Friday, April 28, 2006

I'll need a snazzy wardrobe...

Being the constantly calculating person that I am - I've been trying to think of a way that working from home can bring in still more cash.

I could do people's laundry for them - throwing in a load now and then wouldn't break my working rhythm too much. Folding would be a pain though.

I could watch well-behaved kids after they get out of school, as they sat and quietly did their homework... Yeah right.

I could receive packages while folks are away at work. Yeah! I'll be like that guy in that movie, THE TRANSPORTER.



Thursday, April 27, 2006


The San Deigo Union-Tribune is one of many newspapers carrying the story about a mysterious booming sound that has been heard from Maine to California.

This booming sound shakes windows and even furniture with a force that one witness described as a 4.5 earthquake.

USGS assures us that there were no such earthquakes, especially not one ranging cross-country. The FAA insists there were no supersonic aircraft operating in the areas where the booming was reported.

Here's a quote from the story: "Even UFO experts are baffled by what happened in San Diego. Asked whether a flying saucer might have caused such an event, Peter Davenport of the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center said, “Probably not.”


It's really interesting to me that a 'UFO' has come to be synonymous with 'Flying Saucer'. It stands for Unidentified Flying Object. A flying squirrel could qualify. A brick. A new military aircraft. If you don't know what it is, it's "unidentified".

"Hey Fred - There's a weird unexplained sound coming from the sky... Do you think it could be something unidentified?"


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Beauty and the Yeti

I may have understated the difference between my sister and myself, in yesterday's post. Here's proof of her angelic origins, and my shaggy ancestry from atop lofty alpine peaks.

Also, it is against the laws of physics for my eyes to be open in a picture when a flash is used. It's one of my more useful mutant powers. Cool, huh?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Congratulations, Sis!

Sorry I haven't been around to post...

We left Thursday night for my sister's wedding in Ohio, and just got back last night. Everything went beautifully - the ceremony, the reception, the food, drink, dessert and company!

I might post a couple of pics if I have the chance, just to demonstrate my theory that my sister is too pretty to be my sister. One of us was adopted, I tells ya!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Don't do this.

I'm probably the only fool on the planet that does this - when I'm alone, I occasionally quip out loud with some self-congratulatory morale-building mini-cheer.

Such as:

"Bwa ha ha!"
"Hell Yeah!"
"Kickin Ass!"
"That's Right!"

...And the one I'm least proud of - "Aw yeah bitches, who's your daddy?"

Learn from my mistake - don't do this.

The problem is, you might not be alone.
The other problem is, you might be in the wrong bathroom.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I like to think of myself as open-minded. It's very hard to offend me. Possibly even impossible. Or so I thought until last night.

I guess 'offended' is the wrong way to say it - "icked out" would be more precise.

The Girls Gone Wild commercials have been airing for years now, and while I have never been even slightly tempted to order the videos they advertise, the commercials are admittedly silly and somewhat sexy.

But yesterday eve - while I was minding my own business, enjoying a chaste late night dose of Star Trek (the one where they meet that alien who seems nice but then eats off the first officer's face)...

Guys Gone Wild. The commercial. I have never seen more truly icky footage in all my days, and that is quite a statement. Maybe it's just that I wasn't braced for it. I was relaxing in comfortable Trek-land, and then POW!! NAKED FROLICKING MEN WITH BLURRED OUT GENITALS.

I'm just a smidgen closer to understanding why women feel objectified by such smut. Also, it was icky - have I mentioned that?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Proh and Khan # 3

A series of 13th Century scrolls were recently unearthed from a tomb in Eastern Mongolia. They chronicle the philosophical discourses of Genghis Khan and his best buddy, Jin Proh. The following is a precise translation from the original Mongolian...

Proh: One shoe or no shoes?

Khan: What?

Proh: Say you're sitting on a rock putting on your shoes, and some guy runs past you and grabs your backpack. But you've only put on one shoe. Do you chase him down wearing one shoe, or do you kick it off and chase after him barefoot?

Khan: How about I just throw my knife and kill him without even getting up off my rock?

Proh: Good plan. But what if you don't have your knife?

Khan: I always have my knife.

Proh: Even when you're naked?

Khan: So I'm sitting, naked, on a rock and putting on my shoes?

Proh: Sure. Your clothes got washed away in a flood.

Khan: But not my shoes.

Proh: Right. The Shoe Gods were smiling upon you that day.

Khan: Of course they were. Wait - what idiot in his right mind is going to steal The Great Khan's backpack?

Proh: He doesn't recognize you without all your bling.

Khan: I'm done talking to you.

Proh: Oh! Fine. I see. Just let some random backpack thief steal the engravings I brought you all the way from the freakin Russia in the dead of winter. Great.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Seconds from Emotional Disaster!

There's a show on The National Geographic Channel called Seconds From Disaster - it begins by briefly describing a calamity, then jumping back in time to the first error or mistake and working forward to the final moments and the aftermath.

It's a good show, they get very detailed and use a lot of 3D modeling to help demonstrate the structural weaknesses of the aircraft, bridge, or dam they're describing in the episode.

National Geographic could modify this idea into a different kind of Reality TV show. Such as:

A couple is at a nice restaurant, creating a huge scene.

Wanda: You should have thought of that before you slept with my sister, you son of a bitch! (She throws a glass of wine at Greg)

Greg dodges the glass.

Greg: It was the least I could do, after you gave me Herpes! (He throws his steak knife at her)

Wanda grabs the knife in midair, but cutting her hand in the process. She leaps up and fires three shots point-blank into Greg's chest.

Narrator: Wanda killed four people that day, including herself. Let's step backward in time to discover what made Wanda into a murderer.

1983: Wanda does not get Barbie Wild Style Big Wheel for her 5th Birthday. Her long love affair with bitterness begins.

1985: Wanda does not win the 3rd Annual Birchwood Elementary School Art Contest because Peter Franklin is a cheating cheater.

1988: Wanda's father, a New York City policeman, takes her to the shooting range for the first time, beginning a lifelong appreciation for firearms.

1993: That jerk Greg Jeffries totally stands Wanda up at the prom. She is forever (subconsciously) angry at all men named Greg.

1997: Wanda's better looking and smarter sister Cheryl wins a scholarship to Rice University. Wanda hates her so much.

2005: Wanda marries Greg Thompson, despite a nagging worry that he is a Greg, and Gregs cannot be trusted.

2005: Wanda is a skank and begins cheating on Greg with his best friend Larry - from whom she contracts Herpes.

2006: Disaster!

The Experts Conclude: Like, if only she had received the Barbie Wild Style Big Wheel for her 5th Birthday, Wanda would never have become a cheating murdering cheater.

Friday, April 14, 2006

My Good Luck Charm

I may not have mentioned it before, but I have a bona fide good-luck charm... Her name is Cindy.

She left a job, a comfortable home, her family, and her car to move 3000 miles cross-country to be with me.

When she moved in, I had:
No car
An efficiency apartment
A gap-toothed smile
A crappy government job


Just a few short years later, we have:
Two cars
A healthy glow
A two bedroom apartment
Glistening and perfect pearly whites
A job that pays twice as much as the original one


I don't know about you guys, but I think that's a damn miraculous change of fate. She should travel the earth and do humanitarian / missionary work or something, I feel guilty keeping all this luck amongst ourselves.

PS: Am I just a wicked person, or does the word 'missionary' have an unfortunate sexual connotation?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod!

Send one of those Honda commercial crabs over to pinch me...

What started out as a long shot, pipe-(wet)-dream has come to pass, holy shit!

A couple of weeks ago, I tentatively broached the possibility of my keeping my current job despite moving to Florida - and all the Powers That Be enthusiastically embraced the idea.

It's always been a dream of mine to work from home - roll out of bed, use the bathroom, and shuffle peacefully into my home-office area. Read the new work emails, scratch myself in a completely improper way, and get to work.

...Did I mention I would be naked? Certainement!

To be sure, working from home will have its downside (like, you're always at work, they can call you day or night, and your spouse will probably expect you to do their laundry for them) but I have this vision in my minds eye, it's beautiful I tell you...

I get up early, go to the gym, come home and eat breakfast, and then take my laptop to the Barnes and Noble across the street from home. Then I buy a vanilla frappucino and sit down with my laptop. Then I get to work.

It's a simple dream, but I am a simple man.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


It could be my damned remarkable (nearly Kryptonian, I daresay) powers of observation, or else there's a blatantly obvious problem with advertising on TV lately.

During the first run of a new TV episode, everything is usually fine... But during the re-runs, the commercials are overlapping.

The initial run of the episode will have for example, a McDonald's ad, a Budweiser ad, and a Doritos ad. Then on its subsequent repeats, the commercials change - Now it's a Local Mattress Store ad, a Home Refinance ad, and a Weed-Be-Gone ad.

The new ads don't replace the old ones, they're just overlapping them. So at the end of the Mattress Store ad, we see a quick snippet of someone eating a Big Mac and french fries, and we are reminded that they are Lovin It.

This is sloppy editing on the part of the studio techs. If all they have time for is a quick overlay of new ads, what they need to do is replace the original ads with black screen and blank audio. They know exactly how long the commercial break is, this step could even be automated and performed by a computer.

The quick snippets of the original commercials that we're seeing basically amount to subliminal messages - which is most likely illegal. Also, the snippets are getting free air time, which I'm surely must be annoying someone at the IRS or FCC.

Is this happening just in my area, or are you guys seeing this too?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cooking with Mike

I've been hooked on these sandwiches for a couple of months now - I tell you what, they're the damn tastiest frozen-microwavable breakfast sandwich you will encounter in this life.

Get thee to the grocery, and hook yourself up with at least four boxes. (They're 2 to a box) You'll save yourself a trip back to the store if you buy four boxes. I'm just thinking about your fuel economy here - You'll thank me.

Step 1: Acquire Jimmy Dean Muffin Sandwich - Bacon, Egg and Cheese variety.

Step 2: Separate sandwich into its component parts - everything as a single layer.

Step 3: Microwave all parts for 2.5 minutes on 'Defrost' setting.

Step 4: Microwave the egg only on High for 20 seconds.
(This is the secret step they don't tell you on the box)

Step 5: Assemble sandwich and microwave for 1 minute.

Step 6: Let stand for 30 seconds.

Step 7: Devour.

Note: About every tenth box or so, you'll encounter a sandwich with two or three times the normal bacon - A blessed plethora of bacon goodness! Rejoice, and consider yourself smiled upon for that day. That would be a good day to buy a lottery ticket.

Monday, April 10, 2006

20 days and counting

On April 30th we'll drive off into the sunrise, toward The Sunshine State, lugging all of our worldly possessions with us.

I'm torn about leaving California - life is so laid back here. I guess that's a good reason to move, in and of itself. I need a catalyst to get my ass in gear, and a complete change might do it. We moved a lot while I was growing up, and it's in my blood. I was probably ready to leave California in 2000, and we never got around to it.

I'll probably discover that I really enjoy Miami, in the end. I didn't expect to like living near Los Angeles, I just came out here because it wasn't Cleveland, Ohio. Don't get me wrong, Ohio is a beautiful state. Cleveland feels to me like a city in decline, and just isn't a very nice part of the state.

I've been working at testing games software since 2000 - if I had a career, this would be it. There's no one to test games for in Miami, which may be a good thing, since with each new game project for the last couple of years, I say "this is the last one". There's a chance I might continue testing for my current employer, doing the telecommute thing - but I'm not holding my breath.

So what will I do for a living? Damn good question. I have a few illegal schemes that might work...

I like living where we do - we're about 4 miles from the beach, and there's an almost constant refreshing cool breeze from the ocean. The weather is mild, the people are friendly, and minds and attitudes are largely open. Virtually everyone is taking college classes, and employers are very accommodating about flexible schedules.

Personal health is also a big thing here. In a lot of areas around the country, eating right and exercising will easily get you branded a 'Heath Nut' - but you'd need a pretty extreme regimen to be branded a health freak in Los Angeles. You have a salad for lunch, and instead of getting teased, you get "Hey you want some of my avocado?" Perhaps the US has changed in the 10 years I've been here - health is much more a publicised issue lately.

Expectations and possibilities are open - the other day at the grocery store, the cashier and the customer ahead of me were very briefly talking about the movie script the cashier was working on. The chat had a real upbeat tone, and the customer was sincerely encouraging.

In Cleveland, if the cashier told a customer "I really want to write movies," the customer would look at the cashier as if they were a loon, and scurry off to safety. I've lived in a lot of places where talking about being artistic isn't welcomed, which is too bad because almost everyone has an art of some sort. Not that I go around talking about art, but it's uplifting to be surrounded by people who are comfortable with being creative.

Growing up, I didn't have any creative folks around me - so I always felt as if all my wild ideas were an unusual urge of some sort. When we have kids, I'd like them to be in an environment where saying "I want to be a sculptor!" doesn't get you snickered at.

I guess it's the whole California philosophy that I'll miss, more than individual people or places.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Secretive Etcher Secrets - REVEALED!

I'm opposed to bumper stickers. Not on other people's cars - on someone else's car, a bumper sticker can be hilarious.

But not on my car. What if I put a Family Guy sticker on my car, and some Family Guy-hating-zealot comes along with a tire iron and smashes all my windows? Is my appreciation for edgy animated comedy worth getting my car vandalized?

No. Ditto for musical groups, religious symbols, political groups, and signs announcing the presence of an infant on board my vessel. What if some crazed person is madly driving around town, trolling for a baby to replace the one he accidentally left in the dishwasher too long? No thank you.

I've seen cars with all insignia removed. You look at it, and you can tell it's a Honda Civic, but no-where on the car does it say so. I approve of this practice, but 1) It seems pretentious and 2) It's too much work.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What Would Hey-Soos Do?

So let's say you're out on a first date.

It's going swimmingly. Amazingly amazing. This person is smart, funny, attractive, and they really 'get' you - which is ever so rare. You're both clickin like those little clicky camping firestarter tools.

Each of you are fully and justifiably expecting some late night lovin immediately after the restaurant. Also, you've decided to Propose right after breakfast.

You both finish the best meal you've ever had, the funniest waiter you've ever had, following the best dinner conversation you've ever had, and head out to the car.

The parking lot is nearly empty. Your date is the one driving - and as you approach the passenger door of their brand new Jaguar, you see a horrible sight - the entire right side of their car has a huge scrape on it. Right down to the bare metal.

There was no sign of such damage just an hour before. Your date has not noticed it, and is inside the car, waiting for you.

What do you do?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

At Long Last!

From June of 2004 to January of 2006, I worked on a game for the medical research company HopeLab, who performed a study with teenage cancer patients to develop a new kind of video game.

The result is
Re-Mission, a serious game that taught me a lot about what these kids go through in the course of their treatment. In essence, the game demonstrates from the inside of the body the how's and why's of the importance of following your treatment regimen, and what happens if you don't.

From the Re-Mission website:

"A video game designed especially for kids with cancer might give them a feeling of power over their disease as they blast away at the cancer cells. And you could use top-notch research to test the game and see if it really would help the kids. That's exactly what Pam Omidyar imagined. And in 2001, she founded HopeLab to make this idea a reality.

The result, a game called Re-Mission (featuring Roxxi, the intrepid nanobot), is a challenging, 3D "shooter" with 20 levels that takes the player on a journey through the body of young patients with different kinds of cancer. Created by leading video game developers and animators in collaboration with scientific and medical consultants and HopeLab staff, this state-of-the-art game is designed to be cool and fun, while helping players to increase their personal knowledge about cancer and improve their confidence in their ability to manage their cancer.

...HopeLab rolled out a multi-center, controlled research study in the US, Canada and Australia to see if the game would have any impact on the kids with cancer who received Re-Mission compared to kids with cancer who received a different video game. HopeLab wanted to be sure that Re-Mission was safe and also see whether or not it might actually help kids with cancer who received it. Results of this exciting study will be reported in the coming weeks.

HopeLab has created to enable broad distribution of the game free of charge to young people with cancer, and to provide an open, interactive, online community for teens and young adults with cancer to support one another."

For other serious games, check out!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Grumpy. But too tired to bite anyone

I gave up caffeine as of Saturday...

I'm far, far far far less witty when not caffeinated. The whole "I'd like a nap right about now" phrase is kinda overused for me right now.

While I'm suffering through withdrawal and until my cravings wane, I'm gonna be lazy and hit you guys with some links.

Oh, but they're high-quality links! It's all good.

I've had a link to on this page for a long while now, but it's possible that a few of you have never clicked it. You've never explored the fun that is McSweeney's. Well it's time.

This will take you to the main page, and this will take you to their archives. They do a lot of very clever and witty stuff, and not just online - I received '
Fondling Your Muse', a very funny McSweeney's book on writing, for Christmas.

Just take a look at a snippet from their submission guidelines: (full text


Dear writers,
A good portion of the work we publish on the website comes from complete strangers such as yourselves. While we remain small and irresponsible, and afflicted with mold-born allergies, we do our best to respond to all submissions quickly and professionally...

...PAYMENT There will likely be none. If there is any, it may come very late or in unusual currency.

I love these folks! Gotta have a sense of humor in this world.


Here's a few posts that I found especially funny:

By Michael Ian Black

The 4-Year-Old on a Blind Date
By Ross Murray

Nihilist Job Résumé
By Mike Richardson-Bryan

My Memoirs of My Geisha
By Sarah Walker

Monday, April 03, 2006

Proh and Khan # 2

A series of 13th Century scrolls were recently unearthed from a tomb in Eastern Mongolia. They chronicle the philosophical discourses of Genghis Khan and his best buddy, Jin Proh. The following is a precise translation from the original Mongolian...

Dear Proh,

I hope life is going well for you on your journeys. We have run out of Raisin Spice Quaker Oatmeal and have been making do with Cream of Wheat. Gods, how I hate Cream of Flippin Wheat.

Otherwise, I have little to complain about - except for the paper-cut I received opening your letter just now. It smarts! I'll have to get one of my wives to open my mail from now on.

On second thought, I'd better not - have you ever seen the way a woman opens a scroll? It's like there's a Winter Solstice present inside or something. They shred those things. The edges are all jaggedy, I hate that. It's like hey - take a minute, pick up knife and snip it neatly! Jeez.

I taught them how to do it properly, but they insist on getting it wrong. If they were warriors, I would have had them beaten to death for insubordination by now. And for what? A poorly opened letter. Embarrassing.

Thank you for the engravings of the hot Russian girls that you sent, they are very exotic. Perhaps you could ship one of their women back with your next letter. We could give up conquest and start a mail-order trade in Russian women, ha ha.

Don't take any wooden rubles!