Thursday, June 30, 2011

Daihatsu Motors Presents the Fourth Annual Big Dave and Company Xerox Blog of the Year Awards Brought to You by Taco Bell

   Well hello Company, first off let's make a little bit of an administrative note.  For those of you who consumed the Big Dave and Company Podcast this morning will note that three things have changed since this morning: first off we have had a change in sponsors for the award.  I can't say much about our old sponsor due to the legal issues that may be upcoming, but I would just love to say that we welcome Daihatsu Motors aboard.  Secondly, you may notice that this year's winner doesn't come out of the finalists noted this morning on the Podcast.  Well, a lot of things happen here at the Tampax Pearl Worldwide Headquarters right at the eleventh hour, especially when the Coca-Cola Big Dave and Company Blog of the Year Judges Panel is so susceptable to bribes, and the mail comes in the morning.  Also, we did some research and discovered this was the fourth year we have given the award away.  With all that said, we here at Big Dave and Company are proud to announce the winner of the Daihatsu Motors Presents the Fourth Annual Big Dave and Company Xerox Blog of the Year Award Brought to You by Taco Bell:


     I wrote it huge and centered so you could see it.  First off, a little bit about it.  Grilled Cheese Social is a blog written by one MacKenzie Smith of Brooklyn, New York, who...how shall we say...is into grilled cheese.  Yep, that delicious gooey treat that you ate all the time as a kid, and probably usually paired up with tomato soup.  I actually really like mine with bacon, sauteed onions, and tomato.  But that is neither here nor there.  She makes a grilled cheese for every occasion, and comes up with all sorts of amazing grilled cheese recipes and shares them with the world.  She is sort of like an artist in a way.  An artist who works in cheese.  Melted cheese.  That's the best kind of cheese.
    Now, why did the Coca-Cola Big Dave and Company Blog of the Year Judges Panel choose Grilled Cheese Social at the elevanth hour?  All joking about bribes aside, there are lots of simple reasons.  First of all, it is physically impossible to visit this site without drooling, unless of course you have no soul. Ms. Smith takes gigantic, high resolution, color pictures of not only her finished product but all the steps that come in making it, such as this finished product picture of something called "The Meatwad:"



Go ahead, take a moment to wipe up the drool.  By the way, this one starts with meatballs that are already stuffed with cheese.  Go ahead, wipe up that new drool.
     But the pictures and the food potential are not the only reasons for awarding Grilled Cheese Social the Daihatsu Motors Presents the Fourth Annual Big Dave and Company Xerox Blog of the Year Award Brought to You by Taco Bell.  How about the style and personality of the writing?  How about that?  I am down with that.  I love the personality here.  She describes her latest creation, done for Independence Day, as being "everything that Hitler hated."  Which is probably true.  And she has noted how she is "supposed to be some sort of cheese snob."  That is wonderful.  Wonderful and good.  And award winning.
      Thirdly, the recipes.  The creativity.  Both great reasons why Grilled Cheese Social deserves the Daihatsu Motors Presents the Fourth Annual Big Dave and Company Xerox Blog of the Year Award Brought to You by Taco Bell and really the same thing if you get right down to it.  She has done cheesecake, green cheese, Wisconsin, and baked potato themed grill cheeses, and even came up with something called "The Sloppy P" for Fourth of July last year.  It is glorious, and innovative, because I know that there are approximately a million billion things you can do with grilled cheese, but in the end you always have to have the grilled and the cheese part as your starting point.  And not everything in the world that is tasty involves grilled and cheese, you know what I mean?  But everything that involves grilled and cheese is always tasty.  I have a Venn diagram to prove it.
    So congratualations to Grilled Cheese Social, and to MacKenzie Smith, the mind and inspiration and taste buds behind it.  It is a wonderful, wonderful thing that you have done with your little slice of the Internet.  And keep it up.  I even have a suggestion for you.  Do you know how people always put cheddar on their apple pies?  Doesn't that sound like an interesting idea for a grilled cheese?  Sort of a grilled cheese and pudgie pie mix?  I think it does, and I might be tempted to try it myself.  (Editor's Note: We scouted around and she has already sort of done it.)  But then again, I am not an award winning blog, but Grilled Cheese Social is.  It is the winner of the Daihatsu Motors Presents the Fourth Annual Big Dave and Company Xerox Blog of the Year Award Brought to You by Taco Bell.  Congratulations again!  We will leave you all with one more mouth-watering photo.

Makes me say "My, my, my."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nerds in an Uproar

   Before we get to the meat of the issue, Company, let me take a minute to take care of a couple of, shall we say, housekeeping issues.  You may have noticed that we have been strangely silent the last couple of days, and while we here at Big Dave and Company apologize for that, in reality we don't give a shit.  Everyone here, from my myself (Big Dave) to the lowliest unpaid intern (and they are lowly, believe me) has been working their butts off for a couple of big events.  First, is the impending visit of super mega-star Pins McGee to the Big Dave and Company Podcast.  He will be on this week and we have to get the place cleaned up and his green room stocked with 31 cases of Natural Light beer and a pallet of pork rinds.  You know how hard it is to find a distributor for that stuff?  The second major upcoming event is the annual blog of the year awards that always come on the last day of June, so we are getting that put together, which is a lot of work.  That being said, we are sorry for the couple of missing days.
    The second piece of housekeeping has to do with a stereotype that we are about to perpetuate.  You may have noticed that the title of today's post is "Nerds in an Uproar" and what you will find as you read on (should you read on) is that it is a post about mathematicians and a mathematical concept.  I am not trying to say that everyone who is adept at or interested in math is a nerd.  That is not true.  There are plenty of people who love math who are cool-ass-mo-fo's, and there are plenty of nerds who like to race cars.  But these particular folks are getting really riled up over something that most of us, well, couldn't care less about.  So riled up that they are talking about how certain concepts in mathematics just feel more "natural" and how they get angry about the perpetuation of other mathematical concepts, and that sounds like fanatical devotion to an idea that is far from the mainstream - the definition of nerddom.  They have ever tried to proclaim a day to celebrate their cause.

Tau - looks like a T
to me.
      That cause is "tau", which is a mathematical constant exactly twice as large as the much more famous and well known "pi."  People - mostly high schoolers - have been using pi to solve all sorts of circle and arc-related math problems.  Yet apparently pi is not the number that we should be using, according to the self-described "world's leading anti-pi propagandist" Michael Hartl.  He is an educator and former theoretical physicist.  I am going to let him explain it to you so that I am not accused of being the one boring you to death with math-speak. "When I say that pi is wrong, it doesn't have any flaws in its definition - it is what you think it is, a ratio of circumference to diameter.  But circles are not about diameters, the're about radii; circles are the set of all the points a given distance - a radius - from the center.  What you are really doing is defining it as the ratio of the circumference to twice the radius, and that factor of two haunts you throughout mathematics."  Riveting.
    Let me take a moment to try and explain it in sort of layman's terms.  If you draw a perfect circle (the geometric shape, not the band) on a piece of paper, every spot along the circle will be the same distance from the center.  That is the radius.  It is twice the distance of the radius from and given point the the point on the opposite side.  Hartl is saying that that factor of two is a big problem in mathematics.  What tau does is apply the power of two to the ratio instead of making you have to do it on your own.  I think.
     But all that doesn't matter.  What matters is that Hartl and his buddies get really into tau.  First of all, they all, they have proclaimed today to be Tau Day, because tau is roughly 6.28 and today is 6/28.  How clever.  They wrote something called the Tau Manifesto, which really lends credibility to a cause.  Because, I mean, more than just crazy people write manifestos, right?
Pi - I made it twice as large as tau even though in reality
it is one-half the size.  Dr. Hartl is going to be pissed.
     That is not the strange part to me.  The strange part is that a lot of the tauists, as I am going to name them, develop a sort of irrational number hatred towards pi, a number that really hasn't done anything wrong.  I mean, it is not pi's fault that it has been the darling of the everyday person for years, helping to make people know at least one thing that is represented by a symbol.  And it is not pi's fault that it was probably discovered first and just got used more.  Yet, they still get a little worked up about it.  Dr. Hartl talks about a "conversion experience" in which people find themselves to be violently angry about pi - going to far as to use profanity when discussing it and feeling as if they have been lied to all their lives.
     One of the people who has undergone the "conversion experience" (I imagine a beam of light and choir of heavenly angels singing a chord in perfect harmony) but whose rage has subsided is University of Leeds mathematician Kevin Houston, who had this to say: "It's surprising people haven't changed before.  Almost anything you can do in maths with pi you can do with tau anyway, but when it comes to using pi versus tau, tau wins - it's much more natural."
     I contend, however, that it is not surprising, Kevin.  You are a mathematician, and you work with numbers every day of your life as a way of making a living, so it is not surprising that you or some of your colleagues would seize on a new way of doing your work, especially if you feel that it makes your life easier.  But the general public doesn't give a flying fuck about the fact that tau fits better and feels more natural, or that it makes things easier, etc, etc.  That is because the general public knows and understands pi, and it doesn't do enough with math, or do advanced enough math, to really understand why tau is so neat or special or useful.

Signs with Clearview font.
Big Dave mad, BIG DAVE SMASH!
      It is that mindset, and that thinking, and that singular excitement over this issue that has such a narrow level of interest that makes me brand you nerds, and draws my attention to you.  You are passionately angered by something no one cares about, and you sound like me when I am getting all pissed off over Clearview replacing Highway Gothic.  I know that makes me a dorky nerd but I don't care.  I am a nerd in an uproar at those times.  And people tell me that no one cares, so that is what I am doing for you.  I mean, Dr. Hartl goes so far as to hypothesize that people use degrees to measure angles because degrees don't use pi.  Pi is ruining the world!
      No, pi is not ruining the world.  Pi is fine for the bulk of us, and if tau works better for you, then by all means use it in your daily or work life.  I don't care.  But don't beat down pi.  Generations have learned pi.  We have built the Great Wall of China with pi.  We have electrified the nation with pi.  We have gone to the moon with pi.  Pi works just fine, so just leave it alone.  Go ahead and promote tau, but don't try to knock down pi.  Happy Tau Day in any event.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Question of the Day

     Just one question for all of you today, Company: Why the fuck did God and Mother Nature invent insects?  Those things suck and are assholes for the most part.  Please feel free to leave your answer in the comments section.  And...go!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Laying Down a Little Facebook Etiquette

    Company, I am going to tee off in a moment.  But before we begin I just want to make sure that you know that I understand.  Let me make it perfectly clear: I get it.  I know that a lot of people update their Facebook shit from their mobile phones, they iPhones, their Androids, whatever God-damned awful thing they are carrying around in their pockets, and so that is why they post things the way that they do.  I get it, I am aware, and I understand.  But I still don't fucking like it.
     You do not need to abbreviate shit on Facebook, okay?  It is NOT NECESSARY.  While there is a character limit, it is much higher than say Twitter or a textual message, and so there really isn't a reason for replacing words with letters or numbers or dumbass abbreviations.  Okay.  Are does not need to be r, be does not need to be b, ate does not need to be 8. Etc, etc.  Oh, and one other one that I see a whole fucking lot that makes me ANGRY is that one person uses "ton" to abbreviate "tonight."  No.  NO NO NO NO NO!  Maybe if you were up on a marquee or something, but on on Facebook.  That is just extra super ultimate fucking dumbass retarded, and it makes me want to throw a cinder block through things.  Like windows and your face, and I want to smash your fucking dumbass phone with the block too.  No, learn some fucking English, okay?  "Ton" is a unit of measure, which in the English measuring system signifies 2000 pounds.  It is also used colloquially to denote a large amount of something.  Like for instance: I feel a ton of fucking rage well up inside of me when you use "ton" as an abbreviation for "tonight."
     So that is how I feel about that.  If what you have to say is so important that you can't fit in in 160 characters or whatever texts allow you these days, you should probably not put it on Facebook anyway because you will sound like a whiny teenage emo bitch.  Put it in a diary or at least take the time to find a computer and write it down if you are going to make a fucking novel.  And put a cover on it with some smoking hot chick whose gown is about to fall off and some guy with lots of pecs and no shirt because that is how stupid novels are supposed to be covered.
     Also, stop being such whiny bitches, okay?  If you are going to have something that you only want like twelve of your closest friends to see, send it to them special, don't make your 392 Facebook friends have to read it and wonder what the hell it means.  It is like putting up a billboard that says "Yes I will, Mom" and leaving everyone to wonder if it means you will be happy to take care of your baby sister when she goes into the hospital or if you are simple saying that you will take out the trash.  See, everyone else is missing their context so it makes them angry and it makes them look like a tool.
      So here is the deal, Company.  If you want to send a short message to FB from your phone, that's fine.  But if it is long enough to need abbreviation then it is worth finding a computer.  I mean, they are literally fucking everywhere.  And if it is something that you want just a few people to know, text it to them.  You seem to like texting so fucking much anyway.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

To the Big House

     There are only three things that are certain in this life: 1.) death, 2.) taxes, 3.) Officer Butt Hansen will arrest you somewhere along the way.  Nobody can escape his wrath of justice.  And even if it is for something as mundane as jaywalking or not separating your recyclables in the appropriate manner, or not using your stick blender in the way the manufacturer prescribed, you will commit some sort of violation that will cause him to have to bring the pain down upon you.  So, that being said, here are the Top Five Ways that Officer Butt Hansen will find and arrest you:

1.)  He will rappel or somersault through your living room window while you are eating cereal and watching The Today Show, because Officer Butt Hansen doesn't need the cover of darkness to pull off that shit.

2.)  You will receive a letter in the mail informing you that you are the grand prize winner in the "Win A Date With Dik Manchorp" contest, which will include a picture of a shirtless Dik Manchorp.  You will get very excited, and when you go to claim your prize you will find only Officer Butt Hansen and a pair of handcuffs.  And justice.

Officer Butt Hansen and you. If you were Santa Claus that is.
3.)  As you are walking down a crowded street, Officer Butt Hansen will suddenly be walking five steps behind you, wearing civilian clothes with black sunglasses.  As you pass by a dark side alley, he will reach out and yank you into it, arresting you in the privacy of the alleyway and probably roughing you up a little bit in the process.

4.)  Officer Butt Hansen will break into your locked car, pop the hood, and jam open your EGV valve.  Then, when your car isn't running right, and you take it to the mechanic, he will ask you to take a ride so that you can show him what it wrong.  After about ten minutes, he will ask you if he can drive so he can feel better how the car is working.  Except it's not the mechanic, it is Officer Butt Hansen incognito as the mechanic.  He will drive you to the police station instead of the repair shop, and then he and his cronies will whisk you inside to your arraignment.  He will then put a bumper sticker on your car that says "My other car is a jail cell because I am a deadbeat criminal" and fix you EGV valve before your car is returned to you from the impound lot with thousands of dollars of impound fees.

5.)  Officer Butt Hansen will be at the hot dog vendor's cart ordering a tasty Polish sausage when you make the illegal right where there is a "no turn on red" sign.  He will then arrest you.  What the hell did you expect to happen, what with you all doing illegal things right in front of the cops?  Get real.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Responses to Monday Musings

I have an answer for all of your queries, whether I spelled that right or not:
I wanted to comment on the "Monday Musings" over at Life: An Observation but I got a little long winded, and I am super lazy

1.) No, you are not required to talk to them unless they are asking you questions directly pertaining to the service they are providing you, such as "Does your toe usually bleed this much?"

2.) Don't even pay attention to the huffaluffagus, okay? People who make a huff in public as a means of showing their disapproval with something are almost always taking that something far too seriously.  If they weren't they would just politely ask you to stop doing whatever you are doing.  If the best path to conclusion - in his mind - is to make unintelligible grunting noises he can just deal with himself.  If whatever disruption were actually a serious disruption he would have politely asked whomever was causing it to stop.  Unless, of course, the disruption was that he was having a heart attack or something, in which case it isn't your problem but you are uniquely qualified to help him out.

3.) Don't settle for canned peaches, just remember that prep times on recipes are ALWAYS WRONG. I have never come across one that is correct because recipes are made by professional chefs or people who have been making that dish since the beginning of time, so of course they are longer. Prep times from TV shows are always wrong because a lot of the ingredients they use are pre-prepped for them. "Wash and chop your vegetables as soon as you get home from the grocery store." Yeah, bite me Rachael Ray.

4.) It is important to remember that when you are getting a smartphone with internet capabilities that can start your car, brush your teeth, and raise your childern all while surfing OMG and txt-ing your BFF while talking on the phone to Grand-ma-ma that you aren't really getting a phone, you are getting a little touchscreen computer that you can put in your pocket and that happens to make phone calls.  So don't think of it compared to your old land line plan, or to the cell phone plan you had back when you had the black-on-green screen Nokia that didn't even flip open.  Think of it as two-thirds of one of those bundles they are always talking about on TV, but with the convenience of mobility.  That being said, they are still outrageously priced.
 
5.)  I have always wondered about why doctors offices have such terrible magazine selections, and somewhere along the way I decided that doctors must do that as a sort of pre-check for their patients.  Let's say that you are in the doctor's office and you are looking pretty much like your normal self, but you've been reading the magazines and when you get into the exam room you are talking about your disappointment that Guiding Light is going to go off the air in September and that tells the doctor that maybe your fever is a little higher than your appearance is letting on, right?  Other than that the only reason that I can figure is that doctors have a mean streak that is always quashed by the Hippocratic Oath, so they take it out that way.  That and by making you wait for obscenely long times to get in to see anyone.  I have had some horror stories at the clinic I go to.  But that is neither here nor there.  We will save that for another time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Turning a Blind Eye

    I was standing in the line at a friendly local business the other day, when I heard the most extraordinary thing.  There was a pretty long line of customers, of which I was at the back end, and while they were working the one woman behind the counter turned to the other and said, seemingly out of the blue, that her cousin had just seen for the first time in 43 years.  Or something like that.  It might have been 41.  But it doesn't really matter all that much at that point.
     Here is the back story that she related to me as I asked more questions about her comment.  When he was just a newborn infant, this lady's cousin (we shall call him Rob just for conveniences' sake) was the victim of some sort of mistake by his doctors.  They either gave him a shot or gave him bad shots or gave him the wrong combination of shots or something like that which rendered him blind in both eyes.  And his nose because your nose cannot see, it can only smell.  So it is supposed to be blind.  But the eyes are not and his were.  Until recently.
     See Rob is into his forties now, and somewhere along the way he put himself on the transplant list for some new peepers.  They just finally found a donor who was able to give him one, and this last Friday was the frist day after the transplant that the doctors let Rob take his bandages off.  I can't even begin to imagine the magitude of the event as that bandage was unwrapped, or the flood of emotions in the room as Rob saw his wife and children for the firt time in his life.  But I bet it was awesome.  Both awesome-good and awesome-awe inspriring.
     I have heard and read stories like this before, about people who are deaf getting implants that allow them to hear, and often they are frightened by what they are hearing for the first time.  Traffic, television, talking, air conditioners, fireworks, etc.  So that was the sort of frame of reference that I was coming from when I was thinking about someone seeing for the first time.  I guess though, that he had had some physical therapists and other therapists working with him for some time, so he sort of knew what to expect.  But it would just be wild to be in that situation.  To be seeing blue and green and flowers and sky and sunlight and shadows and doctors and nurses and your wide and your kids and your own face for the first time ever in the history of you life would just be a mind blowing experience.
     To sweeten the pot, he began his life with sight just in time for his daughter's wedding, so he will be able to see the daughter that he just saw for the first time walk down the isle, presumably for the first time also.  That throws the whole story into heart-wrencher category.  Instead of being just inspirational it is heart-wrenching in a good way.  Like it wrenches your heart back towards center after you've just watched all those depressing ASPCA ads.  Supposedy if his first transplant takes and there are no complications for a month, then they will do his other eye, which will be just as cool because he will have depth perceptions.  But I can't imagine that it will rival his first eye.  His first experience.  His first sight.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day

     Happy Fathers Day to everyone out there who is a father.  If you are not a father then quit reading this and go get a hold of your father.  Everyone here at Big Dave and Company hopes that fathers have had a wonderful day, you deserve it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Birthday Greetings

     So let me tell you why I suck as a person, Company.  I suck as a person because I apparently go through my life oblivious to what all is going on, including things like dates and times and who exactly was I shaking hands with at that party last night?  So anyway, as would pretty much be expected I was going through life a day behind with no idea, despite the fact that people were telling me what was going on.  So when Mike-a-licious and Janet from Another Planet came cruising through it never occurred to me that it was actually Mike-a-licious' birthday today, and I didn't even say a thing.
This would be perfect if I knew someone named Shane.
     So I suck, and I owe a big, fat, Happy Birthday to the man who not only keeps me straight and on the narrow path, but he technically produces our almost award winning podcast in ways that would win awards if they had them for those kinds of things.  Or if I was willing to pony up the money to apply to be in those sorts of competitions.  So it is important that I recognize the day that he was brought into this world, and I failed.  Failed something fierce.  So if you want to send him some congratulatory happy birthday wishes to podcast@bigdaveandcompany.com we will read them on the air and it will be a nice surprise for him.  So do it, DO IT NOW!
      But that's not all.  I also failed to notice or remark on the fact that it is my boy G-Funk's birthday as well.  I don't think that he is taking it all so hard since I saw some pictures of him sitting in a pool with some drinks in the warm sunshine, so I think that he is doing just fine.  But I hope that he has the happiest of days, or at least that he had the happiest of days.
     So all I am saying is that I suck, and I fail.  At least in this case.  So Happy Birthday guys, and shame, shame on me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rearview Mirror

    I sat down today, Company, to peck out on my keyboard a post about how I have a really nasty habit of chewing my fingernails, cuticles, and the skin around the ends of my fingers.  I was going to call it "Soilent Me" (get it?  pretty clever I thought).  But then I thought about it for...oh, six seconds...and I realized that nobody wants to hear about that shit.  I mean, that is gross.  So I started looking around for some inspiration.  That is the official version that you will find in all of the history texts.  But in reality I was actually cruising through my old blog posts to find something that I could put up as a "Big Dave and Company Classic" because I just couldn't think of anything.  That is off the record though, so let's hop back into officialdom and I was searching my old posts for inspiration.  I did not find any.  What I found was a bunch of pretty good posts on a wide range of topics and I thought to myself "What the hell happenend to that stuff?"
     Yeah, I want to know what happened to that guy.  I hit the "oldest" button on my editior and was reading some of the real early stuff, from the first couple of months, like up to and right around my 50th post, and some of it was fantastic.  I read those now and I get this sort of sense of awe because in my mind I don't write like that anymore, I am a little more stuffy and boring in my old age.  Or maybe I just get the feeling like maybe I am hanging around too long and have done just about everything there is to do.  Kind of like The Simpsons, where they are still around and people still watch (I assume someone is still reading what I write) but the shows in season 22 just don't have the same feeling as the shows from season 4, and I suppose that is okay.  I suppose that is just how it goes.  But it still makes me sad.
      I am not sure what it is going to take to catch that old spark, or whatever you want to call it.  That assumes that it can be caught.  Maybe a million billion sessions on a couch with a man who is charging $200 per hour to hear me babble will do it.  Maybe not.  Maybe I need to have a real early midlife crisis and buy a Corvette and start hanging around pool halls or something.  Maybe not.  I honestly can't tell you that I have ti figured out.  I hope those days are not gone forever.  Anyway, enough brooding about the past.  If you want to go get a sense of what Big Dave and Company was like way back in its infancy, I would suggest that you go back to March of 2008 and start looking, but don't go any farther than say March of 2009.  That is about the limit.  But they were good.  And they will always be.  Enjoy, and I hope that we can get some of that magic here in the now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eight Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity

    Big Dave did a list of eight yesterday, and we enjoyed it so much we thought we would do another today.  This came to us via e-mail, and we wanted to pass it on.  So here are Eight Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity:

1.) In the memo field of all your checks write "For Marijuana."

2.)  Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

3.)  Specify that your drive-thru order is "to go."

4.)  Sing along at the opera.

5.)  Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you have a headache.

6.)  When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot screaming "Run for your lives, they're loose!"

7.)  Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

8.)  Pick up a box of condoms at the pharmacy, go to the counter and ask where the fitting room is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eight Things I Like About Top Ten Lists

TS Hendrick over at The Non-Review posted 10 Things I Hate About Top 10 Lists, which is a little tongue-in-cheek but inspired me to do a List of Ten anyway, because I haven't done one in a long time, and because I don't feel like putting any effort into coming up with clever word things, which is number 9 on his list.  I know that it is a lazy substitution for a post (#10) but I am a lazy sack.  So here goes:

1.)  It is a lazy substitution for a post.  Yeah, that's right.  I am a lazy person, I just said that before.  Plus, sometimes you just don't want to do it, you just don't want to have to come up with something fresh and new and creative, or you just don't want to type.  That is why I miss days from time to time, and a top ten list is a really easy way for me to put out a post without having to work all that hard or think all that much.

2.)  I don't have to put any effort into coming up with anything clever.  That's not true.  Sometimes a top ten list can be even more difficult, especially when you only have 6 or 8 points that you want to make.

3.)  I like to break promises to you, Company.  Yep, I know, I am a certified douchebag asshole for it but sometimes I like to promise you a list of ten things but then only come through with like, oh, say nine.  Or seven.  Or I like to promise you a list of five and then go the extra mile and give you eight.  I find it funny.  You probably find it annoying and frustrating.  And you probably hate me for it.  But it keeps you on your toes, right?

4.)  You can always change the title.  If you are concerned with actually being truthful with the readers, and you can only come up with nine items to comment on, you can just go back and change the title to a "Top Nine" list.  That works well,  AND it serves to set you apart from the crowd because everyone does Top Ten lists, but how many people do a Top Nine?


5.)  You are always in peril of being sued by David Letterman.  He does those Top Ten lists from time to time, and he has a lot more money backing him than I ever will, so you can't tell me that he or one of his minions hasn't gone out of their way to trademark the term "Top Ten."  I mean, Charlie Sheen trademarked "winning."  Maybe I will trademark "the."  That'll give me a lot of residual checks.

6.)  Ten has appeal worldwide.  Not everyone speaks the English language out there, Company, so not everyone will recognize all your pretty words and witty turns of phrase.  But everyone counts and measures in some way or another, and outside of the US they do it by tens.  It is called the Metric system and it is based on the number ten, so a Top Ten list will feel comfortable and normal to those in say, Zambia.


7.)  Choice.  Yep, choice.  If you are doing a normal blog post you have to write about things.  If you are doing a Top Ten list you can choose to comment on every point like I have done here, you can choose just to make your points like they did at The Non-Review, or one could even choose to do pictures, which is really fun but sometimes hard to put together.  It is all about choice.

8.) Variety.  I write blog posts every day.  I don't do a ton of Top Ten lists.  So it creates a little variety for those people who actually read the blog every day.  It is just a little taste of something different for them and me.

So those are eight reasons why I like Top Ten lists and will continue to do them.  How do you feel about that?  I would like you to give me your answer in list form though...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Way to Work

     Holy shit, a poll popped up on my personal FB page from a store called Onion River Sports, or maybe it was REI, I just don't remember.  Anyway, it doesn't really matter because what matters is what the poll said, and it said "You are in mile 5 of a 12 mile bike commute to work, and you tire goes flat.  What do you do?" and then there were some options from which one could choose.  And I thought to myself, "Twelve miles?  Really?  Those people are out of thei fucking minds!"
Your commuter car
in some people's eyes.
     Here is the deal, Company.  I rode my bike to work today - from one end of the Worldwide Headquarters to the other, and it was maybe a mile.  Now I admit that I don't necessarily have what one would call a bikers physique, but I was sweating my ass off and had to change my shirt once I got to work.  And apply more deoderant.  And I was still sweating when I was done.  So I don't know how you could ride your bike 12 miles over hill and dale and still be office appropriate once you got there, unless you were amazingly fit or didn't care if you had B.O. or maybe you had a shower in your office or a private bathroom where you could wash up.
    There are even people in Finland who kayak to work like at Nokia and stuff, and I don't understant how that works either.  I have a kayak, and I really enjoy using it, and that doesn't usually make me sweaty unless I am trying to set the water speed record or something, but I have never once successfully been able to go anywhere in my kayak without getting wet in some way, shape, or form.  Never.  Never ever.  Maybe that is because I am a little clumsy, or maybe it is because it is actually impossible to do (I know it is not impossible to do, so I guess the former is true).  But those people are just as bad as the biker folks.
    Now I should be a little bit more clear in my line of thinking.  I don't really think that the biker and kayaker and walk to work folks are bad.  In fact, I try to be that way.  I am all about those who choose to commute in a way that doesn't involve driving their Acura 30 miles each way every day.  So if you are hiking or biking or taking the train or something to work, kudos to you.  I am it makes you feel better AND helps keep your wallet stocked.  But I just can't see how riding your bicycle 12 miles to work is practical.  At least not when you are a sweaty mo-fo like me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Paulding Light

      So, way up in the wilds of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan there is something called the Paulding Light.  There are no real good explanations as to what the light actually is, and there is a lot of folklore surrounding it.  I am not going to get into all of that business, but I am just going to say that I have been to see the Paulding Light a bunch of times, and I have seen it be really active and do all sorts of neat tricks, and I have been to see it and seen it do nothing, not even show up.  She is a cruel mistress like that.  All that being said, I went up there with some friends of mine last night and I swear to God the Paulding Light was fucking with my mind.
It even has its own apparel...
     As usual, there was a group of people out there watching for the Light when we got there, including a couple of guys who were into looking at it through binoculars.  Students from Michigan Tech have observed it through a telescope before.  So I was all equipped to view it through my binoculars so that I could get a closer look to see what it was doing.  See, you view the light from quite a distance away, and it is supposed to split into multiple and make all sorts of colors and motions, but I don't always see well.  So I figured that I would view it with my binoculars and get a closer look.
      Except it didn't want to be seen.  At least not by me.  The other guys watched the damn thing through their field glasses all night long, but every time it came up and I went to look at it through my binoculars, I wouldn't be able to see it and it would disappear for a while.  Then it would come back, and I would try to look at it through the binoculars and it would go away.  I tried probably five times to look at the Paulding Light through my binoculars and it went away every time.  So eventually I stopped because it was starting to annoy the people that I was with.  But the Light just had it out for me last night.  She is a cruel mistress, that Paulding Light.  And apparently, it is willing to mess around with one person out of the group that is trying to see it.  Just another layer to add to the mystery I guess.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Apartment Living

     I once knew a young Russian girl who was sharing with me her hopes and dreams.  We were talking about what kind of place we would like to live and she said that if she ended up settling in the United States she would want to have a house, but if she ended up settling in Russia she would want an apartment.  That struck me because it seemed like an apartment was good enough for Russia but not for the United States.
     And that is the dream that has been drilled into American heads since the days before Levittown.  The house with the white picket fence and the 2.3 kids running around with the station wagon turned minivan turned SUV parked right out in front.  Maybe a boat parked around the back or something.  But apparently in other countries it isn't so.  Apparently there an apartment will do, and the same goes for cities like New York City.  And I am here to say that I understand.  I really don't mind apartment living.
      Now, I understand all the points that the pro-house crowd trot out when talking about houses vs. apartments.  You are paying towards something that is your own.  You have all the control over what goes on, what colors the place is, etc.  And you have a piece of ground that is all yours when it is all said and done.  Plus, you don't share a wall with anyone and you can make as much noise as you want.   All that business.  But I can and will trot out a bunch of counterpoints, the first of which is that while your place is your own, but you also have all the costs to bear on your own.  So if the water heater goes bad, you have to replace it all yourself.  If the roof starts leaking, that is your problem and yours alone.  Taxes?  You have to pay them out of your pocket. 
     And those are just some of the cons of home ownership, which I guess would be pros of apartment living.  And I just like apartment living anyway.  There is something about living in a space of your own that is part of a group of all sorts of other peoples' own spaces.  First of all, apartments come in about elventy billion configurations for every type of personality.  And if you live in a big complex you get the opportunity to see a whole bunch of different takes on the same space, since they tend to all have similar layouts.
     I don't know.  I realize that I am rambling a little bit, and that I am doing a horrible job of making any sort of point, but I have spent the vast majority of my life living in apartments and I have to say that I really don't mind them.  Sometimes they can be a pain in the ass but I have always just sort of liked it.  Maybe just because it is comfortable to me.  I don't know.  I just want to give a vote for apartment living.  Houses are great, but there are a lot of redeeming qualities for apartments as well.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Ticked Off

     So, today, my Baby Doll found a tick on me.  No big deal.  I mean, yeah, they are fucking gross.  And yeah, they are the disease ridden cesspools of existence.  And they can fuck you up if they have the wrong stuff in them.  But if you live in the forest, or near a meadow, or perhaps in Swamp Castle, they are just a part of life.  You walk under a tree and they drop on you, or you walk past a piece of grass and they latch onto your sock and work their way into every nook and crevice of your body and immediately burrow in.
Ugly little asshole, isn't it?
      Now I have had ticks on my plenty of times, although I have to say that through sheer luck of the draw I have never had one burrowed in on me before.  So Baby Doll spots it and it is on the back of my thigh in the region between the bottom of my gym shorts and the bottom of my boxer shorts, which I guess is prime tick country.  It is like the Willamette Valley of the tick world, and this guy was the first of the tick wagon trains leading the way up the Oregon Trail that is my leg.  Anyway, he must have been determined that it was the promised land, because he was buried in deep.
      Ticks are pretty indestructible things as far as life goes.  The bury themselves in face first and breathe through their asses, which serves them right because they are the scum of the Earth.  All that being said, standard procedure for removing them once they have burrowed under your skin is to slather them with Vaseline, or Vaseline-type petroleum jelly.  That plugs up their asshole so they can't breath, and pretty soon they will back out of their burrow to get some air.  Then you can pluck them and crush them or throw them in the toilet, but crushing and drowning don't always work.  So most people - including myself because I am a little bit destructive - choose to burn them into oblivion.  That is really the best way to end their measly little lives.
     So on goes the Vaseline, and Baby Doll goes off to do the dishes, with the instructions that once she is done she will come and finish the little fucker off.  See, she has to be the point man - or point woman - on this project because I am not a contortionist, and I can't see the little bastard to go in after him myself.  So she goes off and I lie in wait watching The Simpsons.  She comes back, takes a look, and grimaces.  That is not good.  It is never good when the person in charge of ridding you of bugs grimaces.  That means there are still bugs there.  She informs me that it doesn't seem like the little fuckstick has responded to the Vaseline treatment, also known as Step 1.  So she goes in with fingernails anyway and just plucks at the thing.  And nothing happens.
      Now, for just a moment, let me give you a note about my Baby Doll.  She is not one to give up easily, especially when it comes to plucking.  Just ask my nose, eyebrows, and every gray hair that has ever been on my body.  She will pluck at a rogue antenna hair on my bald head until it bleeds, as long as she gets her man.  So for her to just abandon the fingernails and immediately move in the heavy machinery is no laughing matter.  But in a flash there she was with a tweezers.
      Let the yanking begin.  So she grabs the ass/nose of the thing and starts pulling.  I always imagined that he would let go, what with the not being able to breathe and the metal pulling on his butthole.  But no, he hung on like the girl in an action flick who has just fallen over the edge of a downtown skyscraper and just has to hold out against gravity long enough for the shirtless hero to save her so they can go to the humpolympics.  He is hanging on for dear life.  I can't see what is going on, but trust me I can feel it.  For an area of the body that isn't known for having a ton of nerve endings, I could feel every bit of it as my skin lifted and my muscle stretched a little bit out of shape, and I could feel the whole thing rebound once he let go.
    So there he was, held tightly in the grip of the tweezers, holding a little bit of my flesh in his whatever the hell he digs in with.  Baby Doll actually referred to what he left behind as a "hole in your leg."  It's an open wound.  So that fucking asshole prick of a tick got what he deserved: he got burned until he popped.  Then he got flushed.  And I hope it hurt like a bitch, because I am not some sort of insect buffet for whatever falls from the trees.  I am a person with feelings and thoughts and my own set of keys.  And he just looked at me as food.  That thing really ticked me off.  Pun definitely intended.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Off the Grid

     I read a headline just a couple of minutes ago that said there were 27,000 people nearby who were out of electricity due to high winds and the first thought in my mind was "those lucky bastards."
This is your source of light when you are off the grid.
     I think that maybe I might like a week or so off of the grid.  Sure, refrigeration and food preperation become a chore, but the soft glow of an oil lantern and a battery powered radio just might do the trick.  It seems to me that more and more of the things that sort of stress me out in this life come into my world via electronic media - things like the television and especially the Internet.  So it might be night to just unplug from those things, forget about it for a while, and sort of decompress.
     I mean, it can't be THAT awful to live off the grid.  People did it for years and years before Ben Franklin flew his kite, and there are still people in all sorts of remote places who do it.  Up in Arctic Canada or in the Amazon rainforest or on isolated islands in the sea.  And they seem to be doing alright.  I understand that things follow a little different rhythm, and a little different pattern of life and generally require a lot more work and patience, but sometimes I think that might be just what I need.
     I would keep a radio around - a battery powered one - not so much for the news but because it is summer and it just wouldn't be the same without baseball on the radio.  Plus, I am going to want to know if there is nasty weather afoot.  So I wouldn't be totally unplugged.  But if there was no electric, cable, or telephone lines running into the place I was staying it really wouldn't be so bad.
     So maybe I will try it, but then again probably not.  There is a fine line that can be struck long before I am chopping wood for heat on a suddenly chilly June night.  But it is certainly nice to at least sort of fantasize about what it would be like to be off the grid for a little while.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Slice and Dice

    Everyone has something that they can't do.  Some people can't do vomit.  They hoark up their own load when they see or smell vomit.  I can do vomit.  Some people can't do blood.  I can do blood.  Sprayed everywhere, pools and piles of it, no big deal.  Some people are out hoarking up at the sight of the blood and causing all the vomit people to hoark up themselves, but I can handle the blood.  It is the incision that I can't stand.
     Yep, that is the thing that gives me the willies.  I shew on my fingernails and fingertips until they bleed, and that is just fine with me, but if I have to watch an incision happen, that is where I draw the line.  I was watching the show Dexter the other day and it showed a guy making a little slice in another guy with a scalpel.  I could have ralphed right then and there.  I just can't do it.  One of the cable channels has a show that is all about surgery, and I don't watch it, because I can't do the slicing and dicing part, and that is a pretty important part of surgery.  I watched a whole chunk of one episode one time in which this girl was going to get an operation to correct a massive overbite.  Or underbite.  I think it was an underbite.  Her bottom jaw stuck out way longer than her upper was the case.  Anyway, it was affecting her quality of life, and she was going to get it corrected.  They were going to cut a section of her bottom jaw out so it would line up like it was supposed to with the upper jaw.  They had to go in through her mouth, and I watched it up until the minute that they sliced open the far back corner of her mouth.  No thank you.  It wasn't the blood that came seeping out, it was the slice.  I have never watched that show since.  I do hope that lady's corrective surgery went well and she is happy though.
      So that is my thing.  I hate the cutting.  Watching it in slow motion is the worst because you can see all sorts of stuff happening hat you normally just don't want to see happen.  Up close and personal.  Yuck-o.  You can have it, and I don't want anything to do with it.  And that is that.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Ode to My Air Conditioner

     Oh faithful air conditioner, how can I adequately express my gratitude to you?  You are just a small thing - no more than the size of a window air conditioner - and you are attached the window of my extra bedroom by nothing more than hopes, dreams, plexiglass, nuts, bolts, bailing wire, silly putty, bondo, precisely nine multi-colored bendy straws, and a little bit of luck.  Oh, and a deep disrespect for the laws of gravity.  But anyway, there you are, chugging away, making all sorts of noises that make me think you aren't draining water away properly, and making my little corner of the Worldwide Headquarters liveable when the heat is on.
       Your small size and stature belie your abilities, especially when I don't have to pay the electric bill.  Crank your thermostat down to 63ยบ and let the fan loose on full throttle, and you can cool my whole section to a liveable level, even with the curtains open and the oven on.  At night, with the demon sun safely tucked away below the horizon, even on low you will make the bedroom cool enough that I can pretend it is winter and snuggle down under seven blankets and a pair of sheets.  And you can do it on low so that I only have to wear two pairs of earmuffs in order to fall asleep, which is fine because you keep it so cool I should have something to protect my ears anyway.
     So here is to you, air conditioner.  You make my live much more bearable, and you do the same for the lives of those around me, because when I am hot and sweaty I am sort of a whiny asshole bitch.  Despite your small size, you are able to do an amazing amount of things with an unlimited supply of electricity.  I know that I probably don't need you in my life, and I that I could probably live without you.  But that begs the question: would I really want to?  I think not.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Down and Gout

     James Michener is a world-renown author who has seen a lot of stuff.  He has traveled the world and was even on active duty in the Navy during World War II.  So one could image what he has seen and been through.  He was even on dialysis for years at the end of his life.  Yet, through all the things that he went through in his autobiography he took the time to mention how much the gout hurt.  He said what when he had an attack of it was the only time that he considered cutting off a part of his body.
     The gout is a buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint, and I have it.  It is usually present in the big toe, but in my body it usually occurs in my ankles.  Once you have the disease you always have it, and every so often I have an attack of it.  My ankle usually gets red and swollen and it hurts like a bitch to walk.  Have you ever sprained or twisted an ankle?  You know that terrible painful feeling when you first try to walk on it?  When I am having an attack of the gout that is what my ankle feels like ALL THE TIME.  When I try to walk on it the pain ramps up a bunch of notches.  I have some pills that will usually make it go away and I can get on with my life, but this time it isn't working out so hot.
These spikey assholes are what's in my ankle right now.
      See, this particular attack is proving to be extremely persistent.  I have had it for like five days now, and it just hasn't gone away.  An attack usually lasts 3 or 4 days, and I thought it was going away but today it has come back stronger than ever.  That is strange.  And it is pissing me off, because I am sick of hobbling around the joint like some sort of fat idiot.  I want to walk normally.  One would think that it is good to have an excuse to lie around on the couch but there is just so much loafing around that one can do.  So I want to be better.
       So that is what has been going on in my life the last few days, and I am sick of it.  I am about ready to get one of those Rascal scooters but they cheap asses who own the place didn't build the Worldwide Headquarters to handicapped accessible specifications.  So I just hobble around and act cranky and pop some more pills.  I mean, it has to end soon.  Until then I am down and gout for the count.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Storm Event

    I am waiting for Helen Hunt.  All the signs are here from all the tornado movies, right?  There is the deep lack of birds chirping.  The air is heavy.  There are people sort of milling around in the streets and there are lots of car doors opening and closing in the neighborhood.  There is like one star showing in the sky, and just a little bit of a lazy breeze that can't seem to decide from which way it wants to blow.  The weatherpeople on TV and the Internet and wherever else are predicting all sorts of storms.  So I am just waiting for Helen Hunt to show up and the tornado will be right behind.
     In all seriousness, I do love storms, especially during the day when I can sort of keep an eye on them.  But I like the tension in the air as they roll in, and I like the guys on TV and the relatively uninformed public getting all up in arms as a result.  I like sitting here and hearing something and wondering if it was thunder.  I like seeing the cars with trailers heading towards the area where the sky is darker and thinking "oh man, it sucks to be them" but secretly being a little jealous.  I love jealously pouring over the radar as it flashed on some sort of screen, and seeing the green turn to yellow turn to red as the wind picks up.
      And I love when Mother Nature unleashes her fury, and it rains like the end of days and trees bend over and almost touch the ground and sky turns all sorts of colors the sky really shouldn't be.  Then after like ten or twenty minutes it is all done and the sun comes out again and you can go outside and pick up worms off the sidewalk.  I love it all, the whole summer thunderstorm schedule of events, as it happens time and time again.  And it is happening tonight, although hopefully without the tornado.  I still wouldn't mind seeing Helen Hunt come by though.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Gone to the Birds

     Okay, seriously Company, what is with your crazy obsession with birds?
     I mean, birds are fine, and I am pretty impressed that they can fly, and I suppose that I could understand that you would like them, but I think that maybe you have crossed the line into like, creepy obsession.
     First of all, you have a lot more bird stuff than you have birds.  Seriously.  You have like seven different bird cages but you only have three birds, and two of them live in the same cage.  With their wings clipped.  So what, do you like, not use the white cage after Labor Day?  I don't get it.  It seems to me that maybe the two cages would do you, with maybe one other as a backup.  But seven? SEVEN?  Seven of them, all fully equipped with feeding bowls and perches and lots of little toys.  I think that is a little bit loony.  Maybe if you kept them in the basement instead of the living room it wouldn't be all that bad.
    And then there is the crap...I mean memorabilia.  Or keepsakes.  Or collectibles.  No wait, I mean crap.  Retarded shit.  I mean, there are birds on the walls, birds on the plates, birds on the wallpaper AND the curtains, and I am sure that if you could have found bird carpeting you would have that shit down there too.  I mean, how many pictures of orioles can one person have in their home?  And this hi-ball with a parakeet on it?  Priceless, in that no one would ever pay any price for this except for you.  There are even little birdies on your toilet paper roller.  That's right, the little thing that is inside your toilet paper roll has birds on it, for all the time you see it and need to look at the fucking birds.
     So cool it with the birds, okay Company?  I mean, your living room looks like the living room of the chick in the movie Dodgeball, but with birds instead of unicorns.  It is okay to like something, but just maybe try to broaden your horizons a little bit and take up another interest.  Like stamp collecting or NASCAR.  That would be cool.  Just something other than the birds.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Dance It Out

     Lots of people like to dance.  That is true.  There is something about moving ones body to the beat of music - even that music is a Sousa march.  Every culture has some sort of dance that is original to their peoples.  Dancing - whether it be ballroom or street dancing or the God-awful Zumba - is one of the most ubiquitous and popular social endeavors of all time.
     I don't like it though.  Wait a minute, let me qualify that.  I don't like to do it.  I think dancing is fine for those of you who like to partake.  I can't do a lot of dance moves so I have a lot of respect for people who can do them.  Like if you can spin around on your head and techno dance to some sort of Moby album, then I am supportive about that because I am impressed.  If you are dancing for fitness or fun that is cool too.  Rock on with your bad self.  I am just not going to be doing it.
These are no help.
     Like I said, it is not that I think dancing is dumb, and it is not like I think it is going to send us all to hell like some sort of 50s religious fundamentalist, I just don't choose to participate.  Just like butchering cows or self-immolation: I choose not to participate.
     I don't know why.  I can't explain it.  Part, or more likely most, of the reason I am sure is because I am clumsy and unathletic and uncoordinated.  And I believe that those are pretty strong reasons.  See, I look a little goofy when I dance, and I know this.  So I tend to get a little self-conscious and that makes me like it even less.  All that being said, somewhere along the way I just shut that circuit breaker off, because even sitting in the living room all by myself with a foxtrot playing on the Victrola I just can't get myself to take the leap.  But I think that is okay.
     There is, however, one major exception to my little Phil Collins "I Can't Dance" rule, and that is weddings.  Not all weddings, I can assure you that, but that is the one forum where from time to time I let it snap.  Something about the fancy dress clothes, the DJ or band (especially if they are at all good), and the general atmosphere just makes me let loose and dance the night away.  Alright, I am sure that the booze have something to do with it too, but I digress.  If you get me to a wedding then you have a pretty good chance of seeing me do what I call dance.
     So that is the story, and I apologize but you will probably not be on my dance card anytime soon.  It is nothing personal, in this case it really has nothing to do with you, it is all my fault.  I am just not into that.  But you can be.  And I will happily watch you all night long.  Feel free to dance it out.