Habitual Child Molster Actor Cast In Non Child Molesting Role

This is an outrage. I don't know if you know this guy, Eric Stoltz, but I've never seen him play a role in a movie or TV show that didn't, in some way, find him molesting children or being an accomplice to a similar act. There are at least ten episodes of both Law & Order and E.R. in which Mr. Stoltz was seen to be running a child pornography ring or having sex with three-year-olds or something, and he was the famously gross Child Molester Dad in The Butterfly Effect.

Now, apparently, some lame show on SyFy (or SciFi, for those of us born prior to 2008) has the gall, the nerve, to cast Eric Stoltz in a cop show... where he's a cop, and not a child molester! There had better be a plot twist where he turns out to be a child molesting cop, because if not, this is in clear violation of my previously declared law about how some actors just shouldn't ever be allowed to break out of their archetype role, no matter how hard they try. Like Newman trying to lose weight--preposterous.

This is a short post, and in no way related to Christmas, which it almost is, so sorry about that. I just had to get this out of my system. *deep, furious exhale*


Jonesy's big break

Let's see if I remember how to do this. Yes, friends and almost lovers, I am making a blog post. My e-heart still beats, somehow, even after months and months of crippling separation anxiety induced by my not having written words at you, all 16 of my semi-loyal readers, since something like July. But rejoice! 'Cause here I am, making up for lost time.

My return from the dead, or my lurch, rather, was induced by a recent influx of awesome alien stuff I've been into. As the hopelessly unhip and behind-the-times young man that I am, I only recently was able to watch all of Alien. Someone Netflixed it the other day and I watched it from start to finish for the first time. It was pretty decent, especially for a movie from the '70s that was basically the same exact plot of Event Horizon except with an alien instead of ghosts and Doctor Grant. The only part I thought needed revision was the ending, in which Ripley escapes in her pod, defeats the pesky alien one final time by somehow convincing him to go into the thruster, and lives happily ever after. Here's what I thought should have happened:
RIPLEY: I got you, you bastard. I got you.

The exploding ruins of her ship are seen through the window as her pod flies away from it. For some reason, the self-destruction algorithm on the ship caused it to explode three times.

ALIEN (coming out from the shadows and adjusting his monocle): Listen, I know we just did this enormous "battle" thing and I killed nearly all of your friends, but now that we're on this escape pod, we're stuck together. You and I. For ten bloody years, or however long it's going to take for this thing to float to the nearest sequel-ripe planet.

RIPLEY: No! Nooo!

RIPLEY begins to fire wildly at ALIEN, who sighs and dispenses her with a single flick of his tail. RIPLEY dies. ALIEN looks distraught.

ALIEN: Well, bollocks. Perhaps I should have simply tried to subdue her. I mean, who am I going to play Risk with now? Oh... oh! What's this?

ALIEN moves to the sleep pod that JONESY the cat is sleeping in.

ALIEN: Good lord, an adorable little orange thing!

ALIEN opens the pod and removes JONESY.

JONESY: Reeow?

ALIEN: I must teach this creature to speak! To appreciate Mozart, Hemingway, and how to play Risk! He shall be my only respite in the countless hours of meaningless, Kafka-esque drifting that threaten to consume my soul!

JONESY: Reeow?

ALIEN: Yes, friend, yes! I shall educate you! You and I shall be... roommates!

years later...

ALIEN (holding up a large card depicting a letter 'B'): Alright, Jonesy, what letter is this?



JONESY begins to meow sadly.

ALIEN: Jonesy, I'm--I'm sorry. I know I've been difficult lately, but it's just that these are simple concepts. They're so simple! There are only twenty-six letters in the English language! Don't you understand? Why would humans have kept your species as pets if they couldn't even teach them the alphabet?

JONESY: Reeow?

ALIEN: Alright, let's move on to something else. This is the book I asked you to read for today's session: Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger. Toward the end of the book, Zooey tells Franny that the "Fat Lady" concept their late brother Seymour created was actually Seymour's interpretation of Christ himself. Can you explain to me why this is significant, and why both Franny and Zooey had the same mental image of the Fat Lady?

JONESY: Reeow?


ALIEN begins to move about the cabin, smashing various things with his tail and causing a general ruckus.
Well, you get the idea. Basically I thought it needed a more cerebral twist at the end, instead of just throwing the alien into a big fiery engine. Really, what does that say about creatures that could not only learn to fight like mofos and survive all kinds of hilarious booby traps after only having been alive for a few hours, but are technically related to the awesome Face Sucker species? Totally selling them short, if you ask me. Plus, Jonesy needed a more central role. For one of the few surviving characters in the film, he was pretty much sidelined the majority of the time.

Anyway, I am back, will hopefully be returning to making semi-frequent posts, and am sorry to have been gone for so long. Cheers!


There must be some way I can use this

The past couple weeks, people keep telling me that I look 17. Actually, the record low was 14, but that one was an outlier that was almost definitely the booze talking. I mean, I know you can't really tell what I look like from that picture I put up of me with the Kleenex in my nose, but if you were my Facebook friend or knew me in real life, you'd know that I have a serious five o' clock shadow no matter how closely I shave and the relaxed walking posture of someone who is obviously allowed to buy alcohol in the United States with his real drivers license. I own my own car--not exactly a good example of automotive perfection, that '96 Chevy Lumina of mine, but I proudly have a set of fuzzy Care Bear dice hanging from the mirror, and what 14-year-old would have fond memories of watching that show when he was little?

On the plane home from the Chip Burns thing, I was seated next to this woman who kept poking and making me take off my noise canceling headphones so she could tell me that she was awake or about to go to sleep. I naturally had her figured for a nut right from the start, but she sealed the deal when the plane started its final descent and she woke up and we started having one of those awkward plane conversations where you happen to glimpse the other person's name on their boarding pass but you aren't sure if you can call them by it because they haven't properly introduced themselves. It was one of those. She was being really flirty, and I knew she'd believe almost anything I said, so when she asked me what I had been doing in Atlanta, my world paused. I knew this was it. I had the opportunity to tell a ridiculous, once-in-a-lifetime lie about who I was, what I'd been doing in a strange city, and what I was returning to. My mind raced with possibilities. I've always wanted to convince a total stranger that I do something totally out-there for my job (like dog catching or a that I'm a writer for some unpopular sitcom they probably wouldn't have seen, like How I Met Your Mother), or that I just got out of jail, or that I was a high profile witness in a mafia murder trial. But all that cool stuff tripped over itself on the way out of my head, fell down, and snowballed out my mouth in the form of:

"Uh, business trip."

I wanted to smack myself in the forehead. That was almost the truth! Lifting boxes and making name tags at a trade show for nine days isn't exactly a business trip, but it isn't a sightseeing excursion either. I totally blew my chance to lie my ass off to a stranger on a plane. But it might not have mattered, because a few minutes deeper into our awkward plane conversation, she smiled and said, "So what kind of business do you do?" I told her I was in graphic design, which I guess is more or less accurate, and she gave me this weird, skeptical look.

"I was gonna say, because you look kinda young for a business trip! Like 17 or 18!"

"I'm 22!" I said, semi-defensively, before realizing that to this woman, who was obviously 30ish, I must have sounded like the little kid sucking on a lollipop and insisting that he's seven and a half.

And that's when it hit me; I knew that I look a little younger than I am. I could've used that in my lie! I could've been playing a guy holding a Nerf gun in a Nerf commercial that was filmed in Atlanta. I could've been taking part in a study about how young people are more approachable or something. But the window of opportunity for that had passed, and I had to finish the rest of the conversation using truthful stuff about myself, where I live, the college I attend, and what my cat's name is.

Next time, plane lady. Next time.


A wicked dream and a wicked burn

Everyone dreams every time. Some people just don't often remember, and some hardly ever do, prompting them to believe they do not dream. But they do.

Probably because of this weird summer cold I recently came down with and how I decided to go ahead and assume that it was the onset of Captain Trips, which was the apocalyptic strain of influenza from The Stand, I had a dream last night that was a mix of the book (version of The Stand), the movie version, Life After People, and I Shouldn't Be Alive.

I don't remember much of the beginning, but it eventually became apparent as I was getting off an airplane with a group of other people and walking through a huge, deserted airport, that most of the people on earth were gone. There weren't tons of bodies around, but everything looked to have been abandoned suddenly. Forks stuck in pieces of cake, knocked over trash cans, etc. We wandered outside and were talking about how it must have been the flu that everyone was suddenly coming down with a week ago. Outside was a jungle beach type area with pure white sand and a heavy network of vines serving as the ground near the beach's edge. We walked through the jungle and saw a snake attacking a dog's tail, which naturally offended all of our good senses, so we taunted the snake, which released the dog, turned into a dog itself, and leaped at me. Luckily I had a back pack to knock it out of the air with. This was far and away the most satisfying part of the dream. For some reason, I've always wanted to slam a flying, snarling wolf dog out of the air with something heavy. When we finally reached the end of the jungle, we came out on the beach. Tall, elegant skyscrapers could be seen on the far end; they were white and shaped like Sydney Opera House pieces. Plants were growing unchecked from all their windows, and suddenly I had a helicopter's view of the city, and everything was like that. Cars parked at crazy angles in the street, fire hydrants toppled over and spraying freely, and thick ivy growing through the tops of nearly every building. And the sky was so ridiculously, beautifully blue, which somehow added creepy points to the whole scenario. Then the scene faded to night, and I was out by some mermaid statues contemplating the future of the human race. As far as anyone knew, we were the only survivors of the plague. My boss from work came up to me and explained that we could eat as much as we wanted, because somehow our food supplies never went down, no matter how much we ate. It seemed to make sense to us both, since the only way we could have survived the plague was to have been chosen by God, that our food would also be powered by God and be endless. Then some people who were apparently my friends from before the plague came up and my boss left, and we were walking. And weirdly, my dream self managed to rattle off this giant monologue about what dangers might soon visit us. It was something like...

"There could be more survivors in other parts of the world, or even nearby. They're probably scattered and disorganized, and they might believe they're the only ones left, just like we did. They might trickle in slowly and join us, or they might form their own communities. The problem is that two communities that are large enough to lay claim to the same thing could eventually emerge. And even though we're all humans and have miraculously survived the end of the human world, fossil fuels or some body of water could prove more important in everyone's immediate minds, and there could be war. And since everyone is dead and all the measures of security that were previously enforced are now abandoned, all of mankind's most deadly weapons are just lying around, waiting to be picked back up again. Nuclear bombs could be lying ten feet below the ground, free for the taking, with no one to raise a hand in protest."

As our leader was passing out horribly fitted t-shirts so we'd all recognize one another, I was trying to trade the one I got with the one that had been given to Mya from Just Shoot Me, who also happened to be in the movie version of The Stand. Suddenly I realized that she was looking really good. And then we all looked around and realized that, in fact, everyone was somehow looking much more attractive than before. And it wasn't an "I'm drunk, you look hot all of a sudden" kind of thing, it was a much more legitimate "everyone actually does look leaner, more cleaned up, more bright-eyed and better dressed" type of thing. It seemed to dawn on everybody at the same time that this was probably to encourage us to mate and repopulate the world (and while this would surely be a bonus points part of the dream to many, it creeped me and everyone else on the beach the fuck out). So we took some awesome boats out on the water back to our jungle camp, and they kept scraping against the bottoms of the ivy-owned skyscrapers. This was somehow a tragedy to me, and I cried uncontrollably. When we finally got back into the jungle, there was a repeat of the dog scene (much to my excitement).

Then I woke up.

Total dream length: all night. Total dream estimated length during dream: three days.

TL;DR It was an awesome dream.

In other news: some wiener peeled the registration stickers off my license plate. You know, those '08, '09 things. I noticed yesterday when I was walking back to my car that there was a bright orange sliver of the '07 one laid over what remained of the '06 one. Neither of which, I feel I should mention, is the currently required '09 one. So now unless it's suddenly 2006 again, I'm not even legally allowed to drive to the DMV to get new ones. What a sick, unprovoked burn. It's a good thing I don't have any kids, because I would for sure be grounding them out of spite right now if I did.


The business world

I recently had an experience that made me feel super old. Way too old to play video games or eat Popsicles. Too old to steer with just one hand. Too old even to enjoy Band-Aids that have Peanuts or Scooby Doo characters. For those who don't know, I was just in Atlanta for ten days working as a grunt/peon at a trade show. My basic job responsibilities were to spend 12 hours a day making name tags, laminating name tags, scanning RFID tags to put into name tags, not breaking any name tags, and finally distributing the name tags. The last part required that we dress up nice, so naturally, I put on a tie for the first time in my life. Anyway, I was getting some coffee in the break room, and as I looked down to put the sugar in, I noticed that I could see my tie, dress shirt, and name tag in the same field of view as my hands putting sugar into coffee. And it hit me: I'm at work doing crappy office work, making coffee, and wearing business clothes including a name tag. I am old.

To combat my oldness, which seems to have visited me a bit prematurely at 22, I promptly set to work finding things which are funny. One of the best, funniest things was a name we discovered hidden deep in the name list. That name was Chip Burns. While not inherently all that funny, it did have a sort of Indiana Jones-esque quality. It seemed to us that Chip Burns would wear a monocle, a top hat, have an excessively masculine jawline, piercing eyes, a cape, possibly a jet pack, and certainly the power to throw things with his mind. When Willy picked up the untorn, unfolded name tag paper and said, "Dude, check this one out: 'Chip Burns!'," we all knew that we'd stumbled upon something that was going to get us through the next week and a half. And he did.

The days leading up to Chip Burns' arrival to collect his name tag were tense. We all wondered what he would look like. I drew up a wanted poster of him looking like a burnt-out college kid with a pimp hat and a monocle, but we all knew in the backs of our minds that Chip would never let his hair get shaggy, for he needs to be aerodynamic while jet packing through the Amazon rain forest. Someone suggested we try to get high fives from Chip if he seemed even the slightest bit cool, but I kept quiet during this conversation. Truth be told, I was a little afraid that Chip Burns would pack a high five x-treme enough to permanently cripple any hand unprepared to receive him.

Even our supervisors were amped for Chip Burns. Other sweet names like Dominique Homo, Connie Concon, and John Pimpo, while awesome, were not as consuming to us as Chip Burns. We had just built him up too much and put way too much stock in his awesomeness to trust any other convention-goer to satisfy. We imagined him walking up to the counter playing a full orchestra's worth of instruments with Godlike talent, possibly juggling at the same time, and saying in a booming voice, "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: THIS... IS CHIP...... BUUUURNS. I BELIEVE YOU HAVE A NAME TAG FOR ME!" He would be able to sink the sun if he wanted. All the women would want him and all the men would want to be him.

Eventually, on the final day that name tags would be available for pickup, he came.

I was reading Nine Stories, which is perhaps Salinger's greatest work, when he showed up. It seemed almost fitting, since I was on the last story, "Teddy," which is about a boy with a startling mental capacity and a rich history of past lives (which we all assumed was also the case with Chip Burns). I remember flipping one of the final pages in the book as I heard a voice, gentle but somehow cunning, say to the girl seated beside me at her booth: "It's, ah, 'Burns.' Need a photo ID?"

My mouth fell open. We knew that Chip Burns would probably be coming to get his name tag today since it would be his last opportunity to do so, but it happened at exactly the right moment. It wasn't busy, so we had all the opportunity in the world to meet and greet. I stood up and looked at him. Although he didn't have a top hat or a monocle, Chip Burns was still somehow exactly like we thought he'd be. He had a massively cleft chin, sparkling blue eyes, a buzz cut, and was just the slightest bit muscular. He looked like someone who might strangle a boa constrictor just to prove he could do it.

Willy approached him. "Excuse me, sir," he said. "This might seem... really weird. But a few days ago, we chose a name to place on a pedestal and think was incredibly awesome. That was your name, sir."

Chip Burns turned to him and smiled. "You guys must be really bored back there!" he roared mannishly.

"We are, sir," Willy replied. "Would it be okay if we got a picture or two with you?"

Chip Burns seemed to ponder this for a moment. Finally, his eyes twinkling, he shouted, "Let's do it!"

I couldn't run around the booths to the lobby fast enough. I thought about cartwheeling over the window, but I knew Chip Burns' cartwheels would probably put mine to shame. Eventually, when we had all assembled behind Chip Burns and the camera was ready, we struck our Chip Burns poses and the flash went off. We took two or three more, and one girl got one of him hugging her, but everything after that first moment when he showed up is a bit of a blur for me. The adrenaline, you know.

We also stole his business card. You were supposed to get one from each convention-goer and staple it to the form they had to sign to pick up their name tag, but we kept Chip Burns'. We also photocopied and laminated it. Now it's stuck in Nine Stories as my bookmark.

Considering this epic office adventure, which might not sound as amazing in writing as it was in person, I think I'm finally ready to grow up. I might not ever be able to kick my Peanuts Band-Aids habit, but I think I can handle the white collar world. With a little help...

...from Chip Burns.


The future looks bleak, yo

Waking up with "We Are The Champions" by Queen stuck in your head is more than enough to get the gears turning and the wonder machine working on trying to figure out whatever happened to heartwarming, clever, well-written kids sports movies like The Mighty Ducks and The Sandlot. Airbud does not count, nor do the many sequels where Airbud has to play soccer or football. Somehow Beethoven is close, although that didn't really involve sports in any way. But seriously, where did these films go? When and why was it decided that all kids movies must be some type of animation? (And on that note, why are all animated movies now done in that Pixar style rather than drawn? Sorry, I just don't like that stuff. It feels effortless and generic, like the bad Flash animations Flash tutorials have you make.)

I think maybe part of it is that the actors who rocked those old school kids sports movies have all grown up into gross adults and stuff. For instance, I rented this awesomely bad-looking horror movie a while back because it had the fat kid from The Sandlot (he was also the goalie in The Big Green) in it, but it turns out he lost weight when he grew up. LAME. There are some people who just shouldn't be allowed to not be fat; Wayne Knight, better known as Newman from Seinfeld, is another one. That guy just would not be hilarious if he was thin. Who would want to see a dilophosaurus maul a thin guy? Not me. Not even if they played the same scream three times in a row.

Somewhere along the way, the sincerity in kids movies just evaporated. Oh sure, there are probably some good ones that came out in recent years, but I seriously doubt that people will still be making t-shirts of their catch phrases twenty or thirty years from now. I bring that up because I saw an awesome "You're Killin' Me, Smalls!" shirt the other day and wanted the crap out of it, but I had to pass it up because I am poor. But that's okay, because I've got my memories, unlike today's kids. When they grow up and go to college and be poor, there's no way they're going to see shirts of Bolt or Cars and want them. There's just no way! I would seriously bet my roomie's right pinkie against it.


The year in review

As of 12:15 this afternoon, all of my lectures, labs, and studios were finally completed for the academic year. Finals week is still left, but that almost doesn't count as class because the schedule becomes so random and weird and there isn't really much work left to do. I'd like now to recap a few of the more memorable things that happened this year.

In the big art history lecture hall, which was very dark and silent as we took an online test, someone's computer suddenly began blaring porno music and impassioned moans. Whoever it was took nearly thirty seconds to close the video.

I saw a guy get kicked out of my intro to logical thinking class for replying "recess" when the professor asked him what his major was.

My terrible theater professor, who was a pudgy, socially awkward jerk, was met with muffled laughter when he tried to casually toss it out there that he had had a girlfriend at one point. (Unrelated, but another funny thing with this guy was when we Googled him and found out he has a Geocities portfolio website that's done entirely in Papyrus.)

In painting, our friend Stan's tradition of reading to the class from his Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark 3 book was eventually integrated into the course's official schedule as a 15-minute block every Tuesday and Thursday that became known as "Homeless Stan's Illicit Story Time."

One of Jon's most recent offerings of foamcore (the musical genre), known officially as "Transcendence," became more affectionately known as "The Neighbor Song" because it was what we always blasted with the subwoofer face-down on the ground at 3am when we were feeling mischievous.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was named the King of the Mid-'90s Fadeaway Into Obscurity by President Obama as part of one of his lesser known campaign promises.

The phrase "jive ass bitches" was inducted into the official vocabulary of our apartment one afternoon after Jon and I watched a especially enlightening episode of Fresh Prince.


I want that

It doesn't surprise me that in our ultra-material culture, there are a bunch of things that I find myself wanting throughout the day. What often does surprise me is how come Christmas time, I can never think of any of it, and I end up with some Barnes & Noble gift cards, a CD or two I could download for free, and a new collar for the cat (which, if you think about it, isn't really so much for the cat as it is for me).

I kind of want my own podcast. There are a few major problems with this idea, but before I get to them, I'll tell you why I'd enjoy having a podcast. I think it would be very cool to falsely assume I had a cult following. It would be blatantly obvious that I wouldn't have a popular following, but since I'd see one or two new downloads per month pop up, I could probably convince myself that my music selections and interesting musings on the state of whatever had earned me a special place in the hearts of at least a few perceptive individuals. I wouldn't really care about whether or not it was true so as long as I could name the podcast something like "Snack Break." Or "The Bus Stop."

Then again, I still am not really sure what a podcast is or how you make one, so that's probably out the window. Plus, it would pretty much be the same shit you can read here, except I wouldn't be able to put funny pictures I find on Google at the beginning of each installment like I can on a blog.

I want to like Twitter. It seems like something that should either come easily or not be a stressful thing to ignore, but somehow Twitter seems like such a cool, modern idea until I actually go to update my status with it. I never know what to say. "Met a hobo"? "Went 2 the hospital"? "Still using Twitter"? Why even "microblog" in the first place? Hardly anybody reads my long blog, let alone my carefully-worded-so-as-to-fit-into-the-140-character-limit microblog.

I want a giant White Stripes poster. I actually already have one that's nearly as tall as I am, but I think it would be super keen to have two of them right next to one another. Then people could come into my apartment and think I was some type of White Stripes goon, but I could just be like, "Naw, check it out--if you stand right here, it looks like that Meg White is whispering something to the other Meg White." And then I would be thought a visionary.

I also want to bore a tunnel from my living room to the basement so I could do laundry without having to walk all the way around the building, but I'm going to be moving out soon anyway so I may put that one on the back burner for a while.


Ten things you should definitely try to get ahold of

Today's post will be less about me and more about stuff that legitimately rocks. Some of it might not be for everybody, but that's okay, because chances are you aren't everybody anyway.

10. Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Season 1
Are You Afraid of the Dark was a tremendously great show. Not only did it teach us the value of mortal terror when we were children, but these days it hits the spot like no other when you're in the mood for some inadvertent humor from the ever-deep well of terrible '90s hairstyles and super baggy shirts. Are You Afraid of the Dark Season 1 can be found on YouTube, provided you know which episode you're looking for.

9. Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar
Not only does this short Flash game combine at least four of the most awesome things on planet Earth (that being dinosaurs, robots, flying, and roaring), but it does so with a hilarious soundtrack and a strangely satisfying intro video. Highly recommended, especially since it's free to play and to love. Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar can be found here.

8. Middle Cyclone, by Neko Case
Neko Case is the co-front (wo)man of The New Pornographers, and also has about a billion albums from her solo career, which is more alt country than indie rock but still somehow manages to rule (for more on this phenomenon, consult bands like Jenny Lewis and She & Him). "This Tornado Loves You," the first track, is especially dece. Way more dece than Pat Benatar, and that's saying something. "Middle Cyclone" can be stolen off the internet in any number of creative ways or bought in an actual store.

7. Gak
Not sure if Gak even still exists, or how one could come across it even if it did, but it's too great not to be mentioned. Once I wrapped Gak around my cat's tail back when he was only a kitten, and my mom had to shave the tail to get the Gak out.

6. Super Metroid
Super Metroid is Super Dece. Basically, you're an ass-kicking female robotron named Samus whose main goal in life is to kill every animal that ever existed. You run around shooting blobs of slime and blasting doors open with missiles, and every so often you have to jump over lava or solve little puzzles. As far as SNES games go, it's one of the better ones. Super Metroid can be downloaded from www.vimm.net or bought on Ebay.

5. From Dusk Till Dawn
I still haven't picked my jaw up off the floor from the first time I saw this intentionally awesomely bad trans-genre Tarantino project, and I think it still stands as one of the most hilarious and most strangely satisfying super violent movies ever made. I won't spoil anything about the plot, because it's 900 times funnier if you go into it without knowing a single thing about it, but I will say that it's as just about as close to perfect as any movie could ever come. From Dusk Till Dawn can be downloaded from any number of sites or rented at Family Video from the two for a dollar section.

4. My Maudlin Career, by Camera Obscura
Many bands do the "I am sad, but sound very happy" thing with a fair amount of success, but Camera Obscura are masters of the art. Tracy Ann Campbell and friends came out with this record yesterday (April 21st, for the record) and I've had it on repeat between classes and Are You Afraid of the Dark viewing sessions. I think it's a pretty solid one-up on their last album, "Let's Get Out Of This Country," which was also great, and again I get a perfect mental picture of a slasher movie set in a high school from the 1950s. Argyle socks and everything. "My Maudlin Career" can be bought in a store or downloaded just like any other CD.

3. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
Although you are reading this right now, it is possible that you do not like to read. And while that's perfectly acceptable, the fact remains that this would prevent you from ever reading this book, which is only like 100 pages long and could be said to be a pretty profound part of American literary culture. It originally appeared as two short stories in the New Yorker, for chrissakes! It was the last book the man ever wrote! I plan to name my future dog after Zooey! Franny and Zooey can be gotten from any library worth its salt and probably found someplace on the innanet as well.

2. Crank 2
It's rare that a bad movie spawns a sequel that takes extreme (and by that I mean XTREME!!!!) advantage of the original's badness. Crank 2 is that movie. Although it did seem a little like they were trying to channel the spirit of Kill Bill by casting David Carradine, interjecting quirky typographic design into random scenes, and occasionally featuring bizarre flash backs reminscent of Beatrix Kiddo calling out, "Present!" in her 3rd grade classroom, it was still a pretty damn hilarious and dece movie. And I won't even go into the absurdly stupid (but somehow very compelling) plot that follows Chev Chelios as he clobbers an infinity of badguys in order to get his stolen heart back. It scores a solid 3 Pat Benatars out of 4, at least. Crank 2 can be seen in theaters or probably downloaded.

1. Army men
Not the stupid video game series, I mean the actual toys. The little green plastic guys who were supposedly designed to be able to stand but never needed much help when it came to falling over. Army men are truly great. Not only are they literally hours and hours and hours of entertainment on their own, but they're entirely recyclable if you have an open fireplace at your disposal. Sometimes that's the most fun thing to do with them, actually. Army men earn a perfect score of 4 Pat Benatars out of 4, and the official Jack Lawrence seal of approval. Army men can be bought in creepy old toy stores, and as soon as the required technological leaps are made by the computer science nerds of the world, there will be a way to download them off the internet. You heard it here first.


Love is a battlefield

Every so often there comes a song that doesn't conform to any logical standards of goodness, and yet is still worth YouTubing and listening to at least four times in a row. I think for each person that song is different, but for me, it's Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield." I don't know exactly where my my enjoyment of this cheesy pop "gem" from the '80s came from, but I believe it has its roots in three separate but equally important schools of thought.

1. The "shoulder shaking" dance that Pat does in the music video to scare away the asshole in the strip joint is one of history's best (and possibly first) examples of a problem being solved by a dance off.

2. It's catchy enough to like, but not catchy enough to openly admit to liking. This gives listening to the song a "forbidden" vibe.

3. Pat Benatar somewhat resembles a dragonfly.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that my enjoyment of this song is cause enough for me to write Pat Benatar a fan letter (especially since I bet she would start doing the shoulder shakes at me if there were any typos, and I don't want any of that action), but if she sees this blog, which I assume is likely since all she probably does these days is Google herself, I would like to make it known that I think Pat Benatar is still dece. At least two times decer than Guns N' Roses ever was, and about 3/4ths as dece as The Cure currently is. And she's probably equal to Morrissey. Pat Benatar's general decency can be determined using the following equation:

(The White Stripes - Cursive) x 5

marketability of Shia LaBeouf

Although scientists are still working to determine the exact level of dece possessed by Pat Benatar, great advances are being made thanks to increasing interest in the '80s. It is my fondest hope that by 2010, we'll at least know whether or not it's socially acceptable for Miley Cyrus to do Pat Benatar covers.


The top five ways I maintain my dignity

These don't go in any particular order, but I thought they would be good to share anyway. We're all humans, after all! (Koko the gorilla, this post is not for you.)

• Refusing to add the Snowball Fight application on Facebook.
I've added my fair share of screwy applications, but for some reason, Snowball Fight strikes me as a level of depravity that's just too deep for me to sanction. I hate getting the little red flag in the corner of my screen, which raises my hopes up so high that it probably indicates a severe mental imbalance on my part, only to find out that some dork I went to high school with threw a snowball at me, and if I add this suck ass application, I can annoy all my friends in the same way I was just annoyed. No. No way. Not me. Not Jack Lawrence.

• Only playing "cool" SNES games on my SNES emulator during lectures.
Even though I maybe do have Final Fantasy III, Chrono Trigger, and Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge squirreled away somewhere on my laptop's hard drive, the only games I play when pretty girls could be looking over my shoulder are Mario Kart and Tetris.

• Refusing to take a multivitamin if there's a stupid picture on the label.
Sure, I may have gotten a little anemic last month from living on nothing but bags of microwave rice, PB&J sandwiches, and bowls of raisin bran cereal, but at least I didn't open up a bottle of "Active Kids Complete," take out a bright green capsule shaped like a bicycle, and put it in my mouth like some kind of wussy.

• Avoiding Best Buy employees who clearly want to help me find something.
I know exactly where the Pete and Pete box set is, thanks.

• When someone walks into the room, changing the channel just in time for them to not notice I had been watching Gilmore Girls.
Uh. Sorry, what? I was just flipping channels here... oh, monster trucks, that looks good. Okay, now what were you saying?


Old stuff was the best stuff

Turntables. Spider-man. Sean Connery as James Bond. Game Boy. What do all these things have in common?

They're old, and they still melt face.

How come stuff has to constantly be updated? I mean, seriously, are there seriously that many improvements that truly, honestly needed to be made to the '60s-'90s? Rap rock improved neither rap nor rock, and, in fact, made both of them quite a bit worse. Virtual Boy was lame, and I heard it caused headaches or cancer or something like that. Stradivarius violins were the best ever, and those bad boys were from the 1700s. Zelda is still the best video game. The Beatles are still the best band. David Bowie is still the best person to cast for any role in any movie. Some things have gotten better, like medical technology, but that also indirectly leads to overpopulation, which is not as good as normalpopulation.

One of my professors told me last semester that he hates everyone's current fashion because it's just the '70s again, and since that's sort of true, I suppose there is a silver lining to new stuff--it's sometimes the old stuff. However, if we're going to be in the '70s, I want the full '70s. Big mutton chops. Bad wigs. Plaid suits. Plaid pants. Golf clubs as accessories. And when the '80s make their big comeback, which is already starting (evidence of this can be seen in current releases like Keane's "Perfect Symmetry" and the movie Watchmen), I hope everyone's hair puffs back up again. I was only four when the '80s ended, but that hair was hilariawesome. My mom had that hair. Big, permed curls that added a solid three inches to her height. Alright, so maybe the Garbage Pail Kids were the opposite of awesome (and in fact may have subtracted from the awesomeness of other, completely unrelated, things around them), but that was just one tiny part of the '80s. And they're easily canceled out by such dominant things as Regular Nintendo, the movie Labyrinth, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

If they ever invent time travel, I'm for sure going to spend the fortune it will have taken me my whole life to earn on a chance to relive the banning of slap bracelets and the theatrical release of Mortal Kombat.


Asshole '90s Guy Just Having A Goof

MIAMI, FL -- An asshole from the 1990s approached you in a cemetery late last week with the intention of scaring you, and when your reaction was unfavorable, he attempted to justify his actions by referring to them as "just a goof," witnesses reported.

The asshole, dressed in a baggy blue t-shirt with no visible logos or brands and a pair of lame kakhi shorts, allegedly jumped out from behind a large tombstone and shouted, "Boo!" at you before grinning like a complete moron and then mockingly asking you what you were doing in a cemetery.

As if this weren't enough, the asshole's more down-to-earth best friend then stopped you from leaving so that the asshole could continue to act bothersome toward you. "Maybe," the asshole remarked sarcastically when you claimed to have been putting flowers on a grave. "Or maybe you were ghost hunting," he added, almost supernaturally oblivious to your grief.

Apparently not aware that berating a female for mourning a loved one is not typically considered an acceptable method of starting a conversation, the asshole and his friend then attempted to proposition you for a date. "C'mon," the asshole was heard to say.

The asshole and his friend, both clearly in their late twenties, then remarked that their high school's prom was approaching and proceeded to relate to you the story of the murdered prom queen said to haunt this cemetery.

As of press time, the asshole was not available for comment. Sources report that he lost his mind and has been shrieking continuously since learning that you were, in fact, the ghost of said prom queen, and that it was actually you who was having a goof with him the entire time.


The girls at the office would like a word with you, Harvey

I don't think there's much explanation needed once you've watched this totally awesome Folgers commercial from the early days of TV. Hey man, we may have a bad economy, stupid celebrity drama that gets more coverage than important political issues, and the creation of Grand Theft Auto video games on our collective conscience, but at least we modern humans wouldn't never have run this ad.

Well, I guess maybe I could see Hugh Hefner giving it the green light, but he hardly qualifies as a modern human anyway.


College would be so much better without classes

So I have a class this semester called "Intro to Logical Thinking," and I can't quite decide what to make of it. On one hand, there's the fact that it's actually very vaguely interesting to me in an "I feel like Aristotle when I think about this stuff" kind of way. On the other hand, it starts at 9:40am, which is clearly illogical. And like I said, it's only vaguely interesting. In fact, I'm avoiding the logic homework that's due tomorrow morning right at this very moment in order to waste impressive amounts of time on the internet and poking around my room for books and video games and other things that are more interesting than logic. I spend most of my time in that class on Facebook or Wikipedia'ing string theory (because when abstract thinking gets me in the mood for deeper abstract thinking, Wikipedia is always my first stop), and then when the teacher calls on me (who calls on people in a lecture, anyway?), I look up very slowly because I'm not sure he's really talking to me.

Why? Because he calls me Jake Pendergast. That's right, Jake Pendergast. He got both my first and last names incredibly wrong but sticks to his guns every time I try to politely correct him.

"Oh, right, Jack, sorry. Okay, everyone, let's listen up to Jake here, because he's got the answer. Go ahead, Mr. Pendergast."

I don't even know where he got "Pendergast" from. I think there's actually another Jack in the same class that might have that last name, which might be what tripped him up, but I'm almost positive there aren't any Jakes. And not that I don't appreciate the move to get to know his students, but if he's going to forget my name literally two seconds after I tell it to him day after day after day, why even bother trying to learn names? I wouldn't be at all offended if he referred to me as Piano Scarf or Big Shoes Guy. I think tomorrow, when he calls on Jake Pendergast while staring me down with his rheumy marble eyes and one open palm clapped against dry erase board next to the illegibly scribbled problem he wants someone to solve, I'll just belch really loud. That'll show him.

Another dummy class I have this semester is "Digital Premedia File Creation." I still haven't finished deciphering the course title, but what it boils down to is playing Super Mario Bros. 3 on my computer while the teacher rambles on about not traveling to Mexico because of drug lords or something. He gave us a giant assignment about scanning various things and putting them in a big document to print and some other garbage, but all it left me with was the following burning question: who the heck scans anything anymore? The last time I saw a physical photo album was in an episode of Buffy that definitely hadn't been on the air since 1996. Plus, all the pictures and junk we had to scan came out of a dusty cardboard box labeled "IMPORTANT!" even though it was clearly not that. And neither were the creepy awkward family pictures or photographs of breakfast sausage still lifes sitting inside that we ended up scanning.

Once again: man, college would be so much better without classes.


I could sure go for a heart container right about now

This will probably reveal me as the total nerd that I usually pretend not to be, but man, if my day-to-day life was more like playing a Zelda game, I would get so much more done. I mean, yeah, I'd have to stop every few minutes to beat some skeleton ass and most of the doors I encountered probably wouldn't open until I shot some spiders down off the ceiling with my slingshot, but the sheer convenience of having a magic mirror shield or a hammer forged from a fire god's skull at my constant disposal would make nearly all of my dirty work go a whole lot smoother.

For instance, I just returned from the horrible university processes lab (where they keep the table saw). If you've read the post at the other end of that link, you'll know why I hate that place so much. Every morning that I wake up knowing I have to go in there to cut some wood or do some other stupid thing that involves unnecessarily complex and dangerous tools, I think, How much would it rock to be able to build this canvas stretcher myself, here, in my apartment, using something as natural and intuitive as a magical laser sword? The answer, I think, is "way too freakin' much." In fact, that must be why Master Swords and mystic ice rods aren't purchasable in all major retail outlets yet. That would just rule too much for anyone to wrap their mind around it, and everyone's work days would be so much more manageable that we'd all have time to take three or four naps throughout the day, which would make people with unsafe-to-nap-through careers, like ambulance drivers, super jealous.

Crossing the street would be another good one. I hate crossing streets. It seems like they're all empty until you get right up to the edge of the sidewalk, and suddenly the whole thing is full of miles of speeding cars from both directions. Why the hell are there so many people passing through this single road that separates my apartment from campus in Menomonie? This town can't have a population of more than 5000 or so, and yet there almost always seems to be an unlimited number of vehicles just dying to get in everyone's way. What would be so problematic about them setting up wooden posts for us to hookshot to on both sides of the street? It probably wouldn't even be that dangerous, especially after most people had completed the Water Temple and got the longshot, which was just like the hookshot but with a longer chain.

Plus, instead of having exams, we could just have battles with giant amoeboids or ghostly horsemen that have some silly gimmick that involves using the item we got that day to great effect. Man, Zelda is so dece.


He came from space to save mankind with the power of rock n' roll

Foamcore. If you're an art major, you've probably encountered this mysterious and malignant substance at least once or twice in your day, and if you aren't, maybe you've at least heard its name whispered in a dark alley someplace, or from behind a cupped hand at a murder trial, or floating from the lips of the dark creature that hides under your bed at night.

Foamcore is basically two sheets of paper that sandwich a thin, flexible layer of foam. I don't really know what its true purpose is, or if it only exists to fulfill a number of smaller, less direct purposes, but either way, foamcore sucks. It's horrible. It's messy, it takes three cuts from your X-acto knife to get through it (and I've had way too many bad X-acto experiences to go using three cuts on something that should only logically require one), and it's ugly as crap 90% of the time, no matter how well you rubber cement it to whatever you were rubber cementing it to. It just gets in the way and really shouldn't be required.

But foamcore still somehow maintains a special place in my heart because of my theory behind it. My roommate and I, before we were even roommates, were wondering about the point of foamcore and who the idiot was that initially gave it the go-ahead when we realized that if ever there should be yet another musical offshoot from techno, it should be known as foamcore. It has all the earmarks of the next great genre name--it contains both a silly, nonsensical adjective and the word "core." It couldn't fail! So Jon set out to actually produce the first ever foamcore song while I sat around wondering how David Bowie could have failed to come to this conclusion before we did. He's a fine artist too, after all.

Eventually, after spending about twenty minutes staring blankly into the eyes of the photo I have at the top of this article, I realized that Bowie surely did create formcore. In fact, Wikipedia confirmed that foamcore already exists as a genre and is described as
"[...]a subgenre of House music that originated in foam dance parties and is differentiated by its conspicuously slow and heavy drum track in relation to the rest of the music.[citation needed]"
And although I was saddened by the realization that we hadn't coined this musical term, I was lifted by the fact that Bowie did. I mean, sure, it doesn't expressly say right on the page that it was Bowie, but who else could it have been? Only someone as brilliantly insane as Ziggy Stardust himself could have come up with the mysterious and seemingly pointless substance known as foamcore, not to mention the plainly unnecessary musical genre. Who else descended from the heavens to save Earth with his guitar? Who else claimed to sleep in a coffin standing up, or that he found all his clothes in garbage cans? How many other "trisexuals" do you know? Who else could non-ironically dress as a Martian, a marionette, a pirate, and a goblin king, among others, while still maintaining an air of impeccable style? Of course Bowie invented foamcore, both the music and the actual stuff. Of course he did.

That's what I'm telling myself, anyway, in order to not commit suicide at the thought of spending all of today and probably close to $30 on foamcore supplies to make a scale model of a tradeshow exhibit for signage and exhibition class. Thy will be done, David Bowie. Thy will be done.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: could it really happen?

This might seem really crazy, but I got to thinking today as I walked to class in the frigid, arctic chill of yet another Monday in February: what would I do if vampires jumped out of that manhole over there, off the roof of Harvey Hall, and shimmied down out of the trees? Would I be prepared?

I think not, and that bothers me. See, lately my roomie and I have been watching the first season of Buffy on DVD (hey, don't judge). Suddenly I'm seeing vampires all over the place. I find myself secretly wondering if everyone seated ahead of me in my lecture classes with their hoods drawn up are hiding reptilian vampire faces. And people drinking V8 juice? My god, could it be more obvious?

I'm thinking about either bringing a stake with me wherever I go, or renting Season 2. I think either option would clock in at around $3, so it's not a monetary issue. I'm not sure Season 2 would hold the answer to "what you should do if all this shit turns out to be real," but I'm equally unsure about my ability to drive a stake into a demonic chest with enough gusto to shatter the breastplate, especially since, by most accounts, I'm not as hot as Buffy. On my best day I might approach Xander territory, but even that's iffy.

Maybe I just need to start getting to bed earlier. This vampire-related jumpiness does seem somewhat similar to a few weeks ago, when I was reading The Stand, and everyone around me was starting to get colds. Every time I heard a sneeze, I'd freeze and try not to inhale for as long as possible so I wouldn't catch Captain Trips.

Eh, you know what, screw it. I'm making a stake. I always wanted one anyway.


Count your lucky stars

It has come to my attention today that a lot of bad things are always sitting on the horizon, just waiting to happen, but are not happening yet. For this, each and every one of us is lucky. I'd like it if you'd read this list of various bad things that could happen to you right now, right this very instant as you sit hunched over in front of your computer dicking around on the internet instead of working, but have thus far chosen to remain at bay. Thank you.

1. Steve Buscemi could bust in your door and just stare at you. He would put one hand on his hip and the other on the door frame and just shake his head in utter, all-encompassing disappointment at your actions. It would not matter what you'd done--Steve would simply stay in the doorway, staring and shaking his head at you, giving you a look that suggests he can't freaking believe that you did this to him. Can't freaking believe it.

2. You could fall off a roller coaster and land on a trampoline. It wouldn't kill you, since it's a trampoline, but you'd probably bounce off and land on something that might. At the very least, you'd now have a lifelong fear of both roller coasters and trampolines, two things which, up until now, had clocked in pretty high on your list of awesome stuff.

3. Your right arm could be ripped off the first and only time you choose to disreguard the classic schoolbus warning of keeping all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

4. You could answer the phone only to find out that the person calling wanted to speak with someone else.

5. You could find your grandmother's personal on Craigslist.

6. You and Billy Crystal could be the only survivors of the apocalypse. Perhaps you were in the process of taking out the AA batteries in the remote control for the never-used TV in your bomb shelter when you come back up the stairs, look out, and discover a brick red sky and skeletons all over the place. Or perhaps you live on a remote island that didn't get any radioactive fallout. Either way, you're stuck with Billy Crystal for the rest of your life.

7. The internet could go out of business, leaving you without access to YouTube or any of the other sites that are virtually necessary to make it through the work day.

8. The steering wheel could come off in your hands when you're driving to K-mart.

9. It could turn out that you're evil, and by the time you realize it, you're already in jail for robbing a hospital.

10. You could ironically die of exposure after your friends finally manage to talk you into competing in the Iditarod dog mushing race.

11. You could accidentally hand in the unflattering doodle you did of your teacher instead of your term paper.

12. You could discover, on your death bed of course, that Stephen King always hated you and that both The Stand and Salem's Lot were actually just elaborate metaphors for how you're a jerk.

13. You could fall down the stairs while going to the basement to retrieve your laundry.

14. You could suffer second degree burns when the remains of a high powered firework lit off in the park on 4th of July unfortunately land in your lap.

15. The raccoon you've been feeding for the past three weeks could turn out to be rabid.

16. The last thing you ever say could be, "No, check this out. Spraying a beehive with the hose is a good way to kill them because it makes their wings wet, and then they can't fly."


Day Once Again Saved By Raptors

I just got back home from a surprisingly unfun collegiate field trip, and I feel the need to share this amazing book that I discovered along the way with you all.

For my signage and exhibition class, we drove out to a creepy history museum that was connected to a rundown one-room schoolhouse that I'm about 90% sure was either haunted or taken over by spiders. The point was to look at how exhibits are set up, note how large writing on the walls is, and to gather other miscellaneous information that might help with trade show design. What I didn't count on, however, was the dinosaur factor.

I had just blocked the world's biggest yawn and rocked boredly back and forth on the balls of my feet for the millionth time, and I didn't have much energy left. Things looked bad--my first thought was to try to sneak away from the tour guide and his rambling, incoherent story about how the founder of my college was somehow involved with history, but I knew that would never work because there was absolutely nothing interesting to busy myself with in the museum. It was arranged like a maze of lame artifacts, boring photographs of things from the past, and a bunch of stupid junky mannequins dressed in Little House On the Prairie getup. The only room that might offer salvation was the one we'd entered through--the gift shop.

I quietly backed up from the crowd of students and ducked behind a corner. From there I moved from room to room through the horrifying labyrinth of boredom, and finally emerged in front of--you guessed it--a stack of dinosaur chapter books.

Amazed, I picked one up called Raptor's Revenge. I opened to the first page and read aloud, "A mysterious man was crouching in the bushes and watching the front of the museum and was, focused on a boy tying his shoes." Undeterred by the blatant typo that a quick once-over by any half-blind editor would've filtered out, I read on. The story was apparently about some guy named PaleoJoe (yes, Joe was capitalized mid-name) who was trying to do battle with a raptor or something. I didn't think it was worth the $6 asking price to finish the story, but I can say with near perfect certainty that I already know what would have happened at the end anyway: PaleoJoe and a raptor are in a showdown in a kitchen, and Joe has to hide inside something and use reflections on the shiny metal door across from him to trick the raptor into headbutting an oven. That's the only known way to beat them, after all.

Long story short, I almost had to declare this my first uncool field trip of all time, but thankfully, raptors saved the day once again. Seriously, is there anything they can't do?


One of the most awesome things I have ever seen in my entire life

Let me begin with a little back-story.

My dad, who was one of the most subtly hilarious people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, once discovered an old kung fu movie on TV late at night called Master of the Flying Guillotine. The story was about a kind-hearted kung fu master with only one arm (even though the other arm was clearly visible underneath his shirt in nearly ever scene) who trained his students day in and day out to someday be as great as he. However, in the prequel to Master of the Flying Guillotine, he had apparently smoked a couple of this crazy blind dude's cronies. Unfortunately for the One-Armed Boxer, that crazy blind dude happened to be the Master of the Flying Guillotine, and, as his named suggests, he was really good at flinging this bladed hat thing on a chain that decapitates anything it gets thrown at.

Long story short, there was a scene involving a kung fu tournament, and one of the fighters was a man wearing a bizarre BDSM getup who somehow resembled an Asian version of Hitler. However, since his nipples were exposed by his hilarious costume, he became known to my friends and I as, yes, you guessed it: Titler. Eventually we started using this name to order pizzas.

The other day, my friend was checking his mail where he goes to college in South Dakota, and he came across what is quite possibly the most awesome thing that I have ever seen. He must have snuck one past the International Pizza Database at some point in his collegiate career, because this was sitting in his mailbox, addressed to his apartment:

I very nearly wept with joy.

Also, this officially opens the floodgates for everyone on Earth using Tyban as the universal fake pizza ordering name! Anyone who reads this now has my permission to use my old alias as their own. Happy ordering, dudes and dudettes!


Let me tell you about my moral compass

Each time I dodge a party I said I'd be at or blow off class to sit around and read or listen to music, I get to thinking. Is this something Falkor would have done? I believe in many cases, yes, it is. Falkor always seemed like an unapologetic lone wolf to me. Not that Falkor didn't like people; he did (just not fuh lunch!). Falkor was also clever, generous, street smart, and very good looking. Actually, I believe he's as good a role model as any 22-year-old could aspire to have.

Every time I see someone hanging over a balcony with a red cup held loosely in hand, yelling enthusiastically at someone across the street, I shake my head and think, A luck dragon would never do that. I can't even picture Falkor swerving around on an old bicycle in just his boxers and a football helmet, now that I think about it. As much as I love college life and being around the people I know, there are a great many things that go on in this town that I don't think Falkor or even Atreyu would sanction.

I have similar thoughts about going to some of my classes. Every so often, usually towards the end of the week, I'll be lying down for bed and about to set my alarm when I'll suddenly think, Dude, Falkor would not care about going to his biology lecture tomorrow. I imagine that most of Falkor's formal education, if he even had one, consisted of back-to-back field trips with breaks for art class and kickball. I really doubt that he ever spent much time studying for finals, making sure his sources were properly cited, or dropboxing things on D2L in a timely fashion. In fact, Falkor probably didn't even have a broadband connection when he was growing up. We as a people have drifted so horribly, shamefully far from the magestic ways of the luck dragon.

Sorry about flaking out on all the things I flaked out on this week, but seriously, if Falkor wouldn't bother reading Section 3.1 and preparing a series of questions for the guest speaker, I don't see why I should have to.


Truth in advertising

I wish more products would present themselves exactly as they really are. Commercials for hamburgers should show smushed buns. Commercials for Band-Aids should show kids crying. Commercials for herpes medicine should not show people riding bikes on the beach.

Emails that get sent to me from Campus Life Today should not have "Important!!!!" in the subject line. This is probably one of the only things I don't like about college; it's not enough that the art department spams me daily with stupid sketchy contests, dumb study abroad things that normal people can't afford, and endless requests to come to annoying meetings and things in the big lecture halls that I try to avoid on my days off from class. The campus itself has to chime in each morning around 10am, which is the time that I'm generally most bored and therefore most crushed when my hopes are raised to heaven by "Inbox(1)" and then sent plummeting to hell when I realize that shiny new email I got is actually just junk. The worst part is that they sometimes hide a tiny bit of legitimately important information in those emails, like stuff about registering for next semester's classes, so I actually have to scan them before deleting them.

Movie posters should cite unfavorable reviews. Rottentomatoes is awesome and a great thing to browse in lectures for a daily dose of truth, but I can't even convey with words how incredibly amped I would be if I walked past a poster for a new "high octane thrill ride" that featured a phrase like "IDIOTIC!" or "UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS!" in a sleek, metallic, speedy looking font as a prominent design element.

In stores, jars and boxes of off-brand food should be in a clearly labeled "Bad But Cheap" aisle. I don't necessarily dislike the things that should go in this aisle (I swear by those giant bags of breakfast cereal from Malt-o-meal or whatever it is), but it can be kind of lame buying one of these products by accident. Especially when you were aiming for the real stuff.

I realize these might be "high-class worries," but you can't tell me that starving kids in Africa don't hate Vin Diesel movies just as much as I do.


Happy creepy Valentine's Day, Zooey Deschanel

Dear Zooey Deschanel,

Hi. You rock and I think you're really great. Like really really great. Like, if we were Facebook friends, I would comment incessantly on all your pictures and poke you back way too fast after you poked me. Like creepy stalker fast. Do you want to see the pictures I made of us on Morphthing.com? Our hypothetical kids will be very attractive!

I saw your concert in Minneapolis. Some guy up closer to the stage handed you a rose and I was like, "Man. That jerk." He totally stole the idea that I thought of as he was stealing it. So lame. You played a kickass tambourine, though. I can play that instrument too! We should jam sometime. Cover some Beatles or something. I dunno. Just let me know when you're free, alright?

Oh, I also saw you in The Happening. You did a bang-up job in that movie. Seriously, very stellar. I can't believe that jerk Mark Wahlberg didn't commit suicide, though. That almost wrecked the film for me. He was so annoying. He totally didn't deserve your film love. He probably wouldn't even set up his cell phone to get Facebook alerts so he could return your pokes as quickly as possible. One question, though: could trees really do that? I'm very scared to go outside these days and would appreciate a speedy response.

In conclusion, you are awesome, and we should hang out and play some PS2 with my roomie on Saturday. I hope you like Mortal Kombat Deception!

Your most muscular fan,


Walmart: where awkward moments blossom into awkward days

When I was little, the biggest reward imaginable was for my brother and I to both be allowed to go to food shopping with my mom at the same time. Usually we were either brought individually or not at all, because when we joined forces, we always had way more success than my mom would have liked at finding things to laugh at, thinking up loud noises to make, and choosing interesting cans of who knows what to sneak into the cart while she wasn't looking. Neither one of us was much of an annoyance alone, but together we were unstoppable.

Not too much has changed since those days. At 22, I will still occasionally convince myself that I need a can of off-brand tomatoes because of the hilarious drawing of some stupid guy on the wrapper, or that I can't go without some headache-inducing Lisa Frank folder to store the assignments from one of my less favored classes in. I think I get it from my dad. One time he and my mom were taking turns riding a shopping cart in a parking lot, trying to set the world distance record, and he ended up losing control and accidentally smashing out one of her car's tail lights.

A few days ago, I sneezed twice in my first class. I never sneeze unless I'm coming down with something, so I decided I'd preemptively hit up Walmart for some Nyquil and Advil before a sore throat could get its foot in the door. Nobody likes shopping for medicine once you're already sick; it completely takes the fun out of it. Not that buying Advil is all that exciting in the first place, but there's nothing worse than being sick and getting stuck behind some old lady that's taking ages in line because she has to explain to the cashier about how her cat doesn't like the better cat food so she's buying the cheap cat food and not the better cat food, because her cat won't eat that better stuff, he knows better than to spoil his palette before his birthday on March 14th, so I need to get this cheap cat food because my cat is so smart, et cetera to infinity.

So I searched around the store for approximately forever, browsing their crappy Walmart CDs and being amazed at the wide variety of different types of printer ink that can be bought for outrageous prices, before I finally realized that Nyquil would probably be in the pharmacy aisle. I grabbed a bottle of the regular flavored stuff, a pack of Advil, and headed to express checkout.

The checker was a somewhat strange looking youngish woman with cracked lips and wild eyes. She looked like the type that, if not employed at Walmart, might be seen loitering outside of a Dennys or something, flicking cigarettes at birds. I put my cold medicine on the conveyer belt, put my hands in my back pockets, and stepped up to the register.

"Hi," I said.

"Hi," she replied coldly, eyeing the Nyquil. She glanced up at me, back to the Nyquil, back to me, and then slid it slowly across the barcode scanner.

"Date of birth," she stated flatly.

"...Huh?" I asked, caught slightly off guard. I hadn't remembered that Nyquil can be used to make meth or whatever it is that creepy people who flick cigarettes at birds make with it.

"Date of birth," she said again.

"Eleventwentyfoureightysix," I mumbled. She stared at me, chewed the inside of her lower lip for a second, narrowed her eyes and glanced back to the bottle of Nyquil, and then back at me, like she was on the verge of figuring out the exact mathematical reason why I must not be telling the truth.

"I think I'm getting a cold," I offered as I slid my card in the machine.

She didn't say anything as she finally put the Nyquil in a bag with the Advil and then handed me my my recipt. She didn't ask to see my driver's license; apparently to buy Nyquil, you only have to claim to be a certain age and be willing to engage in a staring contest.

I never did end up getting sick. But before I got back in my car, I took a shopping cart from the return lane, located a slightly downhill part of the parking lot, got a running-jumping start, and rode about twenty feet before crashing on some ice.


I wish pizza guys wouldn't take pizza so seriously

I'm going to go ahead and assume that I'm not the only person in the world who thinks ordering pizzas is way more fun when you use a funky alias. For as long as I can remember, I've used the name Tyban to order all my pizzas. There's a long and involved story about how this name was invented, but the basic idea is that a pizza guy on the other end of the phone heard what I said wrong and the box had "Tyban" written on it when I went to pick it up. I've never had any huge problems ordering as Tyban, although I have been asked a few times what culture the name comes from and/or how I got it ("Nordic" and "born with it" have been my respective answers). In fact, the name is apparently so convincing that nobody even seems to mind when I pay with a credit card that clearly lists my first name as "Jack."

However, I guess for every ten pizza guys that are cool, there has to be that one killjoy who just doesn't understand how much better pizza tastes if nobody involved in the making of it knows your real name. A few weeks ago, I was ordering pizza, and they must have already had my phone number in their database or something because when I gave the guy my cell, he asked, "Uh, Doctor Tyban?"

I had to crack up because I didn't remember that I'd gotten my PhD in pizzaology. "Yeah, that's me," I said, still laughing a little.

"So what's your real name?" the jerk asked flatly, as if there was no chance a Nordic Doctor of pizzaology could possibly be in the mood for pizza right now.

"...Jack," I finally admitted. I could hear keys clacking on the other end of the phone, and I could just picture the douche bag's sadistic grin as he entered my real name into the international pizza database, which I guess could have a life-threatening pepperoni meltdown if it fails to retain a completely accurate listing of all customers' given Christian names.

"What can I get you, Jack?"

I wanted to yell, Your pizza license number, asshole!

"Uhh, medium sausage. Oh, and I have a coupon for a free two-liter soda."

I didn't really have that coupon. Screw you, pizza guy.

I guess I can understand not wanting people to order with all kinds of crazy fake names that could be allusions to drugs, gangs, violence, rock n' roll, pornography, and other such riff raff, but seriously--Tyban is perfectly okay, but adding the title of Doctor pushes it over the edge? I'd never before been asked if Tyban was fake. Oh well. I guess I was the only one that didn't know that once you get your Doctorate, you stop liking pizza. Damn. Guess that's what I get for not bothering to look that up on Wikipedia.


Global warming is dominant

How can anyone not be excited about global warming? It's so totally win/win that I can't understand how environmentalists could possibly be against it. Maybe it's just because I live in a frozen hellscape six months out of the year, but I always have to groan whenever I hear some annoying white guy with dreadlocks going on about how I should stop driving because it increases my carbon footprint or whatever. If you don't like spring and fall temperatures, than screw you, because they're awesome.

Today I walked outside in the morning onto my balcony, looked out over the beautiful skeleton forest of early sunlight and glistening streams, singing birds, and newly sprouting leaves, and I breathed in the sweet, sweet reward I earned for all my efforts to warm the globe. And hey, suppose it does actually come to the worst case scenario, and global temperature shift actually does cause life on planet earth to end. What would be so bad about being able to say, "I died in the freaking APOCALYPSE"? Honestly, I'd rather die from something totally amazing like the end of the world than of something stupid, like oldness or the flu or hypothermia.

Someone should give Al Gore a Razzie for his movie about how I'm not right. That movie was super boring before we hooked the TV up to Jon's electric guitar amp and cranked the distortion on Al's voice up to 11.


Finally, a kids movie that isn't afraid to scare the shit out of kids

In case you don't follow movies very closely, Coraline is a new PG-rated stop motion film about a terrifying, skeletal, praying mantis woman who lives inside the wall and tears out the eyes of children so that she can lock their souls in a dark room for the rest of eternity.

Hells yes.

I can't even remember the last time there was a good "scary as shit" kids movie. These days, all we get is Ice Age, Cars, and other formulaic CGI bore-fests that all look identical and cast tons of B-list celebrities for no apparent reason. None of them have bite and nobody will remember them 15 years from now when they're blogging on the mindnet (or whatever the future holds for written communication). But me, I remember all the kids movies I saw when I was a kid. And do you know why I remember? Because they were damn terrifying, that's why! I remember the awesome scene from the otherwise terrible movie The Phantom (rated PG, by the way) where the bad guy tricked this other bad guy into looking into a microscope that had blades hidden in the eye scopes that shot up when he turned the knobs and blinded the crap out of him. That was awesome as a ten year old. That opened up a whole new world of terror that I'd never even realized could exist before. And Nickelodeon did a whole day of programming dedicated to promoting that movie when it came out, because old school Nickelodeon knew where it was at: MIND-SHATTERING FEAR.

Which is why it's good that Coraline has come along to scare today's children. Even though it was pretty predictable, a little gimmicky with the 3D, and pretty obviously trying to milk the fact that it had Nightmare Before Christmas' director behind the wheel, Coraline was pretty freakin' scary in a kiddish sort of way. If I had seen this when I was ten, you know what I would have been having nightmares about for the next week and a half? This. And this. And I would have gained a new fear of sewing needles that would probably persist into my early 30s. Because that's what a good kids movie is all about.



Higher education needs a boost

I've been noticing recently that something is pretty obviously askew in the college degree system. Some people who really know their stuff beyond what should be required for a degree don't have one, and some guy who ended up growing a soul patch, painting himself silver, and bellowing things like "we are only five years away from the 21st century" in a disorienting, vaguely offensive advertisement for the shamefully bad Sega Saturn probably had his doctorate in sociology or something. For this reason, I think it's high time the academic community thought about doing a revamp of the educational titles.

For instance, who really wants to be a "Bachelor of Fine Arts"? I don't. I want to be a "Guardian of Arcane Knowledge" or a "Tireless Champion of the Unseeing Eye" or something else that sounds way more kick ass and important than a "bachelor." Graduating from college shouldn't conjure images of a scruffy guy in a bad tie and a graduation cap; it should conjure images of a tyrannosaurus uppercutting a demon. Anything less awesome than that should not be imagery associated with higher learning.

Also, I think some people should have to have asterisks next to their titles. For instance, if you have a PhD in something that the average ten-year-old would not aspire to study, you should have to have an asterisk after it that leads to a footnote reading, "Lame." However, if you actually did become an astronaut or a wild animal vet or a rock musician, your asterisk could be something like, "Danny Baker, the asshole that made fun of me in 3rd grade for the time I threw up during recess, can suck it."

Also, I think that Sam Neill, Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips, and Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters should be given automatic PhD's in the field of dominance.


Magnificent inventions from the future

(And a few other things I thought sounded like really cool ideas when Jon or I first thought of them.)

5. Condiment ray gun
How many times have you wanted to put mustard on something but you didn't have an awesome enough way to do it? Well put your hands together for the condiment ray gun. Nothing can impress a blind date the way a concealed weapon can, and it's a two-birds-with-one-stone type situation if that gun shoots condiments. Your E-Harmony meet ups will still be awkward and kind of creepy, but at least your hot dogs won't be bland.

4. Clothes made out of blankets
Straight from the mind of Mitch Hedberg comes this gem among gems--clothes that were also blankets, so you could just sleep where you stand! Imagine the possibilities. Boring lecture? Pow, dreamland. Cold? Not with a nice set of blanklothes. It's like the next natural step up from pajamas. It was recently brought to my attention that this has actually been made into a real product.

3. Mortal Kombat coloring book
Now your children age 4-8 can relive the heartwarming adventures of Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Baraka, and Sonya Blade whenever they want, in full color! 1995 may have come and gone, but the feel-good antics of everybody's favorite Outworld Kombatants are here to stay. Krimson Red Krayon included.

2. Disposable computers
Everyone knows the best way to fix a slow computer is to hit it, but what happens when things get out of hand? Hey, we've all been there. Cracked screens, bloody keyboards, and speakers with forks stuck in them are common sights in any bachelor pad. But now there's a better option: disposable computers. Punch and kick all you like, you've got a box full of these things! Your internet shuts off during a lengthy download? POW! Professor calls you on using Wikipedia as a source? ZIFF! Don't forget to check out edible ethernet cords, too.

1. Game Boy Shuffle
Imagine a Game Boy that had no screen. The buttons would all work... maybe. You wouldn't know if you were winning or losing because there would be no screen and it would be small enough to clip to your lapel. But while it was up there you could voice chat with people on wi-fi by talking into your lapel like an awesome secret agent or something. You wouldn't know if anybody was online, though, until you synced it up to your iTunes and found out if you had won or lost to them at a game that you didn't even choose to play because it was selected from your playlist by a random number generator. Headphones not included.