Wednesday, December 21, 2011

wisdom teeth

My fiancée is getting her lone wisdom tooth removed as I write this post, and I am holding vigil back here in Northern California, where we pay through the nose to never see frost, and you are BREAKING THAT DEAL THIS WEEK, NorCal, and I expect a sincere apology in the form of a non-freezing bike ride to the train in an hour. Or else.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "wait, she's now his fiancée??! Isn't that gorgeous vixen of gloriousness way too smart to agree to marry him?" Or, "isn't she a little too hot to be marrying Chris Perry?" Or, "wait, is the entire point of this post to write the word fiancée as many times as possible and brag about snagging the most absolutely wonderful person in the entire universe?"

And while the answer to all of those questions is a resounding yes, fiancée fiancée fiancée fiancée, you're actually probably all wondering how she got away with having only one wisdom tooth. I've been pondering that myself for the past month, and have spent that time improving my tongue biting techniques to stop myself from interrupting her and yelling out HALT WITH YOUR ONE WISDOM TOOTH TALE! and regaling her of tales of the removal of my three wisdom teeth.

But I wouldn't do that sort of thing,1 because I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize the relationship status we just posted on Facebook hours ago, which has been liked by, as of this writing, 72 people on my wall, and 86 people on her wall. But of course, I'm not counting that sort of thing, because I would never compete with my beautiful bride to be, even if, technically, it was she who inserted an element of competition into the liking.

I will, however, just make brief mention, and this is neither here nor there, and I have no ulterior motives other than counting stats for kicks and giggles,2 and I am in no way trying to snatch victory in this non-competition, but I will just say that many of the likes on her wall technically originate from friends of mine, so I will just say that and concede defeat to the soon-to-be-wisdom-toothless brilliant and beautiful fiancée.

Fiancée fiancée fiancée fiancée.

That is all.

P.S. I love you. Good luck.

1. Actually, I did. And she really loves me, because she sat through my three-wisdom-tooth tale without punching me in the face once.
2. I was twenty eight before I was informed by my co-workers, while heartily laughing at my expense, that giggles is usually paired with another, slightly more harsh word.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

silicon valley startups

I work for a small start-up in Silicon "no, it isn't actually a valley so would you stupid tourists stop looking for one" Valley. The company recently updated its social media policy, which I was too lazy to actually read,1 so let's leave it nameless for now.

There are lots of great things about working for a startup.

Bragging that you work for a startup

In most parts of the country, if you tell someone you work for a startup, they will immediately assume you failed to get a job at any legitimate company, and treat you like the pariah you are. Which might be true, but here in Silicon "holy cow, leave it alone, we get it, we freaking get it, it's not a valley and there isn't any silicon, and there aren't hard boundaries, it's just a lousy name so please leave it alone before we beat you down with a keyboard" Valley, you're treated a little bit like royalty, minus the televised weddings, the taxpayer support, and the nazi costumes.

Meeting cool people

I don't want to brag or anything, but I walked by the founder of Netscape a few months ago, and he looked at me. And I recently said hi to one of the famous "super angels", and he ignored me like the slime I am. And this morning a gaggle of people from an unknown organization showed up in the reception area at 8:35, approximately three hours before anyone starts working here, and refused to tell me who they were here to see. So you get to meet all sorts of cool people.

Open office spaces

If your office is anything like mine, your monitor is visible from every single angle in the office. I especially love it when people silently sneak up and stare at what I'm doing, then make fun of me. This in no way makes me want to hurt you.

Working with amazing people

I've worked with some pretty great people in my day. There's the man with the alter-ego Becky, the man who wore the same uniform every day, the man who referred to himself in the third person including the title of uncle, the man who started a competing company while working with us, and the woman who obsessed about polygamy and quizzed me on it every day.2

Distributing unflattering pictures of your coworker in a compromising position with a dog, implying bestiality

While you could do this in major companies, only in a Silicon "of course it's not a bubble!" Valley startup can you do it without a major lawsuit. Incidentally, Tim, I still feel bad about that.

Replying to an email asking if anyone had seen the french press with a link to Le Monde.

I know I already bragged about this on Facebook, but seriously, the response was way too tepid, possibly because none of my non-coffee-drinking Mormon friends know what a french press is. But if you do, how is that not the funniest thing you have ever heard? I think I laughed for six hours straight. Yes, at my own joke. Which is why I'm repeating it here. Does that make me lame? Yes, it does.

1. I'm kidding Michelle, I totally read it! I promise! Now how about making my vacation balance un-negative? Please?
2. To be clear: I have no personal knowledge of this subject.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

getting in shape

A lot of people I know are trying to get in shape and look better. Well, I have a tried-and-true plan of accomplishing your life's dream of not looking like a skinny sissy boy.1

First of all, gain weight. Maybe put on fifteen pounds. Do this over the course of a year or two, all while thinking you are one of those people that "never gain weight".

Next, convince yourself you did this on purpose. Right? You tried to gain weight once. This was in high school, when, after failing to do so, you still convinced yourself you were large and walked around in "muscle" t-shirts with images of fish you colored yourself.2 This obviously means you gained weight ten years later on purpose.

Since you're already being successful gaining weight, continue to gain more weight. You've gotten pretty good at self-deception, so, performing what can only be referred to as a miracle, convince yourself that you are gaining muscle, because, aside from putting down three thousand calories a day, you avoid running like the plague, and occasionally go to the gym and lightly sweat as you bench thirty-five pounds.

Speaking of thirty-five pounds, gain that. Once you're at your peak, convince yourself that you are actually "in shape", and not "a rolly pork chop", and when your doctor tells you to lose weight, or your sister tries to set you up with a larger woman because "you're not that skinny yourself", be convinced they don't know what they're talking about.

Then go to grad school, and later, incur vast amounts of stress in your life by moving around the world a few times, and lose it all.3

Since I feel like I'm being a little too hypothetical, let me show you a before and after picture (both bearded, of course, as that seems to be the only time I take pictures of myself).

And that, my friends is how to accomplish your life's dream of...oh wait. You're still a sissy boy. Oh well.

1. Seriously. My life's dream. It wasn't until I saw a picture of my great-great grandfather that I realized the futility. What was he like? Tall and skinny. Just like all of us.
2. Fully one hundred percent autobiographical.
3. Which reminds me of the India diet my old roommate and good friend once went on. The India diet consists of living in India for a summer, and being sick the entire time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

store hours

One of the major downsides of living in a major American city is the proximity to a preponderance of stores that are open for business at all hours of the evening. This is problematic, because it means that you are able to purchase things when you actually need them.

In order to avoid this, I spend most of my time in Sleep Town USA, AKA Redwood City, CA, where Costco, the only store within five miles of my house that is not a taco truck or an abandoned liquor store, closes at six on Saturdays. This makes sense because six o'clock is the time most people1 start thinking about maybe putting together a list or something of things they might need to buy on the one day during the week they can actually run an errand. Closing at six makes their life so much easier and better and does not encourage the spewing of inappropriate language when they realize they are going to have to eat sawdust again the following morning.

Closing at six has the side benefit of ensuring Costco is never open when the checkout lines are less than six miles long.2

Another great benefit to living in Redwood City is trying to find an open gas station at night. That's right, gas stations close here people. Gas stations. Gas freaking stations. The one remaining bastion of a twenty-four hour capitalist state. You close the gas stations, and the terrorists win. And yet, I ask you to find a way to fill up your running-on-fumes car at 11:30 PM anywhere near my house.3 Good luck. Good freaking luck.

1. And by most people, I mean myself.
2. Costco membership: $55. Value of your time waiting for the thirty chumps in front of you to meander through their purchase: $412.
3. I passed by three closed stations before finally finding a charitable Chevron still open on the border of Menlo Park. Bless you Menlo Park. Bless you for being freaking red-blooded sleep-deprived Americans.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

how to appropriately respond when someone sends you a link to something verifiably hilarious you have seen before

The wrong way

Oh man, that is hilarious. I can really enjoy this with you and not show you what a weenie I am by telling you how far ahead of the times I am.

The right way

Oh, I saw that four months ago and laughed a lot more then when it was original and sent to me by someone cool, instead of now when someone as dorky as you is trying to recycle old material that you think is funny but is actually really old and lame and has been the subject of at least five memes that I can tell you about because I starred in the videos that I'm going to make you watch right now and did you see my pictures from my latest scuba trip in Bolivia? And there are sub-memes and sub-sub-memes, and there's even a sub-reddit dedicated to the third word of the second sentence of the banner ad on that site. And did you hear about that concert I went to at that venue you've never heard of with that band who formed three days ago and wears plaid and big glasses? No wait, you haven't, because you are boring and you haven't been to a concert since Billy Joel in the nineties1 and the last time you heard of something before me was in early nineteen eighty-two before I was born because I am also younger than you and wait I have Vespa and I wear plaid too and my gym is better than yours because it manages a non-Starbucks coffee shop that I go to every morning and pay with my smart phone for espressos whose beans were hand-picked by Incan llamas working in sustainable conditions on reclaimed missile-silo hilltops in Cuba.

Also, you smell like a dead squirrel.

1. One of the more depressing moments of my recent career came three weeks ago, when a co-worker, as part of some research she was conducting, came and asked me about my experience going to concerts. After a very long pause, I was able to recall going to a concert in London last year, which was very very very lucky for myself, or I would have had to confess attending Billy Joel in 1999, I think? I would have lost all respect in her eyes at that point. As it was, I am so far removed from normal that her time was wasted on me, as I can provide you zero valuable insights about the human population.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

a conversation I will one day have with my children

I've recently started dating the most beautiful woman in the world, and she, being a few years younger than me, feels the need to tease me about my age, obviously because she is insecure about how incredibly distinguished, mature, and successful I have turned out to be.1

There have been a number of occasions in which I have mentioned normal aspects of my childhood which are met with what can only be described as "shrieks of laughter", followed by a statement to the effect of, "good story, grandpa".

All of which speaks to the necessity to have the following conversation with my future children, should I actually be capable of fathering children by the time I'm able to convince someone to marry me.

Children.

You have no idea how nice your lives are. Do you even know what life was like growing up in the nineteen hundreds? Can you even imagine the inconveniences we suffered?

Imagine a world in which, in order to get somewhere, you didn't just speak into a magical device and listen to a beautiful woman direct you how to get places. No. If you did speak to someone, it was a smelly man at a gas station, and he probably wanted to shiv you in the back with a rusty spork2 because you were stupid enough to go out without checking a map first.

That's right. A map. A physical freaking map. Made out of paper and the tears of small children. If you had to find a street address, good luck finding that on a map, sucker. You'd have to turn the map around and look at a listing of street names the size of the national deficit, trolling around for the street name, whereupon the map would list the "coordinates" of the street. Like, they'd stick letters across the top and numbers down the side in a "grid", and you'd be told a "coordinate" of a street, like G-6,3 and you'd spend the next thirty minutes with a magnifying glass trying to find the street among a series of roads with a complexity approximating tangled cellular DNA. Of course, the street might pass through a small corner of G-6, but the street name would be written in G-7, or H-6, or sometimes A-12, and you spent the evening scouring the map and swearing, wishing you were old enough to buy booze so you could break the bottle on a bar countertop and slash the face of the man who implemented the "coordinate" system.

Then you'd plan your route out beforehand or your buddy riding shotgun4 would flop open a map, or maybe a road atlas the size of a giraffe with every state in America, except you only ever went to like three states, and when you went there what you really wanted was a street-level map, and you had to stop at a gas station at three in the morning to get the street-level map and hopefully avoid getting raped at the same time by a cross-dresser named Jim, and good luck calling the police if that happens because there's a phone booth every three miles and the phones are filled with cockroaches, hookers, and blow, and if you touch the handset you get Gonorrhea.

And that's assuming you knew where you wanted to go. If you wanted to go to a mechanic or a barber, or even a barber who didn't slash your ear with a dirty razor giving you an infection for the next two weeks,5 you had to pull out this monstrosity called the yellow pages which disintegrated in your hands and you'd get ink all over your body if you so much as looked at it, and choose people based on the verbiage of their advertisement, and hope they weren't mass murderers or undead chickens or something, instead of just opening up Yelp and finding the best of everything.

And good luck trying to meet people places.

Whenever you tried to meet anyone anywhere, someone was stuck waiting for an hour in the rain, wondering if the other person was coming or not, wondering if the other person (coughmomcough) even remembered the other person had children, and nobody really knew where anyone was ever because the pay phone was broken or the dude at the cafe didn't want you touching his phone because phone calls cost like a zillion dollars and he probably didn't have that darn phone technology anyways.

The closest thing we had to "technology" were pagers and you couldn't use those because teachers all said that only kids who worked for gangs had pagers. I'm not really sure about being gang members, but I do know all the kids at school into drugs sure did have pagers and man Tyler sure smelled good in ninth grade geography and how in the world did the teacher not pick up on the smell of pot which I basked in every day of that year?

If you had any sort of school assignment which required a computer, you'd go to a computer lab where dinosaurs once roamed the earth with the librarians who insisted on teaching you the Dewey Decimal System, which is this thing they invented before Google in order to torture little kids with useless facts like books about ducks and pigs were located at 82345300.16, and books about ducks and dogs were located at 123004343.9801, and good luck memorizing that for the test they made you take about an information retrieval system made obsolete by those new-fangled computers, and the librarian would crawl out of her sarcophagus and show you the latest in the fanciest technology, a LaserDisc player, which looked like a CD the size of a record, but you don't know what either of those things are, but I do because I used to listen to a record of the soundtrack of The Parent Trap, and no, that's not the really old movie with Lindsay Lohan, it's actually a lot older and weirder than that and it definitely didn't involve a Concorde jet, and you'd watch a slideshow on the LaserDisc player and the TV was the size of a cow, but it was really cool, because most of your multimedia presentations involved actual multiple media: a tape player and an honest-to-goodness reel projector, and the soundtrack was on the tape and it would beep occasionally to tell you to advance to the next slide, and no it wasn't like PowerPoint, because sometimes the film would break, but regardless of physical breakages, you were always assured that you would lose track of which slide you were supposed to be on and the tape would be using Jimmy's voice while the slide projector showed you a dog.

But when you used the fancy computers in the dungeon lab you had these things called floppy disks which you would store your school stuff on, except they weren't really floppy, because there were actual floppy disks that they used to have until they realized they were the stupidest thing ever and came out with the non-floppy floppy disks, and each disk had an approximate storage capacity of three bytes, and if you wanted to store something bigger than a WordPerfect doc, oh wait, you don't know what WordPerfect is, it's basically Word except worthless because nobody uses it ever, and if you wanted to store anything more than a WordPerfect document, you'd get another floppy disk and you could buy them from Mr. Pearson for a dollar, and you'd maybe do that or buy a zip drive, which was a bigger disk which would work with about two percent of all computers, or you'd just ignore him and play Oregon Trail and gossip about the teacher who was supposedly fired because of sexual misconduct or buying sex or something and nobody really knew what sex was because there was no internet, but we all assumed it was something fun because we weren't allowed to say it.

And good luck getting anything done without the internet. Like, seriously. Good luck. Do you know what life is like without Wikipedia? Can you even conceive of it? Do you have any idea what it's like to want to know something and have absolutely no way of obtaining that information? Almost every conversation we had in the nineteen hundreds ended with someone declaring one fact, someone else declaring another fact, and everyone else just standing around, stumped, like a bunch of stunned dwarves, wondering who might actually be right.

So children. Be grateful for what you have. I may not have hiked to school uphill in the snow, but I did hike home from school downhill in the snow, and with absolutely no possibility of conceiving of the wonders that you currently enjoy.6

1. And by successful, I mean I have absolutely no qualifications to speak of.
2. Thank you Mulligan for allowing me to steal this idea.
3. Like a G6 baby. I hope that song is now stuck in your head too.
4. Brittney, we invented the term riding shotgun back when we were using stagecoaches to get around, and the dude in the passenger seat would hold a shotgun to shoot outlaws.
5. Not that this just happened to me or something. Oh wait, it did. Do I have AIDS now?
6. I realize this is the longest post ever, so I congratulate you intrepid readers for making it to the end. I had to make up for last week's lame short post, or, as my friend Kevin put it, the worst post ever. Happy now?

Monday, November 14, 2011

the full and complete list of candy which is considered an abomination to the right-minded people of this earth, and should be banned, hunted, and destroyed from off of the face of the earth for its perpetuation of pure unadulterated disgustingness

Candy corn1

1. Okay, I'm so serious about this. How can you people like something that tastes like death and misery wrapped in despair and hatred? I couldn't create something more disgusting even if I tried. Let's say you're about to eat some candy corn. Let me give you a few alternatives which are guaranteed to taste better: cardboard, razor blades, rabid squirrel toenails, or candy corn harvested from the stomach of a rotting rottweiler. Anything is better than plain candy corn, because candy corn defines repulsive.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

getting a girlfriend

While enjoyable and enviable in its own right, the state of bachelorhood is not, in game theory terms, a stable equilibrium. Should you find yourself at a point in life where you wish to escape the interminable cycle of frozen burritos and late-night trips to Bob's Donuts,1 let me instruct you on some of the finer points of obtaining yourself a girlfriend; preferably the type who cooks you food, likes your bad poetry (which includes abominations such as lines that rhyme "alone" with "home"2), and will, on the occasions in which you reference historical tragedies such as WWII, reply with a tone devoid of all but the slightest faint hint of sincere mockery, "oohhhh, that was a hard time for you, wasn't it?"

Go for girls with bad taste in men

This is a solid gold rule, never to be broken. When you meet a woman you like, but discover that she dated men you would probably beat with a tetanus-infused bag of rusty nails in a dark alleyway if you ever had the chance,3 don’t be stupid like my younger self and think, oh, she must be stupid because she dated him.

No, my young son, no. This is Great Foolishness. Think, oh, she must be stupid enough to go out with me if she dated him.

Avoid women who have lived their lives in a permanent state of hotness

Under no condition must you ever, ever, ever pursue a woman who has lived her life always hot. This is the shortest pathway to destruction that has ever been paved. Women in that state have the hot girl complex: she knows she is hot, she knows she is out of your league, and she will make you suffer. You will find naught but failure.

No, much better to pursue the women who, much like I thought I was blonde until about three years ago, still think of themselves as their awkward teenaged selves, and haven’t yet clued into the fact that they are now actually drop-dead droolingly gorgeous.

Go for girls who like you

Admittedly, I had never followed this advice in my entire life. And maybe you haven't either. But I strongly recommend it.

There are many many more points I could make; all of them correct, few of them hilarious. However, I feel obligated to make one parenthetical statement on wrapping upon my instructions for the day. Let me just state that it is generally considered a bad idea, when your newly-found girlfriend leaves her computer at your house, to take a picture of yourself "flexing" in front of the camera, and, should you choose to do this, and, should you then realize the badness of this idea, mainly due to the sorrowful state of your flexing, and the fact that you are, in fact, flexing your abs, which are not in a great state on a Saturday morning, and you should not have just spoken of this image/action to a random crowd of individuals which could possibly include your mother, who will most certainly lecture you for this in the future, and, upon realizing the badness of said idea, you decide to delete said picture, let me encourage you with the greatest amount of passion I can muster to EMPTY THE TRASH CAN YOU MORON, lest she discover said picture the very next day while, as horrendous luck would have it, looking through her trash can. This series of events can only end with you entering a very embarrassed state, and answering some very awkward questions.4

1. Okay, lies; you'll actually do this at any point in your life, up to and including the moment you get a girlfriend. You have not lived until you've spent a late night at Bob's.
2. I am an embarrassment to bad poets everywhere. I hang my head in rhythmic shame.
3. I am here requested to state emphatically for the record that my hatred of them is not due to any comments made by any woman; it is solely the natural result of being a very jealous man.
4. It was, for the record, originally intended as a joke. I often have ideas for bad jokes; most of the time I am able to filter those ideas before they become reality.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

android

Android is a mobile phone operating system (OS) for highly-advanced smart phones. It is maintained by Google, and competes with iOS, Blackberry OS, Windows OS, and oh, wait, just kidding about those last two, but you probably aren't reading the rest of this paragraph because you're on the floor laughing at the mere mention of platforms whose entire distribution equals the population of Gunnison, UT.,1 on county fair days.2

I've used Android devices for the past two years, so I am uniquely qualified to discuss them with you today.

One thing I love about Android devices is their lack of a simplistic, modern, droolingly-gorgeous form factor. People often think that having a rectangular device with all of the beauty of Venus de Milo, and yet, more ability to do things is a major downside in purchasing a phone, which is why Android phones are great ideas.

Android is a great OS, because it lets you install third party applications (apps) on your phone. Even nicer, the phone will keep track of what apps you have installed, then give you helpful notifications when those apps have updates to download.

This is, of course, true, unless it's not true, in which case the phone will forget what apps you have installed, and just never tell you anything. Don't worry, the apps are still installed and running on the phone, you just have to uninstall then reinstall the app if you ever want to update it ever, which is totally and completely fine, because this is not a huge pain in the neck.

Android makes this whole process fun and enjoyable, and you do not find yourself cursing the day with every keystroke, wishing you had just gotten the lousy iPhone your friends are carrying around in cases that look like cassette tapes.3

All of this functionality unfortunately requires lots of power. Lucky for you, Android phones come complete with amazing batteries, which, depending on your model of phone, might last you somewhere in the neighborhood of maybe an hour or two if you're lucky, and less if you actually need your phone. You too should buy an Android phone, and then you can experience the pleasure that is turning off your data connection in order to make it through more than a day with an electronic device with more functionality than a dead brick.

Android also ships with a great navigational system, in which the voice of a dead female zombie yells you through turn-by-turn directions to your destination. Given the power consumption of accurate GPS tracking, this works really well when you're driving a block or two, less well when you are road-tripping, and even less well when you are road-tripping to distant locations and your car power adapter you purchased from China for a dollar suddenly burns out somewhere in Nevada. Let's hope you memorized those directions!

Android is a great choice for people who love the simplicity of a broken toaster packaged up in a device that looks like a rotten banana. I highly recommend you purchase one immediately. Mine, for example.

1. I have some pretty great cousins from Gunnison, and I so rarely give them shout-outs. Go Gunnison! Also, I'm still trying to forgive you for that time you took me to the G "pile of dust" rock and the fly landed on my sandwich and I wanted to puke because flies in Gunnison go places I'm pretty sure no city fly would ever dream of. But I will forgive. Eventually.
2. A good friend of mine works on webOS, which I refuse to insult in any way, given how I still feel terrible for missing her birthday dinner. Therefore: webOS is, of course, the obvious best platform among all platforms.
3. My coworker has one of these. Seriously, that's probably the best reason I've ever heard of to buy an iPhone. It's freaking awesome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

searching for plane tickets

Along with dancing around on the side of a busy road swinging a sign trying to convince people to eat crummy fast food, living in an apartment with a broken fire alarm that taunts and tortures you by blasting your ears every time you turn on the oven, and listening to me at parties, searching for plane tickets online is an activity heavily featured in certain sections of hell.

Searching for the right plane ticket for your upcoming holiday travel plans is easy when you remember these simple items:

If Available, You Must Take the Direct Route

I don't understand you if you don't do this. If there is a direct option, you are obligated by the code of travelers to take that flight. Too expensive? Maybe you should re-think what you're willing to pay to avoid abject misery. When's the last time you were stuck in someone's armpit for a few extra hours? Trust me, it's worth a few hundred dollars to avoid it. Especially if it's my armpit.

You are Not Allowed to Take More than Two Flights

If there aren't any direct flights, you are allowed one, and only one connection. If you can't get there in two flights, sorry, you don't go. Time to move to Chicago or Atlanta or a real city, or maybe it's time to start traveling to places that aren't located in barren nowherelands.1

Satan Runs the Airlines

Just like Santa Claus, he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you are eying a flight, so be ready for him to double the price and laugh maniacally at you when you're ready to buy the ticket for goodness sake.

Travel Gnomes Run the Search Result Racket

Found your perfect flight? Search again! The travel gnomes have it now! You'll never find it again! Mwahahaha! They're scurrying away in their green lederhosen cackling through their long white beards!

1. Like, seriously, who does that? Who takes three flights? Why are you even showing me three flights? Is this your idea of a funny joke? Did you all get up this morning and decide to torture all of America? I want to fly eight hundred miles, and you show me three flights? I don't get out of bed for three-flight trips.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

your first clue you should run for your life from this conversation

At any point during your discussion, the following sentence is uttered angrily from her mouth:

"Good thing I'm a college graduate and understand all of your big words!"1

1. If it wasn't the most painful conversation of the year, it's in the top three. Holy cow I wanted to run away and hide and cry for days after she said that, but no, she wouldn't let me! Ohhhhh the misery. You hate me lady! Let me go! All I did was make a pun on your last name! For the love!

Monday, October 17, 2011

definitions

There are a lot of little things in the world that don't really merit their own complete posting on The Complete Guide to Everything; either due to lack of humor, or just general lack of material. Let's knock off a few of those now and take you through some definitions.

blind spot

The area to the immediate rear left or rear right1 of a car you are following in which most experts recommend you drive. This is because people have an innate love of being followed by strangers at night, and being unable to see them in order to appropriately express their sincere feelings they are struggling to maintain within themselves without the use of other sincere gestures.

casual carpool

A system organized through a plethora of piñat...online utilities wherein complete strangers commute via ride shares. Also known as That Thing Chris Perry Wants to Sign up to Drive, and Then Show Up Dressed as Darth Vader Blasting the Imperial March, Occasionally Shouting Out Quotes Like "I HAVE YOU NOW", or "I AM YOUR FATHER".

museums

Wonderful places to look at art, as long as you like standing in lines, being touched by strangers, and reading illegible scribblings on the walls. Oh wait, that describes so many other wonderful places. Like prison.

customer service phone numbers

Schemes originally invented by corporate America to humiliate, torture, and destroy the soul of man. Also, a popular mode of suicide by boredom.

you can't win 'em all

A nice fatalistic attitude towards life. Less transcendent and instructive when your coworker immediately replies, "not that you were in any danger of that."

iTunes' shared library feature

A good way to get your co-workers to look at you twice every time they pass you in the hall, secretly wondering what kind of twisted person's music library starts with ABBA, ends with Weezer, and includes songs like "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish", "Baby's Got Sauce", and "Pennsylvania 6-5000".

thursday

Best day of the week. All of the anticipation of the weekend, and none of the letdown.

millbrae

The worst city on the planet, full of misery, gnashing of teeth, and endless woe, ruled by heinous demons determined to extract five hundred freaking dollars out of anyone who dare have the audacity to gently roll a right hand turn on a red light.

combat boots

Appropriate attire for wearing around your open office while stomping and smelling bad to cause your coworkers to wish you severe and painful physical damage.

siri

A recently-announced virtual personal assistant for the iPhone, designed specifically for that segment of society that never figured out that wearing a bluetooth headpiece makes you look like a bumbling weenie, who have not yet figured out that while it may be "the future", and "magic", it's also "stupid" to be caught shouting instructions at an inanimate object like a crazy person.2

freeways

Places you should all hang out on at 8:30 AM on a Saturday morning, and then call in your best buddies over at Standing Around Drinking Coffee and Scratching Ourselves Road Construction Co. Because there's nothing that makes people happier than spending their entire waking lives refusing to sit in traffic, paying roughly double to spend twice as long on their daily commute in public transit, then finding the one weekend they want to drive somewhere they are greeted by the sight of red lights for miles.

kelly

A great middle name to give your son, if his first name is something incontrovertibly MASCULINE, like Stonehammerthrower, or Huntswithrifles, and not something like, oh, I don't know, Chris, lest his brother insist on telling him he has two girl names for his entire life. This is not helped by the existence of an aunt NAMED CHRIS PERRY.3

1. Must...resist...urge...to...make...rear...jokes. Can't...fight...much...longer...
2. I'm just jealous. I'm stuck with my Nexus SometimesWorks until I can convince my sister to let me weasel out of my promise to not buy another phone for two years.
3. Thanks a lot uncle Roger. Really appreciate you marrying her.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

no post for you!

My apologies for not posting last weekend; I was going to make it up earlier this week sometime, but I'm afraid it was a distinctly unfunny week. I did manage to eke out a tribute to my buddy Jess Berry on her blog, so I encourage you to read that if you want your weekly Chris Perry fix made up.

As further consolation, I provide to you the results of some house cleaning I did last week. I finally went through my files from high school, and boy was that a series of embarrassments, the most heinous of which have been, thankfully, deleted. I was storing a collection of sappy stories, bad jokes, mild-grade Utah heresy, and random videos which are all now likely available on YouTube. What a weird dude I was.

One file that I did delete contained the results of some brainstorming on June 1st, 1999. In those days I wrote occasional articles, some of which were featured in an underground high school newspaper, details of which I cannot remember.

This presents the strongest evidence so far of both my progression as a writer (seriously folks, I think these ideas are probably the most embarrassing things I have written here, and I have written some pretty damning things), as well as the complete undeviating constancy of my obsession with my bad experiences with women.

I wish I could remember the details behind some of these, and I wish I could forget the details behind the rest. Luckily, none of these ever made it into print. Except the women bit. A lot.

Possible articles on:

Why is the sky blue?
Why don't I have a car?
Why don't girls like me?
Why is the Internet slow?
Why do teenagers think they are good drivers?
Why do adults think they are so much better drivers than teenagers?
Is Titanic better than Star Wars?
Why do people like Titanic?
Why do people watch talk shows?
What is wrong with kneeling down when you bowl?
Why do we have St. Patrick’s day?

Oh, and as long as I'm being boring, I'll mention that I've been working on The Complete Guide to Everything, Volume One again, which I have compiled until February of this year. I'm currently shooting for a spring release of next year with fancy new re-written and improved posts. I've got everything set up to launch on the Kindle and iPad. I'll see how that goes before shopping it around to real publishers.

scout camp

Back before I developed a need to be paid more than fifty cents an hour, I decided a good idea would be to, instead of getting a job like my brothers doing landscaping or window washing for pay approaching what day laborers loitering over at Home Depot make, take a job as a big weenie, or, scout camp counselor, at a local scout camp in a nearby canyon. This had the desirable quality of depriving me of any social status I may have inadvertently stumbled across in my childhood wherein I proved again and again that I was too nerdy to even have nerd friends, and had the added benefit of paying me twelve dollars. A day.1

Foreshadowing how good I would be with money in my adulthood, this was an extremely fiscally sound experience. I probably worked 40 days or so over the summer, which means my cash flow statement2 looked something like this:

$480 Wages
($30) Gas in getting rides up the canyon
($6200) Ambulatory services scraping my near-lifeless body off of a canyon road and transporting it to the hospital

But I get ahead of myself.

Being a scout camp counselor is a good idea if you like painting large buildings, lugging trash, cleaning latrines, running into rattlesnakes while hiking, entertaining ten year old boys, or removing bees nests, which activities are all featured prominently in hell, as I am told.

These duties I performed with my usual precision and agility.

On one occasion, the powers that be decided that a night camp would be a good idea. Lacking what is commonly referred to as "common sense", my fourteen year old self decided that I would be able to bike home from the night camp at around ten o'clock without the aid of artificial lighting. This was a good idea up until the cars, by whose light I was navigating the canyon road, and who probably only just narrowly missed hitting my dark and brain-dead self, stopped at a pay station, whereupon I found myself plunged into utter darkness, and, still lacking any form of intelligence, I proceeded down at an elevated velocity.

Unfortunately, I soon found my handlebars in contact with a man's wrist, who was out walking his dog on such a peaceful pitch-black night.

I had to have this part explained to me afterwards, as I remember nothing of the man, or the dog, or even the impact after my wheel was flipped, I sailed over the handlebars, and landed on my head and back, my life being saved by my helmet.

I do, however, remember coming to while a nice lady insisted that I stay lying down as an ambulance made its way there. She had noticed my body in the road, and, in a moment of kindness, decided she would stop, direct traffic around me, and attempt, in general, to keep me living, which the man and his dog declined to do due to their understandable antipathy towards me.3

Upon arrival, the EMTs shifted my body onto one of those neato yellow stretchers, then loaded me into the ambulance. I was really annoyed by them, because I kept complaining about how much the back of my head hurt lying there on that hard plastic stretcher, and I asked for a pillow or something to be put under me, as it felt like knives were shooting up into the back of my head. They just sort of nonchalantly ignored me and took me in.

I knew I was in trouble when the admitting doc took a look at me and said, "oh, look, they were really nice to you; they gave you a pillow!"

These are not words you want to hear.

In any event, after a few scans, a few pukes, getting laughed at by my family for my stupidity when they came to pick me up,4 a very prolonged concussion, the formation of a large dent in the back of my skull, the loss of approximately 30 IQ points and any talents I may have had (explaining my current inferiority to my family members) and about a week of dizziness, I was able to return to my enviable duties as a scout camp counselor, and have never biked down that canyon in the dark ever since, mainly because I'm afraid that dude and his dog will be out there, trying to find me to sue me for damages.5

The following summer, my father, for reasons I was not able to completely comprehend until this precise moment, and who is much better at math than me, calculated his expenses from the last summer's fiasco, and decided he would be better off paying me thousands of dollars to sand his deck at snail speed and build a retaining wall that would promptly collapse and fall down a hill, than letting me take a real job and risk paying for another ambulance ride for his uncoordinated son.6

1. This is one hundred percent true.
2. Aren't you proud of me?? I just remembered a term from not one, but TWO accounting classes I took.
3. The woman, by the way, was a complete saint, calling the ambulance, calling my family, and taking my bike back to my home. I wish I could find and thank her today.
4. Again, one hundred percent true.
5. A good friend of mine from that time contacted me the other day; hence the inspiration for this week's post.
6. Ambulances are completely foreign to my father. He had a heart attack once while running. AND THEN FINISHED HIS RUN AND DROVE HIMSELF TO THE HOSPITAL. There is simply no attempting to claim any form of masculinity around this man. He is a machine.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

lie detectors

One of the downsides to maintaining a ridiculously1 popular blog2 is that people, and by people I mean women, typically demand you promise to desist from writing things about them in the public domain.

This happened to me again last night, wherein a woman insisted that nothing that occurred during the course of the evening could be tweeted; this because she's still a little sensitive about how I may have publicly insinuated something she wrote was creepy without nary a warning on my part. People these days. So sensitive.

Anyways, these sorts of requests mean I spend a lot of time breaking promises.

I kiiid, I kiiid. I would never dream of breaking a promise I still remember!

Which is why I never trust lie detectors, and roll my newly-lasered eyes every time I read another article discussing a "better" lie detector. People. Lie detectors are fantasy fiction, like flying saucers, the Loch Ness monster, girls who want to date you, and finding meaning of life outside of chocolate or San Pellegrino Aranciata.

There are two easy ways to beat a lie detector.

#1: Maintain a terrible memory

Plausible forgettability is the ultimate in moral defense.

This is how I can claim to have never gone bowling and split open my pants in front of several dozen individuals who were all amazed by the intense light emanating from my nether area when I sat down, legs spread open, with a black light illuminating white underwear in the most visible way possible.

I have no recollection of said event, nor my immediate departure and walk of shame home in the blessed concealing darkness, so, naturally, it never happened.

This is also how I can tell people I've never broken a bone, though the record clearly states I broke my foot jumping off of a balcony in Preschool to "test out my fire escape plan",3 spent the next week limping before my "doctor" father realized something was wrong, got me put in a cast which I was instructed to never walk on, and then, to punish me for my eventual sullying of his name in this post, declined crutches, and the family spent the next week enjoying communal laughter as I drug myself around on the carpet whenever I needed to do anything. Like eat. Or use the restroom.

These events are all conveniently forgotten, or, as my therapist puts it, "repressed", so I would have no troubles at all passing a lie detector test relating to the more humiliating moments of my life.

#2 Convince yourself it isn't true

If you're easily persuaded, or, as my brother called it, "gullible", you can use that to your advantage to pass a lie detector test.

For example, you may someday be asked by your little brother, moments before he finally extracts his revenge by beating you senseless, what was going through your mind when you were driving him home from waterskiing, and, instead of stopping the car for him to use the facilities like any other normal and loving person would do, insisting he take a knee and make good use of a stray water bottle.

By convincing yourself that you are a kind person, and the sort of person who would never in a million years do that sort of thing, you can easily pass any lie detector test related to your severe cruelty to a small child.4

Lie detectors are imprecise and vulnerable to exploitation. I suggest you work on your neuroses to get a passing grade.

1. That is, read by four charitable family members.
2. I insisted on calling it a publication for years until an aspiring publisher rightly took me to task (on a date, yes) for my malfeasance, specifically because my wandering drivel here contains no ISBN number.
3. While I am proud of my forward thinking, I am less proud of my abject stupidity.
4. Okay, I just have to say: in my defense, we were at the head of a caravan, and stopping would have been a very minor inconvenience. Also: to my family members who did not know of this, I promise, we immediately threw away that water bottle. I promise...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

lasik

Lasik is a procedure recommended by nerds worldwide to make those requiring vision correction, or, nerds, appear to be normal through synthetic means.

The procedure is quick and painless.

In preparation, you are given some eyedrops, and instructed to administer them once every four hours, or, until your eyes freeze over, as their temperature approximates that of the surface of Pluto. Never mind that I'd prefer to get punched in the face repeatedly rather than pour liquid nitrogen in my eyes, this step is absolutely required to prepare you for the joy that follows.

When you arrive to perform the procedure, no fewer than three individuals will ask you the name of the mystery drops you were given beforehand. Nobody will tell you why they can't tell you what kind of drops you were asked to take, they will all assume you are an idiot for not memorizing the name Oxfloxacin Ophthalmic Solution, USP 0.3%.1

After the traditional eye exam, complete with the usual rigamarole of a "doctor" presenting you with a series of lenses of the same magnification, all the while laughing at your complete indecisiveness,2 fully aware that you are wetting your pants about getting the right answer because if you don't, you're going to be lazed with the wrong prescription for the rest of your life, but also with complete awareness that the little hot-air balloon peep-hole machine already read your prescription to perfect accuracy, and the little 1-2 test is for his or her entertainment only, you are then asked if you would like to be a man, or if you would like to take sissy Valium.

You are then shown pictures of muscle-bound men leaving the operating table on their own accord, alongside lesser physical beings, approximating Chris Perry in their muscular appearance, groggily getting up and mumbling incomprehensibles to their rides home.

Now, I learned something during my Lasik procedure the other day, and this is a very important lesson, and I want all of you to remember this lesson for the rest of your days: if someone offers you Valium, there is but one word you need to respond with, and that word is yes. Remember that. Practice it. Valium? Yes. Valium? Yes. Valium? Yes.

You may be tempted to say no, because you may think that you are above average in your ability to endure discomfort, or you may possibly be on some misguided attempt to not weaken yourself through painkillers,3 but let me assure you that when you're on that table, and she puts cotton in your ears because "you're going to receive an excessive amount of eyedrops",4 and they start up the liquid nitrogen dispenser, you're going to want Valium.

When they use the metal tweezers from hell to pry your eyes open, you're going to want Valium. And when they roll you back underneath a laser and put a big suction cup on your eyes to suction and cut it, causing you to lose eyesight in that eye, you're going to want Valium. And when they need to suction your right eye THREE TIMES because the tech keeps screwing up, and the doctor is chiding people for their incompetence RIGHT BEFORE LASERS ARE GOING TO BURN YOU, you're going to want Valium.

And when you watch the doctor flap open your eye, you're going to want Valium. And when he starts lasering your eye, and you take a breath and you inhale your burning cornea, and oh my goodness that's the worst smell ever ever ever and I wish I would have thought to breathe before the laser started but it's already going and I need to breathe again and gahhhhh that smell, and gahhhhh my burning flesh, let me emphatically state: you're going to want Valium.

No, but seriously folks, there's nothing quite like going 23 years and suddenly being able to see without correction. Of course, as my good friend Sarah told me, there are two downsides: 1) You are suddenly much more concerned about the cleanliness of your shower, and 2) You no longer get free time in the morning without sight and without any worldly cares. I would add a third, and much more unsettling downside, which is related to your bathroom habits and the success one feels at being able to accomplish certain tasks without the aide of vision.

I am speaking about shaving and combing one's hair, of course.

But seriously seriously folks, Lasik is awesome. It is miraculous. I am grateful.

1. I just looked.
2. 1...no, 2! No, 1! No, I don't know!!
3. I have an irrational distaste of painkillers, mainly because I have never really experienced pain that requires painkillers.
4. YOUR EARS PEOPLE. YOUR EARS. THEY POUR ENOUGH EYEDROPS TO INUNDATE YOUR EARS. YOUR EARS.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

the budgetary solution

I've spent a lot of time over the past few months listening to various people complain about our national debt, and the "unsustainable" obligations we're imposing on our children; as if forcing our children to tax themselves at rates far in excess of 50% to pay for my vacation as an old man is somehow a bad idea. I've written about this before, and I am still of the opinion that if they're getting spaceships and flying cars, they can afford to let me wile away my golden years eating frosties and watching reruns of Seinfeld.

Regardless, that opinion doesn't seem to be "popular" with people who believe in "fulfilling our obligations", and "not going bankrupt and destroying the dream of a perpetual free democratic society for the rest of the world".

So, in my infinite wisdom, I have prepared a platform for solving the budgetary crisis in one fail swoop.1 I trust the "special commission" set up by Congress to "resolve" the budgetary crisis, whose probability of success approaches the probability that irradiated rabid squirrels break into my house and dance DDR in the living room tonight, will pay special attention to my plan.

While I appreciate tax increases are anathema to anyone living in a magical fantasyland where we get everything for free and curtailing benefits for highly-voting old people isn't political suicide, I think the following taxes will enjoy broad, bipartisan support:

  1. $25 for use of the word "epic". Fine increased 10x when followed by the word "fail".
  2. $50 for every email in which an individual hits reply-all to a group of ten or more people, with the penalty doubling for every infraction, and septupling if the sole purpose of the offending message was to request everyone else stop replying-all. One exemption for when all of the recipients are immediate family members.2
  3. $110 for use of the phrase, "I'm kind of a big deal".
  4. $125 for taking pictures of yourself in any of the following poses: holding up a leaning tower, imitating a statue, next to any palace guard, or mid-air while jumping.
  5. $150 for waving someone else through a stop sign when it is clearly your right of way, and no, you are not "being nice"; you are causing major confusion to everyone in the world who now never knows whether to obey traffic laws or guess at the magnanimity of other drivers.
  6. $300 for replacing the word "you" with "u" in any electronic communication where the user either has access to a keyboard or a smartphone. Similar fees applied to "ur",3 "cuz", and any substitution of numbers for words.
  7. $1650 for every time a shampoo manufacturer refuses to give me a manly option, forcing me to choose between Suave,4 Pert,5 Fructis,6 Head and Shoulders,7 or Axe.8

These taxes, plus the discontinuation of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Education, road construction, and the White House Easter Egg Roll, will, taken together, resolve the current budgetary crisis.

You're welcome.

1. How old was I until I learned the actual phrase is fell swoop? Oh, right, 29. When did I learn that? Oh, right, four months ago. How did I learn that? Oh right, when everyone at work laughed me to scorn. Note to self: ensure you can actually say a common phrase correctly before following in your mother's footsteps and, for example, requesting someone give you his or her "John Henry".

2. Also known as the "Mormon exemption", or the "saving Chris Perry from falling afoul of this rule every week exemption", or the exemption that my family members would all vehemently oppose in order to be spared seeing my inane replies.

3. I have never been able to see that word without thinking of the ancient city-state of Ur, and I have never been able to think of Ur without thinking of Mr. Felt's High School history class and his horrendously awesome "Zig, you rat!" bit teaching us about ancient temples. And this is why, whenever you say "ur" to me, the lone, sole response I can give under any circumstances is to discuss Ziggurats and their place in ancient society. Genius or nerd or Autistic? You decide.

4. Seriously? Suave? Can you invent a sissier word please?

5. Oh wait, you just did. I don't know how, but you managed to come up with a shampoo name sissier than Suave. Congratulations.

6. Who are you people? Do you think I can walk through a checkout line carrying something called Fructis? Are you on crack cocaine? Have you no idea how demoralizing that is?

7. Why don't I just scream to everyone in the store that I have bad breath and BO at the same time?

8. Given their advertising, tantamount to buying porn.

Monday, September 5, 2011

henry cowell redwoods state park

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a delightful park in the Santa Cruz mountains, offering peaceful respite among the redwoods.

I have camped at Henry Cowell on two occasions, and am thus in an ideal position to instruct you as to the finer points of said campground. However, I feel that the artistic element of this guide has been lacking as of late, so allow me to discuss my two visits in a more nuanced form.

My first visit can be represented as a play in one act.

Characters:
Chris, the bumbling planner
Benj, the too-trusting friend
Dave, the friend suckered into driving

Enter Chris, Dave, and Benj

Dave: Oh no, looks like the campground is closed.
Benj: I guess we'll have to camp somewhere else.
Chris: But in Utah, you can just pay the fee and nobody will care! Let's do that.
Dave and Benj (with misgivings): Well, okay, who can argue with that logic?

They pay, set up camp, and hop in their sleeping bags

Dave: Boy, I sure love camping.
Benj: Me too. This is great.
Chris: What's that noise?

Enter Officer Gow and Deputy, guns and maglites drawn

Officer Gow: PARK POLICE! GET YOUR HANDS UP WHERE I CAN SEE THEM! GET OUT OF THE TENT! GET OUT OF THE TENT!
Chris: Can I get my glasses?
Officer Gow: HE'LL GET YOUR GLASSES! GET OUT OF THE TENT!

Chris, Dave, and Benj get out of their tent, clad in their pajamas,1 hands up, and are directed to a picnic table by the Colt .45. Deputy rummages through tent for the next ten minutes looking for weed.

Officer Gow (writing up three $120 tickets): Where are you boys from?
Benj: Palo Alto
Officer Gow: What are you doing down here?
Chris (meekly): I wanted to see Loch Lomond sir.
Officer Gow (grunting): Loch Lomond?
Chris: Yes sir.
Officer Gow: Why do you want to see that?
Chris: Because of the song, sir.
Officer Gow: The song?
Chris: It's a Scottish song, sir.
Officer Gow: A Scottish jig, eh?
Chris: Yes sir.2
Officer Gow (distributing tickets): Well, you boys had better be gone when we come by in another hour, or we're taking you all to jail.

Officer Gow and Deputy leave, but not before ticketing Dave's car for $60, then peeing on it for good measure

So, as you can see, I hold a special place in my heart for Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, as does Dave, and as does Benj,3 and oh boy, do I have a very special place in my heart for Officer Gow.4

So I was super excited when I was invited to return to the scene of my crime and camp there last weekend. Lucky for you, my second visit can be represented by a lone haiku:

Hammock in the trees
Wake up to a summer breeze
Face attacked by bees

aaaaaand that's the last time I'll be spending any time in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I invite you to go and enjoy it without me.

Protip: Don't camp there when it's closed.
Protip 2: Don't disturb hives of yellowjackets which then attack you and your group in swarms and you run away screaming "BEES! BEES! YOUR FIREARMS ARE USELESS AGAINST THEM!" while dozens of other campers stare at you, and you are then forced to spend the next two hours running over to your campsite to grab some gear, and run away while being chased by angry bees, all while hoping that the sting right next to your eye doesn't swell up and detract from your driving abilities.

1. That is, our underwear.
2. And here we come to my greatest regret in life. I've said and done a lot of stupid things, but it all would have been worth it if I had listened to my gut and began singing the Scottish love song I planned to sing on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond the following morning as the sun rose. Alas. I did not. Such pain is mine. Oh, such regret.
3. Dave has yet to forgive me. Benj may have, I'm not sure.
4. It is a goal of mine to forgive him. We're still working on releasing sincere hatred.

really setting the record straight

Gentlemen and gentlewomen of the jury, dulce et decorum est pro patria juri, thank you for answering a governmental summons that forces you out of your homes and away from your loved ones to answer meaningful disputes such as the one that the plaintiff, Jeremiah, is now pursuing in the public domain.

Let me assure you that I, the defendant, have carped the diem and done everything in my power to bring this disagreement to a peaceful settlement outside of a court of law, but, given recent events, my hand has been forced, and here I am to convey to you events how they actually transpired, only proclaiming de factos without a single caveat emptor.

Let it be noted that on the afternoon of March 21st, 1986, or at any point ipso or post facto circa that date, one Jeremiah returned home from his schooling. Let it be noted that, post hoc ergo propter hoc, he had learned about the state of one Mississippi.

On that day, Jeremiah produced a sketch of one "Mrs. Zippy". Said sketch was not on white paper; said sketch was on blue paper. Said sketch did not have four physical eyes as has been alleged, said sketch had two eyes, plus glasses, which condition was colloquially known as having 'four eyes' by the inhabitants of Utah at that time, and which expression Jeremiah would have been intimately acquainted with.

Said sketch was being drawn as one Chris walked into the room to inquire as to the activities of his brother. Said encounter took place on the Southwest corner of the big round table, which table now carries a scar from when one Marie left some chemicals on top of said round table, and said chemicals ate into the tabletop and said Marie was grounded even though I believe said Chris was the one who rested the chemicals on said table, and was too sissy to have said that at said time.

Upon producing the sketch of one "Mrs. Zippy", Jeremiah unveiled the dramatis parsonæ to Chris, and proclaimed it to be Mrs. Zippy, and, as an explanation, declared she had four eyes. He continued to inform Chris that he was made aware of the persona non grata that day in school as part of a lesson.

Now, gentlepeople of the jury, I cannot recall if, in future days, the poor child Chris, now a victim of his brother's misunderstanding, would have imparted this nugget of wisdom to others quid pro quo, but, I can, your honors, tell you with absolute one hundred percent certainty that said Chris was unimaginably confused by his brother's antics that day, and why he carried an obsession with a strangely-named woman with four eyes.

Those are the facts, ceteris paribus, et cetera, ex nihilo, per se, per diem, and per my memory.

Semper yours,

Chris

Friday, September 2, 2011

Setting the Record Straight

For some 25 years, Chris and I have had a running dispute. I will try to recount the events that caused the dispute in a neutral, unbiased way.

One day after school, Chris and I were sitting around the kitchen table with several other members of our family. We were each drawing pictures and having the others guess what we had drawn, a la Pictionary.

At one point, one of us took the pen and drew a lady’s face with four eyes. Every one guessing was confused. What could it be? “Mrs. Zippy!” was the reply. “Everyone knows Mrs. Zippy has four eyes.”1

Of course, the dispute arises when trying to decide who it was that did this. My side of the story is that Chris did it. Chris’ side is that he did it, but then he lies and says I did it.

Let me state for the record that I am one hundred and ten percent sure that Chris drew Mrs. Zippy. I categorically deny any and all involvement in the Mrs. Zippy scandal.

As evidence, I present to you Exhibit A, recently found by my sister (thanks, Marie!) and her extensive scanning of old photographs at our childhood home:



So there you have it, irrefutable proof that Chris was behind the Mrs. Zippy portrait.

1. Clearly, one of us (Chris) had just had a geography lesson.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

steve jobs


In shock to everyone living in a magical world where cancer-surviving liver transplant recipients live forever, Steve Jobs announced his retirement as CEO of Apple, firmly cementing his status as "Most Awesome CEO Ever Ever Ever".

CEOs of all the other middling corporations nationwide observed a moment of silence after his departure, then, realizing the average intelligence of a CEO of a major publicly-traded company just dropped to salivating monkey level, approved another round of bonuses for themselves as a reward their relative efficacy.

Santa Claus Steve Jobs is known throughout the world for his generosity in spending his entire life making toys for children of advanced all ages. In a letter circulated to employees of Apple and subsequently forwarded to TechCrunch by every single one of them hoping to get in good so that their future startups will receive favorable reviews, Jobs announced:

"After revolutionizing approximately six hundred and three industries and building you the fantasyland you've all been dreaming about since the fifties, I'm going to take a break, kick back with some Pale Ale and watch humanity screw it all up."

Jobs is succeeded as CEO by Tim Cook, who was originally recruited to Apple by Jobs, reportedly after Jobs asked him, "do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and make a freaking bazillion dollars on options you tree-hugging insomniac?"

Though some have questioned the statement's applicability, as Cook was then working for Compaq, lore has it that he was manning his daughter's lemonade stand in Woodside at the time.

Apple released a statement on the transition, declaring its complete confidence in Cook to, "live up to everyone's expectations and perform with the same vision and ability as Steve Jo...oh, who are we kidding? ALL IS LOST! THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US!"

Monday, August 22, 2011

missions


As I have referenced before, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which you likely know as mormons.

Mormons are cool. We do cool things. We go to church on Sundays, make acronyms for everything, dress up in 1840s garb and push handcarts across Wyoming,1 and spend our days trying to convince people we aren't polygamists.

Another thing we do is serve missions, which are two-year stints most men and some women perform in their early twenties.2

Since I fall under the classification of "bad mormon", I usually make only very oblique references to my mission, because telling people you spent two years proselytizing usually makes them reach for a wooden stake and run away for fear that you'll try to convert them. Spending a couple years talking about Christ sounds about as normal to them as spending your evenings lionclothed, smothering tapioca on your face, and barking at pedestrians on University Ave.

Having said that, I would like to make an attempt to repent to some extent and instruct you all on the finer points of a mormon mission today.

Missions are awesome, and ex-missionaries will usually refer to their mission as the best time of their life, mainly because no mormon woman will date you if you don't, but also because it's the best time of your life.

While you can choose if you wish to serve a mission, you have no choice as to where you're assigned. If you're lucky, you get assigned overseas. And if you were less righteous in the pre-existence,3 you get assigned stateside.

Just kidding! Missionaries who serve stateside are wonderful people! Please don't send me hate mail!

The problem with being sent overseas is you spend the rest of your life complaining about the luxuries stateside missionaries enjoy, while you had to tract uphill in the snow. I, myself, served in Argentina. My little brother served in Oregon. This introduced a new dynamic in our relationship, one which I'll refer to as "me keeping my mouth shut".

In his defense, every missionary follows similar regimes of scripture study and tracting (walking around trying to get people to listen to you), and every missionary experiences difficulties in their labors.

For instance, in Oregon, you may have trials like getting flat tires on your bike, driving a car two years older than another set of missionaries, and occasionally being annoyed by the fact that kind members would weigh down your suitcase with gifts of new shoes from Niketown.

Similarly, in Argentina, you may experience difficulties related to:
  • Eradicating parasites4 from your system.
  • Spending your first few weeks annoyed that the jubilant Argentines decide to light off fireworks every night and keep you awake, until you are able to appropriately differentiate the sound of gunshots and fireworks, and suddenly lose your annoyance at being kept up, and find gratitude for being kept alive.
  • Ensuring the man pulling a gun in your face does not, in fact, shoot you.
  • Fleeing from a mob of stone-throwing dudes.
  • Making sure you are never left alone with the missionary who spends his free time attempting to create a fireball by focusing his mental powers on his hands.
  • Hunkering down while the police and a gang engage in a firefight directly outside your house employing sawed-off shotguns.
  • Jumping over the live sparking downed electrical lines in the street.
  • Enjoying the bliss of counting eighty-eight visible mosquito bites.
  • Running fast enough so you could jump and clear the open sewage ditch on your morning commute to your area,5 then running fast enough to jaywalk across the six-lane highway without getting hit by rush hour traffic.
  • Probing for open sores on the lower half of your body during flood days so as to avoid infection from thigh-high water contaminated by the area's ditches.6
  • Feeling a strong guiding hand stopping you from walking down a dark path one evening, and returning the next day to discover a man was murdered with a screwdriver through his neck down the path the night before.

So, as you can see, missions are pretty similar across the world.

In both Oregon and Argentina you try to find people interested in hearing about the church. In both Oregon and Argentina you teach people who are interested and invite them to join the church through baptism. In both Oregon and Argentina you help them understand what that means, and as a last step before baptism, the interested parties are interviewed and asked a series of questions to ensure they understand what they're getting themselves into.

In Oregon, those interviews are usually conducted in the privacy of one's home, or perhaps a church, and are often deeply spiritual experiences. In Argentina, those can be conducted in one's two room home, and, if you're lucky, the neighborhood bully might come by with his horse and cart, whipping the horse furiously until the horse gives out directly outside of the house while the interview is being conducted. The man could then get a large wooden staff and begin beating the bleating horse as it writhes in the most horrific pain imaginable, which sound and sight could cause you nightmares to this day, and he could beat it to its painful and horrific death in front of you, while the interview is in progress, and, as the interview finishes, the neighbors could all crowd around cutting away pieces of the horse for food.7

The structure of missions across the world is pretty constant as well.

Missions are typically made up of 50 to 200 missionaries, grouped up into pairs, or companionships, though if there's an uneven number you may find an unlucky triplet out there. Two to four companionships make up a district, which has a leader, and two to four districts make up a zone, which has two leaders. The entire organization is guided by a mission president (older dude) and his wife, along with two assistants to the president (APs), who, like our stateside missionaries, were also less valiant in the premortal realm.

Just kidding! About stateside missionaries that is. The APs are totally legitimate targets.

In Oregon, a district leader might spend his time mentoring the missionaries, and trying to work through difficulties in interpersonal relationships. In Argentina, a newly-minted district leader might show up to his area the week the entire country descends into a state of near anarchy and political crisis, try to navigate through the riots and lootings, and finally get in touch with the sister missionaries in a nearby area, and beg them to STAY OFF THE STREETS FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY AND PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT DIE ON MY FIRST WEEK ON THE JOB.

While missions are pretty similar, you might find the occasional small difference in modes of transportation.

In Oregon, you might bike or drive to your appointments on paved roads. In Argentina, you might walk on dirt roads as kids with wrist rockets shoot rocks into the back of your head, or you might escape to an abandoned railroad track, featuring sections where the foundation has been excavated out some six feet and filled with jagged rusted metal, and your companion may taunt you for being too sissy to walk the lone remaining rail like a tightrope, with certain death a mere one slip away.8

In Argentina, if you do find yourself on a paved road, you might be driving a van of five other missionaries to a conference in the Southwest corner of the mission, and you might be doing this somewhere around 5:00 AM, and you might be doing this on a fogged-in highway with about twenty feet of visibility. And you might be doing seventy, because you might be out of your mind. And you might approach a barrel on fire, and, as you pass it, you might notice the road disappear underneath your van, and you might notice this because the van might suddenly plummet four inches and fishtail on a loose gravel road bed.9 And you might realize that the left lane was still paved, and so you might take quick action and jump the car onto the left lane so as to continue on pavement. And you might not tell the drowsy missionaries that you are currently speeding down the wrong side of a country highway in pitch black completely fogged-in conditions. You might continue this way for five or so minutes, sweating bullets the size of ducks, until you pass by another barrel of fire, and find the right line returned to its rightful place. And you might not tell anybody what you did for several years.

Missions across the world are pretty similar, and it's this similarity that makes it difficult for missionaries like myself to return home and not engage in telling war stories to everyone they meet. People hear so many mission stories, they have zero interest in hearing yours. Which is a real shame, because I have loads more that didn't make the cut.

Having now read over this post a few times, I realize you probably don't believe a word I've said here, but let me tell you: it's all true. The stories and the gospel. I loved my mission. I had some pretty freaking good times. But there are many, many more missionaries out there with even better, even crazier stories, and boy am I jealous of them.

1. Confession: I live in fear of my coworkers coming upon a youth group reenacting the pioneer migration and asking me what kind of crack we are smoking. They're not as weird as they look. I promise.
2. To be precise, 18 months for women, and men can leave at age 19 and women at age 21.
3. In LDS doctrine, we all spent some time living with God prior to our birth, and it is a time-honored tradition among us bad mormons to call into question the righteousness of certain groups of people we wish to annoy.
4. Please note that I only briefly link to said parasites, and mercifully spare you the details. Should you wish more information, I am, of course, more than willing to describe my experience in depth, along with other gastronomical adventures, but, for once in my life, I shall refrain from revealing to you in full the disgusting specifics.
5. My poor companion did not completely clear it one day, which led to me about wetting my pants in laughter, and he needing to return home to change his shoes.
6. To this day I remember the smell of Santa Fe, Argentina. Every street is lined with sanjas, which are ditches that catch most of the wastewater (though these did not contain sewage) from the homes, and in those sanjas the water would sit and fester and house large rats until flooded with rainwater and you found yourself out knocking doors in three feet of the most disgusting mess you can imagine.
7. I promised I would tell you this story, so there it is. Now, we're not absolutely sure that was the same man that tried to shoot us, as the evidence is purely circumstantial, but we were walking by his house one night when we heard the shot and felt the bullet whiz by.
8. I've made a few decisions in my life that directly resulted in the preservation of my life, and avoiding that balancing act was one of them. But he always managed to execute it flawlessly.
9. Anybody know what it's like to wake up to a feeling of flying and fishtailing? I don't, because I was driving, but from the words that were spoken in a variety of languages, I suspect it was not entirely pleasant.