May 31, 2002

Credit Reports and Rumor Reporting

I've never been in debt. Okay, that's not entirely true. Yes, I've been in the kind of debt where I had to make car payments, and I'm currently in the kind of debt that says I have to make house payments.

I've never been in credit card debt, however. Truth be told, I've never even owned a credit card. I don't trust them. I've been conditioned not to trust them thanks to many years of living with college roommates.

Most of my college roommates had this weird outlook on credit cards. Basically, they thought credit cards were magical pieces of plastic that just magically paid for things and that they were somehow immune from the the ensuing debt that came about due to excessive credit card spending.

I'll admit it: I was sort of jealous of my roommates and their magical credit cards. After all, they always seemed to have money and, if they didn't, they just whipped out their credit cards. Books? Put them on the credit card. Food? Put it on the credit card. Night out at a strip club? credit card.

And yet there I was writing checks and budgeting like a fool. I remember thinking that I was doing everything all wrong. I mean, there I would sit, meticulously lording over my finances, while my roommates went waltzing all over town swiping their credit cards with the careless glee of a six-year-old with a loaded pistol.

Then, one year, I was a roommate with a guy named Chad. Chad was actually a former high school classmate of mine. He was, and is, a tech-head. He's one of those guys who was born to know technology. Way back in elementary school, he taught me how to write simple programs for the Apple IIc, and he always just seemed to know everything about computers.

But he didn't know shit about personal finances. He whipped out any one of his many credit cards with the swiftness and ease of a Old West gunslinger. By the time we became roommates, he had already accrued over $10,000 in credit card debt.

I remember thinking what an incredibly large amount of money that seemed to be, especially when I factored in the understanding that he also received financial aid, and that he also worked. Granted, he worked at the local Brach's candy factory on the Gummi Bear line, which paid about as well as you might imagine, but it was still money, so I came to the conclusion that old Chad was a pretty carefree spender.

Well, one day, I popped into Chad's outrageously messy room where I noticed, tucked between two huge bags of pilfered defective Gummi Bears, a credit card notice that was slugged "Urgent!" and another that was slugged "Immediate Payment Required" and still another that read "We Break Fingers And Toes."

Then the calls started coming in, usually two or three a day. "Is Mr. Haugen available? We really need to speak with him." No, he's not here. "Are you sure you're not really Mr. Haugen?" Yes, I'm sure. "Well, when he comes in, have him call Mike at Discover immediately." *sound of shotgun cocking* Will do.

Chad was masterful when it came to avoiding creditors. He always seemed to leave the apartment just two or three minutes before a creditor called. It was like he had some sort of sixth sense. Which was all fine and dandy, except that I ended up being the intermediary between Chad and the creditors, so I got to absorb all the impatient anger and suspicion of basically every credit card company on the planet.

It was the day a creditor appeared, in person, at our doorstep that I realized Chad's debt situation was probably more dire than Chad cared to admit. There was a knock at the door, I answered, and a gentleman in a suit that looked both impressive and threatening stood before me. He asked to see a Mr. Chad Haugen, at which point I heard a little scuffling emanating from Chad's room as Chad scurried out the back entrance which, conveniently, was located at the far end of his bedroom.

We chatted together, the ominous creditor and me, for about an hour, waiting for Chad to get home, even though, of course, there was no way in holy hell Chad was going to make an appearance while that guy was in our apartment. I even had to produce my ID, so the creditor was satisfied that I wasn't, in fact, Chad Haugen.

After that, I believe, Chad ended up getting a loan from his parents, or somebody, so he could pay off his credit card debt at least enough to keep the creditors at bay. He eventually got a job working at IBM, which was a long-assed commute from Winona to Rochester, but paid a whole lot more than the Gummi Bear line.

As for me, Chad's experience with credit cards pretty much scared me away from plastic for good.

Reporting on Rumors
I'll be the first to admit that Rochester, Minn., is a boring wasteland of pre-fabricated structures and stagnant entertainment. However, it wasn't until last night's 10 p.m. news report that I realized how royally screwed up this city is. Now, keep in mind, this is a legitimate news agency, a real institution that prides itself on solid broadcast journalism. And yet, last night, KTTC News, Rochester's source for local information, reported on a rumor. That's right, they dedicated about two minutes of precious air time to reporting on a rumor circulating around town that a Timberlodge Steakhouse employee was found to be urinating on patrons' steaks. This is the height of journalistic incompetence in my view. You do not report on rumors. If you're assigned to investigate a rumor, you had better go out and find hard facts that either support or refute said rumor. Lacking solid facts, you do not report on something that is essentially a non-news myth. But there, right before my eyes, KTTC news was interviewing Timberlodge employees, asking them how the rumor has affected business, as if a rumor about rampant steak peeing would actually increase sales. Did they offer up any facts refuting or supporting the rumor? No. So now, what was once an urban legend circulating through local taverns has become household information; everybody knows about the Timberlodge Steakhouse steak peeing rumor. I have to get out of this town.

Posted by Ryan at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2002

Those Crazy Brazillians Two items

Those Crazy Brazillians
Two items in news of the odd today about those wacky Brazillians.

"Fear of Fat Keeps Women Hooked on Smoking" That's right, Brazillian women, determined to maintain the perfect body, are madly puffing themselves thin, according to a Sao Paulo Heart Hospital study. Tobacco companies must be drooling at the marketing gold being dangled in front of them.
"Are you overweight? Try smoking."
Said one 23-year-old Brazillian model Tais Thormann, "I know smoking is bad, but I don't want to stop because it makes me lose weight. When I am hungry, I go for a cigarette and a little coffee."
Ah, yes, cigarettes and coffee, the world's most preferred health diet. No one said beautiful people were also necessarily smart. Except for me of course.

"Cheating Husbands Profit From Rampant Crime" You know your country has a kidnapping problem when husbands use it as an alibi after a night of infidelity. According to the story, "Police in Brasilia said on Wednesday they busted two men for false alibis and a third is under investigation after they pinned jaunts with other women on thugs and thieves." Imagine the following scene if you will:
SCENE: Husband comes home, dramatically falling through the door in feigned exhaustion. His clothes are messed up, as is his hair.
WIFE: And just where have you been all night?
HUSBAND: Oh, it was horrible! I was kidnapped! I barely escaped with my life!
WIFE: Is that lipstick on your collar?
HUSBAND: Did I mention they were very affectionate kidnappers?
WIFE: I don't believe you! Why do you find me unattractive? Is it because I've put on weight?
HUSBAND: Yes, but maybe you could take up smoking.

Posted by Ryan at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2002

Column Conundrum Here I am

Column Conundrum
Here I am again on a Wednesday pondering the topic of this week's newspaper column. I have a host of ideas to draw from: last week's wedding, summer vacation plans, fireworks, etc. I'll labor in front of my home computer for a couple of hours tonight, and I'll detest the finished product but send it anyway, and then I'll get feedback from family and friends the next day telling me they really liked it. It's just easy to hate what I write. Plus, my friend Lisa wants me to meet her for drinks tonight, so that could keep me from writing all together. I was also supposed to see "Attack of the Clones" with my officemate and her sisters and friends, but she's sick today so that's probably off.

I'm not a real movie theater enthusiast. To hear my officemate describe the experience, you'd think all the world's ills could be cured by sitting in a darkened theater. I think the last movie I saw in the theater was "The Blair Witch Project," which may explain why I don't feel drawn to theaters. Gawd, but that was a horrid flick! I was actually sitting there, saying things out loud like, "Oh, give me a break!" and "I am now officially cheering for the witch!" Seriously, the scariest thing about the movie was that I paid $7 to see it.

I still have a job at IBM. Well, at least for the next 90 days. It seems as though there's some sort of shake-up in my department that may, or may not, result in a better arrangement for me. Whatever happens, I'm currently working under an ominous cloud of doubt that is likely affecting the quality of my work, mainly because I keep toggling between writing articles and surfing through jobs on I may have to move to the cities to find stable employment. Here in Rochester, you can work at the Mayo Clinic, IBM, or you can be sandwich artist at Subway. Your choices are pretty limited. I like my job, I like the work, and I like the pay, but the way this company operates makes me wonder sometimes if the executives are consulting a Ouija board that is channeling the spirit of a drunken Enron custodian. Well, back to work/job searching.

I think I'll write my column tonight about driving to Milwaukee for last week's wedding. There's an idea.

Posted by Ryan at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2002

Sunburned Nose and Sunburned Toes

Sunburned Nose and Sunburned Toes
I think I may have been a little too eager to soak up the sun over the weekend. Despite my diligent slathering of sunscreen, I seemed to have forgotten some key exposed areas, namely the back of my knees, my nose, and the toes that peer forth from my sandles. My back is also toasty, owing mainly to the fact that I can't reach every spot back there, and I'll be damned if I was going to ask any of my golfing partners to cover my back. If someone is going to oil up my back, I'd prefer if that person happens to be a tall blonde woman with titanic breasts and a nymphomaniac demeanor. Lacking that, I opted to sacrifice my back to skin cancer in about 20 years. Anyway, of all my burned spots, the toes are the most uncomfortable. All ten digits screamed bloody murder when the hot water splashed upon them during this morning's shower. As I dried off, I noticed that each toe resembled a miniature pulsating heart, and they were none too pleased when I toweled them off and encased them in their daily cast of sock and shoe. They're still protesting their imprisonment, but I'm able to withstand their painful wailings. Let's indulge in a little haiku:

Toes exposed to sun.
Sunburned toes a source of pain.
Peeling toes are gross.

Sizzling digits burn.
Red swollen toes make me cry.
Amputation please.

I also pulled a hamstring while cutting a rug at the wedding dance Friday night. I have never before pulled a hamstring, and I'm of the opinion now that they hurt considerably. It feels as if I'm being perpetually punched in the back of my thigh by a two foot tall bodybuilder. That's what I get for doing the splits on a beer-soaked dance floor.

Posted by Ryan at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2002

Darwinian Golf: Oh, and IBM

Darwinian Golf: Oh, and IBM Too
I know, I know; people don't like hearing about golf unless they are so into the game that they make love to their clubs with top of the line lube on their bed stand. "Hey there, three wood, are you up for a little stroking of the shaft? Good. I thought you'd say that. *lights go out* *wet sloppy golf club sex noises*

But, here goes, you sickos.

I took part in a four man best ball golf tournament today. For those of you that think golf means Tiger Woods bouncing a ball off his club, let me explain. "Four man" means four men on a team, "best ball" means that, of the four players, you all hit the best shot taken by one of your team members. It should be called Charles Darwin golf, but we're left with "best Ball," and who am I to complain? So, anyway, I'm pretty rusty, owing to the fact that I've only golfed three times this year and, well, I suck anyway. And, I'm teamed with three friends who equate golf with hocking a glob of snot on the curb. Well, that's not entirely true. Jim actually cares a little bit when he's accidently having a good game. Anyway, Troy, Jim, Jeremy and myself were having a good round, initially, we even had an eagle, which is just totally cool.

Then, we started, um, what's the word I'm searching for? Ah, yes. Sucking.

We ended up even par for nine holes, which is just piss poor for four man best ball, but the competition was apparently less than stellar. The tournament was divided into flights, which is a polite way of saying three level of suckiness. As luck would have it, we won second place in the second flight (which translates to "boy, you suck, here's pity money"), and we snatched $40 to boot. With the $5 entry fee, that translated to a $5 win for each player on our team. Yay us!!

I'll find out tomorrow if I'm a victim of the latest IBM layoff list. Here's to uncertainty, may she foreover keep life interesting. Sounds a lot like the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times."

But, I live by the proverb "Fall seven times, stand up eight."

Bring it on IBM, I'm ready; and I don't just stand, I kick, and I punch, and I write.

And you're not ready for that.

Posted by Ryan at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2002

Tall People Are Tall Another

Tall People Are Tall
Another note about the wedding. This wedding was attended by Joel Przybilla of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. Now, I stand about 6' 2", and I have a friend who stands 6' 6", but this Joel guy stands at 7' 1", which is the tallest human being I've ever seen within a three foot distance, let alone shake hands with. Not being a particular fan of B-ball, I had no idea who this man was, but as I entered the church in my tuxedo, looking fairly cool if I do say so myself (which I just did), I was pretty sure it didn't matter how good I looked: every girl, guy, child, pastor, insect, and spirit of God was looking at this Joel guy because he was just a towering presence. He was just soooooo tall. In movies and television, when they want to represent a tall creature, they show a lot of close-ups with the camera low to the subject pointing up, and they have the "tall" subject, who is actually 4' 11", move slowly. Here's the deal: the taller a person is, the slower they appear to move. Take this Joel guy, for example; he moved toward us, and it seemed like his actions were turtle slow, but he was upon us before we finished extending our hands for a handshake, making up a 20 foot distance in three steps.

US: "Hey, Joel, *step* have a *step* good night. *step*

*Hand shake with a human paw that could actually shelter you during a thunderstorm*

JOEL: "Good meeting you. *step* I gotta go. *step* My girlfriend is. . . *step*

*Unable to hear hear Joel because he has stepped three more times and is half a state away.*

At least he didn't hear the fire alarm.

Posted by Ryan at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

Wedding Warrants Sometimes, I genuinely

Wedding Warrants
Sometimes, I genuinely can't understand the mind of an inebriated person. The wedding went off without a hitch. Very nice. The reception, too, went swimmingly. All us groomsmen were on our best behavior despite the vast quantities of alcoholic beverages consumed by all. Then. . . the hotel after the dance, and the fire department, and the cops, and the fire alarm that just wouldn't shut down. Although the details are still somewhat sketchy, two of our wedding party ended up in jail over the whole affair. Apparently, the groomsman who shared my hotel room, and an usher four rooms down decided to grab a fire extinguisher at about 2:30 a.m. At some point, they fired up the extinguisher in the elevator, covering the lift in white powder that got sucked into the ventilation system and set off the fire alarm. Before you knew it, the entire hotel was awake and in the lobby as firefighters and police officers swarmed into the building. Surveillance tapes clearly showed the two culprits in the act of taking the fire extinguisher and, come 6 a.m., there was an officer at the door who took Butch and Sundance away in handcuffs. It cost $2,000 to bail them out, and the hotel is charging them for all the hotel guests who demanded refunds, which could easily add up to another $1,000. There was one bright spot surrounding the whole deal. A German family were wedding guests and they stayed in the same hotel. Their 19 year old daughter was absolutely ecstactic the next day because she had the opportunity to see real American firefighters and police officers. All that for only $3,000. What a bargain.

Posted by Ryan at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2002

Broadcast Brain Candy For those

Broadcast Brain Candy
For those not familiar with The West Wing and Law and Order, I deeply feel for you. Tonight's season finales were drooling great entertainment. And, although I'm primarily a West Wing fanatic, I have to tip my hat to Law and Order for broadcasting a top notch show about the fears of 9/11. One of my roommates is so paranoid about all the terror warnings, she's talking about locking herself in her room and never coming out. I have to admit, I find it more and more difficult each day to search within myself and find the security and playfulness that are so precious yet were taken for granted during the innocent time prior to that awful day. It's disconcerting to feel as if I'm wearing an invisible target, a target I earned because I live in the greatest and most powerful nation on earth. Whoa. I guess my late night TV is affecting my mood. I apologize for that. I'll play some Jedi Knight on my computer. Nothing jolts me into a better mood than putting an end to Imperial storm trooper scum. As Yoda is fond of saying: "Terrorists suck, yes? Play video games you must." Okay, Yoda never says that, but he should. That would make Yoda sooooo cool.

Posted by Ryan at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Procrastination, You Are My Enemy

Procrastination, You Are My Enemy
Before I do anything else, I must share this with the world.

I am hereby hanging my head in shame because I forgot to wish my father a happy birthday. It's not like it's that difficult. My parents live and work in Tokyo, so all that's expected of me is to either call or drop an e-mail. That's it. And I couldn't even remember to do that. It sucks to be a bad son. So, after a chastising e-mail from my mother, I sent an apologetic e-mail to my father. I may not be around for a couple of days. You see, I going on a guilt trip. Destination: Shameville, Iowa. Ewwwww, Iowa. *shudder*

I see in the news that America is still under alert for more terrorist attacks. I really don't need the alert any more. Can't I just assume that, for the rest of my days here on earth, my existence will forever be under the ominous haze of potential terrorism? Wouldn't that be easier? Yes, I'm fully aware that there are totally disturbed people out there who believe it is their holy duty to go out there and blow themselves and others apart. Yes, I'm fully aware that those same people will eventually gain access to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and use them indiscriminately against innocent people whose only crime is that they had the audacity to try and live a normal existence. I figured all of this out on my own in the hours directly following 9/11. I really don't care to hear the folks in Washington cry "Fire!" whenever a whiff of criticism comes their way.
"Excuse me, Mr. Bush, what about the whole Enron thing?"
"Duck, you fool! Don't you know there's terror afoot?! Go to red alert, men!"
"Er, yes, well, I was just wondering why our economy continues to sputter along and. . ."
"Red alert! Red alert! How can you possibly question us during this difficult time? Don't you know that we're at war?"
"Um, yes, I know we're at war. We're quite busy over there in Afghanistan, but I was just curious why our top intelligence agencies were bickering and ignoring crucial information leading up to the attacks."
"They may have nukes! Do you know what that means?! Great Jupiter, man! Hide! Seek shelter! Vote Bush!"

I'll be absent for the next couple of days, because I'll be attending the wedding of my good friend and former roommate, Mark. I get to be all smoking hot in a tuxedo and hit on women I don't know and get rejected by women I don't know. It should be loads of fun! Also, it appears that Minnesota has finally decided to allow its residents to enjoy warm weather again. Joy! I'll be able to go running tonight and not debate whether to wear a sweatshirt or a tee-shirt. Who knows? It may be warm enough that I can opt for no shirt. Watch out world, hairy chested man coming through. Ladies, you may commence with the groping.

Posted by Ryan at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2002

Music to My Ears Um,

Music to My Ears
Um, I must apologize for that last post. Apparently, Blogger was down and my blog wouldn't appear and my world was crashing down around me and I could barely function as a human being and I was suffering from run on sentences. But. . . I'm back, and my blog is up, so life has returned to normal.

I was driving to work this morning and that song by Pink came on (the one that goes "please prescribe me a day in the life of someone else, don't let me get me" or some such nonsense like that) and I was enjoying the melody. Of course, it was one of those songs that just refuse to leave your head, so I started whistling the tune at work. Suddenly, my officemate demanded to know why I was whistling that God-awful song, and she then went on to recite the lyrics, and I had to admit that they really are terrible lyrics, but I still liked the melody. Here's the deal, at least according to me: guys don't listen to songs and dissect the lyrics. We just absorb the tune and acknowledge the singer as acceptable background noise. In all seriousness, I loved Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," even though I had absolutely no idea what ol' Kurt was wailing about. He could have been singing about onions on the kitchen counter for all I cared. I just liked the tune.

So, let us visit the lyrics of Pink's song and see if we can't come to an understanding as to what she's complaining about.

Never win first place, I don't support the team. I can't take direction, and my socks are never clean. Teachers dated me, my parents hated me. I was always in a fight cuz I can't do nothin' right.

So, now I'm envisioning an unathletic, unattentive, unhygienic, belligerent, overall useless member of society whose only apparent skill lies in bedding the faculty. And, when did "cuz" become a word?

Everyday I fight a war against the mirror. I can't take the person starin' back at me. I'm a hazard to myself.

How does one fight a war against a mirror? "It's no use, general! It seems no matter what we do, the enemy stays right in our face. We can't get around them!"

Don't let me get me. I'm my own worst enemy. Its bad when you annoy yourself. So irritating. Don't wanna be my friend no more. I wanna be somebody else. I wanna be somebody else, yeah.

Okay, now I'm starting to totally dislike this song. So far, she's managed to whine her way through three entire verses. And really, how does one annoy oneself? Do you slowly waggle your fingers near your face while making a "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" sound? I will agree that it must be bad when you annoy yourself. That could make for a really long day.

LA told me, "You'll be a pop star, all you have to change is everything you are." Tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears. She's so pretty, that just ain't me.

I know most women just despise being told they look like Britney Spears. Women love to be told they're ugly. "Who are you calling pretty?! You take that back, cuz if'n you don't, I'll attack you with my stinky socks."

Doctor, doctor won't you please prescribe somethin. A day in the life of someone else? Cuz I'm a hazard to myself.

DOCTOR: Well, no, um, Ms. Pink, I can't really prescribe a day in the life of someone else, but I could recommend a good speech therapist. You'll learn to use a "g" at the end of "something," and you'll lose that nasty habit of saying "cuz."

Don't let me get me. I'm my own worst enemy. Its bad when you annoy yourself. So irritating. Don't wanna be my friend no more. I wanna be somebody else.

Wait a minute, didn't she already say this? Certainly she could have gone further into what a failure of a human being she is instead of simply re-hashing the same old stuff. If she can tell me about her dirty socks, the least she can do is expound on her repulsive armpits or something similar. But no, she's just saying the same thing all over again. How IR-RI-TAT-TING!!

My officemate is right. This song sucks.

Posted by Ryan at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

Anybody out there?

Anybody out there?

Posted by Ryan at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2002

The Force Compels Me to

The Force Compels Me to Blog
Must. . .fight. . .urge. . .to. . .blog. It's no use, I can't stop myself. This daily nonsense is as addicting as any drug. Literary crack. Must write. Must re-read what I write. Must monitor comments like a pride of lions hovering over a kill. I honestly can't explain the appeal. I couldn't jot down mind garbage like this on good old-fashioned notebook paper, but give me a cyber world in which complete strangers can peruse my prose, and I'm tapping away at the keyboard religiously. I imagine that psychology textbooks aren't even used in universities any more. No, students simply log on to the Internet, find a random blog, and determine from what psychosis the author suffers:
Monday, May 20, 2002: Visited blog of "The Countess" today. Subject seems to suffer from paranoid delusions complemented by severe manic depressive tendencies. Refers to male species as "a genetic dead end," possibly a result of her last relationship that apparently ended ugly according to her lengthy rants about "Bob the Bastard." Subject should be heavily medicated and undergo several therapy sessions.

Although I have not yet joined the masses and dragged my behind to "Episode 2: Attack of the Clones," I found that I am not immune to the allure of Star Wars. I went to Best Buy yesterday to "look around," and promptly emerged with Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, Jedi Outcast. It's a first person shoot-em-up, that also allows the player to wield a light saber and user Force powers. What can I say? I'm a total sucker for the chance to slice and dice computer enemies with a light saber. The graphics are astounding; storm troopers actually get blown back by blaster fire, and they scream bloody murder when you push them over a precipice and they go tumbling down a chasm. Oh, those special moments. However, the state of computer games now is such that I must ponder upgrading my computer system yet again. It takes forever for a game to load. And then I die have to start over. And that takes forever too. It's bad enough that I'm wasting my life playing computer games, but now I have to waste even more time waiting to waste my life playing computer games. Hmmm, there's a lesson in there somewhere. Maybe a lesson about Heather Graham. Heather Graham. Heather Graham. Or, how about Angelina Jolie? Angelina Jolie. Angelina Jolie. Angelina Jolie.

Posted by Ryan at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2002

Random Thinks Here's my question

Random Thinks
Here's my question for the day: What in the heck represented an idea before the light bulb was invented? Nowadays, if you see a picture of someone with a light bulb over their head, you know they've just had an idea. I like to think that, before the light bulb, ideas were represented by a cow. When someone had a big-assed brainstorm, say in 1738, you would immediately know it because of the big cow hovering over their head. People would say, "Charles just had a great idea. He was sitting there, when suddenly a cow came on." Seriously, Rodan's statue "The Thinker" takes on a whole new meaning when you realize that he's actually sitting in the nude pondering a cow. That's right, nude. Totally nude. Nude rocks.

I followed yesterday's horrible Butterfinger experience with an equally horrible McDonald's experience. I haven't eaten McDonald's in about five years and this was a harsh reminder of how bad fast food actually is. Apparently, the fast food chain has eschewed McNuggets in favor of some sort of chicken strips, and I was foolish enough to give them a try. It was like eating shingles dipped in BBQ sauce. Horrible. Just horrible. I guess the fries were okay, although there was enough salt on them to make my heart skip for two hours afterward.

My Cadillac is due for an oil change. I suppose I could do it myself, but that's what Jiffy Lubes are for, right?

Posted by Ryan at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2002

Butterfinger Blues In an uncharacteristic

Butterfinger Blues
In an uncharacteristic move for me, I walked past the local vending machine and decided to treat my sweet tooth. I was really in the mood for a Kit-Kat, but that was the one confection lacking. How come they stock machines with awful snacks like vinegar and onion potato chips but they can't throw a Kit-Kat behind the glass? Anyway, I opted for a Butterfinger. It's been about a year since I last ingested a Butterfinger, and I didn't remember the experience being all that fulfilling, but I figured my tastes may have refined over the last 365 days. After all, we're talking about Bart Simpson's candy of choice. It's the "crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery bar," for crying out loud. It has to be good. Just for the record, "crispety" and "crunchety" aren't actually words. For that matter, I'm not sure "peanut-buttery" is a word either, but I'm giving the good folks at Butterfinger the benefit of the doubt. I was okay with the first bite, mainly because it assuaged the sugar craving that prompted me to purchase the bar in the first place. The second bite, on the other hand, was immediately tiresome. Butterfingers cling to teeth the way barnacles cling to whales. Plus, the texture reminds me of layers of limestone, hardened sheets of brittle peanut butter stacked atop one another and encased in a chocolate sock. Bart Simpson or no, this candy sucks. Damn I wanted a Kit-Kat. *sigh*

Posted by Ryan at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

"Putting Your Pet Through the

"Putting Your Pet Through the Wringer" c. Ryan Rhodes, May 1, 2002
Every once in awhile, I'll come across a news item that definitively indicates we human beings may be becoming a bit too reliant on technology. I came across just such a news item last week regarding a product called the Lavakana side loading pet washing machine.
Now, a side loading pet washer is not, in fact, a revolutionary new weapon capable of firing cats and dogs at the enemy at a rate of 6,000 rounds per minute, although that would be just too cool for words.
No, the Lavakan is a 5 ft. x 5 ft. appliance specifically designed to lather, de-tick, de-louse, and blow-dry your pet in just under half an hour. And, for you pet owners out there who are wary of leaving your cat or dog unattended during the spin cycle, not to worry; the Lavakan comes equipped with a porthole which you can use to peruse your pet's purifying process.
I know, it sounds too incredible for words, so I went searching for more information. What I found was pure comedy gold. You folks with Internet access can read along here.
Invented by Eduardo Segura and Andrs Diaz of Spain, the Lavakan (which roughly translates to "dog washer") looks a lot like a typical washing machine, except you throw your family pet inside rather than dirty clothes.
Once inside, the animal in question is subjected to a series of water pressure nozzles designed to spritz every inch of your pet's exterior (and possibly some interior spritzing, depending on the angle of the nozzle). And, to quote directly from the article, "operators use the Lavakan's touch panel to choose the best wash cycle for the animal's size and dermatological needs." Is it just me, or is there something odd about knowing what kind of wash cycle is best for your pet.
"Let's see, I bought Rover about two months ago. What were his washing directions again? Better check the tag. ‘100% dog hair. machine wash warm. Tumble dry.' All right, Rover, in you go. Be a good boy!"
So, how do dogs and cats respond to being cleansed within a 5 ft. x 5 ft. box? Let's ask the inventors. According to the article, most dogs are pretty calm while enduring their prescribed wash cycle, except, of course, for a certain degree of lost canine dignity. Cats, on the other hand, don't take kindly to the contraption at all, at least not initially.
"The first four to five seconds, they freak out," Diaz said, according to the article. "But once they're wet, they instinctively sit and lay down. It's much better than having a cat attach itself to your face, which is what can happen when you try to wash one by hand."
What can I say? Sometimes even I can't improve on the humor of an original statement.
Perhaps the most amusing aspect of the Web site article are the pictures provided of the Lavakan in action.
The first picture, of course, is of the Lavakan machine by itself, an intimidating machine that must strike absolute fear into the heart of any pet that has experienced its thorough cleansing.
The second picture, and perhaps the most hilarious, is a before and after comparison of an unidentified canine. In the before picture, the dog is impossibly filthy, as if it had been shaken vigorously in an Etch-a-Sketch. But, after a ride through the Lavakan, the dog is snowball white, with a somewhat nervous expression that seems to say, "you would never believe what I just went through for the last half an hour!"
There are two other equally hysterical pictures, but I'll let you experience those for yourself.
The final picture is of a Lavakan executive locked in one of his own machines, smiling bravely for the camera as he is showered in his own personal wash cycle. His right thumb is extended in the universal symbol for "I truly enjoy being bathed in this claustrophobic contraption where, just moments before, a German Shepherd forcefully vomited due to nervous stress."
For those of you who are thinking of buying your own personal Lavakan, you may want to consider the cost. You can own one for the paltry sum of $20,000, or you can lease a machine for $500.
Or, you can wash your pet by hand and have it attach itself to your face.
It's entirely up to you.

Posted by Ryan at 01:33 PM | Comments (1)

Playing with Writer's Block(s) and

Playing with Writer's Block(s) and Building a Column
I managed to overcome yet another bout of writer's block and put out this week's column. What did I write about? Well, wouldn't you like to know. I don't publish columns online until they've gone to print, and even then I usually don't, because papers pay me, the Web does not. However, truth be told, I'm far more honest on the Web than I am in my column, so you people (all two of you) are getting quite a bargain.

Here's my lip biting dilemma: ever since I graduated from college (May, 1998), during my four month job searching nightmare, I developed a horrible lip biting habit. I started nibbling my lower lip as I perused the newspaper want ads; wondering whether I wanted to work here, whether I'd get a job there, etc. Finally, I got a job at a newspaper about an hour drive away, and it was a great start, despite the tough hours and constricting writing content. As I worked at that paper, I found myself biting my lip as I worked on stories. Now, about four years later (and I still write a column for that paper), I'm biting my lip as I work at IBM, and I really want to stop nibbling. It's not a major thing, but I'd like to rid myself of it nonetheless. Suggestions?

I think Sheryl Crowe is about the hottest thing ever when she sings. She's 40, which is actually 20 with wisdom and honesty. In her case, she has a stellar voice, a brilliant jazz feel, and she can make everyone feel the same age when she sings. Sheryl, if you're listening, I'm listening, and I think you're lovely.

I ran tonight, well, after a 30 minute nap and about 23 minutes of self-chastising to get me going. I credit the run for this week's column idea, and I highly recommend running, and exercising in general, to those of you who have difficulty figuring things out. The blood runs, and so does thinking about other than the "woe is me" category. The "woe is me" stuff keeps you on the couch. Go walk. Go run. Go out. Do Hapkido (or maybe not, that's just me). Do something.

Posted by Ryan at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2002

Brain Empty; Insert Thoughts Here;

Brain Empty; Insert Thoughts Here; Unleaded Neural Impulses Only
Well, it's Wednesday, and I have no idea what to write for my weekly newspaper column. My well of ideas is dry, and there are two papers desperately awaiting this week's installment. Okay, truth be told, if I didn't write this week, they'd probably find a 1/4 page ad to fill the gap, so I could afford to take a week off. But, I hate to end my consecutive streak of weekly columns. Perhaps when I go running tonight my mind will unclog and the wheels will begin spinning.

There's this Mitsubishi commercial that I've been admiring for over a month now, perhaps you've seen it. This techno music comes on, a hot girl in a little pink beret leans over to turn up the car stereo, and suddenly she starts spasming all over the passenger seat like she's being jolted by a cattle prod set to rhythm. I don't know why, but I think she is just so damned hot when she starts doing her robot dance routine, I feel as if I have to go out and smoke a cigarette each time I see the commercial (and I don't smoke, so that's saying something). So, I went to my computer this week and downloaded the techno song "Days Go By," but it's just not the same without some girl wearing a pink beret gyrating on my bed. Actually, the pink beret would be optional at that point, but the gyrating would be a MUST.

Well, that was a nice 10 minute work distraction. Time for a teleconference.

Posted by Ryan at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

Waking Up is Hard to

Waking Up is Hard to Do
6 a.m. - My alarm goes off. I look groggily at the clock, and then reset it for 8 a.m.
6:01 a.m. - I amble into the bathroom to dispose of hours worth of bladder liquid.
6:04 a.m. - I crawl back into the warmth of my bed, close my eyes, and. . .
8 a.m. - My alarm goes off. I look groggily at the clock, and then hit the snooze button.
8:09 a.m. - My alarm goes off. I look groggily at the clock, and then hit the snooze button.
8:18 a.m. - My alarm goes off. I look groggily at the clock, turn it off completely, and drag myself to a sitting position.
8:19 a.m. - I finish wiping away the remaining eye boogers, and start making my bed.
8:23 a.m. - I brush my teeth and then put in my contact lenses. I then cuss about the amount of painful crap that has apparently built up on my lenses. I remove them, wash then, and place them back in my eyes.
8:28 a.m. - I begin shaving my face and head. Yes, I shave my head. Why? Because I like looking like an escaped convict on a vendetta.
8:35 a.m. - I enter the shower, where I spend two minutes debating whether to lather with Dove soap or Herbal Essences. I usually opt for Essences, because it's a totally organic experience.
8:45 a.m. - I skitter back to my room, neglecting to wrap myself in a towel, careful to ensure neither of my female roommates are anywhere to be seen.
8:46 a.m. - I dress myself, usually in jeans and some sort of shirt that complements the weather. I'm not particularly picky here, because I'm usually running late.
8:50 a.m. - I'm out the door to work. I'm still tired, so I give my bed a last, long, wistful glance. And I'm gone.

Posted by Ryan at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2002

Cat-apulted From the Home >From

Cat-apulted From the Home
>From news of the odd today, we learn that a "Cat Goes on Rampage, Evicts Owners." I was left with an image of a tabby wearing glasses perched on its nose, a clipboard grasped in one paw, completing the necessary paperwork to legally evict the owners. In actuality, "A Canadian family had to flee for safety after their pet Siamese cat went on a rampage, tearing at clothes and skin and driving them out of the house, police said on Monday." I was reminded at this point of a corny horror/comedy show I saw awhile back about a family that was terrorized by a monkey that was dynamite with kitchen cutlery, dicing up any unsuspecting people that came within range of its primate rage. Seriously, how would you explain to your neighbors that you had to evacuate the house because the family cat developed an attitude?
"What's up, Fred? You doing a fire drill or something?"
"Er, no. Not exactly."
"Fumigating, then?"
"Well, John, no, not quite."
"What's with all them cuts on your back? You okay there, Fred? You look a little shaken. Is everything all right in the house?"
"For the love of God, don't go in there, John!! You'll be torn to shreds for sure. The cat!! Oh, the cat!! It's gone crazy! Save yourself!!"
"Cat? You evacuated because of a cat? *snicker*"
Okay, apparently this cat was a dynamo, because "it took police officers, armed with a blanket and a clothes hamper, 20 minutes to corner the cat. One officer said Cocoa the cat was eventually secured in a pet carrier and handed over to the family who took it to the veterinarian."
What's funny here is the specialized gear that had to be used, a blanket and clothes hamper. You know you're really in for trouble when you've been pulled over for speeding and the officer has to dig in his trunk for a blanket and a clothes hamper. At that point, you're better off making a run for it.
Although it wasn't known what caused Cocoa's frenzy, one astute officer made the observation that it was "a Siamese cat with an attitude problem." This, of course, conjures images of a bad crowd of Siamese cats that hang out behind school smoking cigarettes and roughing up other cats after class.

Michelle Trachtenberg nude. Michelle Trachtenberg. Michelle Trachtenberg. Michelle Trachtenberg.

Mila Kunis. Mila Kunis. Mila Kunis. Mila Kunis. Mila Kunis.

Posted by Ryan at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

Tripping on Tokyo Last Sunday,

Tripping on Tokyo
Last Sunday, I accidently tuned in to King of the Hill, because nobody in their right mind would intentionally tune in to King of the Hill. Anyway, the Hills were visiting Tokyo, and even though it's only a cartoon, it prompted all sorts of flashbacks to the year I lived in that sprawling city. More specifically, it reminded me of the first couple of weeks I spent acclimating to the Tokyo environment. I was raised in a small town of only about 1,000 people. Suddenly, I found myself totally surrounded by people. People everywhere. Even when I thought I was all by myself, I could hear voices all around me coming from builldings, from behind fences and gurgling up from canals. Here in Minnesota, we have Wal-Mart; in Tokyo, there were shopping streets jam packed with small specialty stores with names like "Big Time Super Happy Fun Knitting Shop" and "Tasty Yummy Hunger Eliminating Open Mouth Pastry Place." Of course, I didn't learn the names of these places until much later in the year because everything was written in Japanese (in Japan? Go figure). Another thing I quickly discovered in Tokyo: everything makes a noise. Walk signals would play loud music while you crossed the street; vans selling flowers or food would go by with the driver singing strange, almost mournful, sales pitches; all around me, ambulances and other emergency vehicles were constantly blaring their way down the street; bikes would go by with the rider jingling his or her little bike bell. It was a cacaphony of noise for a small town lad who was used to hearing, at the most, a cow moo two miles away. I had many adventures during that year, some good, some bad, but the most fond memories are those from those first weeks, when I was shit scared of everything, curious about everything, homesick, excited, and full of wide-eyed wonder. Will I ever feel that way again?

Posted by Ryan at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2002

Flying with Towels I slept

Flying with Towels
I slept luxuriously last night. It was one of those slumbers where you sleep for four hours and it feels like 12. I also had one of my recurring flying dreams, which are just super fun subconscious excursions. This time, I discovered I could fly if I wrapped my legs in towels and kicked like I was swimming. Don't ask me what electrical brain impulses made this seem like a viable flying solution, but it made perfect sense to me as I slept. And, of course, everyone was in total awe of my ability to fly with towels wrapped around my leg. I woke up at about 4 a.m. to, um, perform bathroom duties, and I discovered that my waking self is still governed by the force of gravity. I was walking back to my room, missed the doorway, caught my foot on the door frame, and promptly fell, face-first, into my desk chair. That never would have happened if I only had towels wrapped on my legs.

Ghosts of IBM
There's an eerie feeling permeating the air at IBM today. Two familiar faces in my hall are no more; their desks, once bedecked with photos of family and loved ones, are now empty, undecorated reminders of their presence. The layoffs have apparently begun. Will I survive this latest round? Hopefully. But even if I do, the damage done to others is incalculable. And my beloved Diet Pepsi 20 oz. quenchers have increased in price by a dime to $1.10. That's just unforgivable.

Posted by Ryan at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2002

Sleeping the Day Away Whoever

Sleeping the Day Away
Whoever said "getting there is half the fun" has never awakened after four hours of sleep following a bachelor party, hung over, exhausted, and facing a two hour drive home. Let me tell you, getting there (there being home) was not the least damned bit fun. I pulled into the driveway at about 2 p.m. and I've been sleeping ever since. I'm just now starting to feel somewhat alive. Note to self: I can't endure those all night festivities any more. That's a very tough admission for a 27-year old to make. Next thing I know, I'll be shuffling around the kitchen in ratty slippers and pee-stained pajamas lamenting how old I am. Okay, the pee-stained pajamas may be stretching it a bit, but I think it augments my point brilliantly. And what bachelor party wouldn't be complete without nearly getting into a brawl? Here it was 5 a.m. and the radio was just blaring. There was no way I could fall asleep with bass pounding in my ears, so I went downstairs to find one guy, eyes half open, sucking on a cigarette. So, I explained the situation to the lone music enthusiast and turned it down. Well, three minutes later, the music got loud again, so I went back downstairs and turned it down. Once more, the cigarette smoking man deigned to turn it up again, and I was plenty angry at that point. So, I went downstairs, turned the radio off completely, and told the infidel that if I had to come downstairs again, he was going to go through a window. At this, he grabbed a bottle and tried to smash it on the counter, only it didn't break, but the resounding *whack* brought everyone running to the kitchen. In a move of dexterity I didn't know I was capable of at 5 a.m., I swiped the beer bottle out of his hand (managing to catch and hold onto it in the process, which had to look just incredibly cool), and he was left with a "I don't have a weapon anymore" look on his face. Now, I'm not a violent guy, but I'm fairly convinced that, if he had been able to break the bottle, he would have come after me with it, and this made me so unbelievably angry, I was practically seeing red. However, I managed to bring myself down and simply threw the bottle behind me, at which point the rest of the party-goers got between us. Of course, I couldn't sleep at all after that, primarily because the guy apparently grabbed a butcher knife and was going to come upstairs to deal with me. However, his brother talked him down and I didn't hear from him again. Now I'm back to being mild-mannered reporter, Ryan Rhodes. And I need a shower like no man has ever needed a shower before me.

Posted by Ryan at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2002

It Takes All Kinds It's

It Takes All Kinds
It's fun to occasionally see where visitors to this site come from and what they came here looking for. Thanks to the little hit counter on the right side, I can track quite a bit of information about people who drop by and gauge what their interests are. A lot of people apparently link from the dialog box of Clever Littler Minx, so I must offer up a regal bow to the Minx. May you blog indefinitely. Most hits, however, seem to occur because people have done searches on And what they're looking for can often be disturbing. I guess I wasn't too surprised to see that someone came to my site after seaching on "comparison+boxers+vs+briefs." After all, that's a topic that has kept me up nights. Another person dropped by after searching on "perforated+scrotum." I don't know if my site helped him at all, but I wish him a speedy recovery. Keeping with the groin theme, someone clicked on my site after searching for "testicle+biting+cartoons." This must be a little known genre of cartoons that has not yet found its way into the mainstream newspaper comics, but I look forward to the day it does. Garfield taking a chomp off Odie would keep me laughing for a week. I'm not sure why someone was doing a search on "cunnilingus+cyber+logs," but they should really get together with the person searching for "cunnilingus+tonsilitis." May they find each other and live happily ever after.

Posted by Ryan at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

Top Ten Reasons Luke Helder

Top Ten Reasons Luke Helder Bombed Mailboxes
10. Tired of being pre-approved by Visa and Mastercard
9. Thought bombings would distract parents from crappy report card
8. Believed that, if he blew up enough mailboxes, he could go into business as a mailbox repairman
7. Was really cheesed off about another postal rate hike
6. Took a game of "truth or dare" just a little too far
5. Had some extra pipe bombs laying around that "needed some detonatin'"
4. Hoped to win top prize on "America's Most Explosive Home Videos"
3. Tee-shirt that said "Ask me about my crazy ideas about death and government" just wasn't getting enough attention
2. Believed postmans' creed, "neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow," needed to be tweaked to include a pipe bomb reference
1. At 21 years old, he thought he was primed for some good, old-fashioned, rough prison rape

Posted by Ryan at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

Corporate Priorities In the midst

Corporate Priorities
In the midst of an apparent layoff binge by IBM that will reportedly phase out 10 percent of their workforce over the next month, here I sit with a brand-spanking new computer on my desk. Just a thought: maybe, if IBM saved the money they invested in the new PCs they're plopping on employee desks, they could afford to keep a few more employees. I don't know, maybe that's just crazy thinking. My officemate (Jen, you know who you are) is telling me that it does me no good to sit and worry whether I'll be one of the employees who gets the axe. Here's the deal: I hate job searching, because I hate all the jobs that are out there. Ideally, I want to sit and write my column for hundreds of newspapers nationwide and get paid tons of money to do it. In actuality, my column appears in two weeklies, and the pay is mostly token change that just makes me feel good when the check arrives. In other words, the threat of a layoff just reminds me how tenuous my position in the world really is, and how mediocre I really am. While the Sam Palmisanos of the world lick the boots of stockholders and get paid millions to do it, well-intentioned, hard-working, decent people (like me *ahem*) get tossed out like so much garbage. Granted, I'm yelling at the gathering clouds before the rain even starts, there's no guarantee that my position will be cut, but it still just bothers me. Anyway, enough of this. I'll write something more entertaining later.

Posted by Ryan at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2002

The Two Towers Okay, I'm

The Two Towers
Okay, I'm fully aware that the tragic events of 9/11 were truly horrendous, but today I read something that made me realize some people are just a little too sensitive about the whole deal. For those who have been living in a self-contained bubble, on Mars, with their fingers in their ears for the past couple of months, there's a movie called Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings, that was based on the J.R.R. Tolkien classic novel trilogy. The next installment of the movie, based on the book, is called The Two Towers. Now, this is not some marketing ploy meant to capitalize on the tragedy of 9/11. The Two Towers was the name of the book, published in the early 1950s. And yet, according to this news report, "a group calling itself Those Affected by September 11 is petitioning director Peter Jackson and studio New Line Cinema to change the name 'to something less offensive.' 'The title is clearly meant to refer to the attacks on The World Trade Center,' notes the petition posted at and signed by more than 1,200 people. 'It is unforgivable that this should be allowed to happen.'" If I may, just for a second, editorialize on the uninformed state of 1,200 people: Kindly remove your heads from your collective ass, people! This is a movie, based on a book, that has nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, unless there were hobbitts and orcs and wizards and trolls working in the buildings, which I highly doubt. There's nothing more dangerous than an idiotic person with a cause (see also the mailbox pipe bomber), unless you count 1,200 idiotic people with a cause. If it were up to them, every movie ever made that had footage of the WTC would be trashed and burned because they're obviously making money on the tragedy. Yeesh! I especially love the name of the group, Those Affected by September 11, as if they're some sort of elite group of moral purists that feel the anguish of 9/11 more fully than the rest of the American public. Why do I read stuff like that and feel dumber? Blech.

Posted by Ryan at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Space Invaders I went to

Space Invaders
I went to dinner last night at the Outback Steakhouse with a friend of mine, Lisa, and her friend, Christy. Now, I had met Christy before, but she was seated well away from me at the time. Last night, she sat right next to me, and I was quick to discover she has no concept of personal space whatsoever. I have a personal space of about 12 inches, anything closer and I start to feel a tad constricted. Christy has no such qualms about personal space. She sat down, squashed her butt up next to mine, ran her hand up my thigh to make a point when she was talking, and she had a fixation with touching my chest. I felt like I was being groomed by a chimpanzee. Usually when a completely unknown female starts pawing at me, I've just placed a dollar in her underwear. Now, Christy is a very good looking female creature, so I was torn by feeling uncomfortable at times, to envisioning myself in a softcore porn movie starring just Christy and myself. I've encountered such space invaders many times during my life, and I simply can't understand why they insist on being so touchy-feely, as if they are pickpockets that just get really lost in their work. You see, when I'm trying to eat pasta, I find it's easier to do without having my chest patted in mid-conversation. It was like eating with Helen Keller.

Posted by Ryan at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2002

So, after five straight days

So, after five straight days of flat line Internet access, my cable modem sparked to life this morning at about 5 a.m. for not particular reason. I'm still going to have Charter give my cable access a thorough look over tomorrow, but this is the type of crap that just irritates me.

Well, it turns out the maniacal pipe bomb mailer who has been terrorizing the Midwest was raised in a town called Pine Island, about 10 miles north of where I live. Now, I don't know if anyone who reads this blog (three or four of you) has ever heard television news report broadcasts from markets consisting of less than 100,000 people, but they have a tendency to overstate a local news angle like this. You'd think they caught Osama bin Laden himself. KTTC, the Rochester, Minn., NBC affiliate had some of the most laughable stories you can imagine, including a 30 second interview with the Pine Island mail carrier. Here's the deal: the kid was raised in Pine Island, which really doesn't mean anything. Sure, you can do the whole concerned parents angle, but that's about where I would draw the line. No pipe bombs were found in Minnesota, so an interview with the Pine Island mail carrier is lazy journalism at best. Second, the kid was attending school at the University of Wisconsin/Stout, so the university has a much better local angle than anything coming out of Pine Island. Reporters can interview his college friends and get a better gauge of his mental state than talking to his 5th grade Pine Island teacher who says something like "He always seemed a little too into his crayons. I was worried about the boy."
Additionally, the local news played up the fact that the bomber was a singer in a local band called Apathy. Tell me, does this have anything to do with anything? According to KTTC it does: they went out and interviewed a clerk at a local music store that sold Apathy CDs. Does that make any friggin sense?! Here are the questions that should be pursued in my mind. Did the kid have any close current friends who knew something was up? Was there any connection between the states or sites he planted his bombs. Was he purely mentally unstable or did he have an agenda that would indicate accomplices. I don't know, these just seem like far better angles than talking to a music clerk.
But, then again, I'm just a lowly magazine news editor. What do I know?

Posted by Ryan at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2002

Have Internet, Will Travel Okay,

Have Internet, Will Travel
Okay, I have my little home Internet thing taken care of. They're coming to look at it on Thursday. When? Anywhere from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oh, I just totally hate that!! What kind of a window is that?
"Ryan, we'd like to have you at work at 9 a.m."
"Well, okay, but keep in mind that I have a four hour window there. I could come in at 9 a.m., but I may not make it until 1 p.m."
So, here I sit without home Internet access until Thursday. I've been addicted to the Internet for the last five years. I don't think I can make it. I look at my computer, sitting forlornly, detached from the outside world, and I can't even manage the enthusiasm to move the mouse. The Internet opens your computer to so much information, it just totally spoils you. Without it, your computer just become a glorified calculator. Waaaaaaaahhhhh!

Maintaining the Urge to Run
I like exercising. During the course of a given week, I'll usually do four hours of hapkido and I'll run between four and eight miles. Due to this year's mild winter, I was able to run throughout the year, and I'm pretty proud of that. Still, I find that keeping the enthusiasm to run every other day is not easy. There's just so many things I'd rather do, like absolutely nothing. Prior to a run, I'll lounge on my bed or couch, and I'll consider taking a nap over running. It usually takes me an hour to find the hidden well of ambition to hit the road. The thing is, the feeling of completing a run or three miles or more is just awesome, and I always feel monumentally great about myself for hours afterward. So, why do I have such trouble doing something that makes me feel so good? Answers, people. I need answers.

Posted by Ryan at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2002

Dan Akroyd is a Corporate

Dan Akroyd is a Corporate Slug
You know, it's gotten to the point that, every time I see one of those Charter Communications commercials starring Dan Akroyd, I want to put my foot through the TV. Here in the bustling, yet boring, community of Rochester, Minn., Charter has a monopoly on high-speed cable Internet access, and they wield this power with all the consumer indifference you'd expect from a company that has no competition to speak of within a 80 mile radius. I must call them, again, because my 24/7 cable access has been at an unacceptable 00/0 level for the past three days. It would be different if this was the first time, but this will be my third call in seven months. Also, my latest cable bill said that I didn't owe anything for the last month, and I simply know that's wrong. So, here's what's going to happen, according to routine of the past: I'll call and be put on hold while a recorded response will inform me that my call is important to Charter (Really? Then pick up the friggin phone!!). Finally, a rep will answer and he or she will hand me off to several other reps until I land in the hands of the guy or girl who just started their new job 15 seconds ago. They'll inform me, after about half-an-hour, that I'm apparently not getting a signal (And here I thought I was calling just to be neighborly). They offer to send someone to check out the situation, and that he'll be able to drop by the house on Wednesday between 6 a.m. and midnight, so I'll have to take time off of work to greet this guy, which means I get to lay around on the couch and watch horrible daytime television. Finally, a guy wearing far too many tools on his belt will arrive and ask me where my cable runs (probably to the TV, you friggin moron!). I show him to the point of cable entry in the basement and he starts whatever it is he does. An hour later, he tells me I'm not getting an Internet signal (so, that's why I don't have Internet access? Astounding!). He fixes whatever's wrong, and it works for about two months before going out, and we begin the process again. Lousy Dan Akroyd. He's to blame.

Posted by Ryan at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2002

Newsy Newsiness Let us travel,

Newsy Newsiness
Let us travel, you and I, to the sacred online news world of to make fun of today's headlines.
"Sex Slaves: Europe's Thriving Trade in Drugs, Guns & Women" This begs the question: What the heck am I doing sitting here in America when all the action is overseas? Okay, I'm joking. Mostly. Somehow, I find it entertaining to think of a bunch of proper speaking Brits haggling over a trade.
"I say, Hugh my good boy, I'll trade you even up for that saucy little tart on your arm. Surely I could tempt you with four AK-47s and a few kilos of heroin?"
"Tut tut, Langston. I can't simply hand over Veronica here for such a paltry trade. Throw in a couple crates of grenades and you'll have yourself a deal."
"Good show, Hubert. Good show. You drive a hard bargain. Now, let's go out for tea and crumpets."

According to a Washington Post poll, half of all Americans still feel unsafe following the 9/11 attacks. This just proves to me that pollsters are just getting lazy. Of course we feel unsafe following 9/11. Who the heck wouldn't? For one terrifying day, it seemed as if our world was literally falling down around us. Conflicting news reports abounded about scores of missing aircraft, while we were subjected to that horrifying footage of the second airliner slicing into the second World Trade Center building. Over, and over, and over, and over. So, yes, I feel a tad unsafe. I still go about my daily routine pretty much as usual. I flew to Hawaii over Christmas and to Nashville a couple of weeks ago, but there was an increase in trepidation on my part each time I boarded an airplane. And how does our government respond to our lingering fears? With a friggin color-coded alert system. How stupid is that?

Finally, unemployment in America is now at 6 percent, the highest level since 1994. As a relative newbie to the workforce, this percentage troubles me. Particularly here at IBM, where layoffs are almost a type of game. I like my job as news editor, and I'm a real fan of paychecks, so the prospect of entering the ranks of the unemployed is not at all appealing to me. I guess I'll just have to fall back on my secondary plan to win the lottery and retire at 27, purchase a Hawaiian island, populate it with scantily clad women, and spend the rest of my days eating peeled grapes on the beach. These are my modest goals.

Posted by Ryan at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2002

Random Thoughts Before I do

Random Thoughts
Before I do anything else, I must direct your attention to the Lavakan, guaranteed to be your best laugh of the week. I wrote my newspaper column about it and I still chortle when I look at the "before and after" picture. So, anyway. . .
A bit of disturbing trivia. According to my site meter, someone visited my site after doing a Google search on "cunnilingus+tonsilitis." Now, I have no idea why this person is performing such a search, but if he or she is reading this, I prescribe pennicillin, and fast! Someone also came to my site after performing a search on "bush+spewing." I genuinely hope these searches were not done by the same person. *shudder*
Let's do a little quick news searching, and I say quick because, technically, I'm at work and should be doing work-related things, but I've been doing that all day and I think it's only fair that I take a break.
I see that a priest has been arrested for child abuse. I have to ask: what the heck is going on in the Catholic Church? I keep envisioning the widely-hyped meeting between the Pope and American cardinals, with all of them exchanging stories about all the cute kids in their respective congregrations. This whole thing is just demented and sick. Why can't they just hire beret-wearing interns to work off all their lecherous cravings? If it's good enough for our President, it should be good enough for the Catholic Church. How depressing. I'd rather check in with News of the Odd.
"Man Makes Film Based on His Messy Divorce" This sounds like something that would appear as an Onion headline. Is this all that is required to make a movie nowadays? In that case, I have a bunch of movies I'd like to make about my day-to-day existence, including a real-time flick about me getting up in the morning. Of course, my preferred title, "Awakenings," is already taken, so I'd call it "Getting Up: The Ryan Rhodes Story." It wouldn't be very uplifting or interesting, but people could watch me shower, so that should keep their attention.

Stupid Thing I Did Last Night: Proof That It's Never Safe to Play With Matches
So, I have this book of matches on my desk that I used to use to light candles, but now I don't have any candles, so the matches aren't used, except for those times when I'm up at 12:30 in the morning bored out of my skull. I pick up the matches, pluck one from the pack and strike it to firey life. I was watching the match burn, when suddenly MSN alerted me that I had new mail. The distraction led to me forgetting that I had a burning match making it's way to my tender fingers. Suddenly, my finger started to burn, so I reacted and dropped the match. I immediately started looking for the match, but I couldn't find it. Suddenly, I became aware that my stomach was experiencing seering hot pain. I should note here that I was only wearing sweatpants at the time. Yep, the stupid match had practically fallen dead center into my navel and ignited the hair on my stomach. Although the whole incident only took about three seconds, hair is one of the most flammable substances next to gasoline. I frantically patted myself out and assessed the damage. So, my once hairy stomach now has a crater of scorched and wispy hair in a one inch radius surrounding my belly button.
Come to think of it, I should make a move about that. "Burning Navel" Sounds like a new alcoholic drink.

Posted by Ryan at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2002

Having a ball with News

Having a ball with News of the Odd
Sometimes, there's nothing of substance in News of the Odd, and other times I'm greeted with a headline like "Player Banned After Testicle Biting." Such a headline demands that I read further. Apparently, an Australian soccer player became entangled with an opponent and "could not breathe." In a "reflex reaction" he chomped down on the opponent's body, unaware that his teeth had clamped down on scrotum. Usually, my first reaction when I can't breath is to signal for help rather than biting the nearest nut sac, but to each his own I guess. "It was a split-second decision," said the strong-jawed Aussie. The biting victim suffered a perforated scrotum (excuse me while I flinch in absolute pain at the thought) and lost some blood, in addition to requiring a tetanus shot. The aspiring scrotum vampire is to undergo counseling before resuming playing.
I've taken more than a few shots to the groin area during my life. Truth be told, one of the most feared games of the elementary schoolyard was a demented exercise known as "Pecker Tag." I hated that game. Through high school sports, however, including football and wrestling, I never met an opponent who eyed my jewels and deigned to chomp them. Rest assured, however, if it had happened, and I was able to free myself from the evil-doer responsible for the deed, the audience would have been witness to the biggest ass kicking in high school sports history. They could have expelled me for all I would have cared. There's simply no place in this world for random scrotum biting. That's just wrong.

Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker.

Posted by Ryan at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
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