Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Three Wishes

I had dropped off the kids and was walking back to my car this morning.  The parking lot was completely deserted.

When I'm by myself, I let my mind wander.  It's how I come up with ideas for stories.  This time, I fell back on one of my more favorite daydreams: What would I do with three wishes? 

I spend a lot of time on that one.  I also spend a lot of time thinking about the language of my wish because, well, what if I did get three wishes?  I  need to be prepared.  I don't want to end up like Sylvester or that poor couple with the monkey's paw. Genies are notoriously bitchy.

Anyway, my first wish would be to have powers, but which ones?  I wrote a lot of stories about people who get (like this guy, or this idiot) by bad language.  Here's what I came up with:

"I wish I had any super power I wanted, whenever I want it, for as long as I want it."

Seems pretty straightforward and hard to twist into something bad.  Still, I'd have to be sure.  Once I made the wish, I'd have to test out my powers.  So, what would I start with?  Flight?  No, someone would see me, and I'm not sure I'd be ready for the repercussions.  Invisibility?  No, I'd have to test it by stealing something or going somewhere I was forbidden, and what would happen if I wasn't actually invisible?  Telekinesis?  That's a good one.  I could just lift something with my mind or-

Right in front of me, a car trunk popped open.

I froze and looked around.  There was no one in the parking lot.  I stared at the open trunk and then looked around again.

A woman, holding her keys, appeared from around a corner.  I waved and complimented her on the range of her key fob.  Then, cursing sadly to myself, walked to my car and drove home.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Meme Breaker: Israeli Detonator

Since the Meme Breaker 3000 tells you the state of mind of the creator of any meme, I decided to try it as a fact checker.  Here's something that I came across that seemed like a good idea:
I put it in the Meme Breaker 2001 to see what it would do.  It spat out this:
And it gave me this link: Blast Rites.
Seems it works great as a fact checker.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Eldritch Binding

When I travel, I always forget something.  Usually, it's something unimportant like razor blades or underwear.  There was this one time I forgot my spleen...

Anyway, this last vacation I was going to a wedding and forgot my tie.  And my dress shirt.  And my brush.  And my sunglasses.  And my children.  The important thing, however, is that I forgot my tie.  I found myself at the Men's Wearhouse looking for a replacement tie, and shirt, and brush, and children and...

Anyway, the salesman handed me this dark blue one with red dots.  It changed to light blue at the end, and he explained it was for something called an "eldritch knot," so you get a two color effect.  I quickly looked up Eldritch and found it meant "strange, ghostly, unworldly," so I thought I'd look like this:
"Like my tie, baby?"
"FUCK YEAH!" I yelled, and took it home.  There were two problems:
  1. It wasn't an "eldritch knot" it was an "eldredge knot."
  2. I can't tie a tie to save my life.
Back in college, I was in choir for a few years (looooong story), and had to wear a tie for every performance.  While my tie tying skills improved, let's just say they didn't put me in the back of the risers because I'm tall.

Anyway, I found this YouTube video on how to tie an eldredge knot and got to work.

This is what I ended up with:

Not exactly the Eldritch Wizardry (inside joke) I had been hoping for.  Luckily, I found another video that was better:

And I ended up with:
Which was a little more eldritch than eldredge.  I tried one more time and got:

Which isn't perfect, but is much better than my usual results.  And, hey, it's worth it to look this good:

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Rich Experiment

I want you to do an experiment for me.  No, no don't freak out.  You'll like it.  It's nothing kinky; that's next week's experiment.
I want you to have a party and invite over a bunch of people of different genders.  Then, I want you to serve a dark chocolate cake.  See, I told you you'd like it.
While your guests are eating the cake, I want you to listen to what they say.  My theory is this: at least 70% of the women will feel the need to say that the cake is "so rich."  In addition, none of the men will feel compelled to say the same thing.
For additional credit, show your guests a picture of babies or baby animals.  My theory states that the women will feel the need to declare that the babies/baby animals are "so cute" while the men will not.
Let me know what happens, I think I've got a Nobel for this research.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Media is Your Bitch

If I see one more Facebook post about the "real stories" that the "mainstream media" doesn't cover, I'm going to throw up.  I don't mean I'm going to spit up a little into my mouth, I mean I'm going to projectile vomit not only my lunch, but every other lunch I've ever eaten, followed by all of the major organs in my body and most of my blood.

Kinda like this, but less sexy.

Yes, the media industry has a lot of problems.  They tend to give silly, "fluff" pieces more prominence than they need to, they focus on celebrities instead of hard news, they sometimes rush to present material before they have carefully fact checked it.

Photo: sista
Woman Burns 5th Grade Boy To Death With BlowTorch - Media Silent, No Protests Scheduled...

You know why?  Because that's what you want to see.  That's what you want to read.  That's what you want to hear.

News is a business.  The more people who watch your show, listen to your program, or read your paper, the more money you make.  If you don't attract consumers, you lose money and your news organization fails.

Rupert Murdoch knew that when he started Fox News, and pandered to the older, conservative white folks who didn't like well-researched opinions.  Andrew Heiskell knew it when he created People Magazine, pandering to people who hate news.  Generoso Pope Jr. knew it when he founded The Weekly World News, pandering to... 

Er, I dunno.  Mental patients?

The point is, the media shows us what we want to see.  If they showed us the unvarnished truth, we'd yawn and change the channel.  Don't believe me?  Answer this: where do you get your news?

Was it the PBS News Hour?  No?  Because every night for years, they spent several minutes honoring our fallen soldiers who died defending our country.  The news cares about America and sacrificed ratings to do right by them.  What did you do?  You watched something else.  Obviously you don't care about the men and women who give their lives to preserve your freedoms.

Man, what is wrong with you?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meme Breaker: Show Your Daughter

I'm feeling lazy today (also preparing for tonight's IGDA Meeting), so I'm just going to fire up the old Meme Breaker 2000 again.  Today's meme:

Stick it in the Meme Breaker.  Push the button and...

Wow, even the Meme Breaker is feeling lazy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Skin Tags and Critical Thinking

Pop quiz: what is the greatest human invention?  Write your answer on a 3x5 card and turn it over so the other students don't see.  Ready?  Did you write:
  • FIRE
    You scare me.  See a therapist and keep away from matches.
    You get minus a bajillion points.  All medicine has done is overpopulate the planet by saving the lives of people too stupid not to step on rusty nails.
    You're an idiot.  First of all, you need more than one wheel to do anything.  Second of all, we now have things called airplanes that make wheels look stupid.
Well, until their wheels break.

Speaking of airplanes, the correct answer was TVs ON AIRPLANES.  I've flown four times with children this month, and nothing is better than a TV pointed at your kids when they're strapped to a seat for six hours.

I usually pull out my laptop and goof off work during flights, but I glanced up and noticed an ad for something called "Tag Away."  Here's what I saw:

I've had tags and they freak me out enough to make me snip them off with cuticle nippers.  If there was a medicine to get rid of them, I would rush out and buy eight gallons.  However, after a moment I noticed something.  Did you catch it?  Here's a hint:

Did you catch it?  Here's another one:

See?  Let me make it clear:

It says "DRAMATIZATION."  Pop quiz: what does dramatization mean?  Write your answers down on the palm of your hand using a kitchen knife or straight razor.  Did you carve:
    Well, technically correct, but jeez did you cut all those words into your palm?
  • OW OW OW!
    Yeah, I can imagine that hurts.  Next time just say "Ow ow ow!" instead of carving it into your skin.
    Ding!  We have a winner!
This ad has shot after shot of before and after pictures and every single one of them has the word dramatization on it.  Why would they need to fake how the product worked?  Couldn't they find a single person it worked on and taken a picture?

No, they couldn't, because it doesn't work.  Tag Away is a homeopathic medicine.  Pop quiz: what does homeopathic mean?  Think real hard.  Did you guess:
  • LIES
    Yes!  Excellent work.
    +infinity points.
See, you're learning.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Over 50 Countries Ban GMOs

Here's a meme I don't even need to put in the Meme Breaker, because the idea is so absurd.

If someone asks you if it's likely someone is over-reacting, the answer is going to be "yes" 70% of the time.  If someone asks you if a country is over-reacting, it's 99% of the time.

But, hey, let's put that aside for a moment.  Are we going to use other countries as a barometer of what is true?  Fine.  Here's the problem with that argument:
Other countries tend to be run by morons.  Heck, our country tends to be run by morons.  Just because people believe it doesn't mean it's true.  Remember, the majority of people you ask will say the moon has phases because of the shadow cast by the Earth.  It's wrong, but a majority believes it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Why You Should Hate The Incredibles - Part 2

Picking up from yesterday…

It takes a ton of work to be healthy.  Those jocks in high school had something I never had: determination.  They punished their bodies over and over again when the rest of us gave up.  The sad truth was, while we geeks wished for a day when the hot cheerleaders saw us for what we really were, they already did.
What I look like now.
Exercise is a constant, grueling struggle.  And this leads us to Dash from The Incredibles.

After whining about never being able to run a race with the normal kids, at the end of the movie, they let him run.  To keep things fair, they have him win second place.

To keep things fair.
"Humiliate all but one of them!"
I realize it’s a cartoon, but think about the kid who came in third.  Think about the kid who came in fourth and fifth and, heck, last.  These are kids who were born without powers.  When they wanted to run a race, they had to spend days, hours, years in training.  They ran until their legs hurt and their feet bled.  They committed to their sport, devoted themselves to it.  Maybe they even hoped the race would help them qualify for bigger, more important races.  Someday, they might get athletic scholarships to college.

And they lost.  They lost to a kid who never trained, never suffered, never devoted himself.  They lost to a kid who was barely trying, who wasn’t even breaking a sweat.  It must have been devastating.

Fuck superheroes.  Wolverine wades through hordes of trained soldiers, who trained for years and devoted themselves to their countries, as if they were nothing.  Spider Man beat the crap out of a professional wrestler with years of training and experience and made him look like a fool.  What’s the point of even trying to achieve anything in a world with them?

Now, all I need is a lair and a cool costume and I’m ready to be a supervillain.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why You Should Hate The Incredibles - Part 1

There’s a scene in the Pixar movie The Incredibles where the son Dash, who has the super power of speed, asks to run in a race with other kids.  He’s told he can’t because he needs to keep his identity secret.
"But moooooooooooom!"
Remember that.  Now, as always, let’s talk about me.  I’m a scrawny geek.  I’ve always been a scrawny geek, and probably always will be.
Picture of my arms

In high school, I resented jocks like all of the rest of the geeks.  We imagined a world where those with intelligence and passion would overrun jocks.  Beautiful girls who fawned over jocks would finally see us for what we truly are and fawn over us.

Time passed and, not enduring regular dodge ball pummelings in gym class, I became even scrawnier.  I bought a brace at a drug store because of constant back pain.  I went through half a dozen ergonomic chairs at work, never finding one that could relieve my shoulder pain.  It wasn’t until I worked at Eidos Interactive, sitting at a desk without a break all day, every day, for weeks, that something finally broke.  I threw out my back on three separate occasions, spending days walking in an embarrassing slant.

I got a personal trainer.  We started with a beach ball.  I’d hold it at arm’s length and twist.  It was pretty absurd, but after a few repetitions I was drenched in sweat and sore.

My back pain abated with regular exercise.  I grew muscles where I had none before and found myself staring at my shoulders in the mirror and thinking: “shit, what are those?”

And you know what?  Even after all of that, even after regular training sessions, working out on my own, and watching my meals, I’m still a scrawny geek.

More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meme Breaker: Gun House

Here's a meme that's been making the rounds, lately:

Drop it in the Meme Breaker to show the original intent and...  Oh, wait, there's two!  This one:

And this one:

Which one do you think is more accurate?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Idiot Lives

I had an epiphany.

Epiphanies are great things.  Our world has been shaped by them.

Once the skies were controlled by crystal spheres.  To the south was a land of fire.  To the west was an endless ocean.  When something was forgotten, it was gone forever.

Then somebody (or, lots of somebodies) had an epiphany.  Our universe was governed by forces and matter.  Our world a sphere.  We write things down instead of using complicated memory tricks.

There are people who have epiphanies about how the universe works and then spend years trying to understand them, to prove if they are true.  We call them scientists. 

There are people who take these discoveries and transform them into things that improve our lives (lights, medicine, airplanes, etc.).  We call them engineers. 

There are people who try to explain complicated ideas to the next generation.  We call them teachers. 

And there are people who don’t know or understand science or engineering, don’t care to learn or teach how they work, but benefit from their advances nonetheless. 

We call them idiots.

This is my big epiphany.

There are people who don’t care, for example, that time dilates as speed increases.  They don’t care that engineers spent countless hours of work figuring out how to compensate for this effect when they built satellites.  All they care is, when they turn their cell phones on the clock is always accurate.

There are people who take just the barest understanding of a scientific concept and try to use it in a way it wasn’t meant to be used.  They hear a one sentence description of the Uncertainty Principle and decide it means nobody can know anything.  They hear about the complexity of evolutionary theory and insist it must be fake because they don’t hear about the years of scientific discoveries that led up to Darwin and the piles of evidence that support evolution.

And you know what?  That’s okay.  Because the idiots are being left behind.  Every advance we make.  Every truth we discover.  Every step we take out of the darkness is a step away from them.

Don't argue with them.  Don't try to make them see the light.  Let them huddle in the dark and whisper to each other.  We’re better off without them.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Who the F- Am I?

A long time ago, someone lent me a Howard Stern video where he brought in a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.  He held up a bumper sticker that said “9 out of 10 Niggers are Infected with AIDS.”  After I calmed down, I realized that, even if I could meet this guy, nothing I said would make a dent in his shield of ignorance.
They even called him "KKK GUY."
Many years have passed.

I try not to attack people on Facebook.  I’ll attack their ideas, but not them personally.  It’s inherently cowardly to attacking someone over the safety and anonymity of the internet.  It’s also unfair to judge a person from the few sentences they write online.

Last week, however, I was so horrified by something someone said I turned into a blithering idiot.  Even more so than normal!

On a friend’s wall, someone I’ll call Aubrea (because it’s her real name, believe it or not) said it was okay for the Texas legislature toconfiscate tampons from women attending an abortion vote, because the women might throw them at people.  She explained that liberal women are sluts, and some of them were undoubtedly going to have STDs.  If they threw tainted tampons at the legislators, they would get infected.

After I sputtered for an hour or so, which I do after I encounter something shocking, I started marshaling my arguments for a well-researched counterattack.  I found studies that showed liberal and conservative women have just as many sexual partners.  I found others that showed conservative women use contraception less often.  The resulting argument was that conservative women had more cooties than liberal women.

Then I heard a little voice in my head: who the fuck are you?

If you've seen this movie, you know what I mean.

Who the fuck am I to talk about women’s sexual habits and STDs?  Am I a doctor?  Do I work at the CDC?

What right did I (or anyone on Facebook) have to even get involved in a discussion like that?  How was I any better than the KKK guy from Howard Stern?

I deleted my post and unfriended the guy who knew her.  Why would I be connected to someone who was friends with a woman who not only reduced women to their roles in sex and childbearing, but drew me into those arguments?  Your friends help define who you are.  Which means, their friends define you, too.

Tomorrow I’m posting an old article called Idiot Lives I once put aside because I thought it was too mean.  You know what?  I don’t think it’s too mean, anymore because there are people like Aubrea out there.

You can see it tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Asiana Crash Part 5

Here's the ending in case you're holding out for all those suspense-y bits:
  • We eventually got on our flight home.
    You know those reports of people dying in disasters because they freeze and don't make decisions?  Turns out, by not deciding, we made the best choice.  Our plane was nearly empty, too, because all of those people who did make decisions, ended up on later flights or in hotel rooms not knowing the plane had left (because Virgin didn't answer the phones).
  • I didn't see any wreckage when we landed.
    Although I did look, I couldn't see anything in the dark.
  • We got back at 2am.
    Both kids fell asleep in the car.
  • They gave us free movies.
    "Jack Reacher" was pretty good, but preachy at the end.  "Movie 43" was terrible; who thinks watching innocent women get murdered is funny?
If you're still reading, I'm devoting the rest of my post to how fucking awesome fathers are.  I know, all the mothers out there are constantly complaining how we don't help out around the house, how we never cook or care for the children, and how we're constantly nagging them for sex. 

It's all true.  We're not good at the whole "hearth, home, and weal" thing.  We are, however, great at the whole "heroic action" thing.  Child with a skinned knee or (as happened to us a couple days ago) a bee sting?  We'll carry that kid up a hill in a full run to the nurse's office.  Scary dog barking at you?  We'll jump in the way and get rabies for you.  Seriously, I think all fathers secretly hope to get killed saving their families just to say "Does this make up for never doing the dishes?" with his dying breath.

We were stuck in O'Hare for hours.  Luckily, we had cell phones and laptops with entertainment on them.  I don't remember what we did for kids before the advent of small video devices, but I believe it involved long periods of forced boredom.

My job was to get the food.  Getting food hits a primal male urge: the hunter/gatherer part.  If you ever see a man in a food court texting his wife over his cell phone, know he's seeing himself as a Cro-Magnon standing before a dead mammoth, texting his wife with a rock about what parts to take home.
I was all kinds of noble, but tempered with an enormous pile of guilt.  I had failed my youngest three times in the past week:
  1. When we passed a newspaper dispenser with a picture of a water park on it, he had wanted to get one.  I made him skip it, and only realized they were free later.
  2. He wanted a green, raspberry-lime slushie from Dunkin' Donuts, but he wanted it right before dinner, so I said I'd get him one later.  We didn't see another DD store that trip.
  3. Sheepy.
As I found the food court (a whole terminal away), the first thing I saw was a Dunkin' Donuts.  I got a bunch of slushies and ran them back.
I ran back to the food court and got dinner.  By then, the guys at the gate had announced SFO was opened again.  We would board in a little over an hour.  I left and ran back through the tunnels under O'Hare to the little store, bought Sheepy, and ran back.  We kept it a secret (for emergency temper-tantrum relief, which we didn't need) until the plane was landing.
Just before we boarded, I noticed a newspaper dispenser with the free paper he had wanted.
Fathers can kick ass when we need to.  Final notes:
  1. Nothing gives you a brain freeze faster than a raspberry-lime Coolatta from Dunkin' Donuts.
  2. The newspaper was discarded within five minutes.
  3. Sheepy turned out to still have batteries.  When the protective tab was removed, we found its eyes lit up in the most terrifying way:
It also made a series of noises which, after years of waiting in a store under O'Hare, had been corrupted.  Sheepy makes the following sounds:
  • A screech like a demon crawling forth from the pits of hell followed by a clunk.
  • A terrifying cackle.
  • The first few notes of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" as if howled by someone having her fingernails removed.
  • The first few notes of "Jingle Bells" as if sung by a child who just lost his parents in a car accident.
My son's reaction?  "I don't want Sheepy in my room."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Asiana Crash Part 4

"We're not going to make it in time," I say.
"We have to try," my wife says.

We towel off and rush out of the pool room.  Dripping wet, we charge past the banks of air conditioning vents that try to freeze us in place.  Up the elevator, into our room.
Feels kinda like this.

Less than twenty minutes to go.  They're probably already boarding the plane. 

"We're not going to make it in time," I say.
"We have to try," my wife says.

I grab all the wet clothes and throw them in a bag.  My wife throws everything else into our backpacks as the kids change.  We charge out of the room.

"Can we get Sheepy?" my son asks.
"I'm sorry," I say.

Another five minutes gone.

"We're not going to make it in time," I say.
"We have to try," my wife says.

Down the elevator.  Through the tunnels.  Up two escalators.  Wrong terminal.  Outside between terminals.

"Sheepy, Sheepy," my son cries quietly to himself as I carry him, running.

We get to security.  There's a really long line.

"We're not going to make it in time," I say.
"We have to try," my wife says.

I explain to the woman at the American Airlines First Class line (that bypasses the wait for security) what happened.  She lets us go through.  The TSA agent says "You came out?" but gives us the special, shorter line.

I rip off my shoes, belt, cell phone, other cell just for games, laptop, and backpack, and put them all on the conveyor belt.  I realize that the one thing America's air travelers need is a utility belt.  You know, like the kind Batman has.  You could put all of your keys and electronics in this belt and then take it off when you get to security. It'd save a lot of time.  Alternatively, we could all fly naked.
We hurry through the metal detector and I'm pulled aside for a special check to see if I've been making chemical weapons, lately.  I grumble as he runs strips of paper over my hands and, surprise, they find nothing.  My evil plans have worked.  Muhahahaha.

The plane is scheduled to leave right now.

"We're not going to make it in time," I say.
"We have to try," my wife says.

I'm able to run faster than any of them (thank you, personal trainer Daniel).  I leave the rest of them behind and run over to the gate by myself.  I'm not sure what I can do, but I might be able to stop Virgin from closing the doors long enough for my family to catch up.  I get to the gate...

...And the plane is gone.  I walk over the guys who are standing at the desk.

"Still no news," they tell me.  "We'll let you know when we know anything."

Turns out they push the planes away from the gates when they aren't planning to leave anytime soon.

My family arrives and we all collapse on chairs.  There's plenty of seats now, as everyone has either moved to another flight or gotten a hotel room.

"Go back to the room?" I say.
"We're staying here," my wife says.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Asiana Crash Part 3

Let me set the scene for you.

We're in an airport Hilton in Chicago.  On the television are aerial shots of the crashed plane by the runway in San Francisco.  In front of the television are my two children.  On the bed is my wife, frantically checking websites, with my cell phone at her side waiting for Virgin America to answer.

It's time to go swimming.  There are of course, three major problems with swimming:
  1. All our swimsuits are still on the plane.
  2. All our swimsuits are still on the plane.
  3. All our swimsuits are still on the plane.
However, just across from the hotel in the maze beneath O'Hare is a small store.  I don't have a picture of this store, but try to imagine a place where unwanted products go to die.  It's a small shop with broken toys, stale candy, wrinkled magazines, and the ugliest set of swimwear you could ever see.  I'm not kidding; the next time I wear that swimsuit I'll be working as a rodeo clown.
I'm pretty sure the Arc of the Covenant is in there.

I spent a lot of time picking out a suit for my son while he played with a toy sheep with a Christmas hat.  He named it "Sheepy" and kept squeezing it because there was something hard inside and he insisted it would make noise.  I didn't have the heart to tell him the batteries had probably run out back in the 70s when it first came to this shop.

I wasn't happy about the fit of the suits (my son is built like a mop handle and I'm... not), so I asked if they had a changing room.  It was a silly question; what convenience store has a changing room?  However, she opened a door for us, and we found ourselves in the back room with stockpiles of sodas and bags of chips from the Truman administration.  As we tried the suits on, I kept turning my son away from the wrapped piles of gay porn.  Meanwhile, he kept trying to convince me to buy him Sheepy.  I tell him no for three reasons:
  1. We just bought you a stuffed animal.
  2. We just bought you a stuffed animal.
  3. We just bought you a stuffed animal.
We go back to the room and find my other son still watching the crash and my wife still waiting for Virgin to answer the phone while scanning the internet for news.

I make them go back to the store with me and buy more swimsuits.  My son shows them Sheepy and, again, fails to get it to make noise or us to buy it.  Then we head over to the pool.  The is in a kind of low-pressure zone from all the cold blasts of air from the a/c.  It's nearly impossible to open the door to the pool due to the rushing wind trying to get in, and that's even with the vent they put in the wall to equalize the pressure.

We spend an hour in the hot tub and, when we get out to dry ourselves off, I find I have a text message from my mother.  The debris at SFO had been cleared and the plane would leave in an hour.  The message had been sent half an hour earlier.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Asiana Crash Part 2

In this week's continuing series of padding out my blog with easy posts recounting my experiences with the Asiana crash, we get to the thrilling, action packed, part.

No, wait, that's tomorrow.  So, let's talk about hot dogs.

Hot dogs were named after the fact that, in the 1800s, sausages were made of dogs a lot of the time.  I've had an aversion to hot dogs most of my life.  I'm not sure why, but as a kid even the smell used to make me sick.  I think I must have eaten a bad one once and my body rebelled against them.  It took years before I could eat one again, and when I did...

Well, they're just baloney sticks, aren't they?  I don't get it.

The point is, on my last day in Chicago, I got a hot dog.  There weren't a lot of choices in the terminal.  We all ate lunch and waited for our flight to board.  Minutes before they were supposed to open up the plane, the guy at the front desk announced that SFO had asked them to delay boarding because there had been a catastrophic accident.

By the way, saying the words "catastrophic accident" into an intercom is the fastest way to get people to run to the nearest screen showing CNN and crash T-Mobile's wireless service.

While people were panicking, I stood next to the airline counter.  I knew there were a limited number of flights we could move to (it was 4th of July weekend) and everyone would be scrambling for them.  I knew SFO had runways too close together and, even during rainy days, they had to cut back on the number of planes that landed; a burning plane on the runway would really limit landings.  I knew you couldn't trust the guys at the gate who said they thought the plane would go today.

Since the crash was an "act of God" (their words, not mine), they wouldn't cancel the flight and give us our money back.  They wouldn't transfer us to another airline.  They would only let us move to another flight.  The next flight we could get on would be in the morning, and there were only two seats left.  By the time we decided to take them (leaving me and one child behind in Chicago), the seats were gone.

We went back out through security and polled the various airlines.  How soon can we leave?  Can they take us to Oakland?  San Jose?  Sacramento?  Los Angeles?  Seattle?  Making matters worse, our phones were still down, and we couldn't get in touch with any reliable source of information.

You know how, during disasters, some people freeze and hesitate so long they die?  That was us.  We couldn't make a decision.  Finally, we got a room at the airport hotel.

The Hilton O'Hare is a long walk through a series of tunnels under the terminal.  The Hilton O'Hare has billions of dollars of state-of-the-art air conditioning, because it blows freezing blasts at you wherever you walked.  The Hilton O'Hare charges extra for internet service, even if you pay $150 for a small room.

We sat, watching the plane burn, waiting for Virgin America to answer the phone (we gave up after 45 minutes on hold), not knowing what to do.

Tomorrow: swimming and running and shopping.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Asiana Crash Part 1

I keep a journal.  I don't keep it to write down my deepest thoughts and dreams.  I keep it because, if I don't, I will forget my whole life.  I can't tell you how many times I've turned to my wife and said "So, what did we do today?"  I'm afraid I'll get Alzheimer's because nobody would notice.

Er, is this where I live?

So I keep a journal, but I'm not very good at it.  Usually, I just write up an account of what I did that day, but a lot of days have pretty short entries.  Some examples:
June 30 - Meh.
January 2 - Some stuff happened at work.  You know, usual stuff.  I'm awesome.
November 11 - My penis is too big.

Saturday I wrote three, single-spaced pages.  Things were happening so fastI had to open up my laptop and type things in as they were happening because I knew I'd forget them in a few minutes.

Shoot, what was I doing?  Oh yeah, I'm writing my blog.

So, this week will be devoted to my Hoooooly Sheeeeit Saturday.  I'm not sure how funny it will be, but I know the parts with Sheepy are pretty good.  And there's a lot of running.  And swimming.  And freaking out.

I was in Chicago last week.  We lived in Chicago for just under a year once (long story for another week), and we wanted to go back because it's a really fun town.  I'm not going to go into my fun vacation experiences because:
  1. It's personal,
  2. My lawyer has advised me to stay silent, and
  3. It really has nothing to do with Hoooooly Sheeeeit Saturday except to say I was in O'Hare airport waiting to fly back to San Francisco.
As you can tell by the title (which is a bit of a spoiler, but is guaranteed to bring me more hits than my posts about Chloe Grace Moretz's nude scenes) I'm going to write about the Asiana crash.

It was the end of our vacation week.  We checked out of the hotel, got a cab to the airport, checked in two hours early, went through security, and sat down to wait for the flight.

Oh, hey, look at the time.  I guess I'll have to get into our hair-raising experiences tomorrow!

Heh.  I'm totally going to make those three pages last me all week.  Muhahahahaha!

Friday, July 5, 2013


When I was a teenager, I was an outcast.  Why?  Because I was too fucking sexy, that’s why.

There’s also the fact I was into computers, video games, science fiction and fantasy movies, and comic books.  That was considered geeky.  Now, decades later, everything I was into has become what everyone is into.  Heck, it’s even cool to call yourself a geek now!

You know what you call someone who likes what eventually becomes popular?  A trendsetter.

So the loyal readers of my blog can be cool before all their friends, I present a list of the things I distain.  Be prepared to give them up!

I just hate the taste.  It's not that I don't enjoy any beverage with alcohol.  It's that I'd enjoy them more if they took the alcohol out.Following the “drink it enough and you’ll like it” theory I heard in college, I’ve come home with cases and cases of different drinks from BevMo.  The best result so far?  “It almost doesn’t make me want to vomit.” 
Caveat: You can still cook with alcohol, as long as you cook it thoroughly.  Also, rum and eggnog is okay.

I don’t get watching other people play.  I once was offered free tickets to the Rose Bowl.  My response: “Can I bring a book?”
Caveat: You can still play sports.

It’s not that I only like a few kinds of music, it’s that I find all of it annoying.  I can’t talk to someone or do any work while something’s playing.  Just sitting and listening to music is painfully boring.
Caveat: It’s okay in the background of movies.

Without music, dancing is kinda pointless.
Caveat: Hot, young women can still dance.  Heck, if you’re a hot, young woman you can drink, watch sports, and listen to music all you want, just do it at my house.