Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nonsense Review - Construction

(For added fun I'm typing this on the subway on my way to being late for class. How exciting!)

Construction is everywhere. If you need to be somewhere, it is a universal construct that construction will be there first, waiting for you and waving it's orange flag of "nope not this way". I visted Florida and my grandfather joked about how there were two seasons: winter and construction. It's pretty much the same elsewhere, only without the added misery of being in Florida.

The state of alligators, old people, and humid weather. Come and visit!

Nobody minds necessary construction. You drive down the road and see a fresh building being erected and look over for a sign of what it is. A new restaurant, is it? Well maybe me and the boys can make this our regular hole after it's finished! Or so you tell yourself before never visiting it (along with everybody else who forewent it in favor of McDonald's)

I'm sick of all this fast food. Why doesn't anybody open any real restaurants around here?

That's the difference between the types of construction. There is constructive construction and then there is the government is wasting your tax dollars construction. Nobody minds the former, but it the latter that is constantly getting in the way.

You see the second type everywhere. They'll renovate the same road a few times a year, arbitrarily recement a sidewalk or raise a curb, send a small orphan child to spit polish all the traffic lights, etcetera. That's the people in charge picking high profile, low cost, cosmetic touch ups to make it look like work is being done. Its what you always hear old conspiracy theorists complaining about at city council meetings.

The city I grew up in is notorious for this. There was a dangerous alley where a girl was fatally assaulted. Awful. But the local council stepped in and built a fancy gate to the entrance of the alley and declared it a wash. After all, nobody gets hurt in parks.

Except for all those jerks that do.

There's also a sidewalk that I walk on every single day that has had a "sidewalk closed" sign on it for the past month, with no signs of construction workers touching it, or having any intention to touch it. There are no sinkholes or sandworms, and the ground isn't lava (THE FLOOR IS LAVA) so for some reason the ground is temporarily out of order.

Seems safe enough.

It's easy to see what they're doing though. They're responsible for keeping the local economy running. They're employing more people by setting up quick, routine jobs for local contractors, and trying to construct a safer area is better for jobs than just paying normal wage to the police and having them add an extra scene to their route. And the way government operates is on a lowest bidder priority, so it's hard to get set up for any larger cost jobs.

So construction isn't all that bad. It keeps people employed and you can always use it as an excuse to be late to places.

Rating: 2.5/5

Oh hey, my train's at the stop. Good timing, me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nonsense Review - Ice Cream Truckin'

The hot summer days. The heat blazing down upon you, sweat dripping from your brow. You lie on your side, staring at the shapes the hot air swirls into the tapestry around you. You smack your lips together in their dry, chapped, unfortunate state. You need a nice refreshing Cherry Coke, or a trip to the pool. Because nothing beats the heat better than a trip to the pool.

But wait! Just as your mind is filled with bikini clad public pool honeys and whether or not it's worth risking the shattered beer bottle covered floor of the common swimming hole just to cool down and hit on some fellow dropouts, a familiar tune interrupts your thoughts. The jingle of the Ice Cream Man floats through the air, and the scalding heat is momentarily forgotten, as you leap and bound out of the house to throw your money at a white truck full of the most delicious cure for the summer.

Provided it isn't loaded with rocket launchers and demon clowns.

That is, if it isn't already faded off into the distance by the time you get outside. Many a kid knew the scorn of living on a street that simply "wasn't part of the route" and just happened to be a detour the ice cream truck would speed through sometimes to get to the high revenue areas. Or even worse, having an ice cream truck come down a sidestreet or back alley nearby, but not onto your own street, leaving you standing in the middle of the road clutching a wad of cash, screaming blood curdling cries into the air for your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shaped ice cream, until a concerned parent calls the police to taser you back into your domicile.

Worth it.

The ice cream treats are always better from the truck (if you manage to catch it) than from the store. Try it. With your adult money, go to a store, open the cooler, and purchase a popsicle. I'll wait here.

Not so great, huh?

What the store bought popsicle is missing is the satisfaction of catching the truck, or simply just the experience of buying it from the truck itself. Maybe it's the music. It's got to be responsible at least for getting you to pay three times the amount you would per bar than it would cost for a whole box at your local grocer's. But the heightened price has to be responsible for why it tastes better then. You pay more so you trick yourself into thinking it's better ice cream, subconsciously.

Or maybe it's just all the time the driver spends lovingly rubbing LSD into the ice cream before doling it out to unsuspecting innocents.

Guys, I'm having a bad trip...

Most importantly, though, ice cream trucks are a hearkening back to childhood, and a delight to children everywhere. It's your parents giving you a dollar and sending you running toward a stranger, only for you to come running back crying to tell your parents "Spider-man costs more than a dollar!" and then them telling you to get the rocket pop, but come on, mom and dad, rocket pops are for jerks, even Mikey got a Spongebob. Even if you don't partake in the trucks in your adulthood, the jingle makes you heartsick for the good old days.

Unless you live in my neighborhood, where for some reason the ice cream truck comes by at about 10:30 at night.

Rating: 4/5, for nostalgia's sake. I eat the Great White bars.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nonsense Review - Sickness: As a form of Beauty Treatment

Under the weather. We've all been there. The things it does to you. The runny nose. The pale complexion. The shakes. The long nights vomiting. That oh so attractive glow.

Lookin' good.

What am I talking about? Take a look at yourself after you get sick. All that lost weight. Skin sticking tight, exemplifying your cheekbones. And the paleness of the skin, with small flushes of red tinge? Flawless. I mean, they sell skin whitening cream in Asia, so that's gotta mean you look great.

And you do. If you're a bit hefty, you've lost some weight. If you were thin to begin with, well, models are skeletal, and your ribs look like a washboard so you're downright gorgeous now. The constant upheaval of your stomach contents burns away the protective enamel on your teeth, and the tender, white insides are revealed to the world (although it's recommended that you chew gum constantly to counteract the smell - and who doesn't love people with fresh breath?). Your eyes are glazed over and look larger and more inviting, along with that natural redness that surrounds them in place of any unnecessary eyeliner. And you can truly shake it in the dance floor, what with how cold your fever is surely making you feel.

Short in short, there is nothing about being sick that doesn't make you desirable to everyone and everything that passes by.

But how effective is it, really? Being temporarily sick is just that: temporary. The weight loss is great, but it all comes back when you're healthy again. Your skin returns to its natural color, and the shakiness stops lending that extra 'oomph' to your moves when you're on the dance floor. Suddenly, being the picture of perfect health has become detrimental to your image. I find myself licking toilet seats, high fiving homeless people on the streets, taking up jobs as an elementary school janitor, just to get my sick fix.

I mean you. You'd do that. Certainly not me. I don't have a problem.

Not when I look this good.

It hurts to look this good

Sickness gets a 3/5: You look fabulous, but side effects may include anal leakage, temporary blindness, and death.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Bold New Frontier

It's been a long haul, blog, and you've been there with me for all of it. Most of it. Some of it....

Alright, so I update this blog just shy of once a year, but hey blog, we're aware of each others' existence, and that drunken night of awkward fumbling we go through every 11 months or so as I try to remember just what all your buttons and drop boxes do is great and memorable whenever it happens, and I'm glad that it happens with you.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm graduating soon. In like, three weeks. Provided I pass all my classes at least which... I mean passing is a D, so I GOT this, right? Totally.

But I'm going into the world with business cards that look like this.

Fantastic, I know. They show so much confidence. Or at the very least, they show the business aptitude of a 10 year old who just graduated from the Mountain Dew Academy of Awesome (arguably the most respectable of the colleges in the Stupendous League conference of schools).

But as I walk into the valley of the shadow of the death of my childhood, I do so with no fear. I'd say I'm not looking back, but I'm of course Moonwalking at full speed toward the future, or at least performing my best interpretation of the Moonwalk.

The only thing I want to do with my life is to be happy. And I always get weird looks from adults when I tell them this. And by adults I mean people older than me, that feel like I should know better than this because they feel they know better than this. And I'm not here to knock someone's approach at life. I want different things than them that's how it goes.

Life is what you make of it, and there are things that I love that aren't important to some people, and things that I don't need that are the world to other people. I don't need...things. That's not true, I do need things. But I need less things. I began a process of purging things I owned about a year ago, and it's slow going, but it's happening. Scanning old notes and pictures I drew to a digital file and storing it in multiple places before destroying the originals, giving away old toys and books, thinning my clothing, all that jazz. This goes along with how much I love traveling. With that mindset, it's weird to have things that tie you to a place. if I could fit all my life into two or three suitcases that'd be ideal, but I'm still at that awkward mix between owning things and getting rid of all of it. Every time I go through I find more things I needed to have that I just don't need anymore and it's exciting.

Maybe it's just me growing up and not wanting to hold onto things anymore. Maybe it's me changing my perspective on things? Maybe it's just nothing important and I'm simply bored.

As a result of these things though, I need less money to buy the less things I don't need. So I feel like whatever I do I'm going to be just as successful as everyone else is, because I'm measuring my success differently. My happiness is my important goal. Traveling is my goal. Making other people happy is what I live for. If I have the means to do these things, then that means I'm successful. Everyone wants fast cars, huge houses, expense accounts, other things that I don't understand the meanings of (although briefcases are cool, I'll hand that to the business world). They need more money to afford more things that make them happy.

I'm happy with a computer and a passport. And a pad of paper so I can write things and doodle when I'm running around. And the ability to buy lunch for my friends and rent a movie when they've had a bad day.

Are there things I'd like on top of that? I'd like to be in a movie. I'd like to build something elaborate with my bare hands. I want to do the Shikoku Henro. I want to climb something, get into shape, cook a delicious meal on the fifth anniversary with someone I love, own a hedgehog, go parasailing, swim in the deep ocean, shake hands with a blue whale, high five the president, write a book, dance in the rain.

There's nothing stopping me from doing these things though. Nothing but myself, and you can find time for these types of things no matter where you are in life. It's why I'm not worried.

They're going to happen.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chasing Squirrels

So I was chasing squirrels on the way home from work.

I walk home, and there are squirrels and rabbits and cats everywhere on the way. I live in a cul de sac near a temple, a church, and a school with a playground, so they've got a bit of an area to run around in, which gives me a bit of an area to chase them in. I know I'm an adult. I don't care. Chasing squirrels in the park is fun, even if it's just for a few steps, then you just stop and laugh at yourself.

I don't know why I chase the squirrels or why it's fun. I mean yeah, it's ridiculous. And early man was a hunter. But I'm not a hunter. What if I actually caught a squirrel? I mean, I'm always grabbing at them. What if one of them stops short, lags a step behind, falters where I don't? I lean out to mock grab it as I always do, and I nab it by the tail.

Then I've got a squirrel.

I don't know what to do with it. My landlord won't let us keep pets, and it's hard to keep a squirrel as a pet in the first place, they tend not to do well. I'm not really into eating squirrel in any way. The meat is too gamey, and I have difficulty imagining myself killing and preparing the thing on top of that. Do I just let it go? Is this a sort of land fishing? Hook and release, but with furry, legged, bitier fish?

I think the fact that I'm not good at catching squirrels is probably the most important factor in my chasing them.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I fear robots.

This is not an uncommon fear, but I don't fear them for the same reason as other people (being unstoppable bloodthirsty killing machines).

On its way to a loved one near you.

The reason that I'm afraid of robots is because of their inevitable upheaval of society, thanks to the wonders that their existence can bring about. In all honesty, the only reason that this hasn't happened is that anyone in the power to do so knows the chaos that would ensue as a result of introducing robots into every element that they are capable of overtaking.

We have robots in manufacturing divisions building our products, we have self check out booths at grocers and some chain department stores instead of cashiers, we have roombas to clean our houses so we don't need to do it or need to hire a maid, and phones capable of controlling everything from the temperature and lighting in the house to a replacement for your remote. Technology is making leaps and bounds in all directions and it's really only a matter of time before, say, it is capable of replacing everyone in the public sector.

There are plenty of things that we've developed that simply aren't in practice because it would put so many people out of jobs. Vertical farming , for example, would eradicate the need for the huge farms in the country, and with them the farmers. RFID tags could be implemented into all products (as is wanted for consumer reports and predicted by some people) which would eliminate the need for cashiers altogether as the store could just charge you altogether for everything on your person when you leave the store as it scans you at the security gate on the way out. And using those tags, robots could theoretically stock the shelves in addition to that, or taking it one step further could even retrieve items for a customer and bring it to the front order desk instead of you even needing to retrieve items yourself. Because obviously you'd be exhausted from driving there yourself in your Fully Autonomous Vehicle. For you kids keeping track at home, that is a self-driving car.

Hasselhoff's greatest dream is a reality.

These all sound like great advancements in technology, until you realize that each of these investments is a step toward the robotic communist agenda. It's only a matter of time until scientists and businessmen alike say "screw it" and toss robots into every aspect of the public sector.

You may be thinking "sure, when this happens I'll just get a job repairing the robots like in that new Willy Wonka movie!" That is until you realize that there is no reason we couldn't just make more robots that repair other robots. That is until you then realize that scientists are working on robots that can repair themselves. So there goes that option.

"Well," you say to yourself, "that sucks but I never wanted to work those jobs anyways. I'm more of an idea guy." But therein lies the deeper problem. Now that all of the physical labor jobs are gone, everyone is an idea guy. Because there are no other jobs. But that's not the only problem. Now that robots are doing everything from growing our crops to selling us our questionable dvds, what do we even need money for? It's not like there can be a shortage of products now that everything is autonomous, right? So everything will be free thanks to the glorious robot revolution!

Not quite. We'll still need money if for other, larger purchases such as real estate, but now how do we earn money? It's quite right that public sector work is all but taken over in the physical sector, but what about desk jobs? Oh, you mean calculating, that thing that robots and computers are designed to do? No reason that they can't do that. So the only thing left now is abstract ideas, higher thinking and mathematics, and simple inventing. But these aren't things that everyone can do, or at least not that everyone can do well. So how is it fair to have the entirety of the job market based on this?

It's not. But as I've already said, there needs to still be money involved in our day to day lives. The other aspect of this is that without incentive, technology would reach this point and then stagnate. New discoveries would be made primarily by people who were willing to do it pro-bono, and as many people as there are that enjoy knowledge for the pursuit of knowledge, funding is definitely a catalyst toward advancements. There would definitely still be things coming out without anyone needing to worry about funding, but there would be less moves toward stress testing new products, customer service representation, and various other public relations. After all, if anyone could just go out and replace something whenever they felt like it, why would the mass producing industries care how long it lasted?

But maybe it's not all bad. It would be horrible at first, but there are the benefits of proper needs being available to anyone and everyone. The end of hunger and homelessness, and possibly unemployment might be worth the horribly unstable period of time until the transfer to the new system is established.

And after all, robots are supposed to be smarter than us within the next 40 years, so they can probably take over for all the higher thinking inventing and such anyways.

Robo-utopia, here we come!

If that apocalypse thing doesn't happen instead, that is.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Milk and Cookies

I absolutely cannot find any solid answer on the origin of milk and cookies. Or rather, the origin of dunking cookies in milk.

Some of the sources say that it was the result of a marketing campaign, some say it's just a tradition that cropped up, some say it was just obvious, others blame Santa Clause. At the very least the Santa Claus one is wrong.

The closest that I've been able to gather is that it most probably stems from the British custom of dunking biscuits (for those of you whom don't speak British, 'biscuit' in this context refers to a type of cookie. Yeah, I know, I don't like it either but whatcha gonna do. Crazy Brits) in their tea. From there it made it's way to America, but since we threw all of our tea into Boston Harbor, we decided to find an alternative. Water adds nothing to the cookie but sogginess, and really, we would just eat cookie dough if we wanted that (Not that we don't, but dunking it in water would add the unnecessary step of actually baking the cookie first). So the only options left at such a primitive age were alcohol and milk. Considering the only thing you should dunk in alcohol is a cherry, that left milk.

People realized it was delicious from there and started doing it. Then when mass produced cookies came along, companies like Nabisco started marketing the product in conjunction with the trend of dunking it in milk (Take the recent Oreo slogan into account 'Milk's favorite cookie') and it became a national sport from that point on.

Unfortunately this has proven to be a lot harder to track down any concrete evidence than I would have hoped. Which is too bad, because I wanted to publicly thank the person or company or whatnot that it originated from, as it led to the eventual creation of Cookie Crisp, which as of late has comprised 70% of my diet.

So cheers to you, initial cookie-in-milk dunker. May you have a special seat in the heavens.