What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, May 29, 2009

24th Do It Yourself Post

Never __________ until you __________.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Awkward Situation #7

Picture this.

You're in a stall at a public restroom, minding your own business, doing your business.

You hear the door open, and someone says, "Hey, how are you, man?"

Cautiously, you reply, "Ok?"

"Great. What are you doing?"

"Um, I don't think I should answer that question, it should be obvious."

"No problem. Hey, do you want to go hang out with me later? I'll treat you to dinner."

"You don't even know me, dude..."

"There's a first time for everything, babe... let's call it a date."

You finish your business, open the stall door, and head to the sink (because you decide you'll actually wash your hands this time, because someone is watching and all). Trying very hard not to make eye contact with the creeper, you sneak a glance at the mirror to see what you're up against.

He turns around and you realize he was talking on his cell phone.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

23rd Do It Yourself Post

My phone is a __________.

Note to Self #13

Avoid brothers who ate three large burritos for lunch.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Dangerous Snack

They say that the early bird gets the worm, but nobody ever mentions what follows from that statement: The early worm gets eaten. If I were a worm, I suppose I would be pretty intelligent, because I am never early. And so it happened that I was up very late last night.

Of course, one of the most important parts of staying up late is snacking. Traditional meals were not designed with night owls in mind—three o'clock in the morning can be eight hours after dinner. The trouble is, if you live with other people you can't use the microwave at three o'clock. Doing so leads to some pretty grumpy housemates (if your family's normal), or to almost getting shot by a paranoid gun freak (if your family's from Texas). The oven has the same limitations as the microwave. That leaves you with only two options: 1) Eat cold, packaged junk food, or 2) eat ice cream. I always choose the latter.

At three o'clock last night I was creeping up the stairs, trying to remember which one creaked. I decided it was the third, and stepped over it onto the fourth. I was wrong—the fourth one creaked. I stopped cold for a minute, listening to crickets chirping and hoping the gun freak hadn't heard anything. Apparently he hadn't, so I finished my ascent and shuffled toward the freezer. There were twenty feet between me and it and only a few obstacles in the dark, which I could generally remember and avoid. The red chair was to my left, so I sidestepped it. The table had been moved that afternoon, so I spotted it with my hand as I got near. But there were also a few obstacles that I wasn't aware of. A plastic grocery bag—those things were designed to be noisy. And, horror, an audible toy.

If you have ever lived with kids, you know what kind of toy I mean. It could be a a firetruck, a doll, a stuffed animal, or anything. What makes it horrible is it's unpredictability. When you bump the firetruck, step on the doll, or kick the stuffed animal, they all break into a thunderous, ear-splitting jangle of some kind, whether a song, a siren, a roaring noise, or a recorded speech just for kids. And no matter how gingerly you step, how sharply you watch your feet, you will trigger it. When the audible toy begins to speak, it usually goes on for ten or twenty seconds, and there's no earthly way to stop it. If you try to press the button or tweak the limb that will silence the noise, you will invariably invoke another twenty seconds of torture. Once it starts, there is nothing to do but stand deathly still and let the beast have it's way. And hope that it doesn't wake up the gun freak.

I hit one of those toys on my way to the freezer, but it fortunately had a short and muffled sound—a few gruff lines of dialog in a deep male Bronx accent. Thanking my stars, I edged over to the door, opened it, grabbed a spoon, and began to stealthily scoop the leftover ice cream out of a little paper bucket. It was a sticky job, and each bump in the night made me jump in apprehension that I'd be caught red-handed by someone who was saving the ice cream for another time.

In the mean time, unknown to me, a conversation was taking place. It went something like this:

A: Psst. Honey. Do you hear a noise?
B: No, you're hearing things. It's three in the morning. Go back to sleep.
A: There it is again. I think you should go check it out.
B: It's nothing. Maybe someone got up to go to the bathroom.
A: That's not what I heard. It sounded like someone talking.
B: Yawn.
A: There! Do you hear it?
B: You're right! What could it be? By gosh, if someone's in my house...
A: Just check it out. It might be nothing.
B: I think I'll take the Colt.

This last proposal suited both parties—to A it made things seem safer, and to B it made things seem more adventurous.

After a couple of minutes of industrious scooping, I filled my bowl. I picked it up, closed the fridge, and turned around to wend my way through the obstacle course again. As I turned, I found myself staring into a Colt .45. My hands found my head. The ice cream found my toes. And the gun freak spluttered in embarrassment.

The result, of course, was a shameful wast of ice cream. And on top of that, I had to clean up the mess. After all, I was not the one with the gun.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spam spam spam spam spam spamalot

The other day I got up at the normal time (ten minutes before class) and started my morning routine: check email, shower, shave, and shine. It used to be just shower, shave, and shine, but then one day last April I performed those important functions and then slogged through a mile in the snow only to find that my class had been cancelled by email. And then, another day, I made the same mistake, minus the snow. So now I greet each morning with Gmail, the healthy way to start your dayTM.

Anyway, what I was saying is that on this particular morning, I found a surprise in my inbox: a generous offer for cheap software. It read something like this:

Adobe Acrobat Professional 9.0 available at the promotional price of $99.95 while supplies last! LIMITED SUPPLIES REMAIN. Don't miss out on this great deal! See details below.

I was shocked—but not because it was such a good offer. On the contrary, I knew it was a worse deal than those "authentic" hand-painted souvenir dishes in Mexico that you can by at a tenth the price from TG Max without having to heckle with a mustachioed drug-lord. I knew, because one time I had bought software at dirt cheap prices online, and received a pirated copy for my money. That was a pretty embarrassing experience, realizing that I could have just pirated it myself and got it for free.

No, the real reason I was shocked was that this spam had got through Gmail's fortress filter and penetrated my inbox. MY inbox. I couldn't believe it. I had almost forgotten what spam was.

I know there was a time when making a joke about spam was as clich├ęd as making a joke about Monty Python. Ah, those were the days. It was the dot-com era, and inboxes were full of special offers for insurance, online college degrees, cheap software, and (indeed) vjaqra. Everyone would always complain to their pals about the seventy messages in their two-megabyte inboxes and bemoan how much time they wasted sorting through them. But if they were like me, they secretly enjoyed it. In that pre-Facebook age, email was the most exciting way to kill time online. (Don't mention MySpace. It sucked. Still does.) Logging on for the tenth time in a day, seeing "five new messages" gave a certain adrenaline rush. In fact, if it weren't for Facebook, I probably would have had to go through detox like Dr. House, just to break my email habit.

But now, in the fifth year of Gmail, with powerful spam filters, unsubscription options, and the increasing irrelevance of email, I never expected to see spam with my own eyes. Skimming its contents was like gazing upon a relic of a bygone era, a cruder but fresher time when the primitive world had yet to crust over and ossify. Spam. Huh. What's next, a tamagotchi?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #21

Good idea: Reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to your little brother.
Bad idea: Reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to the Jewish children next door.

22nd Do It Yourself Post

If I could eat anything right now it would be __________.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Note to Self #12

Hitting "snooze" on your alarm clock will make you late for work.

Good Idea/Bad Idea #20

Good idea: Taking goofy, embarrassing pictures with your best friends.

Bad idea: Uploading goofy, embarrassing pictures to Facebook.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

21st Do It Yourself Post

My favorite class to doodle in is __________.

Note to Self #11

When cooking pancakes, use a skillet; pouring the batter directly onto the burner does NOT save time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

20th Do It Yourself Post

Barack Obama is __________.

Good Idea/Bad Idea #19

Good idea: Eating fast food with your sweetheart.

Bad idea: Eating fast food with your sweetheart for your anniversary dinner.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #18

Good idea: Getting a chili dog to go.

Bad idea: Getting a chili dog that makes you go.

Note to Self #10

Popcorn does not make good breakfast cereal.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Life Tip #93

If you don't have a license, don't drive.

If you are going to drive without a license, don't steal a truck because you don't have a vehicle.

If you are going to drive a stolen truck without a license, don't drive drunk.

If you are going to drive a stolen truck drunk without a license, don't flash your vehicle lights at a police officer and then run.

If you are going to flash your truck lights at a cop after driving a stolen truck drunk without a license, beware of deep ditches that may stop your high speed car chase.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Note to Self #9

Next time, look in your backpack before tearing apart the house in search of the book you "lost."

Good Idea/Bad Idea #17

Good idea: Sleeping late.

Bad idea: Sleeping late on a school day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life Tip #92

Please don't rob banks.

If you do rob banks, don't keep a personal journal of your brilliant plans.

If you do keep a personal journal of your brilliant plans for bank thievery, don't bring it to the scene of the crime.

19th Do It Yourself Post

My computer's name is __________.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #15

Good idea: Target practice with your brother.

Bad idea: Target practice on your brother.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #14

Good idea: Making a will.

Bad idea: Making a will and publishing its contents before your death.

Life Tip #91

Do not be easily irritated by screaming children.

If you must be easily irritated by screaming children, do not drive a school bus.
If you must be easily irritated by screaming children and drive a school bus, do not duct tape the mouths of loud children on your bus.

18th Do It Yourself Post

If I could live in any time period, it would be __________.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Life Tip #90

Do not put violent images in a kids' coloring book.

If you must put violent images in a kids' coloring book, make sure the book is not published by FEMA.

Good Idea/Bad Idea #13

Good idea: Going hang-gliding.

Bad idea: Going hang-gliding over a shotgun range.

17th Do It Yourself Post

If I could be any age, I'd be __________.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Overheard in a Public Restroom #1

Girl 1: It will be so exciting when you get married; you can call me everyday to talk about wedding plans!

Girl 2: I'm planning to wear Mom's wedding dress, but cut off the sleeves.

Girl 1: Oooh, will it even fit you?

Girl 2: I don't know, but Mom thinks it will.

Girl 1: Really? But she was so tiny when she got married.

Girl 2: Yeah, it's weird. She gains 1 size for when she got married every time I get 5 years older...Remember when we were little and she always told us she was a size 6 when she got married?

Girl 1: Yeah...

Girl 2: Well, now she says she was a size 10. But I don't think her dress will fit me...I don't even fit into her petticoat!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

16th Do It Yourself Post

My favorite time of day is __________.

Life Tip #89

Do not smuggle cocaine.

If you must smuggle cocaine, do not smuggle cocaine in your body by swallowing it.

If you must smuggle cocaine in your body by swallowing it, do not get caught by patient police officers.

Good Idea/Bad Idea #12

Good idea: Washing the dishes.

Bad idea: Washing the dishes if the dishes in question are your mother's antique, heirloom fine china.

Monday, May 04, 2009

15th Do It Yourself Post

My favorite place on the planet is __________.

Life Tip #88

Do not read anonymous emails saying you have won $2.5 million from a lottery you have never heard of before.

If you must read anonymous emails saying you have won $2.5 million from a lottery you have never heard of before, do not respond to those emails.

If you must read and respond to anonymous emails saying you have won $2.5 million from a lottery you have never heard of before, do not give $57,000 "in order to secure the winnings."

Short Post Marathon

For the next couple of weeks, we will have lots of short posts, put up throughout the day. Nuff said.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Awkward Situation #6

Picture this.

You're sitting on the couch in your living room and your older sister walks by. She is dressed in an early-19th century costume and pauses before you. She turns around.

"What do you think of my hair?" she asks. "I was trying to make it look period, but I don't know if it worked."

You stare at the tangled mass on the back of her head and try to think of something smooth to say. Your mouth opens.

"If you're doing it to look old-fashioned, it's fine," you hear yourself say, "but if you're doing it to look nice..."