Monday, January 31, 2011

Children's Movies Which Will Never Be Remade

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Synopsis: Dog runs an illegal gambling operation with a cohort who solicits his murder rather than share their profits equally. Dog reaches heaven, finds that he has squandered his life and is doomed to Hell, whereby he distracts the angel-dog in front of him, steals his life's magic clock and rewinds it, cheating death. He returns to Earth, effectively immortal and gung-ho on exploiting an orphan with the ability to talk to animals with the purpose of regaining control of the city's illegal animal rackets. After ruining her shot at getting adopted, he eventually chooses to rescue her and save her life at the expense of his watch, dying yet again but finding himself redeemed and welcome in Heaven. He dies and the street urchin gets a family. Dom Delouise is a wiener dog.

Why They'll Never Remake It: Tons of gruesome doggy death.

Status: Dead as the protagonist, though only after a sequel and a television series.

The Aristocats

Synopsis: A faithful butler overhears his mistress dictating her will to her lawyer. (Incorrectly) believing he is going to be overlooked after his years of service and all the Lady's fortunes are to go to her cats, the butler bundles them up in the middle of the night and hurls them off a bridge into a river. The same thing a woman just got yelled at for on the internet a few months back. "Duchess" and her three kittens are discovered by (Abraham De Lacey Giuseppe Casey) Thomas O'Malley, an alley cat. O'Malley proceeds to flagrantly hit on Duchess, who in her sheltered lifestyle does not realize she is basically riding his cat-dick for a lift home. It's Ass, Gas, or Grass, baby, and Duchess ain't paickin' her wallet or bud. Of course, right as O'Malley is about to get his freak on, Duchess' kittens pop out and he's all, "WOAH THERE BITCH I DI'N' SIGN UP FOR THIS SHIT!" but being a man of his word he agrees to guide them all home anyway. Somewhere along the line he falls in love with Duchess and gets to live with them back home wearing an adorable little collar and bow-tie. Also, the butler gets arrested for something ridiculous.

Why They'll Never Remake It: More violence against animals, this time by humans who should be above all that. Also, the hero gets roped into raising another man's children because a father's life is better than that of a swinging bachelor, but no one can have sex so they can't be his kids. Let's just go ahead and illiminate the 101 Dalmations series, The Lion King and any other Disney film that proposes murdering animals. Plus, Phil Harris died in 1995, so this also rules out a remake of The Jungle Book with his amazing voice.

Status: Just got a DVD rerelease, then sent back to the Disney "vault," so increase demand for another five years, thus justifying exorbitant pricing.


Synopsis: Little White Boy moves to, I don't know, India or some shit, with his family. Not knowing anything about the land, they build a nice little Western-style house on the ground next to a jungle. Little White Boy befriends a mongoose, which he names something ridiculously long. Living so close to dangerous brush, no one but the family is shocked when a vicious cobra goes to eat Cody. (I don't know that that's his name, honestly, but he's as little and dumb and white as can be, so Cody seems like the perfect name for him.) Cody is saved by Rikki and his mongoose wife, who dies killing the Cobra, herself the wife of an even larger, meaner cobra who is now pissed at the humans for invading his area and killing his wife. Big Cobra goes to kill the Cody, but Rikki jumps in and they end up killing each other. Cody is sad that his friend has died, but even tually he finds a little brown boy or a rock or something to play with and forgets all about it. White people continue exploiting the land and native cultures.

Why They'll Never Remake It: Aside from all the animal fighting and revenge killings, it was based on a Rudyard Kipling story and no one wants to have to work P.R. for story written by the guy whose most famous work is "The White Man's Burden."

Status: Hopefully still carried at your local library in the "Teach Kids Not To Play With Fucking Cobras" section.

"It's MY day!" cried Grumpy. "I don't care if I have to strangle
every last one of you bastards to get in their first!"
Any Disney Movie Based on a Fairy Tale

Synopsis: Princess is sheltered and devoid of character, aside from being pretty. Maybe she's kindly, if in a very provincial sort of way. Someone gets angry at her, then tries to kill her. A handsome prince saves the day and takes her away to live with him as his wife.

Why They'll Never Do It Again: All Disney females must now be of stronger moral fiber than their male "saviors." Disney has also been shying away from the whole "blatant attempted murder" thing for humans as well as animals, these days. Even stories which begin with one or both parents already dead are becoming less and less common.

Status: They're totally going to do it again. Constantly. Except now the stories will be bastardized even farther than their saccharinely sweet Golden Age counterparts. Rapunzel is some kind of sequestered idealist whose prince is a conniving coward in Tangled, and The Princess and the Frog was basically panned from day-1 as exploitive of a black princess, placative for finally tossing black folks their own princess and just generally being a shitting movie with no relation to the original whatsoever. Granted, there was no hope of making a Snow White wherein she chokes on the apple core and Prince Charming literally fucks it out of her. Apparently Disney never had a thing for borderline necrophilia. At least not publicly.

Three Ninjas/Home Alone

Synopsis: Bad men attempt to break into someone's house while the parents are away. Child(ren) fend them off using ingenuity and a series of deliciously evil and most likely very, very painful and possibly deadly homemade apparati. The burglars survive somehow, but are captured by law enforcement agents. In one, the children have yellow-belt level ninjutsu skills taught to them by their maternal grandfather. Also, I believe their mother was the long-running female ADA on "Law & Order" back in the late '90s.

Why They'll Never Be Remade: Because, frankly, they already have been. To death. At this point it's just needless violence on camera, essentially justifiable elder abuse. In fact, the legality of all of this is questionable since the kids are almost certainly using more than reasonable force to repel home invasions. Only the fact that these are children worried about kidnapping and murder really excuse that level of aggravated assault. Likely, any judge would move the case to family court and the kids would be put through intensive cycles of counseling to make sure they weren't terribly traumatized by their experiences.

Status: Three sequels. Each.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On Dying In Bed

One of these days, lying in bed I'm just going to crack my neck so hard that it severs my spinal chord and I'll lose all motor control below my neck, causing me to slowly and silently suffocate, staring up into the black of my ceiling awake and fully cognizant of the last three minutes of my life pathetically passing by without so much as the ability to call for help.

These are the things I worry about as I'm falling asleep at night. Seriously, I could have nailed so many goth chicks in high school if I'd had the mind to. You call it dark and brooding? I call it being Jewish.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Summer Reading Lists

If you had to compare it to a drug, really, reading is more
like alcohol than weed or heroine; some people just need
a nightcap to wind down from their day, others need it every
day t the expense of their health, but a lot of people just have
to develop a taste for it as they age.
Few people are natural addicts.
When I was a kid there was always some kind of contest at the local library for kids to read the most books out of a given list. This was of course back in the days when I went to a library, anyone else I knew was likely to be in a library and most of use were just hoping to book time on the computers to play Putt Putt educational games.

Honestly, I went to my college library for a book once, and I couldn't take it out because it was a scholarly journal, so I had to photocopy the damned thing. I think the rest of the time I used the library for a meeting or two and to use its printing station twice a week one semester. (There were a ton of articles to print each week, but after three years my weekly page allotment had rolled over into a small fortune in white, pulpy gold.) Senior year I actually remember following someone into the main part of the library and getting lost.

Oh, but in those days of yesteryear my library encouraged kids to read their faces off. Now, I've got no less than 29 different books sitting on my night stand forming my "to read" pile, two seasons of television and 3 movies sitting on top of my dresser, and I've honestly lost count of the number of shows/movies/documentaries I've downloaded or queued up on Netflix to be watched eventually, not to mention the dozen or so monthly comic series I keep up with as they hit the interbutts. I just never seem to have the time to get any of this crap read anymore. (Or watched.)

Man, this past week I've done well, though. I had three whole snow days and there's a three-day weekend ahead of me. I might really manage to burn through a small pile of this. If I could only somehow get rewarded for finishing all this reading I've accumulated. And perhaps if my progress were to be shown on a map of some sort, say, in the shape of a growing caterpillar….

Friday, January 28, 2011

On Snow Days

I had had a plan for yesterday, or rather, I had a plan for a good snow day activity and I just wasn't in the mood for it yesterday. Perhaps if I elaborate you'll understand why.

A while back I came across a recipe for cookies. As you can see, part of that recipe includes functionally prepared cookies. No, it's not some trick, that's a recipe for a chocolate chip cookies with a prefabricated cookie inside. It's a cookie with a delicious other cookie center. Marvelous.

And yet, I just wasn't prepared. I had things to do, people to see, conversations to be had and materials to read. Honestly, I just wasn't in the cookie baking mood. Really, up until this point in my life, I never imagined there was such a thing.

Of course, the last time I ate a dessert that had an Oreo on the inside, I didn't poop for four days, so maybe that had something to do with it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On Updating Your Look

Here's a picture of me from about thirty seconds ago:

A handsome rake, I know, but as much as it's difficult to improve upon such near-perfection, it is possible. I say "near" because I believe it would always be possible for my to be less humble.

However you will also notice one other attribute that could support the "near" hypothesis. I have to wear glasses. Yes, though I was once blessed with the sight of winged predators, hovering just below 20-12 and approaching the realm of trained sniper agents, come of age my vision has withered some, requiring the usage of corrective spectacles which–if I might be honest–I think provide me a certain level of class and bookish reliability that counterpoints the rougish charm of my goateed visage. I mean when I want to look extra confident and completely too cool for the rest of you, I still pop in the contacts, but for prolonged or everyday use, I stand by my trust frameless.

Well, I did. For about eight years. But recently I've noticed that street signs aren't exactly as clear as they could be. Shifting between reading distances was becoming labored. Despite the perfection of my frameless frames, it was time to get new glasses.

Once health coverage kicked back in for my in January, the search began. Preferring the lack of a frame to hamper my sight, I ventured to continue with a frameless model, also with thin wire for the earpieces and a shape complimentary to my perfectly formed cheek bones. Finding very little even remotely close in the usual places and nothing affordable anywhere else, I ended up going to Walmart and perusing all six of their men's frameless choices.

And damned if I didn't find the perfect pair. Well, almost perfect. They're still not invisible corrective surgery, but I'll take them. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the new and improved look for Dave Zucker in the far off year of 2011:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Cruel Games

According to the BBC, "We" has become the most common word used in recent U.S. State of the Union addresses.

Tonight at the bar, I suggested we attempt a drinking game wherein we drank every time President Obama uttered the phrases "great nation," "the people" or, of course, the word "we."

Jay was the only person to take this challenge.

He is a brave man. Perhaps not smart enough to avoid this trap, but damn sure smart enough to know when he's no longer enjoying his beer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On Internet Porn

I'm not sure, but I think internet porn might be the purest form of distilled perversion imaginable.

It's the most capricious thing imaginable. Don't like short girls? There's still porn for you. Like redheads? You're in luck. Only get off to women being degraded by men wearing pterodactyl costumes at night in the forest? I can find it for you in about 3 seconds. Everything is available.

And it's all available at once. You can start off looking for plain vanilla guy-on-girl and end up miles away looking at pixelated Japanese women doing the foulest things imaginable in any of a myriad series of complex costumes. You can indulge your every perversion as the mood strikes you. You can't download music as fast as you can find any new type of porn you could imagine. Honestly, I can see why porn is always at the forefront of visual technologies and why the internet is forcing mainstream porn to adapt. Hell, I've seen entire documentaries on basic cable dedicated to the porn industry. It's on the History Chanel for God's sake. Don't try to tell me that porn isn't as common and suburban as in interracial gay couple with an adopted Asian baby, these days.

Sometimes, though, I just think the only thing keeping internet porn alive is the subtle hope of one day seeing someone you know naked on the internet. And then hoping that someone is at least attractive.

Monday, January 24, 2011

On A Happy Ending

Bet that's not what you were expecting, huh?
I don't know who thought this was an okay name for a cleaning product, but I really hope they got their project-close bonus check and got the hell out of there.

Incidentally, if you were looking for a different type of "happy ending," you probably shouldn't have been a Jets fan last night.

If you were looking for the other meaning of happy ending, I think Rex Ryan's wife will be putting on the rainbow toe socks tonight in an effort to cheer her husband up, so maybe look elsewhere for that.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

On License Plates

When I was 14, I imagined that whatever car I got when I was old enough–likely a "shaggin' wagon," but without all the sex and more of the awesome toys–would have a custom license plate which I could easily remember. Specifically, "R2D2-C3PO." I was a nerd.

But the last year or so I've been noticing that a lot of other people on the road were much bigger nerds than even I was, because they went ahead and got their dorky custom plates done. I know a kid from high school who got "ROADHEAD" branded across the front and back of his car. I saw one plate last weekend that read "TIME2RUN." … No it's not. Actually, if you're in your car, that's the one time it should be impossible for you to run. That's just what it means to drive a car. What's wrong with you? Maybe a week before that I saw a swanky Mercedes where the license plate said "FRESHH," though with tinted windows and my position to the rear, I was unable to verify the potential status of any dice in the mirror. However, since there was that extra H at the end, I feel that it is safe to assume "FRESH" was already taken and thus this car was was anything but rare.

Here's a few more gems.

Okay. So, you're a nanny. In real life. Truthfully, I'm not sure if you're trying to allude to being British and an insanely talented child care expert, or if you modeled your adult life after Fran Drescher's early-ninties sitcom. Were you working at a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens until your boyfriend kicked you out in one of those crushing scenes? Did you then attempt to sell makeup door-to-door in ritzy neighborhoods and pass yourself off as an agent nanny to the single, wealthy widow father with no other option? Did the house mysteriously reverse its layout after the first day and then did you get married to the man after only five years of pussyfooting around the issue? You're driving a Mazda, so I'm guessing the first one.

Here's a winner. Again, I am left with two, maybe three possibilities as to the owner's life. Possibility the first: You are very sure of yourself, like yourself, in fact you have great self esteem. You also speak Spanish as your primary language. Possibility the second: You are exactly what I said above, but you are not Spanish. You are in fact a native English speaker, however you are so happy and contented by your life that when the DMV told you "MAGNIFICENT" was two letters too long and all permitted variations were taken, you sad, "That's fine!" and took what they could give you. Option the third: You are a magician.

Alright, technically this is yet another bumper sticker, which I have expounded upon at length, but I really just don't know what this is. I think it's a wildcat, but there are a lot of different connotations to what kind it is. Tail's too long to be an ocelot of bobcat, so if it's for a third-party democratic political system, they're maybe mountain lions? I guess that'd be some constituency out in the Rockies. I found it in New York, though, so it might be from Appalachia. Have hillbillies discovered sticker printing yet? Maybe it's just suggestive of a strong, third option to the donkeys and elephants, a new possibility for a new age. Maybe it's not for anything particular, but rather a call to break party lines and try something new. Or it's a house cat.
Crazy Cat Lady/Mr. Fluffles 2012!

Also note the "1," implying there was already someone with
an "El Che" license plate in New York. Ah, comodificatio
Oh yes, I'm sure that becoming a vanity plate on some douchebag's Xterra was exactly what Ernesto Guevara had in mind when the Bolivians set him on his knees and shot him in the head, defiantly screaming "Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man!" Yes, and no, putting a communist revolutionary's name on your $28,000 gas guzzling, camo-green SUV–which by the way is made in Brasil, just 1,000 miles from where he was executed–is totally rad idea. I'm sure he would have really appreciated the irony. It's not like his head on a million mass produced t-shirts is already too much of a burden. I'm pretty sure if you dug down into his grave, you'd find him spinning so fast you could use him as an electrical superconductor.

And here's my newest find. "LOL FWD." I don't really get it. I'm guessing "LOL WTF" and "LOL FTW" were already taken, but again, never waste a perfectly good wait in line at the DMV. This must be the guy who sends out like 30 emails a day, all of them passed around so many offices so many times that they're filled with 60% indented headers and sparkly, animated signature attachments, so that by the time you finally get down to the original message, which has been gratuitously pumped full of extra line breaks, it's not even worth clicking through the virus scans to get to the poorly photoshopped pictures of kittens being naughty.

That or this guy's just laughing about never driving backwards.

Update! - 2/23/11

Here's a "gem." (So sorry.)

Hypothesis one: somebody really, really thought Jem was truly outrageous.

Hypothesis two: a Jewish diamond merchant is very set on telling letting you know what he does for a living, but might be somewhat conflicted about driving a Volvo.

*Please note, these photos were almost exclusively taken in manners that impeded my natural driving ability, however I'm so good at driving that just meant I drove about as well as the average person. And I mean traffic was pretty much dead, anyway.

Update! - 4/13/11

I was at the doctor's office a while back and noticed this little wonder. "MD 4 Tummy." Sure, you sound like a six year-old or an awkwardly slapped-together crossword puzzle, but in absolute fairness I don't think there's any way to fit "GASTROENTEROLOGIST" on your car's plates. Maybe if you have like three cars. Like strapped to each other. But then I suppose you've got to deal with having license plates that say "GASTRO," "ENTER" and "OLOGIST," and no one really wants to be mistaken for the possible communist dictator of Cuba, a sexually promiscuous individual or a cocky man of infinite accreditation.

 This isn't actually  license plate, but it's just kind of perfect to note here. I actually have a pair of those fuzzy boobs somewhere. I think I got them as a 17th birthday present. Gonna say Dean got them for me. maybe in conjunction with Jay? That sounds like them. And that is, yes, a pair of panties hanging from the rear-view mirror as well.

I actually snapped this photo sitting in  Burger King parking lot late one night as Dean scarfed down about a dozen chicken nuggets and I think a Whopper Jr. Since the car was empty, that implies then that the car belonged to someone who works at Burger King. Is anyone surprised that a man who would work at Burger King drives around with a pair of fuzzy boobs and underpants hanging in the windshield of his Acura? I don't think so….

Just … just FAIL? I'm gonna call it an inadvertent fail.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

On Black Holes

A while back I was racking my brain trying to understand the physical volume of a black hole, both alone and in relation to it's event horizon, technically known as a Schwarzschild radius. It dawned on me–or rather the idea finally clicked after hearing it professed many times–that the best way to imagine the thing in one's head is actually not as an object but as an affected region of space-time.

Typically, when a star burns off all its hydrogen it switches to burning heavier elements that have formed as the result of the star's own natural fusion reaction. Fusing helium next results in heavier elements, which sink to the star's denser core, eventually forming up the heaviest, non-fusible material there, carbon. Burning through these lighter elements decreases the star's mass while maintaining more energetic fusion reactions, swelling the thinned outer layers of gas against the weakening pull of gravity.

This is what ultimately kills any star which has yet to go nova or smolder to a charred lump of diamond. Gravity overwhelms  the fusion reaction and collapses the star into itself, throwing off its outer layers as the bounce into each other. Depending on how massive it was to start, the star might collapse enough to ignite the heavier elements mentioned above and gain a few more years, but eventually those run down and there is a full collapse. The atoms smush together so hard and so closely that protons and electrons merge back into neutrons, forming a "neutron star," a diamond-carbon shell over a sea of "liquid" spinning neutrons about 12 miles across.

If the collapse is still ongoing under an even greater mass, it's suspected the star can be further squished into a "quark star," where the neutrons merge back into loose quarks, about 1/3 up- and 2/3 down-quarks but potentially also some "strange" and worse varieties. Beyond that maybe a "prion star" can form if there's something smaller than a quark, but we're getting farther and farther afield of our topic.

At a certain point of mass, the force of collapse within the star overcomes the ability of matter to fit into a finite volume, or rather space breaks because it can no longer fit more mass into less volume. All of the star's mass condenses to a 1-dimensional point.

The trick is, all that mass still affects a region of space exactly the size as the original star, less of course the measure of mass thrown off by the tremendously energetic implosion event. The event horizon, then, can be pictured as the ghost remnant of the original star's surface area. At the surface of the Earth, escape velocity for a rocket to exit gravity's pull would be 11.2 km/s. For the event horizon, it's now greater that the speed of light C. So really, the event horizon is just an arbitrary boundary sphere (or sometimes a donut) in space, while the mass of the black hole itself lies in the center. Outside it's the point at which no light escapes from within and around which some external light bends, but inside you'd get to see all the pretty lights from around you as you were pulled in towards the central singularity point, watching the universe speed up behind you due to relativistic effects as you go through a process scientifically dubbed "spaghettification."

Some times, it's really best to just not ask me what it is I'm thinking about for so long in the shower. Next time just pretend I'm masturbating or something.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On Religion

Having been raised Jewish, it's kind of weird when I think about religion. I've been in more churches since my bar-mitzvah than temples, and I've pretty much come down against any form of organized religion.

Still, it's weird when I think my top three spiritual role models are, in order:

3) Jesus

2) The Guatama Buddha

1) Luke Skywalker

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On Genetics

I found out today that apparently my disgustingly endless appetite and metabolism are somewhat hereditary. Yesterday, my father's work lunch was seven pieces of Popeye's fried chicken or something. Nothing too elaborate, but this was a day when he did not partake of Five Guys.

If you've never heard of "Five Guys," it's a burger franchise started by … actually, I'm not even going to give you a hint. It's unnecessary. Anyway, they are famous for serving enormous portions, usually placed at the bottom of a brown paper bag which they proceed to fill to the top with scalding hot french fries, which you must devour if you wish to have any hope of finding your sandwich.

It seems my father sometimes stop for lunch there. He only gets a grilled cheese, but he has them place three double-cheeseburger patties inside. He essentially eats 1.5 lbs of beef with extra cheese on regular bread and without frills like lettuce or tomato.

Turns out after eating it he started to go blind in one eye. But I mean that happens pretty easily these days. He just took out his contact and wandered around being careful not to make and quick left turns until his blood pressure dropped.

And yet this seems par for his course. He says in college he used to live above a rugby club around the corner from an Italian sandwich shoppe/restaurant. Every day he would pick up one of the Italian place's huge, two-foot subs, stacked high as all hell on his way home from class. It seems they were under the impression he was very poor and was feeding a family on one of these sandwiches a night. Eventually he told the family who owned the place that, no, he was just buying himself a cheap dinner.

They did not believe him. Who could blame them? I mean who would expect a little Jewish boy from the suburbs to eat like an entire Italian family? After a while they just had him sit down at a table and slowly watched him demolish several feet of meat and roughage.

After that, there were just some days my dad didn't have to pay for his sandwich. Or he'd be invited to sit at the Family Table in the restaurant. Some nights he'd just be straight invited to eat with the Carpochos and they'd watch him polish off a whole lasagna.

Honestly, I'd call bullshit, but after the things I've eaten I can't bring myself to question him. We are a family of hungry, hungry hippos.

I'm the pink one, obviously.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On Science

We're finally getting around to making a go at cloning a mammoth. This is awesome.

One of my favorite Arthur C. Clarke books is "3001: The Final Odyssey." Its just filled with so many great throw-away suppositions about the future that it's completely devoid of the hard science-fiction Clarke became known for. He says that every technology is so advanced, so interwoven with other breeds of itself, that no one person really knows how anything functions. Everyone is artificially bald so they can have form-fitted brain caps to connect to the solar system-wide internet. (Some of the pretty ones wear wigs.) You can ride on holographic/robotic dragons. Surnames, forenames and ethnicity are so blended no one can really tell where a person is from or what accent they'll come out with. Circumcision has been forgotten and is at one point mistaken for a mutilation.

Oh yes, and they had cloned dinosaurs doing menial labor.

It turns out dinosaurs were pretty smart, peanut brains considered, but apparently the herbivores were real bad at gardening or childcare, mostly because they'd go off and eat leaves instead of doing their jobs. So instead in the year 3001, most gardeners and babysitters were some breed of man-sized, predatory raptor. Oh, of course a little behavior moderating was chemically worked in, but it got to the point where there was a 31st century joke about never leaving your child home alone without a carnivorous lizard in the house.

I guess what I'm saying is this:

I cannot wait to buy a Scottish fold, munchkin mammoth.

I believe the expression is,
"Haters gonna hate."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Can Dave Name 10 Current Football Players?

  1. Tom Brady

  2. Terrell Owens

  3. Michael Vick

    Rex Ryan is a coach so he does not count

  4. That Guy Who Shot Himself

  5. (Dean: "Mark…") Sanchez? Awesome.

  6. and…

  7. …The Brothers. The ones from the Oreos commercials.

  8. Tiny Dicked Grandpa. (I'm told he retired again today, but I'm still counting this one.)

  9. The Guy Who Replaced 'The Man Your Man Can Smell Like' In the Old Spice Ads

  10. … Fuck.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Things Which Could Conceivably Be In Your Pocket That Are Not Resultant of You Being Happy To See Me

Things Which Could Conceivable Be In Your Pocket That Are Not Resultant of You Being Happy To See Me:
  • A roll of quarters (I'm sure a roll of nickels made more sense at first. I mean what kind of opulent financier went around with $10 in quarters in his pocket in those days. Geeze.)
  • A high-capacity flash drive
  • A tazer
  • A high-watt green laser pointer
  • Your inhaler
  • A digital media player
  • An energy shot
  • An EpiPen
  • "Pancakes" of layered, synthetic explosives
  • A handgun, in Texas
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • A Kindle
  • A spontaneous erection unrelated to my presence.
  • Car keys

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Dreams, Pt. IX - Return to Dream Mountain

A couple nights ago I slept poorly, with odd dreams. Maybe got 6 hours in which would be great except it was the weekend. Then yesterday I took maybe a 30 minute nap and felt pretty okay up until nothing was happening at night. I thought I'd go to bed early, wake up in the middle of the night for a few hours and then go back to bed, resetting my sleep schedule so I would at least wake up at the appropriate time today.

So … I slept for 12 hours straight last night, how about you?

So man dreams. So odd. I only really remember the last one; I was 9 or o and playing some weird version of Red Rover at the Jets training camp expo thing for either rich, diseased or obscenely lucky kids. It was a weird version of the game, though. Each child held onto the next by grasping between them a plank of wood about one foot by two feet, and the advancing player only succeeded if he broke through both links on either side of a kid, tackling him to the ground.

And for some reason, we were playing with a Jet. He wasn't big and he was fast, so I'm going to go ahead and describe him as a wide receiver. Since he needs a name, I am going to call him Terrell Owens, even though a quick Google/Wiki search has just informed me that while Owens miraculously is a wide receiver, he has never played for the NY Jets.

Long story short, Terrell was really really pissed that I didn't let go of one of my boards and shifted my weight around so he glanced off me and hit the ground pretty hard. He came at me twice more, breaking the links but seriously trying to injure me. The second time I stripped him of the ball (why did he have a ball, suddenly?) and he got piiiiiiiiissed … so yeah, obiously the third time he tried to kill me. His helmet came off in the first hit, so I realized if I just craned my neck in one direction as he basically bodyslammed me, our combined weight would instead come down right on the dome of his skull.

Man, Terrell Owens definitely respected me after I took him down three times in a row. We shook hands, even though all his fingers but one were broken. Terrell is a cool guy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On Having Connections

Last night at a bar I ran into a guy I went to high school with. And middle school. And elementary school. Pretty sure kindergarten too. The point is I've known him for a long time, but the only time we ever see each other is at this particular bar. We played a quick game of catch-up. He asked if I was working, I asked what he was up to. Turns out he's in grad school, becoming a physical therapist. He even offered me free physical therapy for life.

So, you know, I got that going for me. Now we just gotta find a way to get me horribly maimed. With my friends? Shouldn't be too hard.

Friday, January 14, 2011

On Job Security

I have secured your job. Cary on.
In the current economy, a lot of people are concerned about job security, and with good reason. The easiest way to gain job security, my mom taught me, is to simply make yourself indispensable.

I know you're thinking, "Of course. It's real easy to say, but hard to pull off. Stupid." Not so. Honestly, it's about as simple as learning to do something that needs doing and then just never explaining how you did it.

"How did you ever come in under budget?"
"Well, it's all very complicated, but I promise you it was all safe and legal."

"Can you show me how to file the end-of-day reports?"
It's late. Let me just bang them out and we can go home. I'll show you some other time."

"Where do you keep the key to the supply closet?"
"Somewhere safe."

It's really that easy. I've been working part time at a little New Age boutique for a couple months now. Do you know how I became indispensable? I'm the only positive male energy that's worked in the store for 17 years. That's pretty much it. I think that's spiritualist talk for "He can fix things." In all honestly, I could never be fired now. I'm the only person who knows how to change the motor belt in the vacuum. I'm the only one who understands the store's internet connection or dial-up credit machine.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Snow Drifts

I know I've said it before, but it bares saying again: through sheer repetition of low-grade accidents and bonehead maneuvers, my friends are exactly the kind of guys you want around when something goes wrong.

Last night we went out for a drive to kill some time before appetizers/drink specials kicked in at our local family restaurant. And–obviously–we skidded off the road into a snow drift. Honestly? It wasn't even that bad. We'd all done it before. We knew the powder was soft, so there was no body damage to the car. We knew to call AAA after we failed to immediately rock/push ourselves out. We even knew to "appropriate" a shovel from the yard of a darkened house to help dig ourselves out.

Honestly, the only thing we didn't seem to know was "Let the gorgeous girl driving by help us out when she offers. Maybe her 'friend' up the road is cute too." But even that screw-up didn't throw us off too badly. Within 45 minutes we had ourselves out and back on the road, made it to the restaurant realizing none of our other friends ever showed up, and then ordered some beers and food to fill our deserving stomachs.

Really, all minor disasters should end so well. 75% of Australia's Queensland is a disaster zone right now, but you can bet they're going to throw a hell of a Foster's and BBQ shindig after. Oh my god, I think my friends and I are secretly Australian. I never knew.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Geeky Cell Phones

So far, there have been a limited number of Star Wars phone accessories. A few printed iPhone cases, a limited edition Droid shell that looks sort of like R2-D2, but that's about it. Well the other day, I saw the Exovault EXO5 case for iPhone 4 made of engraved black aluminum and  with rosewood sides.

Seriously? Has no one made the connection yet? Hell, Droid has basically made an entire ad campaign around the idea that a giant black brick in your pocket is vaguely akin to a certain extraterrestrial mono-form:

So let's get on this, Star Wars nerds. You know what that expensive-ass case looks like. You know there's no officially licensed case for what we want. And no, we don't want a crappy little skin. Come on.

We want a 3D, plastic molded case that will be impossible to actually store and remove easily from our pockets, in the shape of Han Solo embedded in carbonite. I have provided a mock-up.

Tell me you don't want one of those, nerds. Try to tell me. You can't.

(That is not an invitation to tell me. Stop it.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Being The Squeeky Wheel

Probably none of you remember this little tirade about online store management.

But you know what? There's a moral in bitching about online retailers and stupid return policies and taking what blame there is for being an ignorant consumer. And the moral is this:

If you own up to your mistakes, when you bitch people try to fix whatever went wrong.

I saw the return policy didn't cover me. I called the store, they turned me down. I went to the store having meticulously peeled the original shipping labels off the giant package in a poorly executed attempt to swindle the store into taking the defunct product anyway. I was a bad, bad man for those moments. In the end, all I did was vent my frustrations into the cold, uncaring ocean of piss that is the internet.

And dear Lord, the internet pissed back. It pissed on me in kindness.

I got a Twitter reply simply reading "Not exactly true!" to my tirade about how dumb it is to have an online store functioning as a separate company from your physical locations. Thinking it was a spambot designed to reply to every mention of the word "Modell's," I said something very rude and snarky in return, as any good internet dweller would do.

Well, it turns out that Twitter account was operated by a VP of Marketing. His name is Jed and he is one of the nicest people I have ever dealt with online. He basically saw an irate customer shouting into the wind, accepting his own fault and said, "Hey, I can help this guy." He invited me to email or DM him, which I did and he shuttled my problem in full explanation over to the returns department, based out of a larger distribution company it seems. I gather that's where the "Not exactly" part comes in.

Granted it took about four days longer than expected, but eventually I got an email from a woman with a name I can trust–both in that a dear friend has the same homophonic moniker and in that I could easily pronounce it without testing my usage of the glottal stop–and by the end of the night had spoken with her on the phone.

JoAnn, I can't imagine you read this blog, but if you do, I am sorry. I am sorry because I picture you as a kindly old Midwestern grandma-type, even though from your timber and proficiency with online memoranda I estimate that you are at very oldest only potentially in your very early fifties. Still, the things you said over the phone make me want to tie my shoes, wash my hands before supper and promise to be an extra good boy at the fair tomorrow so I can come home to have a slice of your fresh-baked apple pie.

This is a formal retraction., I still hate your prices. And your selection, usually. But if I'm ever in the position of having already purchased an item from you that I now desperately need to return (dear God, please no, never again), I know you guys are the ones to deal with. You have cemented your position as Best Customer Support Ever.

Plus, you got more blog mentions than that slut from the All State Commercials, and she blew up after landing a roll on The Good Guys.

You really, REALLY gotta go to Mo's.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On Your Calling

When I was in school, all the social studies teachers thought I should be a social studies teacher. All the math teachers wanted me to be a math teacher, the art teachers wanted me to be an art teacher and the English teachers wanted me to be an English teacher.

Now that I'm doing what I want to be doing and what I actually majored in, all anyone ever tells me I should be is "something with computers."

I'm starting to wonder whether or not "Grandson Computer Repair" could undercut Geek Squad's prices and remain profitable.

They train 'em young, now.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Of Family Tech Support Part II

Best stock photo ever.
I had to go over to my grandmother's house today to set up her new laptop. Apparently she'd been playing "Bejeweled" on my aunt's computer while she was staying over between Christmas and New Years. She got to go to parties, one of them with Bernie Madoff's secretary, but it looks like Bejeweled was the pinnacle of awesome this go-around. So much so that she went down to Walmart, picked out a laptop, was told it was out of stock and bought the one they recommended to her instead.

Here is where we come to the travesty involved: my grandmother just bought a Sony Vaio with 500GB of storage and 4gb memory, a 15" widescreen LCD display and Windows 7 Home Premium 65-bit edition, with a free month's trial of Norton antivirus.

My grandmother does not have the internet.

Yes, she paid $600 for a pretty decent laptop–and made sure to get both "Bejeweled 3" and and value-pack of 250 thousand games (500 of them solitaire, seriously?)–all for the express purpose of playing Bejeweled. Me setting up her laptop involved making a user profile (her initials) and a password (her old dog), then basically deleting, disabling or otherwise removing from view/active function any program which might get in the way of spinning up the hard disc to get at that sweet, sweet gemstone action. I'm basically helping my grandma mainline fire gems directly into her eyeballs.

We still need to get her a mouse because a trackpad is just insanity to her. For reference, her last computer was about as useful as a 2nd generation iPod Touch basemodel with broken WiFi.

Seriously, it's this beige IBM box with a 3 1/2" floppy and a then-state-of-the-art CD drive. The monitor is newer than the rest, so that's about thirty pounds with a 12" screen, and maybe it's only about twelve years old. It's got an 8GB hard drive and 125mb of RAM.

Do you guys remember the Pentium processor from all of a few years ago? I remember the Centrino coming out for laptops that were made to be wireless. That was I think the first or second Pentium chipset to break from the "Pentium #" name scheme. That series was Pentium 1-4.

My grandmother's computer ran a 486 processor. 98% of you don't even know what that is. It's the thing that came before a Pentium. I don't even know why it's called that. The numbers don't work in base-2. I have no idea why it was called that. Whenever I've mentioned it to my Computer Science friends, they just stare in stupefied amazement that such a thing still functions. I'm pretty sure that any college kid who decides to be a CS major from this point in time forward will only ever learn about a 486 if (s)he takes the Comp-Sci equivalent of an art history course. This thing's like a a Rodin, just not by Rodin. It's friggin' kinetic sculpture more than it's actually a useful piece of machinery.

It runs Windows 95, for chrissake.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On Stupid Pet Tricks

In honor of the snow day we had here in the Northeast, and the ensuing weekend festivities of playoff season, I'm bequeathing you, today, a mini-blog showcasing what we have to do to entertain the cat so actual work can get down around the house while he's tuckered out.

I believe I captured the dumb kitty talk voice pretty well. Also, I can't believe I sound like that when I talk to my cat. I need a broader social life.

Friday, January 7, 2011

On Star Wars

Carolyn has an interesting point when she tells me my willingness to buy the complete Star Wars saga on blu-ray is kind of insane.

It's the same movies I've seen literally hundreds of times before. The differences will be subtle and, at best, only truly appreciable if I'm willing to sit less than five feet from my television (which of course I am). It will in actuality be the sixth version of the original trilogy I have owned and the second of the prequels, not including the Phantom Menace VHS I owned because DVDs weren't very prominent in 2000. (Actually I had both the widescreen and fullscreen versions of Episode II, but that's unarguably worse for the point I'm about to make.)

And I'm still buying it. Hell, it's been available for pre-order less than a day and I've already paid for it. There was never any question. There's a question as to whether I'd buy all the 3D equipment necessary for home viewing of the 'eventual' 3D rerelease, but there's still no question I'm going to see those rereleases in theaters. Even Phantom Menace. Especially Phantom Menace; there's a goddam pod race. The question is "Why do we still give George Lucas money?"

He keeps ruining our favorite things, but really, it's like Uncle George telling you you're getting too old to play horsey with him. It's his game. He can do whatever he wants with it. And honestly, we can all shadowcast Empire Strikes Back like "Rocky Horror" by this point. We know the story. We know the finer points of Galactic representative democracy. Political theater. Watching Senator Palpatine for us is like watching Rob Lowe and the mom from "Weeds" in old episodes "The West Wing." We watch Star Wars with so much back story and extraneous running commentary in our heads that the cinematic experience, even the artistic product is obscured beyond reproach. We can never watch Star Wars just like any other movie

And why would I want to?

Star Wars is everything wonderful about my childhood, untainted by any of the sad memories. Like a beaten spouse, I can explain away all the horrible things George did to me, because deep down I know he really loves me, he just doesn't know how to show it properly.

And I will always let you back in, George. I haven't heard from you in a while. Are you alright? Do you need any money? Just 'til you get back on your feet, I mean. I know you'll pay me back.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On Snowboarding

Sean White may look like Carrot Top's butch sister, but
the guy certainly knows his snowboard jackets.
Also, I guess snowboards.
I went snowboarding yesterday. With boots and a board and a ski(?) left and everything. I paid people to make fake snow for me. It was wonderful. I loved pretty much every single minute of it.

I mean I didn't enjoy the several minutes of combined time I spent in complete agony, but I enjoyed the experiences that cause them. Yeah, I busted my ass and, yeah, I probably sprained my wrist, but totally worth it. Hell, the wrist thing happened during the lesson part of the trip. Honestly, I can barely wait to heal up and go back.

And this from the guy who gets winded walking from the dugout to home plate.

Oh, god! I just realized something: I was about to make a "Typing with one hand" joke–something about it not being an under-practiced habit–but, truthfully, my hand doesn't hurt bad enough that I can't type. More worrisome, though, I do think there would be some problems if I tried to test that joke.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mini Post - On Olivia Newton John

The following comes directly from Carolyn, who is taking me snowboarding today. We will have a lesson with other novice children and then fall a lot. By the end of the day, I may fall a bit less.

In the meantime, here's a verbal pun Carolyn has apparently been enjoying of late, visualized exactly as my brain originally perceived it in the moment I heard it:

Sorry I couldn't add any lasers. Maybe in my free time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Of Family Tech Support

Grandma Computer Problem and How I Fixed It:
  • CD tray not ejecting
    • Smack it until it works

  • DVD not playing
    • Explain that DVD player by TV will not play videos of cousin's wedding just because they are burned to a DVD instead of a CD.
  • Printer will print from internet but not local programs, gives "Printer is offline" message
    • Turn printer on before clicking "print," replace black ink cartridge
  • Monitor is too big, heavy
    • Replace monitor with fancy new widescreen OLED LCD Uncle bought
  • New monitor is too dark
    • Increase brightness
  • New monitor makes everything "look weird"
    • Adjust resolution/aspect ratio to better match 800x600 on her old CRT
  • Font still too small
    • Readjust aspect ratio, increase font/icon size manually, decrease resolution
  • AOL still too small to read without reading glasses
    • "Get computer glasses."
  • "No!"
    • Return swanky OLED LCD monitor, replace with four year old flat-panel with visible individual pixels, hate self

Monday, January 3, 2011

On Bureaucracy In Commerce

Alright, I'm not going to pretend this isn't my fault. I put a weight bench on my Birthday/Christmas list that was woefully unsuited to the workout routines I've adopted.

And I'm not going to pretend it isn't partially also my mom's fault for buying a birthday present back in October and then deciding to hold it for Christmas, thereby negating any chance of utilizing any return policy.

All I want to point out is the following craziness:

Modell's Sporting Goods will not accept returns from Not with a receipt, not without and all the shipping stickers meticulously pealed off (because now there's no barcode). There's a good reason for this. is run by a different company than Modell's.


How do you even manage that? Is run by Ford? Is Amazon MP3 run by iTunes? No. Because that would be insane. Who sells off their digital rights to keep an overpriced physical store alive? I mean what company is that stupid?

I guess what I'm saying is, is anybody interested in purchasing a brand new, never used weight bench?

It's real pretty. Flat/decline positions. Great for sit-ups, barbels.
Please buy my weight bench. Like $50. I'll even build it for you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On Punishing Yourself

I did something very stupid today.

I went out to get some very specific items. I got none of them. I went out to price a few larger-ticket items. I managed that, somewhat. On a whim, I also stopped into the bookstore to burn through one of the gift cards I got for Christmas. Bad idea.

Even though it was a tentative tick on my official BUY list, I very quickly made the following purchase:

Like the 3x3x3 Classic wasn't hard enough? No, obviously not. I've warn through at least one of them in just a few years. I can run through solutions starting from all six colors with scramble time in between two or three times just over the course of a regular television program. The little reflective lamination has come off most of the stickers by now.

Shit, I just fixed the 2x2x2 with the internet after something like 8 years and this 4-cube monstrosity starts learning at me from the puzzle shelf at the local book store. And I, in my vainglorious stupidity, believed I could solve the contraption in much the same way as it's smaller counterpart, simply "chunking" multiple rows here or their to suit my need like some kind of deranged Good Will Hunting utilizing The New Math.

Hours later and I'm failing to even grasp the instructions to get it back to normal assigned me by an online cube solver. I know I said it would be a bus, but this–this may actually be the thing that kills my brain, you guys.

Also, Carolyn said I should blog about butts tonight. ))<<>>((

Saturday, January 1, 2011

… And A Happy Happy New Year

Thank you all!

It was narrow, but today you hit enough unique page visits to give Sound A Doggy Makes nine straight months of grown traffic!

I have no idea how I can thank you. I have to do something classy.

So from now on, every time I make a dick joke, I'm going to imagine a large penis sitting in a leather chair, wearing a smoking jacket, reading classic literature by a fire in a darkened lounge, balls up on an ottoman and sipping fine cognac through his one orificial hole.

Cognac: It just burns so good going down. Your urethra.