer, even when displayed before me glinting in the pale afternoon light, arrayed in rainbow-edged shawls of streaming bubbles, playfully marbling the polished pub tables with shimmering golden reflections. As a matter of fact, the thought of beer was actually sort of repulsive. I like to think that this is also an indication of responsibility for my health, and a sign of commitment to the stay-hydrated, get-lots-of-rest mantra. Regardless of the method, all restraint separating me from beer was vaporized immediately upon entering Neumo's by the inescapable pull of the giant stubby bottles of Red Stripe beer. Giant stubby, you might be asking? That's right, while the giant Red Stripe is twice the size of normal Red Stripe, it maintains the original container's exact stubby proportions. Here is documented evidence from our first encounter:

In retrospect, it becomes obvious that the reason I felt this uncompromising pull toward the giant, two-handed stubby bottle was neither alcoholism nor gravity, as you may imagine. Rather, it was my body signaling to me what it needed to get better. Much like craving strange foods can be an indication you are lacking some sort of valuable nutrient found in those foods, evidently my body was lacking some sort of magical medicinal substance only found in 24oz stubby containers of Jamaican lager.

Ah the miracle of modern medicine! Can you believe that upon completing my prescribed dosage of barley-pop I felt great! Seriously, I didn't have to blow my nose again for the remainder of the night!

More remarkable proof of the completeness of my cure comes the next day, when I awake at my normal work hour on 4 hours of sleep, having a perfectly good excuse to call in sick to work. Ordinarily, even in the midst of being perfectly healthy, I seek endlessly in the murky labyrinths of morning logic for any excuse to stay in bed. However, with my health renewed by the miracle of medical science, I actually decide to voluntarily get up and head into work a few minutes early.

I feel a creeping sense of expectancy for most of the day, thinking that all of this energy is too good to be true and the other shoe is going to drop at any minute. Maybe God is going to show up and be like "Hey Grant, turns out I was casting a miracle on someone who actually needed it, but I, uh, missed and accidently granted you with Infinite Energy in delicious beer form! I'll need that back now..." But alas! I am amazingly productive at work, come home filled with delight at the beautiful weather, and am amazingly productive at home! Amazing!

Medicine, I will never doubt you again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What is this?

Okay, so this blog is where I am going to dump random stuff that I have written or made. It is like a weird retroactive blog. My real blog, Bac-Log!, will continue to reflect the new and exciting, while this blog will reflect all levels of old and irrelevant. My primary reason for this is to get stuff off my computer at work, which has become a time capsule of sorts for all kinds of weird stuff. Also, I will be able to link to various things here if I am trying to explain something that requires a lush and detailed backstory.

I actually made this blog almost a year ago, but it was a complete failure. You may think of it as a proto-Bac-Log! if that helps (riiiight). But I really like the title, so I decided to hijack it and bend it to my new purpose.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BABE Rally Team Name CHALLENGE scores

To name our BABE Rally team, we had a single-elimination team name tournament (See here). Here are the final scores by round, to satisfy BABE Rally Team Name CHALLENGE historians:

Round 1 Final Scores:

The Fast and the Furious 3: Seattle Drift 6
Your Logo Here 8

Wingmasters 10
Brazilian Beaver Hunters 4

Friends with Benefits 12
Frozen Embryos 3

Dream Unicorn Sparkle Sparkle Squad 11
Sleepless in Baconatorville 3

No Bacon For Old Men 10
WNBA Groupies 5

The Bacon Ultimatum 12
Vik's Velocities 2

Donkey to Mouth 6
Casablacon 8

I Must Be Naked 14
My other car is a pink Land Rover 2

Land Yacht Rockers 8
Corporate Sponser 7

Sexlexia 7
Grover Cleveland Steamers 8

BaconHeart 7
Do Not Stop Or On 8

We Don't Have Herpes (yet) 10
Second to Last Is The First Winner 7

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoky Bacons 10
High-Flyin' White Guys 4

Recess for the Stowaway Unicorn 13
Kevin Sampson's Phone Pals 2

There will be Bacon 14
Sons of Pitches 1

Dynamo Chicken Kiev 9
Pass the Peebers! 6

Clap Your Hands Say Bacon 12
Kings of the Bacon Age 3

Like Gobots without the Robots, or the Go 9
Phat Like Taft 6

Doctor Nutsworth, Mad Scientist 6
Landing Strip Lads 8

Awesometown 4
Seattle Wet Sox 10

My Tramp Stamp is Special 14
Nessie's Nephews 1

Polymagnificent 7
Ballard Third Base Bandits 8

Powered by our own sense of self-worth 6
I Left My Heart In Kent, WA 9

Rhythm Method 7
Carbon Monoxide is my co-pilot 8

2008: A Bacon Odyssey 12
Old Indiana Jones 2

Desperate For Glue 6

Goingly Challenged 10
Flat Footed Floozies 5

Grey's Baconotomy 9
Dominant Bucks 6

Tabasconappers 11
Terribly Talented Terriers 4

Bacon to the Future 13
Watersmeet Alumni Nimrods 2

Beefallo Butchers 12
Team $1 4

Manwich 9
Kids For Kucinich's Hot Wife 7

Round 2 Final Scores:
Your Logo Here 5
Wingmasters 9

Friends with Benefits 3
Dream Unicorn Sparkle Sparkle Squad 11

No Bacon For Old Men 10
The Bacon Ultimatum 5

Casablacon 3
I Must Be Naked 11

Land Yacht Rockers 5
Grover Cleveland Steamers 8

Do Not Stop Or On 7
We Don't Have Herpes (yet) 5

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoky Bacons 8
Recess for the Stowaway Unicorn 5

There will be Bacon 12
Dynamo Chicken Kiev 1

Clap Your Hands Say Bacon 8
Like Gobots without the Robots, or the Go 5

Landing Strip Lads 0
Seattle Wet Sox 14

My Tramp Stamp is Special 8
Ballard Third Base Bandits 5

I Left My Heart In Kent, WA 6
Carbon Monoxide is my co-pilot 7

2008: A Bacon Odyssey 6

Goingly Challenged 7
Grey's Baconotomy 5

Tabasconappers 7
Bacon to the Future 6

Beefallo Butchers 3
Manwich 10

Sweet 16 Final Scores:
Wingmasters 5
Dream Unicorn Sparkle Sparkle Squad 24

No Bacon For Old Men 21
I Must Be Naked 9

Grover Cleveland Steamers 14
Do Not Stop Or On 15

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoky Bacons 5
There will be Bacon 24

Clap Your Hands Say Bacon 17
Seattle Wet Sox 12

My Tramp Stamp is Special 17
Carbon Monoxide is my co-pilot 13

Goingly Challenged 16

Tabasconappers 13
Manwich 18

Elite 8 Final Scores:
Dream Unicorn Sparkle Sparkle Squad 14
No Bacon For Old Men 8

Do Not Stop Or On 4
There will be Bacon 18

Clap Your Hands Say Bacon 17
My Tramp Stamp is Special 5

Goingly Challenged 11
Manwich 10

Final 4 Final Scores:
Dream Unicorn Sparkle Sparkle Squad 13
There will be Bacon 16

Clap Your Hands Say Bacon 25
Goingly Challenged 4

Clap Your Hands Say Bacon 23
There will be Bacon 24