Friday, September 28, 2007

drink drink to no big surprise

Today I had lunch with a friend who lives in Portland. It's the first time I've seen her in about a year. We've had plans to hang out a couple of times, but something always seems to get in the way. The last time she was in town was the day my car broke down. I thought I was going to get to hang out with her a little bit on the way back from British Columbia, but she had a family reunion to go to the days I was passing through. Anyway, we were finally able to avoid a scheduling conflict, and even though it was just a short lunch, it was nice to catch up a little bit.

During our visit, we had the following exchange:

Me: So, are you going out with your friends tonight?
Her: Yeah. In fact, one of them is coming by to pick me up at four. I'm staying at her house so I don't have to drive someone else's car. We thought it would be easiest if she just swung by on her way home from work and took me with her then. That way she doesn't have to drive all the way across town twice.
Me: Makes sense.
Her: We have a few errands to run, including a stop to pick up liquor. Then we have to go and make ourselves pretty.
Me: Is that what the liquor's for?

I wonder if it'll be another year before I see her again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Religion should appeal to the hearts of the young

This cracked me up when I heard about it. Apparently there's a big hullaballoo in the state I grew up in over it (that would be UT for those of you who don't know).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Help yourself don't say a thing at all

Friend 1: I met these girls at the bus stop, and unlike girls here, they actually talked to people. In fact, I couldn't believe how nice everyone was there.

Friend 2: That's so not Vegas for you.

Friend 1: I always thought that people in Texas weren't very nice.

Me: No, they're generally nice, unless you're trespassing on their oil field. Then they just shoot you in the face.

Friend 2: With a shotgun.

Friend 1: I like getting shot in the face.

Friend 2 and Me (simultaneously): You do? Bwahahahahahaha.

Me: You know, we might be able to help you out with that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Glutton and greed

Friend: The sky-diving instructor said that they only make $25 per jump. Out of the amount I paid to do it, that's practically nothing.

Me: But people doing jobs like that aren't doing it for the money, they're probably just doing it so they can get paid to do something they love.

Friend: But still, he said that after doing four jumps in a day it gets boring, and they do like ten in a day.

Me: That's just like anything else though. It's easy to lose the passion for something when it becomes plain. I've known avid flyfishermen who start guiding and then hardly ever go fishing after that.

Friend: Sort of like how I ruined my passion for Cinnabon? I went there every day because I didn't think there'd be any where I was moving to, and now I don't ever go there.

Me: Yeah, something like that.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I know it's hard sometimes for you to tell where you end and where the world begins

Yes, I'm still alive. I've just been too busy being without internet access for the past four days to have posted anything. But, it was having no internet access in a good way, meaning that I was in the mountains, in an awesome cabin, with a big group of friends. Oh, and I bought a mountain bike.

For the past three years, a friend that I don't see very often has organized a "mountain biking" weekend at Brian Head, a ski resort town in southern Utah. I haven't owned a mountain bike for several years, so the first year we did this I just went for the fun of being away from it all, but one of my friends crashed and hurt his knee, so I was able to use his bike the following day. The second year another of my friends was going, but was facing a highly stressful event otherwise known as his comprehensive exam, so he basically studied the entire weekend (just in a different environment). Since he wasn't going to be able to ride at all, he let me use his bike in exchange for storing it for him for a couple of months while he was in the process of moving. This year, I didn't have any such options, so I decided I'd rent one, or maybe buy one if I could find something I liked for a good price. As luck would have it, the bike shop just down the street from our cabin had a Trek 4500 (a decent starter bike) for sale for $285, and it was the right size. It sounds like a lot of money, sure, but it was marked down about $150, and was less than half the price of the bike I'd almost talked myself into buying. Since it rained all day long on the day I bought the bike, I had to wait until yesterday to take it out.

It felt pretty good, except for the four times that I wiped out (three of my crashes sent me flying over the handle bars - stupid tree roots - I really need to get better at this mountain biking thing).

In addition to the mountain biking, I also went to Bryce Canyon and hiked a little. I also drove through Zion National Park and hiked Angel's Landing on the way back to Vegas. It was a good weekend.

I took some more pics, but left my camera at home, so I'll have to update this later to include some of those.

Bryce Canyon:

Me on the new bike:

The trail to Angel's Landing (yes, we walked along that ridge):

The View from Angel's Landing:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes

A while ago someone called me up with an idea for my blog. I told them they should just put it on their own blog, but the idea was a little dirty, and this person is clean and pure. I, however, am not clean and pure, so I decided to go with it. It's another money making scheme. This time it's about designing t-shirts.

Here's one I* came up with:

* And by I, of course I mean person who called me with the idea.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors

Don't you hate it when there's a rumor about you that you vehemently deny, and then you go and do something stupid to validate that rumor in everyone else's eyes. For example, let's say that there was a nasty rumor going around that you had slit the throats of your ex-wife and her new lover, and that rumor had been going around for years, and then you get arrested for armed robbery and everyone's all like, "I knew it. I knew he was capable of that sort of thing."

Or, say that people liked to go around telling everyone about how much you hate dogs. You insist that you don't hate dogs at all, but nobody believes you because every time a dog comes around you refuse to pet it. And then someone spots you coming out of Michael Vick's house covered in dog blood. Then all your friends would be like, "See? I told you that he hated dogs." But they'd only say it behind your back, and to your face they'd be all nice and stuff. Your friends suck.

Well, you know what's worse than that? When rumors are validated in people's minds without you necessarily doing anything to perpetuate it. For example, say that you were a biology lab instructor who was divorced, thin, and had an earring. Obviously you must be gay. Duh!

Also, unfounded rumors can start if you're a biology lab instructor who sometimes teaches lectures during the summer when no professors want to do it, and one day you tell some of your students to meet you at your office at a certain time, except then you forget to meet them there. Instead, you go and do some lab work for your dissertation research, but then your friend has to call you to remind you that you have students waiting for you so you tell him to tell them to sit tight and you'll be there as soon as you can. Well, if this describes anything that you've ever done, then obviously your students were having to wait outside your office because you were banging one of your female students in your office. This simply must be true, even though the other students were waiting outside your office, and you came from somewhere else on campus. It also means that this sort of thing happens all the time. Obviously.

You should really stop sleeping with your students. Perv.

You should also stop attending dog fights at Mike Vick's house.

While you're at it, stop slashing your ex-wives' and their boyfriends' throats. Oh, and stop being gay.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yoshimi, they don't believe me, but you won't let those robots eat me

Last night was amazing:

Not only because of the ticket price either.

Here's how it all came about:

Friday morning I received a voice message from my friend, A-Piz. He wanted to know if I'd heard anything about The Flaming Lips playing a show at The Palms. I hadn't. I called him and said I'd look into it (he couldn't because he'd flown to Austin to see Bjork play at the Austin City Limits music festival). Anyway, after fruitlessly searching the band's and box office's web sites for information I turned to our good friend Google and found out that they were playing a show. A free show. All we had to do was purchase a specially marked 18 pack of Miller Lite from select local retailers, then take the sticker and the receipt to the box office to redeem it for two free tickets. I called A-Piz back and let him know that I'd take care of it.

Him: But you don't even drink. What are you going to do with all the Miller Lite? You should take it to a park and give it to the homeless. (The scary thing is that thought had already crossed my mind. You could consider it my good deed for the day.)

I called the box office the next morning (they were closed by the time I found out what was going on), and they said they still had plenty of tickets available as long as I got there by 7:00 p.m. with the sticker and the receipt.

Armed with the knowledge that tickets were still available and that one of the select retailers was very close to my house, I set out on my quest to obtain beer (for the homeless) and tickets. Unfortunately, the retailer near my house was out of the specially marked boxes, but they told me where another one was and I drove to it. They were out too. Now I had to seek help, so I called Ladyflash. She looked online and told me where a few other locations were, so I drove to some of them, all to no avail. My hopes were fading, but one of the retailers was close to A-Piz's house, so I called him to have him go check it out. He hit paydirt and got the last two specially marked cases.

It was a little more complicated than that because I forgot to mention to him that we needed the receipt as well as the stickers. He hadn't asked for one, so he had to drive back and get it. The task was apparently really complicated, perhaps a little too complicated for the store clerk, because it took her about ten minutes to figure out how to print up a receipt for the transaction. I'd like to say that's an exaggeration, but it's really not. Once we got the receipt, I picked up Ladyflash and drove to the box office. Of course, on the way there we noticed that one of the specified retailers was literally right across the street from campus, and another one was inside the casino immediately across from the box office. Whatever. We got tickets, and that's what mattered.

Earlier in the day, I'd also called my friend BJ (who doesn't like to be called BJ because it has little to do with his actual name, and has other implications, but we keep calling him BJ anyway) to let him know the deal. He'd also been unsuccessful in his attempts at finding specially marked packages, but it didn't matter because we had a fourth ticket anyway. I called him back to let him know that it was his if he wanted it. He did.

I was extremely excited before showtime. The Flaming Lips is one of those bands that I've wanted to see live for a while because they put on such great live shows. It felt a little bit like the anticipation of a birthday when I was a kid. Anyway, Sunday evening finally rolled around, BJ came to my house and we hopped in my car and picked up Ladyflash. A-Piz said he'd meet us there. We arrived early enough to find a decent place to stand and we waited for the band to take the stage.

It didn't take long before a bunch of girls wearing alien masks and carrying spotlights made their way through the crowd and took the stage. Shortly after that a group of people carrying spotlights and wearing Santa Claus costumes did the same. Then The Flaming Lips took the stage. They played one song (Do you realize?), and when it was over Wayne said that they always play that one last so they had no choice other than to leave the stage right then, but if we cheered loudly enough they'd come back and play an encore of about 15 songs. I don't know that the crowd really cheered loudly enough (this is Vegas after all, everyone's too cool for that), but they came back out and played for a while. It took about half the show before they could really get the crowd into it. They tried once by doing a sing-along to Yoshimi, and it sort of worked, but not really. So, when they played The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, Wayne wouldn't take lack of crowd participation as an option, so he kept on everybody until people finally started to get noisy. I'm glad he did. It got even more fun after that. Strangers were getting everyone to form a giant group hug (which I grudgingly participated in, but not quite as grudgingly as BJ who doesn't like to be called BJ - he was so uncomfortable with it that the rest of us group hug-raped him after the show), everyone started jumping around and singing along. It was one of the best concert experiences I've had since I moved to Vegas (Tenacious D and Pearl Jam are the only other two bands who have made the crowd go crazy like that).

I was a little disappointed that he didn't break out the giant hamster ball and go crowd surfing, and I wanted them to play the song where they throw fake blood on the audience, but even without those things I still had a great time. I'm really glad that I finally got to see them live.

Oh, and for once I actually remembered to keep track of the set list for any of you who might be interested. At least most of it.

Do you realize?
Fight test
Mountain side
Vein of stars
Yoshimi battles the pink robots
Riding to work in the year 2025 (your invisible now)
Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung
The yeah yeah yeah song
Waiting for a superman
[Song that I didn't know and can't seem to find]
Race for the prize
She don't use jelly (this was their "2nd" encore)

Also, here are some pics that Ladyflash took.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Grandma take me home

Me: What did your grandma get you for your birthday?
Son: Her dead.
Me: What?
Son: HER DEAD!!!
Me: No, not that grandma, your other one.
Son: Oh, great grandma?
Me: No, Grandma [Inside Stories].
Son: Oh. I thought you meant the other one.

If I had been talking to anyone else, I would have had to say, "No, retard, I meant the only grandma who sent you a present!" But, since he's my son, and he's so cute, and only five, I just had to laugh.

(She gave him a remote control car. My ex-wife says he loves it and won't stop playing with it.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

God bless them pretty women

Earlier this week a friend of mine needed me to cover one of her labs. It's the one where we go over the major groups of Protists. Here's an exerpt from what I told her students.

"Trichomonas vaginalis is a parasite that is transmitted sexually. Obviously both men and women can contract it, but the symptoms usually only appear in women. So, there you have another reason why it's great to be a guy."

In hindsight, I probably should have left that last part off.

At least they weren't my students, so they won't be able to write that I'm a sexist on my evaluations at the end of the semester.

If you know what I'm saying

Me: I stopped by [Other TA's] lab this morning to see . . .
Friend: Hot chicks?
Me: No. I stopped by to see if . . .
Friend: There were any hot chicks?
Me: Would you stop? I went there because yesterday I think I forgot to screw . . .
Friend: Hot chicks?
Me: If you'd stop interrupting I'd tell you.
Friend: You have to admit that was funny.

All I was trying to say was that I forgot to screw the lids on loosely enough that our live specimens could survive the week. Luckily, they were still alive this morning.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And I miss everyone, but most of all the children and their shiny toy guns

Yesterday was my youngest's birthday. He turned five. For most people, September 11 is a day of tragedy, but to me it just marks the day that one of the best things to happen to me actually happened.

I called yesterday morning to wish him a happy birthday. My ex-wife answered the phone and I talked to her for a few minutes before he got on the phone.

Me: Did you get the presents I sent? There were two packages.
Her: Yeah, but he hasn't opened them yet. What did you get him?
Me: One is a toy gun that makes a bunch of different sounds. The other is a sword that does the same thing, but lights up with different colors too.
Her: Oh good. He's been going around telling everyone he was getting a gun for his birthday, but we didn't get him one.
Me: I always feel like I get him the same thing, but I honestly didn't see anything else I thought he'd like, so I went with the toy weapons again.
Her: Well I'm glad you did. He'll be happy with those.
Me: What did you get him?
Her: We got him a little desk.

Oh yeah, I'm the cool parent!

She also told me that the other day he asked how many more times the sun would go down before he turned five. Then, yesterday morning when she told him he was five he went and looked at himself in the mirror to see if he'd grown any. As if it would somehow happen overnight. Knowing this, I asked him about it once he got on the phone.

Me: Happy Birthday. Are you excited to open your presents.
Him: Yeah. I have to wait until [Step-Dad] gets home.
Me: So how does it feel to be five? Are you bigger? Stronger? Faster?
Him: Dad, I'm just five.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - EDIT- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

By that logic, I'm not getting fat, I'm just thirty-two.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Underneath the blue neverending sky

Oh, hi there. I believe I promised some pictures of my trip to Sedona, didn't I? Well, I have some. If you're really nice I'll let you see them.

What's that? You promise to be really nice? Ok, here are a few pics.

And just for good measure, here's a video showing that I'm still capable of being daring. I was a trendsetter here. This wasn't my first jump, but I was the first to do it.

Now that you've seen the pictures I'll tell you this: You should have asked what my definition of really nice was before you agreed to my terms.

Monday, September 10, 2007

We're goin' on down the road towards tiny cities made of ashes

I went to Sedona, AZ this weekend for a friend's birthday. I don't have time to post a big story about it or anything right now, so you'll have to settle for this instead.

One of my other friends was riding with me to Sedona, so I picked him up in order to avoid him having to leave his vehicle on campus over the weekend. At one point he realized that he needed to run to the store for something, but didn't have his vehicle, so I gave him my keys. Later, when we were leaving town, we got to the car and I asked for my keys back.

Him: Oh, I'm sorry, I sold your car to a bum for twenty dollars, and a rim job. It was so worth it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

So now you know what it means to wing it right at the top of the world

Advantages to being tall:

- I can see the band when I go to concerts, regardless of my position in the audience.

- It makes for easier rebounding while playing basketball.

- It's better to be the tall guy in the movie theater than the person sitting behind him.

- I can hold attacking midgets at bay simply by placing my hand on their head and keeping my arm stiff so that all their punches whiff.

- My eyeballs are at a good vantage point for looking at cleavage.

- I am much less likely to be carried off by very large birds of prey than really really small people.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I scrambled for the television desperate for its light

I'm a morning person. I think. I'm not super bright eyed and bushy tailed when I get up in the morning, but I do wake up early, and I get going as soon as my eyes open. It's a rare day that I'm not in the office by 8:00 a.m.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that this is a good thing. The reason? There's nothing to watch on television during the day. The day I realized this was one of the rare days where I wasn't in any hurry to leave the house. I turned the TV on and began flipping through channels, eventually settling on M*A*S*H. I'd already seen the episode that was airing. In fact, I'd seen it multiple times as a kid, but I still watched it again. As I sat there wasting my morning, I began to think. No, not about why I was wasting my time watching a television program that I'd already seen multiple times. That would require too much introspection, and could possibly result in me changing my ways. We can't be having that now, can we? Instead, I was thinking about why M*A*S*H would still be in syndication. The show's been on the air for several decades now, and I'm guessing that most of the people who would watch it have already seen every episode. It's not like there are a bunch of attractive characters to keep us coming back. It's not particularly funny. I mean, the jokes are ok, but rarely make me laugh outright. I concluded that the only possible reason that M*A*S*H would still be getting good enough ratings to remain on the air is because of people like me who'll tune in simply because there's nothing else on, and we have to watch something.

If I'm right, that's a pretty sad statement.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Far away from the memories of the people who care if I live or die

The other day I went to a sandwich shop hoping to get my favorite sandwich of theirs: Vegetarian Salami.

"They make vegetarian salami?" you say? The answer to your question, gentle reader, is yes. Yes they do. You're probably thinking that vegetarian salami sounds disgusting, because it does, and if you were to see it you would probably think it looks disgusting, because it does, but believe me, gentle reader, it is a very delicious soy representation of an otherwise unhealthy lunch meat that only tastes slightly more delicious when in its "natural" state, but also kills you slowly. (Can you say longest run-on sentence ever?)

Imagine my dismay then, gentle reader, when upon approaching the counter I could no longer see the vegetarian salami sandwich on the menu. I asked the man behind the counter about it and he told me that he was sorry, but that it had been discontinued. Why someone would "discontinue" a lunch meat that's not really meat is beyond me*, but my precious vegetarian salami has been replaced with vegetarian ham.

I know what you're thinking, gentle reader, and that is, "Why didn't he just order the vegetarian ham instead?" Well, I'll tell you why. It's because I have a long, sordid history with ham.**

As a child I never liked ham. There was just something about it that made me recoil and shudder every time I tasted it. Every. Single. Time. Well, one night, when I was five or six, my dear sweet mother prepared ham for dinner. I whined and complained about having to eat it, as five or six year olds are wont to do, all to no avail as I was told to be quiet and eat. I did, but not for long. I took my first bite of ham, recoiled and shuddered (as I knew I would), but that wasn't all. No, at the time when the shuddering would normally have stopped, I felt a little lurch in my stomach, and knew that I had to make a mad dash toward the bathroom. I didn't make it. We're talking projectile vomiting all the way down the hallway.

I have to say, one of the biggest problems with projectile vomiting is that the vomit travels a long distance in front of the vomiter. So, as I was running down the hall, I stepped in a puddle of my own vomit, then slipped and fell. I vomited some more as I tried to get up, stepped into that, and slipped and fell again. After a couple of tries I was able to find my way into the bathroom and finish emptying my stomach. My parents, thinking that I was over-acting so as to get out of eating my dinner, lacked sympathy. They made me clean up the mess, which had little chunks of ham spread throughout.

(I want you to stop for a minute and just imagine the smell of ham mixed with bile so that you can experience the trauma of the situation.)

Once I finished cleaning up the mess, my parents made me sit back at the table and finish my meal. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, choking down those last few chunks of ham, but I persisted. That doesn't mean I'm eager to repeat the experience with a veggie ham sandwich.***

* Not really. I'm sure I'm the only person who ever bought it.

** It's really because I wanted to try the vegetarian turkey instead.

*** Actually, I do like ham now, despite all childhood trauma associated with it. I'll probably give the veggie ham sandwich a try next time I'm there.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It makes no difference to me what you leave behind

Today I was approached by a man who wanted to wash the windows on my car for a dollar. I told him no. Then, he asked if he could have a dollar so that he could buy some water. I just kept walking because I'm a bastard and have no regard for humanity. When I got to my car, my friend and I got into a conversation about other ways the guy could get water for free. My suggestion was that he go to a public building and use the water fountain. My friend said that if he wasn't too proud to approach people and ask them for money, then he shouldn't be too proud to try and fill up a cup from a sprinklerhead or something.

I know I drank from a garden hose as a kid, and I'm sure almost everyone has, but as my friend and I were talking about it I had to concede that it might not be the smartest thing to do in case the water wasn't treated and you ended up catching something.

Friend: There aren't a lot of cattle where I come from, so we didn't have to worry about getting Giardia.
Me: It doesn't have to be cattle. I think it can be any mammal. I think beavers are the worst.
Friend: Yeah, well we didn't have a lot of beavers either.
Me: Fine, maybe you could have gotten it from armadillos. You can't guarantee that no armadillo got into your well.
Friend: In that case, I would have caught leprosy.
Me: Really? You can get leprosy just from touching an armadillo?
Friend: I don't think you can get it just from touching them. I'm not sure exactly how it's transferred.
Me: My guess is sexually. So, you probably don't want to have sex with an armadillo.
Friend: Thanks. I'll try to keep that in mind.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Girl, won't you take out the trash

The other day I was driving and I saw a garbage truck with the following on the side: Alcohol can trash your kid's brain.

Now, I didn't bother to look at who paid for the ad. I was too busy trying to write while I talked on my cell phone and steered with my knee to be bothered with that, but it was probably someone like MADD. It's really not that important who paid for it. What is important is that they're really onto something here. It's crazy to think about how long garbage trucks have just been garbage trucks. Think of what a waste (pun intended) it's been to have these trucks driving around collecting garbage all day, when all this time they could also have been used to make us buy stuff, or at least to inform us of someone's agenda. After all, if there's one thing we don't get enough of in this country, it's advertisments being shoved in our faces.

Obviously, the key to advertising in this manner is to come up with some kind of witty play on words that matches the vehicle of choice. Ads for viagra could be placed on concrete mixers as long as they said something about being rock hard. Although, it might be difficult to get private companies to go along with something that they might perceive as something that portrays them in a negative light. However, we could definitely put the ads on vehicles that the public already pays for. I'm thinking that fire engines have been grossly underused in that regard. I propose that from this point forward, all firetrucks should tell parents to teach their children about safe sex because STDs can really burn.