Monday, December 31, 2007

It's pencil rot

Silent Kid flew into town for the weekend. Since I was supposed to pick him up Friday evening when he got in, and since most of my friends are out of town for the holidays anyway, I ended up waiting at home instead of going out with friends after work. He called to tell me that his flight had been delayed, so I turned on the TV to kill some time. I flipped through the channels, and quickly realized there really wasn't anything on, so I settled on some trainwreck TV: I watched the final three episodes of A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila. Yes, I am ashamed of this (but Tila totally should have picked Dani over Bobby).

The next day Silent Kid and I went to the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace so we could go to the Virgin store. That store has closed since the last time I went there (as had two other record stores we tried to go to that day), so we really just did a lot of walking around for nothing (and I use the term 'walking' in the loosest possible sense of the word, given the fact that I can't exactly 'walk' anymore, it's more of a hobble since I'm so gimpy).

Anyway, as we made our way back through the mall, I mentioned something I'd seen on A Shot At Love that troubled me (aside from the TV show itself). In the corner of the screen, MTV would periodically put up a banner that read: "Having Tila withdrawl?", and then directed viewers to the show's web site for extra information, cast interviews, etc.

I told Silent Kid that it really bothered me that we've reached a point where you can't be sure whether MTV is misspelling 'withdrawal' in order to be cool, or if they really didn't know how to spell it and nobody on the editorial staff was smart enough to catch it. It is MTV after all.

He replied, "Yeah, well, you know what makes me angry?"


"The name of that store right there."

I looked where he was pointing, and saw a shoe store named Shoooz.

English is dead.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Freaker right by the speaker

Yesterday I spoke to my brother, Dr. Psycho, on the phone:

Him: I just bought myself some roller blades.
Me: You did?
Him: Yeah.
Me: You know what the hardest thing about roller blading is, don’t you?
Him: Nothing.
Me: No, it’s telling your parents* you’re gay.
Him: Whatever. There's a nice little path by my house where I can go.
Me: See? It's true. If you roller blade, you're gay.
Him: Screw you . . . You're a freak.

*Mom, Dad, I'm sorry you had to find out about him this way.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Everybody bitchin' there's nothin' on the radio

It's that time again - The time where I tell you my favorite albums of the year. As always, the list is limited to music that was released in 2007, not good stuff that was released earlier but I just got around to picking up (e.g., Muse - Black Holes and Revelations; Silversun Pickups - Carnavas). Also excluded are albums with music that is supposed to be good, but I haven't gotten around to listening to the CDs in their entirety yet (sorry LCD Soundsystem, Against Me!, and The Shins). There are also a few albums that probably should have made the list, but didn't because they didn't live up to my expectations. Sure, that might not seem fair because expectations can be unrealistic, but it's my list, I'll do what I want.

Here are the albums that fell short:

Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
I was introduced to Ryan Adams while I was getting on an elevator following a phylogenetic systematics lab when I was working on my master's degree. A friend of mine told me that he thought I'd like the recently released album Gold (which coincidentally is playing on my itunes as I type this). I gave it a listen and really liked what I heard. I picked up Heartbreaker and Demolition right away, and liked them both as well. Since then I've purchased every album that Ryan Adams has released, and they all have some brilliant stuff, but somehow in his rush to release three albums a year, the filter's been lost. If the good stuff off each album was combined onto one, and the rest just left as B-sides, every album would still be brilliant. As it is now, they're mediocre. Of all his albums, Heartbreaker remains my favorite, followed closely by Gold. I'm sad to say it, but I think Ryan Adams' best work is behind him. Now let's just hope he doesn't call me up and bitch me out for my opinion.

The White Stripes - Icky Thump
This album also had some good stuff on it, but I lost interest after the first three tracks. I especially like the songs Icky Thump and You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)(tracks 1 and 2 respectively), but then I hate some of the other songs on this CD. Conquest, although a cover, is one of the worst songs I've ever heard in my life. Same goes for Rag & Bone. You don't get to make the favorites list if your album includes stinkers like those. Sorry Jack, that's just the way it is.

Bloc Party - A Weekend In The City
I really liked this band's first album, Silent Alarm. I've been excited for this CD to come out since I saw them in concert a year and a half ago and they played a couple songs from it. Again, there's some good stuff here, like Hunting For Witches which sounds great, but this album is no Silent Alarm. I'm hoping that this is the typical sophomore slump and that their future releases will be better. Time will tell.

Radiohead - In Rainbows
Radiohead should get bonus points for the unique way in which they "released" this one (For those who don't know, they made it available on their website a few months before its official release, and let fans pay whatever they felt like paying. However, they took it down a short while before it was released in stores, so I don't think the offer still stands.), but even those wouldn't be enough to put them on the list. It's that expectations thing. I thought it would be better. My favorite track is House of Cards (a song which my friend Silent Kid called trite, but I just can't help it, it must speak to me). Again, I probably set my expectations too high for this one. While I doubt the band will ever produce anything as good as OK Computer (their best album by far), I'd still like to see something a little closer to that, The Bends or Pablo Honey than to Kid A or Hail to the Thief. I probably bought into the hype a little too much when people were saying this was about the same as OK Computer. It's not. I agree that it went in that direction a little, but not enough for my liking. Hence, it didn't live up to my expectations. There was an ongoing joke with one of the other grad students in my department who said he didn't like it as much as some of the others. Everybody else kept telling him that he "just didn't understand." Even though I was one of the people telling him that, I actually agree with him on this. It just took me a few more listens to realize it. Oh, did I mention this album didn't live up to my expectations?

Ok, enough complaining about what wasn't good enough to put on the list, and on to what was. I realize that most people that do end of year lists usually do lists of ten, but I'm with Silent Kid on this one. I'm only putting nine on mine. Nonconformists unite!

My favorite albums of 2007:

9) Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
It sucks to admit this, but I'd never heard of Iron & Wine until the rest of the world did. That is, when the movie Garden State came out. Oh well, better late than never, right? My favorite Iron & Wine album is still In The Reins (the collaboration he did with Calexico), but this one has some really good stuff on it as well. My favorite song on this album is The Devil Never Sleeps (from which the title to this post was taken). That said, the album as a whole just made it on the list by the skin of its non-existent teeth, simply for the reason that it didn't stay in the CD player in my car as long as the rest of the CDs on the list did. A little thing I like to call the car CD player test - It's perfect for ranking things like these.

8) Rogue Wave - Asleep at Heaven's Gate
I just found out about this band this year when a friend of mine mailed me two of their CDs. I received it just in time for my British Columbia trip, so that music and Canada will always be linked in my mind. Shortly after I returned I saw that this new one had been released, so I picked it up. I liked what I heard. Later I felt validated when I heard one of the songs off the album in a movie preview. Not that I need that kind of validation to know that I listen to good music, but someone else obviously felt the same way, even if it was just some marketing executive who was trying to appeal to young hipsters (not that I would call myself a young hipster, or anything remotely close to that).

7) Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
I know I'm cool because this band is one of my myspace friends. I was one of the first to hear the single Is There A Ghost because they sent it out as a bulletin. I love myspace. It makes me feel cool. Anyway, I liked it immediately. This is a band whose music appears in commercials (more on this later). The reason this CD didn't get ranked higher is that even though I really like their music, I rarely find myself saying "I'm really in the mood for hearing some Band of Horses right now." Instead it's more like, "Well, I haven't listened to that CD for a while, and I don't want to hear anything else instead so I guess I'll put it in." When I do that, I'm always reminded how good it is, but never before it gets to that point. I don't know exactly why that is. Still, it's worth giving a listen. I played it while I was in the shower this morning, so now you can listen to it and picture me lathering up my scrotum. Tell me that's not a ringing endorsement.

6) Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
I'm not entirely sure that I should list this album as high as I have. It suffers from the same phenomenon where I forget how much I like it until after I start playing it, but I'm giving it a boost because it's Nine Inch Nails. The album gets a little too political for my liking, but since I, too, hate George W. Bush, I agree with what's being said. I just wonder about this album's staying power once he leaves office. Again, this didn't live up to the quality of past albums (Pretty Hate Machine is still my favorite), but it's pretty solid. Plus, I have to include it so that people won't think I've lost my edge, even if Trent Reznor seems to be losing his.

5) They Might Be Giants - The Else
It hurts to have to list one of my two favorite bands so low on the list, but the simple fact of the matter is, I couldn't justify putting this album any higher. Not even with the bonus disc that contained 32 songs from the band's podcasts (which I lost somewhere - Boo!). That's not to say I didn't like this CD, because I enjoyed it immensely. Just not as much as the ones higher on the list. There are some really fun songs on here, like The Mesopotamian's (about a fictional band that nobody's ever heard of), The Shadow Government (seriously, where is the shadow government when you need it?), or Take Out The Trash (dedicated to my sister, and her ex-fiance). This is the best They Might Be Giants album to come out since Mink Car in 2001.

4) Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
I first heard Spoon on a cross country road trip with my ex-girlfriend. She was a huge fan and I heard three albums of theirs on the way to Durham, NC from Las Vegas. Not that I'm complaining. I'd like to pick up a few more since I only have two: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Gimme Fiction. This one definitely passes the car CD player test. Once I put it in, I don't ever seem to want to take it out (Is that a euphemism? Probably.). It doesn't hurt that this one came with a bonus disc as well: Get Nice! which contained an extra 12 tracks. Apparently I'm a sucker for getting as many songs as possible for my $13. I wish more bands did this.

3) Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
If you've seen a Volkswagen commercial within the past year, you've heard a song off this album. If you've seen multiple Volkswagen commercials, you've heard multiple songs. One of my friends joked that he thought Wilco sold out. I just think they did what every other band tries to do, and that is to get paid for making music. Wilco is the other of my favorite bands (I can't ever seem to choose between them and They Might Be Giants, so they both get the nod: They're co-favorites). Sky Blue Sky is a lot more mellow than previous albums, but that's not a bad thing in this case. Although, my favorite song from these sessions was The Thanks I Get, which wasn't included on the album itself, but was released as an itunes exclusive. I asked for this CD for my birthday, but it wasn't released for another few weeks, so nobody got it for me (they wanted to me to get stuff that I could use right away instead. Jerks). So, I bought it for myself, along with a cool t-shirt. One way to ensure that you get what you want is to buy it yourself. That's my motto.

2) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81
I was lucky enough to see these guys on tour, even though it was a few days after my car broke down and I had no transportation. A friend of mine introduced me to this band when they found out I was such a big Wilco fan. She said they reminded her a lot of Wilco. However, I'd have to go with another friend's opinion, that they sound like The Jesus and Mary Chain, but better. He went to the concert with me, and even though it was in an arcade because the original venue went bankrupt or something, it was a lot of fun. This album rocks from start to finish, but my favorite tracks would have to be Berlin, Need Some Air and All You Do Is Talk (and it was hard narrowing it down to just those three). Plus, the band has a cool name. They also have a skull and crossbones logo, so you know they're tough. Except the crossbones are really motorcycle pistons. Still tough.

1) Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Once I bought this CD I don't think I listened to anything else for weeks. It gained the ultra rare status of being carried with me from the stereo in my bedroom, to the car, to the office (before I loaded it into my itunes there). There's the catchy (and perhaps overly optimistic) track Dashboard that you can't help but tap your toes to, but my favorite song off this CD is Missed the Boat. I know some people who think this album is too poppy, and not enough like their old stuff. I disagree. It's not as poppy as Good News For People Who Love Bad News, which launched them into the mainstream with hits like The Ocean Breathes Salty and Float On. This one brings back some of the "screaming voice" for lack of a better term, but is much better than any of the band's older stuff. This is my favorite Modest Mouse album by far.

So, there you have it. If you're looking for some new music, and didn't know which direction you should go, those are my suggestions.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tiny insects make me want to dance

It's official, I can park anywhere I want now. My friend from Germany says that having this placard also means I'm retarded. Who am I to argue with her on that? However, I didn't hear her complaining too much when it got us good parking on Sunday when we went to the mall so she could sit on Santa's lap and the rest of the parking lot was full. The main place it makes a difference is on campus. Now I can park right in front of my office building instead of parking and having to hobble a block or two.

I do feel like I'm able to walk a little better now, but I might as well take advantage of anything that helps while I can. After all, I still hurt when I move too much, and I can't walk very fast at all. As if to rub it in, I was walking down the hallway toward my office yesterday when a cockroach thought it would be a good time to race me. It must have figured it could take me pretty easily while I'm in my handicapped state. Not being one to take taunting from an insect so easily, I stomped on the cockroach as soon as it pulled ahead.

Who's the fastest one now, bitch?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In 1984 I was hospitalized for approaching perfection

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Mine turned out to be much better than I expected. I got to talk to my kids while they opened presents, which wasn't quite the same as being there, but at least I got to hear some of the excitement. I also got to talk to most everyone else in my family, and had a good dinner at a friend's house, so I can't complain.

I am going to share part of one of the coolest presents I got. My mom put together a short family history with old family photos and the stories behind most of the major events in our lives. One thing you should know about my mother, and that is that she's a very talented woman artistically. She's also kept a journal her entire life (we're talking like 50 volumes here), and she always sets aside a few pages here and there to write down all the funny things that we said or did while we were growing up. She does this with her grandkids too. She calls them the "family funnies" and they're the only pages in her journals that she'll let other people read. I think everyone in our family loves reading those. I know I do.

Here's where the artistic part comes in. Another thing my mom does is draw cartoons. She's quite good at it, and this year she included a few pages worth of "family funnies" for each of her children that she drew up and included with the family story.

Here are a few of mine*:

Seriously, can anything beat my reasoning as a small child?

*I've cropped each one to be its own image, and in the process of doing so, took off her name and the date. Don't steal her stuff.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Don't shoot me Santa Claus, I've been a really good boy I promise you

Merry Christmas everybody!

I am so homesick, but it ain't that bad, 'cause I'm homesick for the home I never had

For the first time in my life, I'm spending Christmas away from my family. I have to admit, it's a little depressing even though I should be grateful that I've been fortunate enough to go 32 years before experiencing it for the first time. I would say I'm homesick, but I'm not sure that term really applies. I miss people, and I miss places, but at different times and in different ways. Right now I'm missing people.

My parents have lived a somewhat nomadic life. They've moved something like 33 times since they've been married. They've moved twice since I graduated from high school. As a result, I don't really have a home town, and since I never lived in the house they're in now, it doesn't really feel like home either. After all, it's not like I ever had a room there or anything. Not to mention the fact that I don't really know anyone who lives there besides my family (well, there are a few people I went to high school with there, but I don't go visit them because we're not as cose as we once were). Don't get me wrong, I like to visit, but that's because my family's there, not because I feel like I'm going home. In fact, when people ask me if I'm going home for various holidays I usually respond with, "I'm going to my parents' house." It's a subtle distinction, but it's more correct.

For the most part, I grew up in a small town in southern Utah (after spending years 1-6 in western Montana). When I was in high school we moved to an even smaller town in northeastern Utah (the very northeastern corner to be exact). Driving through these towns almost always brings back a flood of memories on the rare occasions that I do it, but they don't feel like home because the people are missing.

Last month, when my daughter got shot in the eye, I drove to Salt Lake City, and as I pulled into town got the feeling that I was home. The funny thing about that is I've never lived in Salt Lake City. However, my kids live there now, as does my best friend from high school. I always have a place to stay. I can always spend time with someone who is near and dear to me when I'm there. I wish I could do that this week.

Luckily, I've got some friends here in town that are taking care of me this Christmas. Without them, I think I'd be getting really depressed.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oh Santa, I've been killing just for fun

I know it's the holidays, and I'm supposed to be filled with the Christmas spirit and all, but this year it's just not happening for me*.

To the girl at the soda machine at Chipotle:


To the really nice blonde girl:


To the kid who got me a drink of water and then said that in return I owed him a Christmas present:

I WAS THINKING ABOUT GETTING YOU SOMETHING, UNTIL YOU SAID THAT. SERIOUSLY, WHO ASKS EVERYBODY THEY KNOW FOR A CHRISTMAS PRESENT? (Yes, I heard about you calling another friend of mine and asking her if she was going to buy you one too.) YOU'RE A GREEDY BASTARD.

To the guy who kept talking to the screen at the movie theater:



*As opposed to my five year old who is full of Christmas spirit. He's been asking everyone he knows for their spare change so that he can buy coats for kids that don't have them. So far he's collected about $70.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ain't no right

I have a friend who likes to twist things that we say around to imply that we are gay. Shocking, I know, but you literally can't say anything around this guy that could be used a different way without him pointing it out. I'm not complaining. I think it's funny, and I do the same thing.

One time my friend said something suggesting that something someone had said made them gay (great attention to detail, I know), and another of my friends turned to him and said, "I'm surprised by the amount of gay stuff comes out of your mouth."

That cracked me up. I still use it as a comeback from time to time. However, it's not my favorite line to use. My favorite one comes from a boxing match a few years back. I don't even remember who the fighters were now, but I remember that in the weeks leading up to the fight, one of them kept implying that the other was gay. Before the fight, at the weigh in, this guy said something about it again. The other boxer responded with something like, "I'm not gay. Bring your sister over here right now and I'll prove it." That comment started a pre-fight brawl. It was awesome.

So, when my friend tells me that something I said makes me gay, I use the boxer's response. If there's one thing I'm very capable of doing, it's beating a joke into the ground*, but it doesn't start any brawls when I say it.

Yesterday I went Christmas shopping with my friend. He said something to me, and I responded, but this time I tweaked it a little. I said, "I'm not gay. Bring your niece over here right now and I'll prove it."

Somehow that took it to a whole new level of creepiness.

*For example, ever since seeing National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when I was in high school my response to "Where does this go?" or "Where am I supposed to put that?" has been "Bend over and I'll show you."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Come on baby be my bad boyfriend

Some friends of mine spend a lot of time baking cookies and giving them out to their friends every Christmas. The cookies are quite fancy, and quite tasty. They gave me a plate full last week. Having the sweet tooth that I do, it only took a couple of days to plow through them. Through most of them at least. However, there were a couple that I didn't eat. I didn't go to work for a few days, and those just sat on my desk uncovered. When I went back to work earlier this week, I offered one of them to a guy I work with. He grabbed one, took a bite, and realized that it had gotten very hard in the time it had sat uncovered.

Him: I'll swallow it, but only because it's in my mouth.

Me: Is that your motto for everything?

Him: Pretty much.

Me: In that case, I've got something else for you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ain't nobody that can sing like me

I got this several months ago from Ver Girl, and used it on my "other" blog, but it's kind of fun, so I decided to use it again here. I'm not going to tag anyone, because that's every bit as annoying as forwarding chain letters. If you want to use it, feel free to copy it. Otherwise, it dies here.

My life soundtrack

1) Put your music player on shuffle.
2) Press forward for each question.
3) Use the song title as the answer to the question (I've gone one step further and have added a song lyric from the song that I think fits).
4) NO CHEATING! (I was tempted to replace any repeat bands, but decided to just go with it as it was).

-My Life's Soundtrack -

1) Opening Credits:
Way over yonder in the minor key (Billy Bragg & Wilco) - "Now I've walked a long long ways, still look back to my tanglewood days"

2) Being Born:
Jimmy James (The Beastie Boys) - "People how you doin' it's a new day dawning"

3) Toddler Days:
The air near my fingers (The White Stripes) - "My Mom is so caring, she really got me staring at the crazy little things she does for sure, and I can't seem to think of another kind of love that a boy could ever get from anyone but her"

4) First Day of School:
French Perfume (Great Big Sea) - "He opened up the engines and he ran for Spanish Room"

5) Becoming a Teenager:
Crash the party (OK Go) - "While the rest of the guys are all trying, all trying so hard"

6) First Day as a Freshman:
Bleeders (The Wallflowers) - "They say you're only sad and lonely and no-one is impressed"

7) First Love:
Dime (Cake) - "You ask me how I made it through and how my mint condition could belong to you"

8) Graduation Day:
Yoshimi battles the pink robots (The Flaming Lips) - "'Cause she knows that it's demanding to defeat those evil machines"

9) Moving Out of the House:
Porcelain (Red Hot Chili Peppers) - "Are you missing the love of your kin, drifting and floating and fading away"

10) Bad Break-Up:
If he can't have you (Whiskeytown) - "If he can't have you I guess no-one else will"

11) New Love:
Disappear (INXS) - "You're so fine, lose my mind, and the world seems to disappear"

12) Getting Engaged:
I can't hide from my mind (They Might Be Giants) - "I can't hide from my mind and you know why"

13) Bachelor/Bachelorette Party:
Trains (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals) - "Seems like somethin' in me's always movin'"

14) Wedding Day:
Hard Luck Story (Whiskeytown) - "And I swore I told your daddy that I loved you but I changed my mind" or "'Cause I can leave you if I wanna Little Baby and I'm gonna tonight" (Hey, it's not the best wedding song. Luck of the draw? Fate? Remember, I'm divorced.)

15) You and Your Husband/Wife's Song:
The View (Modest Mouse) - "If life's not beautiful without pain well I'd never ever want to see beauty again"

16) Honeymoon:
The world's address (They Might Be Giants) - "Everyone looks naked when you know the world's address"

17) Having Children:
Keys to your love (The Rolling Stones) - "No matter what I do, I spend my whole life honey just thinking of you"

18) Getting Cheated On:
Would (Alice in Chains) - "If I would, could you?"

19) Getting Divorced:
Dog Paddle (Modest Mouse) - "With their fascination on what was here and what's replacing 'em now"

20) Getting Remarried:
Sin (Ozzy Osbourne) - "I saw it happening like deja vu, they tried to warn me but they couldn't get through"

21) Your Kids Growing Up and Moving Out:
Sweetness (Jimmy Eat World) - "So tell me what I need, what was this the meaning"

22) Growing Old:
Long Way Down (Pete Yorn) - "All I know is my father told me look out"

23) Your Funeral:
Mr. Self Destruct (Nine Inch Nails) - "I am the bullet in the gun, I am the truth from which you run, I am the silence you achieve, I am the end of all your dreams"

24) End Credits:
Xmas curtain (My Morning Jacket) - "Hey, the Christmas curtain falls"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Come with us and play

In an attempt to get everyone to feel sorry for me, here's a list of things I've missed, or will miss because of my back problems.

- Flyfishing trip to the Green River over Thanksgiving weekend.
- Rock climbing in the Nevada desert.
- A night at The Palms with a group of seven girls (and one of my guy friends).
- Christmas with my kids.
- Snowboarding in Utah over Christmas break.
- Snowmobiling in Idaho at the end of January.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Starfuckers, Inc.

My brother, Dr. Psycho, told me a little while ago that he might be picking up some contract work from a rehab center that a lot of rich people and celebrities go to.

Now, it's probably not the most ethical thing, but I told him to try and set me up with the next Hollywood starlet that comes through. It doesn't even matter who it is really, as long as she's rich and famous. Lindsay Lohan? Britney Spears? Check and check. Those girls aren't really what I'd consider to be my "type," but then again, I'm shallow, so them being rich would be enough for a while. Just once I'd like to experience receiving a Ferrari for a birthday or Christmas present.

I'd totally be ok with being the next Kevin Federline.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The clock's running down, the team's losing ground to the opposing defense

I don't talk about sports a whole lot on here, but I am a pretty big football fan. I play fantasy football every year and have a lot of fun with it (even though my fantasy team didn't make the playoffs this year). Fantasy implications aside, I enjoy watching NFL games for the competition and entertainment value.

Particularly when the announcers say* things like this:

"He stays right there in the pocket"
"He splits the seam"
"He pounds it up the middle"
"We expect to see more deep balls"
"He feels like he's open on every play"
"He completed six passes to him"
"It's a comfortable feeling to have your linemen in front"
"They get beat deep so much"
"At the end of it, he takes a pretty good lick"
"He starts the play split out wide"
"The problem is the distribution of the balls"
"He usually is the guy who's delivering the good blow"

* These are all quotes from yesterday's games.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We'll be safe from Satan when the thunder rolls

You know you're addicted to The Wire when . . .

. . . you keep talking to your friends about The Wire, even though none of them have ever seen a single episode.

. . . you dream about having lunch with Stringer Bell.

. . . you freak out when HBO On Demand is missing the next two episodes that you need to watch.

. . . you drive to every video store you can think of so you can rent the disc with the missing episodes.

. . . you go home after not finding the disc at any video store and call the cable company inquiring as to why the episodes are missing.

. . . you tell the cable company that you're going to keep calling them until the problem is fixed.

. . . you dream that you're running for Mayor of Baltimore.

The Wire: More addictive than crack.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The wind blew me back via Chicago in the middle of the night

The following comes from a recent tour announcement for Wilco, one of my two favorite bands:

"Chicago in mid-February. Those of us who've spent a few winters there can attest that it is not for the meek or easily intimidated. That said, there's nothing like walking out of a venue post show to a howling 30 mile an hour arctic wind off the Lake (a few short blocks from the Riv...), icy snow blowing in your face. In the old days, we usually opted for the Green Mill while the crowds thinned. Anyway, now that we've weeded out the less ambitious among you, we'll also explain what makes this a sort of "don't miss" week for Wilco fans. Over these 5 nights the band will endeavor to perform every song in their now extensive ouvre (or is that canon)? This includes all the studio recordings and their contributions to the Mermaid Avenue records. Plus, who knows what else? To further clarify, the plan is NOT to do the material sequentially or chronologically. Rather, they're just going to attempt to cover it all over the 5 shows. It'll be a real blast, we're certain."

It's times like these that I wish I was independently wealthy. What I wouldn't give to be in Chicago for those five shows.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's so fun to relate

Girl: I've been getting up at 2 a.m. lately. I've been trying to finish all my final projects. I got them all done, but it probably took a few years off my life.
Me: Yeah. I think I see a gray hair.
Girl: Really!? Don't say that.
Me (pointing at my scalp): No, I'm kidding. The only gray hair in this room is right here.
Girl: But yours looks good. It just looks like highlights.
Me: No. Mine looks like Bill Clinton hair.
Girl: Does it bother you when people say that you look like him?
Me: Not really.
Girl: At least Clinton was a ladies' man, so you should take it as a compliment.
Me: True. Plus it could be a lot worse. I'd be really upset if people told me I looked like George W. Bush.
Me: Or Dick Cheney.
Me: Or Hillary Clinton.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to be a junkie

Last week I used a lyric from the song Thrash Unreal by Against Me!. Since then, I've received a gazillion hits (yes, I counted) from people who are looking for song lyrics. Obviously, those people got hosed as my post was about giving rides to weird trailer trash girls who were walking home from threesomes, and not about the lyrics to the song. Anyway, here's my attempt to make that up to those gazillion people.

Here are the lyrics to the song followed by the video (you might want to play it as you read along so you can see if I've got it right):

If she wants to dance and drink all night
Well there's no-one that can stop her
She's going 'til the house lights come up
Or her stomach spills onto the floor

This night is gonna' end
When we're damn well ready for it be over
What's all week long
Now the music is playing on our time
Yeah we do what we do to get by
And then we need a release

Ba ba ba ba ba ba da da da
Ba ba ba ba ba ba da da da
Ba ba ba ba ba ba da da da
Ba ba ba ba ba ba da da da

You're getting mixed up with the wrong guys
You're getting messed up on the wrong drugs
Sometimes the party takes you places that you didn't really plan on goin'
When people see the track marks on her arm
She knows what they're thinking
She keeps on working for that minimum
As if your high school education gave you any other options
You know, they don't know nothing about redemption
They don't know nothing about recovery
Some people just aren't the type for marriage and family

No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to sleep alone
No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to sleep alone

She's out of step with the style
She don't know where the action's happening
You know the downtown club scene ain't nothing like it used to be
You reach a point where there's not a lie in the world
That you could use to make the boys believe you're still in your twenties (?)
They keep getting younger don't they baby
She's not waiting for someone to come over and ask for the privilege
She can still hear the rebel yell just as loud as it was in 1983
You know there ain't no Johnny coming home to share a bed with her
And she doesn't care

No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to sleep alone
No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to sleep alone
No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna' grow up to be a junkie

And if she had to live it all over again
You know she wouldn't change anything for the world

Is this explosion gonna' set me reelin'?

Since I hurt my back, everyone's been treating me like a porcelain doll. This is probably due to my incessant whining and complaining about it, but still, I'm not that fragile.

The other day I was sitting in a chair with a hinged back. You know, the kind that lets you lean back even though all four legs are on the floor. I wanted to stretch my back out, so I leaned back as far as I could. It freaked one of my friends out because she was worried I was going to hurt myself.

Her: Don't do that.
Me: Don't do what? This?

Then I leaned back again.

Her: Oh. I didn't realize you were sitting in a chair like that. I thought you were leaning back on two legs.
Me: Oh, you mean like this?

Then I really did lean back on the chair.

Her: Don't DO that!
Me: What are you, my mother?
Her (assuming a karate stance): I will make you bleed mother fucker.

Yup. Just like Mom used to say.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You bring the razor blade, I'll bring the speed

I haven't been going to the office as early as usual, or staying as late as usual since I hurt my back. In fact, yesterday I wouldn't have gone in at all if it hadn't been the final exam for the class I TA for. So, I got to the office around noon, tried writing a little, ended up lying on the floor in my office for a while instead, and then went to hobble around a classroom to make sure that nobody was getting away with cheating.

I only made it about halfway through the exam before the pain flared up and I had to go sit down. As I slowly made my way to a chair at the front of the room, a lady I work with approached me:

Her: You should be at home taking muscle relaxers.
Me: Except it's not muscular, it's a nerve, so muscle relaxers wouldn't help.
Her: I know that. I was just saying you should be home taking something.
Me: I should be home taking heroin.

That might do the trick.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What went wrong? Walking tightrope high, over moral ground . . .

Since I haven't been doing much lately due to my back injury, I'm forced to continue telling stories that, for some reason, I've never written about before. This one goes back a few years to when I first moved to Las Vegas.

It was my first summer here, and I was beginning to realize the increased opportunity I had for seeing bands in concert compared to where I'd previously lived. Silentkid (aka, Rural Murder)called one day to say that he and another friend were coming to town to see Pearl Jam play at the MGM Grand. I told him that they could stay at my place, and that a few more of us might be interested in getting tickets. Five of us ended up going. The concert was great.

After the show we decided to grab a bite to eat before leaving the MGM, so we went and got a table at one of the cafes. While we ate, the guy who came to town with Silentkid started telling us a story about a time when he was in northern Nevada doing some field work for his dissertation research. He was a herpetologist who studied rattlesnakes, and was stuck killing some time in a small town while he waited for the right time of day for the snakes to come out at his field site. He was sitting on a park bench, and a guy came up and started talking to him. This man talked to him for quite a while, basically giving him his life story. He had survived colon cancer, but wasn't quite out of the woods yet. At some point, the man reached into his coat and pulled out a colostomy bag to show my friend.

Friend: Now, I don't want to sound like an asshole, but I'd just met this guy like an hour before. At what point does he feel close enough to me to show me a bag full of his shit?

We all laughed.

Apparently this didn't sit well with some girls at the table next to us. One of them came over, grabbed a bottle of catsup in some weird display of animosity. (I think we were supposed to be like, "Oh no! She just took our catsup. What do we do? What do we do?")

Her (as she swiped the bottle): You guys are assholes. I just want to let you know that you're really fucking rude. You're sitting here making fun of people with cancer without even worrying about whether people who could hear you might have been affected by it.

I opened my mouth to offer up an apology, and maybe explain that we weren't making fun of cancer per se, just the fact that this guy thought it appropriate to show off his colostomy bag, but before I did, the guy who had told us the story responded to her. He was slightly less diplomatic than I had planned on being.

Him: I'm sorry, was I talking to you?
Her: No, but it's kind of hard to ignore you when you're being so loud.
Him: Well, I suggest you find a way.
Him (to us, but loud enough for her to hear): What a bitch!

The girls paid their bill and left. I felt bad that we'd offended them, but it was kind of funny.

I should point out that my friend was rather drunk at the time. This was made evident to us later as we walked through the casino and we tried to get him to follow us.

Friend (to him): Over here. We've got to go this way.
Him: I'll be there in a second. Right after I'm done staring at this girl's enormous tits.

This was said right in front of the girl as she walked by, and he practically stuck his face in her cleavage. Surprisingly, she didn't slap him.

Vegas Baby!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Professor, what's another name for pirate treasure?

Friend: I told [Her Mom] to stop giving [Her] money all the time because all she does is use it to pay for her booty calls.

Me: Hmmm. See if you can get [Her Mom] to start paying for mine.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Yeah, they've come to snuff the rooster . . . No he ain't gonna die

The holidays are much less stressful for me these days than they used to be. The semester just ended, and while I still have some grading to do, I'll be finished with everything by Tuesday. Of course, that just opens up a bunch of time to work on other things, like manuscripts that need to be written, but I'll be free from other distractions (except blogging of course) and should be able to make some progress in that area.

However, such was not always the case. When I was going to school in Utah, I worked part time for a major shipping company. The job sucked, but it paid better than most part time jobs, plus I got full medical ad dental benefits so I stuck with it. I got up in the wee hours of the morning to go load delivery trucks and was finished with my shift by 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. This made it relatively easy to register for classes every semester since I didn't have to block out a chunk of my day for work (I did, just not when classes were being offered), another reason why I stuck with the job.

During this period of my life, the holidays were my most stressful time of year. First of all, I'd have finals week to get through, but once that was over, instead of getting a break like many students, I had to work the craziest time of the year at the part time job. The hours would always increase with the extra Christmas volume because it provided us with different opportunities to pick up extra hours (which was actually kind of nice because it helped pay for Christmas). One of the ways to get extra hours was to go out with the drivers during the day and run packages to the door while they sorted through the rest of their deliveries.

One day I was out helping one of the drivers whose truck I loaded, and saw one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. She delivered in a somewhat rural area, and one of the houses we had a package for was out by itself down a dirt road. She pulled up to the house and handed me the package to run to the door. The yard was filled with various farm animals. I remember there being goats, ducks, chickens, geese, dogs, cats and small pigs. There may have been others, but that's beside the point.

I should probably take the time to point out that since this was in Utah, and it was Christmas time, there was ice and snow everywhere, including on the sidewalk that led up to this house. I carefully ran up to the front door, and as I did so, the farm animals scattered. They probably weren't used to sudden movements and thought I was attacking them or something, but as they tried to get away from the menacing figure coming at them, they were running in various directions. A few of the chickens, being as stupid as they are, ran straight toward me, but then one of them saw me and hurriedly tried to change direction. It was then that it happened, this chicken slipped and fell on the ice and squawked as feathers flew.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you haven't truly lived until you've seen a chicken slip and fall on the ice. I urge you to find a henhouse and try it for yourself this winter.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Say somebody got to say it all

Since I'm trying to take it easy in order to let my back heal, I've been wasting an inordinate amount of time online. So, I'm going to post more often than I normally do this weekend. Besides, that should give anyone who's coming over from Anonymous Boxer's party fresh material to read, so the timing is good for that anyway. (By the way, welcome, and Happy Holidays!)

The other day my sister wrote on her blog about how she doesn't understand people who feel the need to talk about every minute detail of their mundane lives.

Here's the comment I left her:

Today I went to the doctor. When I got there I checked in by signing my name on the list. Then I went and sat down. A few minutes later they called me to fill out some paperwork. I filled it all out. They told me to go sit back down, so I did. Then, a few minutes later, they called me back over to have me sign some things. I signed them and then they told me to go sit back down. I went and sat back down. I looked at a couple of papers while I was sitting there, and then the nurse called my name so I stood up. I couldn't stand up real fast though, because my back hurt, so I stood up kind of slowly. I followed the nurse down the hall. She was walking pretty fast, so it was hard to follow her because I had to walk so slow. She realized that she was walking too fast, so she slowed down and apologized. She said she wasn't used to working with people who had back injuries. I told her it was ok. She took me into a room and had me change into a gown. I changed into the gown. The nurse came back to my room after I changed into the gown, and she took me down the hall to get some x-rays. The x-ray technician took four x-rays of my back. Then he led me back down the hall to my room. He was walking too fast, so I couldn't keep up. Once he realized he was walking too fast he apologized. I told him it was ok. He took me to my room and I waited for the doctor there. A little while later the doctor came in. He did some strength tests on my leg and foot. Some of them were hard and some of them weren't. He remembered me from the last time when I had surgery. It was the same doctor that did my surgery last time. I was surprised he remembered me. I told him that I was surprised he remembered me. He said that not very many of his patients are biology students, so it was easy for him to remember me. I was still surprised that he remembered me though. He showed me some images from my MRI. He said it was a different injury than the last one I had, but that it was in the same place. He doesn't think that I should do surgery right away. He said that sometimes, when the disks are bulging straight out like mine are, they can heal themselves sometimes. He wants to see if we can do a steroid injection to see if my disks will heal themselves. If they don't I'll have to do surgery, but if they do, I won't. I hope they won't. I don't know exactly what the injections entail, but I can ask that doctor when I see him. Oh yeah, the doctor I saw today referred me to a different doctor who can do the steroid injection. After we were done, he said that he'd like to see me again in two weeks. I set up an appointment to see him in two weeks. I'll probably see him in two weeks.

I crack myself up!

If she wants to dance and drink all night, well there's noone that can stop her

If you're looking for the lyrics to Thrash Unreal, click here.
**Resume post**

About a month ago somebody made the comment that I've lived in Vegas too long (sure I was talking about how to dispose of a body, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything). While it may be true that I've lived here too long, weird stuff also happened to me before I moved here. I've told you about the time I picked up The Hungarian, but he wasn't the first stranger I'd ever given a ride, and it was only slightly more uncomfortable than the first time.

It was shortly after my ex-wife and I had separated, and I went on a weekend flyfishing trip to the Green River to try and get my mind off things. It was early in the spring (my favorite time to fish the river), and I was on my way home. About a 100 miles from home I passed a truck with its hazard lights blinking. Since it was in the middle of nowhere, and it was getting dark, I looked around to see if I could help, but didn't see anyone. I kept driving, it got dark and started snowing. About 20 miles down the road, as I was coming up on a small town, I passed a shadow on the side of the road. Figuring that this was the driver of the broken down vehicle, I stopped and a woman got in the car.

Her: Thank you so much!
Me: Don't mention it. Is that your truck back there?
Her: No.
Me: No? Then what are you doing out in this?
Her: Oh, I'm coming from that trailer park over there.
Me (noticing the trailer park for the first time): Oh. Do you live there?
Her: No. I just came from having a threesome with a girl from work and her husband.
Me: Um, really?
Her: Yeah. She's been wanting to fuck me for a long time. So, I finally agreed to do a threesome with her and her husband, and then she goes and gets all pissed off and starts fighting with him afterward.
Me: . . .
Her: The original plan was for him to pick me up and then take me home afterward, but after they started fighting I just left.
Me: Ok, so where do I need to take you.
Her: I just live on the other side of town.
Me: I'll take you home so you don't have to walk in this.
Her: Thanks.
Me: No problem.

Uncomfortable silence

Her: So, do you party?
Me: No.
Her: You don't drink, or do any drugs?
Me: Nope. I'm a good boy.
Her: Wow. So there are still a few of those left in the world.
Me: Yup.

This was about the time that we started getting close to her place, so the conversation stopped so she could give me directions. I dropped her off. She tried to get me to come in for a drink, but I declined. She may as well have been asking me, "So, which STD would you like to contract tonight?"

My only question is, how come the girls in stories like this are never attractive? If she had been, the ending may have been a little bit different.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I've got the hungries for your love, and I'm standin' in your welfare line

A few years ago, before I moved to Vegas, a couple of the guys I worked with and I came up with the perfect restaurant idea. We never got around to trying to open it, but I suppose it's never too late. We were going to call it The Little Hobo. The only food on the menu was going to be clam chowder (although we were going to call it clam chackle) and baked beans. The only drink would be whiskey. The food would be cooked over an open flame, of course, and served in the can it came in. Normally the customers would be expected to eat everything served to them, since portions would be small, but in the rare event that someone couldn't finish, we would wrap their leftovers in a bandana, and tie it to a stick.

Here's a model:

Our original plan was to have the restaurant in a shack, but I like the boxcar idea better. I think we should still see about opening up for business.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The price of gas keeps on rising, nothing comes for free

So, my back isn't feeling any better. In fact, if anything, it's feeling worse. Not only am I having difficulty walking around, but it's also hard for me to drive because it hurts to work the clutch. I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow, but until this gets taken care of, I'm minimizing the amount of driving I have to do, and am having friends drive me places whenever possible. Today, while my friend was being my personal chauffeur, he had to stop and put some gas in the tank.

Him: Remember when you used to be able to buy $20 worth of gas, and you actually got plenty of gas.
Me: Yeah.
Him: Now you only get like six gallons for that price.
Me: I know. It sucks. Especially when you consider that when I was in high school a gallon of gas cost less than a dollar.
Him: I remember that. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago.
Me: Then again, I remember when candy bars used to only cost a quarter.
Him: I don't remember that.
Me: When I was a kid, my mom would make us Valentine's Day cards and would tape a quarter to them so that we could buy a candy bar, but that probably just means I'm old. I even remember when it used to only cost $5 to buy a hooker.

Yup, those were the days.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Where'd you get your information from, huh? You think that you can front when revelation comes?

You often hear people talk about how they have a problem that, try as they might, they just can't seem to come up with a solution for. You know, like ending their sentences with prepositions. Sometimes it will take weeks, and still no solution, and then suddenly their answer will come to them in a dream. A revelation, if you will (or even if you won't). Well, I don't have much experience with that, but it did happen for me once in my life. I'll relate the tale to you now.

When my ex-wife and I were newlyweds, our "job" was to keep watch over a marina that closed down for the winter. After all, there's not much point to keeping a marina open when the lake it sits on completely freezes over. The marina owner let us live in a trailer that overlooked the marina for free, so long as we established a presence at the place. Basically, anytime we saw somebody out on the docks, we had to go down and talk to them, or at least let them see that we were around. That way the owner didn't have to worry as much about anything getting stolen or vandalized.

However, the only people we ever saw was the occasional weekend ice fisherman, so as you can imagine, things got a little boring. Especially considering the fact that we only got two TV channels: The Sci-Fi channel, and whatever the owner of the marina left his satellite dish on (usually the Playboy channel). So, for our first Christmas, we bought ourselves a Super Nintendo game system and a couple of games. We spent a good portion of our day playing Super Mario World:

Some of the game's levels were more difficult than others, but there was one in particular that I just could not beat. It was a fortress, and I could get to the end of it, but the very last thing to kill off was a spinning wheel full of fire breathing rhinoceri:

Sure, it doesn't look like much. You just run under the wheel, and bounce the rhinos off their perches by jumping up and hitting them from underneath, right? Well, that worked for the first one or two, but then the floor Mario is standing on began to slowly fall apart and fall into the fire below. Try as I might, I just could not knock them off fast enough to avoid falling into the flames myself. I don't know how much time I spent trying to figure a way to beat the level the first time I encountered, but if there was a way to beat it, it was clearly beyond me. After many futile efforts, I gave up for the night and went to bed.

That's when it happened. In the wee hours of the morning, the answer came to me in a dream. To knock the last rhinos off, I would have to jump on the wheel itself, dodge fireballs while waiting for it to rotate, and then jump and knock them off once I was underneath them:

I awoke, and immediately went and turned on the game to give it a try. It worked. And there you have the story of the only time in my life that I've had a revelation in a dream. Too bad it couldn't have been for something important.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hey fat girl, come here, are you ticklish?

On a somewhat less disgusting note than my last post, I thought I'd get back to my recent weight gain issues.

When I went to see the doctor about my back, the nurse weighed me. She then plugged my height and weight into a computer program that calculated my BMI. For the first time in my life I am officially "Slightly Overweight" at 6' 4" and 210 lbs.

Maybe I shouldn't have had that second package of cookie dough.

We're never gonna survive unless we get a little bit crazy

Friend: That girl's hot. So was that girl at the bar last night.
Me: Which girl? The one in black?
Friend: Yeah. I'll bet she's too high maintenance for me though.
Me: What girl isn't too high maintenance for you at this point?
Friend: That's a good point. A hobo is too high maintenance for me.
Me: A homo*?
Friend: A hobo!
Me: Oh, because I was going to say, you'd probably have to lick a butthole, and I already know that's too high maintenance for you after our conversation** last night.
Friend: I'd never do that.
Me: Never? What if Heidi Klum came up to you and said she wanted you but that you'd have to lick her anus first.
Friend: Well, then I would.
Me: What if she said she wanted to do you, but that in order to do that you'd have to lick Seal's butthole first.
Friend: No.
Me: You wouldn't?
Friend: Would you? You would, huh?
Me: It's Heidi Klum.
Friend: Well, when it comes right down to it, one vagina is just like any other.
Me: But I'd get to brag to everyone that I got to have sex with Heidi Klum. That's got to count for something.
Friend: Yeah, but you'd also have to tell everyone what you had to do beforehand.
Me: No I wouldn't. There are certain things I could omit.
Friend: Nope. Those are the rules. You could tell everyone you slept with Heidi Klum but before that you tossed Seal's salad.

All this while I was doing some Christmas shopping. 'Tis the season.

*Not a term I normally use, I really thought that's what he said. I hope my making a joke out of it isn't offensive to anyone.

**Referring to a conversation with some of my friends in which it was made known that some of us have never licked an anus, while others had.

Monday, December 03, 2007

If only I don't bend and break

I hurt my back over the Thanksgiving holiday. A few years ago I had back surgery to remove a portion of a herniated disc that was compressing my sciatic nerve, and it feels like I've re-aggravated the same part of the nerve. At first I was hoping it was something that would go away, but after a week with no improvements I went to see a doctor about it. The doctor said that he didn't think I'd herniated the disc again, but that I'd pulled a muscle, the inflammation of which was probably just pinching the nerve. He prescribed some steroids, an anti-inflammatory agent, a muscle relaxer and told me to take those and heat it for twenty minutes twice a day and to come back and see him in a week.

I took the pills as prescribed, but there were no real improvements over the past week. I had a follow up appointment scheduled with him on Thursday, but it got bad enough that I went back today. He was off, so I got a different doctor. She had a different opinion. She thinks that I've re-injured the same part of my back that I had surgery on before, and she sent me to get an MRI this afternoon. Luckily, I was able to get right in for an appointment.

While I was in the waiting room at the radiologist an elderly couple walked in. They were probably in their sixties, and the man was definitely having some trouble walking. As he limped through the office and into the bathroom I felt sorry for him. However, my empathy was short lived, narcissitic as I am, and I thought "I hope that's not me in thirty years."

Then the thought occurred to me: "Wait, that's me now."

Life sucks.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Come on, come on, listen to the money talk

A few weeks ago, a girl I know was on her way to campus and stopped to go through a Burger King drive through. As she sat in line to place her order, she noticed the car in front of her (whose driver had been ordering) backing up. She tapped on her horn to let the driver know that she was behind her. After all, she didn't want to get hit because the driver wasn't paying enough attention to check the rear view first. The reversing driver took exception to this. She leaned very far out her window and screamed, "Back up, Bitch!"

The girl I know backed up and gave her enough room to maneuver her way out of line. Irritated by the other woman's response, she said, "They take credit you broke whore." as the other woman drove past her.

That's quite possibly one of the best things I've ever heard of someone saying to a complete stranger. However, I wouldn't recommend it (especially in this town where there's been a 32% increase in violent crime).

Apparently the woman was infuriated enough to drive around to the front and wait for the girl I know to come through the other end of the drive through where she tried to get her to get out of the car and fight. Right there in the parking lot. Of course, the girl I know just drove off, but it still makes for a good story.

And you thought living in your town was interesting.