March 24, 2011

The chef always goes down with the ship

All right Spain!!! I'm a fan of Spain. I've never been there, but I would like to go, I would even consider living there but Pam isn't sure they don't eat horses, and she doesn't want her babies to be eaten. I, on the other hand, am a fan of Cronus and his wonderful paternal instincts.

No fancy computer graphics (notice how he's awesomely naked and genderless). I do enough with computers all day, I need some good 'ol fashioned organic drawing. I'm not really sure graphite can be classified as organic though... hmmm. People eat weird things. I'm not talking about the glue, paper, rubber, gasoline, lead paint, cat litter, or any other of the many assorted goodies kids will eat for one reason or another-can you blame them, they have you for a role model? I'm talking about grown adult people that are supposed to know better. One thing that always strikes me as funny is people complaining that their food has been pesticized, furtilimized or, heaven forbid, originating in a lab. This is what they would like you to think that "organic" food (no pesticide, fertilizer or other man made thingums have 'tainted' it) looks like:

and what they would like you to think that an apple that has been fertilized, pesticized and other wise manipulated by man looks like:

If you were the hamburgler would you break into a house that had up razor wire and guard dogs, or the house that's unprotected? Me too. Hooray for all natural products!!! Besides, why do you think we're living so much longer? Preservatives! They're in everything including your toothpaste and designer underwear. This is also part of the reason they've had to invent cialis and viagra. Lesson: don't swallow the toothpaste; and you thought it was just an old wives tale. 

The first man to invent toothpaste used a mixture of mud, sand and cow dung. Needless to say he was drawn and quartered shortly after his product hit the medieval market. The prince was a bit upset over having cowdung-mud-sand breath when he went to kiss the princess (his cousin, with whom he was madly in love) instead of normal rotting dead flesh, death and all things doom breath he had been known for. Speaking of all things dead and rotting, did you know radiohead put out a new album? Even better, Oasis is still around (and recording music) and criticizing radiohead for not being original. I'm sad we left England to start our own boy-band-land. Imagine Alice Cooper with a british accent, or Ted Nugent swinging on a vine in a loin clothe (note the old-english spelling) while sipping a cup of tea. Even better, Neil Diamond with an english accent, or even speaking proper english. If I could be uprooted from the here and now and planted into that world it would be a laugh a minute, and the best part would be that no one would know what I was laughing at or why. Jokes seem to be more funny when other people look at you like you're crazy. Kind of like this one: Sabes por que la parte final de pan se llama la suegra? Porque nadie la quiere. Absolutely hilarious!! Unless of course you're a mother-in-law (and speak spanish). I learned another joke in russian that I still don't really understand (at all) but it seems to make russians laugh all the time. Anything that can make a russian laugh must be pretty good right? 

Back to Spain. They invented the toilet. That has to be worth something. 

Did you know there are over 642 different kinds of people living in your basement, and they all want to do bad things to you. We have a scary basement, and I figure that if it's true for us it must be true for everyone. I lost all my steam. I'm quitting, but will be back later. The People Under the Stairs looked like it was going to be an awesomely scary movie and the first part of it was pretty intense and suspenseful. Then you meet the people under the stairs and I was laughing pretty good. I love it when people try to make political statements and they know it's not going to go all that well, so they go all out and it's that much better. Here's to the people under the stairs. 

The next time you're bored you can call up a veterinary clinic and act concerned, but not panicked, and make up a story about your favorite pet and how something might be wrong but you're not really sure. Make sure that it's something completely ridiculous too. For example, this was my favorite I've done so far:

(Thick Utah Hick accent)
"Hey, uhm yea, my uh dog, he well, we were playin' fetch an' I was throwin' this ball fur 'im an', well it was like a golf ball size ball but not a golf ball, you know what I mean? Well, we was havin' all kinds uh fun an' then I throw it fur 'im and he come runnin' back an' I went tuh get the ball from 'is mouth an' it wasn' there or nuthin', and then he just like collapsed on me. Like, I'm not sure if he's gonna be okay or not, but at the sametime, I'm not really sure if I uh need to be, ya know, worried or somethin' about 'im." 

Make sure you're not panicked, act like it's normal and probably is nothing, but you're calling just to cover your bases. The sad/funny part is that they will believe you. Not because that's their job, but rather because they actually get calls like that. Try it, and make sure to pick something outlandish and odd and see what happens. The down side to this is the children's story of the boy who cried wolf. Don't get eaten. 

I've been working on this post sporadically over the last week or so. 

A good friend of mine is considering moving to Dragonville, England. Yes, Dragonville!!!! Nearby, he will have access to the mystical Ramside Golf Club, where he can slay evil fire-breathing dragons at his leisure while he plays a round of 18 holes. That would be a golf game I would want to watch. 

"He's four under par and if he can sink this putt that will put him right where he needs to be to take the cup...AND WHOA!!! Someone must have clapped a little too loudly because here comes the dragon from hole 13 and does she ever look pissed!! He's managed to mark the spot where his ball was and put his putter back in the protective custody of his caddy, while retrieving his double sided ax of doom, which he has lovingly nick named little Peety."

"Well, Harve, this looks to be a very eventful hole for him for more reasons than one. The main challenge he faces right now is getting his shirt off without being burnt to a crisp."

"You're right, Merv, this is what our lady audience lives for, seeing those wieldy golfers showing off their rippling pectoral muscles while they strike out for justice and slay the doom bringers."

From there it would turn into every other epically awesome man dragon battle complete with close and not-so-close brushes with death for both man and dragon. Forget an angry wife smashing out the back window of your car, you've got a dragon coming after you!!! It would be awesome to live there. 

I just scrolled back up to see what I was writing about before and I saw a picture of a rotten apple and the word naked in caps (it turned out to be a note to myself about the drawing of Cronus which I took out, but this comment is still relevant), realized it really didn't matter and have decided to end this post. 

Until next time, "If I can't out smart you, I will at least out dress you." -JJL

March 10, 2011

Whoever invented the wheel should be shot, hanged and then repeated seven times to make sure they're really dead

That's a long title, but I felt it was appropriate. I don't seem to be garnering the attention of Canadia. People in Russia and Slovenia look at my blog occasionally, but not Canadia. Maybe I need to talk about frogs to get their attention? Speaking of Canadia, there's a town called Hamilton somewhere up there where numerous people worked for the Bell telephone company, which was in a nearby town. What were these people called? Hamiltonian operators that commute! If you didn't think that was funny, go ask one of your friends that has taken  a quantum mechanics course. They're response, upon you telling them this joke will be to first shake their head with a smile and then tell you it's really not that funny, and definitely not worth your time to understand. Just take my word for it, it's funny. It could also come in handy if you ever get stuck in an elevator with a bunch of physics/chemistry people. If they're organic chemists though, they won't have a clue as to what you're talking about (it would be like explaining romantic love to a kindergartener, they'd wine and complain that it's stupid and they don't need it, and eventually would either try to pull your hair or kick you in the crotch to make you stop). I'll stop.

The title, oh yes, the title, and this one has nothing to do with ownership of your car, though it does have to do with cars in general. I think cars were sent here as one of the seven plagues before the apocalypse (that's a fun word, for more reasons than one), and it's such a horrible plague that it's not even mentioned by Nostradamus himself. Foreign cars are even worse, and I'm not a Xenophobe either (they call me Ford Prefect).

I know I promised pictures too, but I don't think it's going to happen this time. I'm a terrible artist and most other pictures I can find don't adequately describe the mayhem and panic I envision.

My dad, grandfather and great-grandfather were all mechanics at one time or another (two of them now work on keeping worms running smoothly). As such, when I was growing up when there was a problem with one of the cars my dad was usually the one that initially tried to fix it. Sometimes bad things happened, words were said, pieces were lost at 11pm in those stupid cracks in the pavement that go down just far enough that any small object that enters them now belongs to the Dark Under Lord, and the hammer was usually brought out. This meant the next day the car was taken to a shop where they fixed it. Okay, the last part never really happened, it just meant the next day we had to go pickup more parts and start over. The first time I was told to go help my dad work on one of our vehicles I was super excited! Kind of like the kid on A Christmas Story when he's told to go help his dad change the tire. I quickly learned that this was a way for my mom to not feel guilty about having my dad outside working in the dead of winter on out car late at night in a carport; we had no garage. I also learned that this was possibly the worst thing for a kid to do. I was too young to really do anything other than stand there and hold the nuts and bolts and other assorted pieces that were summarily tossed from the engine, and when put back together we almost always had leftovers, which like Thanksgiving dinner were put in a giant jar with all the previous leftovers and then forgot about until next time. Mmmm, composting in the kitchen fridge. From an early age I learned to hate working on cars. I also learned why mechanics swear a lot, they have good reason to. I met a care engineer once. He's still alive, but only because he swore he just designed the body and exterior parts of the car.

Anyone who's ever worked on a car knows what I mean. They have bolts and screws and other thingums in the most awkward, hard-to-get-to and awful places you can think of. Things are piled on top of each other in an effort to save space. The problem is that the things that break down the most are usually at the bottom of these piles. So if you work on your own car you become very familiar with those pieces that you're not really sure they do anything, but you keep putting them back because you don't really want to find out if they're necessary or not. I have a feeling that if car engineers were required to spend two years working as a mechanic doing repairs on whatever part of the car it is they design, cars would be much friendly objects, and removed from the list of plagues to visit the earth before the end-of-days.

My real hatred of working cars comes from my older sister. Mainly it was one incident that still lives in infamy in my heart and soul, though I'm sure the rest of the family has forgotten it. Did you know that you have to put oil and antifreeze in a car? Well, you do. My older sister, in spite of being incredibly smart, so much so that she was paid to go to college, didn't know this. I can mock her because at that time I didn't have the privilege of driving the car all that often and so I learned from her mistakes and forever after knew you had to check the oil and antifreeze. The engine, for the most part, is made to withstand even cockroaches. The head (the part on top of the engine, once you unpile all the other pieces on top of it, that look like hoses but any competent mechanic will tell you they're not hoses, oh no, they're "who'sy what'sits and thingama-jig-ums that are really expensive to replace") couldn't withstand a two-year-old armed with a purple crayon. With out enough oil and antifreeze the head warps, which causes an even bigger problem because now you're antifreeze leaks into the area where the oil goes, and so you have even less antifreeze. I don't think catalytic converters can do much with antifreeze either. I hear cats  really like it though.

I just realized why this entry was sucking so much. No theme song to go with it...okay we're good now.

My wife, Pam, makes this awesome homemade bread that I'm eating right now too. If I could I would electronically share the bread with you. Unfortunately, until it becomes something gamers are interested in the computer manufacturers won't pursue it that much. Mmm, multigrain goodness.

Long and the short of the ruined head in the car, my dad and I replaced it in the winter months in Northern Utah-it took us about two to three months-and got the car up and running! Once. After it fired up initially it wouldn't start a second time. We ended up taking it to a mechanic where they had to replace the whole block. It ran after that though. I learned that working on cars is the second most painful thing in this world. Going on a family trip and being forced to listen to Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Musicals and such is only slightly more painful. We did listen to Three Dog Night, The Doobie Brothers and the Doors as well, so it wasn't always pain-riddled. There used to be this crazy lady on TV that had a 'magic' mirror that allowed her to see the children at home watching (kind of like how santa knows what you want for Christmas) and she called good little boys and girls her doobies. My mom and aunts swear to this. She was probably secretly a hippie.

Recently our car had been acting funny. We'd be driving along and it would start talking to me. Pam says she never heard it, but I know it was talking and it kind of freaked me out. One time it didn't like what I was doing and told me I better watch it, it knew where I slept. At this point I realized it was kind of pointless for me to be using my seatbelt. Thankfully Ralph Nader got the car companies to make steering columns that wouldn't impale the driver. We're still waiting for him to do something else useful ....waiting ....waiting kind of reminds me of waiting up to see the tooth fairy take your tooth and put the quarter under your pillow. You never saw it, but people kept telling you that because the quarter was there the tooth fairy had done it, and you believed them for a while. One of my nieces believes in the booger fairy. I'd love to see her pillowcase on laundry day. One of my old roommates called them nose-trolls. Euphemisms are fun, and not just because it's a strange word that makes me think of rivers in which thousands were sacrificed to pagan gods. Thank you Michael Keen.

Could you imagine if they made a car modeled after Pauly Shore? It would keep telling it's out of gas, and then when you pulled up to the gas station it would explode. Keanu Reeves? It would try to out race muscle cars, out off-road SUVs and out comfort luxury cars, all while doing the exact same things, which is nothing. Martin Short? We'll keep this moderately clean and so won't mention what you're car would do. Paris Hilton?   It'd carry a small dog around in its gas tank and wonder why it kept dieing.

Our car also was making funny noises that it shouldn't. I thought the ball joints just needed to be lubed up, but kept putting it off because I really didn't want to have to take off the wheels and get my hands dirty. That's the honest truth. I finally broke down and screamed at my inner-girly-side until it was crying in the corner like a little girl (I had to tell it it was fat), and took the tires off the front of the car to check it out. Lo and behold, there was a slightly bigger problem. There's this little piece called a stabilizer connecting rod that one of the bolts had come off of, which explained why our car felt like it was leaning to the drivers side. It was. I wasn't too thrilled about it (earlier last year my dad and I had changed out the CV axles, while it didn't take as long as replacing the head, I would much rather do that again than replace CV axles) but we hopped over to the neighborhood auto part store on Abbey Road, asked Sgt. Pepper for directions and had some pickles and cheese on a yellow submarine. After this we made it to the service counter where I had to try and explain the part I needed (I didn't know what it was called at this point; car parts don't come with names on them). He pulled up a picture and asked me if that was what I needed. It looked like it, so I said sure, and after paying slightly less than it costs to smuggle rabbit fur into Finland, we were on our way home.

UPDATE: This picture was given to me by a good friend and is a pretty good at describing what I envisioned (if you haven't looked at his blog you should)

Once home, Pam quickly went inside. She's a very wise woman, other than marrying me, but I'm not complaining. Surprisingly, it was very easy to take out the old one and put in the new one, and I only had grease on my hands and little on my upper arms. I changed the oil in my youngest sisters car once (stupid Chevy) and ended up with both arms up to my shoulders completely covered in grease. The oil filter is positioned at the back of the engine where the only way to get to it is by reaching in from either the top or the bottom, snaking your arms around various immovable pieces and putting all contortionists to shame. This invariably means you will be covered in grease. I also, foolishly, mistook an easy to reach filter as her oil filter and found out that transmission fluid does not taste like burnt sugar like used antifreeze does.

The moral of the story: invent a time machine, find the person that invented the wheel and beat them. No wheel = no car = no oil crisis = no Bush family dynasty = no 911 = no emergency services = more deaths = no food shortage = no starvation = everyone, not just Americans being fat = Jenny Craig is a worldwide hit = ... it's a win-win situation for all involved. 

March 1, 2011

Roseta Stump

I've been trying some things lately-different things than I normally try, and these ones I don't have to worry about mistaking them for amanitas-and thus far the results are far from inconvulsive. Oddly enough some of the funnier things I have written (isn't that a fun word??!) have been while I have been jamming out in my head to good 'ol Trent Reznor. I have based this off of nothing more than a smattering of the comments I have (and have not) received on different posts. Speaking of that, my blog has had 279 views. 158 of those are from me (I know because the most used browser that looks at my blog is Chrome-guess what I use and you don't most likely?) waiting to see what someone has said. I've even changed my setting so that you can post comments anonymously (that's for you gangsta g-ma Betty, yo!). Wow, that wasn't interesting at all. Hang on, let me put on some screaming, wailing and otherwise brashness that is Trenty-boy. Okay, now that he's screaming in my ears AND I CAN'T EVEN HEAR YOU NO MATTER HOW LOUD I TYPE!!! Since that's in caps and has exclamation points you should now be mentally deaf from reading it.

Someone told me today I could be Trent Reznor's doppelganger. That was mildly flattering, though considering it came from a student I teach it could have been meant as an insult. He did just win an oscar, and this time it wasn't for singing dirty little ditties about the naughty bits of life. It was for the score of The Social Network. It's not too bad actually-I gave it a listen after being told I looked like him a little, except I'm a bit fatter, shorter and not quite as pasty white. That and I wear glasses, have some grey hair and do not hate god. Other than that, and I don't own the house the Tate murders occurred in, we're pretty much the same person. I'm also a lot less rich than he is and don't make music, unless its mexican night at our house.

I could never be a real chemist. Yes, I am getting an advanced degree in chemistry, but it's not real chemistry. I work on a computer all day, write programs and the closest thing I do to chemistry while at work is wash my hands in the restroom and heat something up in the microwave. Technically the last of those two is physics and not chemistry, otherwise the food wouldn't taste very good anymore, assuming microwavable food tasted good before you microwaved it. How do we know if microwavable food is really palatable or not? You heat it up, and it either turns to mush because some water got into the package or you're so starved that you can't wait for it to cool down and cram it in your mouth, searing off all of your taste buds in one fell swoop; you could be eating a magoty shoe for all you know at that point and it would taste the same. Try eating a magoty shoe the next time you burn off all your taste buds.

I'm at a very unsatisfied point right now. I just reread everything I have already written (there's that word again that makes me giggle for some unknown reason) and frankly I feel like it sounds like everyone else's blog that's out there. There's sixteen trillion of us, and we're all trying to be funny, though few of us ever really can pull it off. I miss the days when I didn't know I sounded like everyone else. Curse you Al Gore and your stupid invention of the internet!!!! Can we make up an anti-nobel prize? If we can, I think he should receive the first one, and it comes with a cash prize of -(recipients-net-worth), that fluctuates with the recipient. You can pay in one lump sum, or you can do it in installments. Maybe that's how hell works. You show up, they tell you you've been naughty by reading off all the horrible things you've done when you thought no one was watching (sneaking cookie dough while the wife was asleep) and even those that people saw you do (beating the neighbor kid for trying to teach your dog to pee on your back door). Then they take you from the room-of-shame (everyone gets to hear about all your naughtiness in the room of shame, it's a public spectacle) into the room of eternal-damnation-customer-service-center. Even though you can see the workers on the other side of a big window, they make you call them and you have to navigate an automated system that makes the IRS seem warm and comforting, like your first blankey you had when you were a kid. If you are able to navigate the automated system (pressing 0 will only get one of satan's helpers to come and poke you with a pitchfork) without ripping your pay phone, which you have to keep feeding quarters, from the wall you then get to talk to a customer-service agent.

In high school and junior high, do you remember those girls that were like you-know, and they always had like those one like things that were like totally nuh-uh, and they would completely out of who-knows-where be all like up in your like you know business? I'm convinced that no one really acts or talks like that of their own free will, but instead they have unwittingly become subjected to evil-demon-infestation-disease. Those same evil demons that are responsible for this tragic tragic behavior are the same demons that work in the customer-service department (they're being punished as well, even satan hates it when people talk that way). Now you have to give to them your new ID number that has been conveniently tattooed on the underside of your thigh, for convenient reading, and they don't give you those nice tear-away pants in hell either. They also like can't really like understand you very like you-know well because like they have this really really like bogusly bad connection because you know like it's hell and like Verizon is too chicken to cover there, and AT&T just can't cover anything (Sprints thinks they're too high and mighty, but heaven doesn't want them, so they've settled for purgatory, which means your cell phone won't work once you leave). As time marches on you begin to feel your brain start to turn into mush, and you imagine your brain oozing out of your ear, through the phone and behind that wall of glass separating them from you, oozing out of their receiver and into their head, where it easily bludgeons they're mediocre brain to death and then takes over, much like dicrocoelium dendriticum. That doesn't help you much in the long run, but it makes you feel better for the moment.

After an eternity of this, you finally get to the part you were hoping they would forget about. Payment. No HMO, no copay, no Medicaid, no Medicare and definitely no socialist government backed insurance to help with this type of payment. They ask you in a voice so cheery you would expect flowers to start blooming everywhere it was heard, if it weren't for the fact that they work for the dark underlord of evilness, doom and pop-music. Though, if I ever go to hell I'm sure they will have a nice large space put aside for me where there will be bright cheery meadows of a-little-too-pastel flowers, and the sky is the kind of powder blue you would expect a doctor's office to look like. There amongst all this that is amiss they would play over and over and over again certain scenes from The Sound of Puking, aka The Sound of Music. There where hope and sunshine spring eternal, so will my utter agony and discomfiture skip on the scratched part of the dvd to ever repeat and never end. Then I could see flowers blossoming where their voices roamed, but no where else.

The Payment. I imagine that this part is much like buying a house-I just went through that for the first (and sadly not the last) time in August. In all actuality, it started back in March or so. The first realtor we contacted wanted us to buy a house out of our price range (they get commission even if you foreclose a year later), and the banker they recommended we work with reminded me of the people I used to sail vacuums door-to-door with (I've even sold garbage service door-to-door, you hear all kinds of fun things BFI should stand for). They were anything but trustworthy and I wouldn't trust them with the people I hate the most and despise in this world. They were good at their jobs though and given the chance they could probably sell Osama Bin Laden a christian bible. I never met the guy, but I pictured him with jet black hair greased back (a hair net on in the morning to help keep it in place after lathering on the Dapper Dan), cheap yellow gold looking watch, necklace, rings and nose ring. In my mind he had a toothpick in his mouth he was constantly playing with and he sore a wife beater underneath his suit jacket. On casual fridays he would wear his ambercrombie and fitch shorts with his quicksilver t-shirt. Needless to say, I don't think he watched the news much. Then after switching to a new realtor (which is another ball of wax) and lots of very uninteresting details that made me hate loath and otherwise despise US Bank and the spineless realtor that represented them, we finally sat down to sign the final paperwork, hand over the final check and tell them "thank you for being so pleasant to work with..." The final paperwork went something like this:

Them: You don't have to read all of this as we go through, your realtor and banker
           have looked it over all ready and it is fine (big scary smile that's supposed to put
           me at ease but only conjures up images of them biting my head off and eating it

Me: Uhm, can you stop smiling, my soul is trying not to die right now.

Them: (Still smiling) Okay then, let's get started! This page just says that you will be
          our monkey-slave for all eternity should you decide to stop paying and that we
          have assessed the house to worth exactly what you're paying for it.

Me: Isn't that statistically impossible? I mean, I'm no mathematician, but my
       father-in-law is and I could ask him...

Them: (Still smiling, but with a hint of unkind fire in the eyes) We just need you to
          initial here and here and date this page here. Oh here's a pen (handing me
          the same pen used to punish Harry Potter) don't worry if it hurts a little, it's
          only temporary.

Me: OUCH!!

Them: (Burning lustful fire of hate seeing their prey might try and escape burns in
          their eyes and the voice from Poltergeist emanating from  her throat) SIGN

Me: I think your hair's on fire (as I sign the first page)

Them: Shit! Well that just ruined the mood (The room kind of stinks now and
           we all know it)

This went on for about 600 pages. After that we took a bathroom break (I was escorted by an armed guard to and from the bathroom) and began again. Soon the cement floor began to bow under the weight of all the paper work, and I thought we were going to be done-for, when I heard those words you want to hear, but at the same time dread, "Congratulations, it's a boy!" Wait, sorry, wrong story. "Congratulations, you now own your very own first house!" The only thing really running through my head at that point was "I think I'm going to faint from blood loss..."

Later we found out that US Bank is a bunch of bigger idiots than we initially thought. They left out about 10 pages of very important documents. The only reason they bothered us with it though was because without those pages they couldn't get paid. Hahahahaha! Stupid !@#!@(*@!#!@(#*$!*@#)!@_~!!@)#!@$)@*$!@)$*!@#*)@)!#(!@)#(!@$!@#$!@$%!%!@*!%)&@%)(*^&@($%*()&$)$(&)^%(*%^(*%^)(**)*#@$#%_@(_$@#*#$^_^*#!!!!!! I love bunnies and squirrels. In fact I have even trained a small army of them to track down and torment employees of US Bank for all of their lives. See, with a little bit of effort we can all make this a little piece of hell on earth for someone else.

I like owning a house though, and by own I mean paying another bank each month for the next 30 years (25 of which we won't be here any longer) so we have some place to live and hide from other squirrels.

Who wears short shorts?