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25 posts from June 2007

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Look at me! I'm posting on another Saturday! wOOt! (welcome back, Karl)

Katie's at work, I'm at home, I have nothing to do but clean and catch up on The Dead Zone and Robot Chicken, so I thought I'd jump on here and share something that I just added that I think is about the coolest thing around.

No, not an iPhone. That would have to drop about $300 in price before I buy one. But, and I admit this begrudgingly, I like it a lot more than I did when it was announced. Plus, I applaud the fact that Apple is not making free iPhones available to celebrities. Treat them like normal people. At least, not so far. This is how companies should have been doing it all along.

Actually, I'm here to talk about a little feature on a Web service that many of us already use. It's that wonderful little, handy dandy RSS feed aggregator known as Google Reader that we all use it to keep track of what each of us is saying on our sites. Well, news and sports sites as well, I'm sure.

But have you ever noticed the little reverse RSS feed icon at the bottom of each post you read in Google Reader? It's in the circled part of the image below (thanks to  Neil and SJ, via 2HT, for unwittingly letting me use their posts in the sample image).

Readershare

Well, if you activate the "Share" icon by clicking on it, you can share this post with other readers. Google will compile all your shared items on a page that you can link to from your Web site.

And I've done just that over in my menubar. Near the top under "Personal," you'll see a link called "Shared g-Reader Stuff" (not that original, I admit, but it'll do until I think up a better name). Anything I want that I currently read in my Google Reader account can be viewed in here. Right now, it's just a few posts from Chicagoist, but I'll be adding new blog posts and news items as I find them. It's a pretty sweet little tool and one that I think all of us can use so we can share cool stuff that we like.

Now I think I'm off to finish this episode of The Dead Zone. Have a great weekend!


Fox fur on my back, bow tie 'round my neck...

Just a few quickies...

Bulls
Chicago got Joakim Noah! Chicago got Joakim Noah! Yeah, buddy. You bring that bad ass bow tie and 'fro to the United Center, okay?

Joakimnoah

I must ask, though, what is it with Chicago pro sports teams and athletes from the University of Florida? I think half the Chicago Bears squad are former Gators.

Simpsons:
Hey look! It's Katie and me as Simpsons characters! Okay, I was being a bit overly optimistic about my physique. It's not quite that. But it will be sometime soon if I can get off my butt and in a gym. And I hate that the only goatee has no smile. I'm one grim lookin' mofo. Katie is hot, though. See? I told you I'd post a picture of her new hairstyle, didn't I?

Apgarsimpsons

Make your own at the Simpsons movie site and click on "Create Your Simpsons Avatar" at the top. Thanks for the tip, Dave!

Lyrical Challenge:
Okay, let's do this thing!

I was thinking of shaking things up a bit with some new twists, but the creativity is still lacking and I'm due at work soon. So let's do this just like last time, okay?

What I want to do is have all of you suggest lyrics for me for a post. I will pick out a few of my favorite suggestions and blog using them as the driving theme. Whether the post actually winds up being what you expect it to be is something we'll all discover together. If I only get a few suggestions, I'll eventually post about them all. If I get a ton, I will hold a vote like last time to give you some more input.

A few caveats...

  1. These must be real songs and ones I either already know or I can find and listen to easily enough. So, in addition to the lyric, I will also need the band name and song title. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  2. KISS - Keep It Short and Sweet. I try to keep my post titles to a single line on my blog. Don't send me the entire chorus. Just pick a single line from the song.
  3. Be creative; but don't frighten me, please.
  4. No DiVinyl's "I Touch Myself." 'Nuff said.

The posting schedule remains to be determined based on participation.

I will give you through the weekend to come up with ideas. Sound good?


I like American music...

Sorry about the delay on today's post.

What? You didn't even notice? Ah well. Such is life, right?

I dunno. I almost gave up on posting today simply because I couldn't think of a single thing to talk about.

August, who put up a brilliant guest post over on her "Karlipoo's" site for the Summer of Love, thought maybe I should talk about the whole Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards thing that's been going on. No. I've wasted enough of my blog on that hate-mongering, bumbling, waste of human flesh (Ann, that is, and what little "human flesh" there actually is).

Then I thought about finally using an old idea I had considered a couple days ago regarding the demoralization of our society. Meh, boring. It's all been done before.

So what am I left with? A bunch of cursing and praising, that's what!

  • Cursing my writer's block.
  • Praising myself for making English muffin pizzas for breakfast this morning (with muenster and pepperoni). Yum!
  • Cursing Jill Jichetti for making me suddenly feel the overwhelming urge to download some Violent Femmes from iTunes.
  • Praising Katie's hairdresser, Amy, for giving her a great bob cut and light reddish hair with blonde highlights. Hot! (pictures coming soon, I promise). I've taken to either saying "Hola Roja" ("Hello Red") in her presence or just calling her "my Rojita" ("my little red"). I don't know if that last one could ever be considered proper Spanish, but it's good enough in my book.

Other than that... I got nuthin'!

I'm thinking I might do another lyrical challenge just to spice things up a bit. Would you all be willing to play again?


They cannot see me naked...

When you're on, you're on. And, yesterday, I was on.

A friend and I were discussing how hot it was outside and how we both wish we had swimsuits so we could just jump in the local pool. And it truly was hot. Sweltering, in fact. The weather, you perverts.

She then told me that she loved the fact that when guys first jump in a pool, their swim trunks balloon up. She said it makes her laugh uncontrollably.

She asked why we tie our shorts so tight that air becomes trapped, so I regaled her with this little nugget...

We men tie our swim trunks real tight due to a fear that, when we emerge from the water, the weight added to our shorts will drag them down thus exposing our assets... or liabilities in the case of some men. The problem lies in that, by tying them so tight, we create a suction between flesh and fabric that won't let air escape. Our shorts then balloon out like a giant water wing for our ass.

Well I certainly did nothing to quell the laughter.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Based on recommendations from some of you and just a desire to hear a few others, check out this list of CDs (heh, I accidentally miskeyed it as "VDs" initially) I've been listening to in recent days. Well, I haven't listened to all of them yet. That'll take some time.

  • Scissor Sisters - self titled
  • Death Cab For Cutie - The Photo Album
  • Jet - Shine On
  • The Walkmen - A Hundred Miles Off
  • Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
  • Jay-Z and Linkin Park - Collision Course
  • Jay-Z - The Black Album
  • Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
  • Damone - Out Here All Night
  • Kelly Clarkson - My December
  • Tori Amos - American Doll Posse
  • Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
  • Harry Connick Jr. - Oh, My NOLA
  • Blue October - Foiled

That's a heckuva list and should tide me over for some time to come. Hopefully.


You're busted...

While I don't talk about it all the time, I have mentioned, seemingly with pride, the fact that I rent my movies from Netflix. Not Blockbuster, not Hollywood... Netflix. I love the 'flix and there is nothing that will take me away. And, just when I thought my loathing of them couldn't get any worse, I find yet another reason to hate them. More specifically Blockbuster.

I was heading to a Starbucks on Saturday morning because, well, I was just in desperate need of caffeinated rejuvenation. It was 7:45 in the morning and there was no natural reason to be awake. Yet I was. What does one do when they don't want to be awake, but need to be? We wish for a direct-line, caffeine IV drip straight into our forearms. When we get over that fantasy, we do the next-best thing... buy and drink copious amounts of coffee.

A Blockbuster lay in my path to Starbucks and, despite being closed, I decided to take a look in the window. On their sale rack, I saw two movies, School for Scoundrels and Harsh Times, and they had an odd little feature to their cover design. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it read "Blockbuster Exclusives."

I remember having heard about this, that Blockbuster had somehow managed to secure exclusive rights to the video rental distribution of these films. I seethed the first time I read it. It sincerely ticked me off. And, looking at Blockbuster's site just now, I discovered several movies that fall under this "Exclusives" category, such as Bobby and Miss Potter. In fact, this entire post was initially going to be about how I hate that Blockbuster uses such strong-armed tactics to muscle out its competition.

Then I looked at Netflix and discovered that every single one of Blockbuster's so-called "Exclusive" movies is, in fact, available for rental.

Huh? What am I missing here? Is this just some wickedly deceptive advertising on Blockbuster's part? Are these films that they're tagging "exclusive" some kind of special edition?

Then I looked at the title line of the Web page on Blockbuster's site which reads "Blockbuster Online - Exclusives." Could this mean that these movies are exclusive to Blockbuster's online rental service and are not in the store (the ones I saw in store were actually previously viewed copies now for sale)? If this is the case, then it would seem that Blockbuster is really only screwing over their own customers by telling them that they cannot rent certain movies in the store and are forced to go online.

But this wouldn't make any sense, would it? Leave it to Blockbuster to do something moronic like that, though.

So what does this mean? Are there any Blockbuster users out there that can explain this one to me?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): And in a case of a company not screwing us over, we have Apple's iTunes Store having just started to sell DRM-free versions of some of the songs in their vast catalog. What does this mean? Well, simply put, you can now put your music on any number of MP3 devices, burn any number of CDs, transfer the songs to any computer, and, I believe, can even load them on non-iPod players (why you would want to do this last one is beyond me, though).

Yes, the songs cost $.30 more each, but they are also at a higher bit rate than the versions that were originally available. And, if you're really in need of DRM-free music or are an audiophile, then the extra cost should mean little to you.

What I love, though, is the fact that I was given three free songs on iTunes by Ticketmaster for ordering those Rocco DeLuca tickets last week and the "free" status even covers the DRM-free versions. It would've been easy enough for Apple to say "no, you can only use these free purchases on the $.99 songs" or to just forget to make them one and the same. But they didn't.

I used one to buy Human League's "Don't You Want Me" DRM-free and the track cost me nothing extra. I'm really happy about this.

You're a good apple, iTunes.


Down on Sesame Street...

SESAME STREET, USA -- What started as a simple expulsion of bodily waste has resulted in a bloodbath here on the set of one of America's most beloved children's television shows. 14 are dead, another 22 remain hospitalized in critical condition, one is under arrest, and children the world over are left wondering why?

From a newly formed perch atop one of the famed brownstone buildings that comprise the set of Sesame Street, a mainstay on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), Big Bird sat with what he called "massive indigestion" brought on by a crazed sweets binge with Cookie Monster. Without realizing what he had done, the famed yellow-feathered behemoth "dropped a load" right on the shoulder of human cast member Roscoe "Gordon" Orman.

Already enduring a bad day due to cost cutting on the set and the rejection by staff writers of some of his suggested script changes, Orman reached to an inside pocket of his jacket and brandished a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic handgun. At full volume and in view of a full studio audience, Orman shouted anti-animalistic epithets and discharged three rounds at Big Bird before being knocked unconscious by Snuffleupagus. While two shots missed completely, a third round snapped Big Bird's left wing at mid-radius. He is now being treated at the Sesame Street Urgent Care Center.

Although the initial shooting was over, the damage was done and the proverbial Pandora's box was open. What happened next could only be described as "mass hysteria" by one member of the studio audience who declined to identify herself.

Muppets armed themselves with weapons hidden behind and underneath studio sets and began to open fire on what they called their "oppressive human slavemasters" while humans fought back with set pieces and camera equipment.

Clearly the tension had been building for years as the Muppet assault was highly planned. It was just a matter of time before the facade of peace crumbled away letting the true emotion behind the conflict spill forward. Said one anonymous member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff upon seeing a video tape of the melee, "if Bush had planned things this well, we'd have been out of Iraq years ago. Cold, calculated, and efficient. I'm thoroughly impressed."

Dividing lines between the two parties were not quite as clear as human vs. puppet as some of the fuzzy friends crossed the fur-lined Maginot to side with the humans.

"Ha ha!" exclaimed one Muppet wishing to remain anonymous. "If I don't stay friends with the humans, who else is going to tickle my tummy and stick their hand up my ass? Rosie would hate me!"

A full-scale investigation is underway and many additional arrests are expected. For his part in instigating this armed conflict, Orman has been remanded to the custody of Henson Security and bail has been set, according to Count von Count, at "one million dollars, ah ha ha ha!"

The names of those who lost their lives in this unfortunate conflict are being withheld until next of kin and next of loom are notified.

It's gonna be a strange day. Forgive me?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I saw the most disturbing thing the other day while Katie and I drove up to her parents' house. I was looking in my rearview mirror because I could feel a vehicle coming up close behind me. You know that feeling you get? You don't see it, but you know it's there. All I saw was a big chrome grill that reeked of a Hummer, but it was surrounded by pink. Lots and lots of bright, girly pink. I looked again and then in my side mirrors and discovered, to my horror, that it was a pink Hummer H3. What in Samhail...


I'm back in the saddle again...

As I revealed in a meme a couple months ago (if I could remember which one, I'd link it), it's been a couple years since I've been to a concert. There's a reason for this. Really. It's because they cost too much and they don't entertain me like they used to.

I miss the big video screens that The Rolling Stones used and seeing Tommy Lee of Motley Crue being hoisted in the air with his drum kit and then spinning a full 360 degrees while still playing his solo. How about the way Tom Petty engages his audience through conversation and seems genuinely interested in what we say back? Or Buddy Guy having a wireless transmitter on his guitar so he can walk out in the crowd and play right by us?

Sometimes, it's the big things like the elaborate stage set ups used by bands like U2 or Depeche Mode that do it for me. Other times, it's something as simple as just crowd interaction.

Nowadays it just seems like too many bands need far too much refinement by producers to sound good and then they go on tour and sound like crap because they cannot be produced while playing live. And they don't do anything on stage but stand there and play. No interaction with the audience whatsoever. Some of them are too afraid to break from their set routine for fear of screwing it all up. They're too nervous on stage. Too withdrawn. Too aloof. Whatever the case may be.

And yet they're still trying to charge me north of $50 per ticket!

For what I'm paying them, I want to be entertained, dammit!

This is why I've avoided concerts for the most part. I used to spend a ton going to shows when I was in high school and early college. And through the dozens of shows I saw, I only paid $50 once! For the Rolling Stones. I felt it was justified in this case. Now $50 will barely buy me cheap seats.

Until now!

That's right. I'm hitting the concert circuit again to some degree this summer and I'm gonna like it!

It starts with Def Leppard on June 30, a show that is costing me nada! My brother scored a pair of tickets and we're going. If I can keep them from playing "Let's Get Rocked," I'll be in Heaven.

Rocco This will be followed up with a show by Rocco DeLuca and the Burden at the House of Blues in Chicago on July 21. And these tickets were only $15 a pop (well, $25 once Ticketmaster is done hitting you up on fees and service charges, but that's still good!). Katie and I will be in attendance with her brother.

And, if I can score them (they haven't gone on sale yet), we'll see Rocco again a week later at Naper Settlement in Naperville for the Naperville Summer Nights Concert Series that he's headlining. Again, these are only $15 a head. What makes this one more fun is that it's an outdoor show on the lawn. You can bring in blankets, chairs, and your own food. Again, with Katie's brother and a coworker of mine.

If you're wondering about the Rocco fixation, Katie has absolutely fallen in love with this band. She can't get enough of them. And I really like them, too. Oh yeah, so does Katie's brother. We're all fans. And you can't beat the price. I haven't been to a concert with tickets under $20 since I was in college.

So let's see...

Def Leppard = free

Rocco show 1 = $15 ($25 with fees)

Rocco show 2 = $15

Some fun summer concertgoing = priceless (well, technically $40, but you get my point)


Caring is creepy...

Have you all heard stories about how potential employers may perform Web searches of employees just to see what they can find out? I know some people freak out about this sort of thing, but, in this day and age, it's to be expected. If the information is there, why not check it out?

Besides, we do this sort of thing on people we know all the time, don't we?

We don't?

I'm the only one?

God I hope not.

Yeah, as weird as this may be to admit, I've actually jumped on Google to search for people I currently know and used to know just to see what kinds of fun stuff I can dig up. And, shockingly enough, there's not that much out that's particularly interesting.

Being the eternal naysayer that I am, I keep hoping to find an arrest record on someone I hated in high school. Maybe that shy friend is on the verge of breaking through as the next Steve Jobs. Perhaps an ex girlfriend is now a herpes-laden stripper smoking crack in back alleys off Sunset Boulevard.

The truth is far less interesting, unfortunately. The only truly incriminating piece of information I have on a classmate is one friend who was arrested for drug possession. Of course, I found out about this off the Web. I wonder if there's a police record for him now that I can find via Google. Considering he was such a sheltered mama's boy back in the day, I'm happy he found his true calling.

But he would be about it. And that disappoints me terribly. I keep searching for that one piece of information that will just make my day and I cannot find it. But I want it. Must... keep... digging...

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Did anyone watch the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies... 10th Anniversary Edition last night? Yeah, they revised the list that they developed a decade ago to bump several and add many more. Only one movie in the top 10 was in the same place it was 10 years back. Pretty obvious what that one is going to be.

Thankfully, Fargo was finally bumped off the list. I never quite got that movie and was never in agreement with its inclusion on the list. I've been told by friends that if you ever lived in the Dakotas or northern Minnesota, then this film will really resonate for you. Great. That helps. So 500,000 people in the world understand that film and that's about it. 

But the pleasant shockers were the additions of Toy Story and The Shawshank Redemption and the boost that Raging Bull (#24 --> #4) and Vertigo (#61 --> #9) received on the list. Quite nice. John Wayne's The Searchers jumped 84 places to #12 as well. If you visit the Web site, they have a PDF you can download that shows the 2007 list with a comparison to where it was back in 1997 and how many spaces it moved. It also has an interactive feature allowing you to checkbox the ones you've seen (I'm at 51 of 100). The only thing missing is a list of those movies that were bumped from the original list. That would be very nice.


Step up, sucker, understand, don't you know, I'm the man...

It's been so long since I've had a worthwhile conversation with a friend to post about it. And, thankfully, it happened yesterday! Woo hoo! Wait, Karl's on vacation, isn't he? WooT!!!

My Friend: Hey Kev, how ya doing?

Me: Not bad, how you?

MF: I'm good.

Me: Hey! I didn't tell you, that XYZ thing you needed me to work on for you? It's done!

MF: Done? No way!

Me: Heck yeah! And early, to boot. Who's on top of things now, buddy?

MF: Yeah you are!

Me: Yeah I am!

MF: You da man!

Me: Yeah I am!

MF: No matter what my wife says, you da man!

Me: Yeah I... whaaaa?

The MF abbreviation took on a whole new meaning after that.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Is it strange that there's actually an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny little part of me that is intrigued by the movie Hairspray? I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I think part of it may be the fact that it costars both Christopher Walken and Michelle Pfeiffer who both rate highly in my book. Plus there's always a small part of me hoping against hope for a catfight between Brittany Snow and Amanda Bynes. Rawr! Sssss!! Heh. ;-)

Oh, and I've been tagged by blog noob metalmom. Fear not, true believers, she will learn her lesson, and that right quick. Muahahahahahahahahaha! ha.

Yeah, it's in the continuation.

Continue reading "Step up, sucker, understand, don't you know, I'm the man..." »


Do you remember...

Sometimes I feel as though I've been cheated of my childhood to some degree.

No, I'm not saying that I was forced to grow up faster than the average kid because of some traumatic event. Anyone who reads this blog or knows me personally realizes that, even at 32 years old, I'm still not entirely "grown up."

I feel like I've been cheated because I have so few memories of my early childhood. I've spoken with friends and relatives who can recall very specific details or events of their lives as far back as when they were two or three years old. For many of them, their personal consciousness begins at around those ages.

Me? Not until I was five. That's just under one sixth of my life gone. It's not some kind of amnesia or that I've progressively forgotten more and more details as I've aged. To be honest, I've never been able to recall those first five years of my life.

My first real memory dates to the summer of 1980 when my family and I were moving to Lexington, KY, from Rochester, NY, where I was born. Yeah, I've seen pictures and been told stories and my mind has fabricated "memories" based on these oral and visual histories. But nothing that I can really call mine.

I have no recall of my brother's birth or the subsequent crying fits (he was a colicky baby according to my mom... heh). No memory of my first home or friends. Nothing from my first several birthday parties or other holiday celebrations. Heck, I don't even actually remember seeing Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back in theaters even though my parents say they took me.

The first memory I have that I can attribute to my own recall happened shortly after we moved to Lexington. I was sitting in the basement of our new house in what became our TV room and I was searching around through boxes of stuff still waiting to be unpacked. I finally found one that said "Kevin's Toys," and opened it. Right on the top were my Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper and Cylon Raider ships. I grabbed them out of the box and turned on the TV. I just happened to find Sanford & Son. Although I had never seen it before, it looked interesting and the theme song was fun so I left it on while flying my ships around the basement.

I can claim that as my own memory because no one was there with me who could've influenced it in any way, shape, or form.

But I'd still like some of those first five years back.


Sometimes you can't make it on your own...

Do you remember when flying on a commercial aircraft meant that you had your choice of dozens of different, albeit outdated, magazines to choose from to read? They came in those generic magazine holders like what school libraries used... the cardboard spine with the airline's name and the name of the magazine and then the thick clear plastic covers?

Well, much like the free food, this selection of magazines has gone the way of the dodo in recent years and we have, at least on American Airlines flights, been given an in-house written magazine that, shockingly, wasn't entirely terrible when I read the May and June issues to and from Las Vegas.

While the June issue had a pretty decent interview with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, the main article in the May issue is what caught my attention. It was about musicians that defined their respective decades. Basically, the author of the article talked about the significant advances in music in each decade since the 1950s and attempted to identify who he (or was it a she?) felt was the defining artist of the decade complete with some honorable mentions and a few songs that were pretty popular.

Here's the list as I recall...

  • 1950s - Elvis Presley
  • 1960s - The Beatles
  • 1970s - Led Zeppelin
  • 1980s - U2
  • 1990s - Nirvana
  • 2000s - nobody chosen yet

While the first two are blatantly obvious choices, I can see Led Zeppelin being argued by a few critics despite the fact that I agree with it personally.

I take a little issue with the final three. Well, two actually, since no one was chosen for the decade we are currently in.

While I can see U2 being representative of the 1980s, I wonder because their breakthrough album, The Joshua Tree, wasn't released until 1987. And, after that, all they released in the 80s was Rattle and Hum (my personal favorite). Yes, they released a ton of great stuff before TJT like War, Boy, and The Unforgettable Fire. But all those albums were considered commercial failures upon release. In fact, the author of the article even says that if U2 were a new band in this era repeating the sales figures they had with their first several albums, they never would have been given a chance to release TJT. They would've been released from their contract after their second or third bomb, which, in the case of U2, would've been October or War.

I could really see someone like Michael Jackson being chosen for the 80s. He defined commercial success, uniting of musical styles and tastes, and redefined the world of music videos with "Thriller." And why, with commercial megahits like Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and Pop, wasn't U2 chosen as the band of the 90s as opposed to the 80s?

That's right, because Nirvana was chosen. Another selection I take issue with mainly because they only really released two studio albums in the 90s (Bleach was 1989) before Kurt Cobain offed himself. Don't get me wrong, I dug on Nirvana to some degree and appreciated Cobain's lyrical ability and he did usher in a new sound to the mass populace, but the band of the decade? I'd still argue that U2 could hold this position as well.

And now for the decade we currently inhabit. The author opted not to choose simply because the decade is not over and (s)he didn't feel that one had truly emerged yet. (S)He was also worried about whether, this late in the decade, one actually would. The closest to a defining band that was suggested in the article was Coldplay. Thinking back through the decade, maybe they would be the best.

But (s)he also suggested that one of the newer bands might take the throne with another one or two good albums. One the author posited was The Arctic Monkeys. Really? A band that, while big in the U.K., a good 80% or more of the rest of the world has never heard of. And of the 20% that has, how many can name a song? Not me. I listened to one of their albums and was far from wow'd by it.

Why not Radiohead? They would be my suggestion. Granted all my favorite albums by them came out in the 90s (maybe they should be the choice for the 90s?), they changed their sound with their first album of the new millennium, Kid A, and boosted themselves through the stratosphere.

So my question to you is do you agree with the author's choices? Who would you counter-suggest? It's really not as easy as it may seem.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Well, not "totally," per se, as it is music related. This little ditty from my past popped in my head yesterday on the way to breakfast with Katie's parents. I'm wondering if any of you have ever heard it or if it elicits any youthful memories...

Great, green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat,
French-fried birdie feet.
Eyeballs boiled in a barrel of blood,
And me without my spoon...
... but I got my straw...
*slurp*

Anything? No? I'm just an insane youth day camper of the 80s?


We are the youth gone wild...

Yesterday, on the way to meet some of Katie's family for dinner, I saw a guy and a girl on a motorcycle. The girl was wearing a helmet!!

I was shocked. I don't see many people wearing helmets on motorcycles anymore. They treat it as an illness.

Then I noticed what the girl was wearing... short shorts and a spaghetti-strap top.

Yay. So when they crash and she goes skidding down a football field's worth of pavement, her head will be in perfect shape while the rest of her resembles a Body World's exhibit. That'll bode well for her dating life.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): My gal from Down Under, Kazza the Blank One, has posted a Google Maps challenge of her own on her site. Go over there and check it out!

I'm not doing so hot at it right now.

And if any more of you out there are posting challenges of your own, feel free to link to them here.


As long as the price is right...

Kapgar Readers, COME ON DOWN!!!

Barkerpubstill That's right, folks. Today is a big day in the history of television. Mr. Bob Barker, the very long-time host of the very long-running game show The Price is Right will be stepping down today at noon, eastern time, after nearly 35 years at the helm.

Personally, I have very fond memories of The Price is Right. It was one of the few game shows ever that appealed to me as a kid and, yet, my parents still enjoyed as well. Katie and her family loved it as well. It was simple to understand and incredibly thrilling to watch.

Will he roll his $100?

Will she guess the right price?

What's in Showcase Two???

My mom clearly recognized my love of the show and, when I was much younger and Bob took the show on a road trip around the country, she got us tickets to see him live. Granted I don't remember too many details as I was relatively young, I do remember enjoying it.

As I got older, my tastes evolved into slightly more challenging game shows such as Jeopardy! Ones that, in my opinion, involved more skill. But I always enjoyed Price regardless.

And my appreciation of Bob grew when I saw him move beyond just his hosting duties with a brief, but highly memorable, cameo in Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore. How can you not love seeing Bob kick the crap out of Happy on a golf course?

Barkergilmore

Oh the fun that Bob has given the world.

Now I ask you to help remember the good times with a memorial salute to three-and-a-half decades of televised enjoyment. We have International Towel Day to commemorate Douglas Adams. Now, how about International Price Tag Day to celebrate Bob Barker and his tenure on The Price is Right?

To participate, you simply need to print out this price tag image (68.3 KB), cut out around the edges, fill in your name, and wear it with pride all day!

I've got mine set to wear. Will you join me?

Show The Bob some love!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I now have a new favorite photo of Katie that I took at my brother's wedding. After some cropping out of the background and playing with light levels, I finally have it where I want it and have posted it on Flickr. Totally hot!

Katie the Bridesmaid


Snippety doo dah, snippety ay...

How about a snippety sorta day today? No, not snippy... snippety. The e-t makes all the difference.

Blogiversary
Yep, today, I think, marks my second anniversary here on Typepad. Woo hoo! It's been a great two years and I've met a ton of great people and it still amazes how much smaller blogging can make the world. Not in a bad way, mind you. I'm just talking about how it can bring people from all over the world that much closer together making us all feel like a virtual family of sorts. It's cool that way and I'm happy to be a part of it all. Whatever little part I can be!

InWeDay
I feel bad. I signed up last year to take part in International Weblogger's Day (InWeDay) because, I thought, what a great idea! A day to celebrate us as bloggers! I got the e-mail about a month or so ago saying that InWeDay was coming up in June and that the theme was solidarity; "How can bloggers get together to overcome some of the problems we face in the real world?"

Wow! Pretty heavy. But I was up to the challenge. I set the date, June 24, in my head and kept thinking, much like how I acted with regard to my best man's speech for my brother's wedding, I've got time and I'll probably come up with a great idea the day before or even the day of.

And then I got the e-mail this morning saying "Happy InWeDay!" Oh crap. It was June 14, not 24. And I've got nuthin'.

So, to those who come up with some snazzy ideas, a big Happy InWeDay from me to you!

Google Map Answers
It always blows my mind how involved you all get in these Where the Hell in Google Earth Is challenges. And many of you seem to not pay attention to what other people were posting in the comments when making your own guesses. Very cool! Why is that point such a big deal? Because all seven of the challenges were solved by some combination of commenters yesterday.

As I said, most were pretty easy, while two were a bit tougher. Yet that didn't stop a couple of you from even managing the tough ones. Here are the answers and the first person to guess each one correctly...

  • #1 - Grauman's (nee Mann's) Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, USA - my BiL, Scott!
  • #2 - Navy Pier, Chicago, IL, USA - Eileen Dover (can't go wrong with a name like that)
  • #3 - Battery Park, New York City, NY, USA - Suze (a Canadian beat all you Americans! For shame!)
  • #4 - Sky Dome and the CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada - a combination of Scott and Suze (he got Sky Dome and she got the CN Tower)
  • #5 - Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, England, UK - Jacquie (sorry hon, you weren't the 7 of 7 you expected to be)
  • #6 - Apple World Headquarters, Cupertino, CA, USA - Ryan Jerz (this was my geeked-up entry into the contest and, no, I really wasn't expecting anyone to get it so my hat's off to you, MrJerz!)
  • #7 - Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas, NV, USA - Scott (yeah, lose the question marks, you got it right)

I gotta remember to do these more often. I don't want them to become an excuse to not blog, mind you. But they're just as much fun for me to set up as they are for you all to guess (I'm assuming on the second part, of course; let me know if I'm wrong).

Music
I've been having some fun lately with music. In the last month or so, I bought Wilco's Sky Blue Sky, Ozzy Osbourne's Black Rain, and Ultra Payloaded by Perry Farrell's Satellite Party. And, coming soon, we've got new ones by the Smashed Pumpkins (it's only half the band so can we truly call them by their real name? No D'arcy or James... it just doesn't feel right. But the new single, "Tarantula," is pretty good) and Kelly Clarkson.

Yeah, so that last one sticks out like a sore thumb amidst all that metal and alt-rock. I don't care. She's one of my guilty pleasures and I'm proud of it. She is to my music collection what the 1998 version of The Parent Trap is to my movie collection... pure guilty love and you can't take either of them away from me. And, yes, I was watching TPT last night on ABC Family. It's a movie I just can't turn off.


Where in the world is...

Like Diane said in my return post from Vegas, "Nothing like a good vacation to reinvigorate the ol' blog!"

True. But I wasn't expecting the reinvigoration to run away from me screaming bloody murder after a mere five or six posts.

Yeah, I feel like I'm back at square one trying to find something to write about. I had considered talking about the movies that Katie and I want to see this summer, but it just didn't strike me as all that post worthy.

Simply put, the ones we've seen include Spider-Man 3 that we hated and Ocean's 13 that we loved. Ones we definitely want to see include Knocked Up, Waitress, Bourne Ultimatum, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Ones we might see are Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Rush Hour 3, Vantage Point, and The Simpsons Movie. And then there are the ones that I have been told I might have to see with my brother because there's no way Katie will go with me and those are Transformers and Live Free and Die Hard, the latter of which I only plan to see if there's nothing else to do.

Yeah, not much to say there.

So I was playing with Google Maps the other day, which I do way too often for it to be healthy, and I realized it really has been a long time since I've done one of my Where the Hell in Google Earth Is challenges (number 1 | number 2). So why not today? Are you all cool with that? Some are just far too easy while one or two are complete geekfests on my part.

For those who haven't played this game here before, just guess what the Google Maps images are. If you know it, you know it. If you don't, make something up. The wittier, the better.

I'm not sure how long you have to guess. I may just give answers after they've all been correctly guessed. Unless, of course, the comments keep coming in and they remain funny. I like when the answer is already out there and people still keep throwing up crapshoot guesses. Those are the most fun.

They're in the extended post, so have some fun.

Continue reading "Where in the world is..." »


Think about the place where you live...

I love this planet. I hope that you do, too. And I would hope that we all want it to be around for future generations.

But why is saving the Earth such a difficult thing to do?

I've got a friend who is a "green" nut. You know the type, right? She tries to do everything she can for the benefit of our planet. Sometimes it's actually a bit funny to listen to her as she goes on and on about some things. But I respect her dedication. It's hard not to. When someone is this passionate about something, how can you not admire it?

On occasion she gives me tips for living a more "green" existence. Special recycling drives, waste disposal tips, ideas to cut emissions, etc. Thankfully she hasn't gone the single toilet paper square route. Even she thinks that's ridiculous. Laughably so.

But, if several of these things are what we need to do in order to save our planet, why is it so damn inconvenient and even difficult to do it?

A couple local communities have, in recent weeks, set up electronics recycling events. The purpose of them is to allow you an eco-friendly method by which to dispose of old computers, TVs, printers, stereo components, etc. The problem lies in that these events are one-time-only happenings. Why aren't they year round? Why hasn't the company that is actually doing the  recycling tried to score contracts with local recycling or waste collection agencies to allow for weekly curbside pickups like with regular trash? What if an electronic device craps out on me in the weeks immediately following the event? Do I have to hold on to it until the next year? The company that is sponsoring the event isn't even close to where I live for me to be able to drive there and drop them off without it being considered a major waste of gas.

Now that I'm on the topic of curbside recycling pick up... why are they so picky about what they will and won't take? I've had them refuse some items on occasion. Even if they bear the recycle logo on the bottom. C'mon! I'm just trying to do my part to save the environment and you're thwarting me. The same goes for recycling bins that you find in office buildings and stores and out on the street. I've seen them go so far as to say they will only accept flat, uncrinkled paper. What? Crumpled paper is suddenly less recyclable?

Within the next year, more than likely, I'll be in the market for a new car. Right now, I'll probably buy a Ford Escape. I know not all of you are Ford fans. I've heard all the jokes, so save them, okay? I've been a Ford owner for just under a decade now and I really like the Escape. Great drive and, for an SUV, it gets very nice mileage. The new 2008 model gets even better mileage, in fact. But, seeing as how they make a hybrid version of the vehicle, I thought I could do even better, so I looked into it. Guess what? The hybrid Escape only gets about five to ten more miles per gallon than the non-hybrid version but costs almost $10K more. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a great savings. I don't have exact figures, but it would take me, I think, more than the warrantied life of the vehicle to make up that difference so I actually turn my added expense into a savings. Yeah, it helps the planet, and, if you have the cash, why not? But I don't. And I doubt a judge will care that I'm trying to save the planet when I'm dragged into court for failure to pay my bills.

I want to do my part. Really, I do. But it's just too damn difficult sometimes.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): First it was iTunes and the iPod being Windows compatible. Then Apple announces they are moving to an Intel chip so their computers can run Windows natively via Bootcamp or Parallels. Now Apple is making their beloved browser, Safari, for Windows machines. I'm actually using it on my work PC and it's pretty nice. A few small issues here and there, but I'm sure future builds will take care of it.

It's time you all face it... the world will soon be run by a mega corporation comprised of three companies -- Apple, Google, and Adobe. Just bow down now. Make it easy on yourselves.


Hippity, hoppity...

I am fully convinced that Bugs Bunny is a propaganda stunt by some unknown organization established with the express intent of saving bunnies from what would otherwise be a bloody demise.

And, I must admit, I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

I was always under the impression that bunnies were a good thing. Cute little "hippity hops," as Katie would call them. A sign that spring was here. They really do nothing other than hop around, eat grass, and fornicate. Can life possibly be any more pure than that?

Lately, though, Katie and I have uncovered the nefarious truth about these little minions of evil. Before we left for Vegas, we planted some hostas on the berm in our backyard. We had been warned by our next door neighbor that hostas are the food of choice for rabbits. She should know, she has a berm loaded with them as well. Her's looked great and she shared her secret... Liquid Fence. This fox-urine smelling spray is supposed to scare the bunnies away.

We went to Home Depot to pick some up. The sales clerk revealed that they didn't have any but they have "an equivalent that's just as good." We bought it and sprayed some just before we left. Then we gave the bottle to our neighbor and asked if she could spray it while we were gone. She agreed.

BunnycrosshairsWhen we got home, a vast majority of our hostas were eaten alive. Our neighbor said she used our stuff but that she didn't think it was the same stuff as it didn't smell nearly bad enough. It does smell horrifically bad. So we finally found the real stuff this weekend at another hardware store, but not before it was too late. The rabbits had eaten through nearly all that was left of our hostas.

Now it's war.

Bugs, Thumper, et al, there is nothing you can now do to convince us that bunnies are good or pure or innocent. You are rodents with big front teeth. And you must die. If I happen across one of you little bastages, I will spray you directly with this Liquid Fence stuff just so that you will never be welcome in your own home. The second your pack catches a whiff of you, they will run... or hop... or whatever you do when you try to escape from a predator.

Make no bones about it, your bouncy little ass is mine.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): If you have not yet seen Pan's Labyrinth, check it out immediately. Fantastic beautiful and well told story of a little girl in pro-Franco Spain in 1944 who escapes the horror of her surroundings (her mother just married a sadistic army commander) by fulfilling her "destiny" as a princess who is to lead a kingdom of fairies back into power. I've never seen a movie quite as rich in visuals as this one. This movie alone is reason enough to own an HDTV.


Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats...

(It may be tough, but please see this one through to the end)

Oh I tried, I really tried. I wanted to not blog about this so much. I bit my lips. There was blood. Really.

I wasn't going to say a thing about this travesty of justice known as the Paris Hilton trial. But it just. got. interesting.

She DUI'd. She DUI'd again. She showed up in court. She was sentenced to 45 days in the klink. She appealed. She withdrew her appeal. She found her sentence commuted to 23 days with good behavior. She turned herself over in the middle of the night. She began serving her sentence. She stopped eating. She got depressed. She developed an undisclosed medical condition. She was released. She was fitted with an ankle monitoring bracelet. She was told to serve out the full remaining 40 days (even though, technically, she had only served three days thus far).

Blah, blah, blah.

But now the judge in the case is crying foul? Saying that the sheriff who released Hilton had no right to do so? He's demanding a hearing on the matter this morning? Public sentiment is overwhelmingly against Hilton? There's talk of the sheriff being held in contempt?

This really got fun!

I want them ALL in jail!

Rot together!

Throw Nicole Richie in there while you're at it!

Lindsay Lohan, too!

And that one who played Marisa in The O.C. I can't remember her name, but she's another no-talent hack who is way too overexposed in the media!

Oh, oh, Hilton's mom for raising such a little beyotch and being one herself!

Maybe the dad, too, for enabling her with all his money and not using it for something worthwhile like comfortable beds in his hotels!

Lindsay's dad, Michael, for wearing mesh muscle T-shirts in TV interviews!

Mario Lopez for being enough of an idiot that he felt the need to cheat on Ali Landry and Karina Smirnoff!

The entire cast of Grey's Anatomy for turning their off-screen dramas into stories that, at least this last season, are far more interesting to watch than the ones that were on screen!

The other execs that keep reupping CSI: Miami and providing David Caruso the opportunity to refine his head-tilting, script-whispering, sunglass-removing antics!

The other-other execs that canceled What About Brian, The Class, and Veronica Mars!

In the words of Chuck D, "Burn Hollywood! Burn Hollywood! Burn!"

It's all so incredibly ridiculous that I just can't help but be nutty about it all. BYAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

'Tis a strange, punch-drunk day here in Kapgartopia.


This Howard Dean moment has been brought to you by a severe inability to readjust to non-Vegas life. We thank you for your understanding and apologize profusely. Professional assistance for Mr. Apgar is currently being sought.

-The Management


This is our country...

Well, here's the second post I promised. Sadly, I remember this essay about flying over the Rockies and parts of the southwest U.S. being a lot longer as I wrote it. As it turns out, it's only a few brief paragraphs long. Not sure what happened there. But to flesh it out a bit, I'm going to include some photos I took. They're going to be rather small here on the page, but you can click through to Flickr to view them at full size. Some of the photos may look a bit muddy; I blame that on unclean airplane windows and the fact that I was sitting in the aisle seat reaching over Katie's sleeping body to take some of them. The really clear ones were taken by Katie when she was awake.

The view from up here is spectacular. White-peaked mountains struggling to break through the cloud cover. An attempt by the planet to say "good morning" as we pass overhead. Their majesty is second to none and it makes me long to live among them instead of the featureless flatlands where we currently reside.

In-flight mountains In-flight mountains, #2 In-flight mountains, #3

An hour later, the view changes dramatically. The peaks collapse upon themselves into the earth forming plummeting canyons and ravines. Vast lengths of dried-out riverbeds no longer providing sustenance to the sun-baked clay. Low-level mountain ranges extending as far as the eye can see. Together, they comprise a multi-level, earthen tattoo... the planet's ink... made forever indelible by eons of weather-related phenomena.

Southwest terrain Southwest terrain, #3 Southwest terrain, #2

And yet, despite the longevity of these features, an occasional and unnatural cut weaves its way into the fabric of the terrain. A man-made road winding its way through the earth or some other structure interrupting the natural flow proving that we, as mere mortals, can, far too quickly, undo what has taken millennia to create.

Southwest terrain, #4 Southwest terrain, #5


Sit down and talk to me...

Let's see... story about guys who made me ashamed to be male and human or my creative writing about flying over some of the most fantastic scenery ever? Well, I've got the latter recorded in my Moleskine, so I think I'll opt for the former before it fades from memory forever. Wouldn't want to disappoint Sandra by forgetting the story. Sound cool to you?

I want to say this was Friday morning in Vegas. Katie was out doing some of the girlie things that bridesmaids do and my brother and I decided to head poolside. We searched for nearly 10 minutes for chaise lounges before we finally found a pair at the very last pool furthest from the hotel property. We were the final two lounges in a row about 10 feet away from the actual pool. Right next to us were two guys in their early 20s.

My brother and I sat out and tanned for about 20 minutes before going into the pool. We went through this routine once or twice more. However, on the second-to-last tanning session, I heard one of the guys next to me on his cellphone talking to some buddies about coming down to the pool and hanging out and drinking some beer. Yeah, whatever. No big deal.

In our final time in the pool as we were passing around a Nerf football we purchased the night before, I looked over and saw that the two guys now had two more guys with them. They were all standing up talking and drinking basically because they had no place to sit. We watched them as we continued passing the ball to ensure that they didn't try to take our seats. Several minutes later, my brother and I got out of the pool and headed over to our lounges. We were cooked and ready to head in.

We sat on the ends of our seats and dried off. My brother grabbed his Blackjack and started to check messages and whatnot. I figured we would just get up and go leaving our lounges for the two new arrivals next to us.

However, during the next several minutes of my brother's message checking, I started listening in to what they were saying. And I quickly changed my mind about simply ceding our chairs to them.

"Oh, I'd never get it on with a fat chick... no way!"

Dear Christ no. Please don't tell me I'm sitting next to assholes (that's a quarter, I can afford it).

"Well, I did it once with one, but only because she had an awesome car."

And I am. Yay.

Several more comments such as this were passed among them. Then I heard one of them say, "I hope these guys next to us leave soon. I want their chairs."

The mental gears began to grind.

My brother hung up his phone and looked over to me to see if I was ready to go. I said not quite. He asked why and I relayed what I heard to him. He hung his head in disgust and asked what my plan was. I told him my plan was simply to leave when I was good and ready.

"Good and ready" arrived in the form of two 50-something women who were sharing our earlier frustration searching for lounges. I looked over to them and asked if they were, indeed, looking for a place to sit. They confirmed that they were and I offered them our seats. They were more than happy to accept. I remained seated until they were close enough that it was clear to everyone around us that they would be sitting in our lounges and no one could try to cut them off in a mad dash to sit down.

We walked away to profuse thanks from the two women and we also stopped about 20 feet away to make sure that the jagoffs didn't try to bargain them out of the seats. They didn't, so we continued on.

I got knucks and a "nicely played" from my brother.

I felt good about myself the rest of the day.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): As Katie and I were unloading our suitcases last night and separating the clothes into washing-machine-ready piles, I overheard her as she discovered the side pocket containing dirty underwear and socks... "It smells like crotch!"

I couldn't stop laughing for five minutes.


Welcome back...

What the holy heck happened here while I was gone?

My stats are through the roof, subscribers to the site are way up, and all my guest bloggers get a ton more comments than I get? On my own site??? Is this a sign that it's time for me to give it up and just let you all take over? Wow.

But I suppose this is what I get for letting the peanut gallery run rampant here on kapgar... they all bring their own nuts along with them. Hmmm.

I must take a second to thank all my guest bloggers. While I have not yet had a chance to read all the guest posts, what I have read has rocked! You are all awesome and very near and dear to my hearts. If I had a cool Friendship Circle rating system like Dave does (I'd link if I could find it on his site), you'd all be Circle 1. But I am curious how Dave's post yesterday wound up attributed to Snackie. Did I miss something?

So how was Vegas? Quite nice! Thanks for asking. We really did have a blast to be perfectly honest with you. Much moreso than I ever thought possible or ever wanted to have considering I was not looking forward to going. The ironic thing about it all is now that we've gone, I don't think we're welcome back. Katie and I violated two cardinal rules of vacationing in the city of Lost Wages.

  1. We came back with more cash than we left with.
  2. Despite being in the city of sin and buffets, we lost weight. This has never happened to us on a vacation ever before in our lives. We're shocked.

How much money and how much lost weight? For money, not a lot, but enough to make us smile. And I dunno the number of pounds exactly but I forgot to put a belt on my shorts one day and they were literally dragging down to my hips and Katie was hiking up her bridesmaid dress the entire night of the wedding. As much of an inconvenience as that may be, they are more than welcome and we hope they decide to extend their stay with other outfits we own.

Vegas itself was quite nice. But a week there is far too long. We were dying to come home by Friday of last week. However, I have compiled a list of things I learned about vacationing in Las Vegas in an extended post should you be so interested.

Continue reading "Welcome back..." »


How can a view become so twisted...

Hello there Kapgar fans! I'm Dave from Blogography, and I'll be your guest-blogger for the day.

Usually I respectfully decline invitations to write for other blogs, because it's hard enough finding time to come up with something for my own blog. But I'm a huge Kapgar fan, and simply could not refuse when my good friend Kevin came looking for people to fill-in while he and Katie are tearing up Vegas.

Besides... guest-blogging from time to time is an excellent opportunity to do things you've always wanted to do, but are scared to put in your own blog. Politics? Sex? Religion? Violence? It's all fair game. Because once you post it, the ramifications of what you've done are somebody else's problem.

So I've decided to draw up some controversial cartoon ideas I've always wanted to do, but was afraid to show on Blogography...

Slapping the salami.

Polishing the knob.

Choking the chicken.

Spanking the monkey.

Shocking, I know. But hey, don't blame me... it's Kevin's blog! Feel free to write him all the nasty comments and inflammatory hate-mail you want!


The Internal Battle (or: on women and sex)

First of all, hi! I'm rather pumped to be guest-blogging for the fabulous Kevin while him and Katie live it up in Vegas. I should point out that I kind of suck for not writing this until almost 3 p.m. ET on my assigned guest-blogging day, but I have a really good reason; I was on a date last night which...well, went long.

Anyway. Without revealing details of said date, I'd like to ask the girls in the blogosphere for a bit of back-up here. I'm guessing that at some point, most -- if not all -- of you, have been having some PG fun with a guy and gotten to the point where the Motion Picture Association could either include a scene and make it an R movie, or delete said scene and keep it PG or PG-13 (side note: am I taking the movie metaphor too far? I may be). And in your head, I'm guessing that the thought dialogue during such a situation would go something like this --

"Let's go! This ROCKS! Yay!"

"We can't do that; it's not time yet, and it could make everything weird."

"I want to do it! Go! Go! Go!!"

"What if he turns all weird after this happens. Will he respect us?"

"GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO already!"

"I don't think it's a good idea. We shouldn't."

"But we want to!"

And so on.

I refer to this scenario as The Internal Battle and honestly can't remember a time where I've chosen to...make a movie R-rated...where I haven't gone through said battle. So my question to you is, how do you balance a healthy libido with the self-doubt which accompanies choosing to embrace said libido? Or is that even possible?

And Kevin, are you impressed that more than one person who's guest-blogged has made this vaguely sexual?


Hi May

First of all I want to thank Kevin for including me in this week's Vegas guest posting spectacular. My name, in case you're living under a rock, is Karl. Maybe you're asking how I warranted a slot amongst Hilly, Dustin, Sandra, Dave, and Sizzle. One word: hypnosis. It works. Even now, I'm willing to bet that Kevin is walking around Caesar's Palace clucking like a chicken. Katie may or may not find this to be a turn-on, I don't know.

I'd like to explore a topic today that hasn't been researched or documented nearly enough: High Maintenance. There are many people out there who are high maintenance, or HiMa (pronounced hi-may). HiMa people come in all shapes and sizes and they aren't always easy to spot. Some of them are quite stealthy, in fact.

Now, some might say that women who wear tops are HiMa. That simply isn't true. I know many women that wear tops and hide their breasts from the world. That doesn't make them HiMa, it makes them prudes.

No, HiMa refers to people that require more than the normal amount of attention. They feel the need to be treated "special," to make numerous demands of the people around them. There's a sense of entitlement there, that if us regular folk are to enjoy the privilege of hanging around them, we should be prepared to put in supernatural amounts of effort. It isn't narcissism per se, it's much more than that.

Can I give some examples? Sure. The first one that comes to mind is from the movie "When Harry Met Sally." Meg Ryan's character, Sally? HiMa. Harry flat out tells Sally that she's HiMa.

Harry Burns: There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.
Sally Albright: Which one am I?
Harry Burns: You're the worst kind. You're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance.

Indeed, I think that many HiMa people think they're LoMa. No one wants to believe they're a pain in the ass, so they delude themselves by saying that their frequent outrageous wants and needs are nothing out of the ordinary. But they are. Look at a scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where Sally is ordering a piece of pie.

Sally Albright: But I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if it's real; if it's out of the can then nothing.
Waitress: Not even the pie?
Sally Albright: No, I want the pie, but then not heated.

That's freaking HiMa, people. No denying it. And I know people like this, the people waiters and waitresses hate. Always asking elaborate questions, making substitutions, getting stuff on the side. That's right, if you're HiMa, waiters and waitresses probably hate you. Especially if you leave a shitty 15% tip.

Here's a tip for telling if you're HiMa or LoMa. If you can order something straight off the menu without saying another word, you're LoMa. If you need to ask questions, such as what town the cow came from that turned into the roast beef platter, you're HiMa. If you ask for egg whites cooked without butter, you're HiMa.

People that say, "I need to get the car washed." LoMa. People that say, "Gotta get the Beemer detailed." HiMa. If you refer to your car by its make or model, you're HiMa.

There are other easy ways to spot a HiMa person. For instance, anyone who gets Botox injections or shoots fat into their lips is HiMa. (Consider Meg Ryan, who I had a crush on before she went and blew up her lips.) These are the women who are totally tied up in their looks, to the point where they're willing to butcher themselves and look like clowns. These are the women who take two painstaking hours before they can leave the house. HiMa.

Scenario. I say to my girlfriend (pretend I have one) that we should go down to the pub for some drinks. How long does she take to get ready? If she just throws on a t-shirt and jeans (because yeah, she walks around naked, she's no prude) and says, "Let's go" - that's LoMa, baby. If she says, "OK, give me a minute" and then she goes into the bathroom to wax and tweeze and pluck and curl and flatiron and apply makeup with a trowel and comes out 90 minutes later, says to me "Is that what you're going to wear?", that's HiMa all the way.

Scenario. My girlfriend (stop snickering) and I go to an amusement park. I point out the river rapids ride. Does she grab my hand and run for it, screaming, "Yee ha!" ? LoMa. Does she say, "I don't want to get my hair wet"? HiMa.

Then there are the people that aren't physically so demanding as much as they are emotionally demanding. Those are Emotionally High Maintenance, or eHiMa (ee-Hi-May). An example of this is if someone e-mails you 13 times a day, sends you 30 text messages, calls you a dozen times on your cell, and still wants to see you tonight. Ugh. Please, you are sucking the life out of me.

Or let's say I go to a bar with a couple of guy friends and I tell you about it later. Then you start whining about why I didn't include you, when we already had a morning sex marathon and then went to brunch and the mall in the afternoon. eHiMa.

You demand twice daily phone calls? Expect to know my entire day's agenda, tell you my every destination, check in if I decide to go to Quiznos for lunch instead of Subway? eHiMa.

Now, if you're HiMa in avery aspect - emotionally, physically, sexually - that makes you Prime High Maintenence, PriHiMa (pry-hi-may). I'm pretty sure Lindsay Lohan is PriHiMa.

Me, I'm SuLoMa (Super Low Maintenance). I must drink Guinness in a frosty pint glass, eat virgin beef off of fine china, and can only orgasm if you shove ostrich feathers up my ass and pour Listerine on my penis while singing Erasure songs.

But I don't text you 7 times an hour about it.


Pirates in Prime Time

Welcome to Day 3 of Kapgar's Guest Post Extravaganza. I'm Dustin. Right up front let me tell you I wasn't too keen on Kevin's converge schedule since it meant being preceded by heavy hitters like Hilly and Sizzle, only to be followed by the clean-up crew of Karl, Sandra, and Dave. But then I remembered one very important fact: I AM THE ONLY GUEST BLOGGER EVER TO BE INVITED BACK TO KAPGAR. It's like playing kickball in first grade when you've been held back 4 times...no contest. Which is just how I like it. So after realizing that fact I felt much better about being the middle guy (and having to repeat the 1st grade...alot).

I was surfing the nether regions of my fiancee's cable subscription (i.e. every thing above channel 66, because after Bravo what else is there?) the other day when I happened upon a truly amazing show called Ninja Warror. The only way I can describe this masterpiece of television broadcasting to you is to say that it's like a cross between American Gladiators and MXC with none of the stupidity and all of the sub-titles. Pretty much, people compete through tests of agility, strength, and speed to see who will win the title of "Ninja Warrior."

I immediately thought of Kevin since his love of all things ninja is well documented. But then I realized that if I was to share my find with him, he would only point out the lack of a pirate equivalent and claim this as some "Divine" proof that ninjas are actually better than pirates (which is a well debunked fallacy that only the sorriest of ninja fanboys cling to). So rather than let this injustice continue, I have decided to produce my own TV show aptly titled "Pirate Warrior."

Where as on Ninja Warrior the contestants are expected to do feats similar to what an everyday silent assassin would do, so to will Pirate Warrior expect it's contestants to be able to compete in events based upon what an everyday swashbuckler would do.

Example:

*Round One will challenge the contestants of Pirate Warrior to board a burning vessel via swinging rope, dispatch any remaining survivors with a rusty cutlass, and pillage a set amount of booty all before the ship sinks into shark, eel, and manatee infested waters.

*Round Two will comprise of contestants drinking half a bottle of bootlegger rum (151 mixed with battery acid) and then being made to cross a crocodile filled swamp with only the empty rum bottle for protection, finally having to dig up a chest full of gold bars while singing "A Pirates Life For Me" ...while remaining perfectly in tune.

*Round Three will be the grand finale with the remaining contestants being forced to steer a Spanish Galleon through a reef littered with ship wrecks while blindfolded, then crash said Galleon into a hilltop monastery (yes, hilltop) where each contestant must then battle gun totting monks with only the help of an epileptic monkey. After subduing the monks, the contestants must steal the head monk's Bible, repair the Galleon and sail it back down the hill and through the reef. Before they reach the finish line they must also have translated the entire book of Deuteronomy into Pirate speak using the word "savy" only twice. Fastest time wins.

What's really great about Pirate Warrior though, is it's equal opportunity nature. Where as Ninja Warrior only caters to those who are in top-notch physical condition and retain all four limbs, Pirate Warrior will actually award *bonus* points to those contestants with peg legs, hooks for hands, and rusty musket-shot eye balls. So really what's not to like? I admit, it might be a hard sell to some of the networks initially, what with all the swearing, wanton disregard for property rights, and the inevitable paternity suits...but I have a feeling it'll catch on.

Now if only I can get Christopher Walken to host...