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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's easy for children to get the impression that adults have it all figured out, and it's easy for them to see that there's a lot they don't know (after all, they learn, they're just kids). Conversely, teenagers often feel like they know everything, and nobody else knows what they’re talking about. Most young adults go through a period when they realize they know nothing. But by the time adulthood arrives, their lives become less surprising, and they become more confident in their routines and appear to "have it all figured out." Most adults, of course, really don’t have much figured out at all, and it’s only in comparison with other people who don’t know much and children that they seem to have a firm grip on things. I imagine that there’s another stage still (possibly "lucid old age" I guess) in which people actually know more than the average adult and also realize how little they know. As wise as these people seem to clueless adults, young adults, the occasional adolescent, and children, the truth is that they're still pretty lost overall.1

Sometimes realizing that nobody really knows anything is pretty disappointing. I suppose that's part of the fascination with watching an expert or professional at work. (It is for me at least.) It's a chance to see someone display the best of what the world has in ______. Those experts and professionals, of course, sacrifice knowing everything else in the world to become as great as they are in their field. It's still a joy to watch them though; it’s nice to imagine that there are some people out there who have answers, even if it's only for a moment.

1Although they're usually wise enough to know that not "having it all figured out" doesn't really matter as long as they've got the basics covered.

Monday, May 29, 2006

From an interview with Houston rapper Z-Ro on You've got this record "The Mule" with Devin [the Dude] and Juvy [Juvenile]. What does "The Mule" really mean?

Z-Ro: For all of those who don't know about "The Mule" it means f**king the hell out of somebody's daughter or girlfriend.
What I want to know is how you would actually use the phrase "the mule" in a sentence with that meaning.


Devin the Dude: Yo, I'ma give that hoe "the mule." Y'know what I'm sayin'?
Z-Ro: Yes, you should certainly "mule" her out.


Sandy's Boyfriend: Sandy! What the hell? I come home from work to find you getting "muled" by Devin the Dude and Z-Ro!
Z-Ro: Whatitdo.

Devin the Dude: [to Z-Ro] Man, I feel like "muling." Call up Sandy.
Z-Ro: We can't, remember? Her boyfriend beat her to death with a horsewhip.
Devin the Dude: Oh yeah.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Random childhood memory:

I am somewhere between the ages of 10 and 13. Mom is driving me and my sister home in the Astro van. Houston traffic is hot and slow and terrible. Mom's new-age music is playing softly. The air-conditioning doesn't work, and the windows are down. We're puttering along at about 15 miles an hour. A giant sparkly green lowrider creeps up on my side, blaring graphic bass-filled gangsta rap. I study the car, fascinated. Mom hates it when cars blare their music so loudly. I hope she'll ignore them.

She doesn't. Looking over, she notices the car. One of the guys in the car notices her.

"How nice of them to share their music with us!" mom says. She cranks up the new-age music as loud as the Astro van's speakers will take it.

"Whoo!" she yells.

"God, mom! Stop it!" I plead.

At this point, everyone in the passing lowrider is staring at my mom, who is dancing wildly to synthesizers and bird sounds. The guys chuckle, and they pass us. I want to die.1

1In retrospect, I suppose this was entirely possible, since my mom was a hardcore Blood, and these guys appeared to be Crips.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Headline: Robertson's claim of 1-ton leg press doubted

From The Austin American-Statesman:
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says he has leg-pressed 2,000 pounds, but some say he'd be in a pretty tough spot if he tried.

Clay Travis of CBS called the 2,000-pound assertion impossible in a column this week, writing that the leg-press record for football players at Florida State University is 665 pounds less.

"Where in the world did Robertson even find a machine that could hold 2,000 pounds at one time?" Travis asked.

CBN [Christain Broadcasting Network] spokeswoman Angell Vasko said Friday that Robertson was not available for comment because he was "out of pocket" for the long holiday weekend.

Vasko said she has not seen Robertson leg-press 2,000 pounds but that it's not "a huge shocker" that he could.

"Pat is so healthy," she said. "This is something he trained for over an extended period of time. He lives a very healthy, regimented life."
Robinson attributes the amazing feat in part to a health shake. The recipe for the shake can be found here.
From the New York Times:
[I]n an unusual admission of a personal mistake, Mr. Bush said he regretted challenging insurgents in Iraq to "bring it on" in 2003, and said the same about his statement that he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive."

"Kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people," Mr. Bush said. "I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner."
Mr. Bush went on to say that he would, like, you know, try to, like, talk a lot smarter in the future.
I was just refilling my ice trays when I had a thought: "Why don't I have a machine or a loincloth-clad manservant doing this for me?"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Let the summer of Sound Team begin.
Sound Team - Movie Monster

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

There was recently some confusion over a letter that was e-mailed around the office I work at. The correspondence is below. Only the names have been changed.
Thought I'd forward this on to everyone.

Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to share a tidbit I just learned about from the APD [Austin Police Department] officers I work with. Friday & Saturday "The Bloods" (the gang) is having an statewide initiation. So, if you see someone driving without headlights DO NOT flash your lights at them, this is how they do their drive-by shootings.

Be Safe,

A co-worker quickly replied:
Read this Snopes article about the phenomenon here:

Obviously feeling slighted, Jane wrote back:
I am already aware of snopes. This is an email from a friend of mine (yes I know the person) who actually works with the APD. Take it as serious as you want. Better safe than sorry, I always say.
Another co-worker got involved and put the beast to rest:
Hey guys. I have a personal crusade against urban legends. I emailed the APD and got this reply:
We have no reports of this type of incident in the City of Austin.

Thank you,

Jenny Jones
Austin Police Department
Public Information Office
Relieved, I suddenly wondered if it would be prudent to ask my co-workers about the wealthy Nigerian businessman who needs help transferring $37 million dollars to a business in America. He says all he needs is a trustworthy associate (could it be me?) to hold on to the money until he gets here. In return I get 10%! Could this be too good to be true?

Also, I hear they're going to tax e-mails, and Bill Gates is giving his fortune away to people who forward e-mails for him.
Checked out Roadrunner Review today. Dusted off some cowbwebs, did a little spring cleaning. Added a host of new links and recommendations to the Links and Recommendations section of the site. Including:
- Calvin Trillin!

- Masturbation!

- Socialized talent!

- The online work of Cibbuano "Cibby" Pulikkaseril!

- Much more!
Ask yourself this question, and deny the inclination to give a smartass reply: "Why don't I just visit Roadrunner Review right now, and click on the helpful Google ads, thereby ensuring more quality material for the future?"

Monday, May 22, 2006

Happy birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you wacky Spiritualist!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

This I command:

Read Andy Garwig's fantastic short story on his blog, here.
My god, does everyone know about this but me?

Around this time two years ago, Harper's magazine posted an e-mail conversation between writer/director (of The 40-Year-Old Virgin)/producer (of Anchorman)/hilarious guy Judd Apatow and Mark Brazil, the creator of That 70s Show. The conversation can be found here. Some selected lines:
Mark: "Get cancer."

Mark: "[D]ie in a fiery accident and taste your own blood."

Judd: "I hope your anger is a joke, because if it isn't . . . wow."

Mark: "We'll never be 'friends,' regardless of the pussy whining from your last email."

Judd: "After you said 'get cancer' did you really think I was looking to heal our relationship? Usually the cancer insult is a closer. I'm sure everyone who has suffered with that appreciates your sharp wit."
Emily Shirey (of 325M fame) wrote an intriguing short story called "Forget Me Knots." I liked it so much I posted it on Roadrunner Review. Check it out!

P.S. I hope to post more essays and reviews on Roadrunner Review in the near future.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"When I think about all the hours and hours of my life I've spent in front of the television, I get upset with myself for wasting all that time," DB said. "I mean, I could have been doing so many other things. But then I think to myself, 'Man, I must be really good at TV.'"
I recently had the idea to write a romantic-comedy film script called Girlfriend in a Coma. The movie, based on the Smiths song of the same name, would begin with several scenes depicting a young attractive couple in a passionate relationship.

"There are times when I could murder her!" the young man, played by Ryan Reynolds, would say. The couple are in love, but are also so headstrong that they sometimes want to murder each other. But the scenes would also show how their passions translate into other areas as well. Areas like the bedroom.

Soon, the young woman, played by Amy Smart, falls into a coma somehow. Perhaps she's hit by a trolley.

The film would build to a climax as Ryan Reynolds's character paces in frustration while a voice-over wonders if she'll pull through, and remembers that there were times when he could have strangled her. Finally, he decides to leave the city to escape the misery of his girlfriend being in a coma. He stops by the hospital to say goodbye to her, despite her being unable to hear him, as she is in a coma. In a tearful monologue, he says his goodbyes, but she suddenly wakes up. As she does, the title song fades in, and the couple begins kissing passionately on the hospital bed.

The final scene would be of Reynolds and Smart checking out of the hospital together. The audience would be led to think that things are going to work out after all, but then Amy Smart's character would say something particularly sassy, and Ryan Reynolds gives the camera a look as if to say "Here we go again!" which would leave the movie open to sequel opportunities.

Unfortunately, if I were to write such a film script, I would almost certainly have to share the royalties with Douglas Copeland, who actually did write this story, with the same name, in a novel.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

From the New York Times:
In 1999, there were only eight newborn American girls named Nevaeh. Last year, it was the 70th-most-popular name for baby girls, ahead of Sara, Vanessa and Amanda. . . .

Nevaeh is not in the Bible or any religious text. It is not from a foreign language. It is not the name of a celebrity, real or fictional. Nevaeh is Heaven spelled backward. . . .

The surge of Nevaeh can be traced to a single event: the appearance of a Christian rock star, Sonny Sandoval of [the terrible band] P.O.D., on MTV in 2000 with his baby daughter, Nevaeh.

Want to know how your names ranks in popularity? Check out the Social Security Administration's list of popular baby names. Sadly, Christopher, once number two, has fallen to number nine. "Sadam," "Adolf," and "Idi Amin" were not in the top 1000 names for any year.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A few years ago, I worked at my dad's piano company as a piano mover. On one job in a nice part of town, I met the rest of the moving crew (actually just two guys including the piano tuner) at the job site, rather than driving with them in the truck. Together we took apart a baby grand, turned it up on its side, and rolled it out into the truck on a dolly.

The owner of the piano, a well-off middle-aged woman, was to lead me to her new house, where we would drop off the piano. The movers would be going much slower, and already had the address. I got in my car, and the movers got in the truck.

Just a few moments after I began following the woman, I couldn't help but notice how difficult she was making it to be followed. At the first light, she took off like she was in a race. She swerved in and out of traffic, and took corners at high-speed.

"What the fuck," I wondered, "is wrong with this woman?"

Not having a cell phone or any other way of communicating with the moving crew, I knew that the only way I would reach the moving site would be to doggedly follow the reckless woman in front of me.

She ran a light. I ran it too. She cut across four lanes of traffic and diverted from her normal route. I did too, nearly causing a wreck. When we finally showed up at her town home complex, she entered the gate number, and then stopped just on the other side of the gate so I couldn't enter. As the gates closed, she drove off. When I inched up to the gate, just before it closed, the gate reopened. I drove slowly into the complex, found where she had just parked, and pulled up close by. I wasn't going to say anything about her driving, but I expected that she would. She cautiously got out of the car, her arms raised, cell phone in hand. She looked terrified.

"Get away from me!" she screamed. "I'm going to call the police! I'm calling the police!"

"Ma'am, I'm the piano mover," I said calmly. "I followed in a different car."

She considered this. "Let's just wait till they get here and we'll see." She got back in her car. I shook my head and sat on the hood of mine.

The movers showed up a few minutes later, and she got out of her car.

"Is he with you?" she asked.


"That's fine. It's not very professional to just follow someone without telling them that they're being followed. He might've been a killer for all I know."

We apologized, then brought her piano into her well-decorated town home.

"You're not going to roll the wheels of that thing on my wood floor, are you?" she wanted to know.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Some of HA's friends were leaving the bar. Thinking that we were leaving too, I stood up.

"We're not leaving yet," HA said. "ES hasn't finished her drink."

"Oh--" I hadn't even noticed. "I was just standing up because I'm a gentleman and ladies are leaving."

"Ha ha," ES laughed politely.

"OK, so should I bow now?" I asked one of HA's friends. It wasn't until a split second after I said it that I noticed the girl was Japanese.

She cringed a little. "Uh, no."

"Wait, I just meant--" I started. But they were already walking away. "Because I'm a gentleman . . . " I flopped down in the seat. "Maybe I should make her an origami crane as an apology."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Goodbye, 325M. Thanks for the edits.