Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bad decision Wednesday (and Quaker Oats)

Today, I made a series of poor decisions which only compounded themselves. Below is a brief chronicle of how my day continually spiralled downward (literally at one-point, locked in a staircase spiralling downward).

My day began ominously as I had a required event at 7 am. For the individual who usually has literally nothing required on his schedule, this was quite a chock to my system. 

In order to prepare effectively, I set my alarm for an early 6 am wake up, which I subsequently ignored until 6:14 (Bad Decision #1). In a rush to get in and out of the shower, I made a quick mental inventory of my morning routine which I would not participate in (Note, because I rarely leave my house before noon, I had quite an extensive amount of paring down to do). I immediately eliminated anything taking place after I was dressed (including preparing and enjoyiong a delicious bowl of steaming hot oatmeal garnished with a generous sprinkling of Domino brown sugar. This was Bad Decision #3; Although it had no direct fallout, I think that the impaired decision making from this point on was a result of Quacker Oats deficiency).

I also eliminated shaving from my routine (Bad Decision #2; fallout of BD #1). A few minutes later I am sitting in line at said required event, waiting for my number to be called (literally and figuratively). When I finally am ushered into the official prep room for my "Respirator Fit Testing" (read: glorified how-to on how to put a simple mask on your mouth). However, as our lovely assistant was passing out masks, she hesitated by me, look scrutinizing at my chin, and stretched a skeptical index finger towards my face. She proceeeded to gently push on the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. Literally. She then informed be that because I was not clean shaven, I could not participate in the fitting (What? I swear these masks came in small, medium and large. I promise my man-stubble will not interfere with the proper generic sizing of my mask).

Nevertheless, I obliged, left my group behind me, and proceeded to exit the building. Feeling, limber, I decided that I should climb down the four stories (BD #4) instead of taking the elevator because I am still a young buck (okay, so I got lost and couldn't find the elevators. Sue me, I didn't get my morning sustenance). Once in the stairwell, I quickly realized, this was not an ordinary stairwell. That is, I could get down to the third floor, no lower, and I passed a door that clearly led out to a rooftop terrace (and I'm not talking about one that would likely have a pleasant view in Italy. Like the little Red Bar on the door kind).

Anyways, I tried to exit on the second floor. Of course, the door was locked. I tried the third floor. Locked. The fourth floor, from which I entered. Locked. Luckily, there were some uber-strange hallways connected to the third floor. I walked down the hallway (yes, there was a weird hallway in this parallel stairwell universe) continually waiting to get mugged. Finally I found a door that would open into the back of what looked like a physicians office on the third floor. Fearing I would end up Being John Malcovich, I stepped through the door and found my way to the elevator bank.

Oh, that I would my adventure be over. I found the elevators, gleefully stepped on, and travelled to floor number 1 (BD #5, not really my fault though). Anyways, once on the bottom floor, I realized. Hmmm, either I ended up way far away from where I started, or I am not on the floor I want to be on. I think the tunnel resembling the sort of thing you travel between airline terminals in should have been a give-away.

To bring a rambling story to the end, I finally ended up finding another stairwell, which I hesitantly entered and found my way to the lobby after a few brief embarrasin run-ins: 1) you know those bloody hospital doors, that you have to press a button before you open them? Yeah, well sometimes its not crystal clear exactly what one should do. 2) Anytime you are dressed in street clothes and have to travel through a hallway where everyone else is dressed in surgical scrubs (and those dang masks that I had too much stubble to be fit for) its probably bad news. I suggest averting eye-contact and running towards aforementioned door.

Finally, I made my way into the daylight and had a moment, pretty much identical to Andy's after obtaining his Shawshank Redemption (well, minus the rain, feces, and shoes in a plastic bag).

Nonetheless, I learned my lesson today. And that is, of course, when a Quaker offers you a delicious bowl of hot, steamy, quasi-liquid/quasi-solid hearty goodness, you do not turn him down. And if you do, prepare to face his wrath.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The e-mail signature

I understand the necessity of the automatic footer at the bottom of the e-mails that people send out. Occasionally, it is nice to have their tittle, phone number, fax number, e-mail (even though they literally just sent you the message its at the bottom of, though I guess its nice for the absolutely resource-less), home phone number, address, and a smattering of other details that could be adequately summed up as superfluous.

One phenomenon I don't understand is the quote at the bottom of the paragraph summary of your life in bullet form. That is, I'm all about living with a mantra, heck, I have phrases I thoroughly enjoy and may even utter unnecessarily when the situation warrants it. Yet, I don't lay them after the stocatto discourse of my life's locus at the bottom of the e-mail.

Today, I received an e-mail with the tagline "fortune favors the bold" or something of the like. As a phrase, I like it. But the implications of that are serious. That is, if I ever meet this faceless e-mailer, he better be the boldest guy ever. In fact, I hope that I don't even need to introduce myself, I can just be like, "hey, uber-gutsy guy. I think you sent me an e-mail once." I just think a phrase at the end of an e-mail would be a  burden I don't want to carry.

Next up, I'm going to take some swings at bumper stickers. Because its waaaay easier to sit back here and nitpick from a blog than actually do something productive.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I am reminded of one thing: People are crazy. Not that I exclude myself from the masses, because I am included in the craziness. 

That said, I haven't left my house (which is less than a mile away from probably the busiest mall in the greater metro-Detroit region, purely based on my speculation). I don't want to leave my house. Yet, I know I will end up heading to at least one store today.

As much as I like to sneer at the tradition, the reality is, this is another tradition that I just don't get. And I like to make an effort to "get it." So this year, I will go with my sister to REI and Barnes and Noble because I like those stores.

I've made the mistake in the past of trying to go to one of the busier stores to experience the day. All I end up experiencing is chaos. If I go to a mall, I find myself endlessly circiling the cosmetics mirrors trying to find my way out of the perfumerie onslaught and getting into the actual mall. Eventually, I fail and retire back to my car to sit in mall traffic.

My other tactic has been to try one of the independent stores (i.e. not part of an internal mall), such as Kohl's. When I went clothes shopping Kohl's was my destination of choice. However, on the day after Thanksgiving, I would usually select one item I thought would be good to purchase, walk towards the register, realize purchasing the $10 four-pack of uber-nice socks would cost me not only Alexander Hamilton's likeness, but part of my soul (as I waited in line for hours, and attempted not to let the 17 year-old female conversations drive me insane).

But the reason why I can't exclude myself from the craziness is because I feel like Black Friday (which term I just learned two years ago) is a cultural rite of passage. Something everyone simultaneously hates, complains about, gets fired up for, and in some form or another deliberately participates or non-participates.

So when that pile of ad sits on my kitchen table, I can't help but rifle through them. I find myself desiring to purchase peacoats and accent rugs that I know I'd never actually use. I'll peruse the Parisian ad, before devouring the deliciously stimulating ABC Warehouse ad/sensory onslought on newspaper form (the Parisian to ABC Warehouse transition is like reading the National Enquirer after the New Yorker, by the way).

All that to say: I don't get this day. I don't want to get it. But when its all said and done, I need to take a brief foray into the estrogen-driven madess (thats right, I had to slip in a sexist shopping reference) just to remind myself why I shouldn't feel like I am missing out when I am sitting on my couch watching bottom-tier college football today. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Razors and Blades

Note: Yeah, thats right: I'm going three-for-three in a pre-holiday posting Bonanza.

Throghout the nation, when every young man reaches his official manhood recognition day (none in some circles as the eighteenth birthday) he recieves two things. Number one: A razor from the Gillete Company, a subsidory of the Proctor and Gamble monolith. Number two: A draft card. If I'm in the business world, I jump on the former's philosophy.

I've used a Mach 3 razor for seven plus years now. Why? Because I got one free on the day when I was able to legally obtain lottery tickets and cigarettes. I'm not sure of much else, other than that I've flirted with other brands, fives blades, electric, battery, and going months without shaving (always a better sounding idea than in practice).

However, I, like every man, realized at some point that I am forking over a lot of money on razor blades that I'm not sure is a sound investment. Meanwhile, the Gillete (or P & G) is trying to get me to upgrades so I can slab a couple extra plades on my razor and a couple extra points on their dividend returns. In order to combat this affront, I don't switch razor blades. No, I just use the same one longer. Which doesn't say a whole lot about me, nor the compelling nature of advertisements aimed at the man who desires a close shave.

Anyways, I think George Orwell was on to something when the primary scarce commodity in his groundbreaking 1984 was razorblades. Let's be honest, in my world, they are already a scarce commodity. Also, the coincidence that you get your razor and selective service card around the same time seems eerily ironic. I guess you're always going to be serving the man, one way or the other (or else hairy, but seriously, who wants that?).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Productivity Enhancement

I know of only one sure-fire method to ensure that I will accomplish a task that I have been putting off forever. The only option: Put something I want to do less ahead of it on my internal to-do list.

I'm not sure how everyone else functions, but I have a relatively unidimensial sense of obligation. That is, I can only do one thing at a time, and I'm not even great at doing that well (see the April 27 poset on multitasking). However, what I am pretty good at is doing something other than my primary task. Case in point, I hadn't updated this blog in months, and I had some sort of mild desire to do so, but not enough motivation to actually sit down and type something out. Then, next thing you know, I have three tests in three days and I suddenly have the inspiration and motivation to post on my elderliness and distractability. Unbelievable.

Hopefully, some day, I can just have something really miserable that I have to do looming over my head so that I can do all the other stuff that I kind of want to do, but don't quite get around to. On second thought, lets just hope I learn to complete the task at hand. With that, the books.

Monday, November 24, 2008

How to Age instantaneously

I turned twenty-five last week (or pretty close to it). I know: old. I've already had the obligatory stereotypical conversation with my friends about random aches and pains, worrying about IRA's and healthcare, and friends getting married and having kids (yeah, I'm old, but that is seriously old business I don't even know how to do with). Anyways, I did think back to a few events that I have participated in that should sufficiently qualify me for AARP membership:

1) Attended a condo assocation meeting. Yeah, for my building, not like I dropped in on Grandma's to determine what color the tableclothes would be at her nursing home's Thanksgiving Dinner. I'm not sure whether I should be happy about this or depressed.

2) Drove a Buick. Again, not exactly my Grandfather's. I mean, it was his .  . . then he sold it to me . . .and then he purchased I swear the exact same vehicle with a different shade of upholstery. Anyways, I try not to think of the Century as an elderly man's vehicle so much as an accomplished man's. I mean really, old people have done a lot of stuff. I'm just glad to be among their ranks.

3) Participated in leisure activities. I'm not gonna lie, horshoes, bags (cornhole), and the like are about as much excitement as I desire. Sure I play intramural basketball and such, but really its just something to be ready for shuffleboard season.

4) Reminesced way too much. I can't count the number of times I've had the following conversation with a college roommate, high school teammate, or the like:
Guy 1: Dude, remember (insert year in school here) when we (insert activity such as golf here) every (insert day here)
Guy 2: Yeah, that was awesome
Guy 1: Yeah, yeah it was.

5) Wait a second . . . what was this last item supposed to be again?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A window into life in the D

I really hate to write this post. There is enough in the national media that makes Detroit look like a ridiculous city with ridiculous people in charge, but living in Detroit is undeniably a unique experience. The public (especially Michigan's) perception of Detroit is extremely unfavorable, and largely blown out of proportion. I have not have any incident where I feared for my safety and the city is full of largely underpatronized quality restaurants, bars, etc.
However, all that said, some of the stereotype about Detroit's government rings true. I received a property tax bill for a bit more than I believe it should have been. Here is the story, in chronological order of what happened:

1) I called the city tax office. Twice. Three times. Four, five, six.

2) I show up at the city tax office. I am informed that I am correct and my taxes should be lower.

3) I go to a second office hoping to get the tax adjusted. There is literally no one in the office. I walk up to the desk. The clerk tells me to take a number. I take 37. Immediately, she looks at the "now serving" window and calls 37. I am in disbelief. She informs me that it should be adjusted, I just need to wait.

4) I leave satisfied, but not entirely convinced. I walk fifty feet away. I turn around.

5) I go back to the first office, just to double check as long I was there. A new clerk informs me that I am correct, however, an auditor needs to adjust my account. She informs me that I cannot visit his office, I need to call to make an appointment. She gives me the number and says ominously "if you don't get a hold of him, keep on trying."

6) I call the office. No answer. Voicemail. Mailbox full. Transfered to attendant. Attendant is not available and does not have voicemail setup. Goodbye.

7) I call the office again. Same thing.

8) I go to the second office again. Take a number. Wait 0.0002 seconds. Number is called. I ask if she knows where I can contact the auditor I need to talk to. She does not know. She says his office is on the same floor as the first office. I walk around that floor. I see a room of cubicles. I debate going in. I do not.

9) I call again. Voicemail-full-attendant-goodbye.

10) I repeat step nine literally one hundred times. I try other numbers and after waiting on hold give up.

11) Finally, in a last ditch effort I google this guys name and the word "Detroit assessor" in hopes of finding an e-mail or another number to try.

12) I receive two hits. Neither of them are contact information. They are news stories about this guys recent arrest and indictment. Son of a . . .

13) Since then, I have paid my overrated taxes, with the assurance I will get a refund when it is all straightened out, but have not yet been able to get a hold of anyone. I need to go back and walk around the city office building again.

Meanwhile . . .the former mayor was sentenced to jail time, the city council is under investigation by the FBI, the biggest project in the city stalled last week, someone slashed my tire in the parking garage, and nearly every major freeway in and out of Detroit is closed or barely open.

All that said, I love the city and am glad to be living here. Plus, I just painted my condo, like I'm gonna move.

Seriously though, Detroit is a great place to live, despite the unique issues.

Monday, September 29, 2008

2 Life Changing Occurences

1 ) HD Revolution. I have previously written about my magical television which receives pirated TV shows that I suspect my neighbors are watching. Since moving back to Detroit, this has ceased, but for a while I was still receiving the local channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and whatever the CW is calling themselves thisd week) in HD. I also was receiving HD-theatre and ESPN in HD. However, this week, the ESPN HD signal was lost. I cannot begin to explain the monumental crisis this caused me. To understand the crisis, I need to first explain the transformation that occured.
When I purchased my television, and realized the wonder that was in HD I began by flipping back and forth between the HD signal and normal signal and marvelling and the powder flakes that the news anchor's makeup left. However, soon there was no switching back-and-forth: I was solely in HD. To this day, I do not know my channel lineup, but I do know which stations I get in HD. For a while, I received Tigers games in HD without sound, and it was a serious dilemna whether the lack of audio was worth the amelioration of video. Needless to say, I watched sports without announcers for months. However, this weekend, I was forced to watch the Michigan State Spartans play Indiana University in traditional, analog quality.
The issue isn't really that the picture is that bad, its just that on my 13" LCD screen, the extra size that HD offers is monumental.

2) Perhaps not-uncoincidentally (hows that for an ambigious double negative), I also have developed a strong affinity for golf. Watching golf that is (and yes, I just aged thirty years before your eyes). Maybe its the clarity with which I can now read greens, but I can't get enough of the PGA tour. To the point where when I flip to the golf tournament on Sundays while the NFL games are on commercials, I actually know when there has been a change in the leaderboard (because I started watching the tournament at 7 am on Thursday via the Golf channel . . .go ahead, tack on another fifteen years to my age right there). I also have developed the embarrasing tendancy to yell "oooh" after a close-miss and have people look at me as if I just reacted emphatically to watching paint dry (which I might, if it were presented in HD). Anyways, the expansion of my sporting viewership to golf (and I even more sheepishly admit, that I can name at least four NASCAR drivers), I am no never without a sport to watch on TV.

Alas, I should get going because its after 8 and I should be in bed. Does anyone know where I can get some Centrum Silver?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Top 4 things that made me angry today

Today, was an angry day. I'm not sure why I woke up angry, but frankly, delving into the cause may cause me to be something other than angry, which is not near as fun. So without further adieu, ado, or whatever word correctly goes there (see, I'm even too angry to use google to look up the right word and pretend I know what's going on) here are the top 5 things, that didn't cause my anger, but surely fanned the proverbial flames.

4) Waking up on the wrong side of the bed. No, seriously. Well, not really, I actually may be one of the few people that wake up and then decide which way to roll out of bed. Its a nice luxury to have. However, when thinking about my anger, the cliche "I guess I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed" resonated through my head countless times. Really, Doyle? You couldn't just say you had a case of the Wednesdays and be done with it? You had to talk to yourself like a third grader and then continue to do so on your blog post. Speaking of which, I spent an hour today in a third grade classroom, and luckily, nothing there angered me. I mean, who can get angry at hilarious youths even with morning directional disorientation (much better).

3) The guy who cut in front of me to get lab gloves today. This one is just a universal pet peeve. Seriosuly, you didn't notice the fifteen kids lining up to get gloves so we don't catch streptococcus (I must be less angry now, I just spell-checked streptococcus). Not that I was going to call you out, because honestly, I really don't care if it takes me ten extra seconds to get my gloves . . . wait a second, obviously I do, or I wouldn't be writing about it on a blog post.

2) Whoever invented the concept that meat thaws in the refrigerator overnight. Seriously, not once have I put something in the fridge the night before and gone to make dinner the next day to find anything but a solid chunk of ice, with some soft edges where it has began to thaw. I swear someone once told me that you should thaw meat overnight and be fine. I don't care if experience has proved me wrong here countless times, I will still continue to try this and get angry when it doesn't work. I better wrap this up, because my four-pound pork tenderloin may actually be at room temp now.

1) The amount of detail in my viral meningitis lecture notes. Seriously? I am not one to whine incessantly about medical school (just medical students), but come on. I don't ever think it will be useful for me as a clinician to know what family of genus of virus of kingdom of phylum of species of . . .of (okay, so obviously, I'm not big on knowing the classification system of things biological). And as such, I take out my frustration by deciding, I'll show Prof X, I'm not going to learn his crap. To which, the lovely world of karma responds with, fine by me, enjoy your next year of life repeating Microbiology.

Anyways, I feel much better. Really, I'm not that angry, I just wanted some fodder for a blog post and this worked out well.

Besides, who could be angry on the day Matt Millen* got fired
*Agreed to be the worst GM in football who happened to make personell decisions for my beloved Detroit Lions for the last few years.

Also, my pork tenderloin is done thawing and I'm about to enjoy deliciousness. Hunger 1, Anger 0.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The five best things about grocery shopping

In an attempt to stay consistent (that is start a new series for a couple posts to abandon it later), I thought I'd post on one domestic-esque activity that I cannot get enough of: The grocery run.

5) Probably the best thing about being a medical student is that I can choose when to do my grocery shopping. Today, after a leisurely lunch, I set out for suburbia (because Detroit has no real grocery stores, just liquor stores boasting a "full line of groceries" consisting of a shelf of easy-mac) in search of groceries. I strolled through the isles younger than my fellow shoppers by at least thirty years (and when I say strolled, I mean waited eternally behind a series of rascal scooters each taking copious amounts of time dissecting the nuances of Worcestershire sauce brands). On a side note, how the heck is "Worcestershire sauce" pronounced the way it is. However, it is very pleasant to spend the day amongst the elderly.

4) The impulse buys. I usually go grocery shopping for the sole reason that I have run out of eggs, milk, butter, yogurt, and anything besides dry lentils for like two weeks. However, instead of purchasing only those things which I consume regularly, in the grocery store, I decide to broaden my horizons. Which is to say, that the advice "never go shopping hungry" should be extended to "never go shopping when you have had nothing to eat but long grain rice and black beans for two weeks" because the most preposterous items look good. For example, today I came home with four different packages of bacon and sausage (yeah, the kind that comes in the tube that you push out like you would cookie dough).

3) The non-impulse buys, that are equally as ridiculous. Inevitably, once I run out of milk and eggs for the week, I decide to see if I can spice up the remnants of my cabinets into something edible. So I look for niche recipes involving beans and rice that do not taste like beans and rice. And the delicious sounding recipes are abundant. The problem is, they all involve ingredients that I do not posses, such as: Worchestershurshursire sauce, red wine vinegar, oregano, molasses, etc. And instead of writing the recipes off as a lost cause, instead, I think to my self "dang it, Brian, if only you had apple cider vinegar, you wouldn't be eating a plate of some dry good covered in ketchup." So, when I arrive at the grocery store, I have a list filled with niche spices that Rachel Ray hasn't even heard of. And I buy them for the sole reason that I never, ever want to be caught without dark corn syrup ever again.

2) The looks from other shoppers. So, I'd be lying if I led you to believe that my cart was filled with cooking spices and niche ingredients. No, my cart may have those as a baselayer, before I give in and start searching for crap I can turn into delicious sustinence* (maybe my favorite phrase ever) nearly instantaneously. In other words, I fill the rest of my cart with meat. I begin very selectively only buying the chicken parts that are on sale for a reasonable price, before giving in and openning the gauntlet. The end result being, I currently have four bags of chicken, two "tubes" of sausage," two pounds of ground beef, three frozen pizzas (guilty pleasure. Scratch that, innocent pleasure), one package lean cut bacon, one package thick-cut-full-slab-heart-attack-in-shrink-wrap-bacon-deliciousness, two bags of talapia (they were on sale), various other odds and ends frozen, as well as a delicious three-pound pork tenderloin thawing in my refridgerator next two twenty-four eggs(I recently read a study that vegetarians have smaller brains. No joke, they are missing B12). Sorry, I got side tracked recounting my deliciousness. Point being, I have to fit all that into my tiny cart that was made for single mom's cooking for themselves. By the end of my trip, I have usually lost a wheel from the corner of my cart and have resorted to dragging the cart along, carefully ensuring nothing from the mound atop my cart slides out and into the abyss of isle twelve.

1) Without a doubt, the best part about grocery shopping, is the thirty minutes following the complete unloading of the trunk. That is, the point at which I sit down to enjoy a deliciously prepared meal of delicacies I haven't seen in close to a month. Today I enjoyed a peach, yogurt, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs (with milk), and green tea upon my return. And I haven't even started preparing for dinner. The only problem is, in the same way that I foolishly waste laundry detergent and shampoo when I have a full bottle, I will use far too much of my delicacies in the first week leaving myself with rice, beans, paprika, and cumin for the next three weeks until I finally break down and repeat the delightful cycle again. God Bless Supermarkets.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Top 10 reasons why doing laundry is "not as good*"

*'Not as good' is a phrase used amongst one of my groups of friends because it was the way a prior gym instructor advised using constructive criticism. For example, an airball wouldn't be a bad shot, it would be rendered "not as good." Don't worry, after using the phrase for months, I have eliminated the desire to finish the sentence " . . . not as good" with "as (insert generic item here)" I'm content to just leave "not as good" hanging in the air. Its almost more insulting. Anyways, here's why doing laundry sucks:

10) currently, piles of clothing sorted by colors (white and everything else) and temp (cold/stuff I like and hot/stuff I don't care about or is swaeaty) are taking up my entire bedroom floor and severely impairing my ability to practice swinging a golf club while studying. Guess I'll have to finish the laundry before I can get back to studying

9) Seriously, if I have to go looking for quarters one more time (note: I do not have to do this because I have in unit washer/dryer. Which is even huger than I expected. Not large, just emotionally huge)

8) On a related note that I no longer have to deal with - Hanging insufficiently dried clothes all over my room because I will not "give in to the man" and pay 75 cents twice to dry my socks.

7) I have to ask my self, "when the heck did I wear this T-shirt?" before answering, "you didn't jack-ass, you just threw it in the hamper because you didn't want to fold it." That tactic worked waaaay better when my mom did my laundry

6) Seriously, do you know how long it takes to do six loads of laundry? The down side of having my own unit is that I unesseciarily sort items into color/temp instead of just cramming everything I could into the washer to save on precious quarters. The result: It literally takes me like eight hours to do laundry. The bonus: I have enough socks that I only do laundry like once every two months. God bless sandals.

5) Can they invent a dryer that does not shut-off right when my clothes are "almost dry." The difference between almost dry and dry is the differences between smelling slightly moldy and smelling like spring breeze or whatever flavor bounce sheet was on sale.

4) Okay, this may really be a reason why doing laundry is good, but seriously, is there anything better than putting on a item of freshly dried warm clothing. If someone could event the equivalent of a toaster, so that I could simultaneously prepare a delicious crusty morning apetite stimulator and a wonderful slightly warmed, but still soft, cottony body warmer, I would be in heaven. Now if we could only find the laundry equivalent of coffee, I may be rich.

3) How is it that I perpetually seem to be "almost out" of laundry detergent. Do they just fill the bottom eighth of those bottles, forcing me to swear I can eek out "just one more load" time and time again? Answer: No, you jack-ass, you just buy a new bottle, and fill the cup up to the "heavily-soild, massive laundry load composed of metallic substances" line, until you realize you are almost out and then fill it to the "I hope you are doing a load of laundry consisting of one sock, crew length" line for the rest of the month.

2) I am forced to question my manhood everytime I do laundry and realize I have waaaaaay more clothes than I realized. In fact, the only reason I am ever made aware of the truth that I have more than five shirts is on laundry day.

1) The only thing worse than doing laundry, is the folding of the laundry. Seriously, if you can find me a dryer to fold my clothes, I swear I would pay big money. Not that I fold my clothes now, it would just be nice to wake up one day and put on a shirt that did not make me look like I assembled the interior wrappings of a gift bag (read: tissue paper) into a garment.

On that note, I'm impressed that I actually came up with ten reasons, and will give myself the day off until I have cleared my golf playing surface for studying.

Mmmmm warm sweatpants . . .

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Slave to our passions - A confession (no not like that)

Note: The following is unfortunately not a discourse on Paul's letter to the Romans, or anything like that, its much more superficial but I found it interesting enough to post here, eh?

So, I have a confession to make. You know that guy responding with wit and humor to your textual queries (and if you haven't yet used ChaCha, you need to)? Yeah, that may or may not have been me. For about a month now I have been answering questions for ChaCha, for minuscule pay, for no other reason than I wanted to figure out how it worked.

However, last night, I had a realization. I could answer a limited number of ChaCha questions a day, every day, every month, and thus pay-off my cable AND internet bills. So starting last night and today I have dutifully logged time answering questions (including "who will be president" twice), giving various weather reports, suicide counseling (that's always scary), and responding to the ever quizzical "is your [insert slang for female genitalia here] shaven?"

More interesting than the querries, is the realization that I was in fact living out the irony of the American Dream. That is, in order to afford internet, I needed to sacrifice about a half hour a day to earn enough to pay for it. And since I now need the internet for school and work, of course it has become indespensible.

On a related note, I have further combined business with pleasure in my new studying method. That is, for correctly memorizing three facts and reciting them aloud, alone, to myself, in my apartment, I reward myself with the privelage of smoking a foam golf ball with any iron (or fairway wood if I'm feeling frisky) of my choosing.

Anyways, I should probably get back to either answering questions from random strangers or hitting my pitching wedge. Now what can I reward myself with for a sucessfull blog post . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Besides being the name of a fantastic television show, something Beyonce don't want none of, and what a maid does to the floor, "scrubs" are also an essential wardrobe ensemble for the medical profession. You could even consider scrubs the great equalizer; nurses, doctors, techs, physician's assistants, medical assistants, and virtually every other title in the medical profession dons this apparel in one setting or another. Of course, this begs the question: Why are scrubs the one apparel item that don't appear to have been updated since the 1960's?

I mean, if someone to show up in a suit from before 1980, it would be recognizable because the tie would likely be thinner than my pinky, but if someone rolled in with old scrubs I don't think I'd ever notice. The fact is, I've never seen pre-1980 scrubs, but they just seem like a relic. I know that they are extremely functional, not uncomfortable, and at least for nurses, seem a bit more professional than the classic white pleated tennis skirt thing.

However, there are a few unwritten rules for scrubs that I don't understand. They are listed
below in order of decreasing confoundment (that is, the things I understand least are at the top).

Scrub Rule Number One:

"If you are going to have any sort of icon or image on your scrubs, it must a) appear only on the upper 'shirt' portion of the outfit and b) be repeated at least 14,298 times"

My analysis: Why, oh why, do cartoon characters need to be tiled across this garment hundreds of times? I mean, if you are trying to cheer up children, I swear one whinny the pooh will do as many wonders as the eight hundred currently unflatteringly occupying your front, backside, sleeve, and armpit. I am yet to see a single image larger than a quarter on any scrub outfit. Instead cartoons, butterflies, polka-dots, and any other random (yes random) image. Which brings us to . . . .

Scrub Rule Number Two:

"Your scrubs shall not bear any image or representation of anything medical (i.e. a stethoscope, a red cross) barring the exception of a pink heart repeated hundreds of times because they are cute. Furthermore, anything else normally seen such as stripes, different colored sleeves, a small pocket sized logo, and everything that does not fall into the category of 1980 cartoons, fourth-grade female versions of a heart, geometric shapes, or other cutesy things that would be doodled on the pages of a pre-pubescent love struck girl."

Analysis: Pretty self explanatory. I have seen NFL scrubs with a classy single logo on the chest, but those clearly do not conform to these standards. Furthermore, I've seen a couple guys wearing what I call "european" scrubs bucking the next rule with a sort of rounded not-V but not-crew neck and the little slits at the bottom to make them look sort of like they have flares. And while maybe allowable, these scrubs are clearly questionable on a guy. Not that there is anything wrong with that question being answered in the affirmative, it just raises the question.

Scrub Rule Number Three:

"We don't do crew necks"

Anaylsis: Maybe my experience in the scrub world is limited (it undoubtedly is) but seriously, I know the V-neck white T-shirt is strangely trendy right now, but every once and a while it would be nice if I could refrain from "oozing muchismo" in the form of chest hair from the vertex of my V-ed scrubs. It seems more sanitary also.

Scrub Rule Number Four:

"The drawstring to the pants must be exchangable with a shoelace from clown shoes"

Analysis: Maybe this was just my summer experience, but seriously, every time I grabbed a pair of hospital provided scrubs, I had to tie this mammoth knot because the drawstring was as thick as those shoe laces kids practice with on fake cardboard shoes.

Scrub Rule Number Five:

"Under no circumstances are you to be wearing scrubs without some of the accompanying footwear: Crocs, Nike Shox, Dansko Clogs, or maybe Easy Spirts"

Analysis: Seriously, are Nike shox that much more comfortable. Your telling me some Asics wouldn't do the trick? And guys, seriously, I know the Dansko shoes say male on the box, but the size of the sole (and the fact that its a CLOG) says otherwise. Crocs may be the least safe shoe option short of Tevas. I do like Easy Spirits though. I just thought I should throw the over fifty nurses a bone, eh?

Scrub Rule Number Six:

"The following colors are the only acceptable colors: fuscia, vomit green, hot pink (in pants), electric blue, electric green, and anything else that can be found at either a) the glow sticks of a rave party, b) holding a girls hair in a pony tail in the 1980s, or c) gracing the pages of a textbook demonstrating a students added assessment of importance (aka a highlighter)"

Analysis: Ok, I know there are some exceptions; I have seen grey black, navy blue, but the vast majority of scrub colors either shout "HEY I AM IN NEED OF ATTENTION BECAUSE OF MY BRIGHTLY COLORED AND UNFLATTERING CLOTHING" or "I LOOK LIKE VOMIT." Why is that green the customary green color. What happened to white being the image of sterility. I mean, I know the drawbacks are transparent, but seriously. And of course the Whinny the Pooh scrub tops are invariably paired with hot pink scrub pants. I don't get it.

Whew, maybe I waxed a little too philisophically for everyone's good there. I mean, I really don't care what people wear, it just seems like they could make improvements on something so ubiquitous. I guess, however, making something so universally ill-fitting levels the playing field. Scrubs may be the great eqaulizer. What an ideal. Hmm, I guess they may be ahead of their time after all. Besides, I guess anything I can wear at work and then change into at home to sleep in for comfort, shouldn't warrant my complaining.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Black Box

My parents purchased me an incredible Flat Panel LCD television as a gift last year. Apparently, there was an irresistible deal at Target for a 19" LCD TV with a DVD player built in. Despite some shortcomings (including the fact that the DVD player features a blue bubble thing that persistently sticks out of the side of the television), the TV features some miraculous abilities.
Most notably, the television can not only receive HD signals, but it can seemingly extract them from unauthorized sources. That is, I have never purchased the HD package my cable company offers, but consistently receive all of the local stations in HD (in case I ever want to see the Ft. Wayne anchor's facial creases), as well as some other random HD stations. And I do actually mean random.
I initially set up my television at my parents house in Detroit's outlying suburbia. Much to my surprise I could watch the Tigers in HD on Fox Sports Net Detroit HD. I also could tune in to some miscellaneous movies on the higher channels. The television downstairs had no such access to these channels; I reasoned it was because it lacked the HD tuner.
At my downtown Detroit residence, I likewise installed the television, along with my roommates TV (a 42" flat panel his brother loaned him while he was out of the country, yeah, I know ridiculous, right?). Now I was able to get ESPN HD but my Fox Sports Net HD did not have sound, and seemed to be on different channels every night. My roommates much more expensive TV still could not receive any of these channels despite its HD capability.
Finally, I was lounging at my desk one day watching a movie on one of the random channels I had and it started rewinding on me. The movie then went in fast motion before pausing, restarting, and finally disappearing. Weird, I know. The mystery was confounded over the next few weeks when I had similar experiences with various movies (all recently released on DVD) that would be seemingly controlled from another venue.
And I believe they were. My hypothesis that I was watching whatever my neighbor's were watching "on demand" seemed to be confirmed by the commercial-less sit-com episodes I occasionally could tune into and the random . . . ahem . . . "inappropriate" videos that would grace my screen when I was looking for a good flick to watch.
Granted, this phenomena is very cool. Here in Indiana, I have seen Semi-Pro, Knocked Up, Be Kind Rewind, and a host of other movies which I never learned the titles to (not those movies). I have dialed through (okay, and maybe watched a little of) My Super Sweet 16, Rock of Love 2, Entourage, and various other cable series that I am embarrassed to have watched.
However, the ability to watch what other people are watching is like some weird invasion of privacy. For example, when I cross my neighbor's path in the morning, I have to wonder, is that the dude who watched My Super Sweet 16 last night? Or was he the guy rewinding the explosion in Starship Troopers like fifty times? Does someone in my complex have kids? Or do they just really enjoy the shows Noggin has to offer? Is it the same guy watching Knocked Up every night? Or is that movie really just super popular? And of course . . . who is the lonely guy ordering up the "interesting" movies?
Alas, I am not going to complain and I have no idea how my TV gets these channels or when it will stop. All I know is that in every location I have had this TV, I get random movies and stations that other TV's don't. Just hope I don't move into your neighborhood if you have a thing for "A Shot of Love with Tila Tequilla" or something.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Daily Office

I have an unhealthy relationship with television. The magazines at the checkout line of the grocery stores always evoked wonder inside of me. Not the stories about the alien boy with thirteen toes or the women’s world with a new diet that was the result of 2000 years of diet innovation since the last supper. The magazines that had more in-depth stories about soap opera’s stupefied me. How could anyone seriously want to read more about the only entity in the world which makes my television set worthless between the hours of 12 pm and 3 pm every day?

That is until this summer I recently discovered the immense pleasure I can draw from one television show. I no longer feel unconnected to stay-at-home moms or jobless, mindless television consumers because when feeling down, I too now have an outlet. That is, when I want a mindless outlet, I can pop in a DVD, grab a cool beech wood aged beverage and all will be right with the world. Because when Pam, Jim, Dwight, Michael, Angela, Kevin, Oscar, Toby, Stanley, Andy, Phyllis, Crede, Kelly, Ryan, and the rest of the hilarious crew beam through my television, I beam back.

The simple do-de-do, do-de-do, dun-dun-do-do of the theme song leaves me mentally salivating for perfectly crafted humor the way a bell causes the pavlovian dog to do the same (not for humor, but for steak . . .which, I too can understand). I cannot explain the affinity I have for the show, because unlike America’s Funniest Home Videos (maybe my other favorite show on television), I rarely laugh out loud.

The Office is essentially the antithesis of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Where AFV makes a spectacle of outlandish moments that actually happen, The Office tries to turn the spectacle of outlandish characters into people I see everyday. And both work wonderfully. So, at the end of a long hard day of work, once the baseball games have ended, I can pour myself another fine American classic and know that if Jim and Pam are together, all is right with the world. And as sad and pathetic as that may sound, in no way do I find it depressing.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Gone Running

I have a problem: I am yet to establish any semblance of foresight when it comes to decision making. That is not to say that I don't think about the consequences of my actions, because I do. Rather, it is to say that I don't realize which consequences apply to which actions. Today, for example, I decided to go for a longer run than usual. I knew that I would have to return the way I came, but after running a few extra miles beyond my usual turnaround spot, I was enjoying the scenery so much that I decided to continue walking away from my apartment.

I'm sure you see where this is headed, and so did I. Yet, instead of submissively turning around, I decided to punish the future version of myself. So I continued to walk down the trail, and it was quite enjoyable. I even decided that I should begin walking back instead of trying to run all the way home. So I turned around, greeted the farmers picking berries along the trail, and began the long trek home.

A few miles back towards my house, I realized I still had a long way to go. I also began to believe that my knees were lacking cartilage and became acutely aware that my feet were rebelling against me in the form of nasty blisters. So I stopped running. It did not do me any good. My feet still hurt, my knees still were lacking menisci, and my current self was cursing the shortsightedness of my former self.

It would be one thing if this were the first time I had gotten myself into this scenario. However, I have repeatedly been enjoying the trip out so much, I sacrificed the version of myself that would have to do the return trip. I'm simply amazed that I can be such a jerk to myself time and time again. However, I'm sure the amazement will turn to anger for a few moments the next time I do the same thing.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Defense of Cafeteria's (or as I like to call them: Sammy's playplace)

For those of you who know me well enough to have shared a meal with me, you may have noticed that I have a strong affinity for essentially anything with even marginal nutritional value. Most people say their college years were the best years of their life. I concur, and while I enjoyed living in close proximity to great friends (well, and the occasional drug dealer for my senior year), one of the most pleasurable experiences was waking up every morning knowing full well that a dazzling array of french toast, sausage, scrambled eggs, juices, and a cereal bar lay waiting for me. Many college students considered breakfast an unnecessary peripheral; I was beside myself most mornings if I didn't get there in time for the hot breakfast bar to still be fresh.
Presently, I am working at a hospital in the fine city of Muncie, Indiana. The gig is alright: the work can be somewhat boring, the pay is mediocre, they provide sufficient housing. However, the kicker is that when I started they gave me a magical ID badge. I can step into this cafeteria and load up on whatever I like, knowing full well that it will be charged to my employer. Somehow, I traded a paucity of medical knowledge and my physical presence following doctors, for a little bit of cash and a golden ticket into "Sammy's Play-place" (Sammy should be another post altogether, but for now, understand he's the named imaginary tapeworm my close friends claim I have).
Every day, I can wake up, saunter into the hospital cafeteria, and craft a sausage-laden, egg, cheese, and bacon biscuit. I can sample the prepackaged bowls of cinnamon french toast, golden grahams. Heck, if I'm feeling wild, I can even pound a couple sugar cookies and leftover egg salad sandwiches. Further enhancing the experience is access to a cafeteria world formerly unknown to me. That is, the prepackaged genre of foodstuffs. In my collegiate days, cafeterias were somewhat prepared for gentlemen with voracious appetites. The hospital, however, totally unprepared. After I fill my requisite styrofoam containers with the salad bar, taco bar, wrap bar, and/or pasta bar (all of which are charged by the ounce, by the way), I can then pick up virtually any candy bar, bottled beverage, or delightfully trans-fat-laden hostess treat.
I remember growing up hearing stories of a friend whose grandfather owned a grocery store. Whenever this girl visited Minnesota, her grandpappy let her sample anything from the store she desired. Even as a young pudgester, I realized the glorious implications of this. I pictured myself prancing (that is, prancing in a very heterosexual way), down the isles, taking bites out of hunks of extra sharp cheddar cheese and snapping beef sticks in my chompers. I could dive headlong into the bins of peachy-O and imitation sweedish fish. Shoot, I would even probably be able to snag some of those delightful looking rotisserie chickens that are always calling to me, "come, enjoy my delightful basted thighs." Whew, sorry, I got a little off-track there. Point being, when you suddenly have access to a seemingly infinite pool of formerly pricey items, the excitement is almost too much. So now, I can indulge my curiosity if paydays are as poor a candy bar as I remember (they are), if now and laters are still as ridiculously hard as they were (they are harder), and if kashi's go lean bars cause the same gastrointestinal problems as their cereals (they do).
And yet, cafeterias still have a bad wrap. All I know, is that any place I can be charged by the ounce for a foodstuff, thats where I want to be. Especially when its someone else who's covering my charges.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things I don't get #6: Hormel meat and their believers (Spam, etc.)

The King of Nigeria, Canadian Pharmacies, and altruistic individuals have been bombarding me with offers for millions of dollars from my next-of-African-kin, cheap Viagra, and help increasing my "size/performance" lately. While I appreciate the attention doted on me by these ever persistent spammers, part of my wonders who out there is clicking these links and perpetuating this phenomenon. Save Michael Scott, I don't know a soul who has been taken in by these scams, but the truth is, I know someone out there is making setting up these spam-bots worthwhile. I want to find them and hunt them down (at least, that is, until Yahoo's spam guard can start picking up these messages).

My immediate guesses as to the perpetrators identity is male, insecure, and flat out desperate. That said, I know I've never responded to any of these spams, so I don't know who else it could be (kidding of course, I am quite secure in my desperation). Yet, I cannot imagine the poor chap who orders the special "blue pill" and suddenly finds himself wrangling in a world of identity theft at counterfeit "male enhancement" drugs. Best case scenario, the guy somehow frees his credit of its besmirched reputation and actually receives some sort of non-poisonous pill in the mail which has some sort of placebo effect. If the guy is stupid enough to order those pills, then he must somehow be stupid enough to believe they will help him in the sack, and if he ever gets there, maybe that unfounded belief will. One can only hope.

On the other end of the spectrum, are those who have no idea what I am talking about and somehow have hidden their e-mail address or gotten a superior spam blocker. For that I commend you (all twelve of you). Yet even the locked down ".edu" verified school e-mail address I had for my undergraduate career fell prey to these e-mails. Of course, so did everyone else's at my school and since the system was compromised, we all received e-mails making it look like my dorm mate was trying to sell me free viagra, vicadin, codine, etc.

Yet some people never quite caught on that this was a scam. One poor young girl actually sent an e-mail, which had my name in the "to" line but had somehow been delivered to her, politely informing me that she accidentally received my mail (which happened to be an offer for performance enhancement). At first I thought it a joke until I realized that I didn't know this young lady, and that she seriously thought I may be seeking out male enhancement.

I of course profusely thanked her and asked if she had happened to hear from Kenya's foreign treasurer about the wire for $4 million I was soon supposed to receive.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Things I don't get #5: Loud Speakers (not the electronic kind)

Since Jerry Sienfeld has already composed the penultimate treatise on close talkers, I am left to delineate the common annoyances of an overactive alternate modality. The range of these poor souls extend from the "voice modulation syndrome" guy who speaks just a notch too loud in all circumstances, to the perpetual mumbler who gets frustrated with people asking "what?" and decides to suddenly enunciate as well as talk loud enough for every senior in the room to dial down their miracle ear. Finally, there is the poor soul who tells the "how do you sell chicken to a deaf person" joke (the answer, of course, is the ironic, but certainly not unnannoying outburst of a loud "you want some chicken).

Nothing can cause an instantaneous aversion to whatever is coming out of your vocal chords than an excessive amount of gusto with which it is said. The problem seems to effect males and females indiscriminately, but it is all the more shocking when a loud, high pitched voice comes out of a small, petite woman. However, the worst perpetrators are the aforementioned mumblers. As if in aggression to no one being able to decipher their incoherence, they shout whatever trivial fact that they were bumbling about directly into the tympanic membrance and make every listener sorry they justified the comment with a "what?" "hmmm?" or huh?" Dude, don't punish me because you suddenly acquired the ability to separate your words. Still ever worse is the close-talking, loud-talking individual who seems to have missed the day when they taught social norms in grade school (his sweat pants were probably dirty and he couldn't find his velcro shoes . . .oh wait, that was me).

Still, there is another camp of those who seem to think that they need electrical assistance whenever they are speaking to a group (or individual) of greater number than their monologue (and who can be sure they don't use a mic when talking to themselves). My eighth grade gym teacher used a microphone to give out instructions before class every day. Nearly every day I wanted to remind him that there were literally only twelve of us sitting there and we already knew the rules to basketball. Certainly the feedback from a cheap portable microphone made it harder to hear than his minuscule voice. The voice was not even that small, rather his voice had a nasty habit of constantly cracking, which was only amplified by the microphone. Maybe the poor chap just enjoyed electronics, but my theory (as is every eighth graders) that the funny cigarette he was smoking in between classes effected his cognitive decision making.

All that said, I'd take the over eager beaver over "the whisperer" any day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Things I don't get #4: Multi-tasking (as in how-to)

Call me old-school, call me one-dimensional, call me inept, but I cannot do more than one thing effectively at a time. The trouble is, in practice, I fail to recognize this unequivocal truth on a daily basis. My roommate will be attempting to have a conversation with me and ask a pointed question. In response, my wandering eyes fixed on the baseball game, I will respond "you sonnuva gun," and my roommate will have to survey the situation for a good thirty seconds before realizing I tuned out as soon as the bases became loaded and the count ran full. I'll attempt to seamlessly resume the conversation only to find we've moved beyond the topic of the wheather a good five minutes prior (which reflects poorly on my multi-tasking, positively on my ability to insert appropriate hmms and uh-huhs and poorly on my roommates conversational ability).

I have a friend who for years believed that I was simply an awful phone conversationalists until we had a chance conversation during which I was not near a television set and things went smashingly. I have still more friends, who despite concerted efforts, I find the phone calls more and more sparing based upon the fact that my body can somehow involuntarily move to the couch, turn on the tv, and transfer my attention to a football game unconsciously.

Yet, its not only others that I harm when I attempt to use this tactic. I mean, yes, I hurt myself by losing friends, but in a more tangible way, my academics suffer. My 3/31/08 post chronicled my ability to distract myself from lectures, but I still convince myself that I will be able to exhibit self control and study in front of a computer today. No, I cannot do it. I told myself I was sitting down to study for my exam on Thursday before I began typing this blasted post (which by the way is an amazing feat given the fact that I am currently doing laundry simultaneously. Yeah, be impressed).

Still, I attempt even more ridiculous pairings of attention-necessary events all the time. I can't count the number of times I have burned pancakes (look, so I have an affinity for a good hotcake from time to time, lay off) because I have attempted to get dressed in the other room while they cook. Who can't button a polo shirt while making sure they don't char Bisquick? I can't (luckily, I do quickly become focused and am able to wave something in front of the smoke detector while still in my drawers).

Point being, I am a singularly focused man. I do not have the female gift of doing more than one thing at once. I consider studying to music a major breakthrough. However, I also have the appropriate male gift of stubbornness. So if you ever find yourself in a phone conversation with me (god bless your soul), and I start to respond a little too excessively with the verbal equivalent of head nods, kindly ask me to turn away from the ever-interesting baseball game and listen to your plight.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Things I don't get #3: Nightclubs (Particularly, beds in night clubs)

Note: I really wanted to title this series "rantings of an ignoramus," but I feel like the terms rants, ramblings, meanderings, etc have sufficiently worn-out their worth and are cast-off into the cliche Sahara with my personal favorite "random" post from (see October 23).

I confess. I am not a wild, raging, push it to the excess, pulsating music, party animal. I know this may come as a great shock to many of you who expect to see me frequent the late-night hot-spot circuit, but besides my penchant for sleep (and thus early bedtimes) and fondness for my eardrums, I have probably never really enjoyed myself at any destination where my vocal chords cannot produce a sound half as loud as the music pushing through the speakers.

That's not to say I haven't tried. Occasionally, I have ventured out into the surreal world that is the "nightlife." Don't get me wrong, I am all for staying out late with friends, enjoying each others company, and having a good time. I just prefer to do so in a location where I can actually hear my friends, and don't have to have a conversation (with only eyes of course) while wondering what the giant golden-framed bed next to me purpose is.

I can understand some plush seating, or even a couch that encourages a good "make-out" spot or something. But a bed in the middle of the room, with thinly draped curtains. Exactly what is the intent? I mean personally, once the clock strikes one a.m., I have to remind myself that laying down to take a nap is not appropriate etiquette, but what would be proper etiquette? The last night club I went to offered bed and bottle service. As attractive as that sounded, I think it would have been more attractive were I six months old and pining for some formula.

I have known people, who also don't particularly care for the late night scene to venture out to the nightclubs to "meet people." I am simply impressed that meeting anyone is possible at said venues. I still don't know how to do introductions in sign language so I guess I'm out of the loop. That said, who am I going to meet at a night club. I mean, I think I am already maxed out on male friends with excessively tight black shimmering short-sleeved button-up shirts. Likewise, I suppose I'm maxed out on female friends who are going out late at night to meet guys in excessively tight black shimmering short-sleeved button-up shirts.

Given the circumstances, I suppose I can't blame the establishments for the dark lit rooms and pulsating music that should be confined to thirteen year-old teeny-boppers bedrooms. How else do they get people to forget that they just paid thirteen dollars for that drink with fluorescent glow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Things I don't get #2: Feminine Hygiene Commercials

Note: This post could have simply been entitled “women,” but why throw away a cache of material in one fell swoop (see April 5 entry). Similarly, this post could have simply covered the female cycle, yet that too should intrinsically be singularly mystifying. I feel advertising should, in some way, be slightly accessible to me despite my obvious ignorant state.

The problem I have with the commercials is not with the things that I don’t understand (which are many) but with the things that I do understand (which are few). For one, when showing absorbency quality, why is the liquid so ridiculously blue? Is there some biological phenomenon I will not learn about until my last years of medical school? And if so, how did Windex (and my hair gel for that matter) get the rights to said quasi-fluorescent material?

Secondly, judging by facial expressions, all of the women on the commercials are ridiculously happy to be bleeding. I for one, have never been that happy to be bleeding no matter how sweet the band-aid is (at least since I was eleven and flintstones band-aids and vitamins were no longer cool), and I certainly can’t imagine being that happy about something that could be predicted by an egg-timer (okay, if they made ones that lasted about a month, I just wanted to go with the whole egg irony thing here).

Thirdly, I suppose it is understandable, but why are they always showing women’s faces staring at the screen and talking to me. I realize that they cannot actually show the product in action, but still, how many other commercials is just a talking face at the screen. Maybe this appeals to women, but I like a little bit more subtlety in my advertising (like Bud Light commercials, where humor/hot women are the net result of beer).

Finally, there is the whole idea of comfort marketing. Look, I am sure that convincing people that these things lessen the pain/annoyance/whatever else I don't comprehend, is important, but do we have to really try and make it seem as if you are sitting on a cloud with these products? I mean shoot, sometimes I forget why these advertisements are on in the first place and wish I could be in such a dreamland. Alas, in retrospect, I suppose I am not surprised that the commercials stupify me and rather am quite glad that they do. I should be more unsettled had I suddenly started to prefer one brand over the other.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things I don't get #1: Wearing wristbands while not competing in athletic endeavors

I attended last night's Tigers game, and I was again dumbfounded by the appearance of the black wristband on the arm of someone who is so clearly not competing in anything resembling athletics. I suppose I would let the egregious wardrobe accesory slide, if the sportsfan were dressed in other Detroit Tigers garb, and simply got confused as to whether he was attending America's pastime or NBA's showtime. However, the fan was simultaneously donning a short-sleeve collared shirt. Not some sort of eurosport soccer,, or rugby collared shirt but the kind one can find in the corner of a women's store that pretends to have a men's department (see: express, the limited, and other stores I am embarrassed to have stepped foot in).

However, it would be unfair to site this young man alone, because as I was watching a little mid-day television today (which, I can firmly say is still as mediocre as it was during sick days in elementary school) I witnessed another man, in a TGI Friday's commercial sporting the same edifice to unathleticism. Not surprisingly, the bleached blond gentleman was pimping the "right portion, right price" corner of the menu (formerly seen at Perkins as the "seniors menu " now somehow being marketed to females and testosterone challenged males). This guy, I can cut a little more slack because I have seen him on some sort of food show (yeah, thats right I see my fair share of mid day television, what of it). That is, he could potentially be in some fire blazing kitchen and mid-running-forehead-drop-of-perspiration ask himself "boy, I wish I had some sort of elastic towel pulled too high on my forehand right now, even if I do look goofier than the guy trying to bring man-capris to the united states" (for the record, please stop euro-boy).

Still, these are not isolated events. I regularly see young gentleman, who almost exclusively (ironically save my first example) are slightly portly and/or (bus usually and) emo rocking the wristband as if it had some sort of slimming/masculine effect. I don't understand the logic. Are they trying to fool anyone into thinking, "Wow, he must have just come from the basketball court where he works out, and is obviously a gifted athlete, but showered, shaved, put on forty pounds, and an Ambercrombie wardrobe, but forgot to remove his dapper wrist garment?" Because if so, I don't think anyone has internal monologues that long and as poorly constructed. Instead, I find myself thinking, "wow, is that guy trying to make an ironic statement like, yeah, I can incorporate one preposterous item into my wardrobe without having the least bit of functional utility too it, that is, unless he is an avid perspirator, and if so, I'll allow it because I can understand the plight of my fellow sweat mongers" (see, I'm not exclusively vengeful).

And yet, I suppose, amidst the sea of other ridiculous garments I see all about me (and I admit, probably sometimes slip into my rotation indiscriminately), I suppose the wristband is not as outrageous as I have made it. I have never, for example, placed anything in the left breast pocket that grazes nearly all of my T-shirts. Speaking of which, have you seen the even smaller one they have started featuring on the short sleeves of women's T-shirts. In case you wanted to ever carry an asprin around all day, you are now in luck (I just hope you don't need to take the recommended bi-tablet dosage, because I am yet to see bi-lateral sleeve pockets). Anything black and multi-zippered (see: is completely functionally useless except for scaring young children (and myself, which I suppose may fulfill its true calling). Still, I digress, there is one thing I still don't get and that is the chubby double wristbanded emo rockers that seem to cross my path.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm getting paid to do this? (oh, wait, no I'm not)

I know that somewhere out there in the compiled myth of American life, there exists a belief that medical school is this ridiculously taxing, four-year, miserable experience, that is basically perpetual coffee, studying, cadaver lab, with the occasional alcoholic binge. I am here to debunk this archetypal characterization, if only to show how the other half lives. That is, I know the myth is true for many classes, but on any given day, with a few exceptions, the following is a semi-accurate composite my daily activities.

6:45 a.m. - The alarm sounds. I look around in attempt to figure out how the aliens with their beeping spaceship were somehow transported into my cellphone. After determining that my dream was only a dream and the cellphone will not abduct me, I am even more puzzled as to how I was so ridiculously ambitious the night before to actually expect that I would think that the 6:45 am version of myself would not curse the 1 am self (Note: if anything in me has changed in medical school, it is the newly acquired perpetual belief that I will be more motivated . . . tomorrow)

7:30 am - See 6:45, but replace "aliens" and "spaceship" with "fifth grade gym teacher" and "go kart"

7:39 am, 7:48 am, 7:57 am, 8:06 am (whoever invented the nine minute snooze anyway?), 8:15 am, 8:24 am, et al. - same as above but with "mother/cruise ship," "best friend's sister/washing machine," "sailor/mouth," "orangutan/power wheel," "long lost uncle/Camaro," and "Ken Griffey Jr./robotic baseball bat" respectively

9:30 am - Curse the 6:45 - 8:24 versions of myself for lack of motivation.

9:31 am - Concede that since I am starting the day late, I might as well forgo extreme hard work for lack of time

9:32 am - Prepare a delicious batch of whole wheat pancakes

9:35 am - wave dishtowel over smoke detector to keep vaporized form former batch of whole wheat pancakes from evacuating the building

9:36 am - Consume burnt pancake looking substance lathered in excessive syrup

10:03 am - read the New York times online virtually cover to cover

11:30 am - adjust fantasy baseball roster

11:48 am - Repeat 10:03 am with the Detroit Free Press and subsequently, Detroit News

12:30 pm - Mentally prepare to begin studying

12:45 pm - Begin studying

12:46 pm - Begin preparing lunch

1:15 pm - Consume a meticulously prepared and non-burnt peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

1:16 pm - Revel in nostalgia

1:30 pm - Find out the Detroit Tigers are playing a day game and concede the rest of the afternoon from studying

4:01 pm - Curse the Tigers for losing, sucking, and wasting my afternoon

4:15 pm - Work off aggression in the weight room

4:30 pm - The "Dog Lady" walks through weight room (which also serves as a gateway to our patio) and wonders what profession I am involved with when I seem to be home at all hours of the day. Transpose the last half of that sentence to "I wonder what profession she is . . ."

4:35 pm - Rehydrate

4:40 pm - Make more awkward small talk with the dog lady consisting of any combination of the following topics:
-The weather
-Her dogs and their penchant for urinating on my leg in excitement
-Tomorrow's weather
-Her dogs penchant for jumping on my chest in excitement
-Yesterday's weather
-Her dogs affinity for weather

4:45 pm - Take a run

4:46 pm - Wonder why people would ever run for exercise?

5:15 pm - Ring out my T-shirt

5:16 pm - Shower, shave, etc, begin to start my day

5:45 pm - Consider dinner options

6:00 pm - Concede studying for the day because the workday should be over now. Wonder where the day goes and promise to devote myself to studying tomorrow.

As Verizon/Cingular/ATT/T-mobile have taught us, evenings and weekends are a whole different animals.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Now if only they could invent a wireless way to . . .

I want to find the first person who attached a key to a block of wood, and use said wood block to pound some sense into them. I spent half a week in downtown Washington, DC coffee shops attempting to function as a medical student (i.e. watching lectures online, etc., looking at pictures of slides of e.g. the cerebrum, et al.). Overall, the plan worked pretty well except for one caveat.

In order to sit at a small wooden table with rickety legs and extremely loud forty-year-old women nearby for hours on end, one must first satiate the proprietors capitalist thirst. So, I would order a coffee the moment I stepped into the shop, and then proceed to get down to business at a nearby table (the aforementioned one with the rickety leg and loud mothers of two). However, as soon as the caffeine infused hydration coursed through my body, it wanted to leave. I am not sure if one has ever attempted to use the facility at a coffee bar, but it is just about impossible.

That is, one must first consider what to with the ridiculous sum of monetary equivalents sitting at your table. If you see a trustworthy gent or femme, you may ask them to watch your stuff, but they may just as easily ask the dealer at the pawnshop "how much is this worth." The next step is to muster the courage to approach the barista (with full knowledge that at some point in that person's career they actually filled out an application for the job title "barista." I have nothing against coffee schleppers, I just am amazed that they knew full well that when explaining what they did, they might use the term "barista"). Anyways, you must then try and convince them that you in fact did make a purchase three hours ago and it is in fact that purchase they put you in this predicament in the first place. Of course, finally, the begrudging barista (and I don't even smirk at his job title, because he clearly carries the authority . . . or in this case the wooden block), hands me what appears to be a key, of course I cannot see because it is attached to not only a piece of wood, but some sort of gift bag tied with twine as well.

Finally, after coursing through the entire coffee establishment with said flag with the phrase "my bladder=peanut" emblazoned on the wood block. Finally, I make it into the four foot by four foot box that should be outside in a seperate building of a Clark station somewhere. Yet the bathroom is invariably clean because it has not been used in thirty years. Yet things get tricky here, I mean, not that part, but what to do with the key. The last place had a hook on the back of the door for a key, which was convenient. However, next to the hook was a sign reading "please do not return key to barista." At which point you are confronted with not only the job title, but the question of, well then do I just leave the key here? And so, that is what I did. You lock the key in the bathroom. Assumedly, this is what they want you to do. However, it raises the question, what is to keep them from accidentally giving another key to someone else. And that said, do they really sterilize the wood block and gift bag before placing it behind the bar again? Anyways, the thing one does for "free" wireless.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Whole Foods in the D

Today was the grand opening of Zacaro's market in downtown Detroit. Basically, a mini-Whole Foods opened up to make it one of the few grocery stores in Detroit. It is now the only grocery store within walking distance of my residence and I probably will never walk there again. I walked in, checked the prices and was immediately transported to the grocery store the Miller High Life guy removes his beer from. In the commercial the guy complains about a four-dollar can of tuna, Zacaro's price: $3.50. A $4 gallon of milk may have been the most reasonably priced item. I was craving for some jelly, instead of the $12-jar organic brew, I splurged on a $6 jar that apparently came from France. Really, I just wanted a place where I could buy some milk, bread, eggs, and flour in a pinch. Instead, I found a place that will pinch my wallet every time I need some milk, bread, eggs, and flour.

I really am not too concerned about the prices. I am more concerned that another business venture will fail. I'd like to be in the strategic meeting when they decided to start this store.
Smart Business Man #1 "Here's an idea, lets make an urban-chic grocery store with ridiculous prices and extremely cutesy crap."
Businessman #2 "I know a great location for just the thing. Let's but in the midst of immense urban blight where the people are fleeing the city faster than New Orleans after Katrina."
SBM#1 "Wait, is there a high homeless population and abandoned buildings right next door?"
#2 "Oh definitely."
#1 "We must build there then. People will never see it coming and flock in droves."

And thus, Zacaro's was born. Honestly, for the size of the store, I guess they have to mark things up. And the real draw is the coffee shop/bakery/deli and such. That may do well with the business crowd that works nearby. I hope it succeeds, I just can't patronize it for my bread, flour, fruit, milk, and/or egg needs. I guess its back to Detroit's finest Spartan Store "Food Pride" complete with old men sitting out front in lawn cheers all-day to whistle at the women . . . or white-boys.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bad Movies and Fried Brains

I currently have "Failure to Launch" on in the background of my studying (read: I have neuroanatomy notes sitting on my lab). For some unknown reason, my roommate put it on his queue for blockbuster online and it came in the mail yesterday. The sad part about all of this is that I am mildly enjoying the movie. I suppose most of this can be attributed to the fact that my brain is fried from the exam I took this morning and the knowledge I have another in two days. Still, I am not sure if it's Mathew McCconaughey's rugged charm, Sarah Jessica Parker's weird quasi-attractive quasi-completely repulsive looks, or Kathy Bates, but the movie is mildly enjoyable. I just finished berating my roommate about the movie being on his list, but I had to kind of give him the benefit of the doubt because it arrived along with Casino, one of the penultimate man movies of all time. Perhaps only The Godfather or Scarface could have pushed the balance more to the man side. Seriously though, couldn't they have named the movie something other than "Failure to Launch" so I could retain some manhood? I'm still blaming it on my fried brain, but about 70% through the movie, I'd say it was a mildly pleasurable watch. Not so much so, however, that I did not decide to write a blog post mid-movie. Adieu.

(Note: at this point, the reconciliation phase has begun, and the movie has coincidentally began sucking)

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Monosylabic Hypothesis (Less is More)

I left class today, my head spinning from my nueroanatomy course, and I had an epiphany. I was exhausted, not from the amount of information being thrown at me, or the monotonous nature of reviewing the same slides of brain and spinal cord tissue, nor from the confounding nature of deep conceptual quandaries. Instead, I had the phrase bilateral homonymous hemianopsia bouncing around my head without about fifteen other words, which I know exactly what they mean, but have no idea why they are in existence.

I would go so far as to consider myself a defender of jargon. As a reader may have noticed, I favor a sort of discursive rambling at times. However, I feel like the only time a longer word is better, is if it adds something that a shorter word cannot. Take the term "bilateral homonymous hemianopsia," I think you can estimate that the phrase has about twenty-five syllables, when all that needs to be said is "both eyes have the same blind half." Clearly less syllables and far less jargon. However, I suppose it accomplishes the purpose of giving the doctor a sort of superior feeling and they don't have to deal with the cumbersome task of creating a phrase. I suppose my main issue is when do those terms stop being useful for consistency and brevity and begin functioning as self satisfying intellectual positing. However, what should I expect from a peer group who already signs there correspondences "MD candidate."

Note: The simple fact that I have a blog and write far to frequently clearly places me in the company of my pretentious peers.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Feature Not Currently Available (another rant on my microwave)

I was attempting to heat an ingredient up to room temperature today (don't ask why), and I decided to use my "power level" feature on my microwave to turn down the intensity. So, I pressed the cook power button and was greeted in iridescent green letters with the message: "Power . . .Level . . .Feature . . .May . . Not . . . Be. . .Changed. . . At. . . This . . .Time." Excuse me? I'm sorry, I don't speak monophrasic complete sentence computer speak. I thought the most complex message my microwave could alert me to was flashing 12:00 to let me know the power went out while I slept. Instead, the contraption is somehow able to inform me that I am trying to use an option at an inopportune time. Do you mean to tell me it was easier to program my microwave to speak to me in complete sentences, than to let me change the power setting before I picked the time? Couldn't the thing just have given me three harsh beeps or something? I should have known I was in trouble when the thing told me to turn my food over mid-defrost.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Wrong Word Syndrome

I was talking to my friend on the phone the other day, and he proceeded to explain to me that his friend was using a foil to hide his true feelings. I inquired of him, what does using a foil mean? He then quizzically asked me, isn't that a literary term? Shouldn't you know that as an English major? In fact, I do know what a foil is, I was simply trying to figure out if how he was using it made any sense. And it doesn't.

I have another friend, who whenever she is feeling sick explains that she is ill-faded. I have never heard that term before, but believe she is confusing it with the phrase "ill fated," which possibly makes even less sense than the initial mangled phrase.

Still, I overhear conversations and hear people just butcher words, replacing words that sound similar for unknown reasons. For example, consider the following exchange:
"Man, you should have been there last night."
"Really, was it that good?"
"Yeah, I mean the party was awesome, it was incredulous."

Here, the user is clearly meaning to use the term to be incredible. And that is a completely legitimate use. According to Merriam-Webster (the dictionary for people who like first names), incredible is the second definition for incredulous. Yet, I'm guessing the speaker was trying to use it as "extraordinary" or "amazing" not simply something that he did not believe, as incredulous is traditionally used. I suppose, the fact that incredible can mean "extraordinary" or "amazing" gives credence to the fact that the meanings of words change, but in context, the sentence just sounds goofy. I always imagine a precocious fifth grader trying to drop in a new vocab word just to see what happens. What happens is that people listening absorb the word, and copy its usage in new conversations. My friend with the "foil" usage later confided that he heard the word used earlier in the week tried to guess its meaning, and implement it accordingly.

The ironic thing is, I'm guessing this is how we have acquired language since we were young. You heard a word, guessed its usage, and tried it out to get peoples reactions. This is also why the meaning of words consistently change. Maybe its old school, but words used in awkward ways still grate on my ears. I feel as if I hear these misplaced words dropped all the time (and admittedly, I'm more than sure I do it myself), but in writing this, I can hardly think of any examples. Maybe its just a defense mechanism of my mind to keep myself from exclaiming that when something terrible happens, it was "terrigenous."

Friday, April 4, 2008

Radio Nowhere

I was driving home from class today,* and I noticed that I still had the radio off. That is, I haven't turned the radio on in my car for about a week now. Since I don't drive anywhere that often, the feat may not be that impressive, but I have noticed an increased amount of thoughts that occur while driving**.

Today, I began thinking about how it was nice to have a little silence occasionally. I have always wondered why so many people are incessantly wearing iPod headphones. I can understand it a bit more in people traveling long distances on subways, trains, planes, etc. But I want to a small liberal arts university where the longest distance between two buildings was roughly equivalent to the distance between your thumb and forefinger. I am not sure you can even listen to a full song in that time***. Unless of course, they are listening to the Ramones, in which case their attention span is less than the iPod generation. And of course, since the Ramones haven't made a song in the last five years, it is not on anyones iPod#.

Seriously, I would literally see people put in earphones, follow them for twenty, thirty yards and then watch them remove the earphones at their next destination. An hour later, they would do the same thing. It was as if some neural pathway required auditory input for their legs to move. I promise, if you try hard, you can walk without listening to the first twenty seconds of fifteen songs by the Fray.

However, there is a time and place for music. For example, I have recently evolved via internet radio from random stations, to yahoo's launchast, to the pinnacle of online radion, Pandora##. The amazing thing about Pandora, is I can pick a song, any song, and while they won't play that song, they'll play something roughly equivalent which both satisfies my jonesing and introduces me to a new musical arena. The iPod generation may have difficulty with this because they limit your skips to five an hour (so within the first two-minutes, most will likely have exhausted their quota).

Anyways, all that to say, it's nice to hear myself think for a change (in brief doses), and also nice to give my brain something else pleasant to listen to when trying to learn about the corpora quadrigemina and/or using ubiquitous footnotes.

*Notice first the fact that I went to class, and second the fact that I drove the mile to class instead of walking. Also notice, that I am making a concerted effort to reduce the number of parentheticals in my writing (yeah, that's going to work) and implementing footnotes instead (which, as you can see may be more inefficient).

**Which may be coincidental with the increased number of blog posts recently.

***Not that it matters because people with iPods for 10 feet likely are the kind of people who can't listen to full songs, and incessantly skip to the next best song. I would love to go with these people to a concert because a) the last two minutes of every song would be new to them and b) I bet you can visually see them get uncomfortable after the thirty second mark of each song (this is when they travel to the concession stand and buy $20 nachos that look delicious and completely detract from the concert experience.

#If I were a music mogul, I would clearly sue apple. They may be the biggest beneficiary of the napster generation. However, didn't apple (I don't think its the same) produce the Beatles' albums, one of the landmark moments in musical history. Coincidence, I think not.

## If you don't listen to radion at, for your own sake, please don't start. It's incredible, I am completely undermining the sanctity of silence by even bringing up the subject.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Invisible Hand

For my academic work, I currently spend a lot of time at my computer. The school I attend puts almost every lecture given on the web to ensure that students have easy access to the material. I appreciate the ease of access and information at my fingertips. However, therein lies the problem: my fingers. I do not have a problem with keeping myself on task with an independent schedule. I have no issue studying for extended periods of time, or watching a lecture on a video screen, or feeling isolated from my classmates, or any of the myriad of other potential problems.

Instead, I will be intently listening to a lecture on internuclear opthalmoplegia and my fingers start to wander. My mind is still focused, but the next thing I know, I am no longer staring at a fuzzy video rendition of a powerpoint slide, but at my open inbox with 25 new e-mails. I look down, and find my fingers typing away a reply to a message I haven't even consciously read. I hate facebook, but about twenty minutes in to every lecture, I find my fingers reading the wall posts of kids I went to fifth grade camp with. How did I get here? I always wonder.

The computer streaming is not the problem, but it clearly amplifies the problem. In a lecture hall with notes, I can only play with my pencil, draw random shapes, and count the number of bricks on the wall for so long. Each of those tasks is only a slight improvement from listening to a lecturer drone on. However, writing, checking, replying, wall-posting, poking, fantasy baseball managing, newspaper reading, and financial institution check-ups are all quite more engaging than a lecture, and like a reflex, when my mind tires of engaging information, my fingers wander.

A new phenomena has also manifested itself in my graduate studies, which is not coincidental to my wandering hands. After studying for so many hours, my mind actually feels sore. As ridiculous as it sounds, after a day of studying, a stack of notes look like two sixty-five pound barbells at the end of my bicep workout. I can feel my mind cringe. When this pain starts to creep in to my lecture watching is when my fingers start to wander. Although, I suppose it is better than the alternative, because, as they say, "idle hands are the devil's workshop."

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Moot Article

Don't tell me that the title above isn't awkward. I'm not sure if it even makes sense, but I know because the word point isn't in the above following "moot" my visual ear grates when reading that title. However, I think the word moot is too good a word to be used in just one way. Even the phrase, "moot point" is being slowly degraded. For example, I have a friend who says that things are "mute points." I am always tempted to look around for the mime making an argument, or a very silent sharp edge. However, albeit not how he intended it, the phrase "mute point" does reflect the truth of the idiom that silence speaks louder than words. Rick Springfield tried an interesting variation in Jessie's Girl saying "The point is probably moot." Still, although the reversal is syntax, moot isn't used to modify anything but a point.

However, "moot" isn't alone in idiomatic isonation. "Fell," for example, only functions as an adjective in the phrase "one fell swoop." I have literally no idea what it means, I'm just glad I found out it was supposed to be "fell" instead of "foul" which I used to say. I still think that "foul swoop" makes more sense because I like to imagine a very efficient bird making just one pass at something. Saying "I fell down" is common enough, but I have never heard of anyone used the variant "felled" to describe knocking down anything but trees (as in "I felled five trees last night). I suppose, I have heard it used in boxing, as in "he felled him with one punch," but the word still sounds like an vestige of another era.

The problem with isolating these words to stock phrases, is that they become instantly cliched. Is there any other way of saying that a comment or argument someone makes doesn't matter other than saying it is a "moot point?" After finishing dinner and being stuffed, I'd like to respond that the desert menu is moot, but alas, I cannot. Unless of course, someone somehow tries to transform the desert menu into some sort of point. Likewise, I can't even comprehend how to use "fell" in the same way as one "fell" swoop because I have no idea what it means outside of that phrase. I guess that is the beauty of the cliche, though. The hearer doesn't even have to imagine what is meant by the language because the phrase implies one singular meaning. Unless of course, the point is mute.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Captain Planet and the Moral Decline of Cartoon Nation

I'm not sure that a more cliched childhood television show exists than Captain Planet. It seems to be oft-cited as the predictor of our green conscious generation and television show with sound, albeit cheesy, moral standards. However, I disagree donkey kong was a very good video . . .err, Captain Planet was a horrible television show. Heart, Wind, Earth, and whatever horrifying attempt at unifiable super-powers were not good television. The first time I saw the show, I think I thought it was an infomercial for something. Now, I wonder if I wasn't right. I am all for environmentally conscious television, but not at the expense of quality. The storylines didn't hold a candle to Thundercats, Police Academy, Woody the Woodpecker, or most importantly, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Captain Planet was a receptacle for poor ideas with good intentions.

I recognize that I haven't seen Captain Planet in at least a decade. However, my animosity toward the show is fueled less by its poor quality and my childhood disinterest, than the frequency its mentioned and/or displayed on t-shirts of my generation. Captain Planet was bad tv when good tv existed. I nearly broke into fist-fights with people over whether or not Michaelangelo was better than Donatello. I can sing Bobby's World's anthems with disturbing accuracy to this day (i.e. Animals don't wear underpants, which is not only a fact, but uses the term underpants which is a huge bonus). Darkwing Duck's theme song still gives me shivers. However, when Tiny Toons gave way to the Animaniacs, and Power Rangers stepped into the televisions world, broadcast children's programs began its swift decline.

I know it may seem that the great fall of children's programming took place at a time eerily coincidental with my growth into a burgeoning teenager, but I assure you it is coincidental. I don't mean to be a fundamentalist spouting on about the decline of society, but can someone please explain to me what has happened in any storyline of Spongebob Square Pants? I even am partial to Spongebob based simply on aesthetics, but its plots are worse than those of the Planeteers. And do teletubbies even talk? I turned on tv the other day and I am pretty sure I saw a sloth as a lead character? What happened to the classic turtle? Or Arthur the . . .what was he? Ardvark. Anteater? The point is, I am not sure what is going on in the television world these days. I hate to hear the old-timers talk about the good old days, but what happened to the good old days?

And its not only true of cartoons. I want to turn on my television and see Belki, Urkel, the young goddess Tapenga (she got smoking in the later years), Tim Allen in some obscure Michigan college sweat shirt, or either of the Olson twins no strung out. I want opening credits featuring Suzanne Somers getting smoked by a Ceader Pointe-esque water-ride, San Fransisco streets and lyrics about newspaper boys, Eddie working on a car, and/or Mr. Feeney in any capacity. What happened? Now I turn on the television and their are B-list celebrities getting reamed out by Donald Trump, B-list celebrities dancing with nobodies, or my favorite, C-list reality superstars returning triumphantly to the show that made them famous (see any obscure American Idol fifth place finisher, Survivor faves versus fans, or anything on that cultural anthropological fungus they call Road Rules v. Real World).

Okay, my rant is done. I realize that I may be viewing the past through Rose color glasses, but at least I can admit that Captain Planet always sucked.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I was once taking on online quiz about Starbucks* and received a personality profile based on my standard small black coffee that read something to the effect of: you are the type of person who watches America's Funniest Home Videos (or AFV as I like to call it, with or without acknowledging that there should be an H there) and thinks it is a great show. Initially, I resented the classification, not because it tried to imply that my simple coffee taste meant I was simply simple. I simply resented the classification because it attempted to use AFV as an insult. You can insult my coffee taste, but don't insult one of the hallmarks of American culture (unless you are referring to the years when Daisy Fuentes was a co-host).

I may have written something similar to this column (I like to avoid the word blog for posterity's sake) (and no I have no idea what the last parenthetical means), so for those of you who have been reading the daily doyle for some time, I apologize (to both of you). However, I recently rediscovered the show and witnessed the host claim that many American's still refer to AFV as a guilty pleasure. I found that to be a woeful, if accurate, description of American culture. Desperate Housewife's and Grey's Anatomy are guilty pleasures, AFV is the pinnacle of American art.

If you beg to differ, consider the following indisputable syllogism (or linear logical argument:
-People actually do (most) everything you see on the show
-People actually have a video recorder present at the time of the action
-The people that have a video recorder present, are present in mind just enough to capture it on video
-The people who complete the act, have a video recorder present, and capture the act, somehow are capable of finding the address to AFV which means: When someone somewhere utters "I'm going to send that into America's Funniest Home Videos," they actually follow through with it
-People actually fly to San Fransisco (or whever the show is, I assume SF, only because Bob Saget definitely still lives somewhere on the set, even if he is the dirtiest American alive), to sit on what appear to be disproportionate building blocks in hopes that they can identify themselves as the moron on the video
-And finally, people getting hit in the nuts, is and forever will be, extremely funny, with the obvious caveat that it is not you receiving the death blow to your battlestar gallactica**

To quote smiling Jack Ross, these are the facts of the case and they are undisputed. If you are not impressed by this feat, you are the same kind of person who likes to state that an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewritters could compose Shakespeare. To you, I pose one final convincing question, "could monkeys and/or Shakespeare use a camcorder?"

*I tried to think of a way of starting this column without acknowledging I took on online quiz about my Starbuck's preference. Alas, there was none and I am duly embarrased

**The irony here is that attributing the name battlestar gallactica is the type of quality humor that AFV fans rightly appreciate