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

Saturday, November 28, 2009

48 Hours of Thanksgiving

How did you prepare yourself for the Thanksgiving holiday?

Studies consistently demonstrate that Americans under-prepare for the Thanksgiving festivities. While they devote significant energy toward preparation for the other major holidays, especially Christmas, Thanksgiving is relegated to the back-burner.

Thanksgiving is a culinary anomaly and it would behoove us to treat it as such. You wouldn't run a marathon without training. You wouldn't buy a car without checking the Car Facts report. I hope you wouldn't approach the Feast of Feasts without first preparing your GI tract.

Proper preparation for Thanksgiving begins 48 hours before the Feast and continues through the end of the munchie bonanza. You will want to make sure you don't have any significant social obligations before Thanksgiving and that you can devote the menu at every repast toward making the Thanksgiving Feast a successful experience.

48 Hours Before the Feast

INSTRUCTIONS: The key to the Feast diet is to enlarge your stomach while keeping it empty at the appointed time. This requires meal plans that enlarge the gut but allow for quick digestion. This means you want to be eating a lot of simple sugars. And you want to eat them quickly so that your stomach feels the need to expand. The day two days before Thanksgiving, eat two times. Eat a large meal around noon and eat an even larger one just before you go to bed. You will feel sick and probably won't sleep very well. Put these temporal pains aside by thinking about the wonderful Feast you will enjoy.

MY EXPERIENCE: It worked pretty much as explained. I had a plate of dough-nuts for the first meal and several plates of pasta for dinner. It felt as if someone had surgically inserted a bowling ball into my gut and my anti-bodies had been programmed not to reject it. But I slept okay and was ready for day two.

24 Hours Before the Feast:

INSTRUCTIONS: Eat a very small first meal. Starve yourself until dinner, then bomb your stomach with as much food as it will hold. Allow it to stretch some and bomb it again with second and third courses.

The purpose of this diet is to allow your stomach to empty (starvation) and then ensure that you keep it nicely enlarged for the Feast tomorrow (bombing).

MY EXPERIENCE: I attended a basketball game the day before Thanksgiving so I bombed my gut with three concession stand personal pizzas and two tubs of nachos. It was expensive, but worth it, until I noticed a teenage girl texting her boyfriend in front of me at the game. She had the gangly appearance of a Miley Cyrus fan who desperately wanted to be allowed to go to a Lady GaGa concert. She looked to be somewhere in vicinity of 16, but wore accessories and makeup to look older. I wasn't fooled: Her textgility revealed her youth. The correspondence went something like this:

Boyfriend: Yeah... [evidently referring to something previously texted]
Teenage girl: Why do u hav to be so short? Are u mad at me? Gosh, ur stressing me
BF: [after a pause] No. Chill.
TG: See? ur treating me like **** u havee no respek. im srsly worried about us
BF: Babe...w're coo. ur stressing me now.
TG: I think were done.

Et cetera.

I was watching this exchange with awe. I may have been witnessing this girl's first breakup. Over text no less! Although, in all probability, she had done this a thousand times and whoever "Travis" was on the other end of her conversation was just another innocent victim.

Anyway, watching the breakup reminded me of my own failings at love and took away my appetite. So I didn't go back for a fourth mini pizza.

Before the Feast

INSTRUCTIONS: Do not eat before the Feast.

MY EXPERIENCE: Easy enough. I used the time to recover from my concession stand food hangover.

During the Feast

INSTRUCTIONS: Go to town. Remember that every forkful of stuffing is three forkfuls of something else you can't eat.

MY EXPERIENCE: I liked the diet. I think I will avoid drama with teenage girls next year (always a good idea) and maybe see about what I can do 72 hours before the Feast...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Creeper 101

I try not to text in class. Except on days that end in "y".

This particular day, I got a facebook message that I read on my phone in the form of a text. To give a little background for the story, a guy sent me a facebook friend request in the first month of this semester. Since I didn't recognize him, I ignored it. I didn't think about it again... this happens pretty often. One day I got 2 friend requests from guys I don't know, one in Ghana, the other in Romania. Apparently I get around.

Yesterday he friend requested me again, and when I saw his picture I recognized who he was. I didn't remember ignoring him a few months ago. I accepted.

Ok, so I read the facebook message. And since I was bored (Chemistry at 8am tends to cause those feelings), I replied. The following story is an epic example of how NOT to get a girl's attention. So for all of you desperate bachelors out there, it might help you to grab a pen and paper and take some notes. Here's how the conversation shaped up:

Creeper: hey, what made you change your mind? Don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly okay with the fact that you did, I'm just curious.

Me: well, I get friend requests from guys I don't know fairly often, so if I don't recognize them I ignore them. but I recognized you this time. I think you're in my Psychology class and my brother dorm group. right?

Creeper: No its just the Psych class...unless you haven't been showing up to any of the brother/sister events. You're in Crawford hall, right?

Me: Nah, I'm in Bailey hall.

Creeper: dang it! honestly I couldn't remember which it was....I stalked you via the student database to get your last name and I had just forgotten if it was Crawford or Bailey. :-)

(Note: If a guy shamelessly admits to stalking a girl, normally we do NOT think this is cute. Multiple alarms go off in our head and we run for the hills faster than the Von Trapp family. At this point, I sent a text to ChaCha to ask "how do I deal with a stalker?" ChaCha replied: "The best way to deal with a stalker is to save any threatening messages or emails sent to you and present them to the police." That seems a little harsh.)

Me: why go to so much trouble for a friend request?

Creeper: wouldn't you like to know. it wasn't that much trouble. honestly for some reason you just stick out in our psych class so that was the reason i requested the first time and this time.

(Note: If a guy says a girl sticks out, that phrase had better be followed with a sincere compliment of explanation. It should not be left hanging like John Brown. I texted ChaCha again to ask, "How do you deal with a creeper?" ChaCha replied: "Call the cops and get a restraining order ASAP!!!!!! Be careful and Good Luck!!")

Me: I'm hoping I stick out in a good way, not simply cause I'm weird

Creeper: no, its totally because you are weird! all the way...lol jk, No its in a good way defiantly.

My roommate wants me to de-friend him. Unfortunately I think he actually is in my brother dorm so I'm supposed to be nice to him. But that's only if he can find me. I plan to do my best to blend in for a couple weeks until I don't stick out anymore.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

EPA Bans Water

In a recent ruling underlining the Obama administration's determination to stamp out rampant environmental devastation, the EPA ruled to ban water near cities, suburban areas, and within three hundred feet of schools.

"After classifying CO2 as a pollutant, we knew we were ready to go all the way with this thing," said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "It's time to take a stand against pollution, no matter how widespread it is."

Jackson pointed to numerous red flags suggested a ban, including water's dubious legacy as a chemical used by farmers to promote plant growth and the high concentrations found in acid rain. "If we're willing to ban a bunch of trace gases causing global warming, we may as well hit the problem where it really hurts."

The human body produces approximately 2.3 pounds of CO2 per day, but that's nothing compared to the rampancy of water. "It was the devastation of Hurricane Katrina that really pushed me over the edge," Jackson added. The EPA will submit reccomentations to Congress within the next few weeks on ways to reduce water emissions by evil industrial corporations.

Water has become so widespread in recent years due to reckless human behavior that it now covers 71% of the earth's surface and looms in ominous clouds over most of the planet. Agency officials unanimously agreed that the only way to put an end to the vicious water cycle (evapotranspiration, precipitation, and runoff) was to "nip this thing in the bud."

Said Jackson: "Think of the children." The coming weeks will show us just exactly what that means.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


I was more bored than usual in my milktoast philosophy class. To help make course material more real to her pupils, our instructor had assigned several of the readings as group presentation projects. It looked and sounded as if the group in front of us had read David Copperfield the night before and had all the understanding of that Classic that SparkNotes could provide. I hadn't moved in twelve minutes; my contact lenses were starting to dry against my stiff eyeballs. I was completely uninterested and wanted badly a frivolous distraction.

Around me students played thumb war with their phones. Some were texting, I am sure, sweet nothings to their squeezes. Others were setting up post class hangouts or commenting on the latest campus scandal -- a raunchy article about the University's first female President in the school newspaper. Still more were surfing the 40-year old Internet.

I was jealous. My QWERTY-slider phone was not Internet enabled. Sure, it was capable of downloading the WWW's latest fare, but doing so would cost me 10 cents for every impossibly slow turn of the globe icon. I had disabled Internet at the AT&T store as soon as I purchased it. Other students were using their parents' money to keep up on theI CANN regulated world. The guy to my right was staying abreast of the World Series game. He passed me score updates on his phone. The girl to my left was in the facebook world. Her occasional involuntary giggles demonstrated clearly that her mind was somewhere other than the Dickens presentation.

Everyone else was finding ways to entertain themselves! I couldn't think of any questions to ask Cha Cha, I'd played the pre-installed BowlerBash 3.0 demo several times that night and was not in the mood for three more minutes of TETRIS. I resented my phone as a mistake. I looked at it the way I looked at the burrito I'd ordered at lunch: a decision proved poor by 20/20 hindsight.
That's when it hit me like a Ray Lewis shoulder pad: my phone was not completely inept. Burried deep in its list of petty features was Bluetooth, an ambiguous feature who's utility I had not yet discovered.

Using my notebook to shield my phone from the instructor, who sat in pretend rapture staring almost catatonically at the powerpoint presentation, I navigated to the settings menu and enabled Bluetooth. Nothing happened.

I considered BowlerBash 3.0 for a split second before the screen went blank and a rotating globe avatar appeared. I wondered whether I would be charged 10 cents a spin but didn't care. It was my turn to be transfixed.

"Searching for new devices" the screen intoned. I was glad I had silenced my phone. A notification noise then would have stood out from the speakers' droning like a baby's scream in a Sunday sermon or a pretty face in a bar fight, I am undecided on similes.

Slowly a list of devices was populated. Apple, Blackberry, Palm, Motorola -- all the major phone brands were represented followed by official looking model numbers. These were the phones in this room!

Devious thoughts filled by head. I thought about the celebrities whose phones had been hacked and whose pictures had ended up on the Internet because of equipment like this. I always knew I had a future as someone who is paid to harass other people. This was a chance to perfect that skill.

With only a passing thought toward the ethical implications of my action, I selected an LG phone from near the top of the list.

A beat.

Then a password menu popped up. Cowabunga! It was asking for a PIN (not "PIN number," which is literally "Personally Identification Number number" but "PIN"). Although I had breezed by the ethics issues, Ipensed on this question. How much effort do people put into their PINs anyway? If I were a student setting up my phone and was asked to enter a PIN, I would probably punch 9999 and be done with it. So I pressed 9999.

Another beat.

The instructor's phone started buzzing, breaking her trance. She looked down at it and pressed a button to disable its vibration. I tried to look nonchalant, but inside I was screaming: I had just hacked the professor's phone!

I had access to everything. Pictures, addresses, call history, music and ring tones poured over my screen like cheese over a fondue pot.

Ethical pangs stabbed at my brain. The moral philosophies we discussed in class -- Deontology, virtue theory, categorical imperative, natural law -- were applied quickly. Criticisms from our reader popped into mind and I debated out the morality of my next decisions.

Ironically, it was my indecision that saved me from a big mistake because I was about to download the instructor's pictures when the class erupted in a loud applause signaling the presentation's conclusion. I disengaged the Bluetooth and wiggled out of the room as quickly as possible, denying the professor the eye contact she obviously sought.

If my professor doesn't adjust her PIN before next class, I am going to change her ring tone to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" and turn her volume to its highest setting.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

When to stop smiling

You just finished talking with a classmate in the library. You smile. Maybe it was a funny subject or perhaps you were smiling so that he would think you got the joke.

For whatever reason (see below), your cheeks crinkle up, your lips pull back so severely that your top lip threatens your nasal cavity and your natural dentures peak through the gap.

You've probably been holding this awkward pose for several seconds. Your psyche has clicked into red carpet mode and you are stuck.

You turn away from your friend to attend class and accidentally make eye contact with a pretty young woman who looks up from her studies at the wrong time.

You are still smiling even though the conversation that triggered your expression has ended.

She looks behind herself self-consciously, confirming in her mind that your grin is directed at her. And by the time she turns back around, you have straightened your features. But that's when she smiles back and the whole encounter repeats itself with you turning around.

It's awkward.

This exact scenario literally almost happened to me. I made up the fact that the woman was pretty and a few key details. But to draw a lesson from "I, Rigoberta MenchĂș," inaccuracies mustn't keep us from learning lessons.

The smile is, of course, a defensive expression. It is like brandishing a shield in conversation. When someone insults you terribly -- say, refers to your mother as a poorly bred monkey with gingivitis -- you smile. Your expression protects you from harsh words and allows you a moment to recover before responding (it takes a second to "unsmile," especially if you are Nancy Pelosi or John Edwards, for whom the act of grinning requires several minutes of warmup and stretching). If a hoodlum holds you up, the IRS calls or you misplace your shoes in someone's fridge, the textbook reaction is to smile.

When you fail to timely remove the grin, it's like walking down main street porting a buckler on your arm. Everyone will wonder why you have a hand-to-hand combat defense tool and will want one of their own. If they have one handy, they will remove it to demonstrate preparedness.

That's why the woman at the library smiled back. Seeing that I was armed with a toothy grin, she returned the expression and showed that she was similarly equipped.

Yes lady, you do have teeth.

But you (reader, not lady) do not want to cause smiling arms races. They are wastes of people's cheek energy and can threaten those without good smiles.

How would you feel if the entire village were having a buckler parade and you had gotten rid of yours in a garage sale? Pretty miserable, I'll wager: Everyone takes to the streets in a display of shield firepower and you have to loiter defenselessly.

And you are conspicuously absent. (Conversation in street. Bystander with buckler (BWB)1: "Where's reader?" BWB2: "I don't know, he sold me this sweet buckler, though!")

Those who think they have bad smiles often return grins with blank stares or threatening looks. They feel threatened by your smile. They know that you are a better defensive conversationalist because they see your gleaming pearly whites.

If you threaten enough with your grin, people will take counter measures. They may work on their own smile -- visit an orthodontist, invest in whitening creams or schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon (the modern day blacksmith).

Or they may go on the offensive and try to ruin your smile. Many barnyard tools will accomplish this; shovels, hoes, pitchforks and sledgehammers will all do a number on your smile.

Dentists and orthodontists benefit whether your friends choose the defensive (whitening) or offensive (shovel) approach. But you might have a preference.

I don't mean to scare you. But I think you should at least consider the dangers the next time you smile at a stranger. Or the next time you smile at a farmer. Or the next time he smiles back.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Welcome to the all-new FCN

It's bigger, it's badder, it's ...

Okay, it's not. Unless badder counts for being worse. Like ... 80% worse.

Here at FCN, we've always taken a sort of pride in our mediocrity. We're a vastly inferior blog with bad layout, poor taste, and tacky ideas. Basically the only thing we ever had going for us was post frequency. We've given you about 800 posts in the last few years: enough humorous content with which - by means of fire - to roast more than a few marshmallows.

In a recent FCN team meeting which we did not tape or video, we came to an important decision. Here are the notes, which were kept by the copiously attentive F:

FCN TEAM MEETING LATE OCTOBER TOO LAZY TO CHECK EXACT DATE Role call. Everyone present. Mommy G does not approve of N's dating behaviors. N is a very sorry little boy. Haha to you, N. Whats her face wants to post less often. Sounds cool to me. Instead of voting, let's play Halo.

What that means, for those of you who are unaccustomed to the complex formatting and lingo of meeting minutes, is this: we can't keep posting 5 times a week. It's burning us out. We need oue beauty sleep, and we need to wake up in time to get our nails done and our cereal poured. Time is of the essence, and it today's fast-moving world no one has enough.

We don't have time to write a bunch of posts each week, and you don't have time to read them. So let's simplify.

Starting immediately, we hereby reneg on all previous promises of constant content. You may no longer depend on us for a post EXCEPT on one day: Saturday. Saturday is a very special day. On it, we will - you know - post something. So come back then. And if you wanna come back between, you have 800 posts to catch up on. We're sure you missed a few here and there.

We love you, our faithful FCN reader(s). Lots and lots. Hearts! Please don't leave us. Just come to terms with the new distance in the relationship. Okay? Okay.

PS. Welcome back!