Saturday, July 23, 2016

Vote Your Conscience

I've come down with a sore throat and nothing seems funny.  I hate to call in a guest writer, but I'd hate to miss a week, more.  So, let me introduce Wink De Bivouac.  For those of you new readers (Hi Mom!), Wink used to do the occasional column for me.  He was so popular, I asked him to do more columns, but he turned me down, saying he'd already accepted a missionary position in Iowa.

Well, he's back!  Take it over Wink.  Find something funny to say.

Thanks Matthew.  Sorry about the cold.  As they say in Des Moines: Hope the squinteys don't give you a snuggy!

Ever since I came back from the wilderness, I've been having trouble adjusting to the outside world.  I'd forgotten all those amenities the primitive natives don't have access to in Iowa.  It was like remembering a language you hadn't spoken in years.  Every day was a new challenge.  How do I cook food in a microwave?  What is toilet paper for?  Do we really need to wear clothes?

Sometimes I think life was better in Iowa.  Everything is so simple.

Out here, the world is getting worse every day.

Islamic terrorists are growing bolder.  Cops are more vulnerable.  People are spending more time looking down into their phones for Pokemon than are looking down into their Bibles for saints.  (By the way, you can catch a Saint Genesius near any improv stage.)

There is one great, shining hope on the horizon, though.  You probably already guessed what it is: the election.  Things could have gone much worse.  We finally have a clear choice: a strong moral candidate and the spawn of Satan.

Let me lay out the (obvious) differences:
  • One candidate has dubious monetary donations and shady foreign endorsements, and another has a long history of honest success.
  • One has no experience and the other has tons.
  • One candidate has a depraved marriage and the other is in a firm, committed relationship with an intelligent, wonderful spouse.
  • One candidate has been unfairly maligned for past misdeeds, the other fairly maligned for past misdeeds.
  • One is going to terrify our enemies, embolden our allies, and bring about peace and cooperation.  The other is going to.  You know.  The opposite.

I think the choice is clear.  Vote your conscience in November.  For the majority of Americans, that means not voting.

By the way, someone is going to have to show me how voting booths work.  In Iowa they pick candidates by throwing their feces at them.

Thanks Wink!  We should do this again every never or so.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Browser Tab Humor

When you write a humor blog, you get a lot of ideas you never use, but you keep around in case you run out of things to say.  I accumulate ideas by searching on the internet, so I keep them in browser tabs.

You leave the tabs open for months, even years, never using them.  Every now and then you think "I should restart my computer.  Oh, no, wait.  There's that one tab with that one idea for a joke.  Maybe I'll install those updates later. (Suck it Windows 10!)"

If you have enough joke tabs open, it's easier to hide tabs with images of Kate Hudson sunbathing from your wife.

The tab I've had open the longest is a cool vehicle from The Empire Strikes Back called an AT-AT.
"Hey, let's build an impenetrable tank on flimsy legs!"

I've also had a tab for a primitive tool that lets you throw a spear farther and straighter called an at-latl.
Pronounced "Atl atl finatl whatadle? Oh, never mind."

And the joke I've been waiting to tell for over a year?
If you look really closely at the one in the back, you can see it's also got an atlatl. Honest.

I wonder what Kate Hudson is up to today...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Greatest Humiliation

Everyone remembers their greatest humiliation.  Asking someone out in public and being loudly rejected.  Constantly getting picked last at gym class.  Freezing during a public performance.  Having an attractive doctor perform an invasive exam.

I've had all those, but this is the worst:
Harmless looking, innit?

It's called a "stability ball."

A few years ago, I hurt my back.  I didn't hurt it like "Ow a cramp." or "I'll go lie on the floor for a bit."  I hurt my back like "I'm going to walk with a funny bend in my spine for a few days because that's the least painful position."

I didn't hurt myself from lifting something heavy or being in an accident.  I hurt myself by working in the game industry.  Game companies traditionally work you to death.  They're in a state of constant crunch, trying to pump something out before a ludicrously short deadline.

Twelve hours a day, six days a week, you sit at your desk, staring at a screen.  It's bad for your health.  It's bad for your back.

I've always had back problems.  Even as a kid I had back pain.  The doctor taught me some stretches, but they didn't help.  As I got older, it got worse.  I tried walking at lunch.  I tried a variety of ergonomic chairs..  I even wore a truss when it got bad.  That was humiliating.

Not as humiliating as the ball.

After I hurt my back the third time, my wife insisted I go to a personal trainer on the weekend (Hi Daniel!).  It worked.  The pain receded.

I came to the uncomfortable realization that my back pain came from being sedentary.  I never exercised.  All I did my whole life was sit.  In front of a computer.  In front of a book.  In front of a teacher.  In front of a television.  It was a humiliating epiphany.

Not as humiliating as the ball.

Daniel brought it out the first day I met him at the gym.  He found an empty corner in the weight room and explained how it worked.  You sit on it.  That's it.  As you work to keep your balance, you get a core workout.
Looks easy, dunnit?

"Core" is trainer slang for stomach muscles.  "Core workout" is slang for "You're so weak you can't exercise for real yet."

The stability ball has other uses.  You can sit on it when you're in labor.  You can play catch with it.  You can scare cats who claw the furniture.

And there's the other exercises.

Daniel told me to hold the ball out at arm's length.  Then he told me to twist from side to side.  Hold it to my right.  Then center.  Then left.  Repeat.

Imagine me, surrounded by weightlifters, working out with a big balloon.
Looks easy, donnit?
Now imagine I'm shaking and sweating after three minutes.

Now imagine my triceps seizing up in painful cramps, and Daniel making me lie on the ground so he can stretch out the pain.

Now imagine the looks from the other people in the weight room.  Thick-armed men shaking their heads.  Toned women smiling condescending encouragement.

And that's my greatest humiliation.

Forgetting your lines in the school play doesn't seem so bad, does it?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Comedy Lessons: One Liners

I hate one-liners.  Hate them.  Can't figure out why they're funny.

Actually, wait, I can't figure out why anything is funny. Hence this blog.

Exercise 1: Rewrite one liners.
I found a website with one liners.  Let's see what I can do with them (mine are in bold).

  1. One morning I shot an elephant in my pants.  How he got in my pants, I'll never know.
    I'd love to get into her pants.  Just not while she's in them.
  2. Ninety-nine percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
    I don't hate all your friends, just the ones I've met.
  3. Take my advice.  I'm not using it.
    I'd be glad to hear your thoughts, as soon as you start thinking.
  4. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
    I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I just had to sell it to pay the rent.
  5. Treat every day as if it will be your last.  One day, you'll be right.
    I'm not morbid. I'm finality-inclined.
Exercise 2: Write one liners about things you know about.
  1. You know what I liked best about my career as a technical writer?  No, seriously, does anyone know?  I have no idea.
  2. Making a video game is like baking a cake (if you got in the oven with it).
  3. Silicon Valley has some of the best parents in the country.  We hire them to care for our children.
  4. Writing isn't hard. Putting your computer back together after you threw it against the wall is hard.
  5. I'm not avoiding you. I just happen to be boarding up my doors and windows on the days you drop by.
Exercise 3: Write one liners about things you know nothing about.

  1. Astronauts are just like normal people, if normal people could keep from screaming whenever they're shot into space.
  2. It's not hard being a woman.  You just have to meet the expectations of every man on Earth.
  3. Just got my contract with Pandora! I only have to pay them ten cents when they play my songs.
  4. Only the bravest charge into battle. Everyone else makes it back alive.
  5. The crystal ball sees success in your future.  Did I say success?  Wrong word.  Failure. I meant to say crushing failure.

That wasn't too hard.  I think I'm used to short humor, as I post it on my twitter feed (@makagle).

This may be the most useful lesson so far.  I created this blog to come up with ways of adding humor to my writing.  Maybe I should just throw in one liners here and there.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Photo Dump

There comes a time in every young man's life when he looks at the vastness of the universe, the multitudes of experiences open to him, and realizes it's been seven days since his last blog post.

Then a young man's fancy turns to cheap, quick blog entries based on all the random weird stuff he took pictures of.

16-16-16 isn't a date, buddy.  There's no way I'm buying your horseshit if you're going to lie about the freshness date.

I don't know what kind of motorcycle this is.  I just know it's a Decepticon.

I call this work of art The Death of Swag.

I was tossing all these out.  I spent hours going from booth to booth, looking for the best giveaways.  In the end, nobody wanted them.  Next year, I may skip the whole swag hunt.

My son was very proud of how long it took for him to chain her up so perfectly.  Should I be disturbed?

Glass Rimmer was my nickname in high school.

Oh, no, wait.  It wasn't.

Didn't get a good picture of this one, but it's of the Avenger known as Hawkeye and his friend, who obviously had a terrible accident.

"Hey, we need something more for our toy line."
"What about giving Hawkeye a friend with a peanut for a head?"
"Done that."
"What about a Spider Man car?"
"Done that.  Plus, a superhero who swings on webs using a special car isn't dumb enough."
"What do we have for his villains?"

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Adolescent Abnormal Shinobi Amphibians

So, last night I took my kids to see the second Ninja Turtles movie.  If you, for a moment, set aside the fact that the film is terrible, you can enjoy it a lot.

Had the same experience with this film.
However, I was disappointed with the humor.  There were moments when several, obvious jokes were calling out to be made, and the screenwriters let them pass by.

For example, Vernon Fenwick (the character played by Will Arnett) is given a key to the city for taking credit for the turtles' accomplishments.
I couldn't find a picture of him with the key around his neck, so I got this one of him being a douche.
When the turtles run into him, they (lamely) ridicule him, but never had the following exchange:
Donatello: So, does it do anything?
 Raphael: Yeah, does it let you open all the doors in New York, or something? 
Vernon: It's just decorative. 
Michelangelo: Maybe it lets you start the city and drive it away.
Then there's the scene where April O'Neil changes from being dressed like this

To this

All while walking through a crowded area without stopping. It's a cute scene (and far be it from me to complain about Megan Fox dressing sexily), but not once did anyone ask her
How did you take your pants off without anybody noticing?
Not once did we get the following exchange:
April: I'm twenty-nine.  And I owned you as a six year old.  So, you all have to be in your early twenties. You can drink and smoke and vote. Stop calling yourselves teenagers. 
Splinter: Young Adult Mutant Ninja Turtles doesn't sound as good.
Oh well.

By the way, thank you for creating a new female action hero.  There are so few.  Wonder Woman barely got any screen time.  Elektra is in a show too violent for young girls to watch.  And Black Widow had that whole controversy about her being on the Avengers poster in a "butt shot."

I mean, at least have Tony Stark in that pose, too.  On second thought, scratch that.
Kudos to Ms. Fox for giving girls a role model who isn't just there to show off her a-

Oh. Never mind.
As the end titles roll, they play the song from the old cartoon.  Which is fun, but why not give a shout out to the original comic books and older movies?  Why not make a joke about the best Ninja Turtles parody ever: The Immature Radioactive Samurai Slugs?

Picasso! Warhol! Rockwell! Grandma Moses!
 Oh well.  At least there are plenty of burp and fart jokes.  Way to go Dave Green!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

My Cake Wrecks Submission

My son had an early birthday party last week. It wasn't his real birthday, as that falls near Father's Day and none of his friends are in town. When did Father's Day change from Make Your Dad a Card Day to Go on a Vacation in an Exotic Land Day?

So, I went to get him a birthday cake. The birthday cake wasn't for him, actually, it was for his guests. He's allergic to the stuff in most cakes, so we make him a remarkably healthy cake made with honey and almond flour and tastes like regurgitated sawdTASTES AWESOME, HI HONEY! GOOD MORNING! JUST WRITING IN MY BLOG.

Coldstone has this cool interface online.  You can play around with different flavor ice creams and decorations. You can even order a tiny, tiny cake and order them to write "Hey, man, I couldn't afford to get you a bigger cake, but I loves you anyway.  By the way, did you know there's no character limit on how big the message on a cake can be?"  Somewhere there's a Coldstone employee with a microscope and a tiny bag of frosting having a nervous breakdown.

Note: A cruel man would put offensive words on the cake, just to see their faces when he picked it up.  However, I'd never make them write "Hope this tastes better than your dick" or "Heil Hitler" or "Send the ransom money before this cake melts, or you'll never see your husband again."  No.  Not me.

I arrived at the store a few hours before the party and asked for it from the woman behind the counter.  Her face fell.

"It wasn't made," she said.  "The manager is the only one who can decorate cakes, and he's not here.  He turned his phone off, so I can't call him.  You're the fifth person who didn't get their cake."

This was one of those situations you see in sitcoms that leads to wacky hijinks.

"Oh no!" the mother, played by Lucille Ball, cries.
"Waaaaah!" the child, played by Mara Wilson, cries.
"I'll fix it!" the father, played by Steve Martin, cries.

Then, using a twelve-pack of pre-made pudding cups, three rolls of duct tape, and latte foam, he constructs something disgusting that, when the guests try it, turns out to be awesome and saves the day.

Yeah, I have hijinks, but they never end up wacky.  My hijinks end up with medical bills and a three-week suspended sentence.

As I was looking for other Coldstones in the area that might make me a cake really fast, the employee brought one out from the back.  It was completely different from what I ordered, but what other choice did I have?

"I'm not allowed to decorate it, but you can," she said.
"Sure!" I said.  "I took a cake decorating class back in the 90s.  I'll just write the message myself.  Nobody will notice."

She handed me a blue tube of frosting and a cup with six Butterfinger bars.  As the frosting bag sprung a leak and squirted blue icing all over my hands, I realized the danger of letting your son type the message in on an online form with no character limit.

With each letter I drew, the message I planned to write shortened.

Happy Birthday to You, Simon! became
Happy Birthday, Simon!  became
Happy Birthday! became...
Happy Barf  Day
When cut, it became

Just plain old BARF

Friday, June 3, 2016

Facebook Argument Stoppers

Sometimes Facebook arguments go on and on.  Sure, those can be useful discussions...


Sorry, I can't say that with a straight face.  Okay, but let's say you got into an argument and don't want to back out because you'd "lose face."  Here are some memes you can post.

If you're in an argument that won't end, even though both sides have rehashed their stances over and over again.

If you're in an argument with someone who insists something is true and "scientifically proven" even though it isn't.

If you argue with someone who posts some bit of offensive nonsense and then gets mad at you for proving them wrong.
You're welcome.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Security Protocols

I have the safest house in the world. Thieves avoid it.

I could open all my doors and windows, post an article in the news proclaiming I'd just bought the world's largest diamond and was leaving it on my couch, then yell "I'm going away for a year!"

And nobody would break in.


I don't have a security system.
I don't have guns.
I don't have a guard dog.
I don't even have particularly good locks on my doors.

How do I do it?

I buy Lego for my kids.

Here's how it works:

  1. You buy your kids a few Lego sets.
  2. They'll put them together from the instructions.  Get bored.  Take them apart.  
  3. Instead of putting the Lego away nicely, they'll just throw them on the ground.  You could put the Lego away yourself, but your kids need to learn to do that themselves.
  4. Repeat.

If your kids get bored of small, plastic toys, show them The Lego Movie to get them interested:

Or, you can just show them mine:

So, the cycle continues:

  1. Buy more Lego.
  2. Build more Lego.
  3. Break more Lego.
  4. Lose more Lego.

Eventually, you will reach Peak Lego Defense.  At PLD, your house looks like this:
This is my living room.  Seriously.

See that door back there?  Nobody comes through that door.  Nobody.

Here's what happened to the last guy who tried:

One downside, though.  Lego costs a heck of a lot more than a door lock.  Or a dog.  Or a security system.  Or a castle.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hoarding Wealth Meme

I've run across this meme a lot over the years:

And while I enjoy it, I thought I'd run it through the good 'ol MemeBreaker 2000 (patent pending).  Here's what it spat out:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Birthday 46: The Hair

We all know why you come to this blog.
We all know it's not for my brilliant humor.
We all know it's not for my incisive political treatises.
We all know it's not for my moving stories of personal anguish.

It's the hair.  You're here to see what color I did this year.

Well, I'll cut to the point.  Hair you go.  You don't want to mousse this.  I hope you like my style of humor.  Hope you don't dye laughing.  Hope you like the final product. Are you feeling curlish?

Okay, I'm out of hairstyling jokes.


Jeez, I'm looking more and more like Bob from Twin Peaks as I get older.

My last visit to the red lodge.  Sadly, right after the red wedding.
Here's a picture with Helen, the woman who waits with bated breath for my birthday to come so she can go crazy with my head.

She put the woosh on my head on purpose.  I think it's revenge for something I said.
Red is the last of the spectrum colors I was going to change my hair into.  It's also one of the best.  It's so bright, it's shocking to people.  It's even shocking to Skype.  Whenever my Skype camera sees my head, it tries to color correct the world.

Here's what that looks like.

Worth it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Birthday 46: Oops

So, you all remember last week?

The police were looking into the possibility Prince had an overdose.  iPhone sales dropped in the first time since forever.  Donald Trump was an idiot that was loved by an overwhelming number of idiots.

Seems like it was only last week.

Anyway, I wrote this post about my birthday.  Quick precis: poor kids.  Slightly longer precis: Instead of having a birthday party for myself, I wanted everyone to give money to a charity that throws birthday parties for homeless children.

Sounds like a nice idea, right?


I linked to Birthday Wishes, a charity that throws parties on the east coast.  I meant to link to Birthday Dreams, which throws them nation-wide.

No!  Wait, they do parties for kids in the "Puget Sound area."  (Fun fact: Puget Sound is the name of a kind of light rock often played at coffee shops.)

I meant to link to The Birthday Party Project, which throws them nation-wide.

No!  Wait, they...  Oh, no, that was the right one.

It turns out there are several charities that give parties for homeless kids.  Pick one.  I'm sure they're all nice.

As for me, this whole experience has been too traumatic.  I've given up on the idea of donating money for my birthday.  I'm going to spend it on an assistant who can verify all the URLs I post here.

In the meantime, check out this cute picture of a little, fuzzy kitten.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Birthday 46: The Final Decision

So, I'm about to be old.  Really, really old.  Old enough to be your father old.  Old enough for people to describe the decades of my childhood as a pre-technological wasteland.  Old enough that people younger than me die of natural causes.  Old enough to know better.  Old as...

Two things I'm older than.
I lost track there.  Happens to people my age.  What was I saying?

Oh, right, I've got a birthday coming up.  Now, as you know, I do awesome things on my birthday every year, but I've been running out of awesome things to do.  I needed more awesomeness.  A birthday concept with a lot of awesomeosity.

I decided on microbirthdays; I would travel to friends's homes with cake, candles, and drinks to share.  I even created a form so people could submit birthday requests.

Nobody submitted any requests.

At first I was a bit disappointed (i.e. hurt) and became despondent (i.e. angry).  Then I had an uncomfortable epiphany (i.e. night of drunkenness).  I was being selfish (i.e. normal for me).  I should use my birthday to bring joy to others (i.e. losers I don't know).  I would buy dozens of small cakes and bring them to a homeless shelter on my birthday.  They'd get a nice cake, and I'd get the gratitude of many, maybe they'd sing happy birthday.

Then I had another uncomfortable epiphany (i.e. disturbing moment of clarity that puts my character and history into doubt). I was still being selfish.  I needed to do something selfless.

This is Birthday Wishes.  They throw birthday parties for homeless children.  So far, they've donated tens of thousands of them.  I'm going to take the money I was going to spend on a birthday party and send it to them.

Here's what I want you to do:
If you were going to buy me a present, just send that money to them.
If you were going to buy me a card, just sent that money to them (plus a little more, I'd hope).
If you were going to wish me a happy birthday, send them a lot of money as penance for being a cheap bastard.

Now that is an awesome birthday.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Have Your Family Tried 'Em? Powdermilk!

Everyone knows that the things you make at home taste better and are better for you than anything processed or store bought.  I decided to test this idea; I made buttermilk biscuits this morning.

But I decided to go full out.  I'd make them as much from scratch as I could.

These would be God Biscuits: biscuits so perfect chefs from around the world would come to stare in awe.

First: Buttermilk
You can buy buttermilk from the store, but I was told (by a reputable source called The Internet) it doesn't taste the same as real buttermilk.  Instead, I bought cream.  Turns out you can make your own buttermilk by making butter.  The problem is, making butter isn't as easy as it looks in performances of Oklahoma.

Rodgers and Hammerstein made it look like you put cream in a toilet brush holder and pump it up and down a few times.

Yeah, don't do that.

According to The Internet, all you have to do is shake cream for a few minutes.  Turns out, if you shake cream for a few minutes, you get whipped cream.  I had to use a blender.

Rodgers and Hammerstein need to update Oklahoma to add an electric butter churn.

Second: Butter
You need butter to make biscuits, so I was going to have to make butter myself.  I took some cream and shook it until...

Oh, wait, I already did that.  Turns out when you make buttermilk, you also make butter.  Explains the name.

Third: Self-Rising Flour
To make self-rising flour, you have to grow wheat, separate out the hulls, and grind it into flour.  Then, you add baking powder, which you make by mixing baking soda with an acid salt.  You have to make baking soda.  Baking soda is made by combining sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide in water.  You get sodium chloride by evaporating salt water (putting it in a pan in the sun under a magnifying glass) and then going to the store and buying some fucking self-rising flour god damn it.

Fourth: Mixing and Baking
Mix and bake.

Fifth: Digestion
Apply butter and serve with skim milk and then marvel at how your biscuits don't taste worse than the ones at McDonalds.

Sixth: Epiphany
As I was eating, I thought about how I could go even further back in the process, make things even more from scratch.  I could get whole milk and skim the cream off the top.  Then I'd separate the cream into butter and buttermilk.

Then I'd combine the butter and buttermilk again to make biscuits.  Then I'd combine the butter and butter and buttermilk and milk to make a meal.

So, I'd separate milk into three ingredients and then combine them back again.

Seventh: Laziness
Next time, I'll just drink a glass of whole milk and save myself the trouble.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pope Pedicures

Pope: Welcome.  You are safe.  Be at peace.

Syrian Refugee: Thank you!  I've been through the worst experience of my life.  Family members killed by ISIS.  Paying my life's savings to escape.  Losing my wife overboard.  Being forced into camps instead of allowed into countries.

Pope: I'm so sorry.

Syrian Refugee: And did you see that camerawoman tripping people?  What's up with her?

Pope: It's all over now, my child.

Syrian Refugee: Thank you.

Pope: I want to wash your feet.

Syrian Refugee: I beg your pardon?

Pope: I want to wash your feet.

Syrian Refugee: I'm flattered, but I'm really not into the kinky stuff.

Pope: It's not sexual. It's a sign of humility and service towards others.

Syrian Refugee: I'd understand if you wanted to wash my hair.  I haven't had access to shampoo in months, but why my feet?

Pope: Christ washed the feet of His disciples before the Last Supper.

Syrian Refugee: Well, okay.  I guess I could sit through a pedicure.  Could you use that clear nail polish?  If any of my guy friends saw I had red toe nails...

Pope: No, I'm just going to wash them.

Syrian Refugee: And you're sure it's not a fetish?

Pope: It will be a symbol for everyone who supports your cause. It will engender compassion in those who fear you and pressure on those leaders who try to repel you.  It is definitely not sexual.

Syrian Refugee: Okay, then.

Pope: Good.  Now you understand I'll be wearing special robes and have someone film me doing it to you...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Meme Career 5

With the internet economy, everybody seems to be posting this sign or arguing that you shouldn't.

Speaking of which, I totally will.
I've seen this meme a lot recently, too.

Another reason Radio Shack went out of business.
Which isn't entirely true.  You can't get headphones on your phone.  You have to carry them separately.

Some day cell phone manufacturers will make one you can actually hear.

However, they forgot to point out something.
Because a phone is better and cheaper than friends.

And, of course, there's one thing they really should have mentioned.

The real reason anyone uses a phone.  Or, the internet, really.