August 29, 2002

Credit Cards and Life's Lessons

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.

It's Simply a Matter of Seeing Things My Way. Dumbass.

"Ryan, can I see you in this office for a bit. We need to talk," she said, and I distinctly felt my eyes roll painfully deep into my head.

I stood up from my computer and turned to face Jenifer, although it couldn't technically be considered facing her, seeing as how I stood just over six feet and she's about seven inches shy of that mark. I briefly observed her face, that stern and prissy countenance I had grown to loathe over the past year and a half. The situation was made worse because she was a strangely attractive female specimen, so my dealings with her were usually filled with seething hatred, interspersed with the occasional desire to engage in mindless sex.

She closed the door and motioned for me to sit down. I did so, feeling very much as if I was back in elementary school about to get a warning for spitting my gum in someone's hair.

"Listen, I know you don't like me," Jenifer began correctly. "But we have to get by that so we can find some continuity in our editing. Overall, your editing is fine, but I get the feeling you're ignoring some of the rules I set down."

"That's because your rules keep changing," I explained. "To say nothing of the fact that most of your rules are idiotic."

"What do you find idiotic?"

"You're just so pedantic. Who really cares if we use "that" instead of "which? I mean, come on. If readers are picking up the manual, chances are they don't care if they read "we" instead of "you."

An uncomfortable amount of time passed, with both of us locking eyes in total distaste for one another. If she had it in her power to fire me and kick me in the ass right then and there, she would have, without hesitation.

"You have to understand," she said, breaking the icy silence. "These books are translated into other languages, so we have to be consistent in our editing."

"How come I've never seen one of these books in another language? I'd like to see a French version, or maybe a good German one. What do you say?"

"That not important," she said, blinking in her rapid fashion that indicated a severe lack of humor. "I know you like to think of this as a big game, but this work is really important. I think your dislike for me is what makes you play these games. Am I right?"



"I think an Arabic book would be interesting to see. Actually, Latin would be really cool, too. Or one written especially for Amy Reid."

"You're really not helping yourself at all. Maybe I should ask why you are so determined to cross me."

"Well, since you asked," I started, relishing the impending carthartic release presented to me. "You've taken this job and sucked every last bit of enjoyment out of it. I hate coming in to work. I hate being at work. I hate doing this work. I hate walking by your office and smelling your perfume wafting out. I. Hate. This. Job. And I hate this job almost entirely because of you. You're a bad manager, but more than that, you're a bad human being. I feel worse for the human species knowing that you walk among us."

Jenifer got up and walked out of the office, slamming the door behind her.

I was laid off a few weeks later.

Posted by Ryan at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2002


All I know is, my mobile phone customer service is a fucking joke. But I'm not laughing.

Posted by Ryan at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2002

"Put up your dukes" c.

"Put up your dukes" c. Ryan Rhodes, Feb. 8, 2001

I'm not a very confrontational person. If a situation develops into something that may turn into a fight, I'm the first person who usually wets his pants and starts crying like an infant. This may not be the most masculine approach to fighting, but I can often run away when my opponent looks away from me in disgust.

Okay, I don't really wet my pants. . . much, but I do utilize everything in my vast repertoire of cowardly tactics to avoid getting my face punched. Unfortunately, my tendency to visit drinking establishments during weekends occasionally conflicts with my desire to avoid altercations. Eventually, I'll meet someone who is just itching to throw a punch at me.

I really don't understand what it is about me that flips the violent switch in some people, although I suspect they're enraged about being in the presence of someone so much greater than themselves. Overall, however, I think some people are just incurable jerks.

When someone decides they want to harm me, they really don't put much thought into explaining why they want to harm me. I remember one fairly inebriated gentleman who simply sauntered up, looked me in the eye. . . almost, and slurred "I don't like you." Now, I think I'm a very likable guy, and I always wear deodorant so as not to offend people, so this argument just didn't make sense to me. Still, his intent was very clear. In the face of an inevitable challenge, I mustered the most masculine aura I could, and I deftly talked my way out of it.

I explained that I was sorry that I offended him, I offered to buy him a beer, and I more or less praised him to the skies until, thankfully, a bouncer escorted him to the exit. I then drank the beer I bought for him. It was a great almost-fight. Despite my cowardly brilliance, I'm not always able to weasel my way out of a fight.

There were two incidents, both in college, where I was unable to use my English skills to talk my way out of a beating. Both incidents resulted because I mistakenly began talking to females who, according to their boyfriends, "were taken." For all you cowards reading this column, I should warn you that female-related fights are almost impossible to talk your way out of. You've dug your own grave, and it requires a weasel rating of at least a nine on a ten point scale to dig your way out. In other words, prepare to "put up your dukes."

My first fight really didn't last that long. I felt a tap on my shoulder, turned away from the female vision in front of me, and promptly saw a fist in my gut that wasn't there before. I never actually saw the guy who did the deed, although some bystanders told me that he was quite large and very mad. The only consolation I brought away from the whole experience was that I puked on his shoes on my way to the ground. After roughly 10 minutes of laying in a puddle of stale beer, I scraped up what little dignity I had, and made my way to the door. It was not a great fight.

My other fight took place outside of a bar appropriately named "Bulls-Eye." It was nearly closing time, and I had been inside enjoying a pleasant conversation with a young woman who insisted on saying every five minutes that "my boyfriend would kill you if he saw me talking to you." But, since her boyfriend was nowhere to be seen, I felt pretty safe, and just a bit cocky. Unfortunately, her boyfriend was nowhere to be seen because he was standing outside waiting for me to come out. Even more unfortunately, all my friends were at a bar about a block-and-a-half down.

As I stepped outside into the crisp winter air, I heard a voice to the right of me say, "I'm going to kick your 'buttocks'" (with buttocks being substituted with a familiar expletive). I was again forced to "put up my dukes."

I always have to laugh when I see fight scenes in movies, where one guy punches, the other guy's head snaps back, then he throws a punch, and the other guy's head snaps back, and so on. Yeah, right!!

In a split second, I was blindsided by a grazing punch that landed on my right cheek and sent me staggering to my left. I turned to face my opponent, who had, by that time, planted a fist squarely in my gut. Just a note, I speak from experience when I say that gut punches really, really, really hurt. By this time, I was at a severe disadvantage, but I managed to fight off nausea long enough to barrel ahead and tackle the jerk in front of me.

We rolled around in a violent hug for several seconds before I managed to call on my wrestling experience and place him on his back, where I quickly punched him three times in the gut, jumped up, and ran for my life. After running about five blocks, I ducked into an alley and threw up for about four minutes before walking the rest of the way home. It was not a great fight.

Putting my illustrious fighting career into perspective, it's no wonder why I choose to try and talk my way out of trouble. If given a choice between cowardice or a cut cheek,
raging gut pain, and vomiting, I'll take cowardice any day.

Posted by Ryan at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2002

Running in the Rain August

Running in the Rain

August has been "get out there and get rained on" month here in Minnesota, or at least in Rochester, Minnesota. It's almost as if Seattle and Rochester have exchanged locales for the past couple of weeks. In other words, it has rained a buttload. Uck, there's something disturbing about the concept of a buttload of rain. How hard must it rain for the drops to force their way into the rectum, while keeping someone pinned down long enough to fill up their colon? Anyway. . .

Last night I finally made a purchase that's been nagging at me for well over a year. I stopped at Best Buy, perused their selection of portable MP3 players, picked out a $200 unit and drove home to figure out the new little piece of technology. For the past two years, I've been undertaking my ritual 5 mile run while carrying a clunky walkman. I carry it because the belt clip just can't hold up against my steady strides. Carrying a walkman for a five mile run is awkward, to say the least. Plus, I've been hankering to listen to some different music, and the chance to mine my considerable hard drive cache of MP3s was too appealing to ignore any longer.

The MP3 player is the size of a Zippo lighter, and about as heavy. I fired 22 songs onto the unit through a USB port and gave a listen: perfect CD quality sound coming from a Zippo lighter. Ain't science somethin'? I was pumped to go for a run, with my new MP3 player strapped on my arm like a blood pressure gauge. I looked out the window and, much to my dismay, I saw that it was raining out. Nay, twas pouring out. Here I was, all decked out to go running, with my Zippo lighter strapped to my arm streaming out a quality tune by Jack Johnson, and Mother Nature was conspiring to keep me indoors. I will have none of that, Ma'am.

Throwing out all common sense, and putting my new MP3 player at considerable risk to soak in water and fizzle and pop into a damp oblivion, I opted to go for a damn run anyway. When I started my run, there was a slight drizzle. By the halfway mark, hurricane Andrew had blown in. I was drenched, cold and miserable, but my new player was still jamming out the tunes, so I pushed on despite the deluge.

Not surprisingly, I had the entire running path all to myself. No one save Noah was dumb enough to be outdoors, let alone running on a path. Suddenly, I became aware of a frothy white foam running down my legs. It didn't take me long to deduce the source either. I frequently wash the spandex that I wear beneath my running shorts, mainly because any material that hugs my genitalia during a sweaty five mile run demands frequent washing attention. Well, apparently, a considerable amount of Tide detergent had taken up stubborn residence in the spandex stitching, and it was just waiting for me to run in a downpour to release itself. So, imagine if you will. . .

There I was, drenched from head to toe, a hazy figure barely visible due to the sheets of falling rain, with handfuls of white foam dropping from my shorts with each running step, as if I was experiencing the most stellar orgasm of my life, or suffering severe venereal disease discharges. I hazarded a quick glance behind me and saw white foamy piles extending as far as I could see. Worse than that was the large, angry Canada goose bearing down on me.

You see, Rochester's Silver Lake is known as a haven for Canada geese. They stay on the lake year round because it's quite warm and people are always feeding the stupid birds. Occasionally, a goose will develop an attitude and focus its displeasure at the nearest human being. Seeing as how I was the only human being, I also was the nearest human being, and this particular goose had a bone to pick with the foam dropping interloper.

As my MP3 player whirred a rendition of K's Choice "Not an Addict," I let out a startled goose-fearing yelp and quickened my pace to put some distance between me and the attacking fowl. However, with a few quick beats of its evolutionary-superior wings, the goose was upon me, falling heavily on the back of my knees and savagely beaking my leg hair, causing me to panic. I swung around, kicking wildly, catching the goose squarely on on the side of its head with my right foot and sending it skittering into the lake where it lay motionless. This was not a good thing. Killing a Canada goose is not looked favorably upon in Rochester. Thankfully, my unexpected bird abuse was likely obscured from view due to the pouring rain.

I advanced cautiously to the water's edge, where the crumpled bird floated. Just as I was about to reach in and grab the insane goose, it's head shot forth from the water and it started honking at me in a most irritated way. Once again, spooked out of my mind, I went sprinting down the trail, convinced that, at any moment, a rabid goose was going to fly into my face and start pecking out my eyes. As it was, I'm pretty sure the goose remained where it was, honking its displeasure at having been booted in the head.

The rest of my run was uneventful, and I eventually worked out the last of the Tide hidden in my spandex. And my MP3 player survived the wet run no worse for the wear. Still, I made sure to lock the door once I got home.

Never underestimate the tenacity of a pissed off goose.

Posted by Ryan at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

Defining a Shitbag Troy (State

Defining a Shitbag

Troy (State Trooper friend of mine) says: i had another fatal motorcycle crash last night,,,the guy crashed at 530 AM and we didnt find him until 630 pm,,, what a mess
Ryan says: Pretty mangled?
Troy says: just his head it hit a pole,,,,but he was there for 13 hrs getting rained on and it was hot yesterday,,,,he was blue. not good
Ryan says: Yuck.
Ryan says: No helmet?
Troy says: no,,,its not cool to wear a helment,,,,he was a shitbag anyways
Ryan says: Was he wearing a "I'm a Shitbag" tee shirt?
Troy says: no but he stole a motorcycle and had several warrants for him,,,so i guess that makes him a shit bag

Posted by Ryan at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2002

Rambling Rhodes = Exposed Thong

Rambling Rhodes = Exposed Thong and Some Other Crap

Without a doubt, the most visits to my site have come from people doing Google searches on "">Exposed+Thong," "Exposed+Thongs," Thongs+Exposed," or any other such exposed thong permutation. Just for the record, this site has no exposed thongs. No thongs are exposing themselves here. Of thongs that are exposed, this site has nada. Please stop searching this site to catch a glimpse of an exposed thong. There are no exposed thongs, and I'm sorry. Got it? No thongs.

On a similar note, to the person who conducted a Google search on "barely+legal+thongs+for+men," let me just offer up a grimacing Sideshow Bob shudder.


Now that that's out of the way, I have to ask: are there illegal thongs for men? Granted, I'm skipping the issue of male thongs completely; I'm just going on the assumption that they must exist. But an illegal male thong must be an intimidating piece of underwear! I'm envisioning something with barbed wire sliding into a butt crack, and a front side that is equipped like a Swiss Army Knife. Imagine getting pulled over for speeding and you end up getting written up for a #1897, covering one's genitalia with a controlled undergarment. That's at least 90 days in jail.

Other than that, it's Wednesday and I still haven't written my weekly newspaper column. I've kinda, sorta, started on it, but I'm not happy with what I've written thus far. It's a column about my new toilet, for crying out loud. It should really write itself.

Posted by Ryan at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2002

Being a Real Sport in

Being a Real Sport in the Workplace," c. Ryan Rhodes, Nov. 15, 2001

Professional athletes really have it made. Besides the fact that athletic stars make more each year than the gross national product of many third world countries, they have the opportunity to play the games they love and refer to it as "going to work."

And, boy, do they have fun at work. Football players, for example, conduct perversely immature dance routines in the end zone after a touchdown, and they get to taunt each other, and, after the game, they get to whoop and holler, conduct interviews, point their fingers in the air and maintain they are "number one," and say "Hi, Mom," on national television. Good times. Lots of fun.

In contrast, I arrive at work at 8 a.m., sit in front of a computer screen for several straight hours, and return home at 5 p.m. Where's the fanfare? I want to whoop and holler and say "Hi, Mom" after a long day's work. It seems only fair. So, here's how I envision an ideal workplace.

At 8 a.m., I want to run through a tunnel with the rest of my co-workers and be greeted on the other side by a throng of scantily clad cheerleaders. Our names would be called and we'd growl and howl and give high fives or slap briefcases together. We'd shout inane blabber like "Let's go get 'em baby!" and "Who wants some?!"

Once in the building, everyone would huddle up and commence with a rigorous round of butt slapping intended to rouse enthusiasm for the tasks at hand. Once our game plan for the day was decided upon, we'd jog to our offices or cubicles and begin vigorously tapping our keyboards and filling out forms.

After successfully completing a task, I'd shout "Who's your daddy?!" and make my rounds from office to office, where I'd give co-workers additional high fives and head butts. For an especially fine piece of work, I would expect to be pig-piled or carried throughout the building on people's shoulders.

Employees would also be encouraged to engage in immature dances, such as "The Paperwork Shuffle" and "Coffee Breakdancing." Hip thrusting and general bodily gyrations would also be allowed. I think announcers would be a particularly nice touch, especially after completing a tough assignment.

"That was an excellent completion by Ryan Rhodes, the three year veteran out of Winona State University. Rhodes has been impressive this year despite his continued problems with injuries, including eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome."

Razzing and taunting would replace office politics. Instead of manipulative back-stabbing, co-workers would trash talk one another, face to face, and occasionally have to be restrained by others.

"You call that a report!? That's nothing! You're nothing! Your momma was a temp! You want a piece of me?! Huh?! Huh?! Come and get it you low paid pencil pushing geek!? That's right, bring it on you worthless chair warming, coffee swilling, brown noser!?"

Penalties would also be assessed in five, ten, fifteen, and twenty minute additions to the work day. Referees could penalize workers for coming in late, sleeping at their desks, taking extra pens, taking excessive coffee or bathroom breaks, or simply slacking off without bothering to disguise their inaction.

Trading office cards and playing Fantasy Workplace would be the passion of the outside world.

Workdays would conclude with even more high fives, butt slaps, head butts, handshakes, and, of course, dousing the boss with five gallons of Gatorade. Office workers would be revered and frequently interviewed following a rigorous workday, at which time they would spew forth meaningless and canned statements that would be lapped up eagerly by the press.

"We knew going in that it was going to be a tough day," said Rhodes, the sweat dripping from his brow, and his muscles clearly defined beneath his Men's Wearhouse sport coat. "But we're a solid office team and we don't back down from a challenge. We just take it one day at a time and give it 100 percent when the time comes. We know our jobs and we go out and do them, and we'll be back out there tomorrow doing the same. Hi, Mom."

Posted by Ryan at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2002

The End of Summer For

The End of Summer

For the past 10 years, the end of summer, for me, has been symbolized by the departure of my parents back to their teaching jobs in Tokyo. It's become a ritual of sorts: I talk with them into the evening prior to their departure, and then I load up their bags and cart them to the airport. Along the way, my father bemoans the fact that they hadn't been bumped up to business class and they would have to endure 14 hours in coach, as if that somehow represents a serious injustice. There's the hurried farewell hugs and the stern warnings that I should "be careful" and "watch yourself." As long as my parents breathe, I will forever be seven years old in their eyes, requiring their warnings and doting parental habits that, I learned long ago, will never be broken, nor do I want them to.

I left them at the airport and drove away, my thoughts already focused back on my own life while they no doubt did the same. My summer is over; no more gofling with my father on the weekends, no more reading on the deck while my mother pokes her head out asking if I want anything to drink, no more of my mother's insistence that I "have something to eat." Returning home is to return to my carefree youth, with my life set on auto-pilot for a short while as my parents shower me with the countless little things that make worries fly out the door and I'm able to relax. Now I'm back to living my life, with my folks half a world away. It leads to a strange lonely feeling, but it quickly passes.

Where did the summer go?

Posted by Ryan at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2002

Paging Dr. Rhodes, You're Needed

Paging Dr. Rhodes, You're Needed for Immediate Suturing

Okay, I'm a wee bit concerned. Someone visited my blog after doing a Google Search on Stop+Bleeding+Mole+Shaving+Cut.

I'm stuck with this horrible vision of some adolescent youth (I'll call him, Scott), new to the realm of puberty, taking a razor over his tender face for the first time in his life to rid himself of the seven errant whiskers that have taking tentative root.

Suddenly, he slices over a large mole that has called his upper left cheek home for the past 14 years. Rudely dislodged without so much as an eviction notice, the mole's severed basement shoots forth a horrifying stream of blood, while the mole itself stays lodged between the first and second blades of Scott's fresh-from-the-box Mach 3 razor.

Terrified, Scott blotches handful after handful of toilet paper against the spewing wound, but to no avail. Feeling woozy from a loss of blood, Scott staggers from the bathroom, trailing blood to his bedroom where he frantically connects to the Internet and does a hurried Google search in a last ditch effort to find some sort of medical procedure to stop the flow of blood and safe his waning life.

His vision blurred by the life force ebbing from his body, Scott clicks on my site, hoping beyond hope that "Rambling Rhodes" is, in fact, a reputable medical establishment that specializes in halting the flow of blood from a freshly slashed mole. Instead, as he drops to his knees, rapidly losing the will to live, he's greeted with a turquoise screen. The last thing Scott reads before forever closing his eyes is, "Yes," he thought. "My grandma still has it."

Hours later, Scott's parents find his lifeless and moleless body on his bedroom floor. The only clue to his ghastly demise is scrawled in blood on the carpet, apparently hurriedly written by Scott himself:

"Rambling Rhodes must die."

Posted by Ryan at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

Cats in Beakers and a

Cats in Beakers and a Warning to Journalists

When did it become standard photography practice that, to visually augment a news article about a cloned cat, it's widely understood that you place a kitten in a beaker? Granted, it's impossibly cute, but really, it's not as if the kitten somehow was mixed in the beaker and then just miraculously coalesced right there in 2000 ML of liquid. Other areas of interest to note in the article include the insanely large cat atop its owner's shoulder and the extremely funny line: Now, they pay a monthly fee to bank Spot's skin cells, and look forward to the day when they may stroke his clone. I could go for a good clone stroking right about now.

The tumultuous ride continues here at IBM eServer Magazine, with the senior editor announcing his resignation, effective Friday, Aug. 23. What does this mean for me? More work for the same pay probably. *grumble, grumble* To any aspiring journalists out there, just let me offer these words of wisdom learned in just four years out of college: Run, do not walk, out of whatever journalism class you may be attending right now and declare a major in something, anything, absolutely anything else. May I suggest post-Inca Peruvian Culture Anthropology or possibly Assistant Crack Whore studies. Just don't do journalism. It's not worth it. Examples of my journalism degree working for me include:

1.) Nine months working as a reporter for the Winona Daily News, otherwise known as severe grunt work, raking in the paltry sum of $6 an hour. You read that right. Poverty anyone? Actually, I envied people living in poverty because they had it so good.

2.) Ten months working as news editor for a weekly newspaper called the Stewartville Star. Duties included reporting on every possible aspect of a 5,000 population city, including the always suspenseful city council and school board meetings. I learned enough about tax increment financing districts and teacher contract negotiations to last me a lifetime, while rolling in just over $11 an hour. Now I could look down at the people living in poverty while still envying those who were merely starving. Plus side? I got to take pictures and develop my own black and white images in a darkroom, which is totally relaxing work. The people I worked with were great, and it was at the Star that I started writing my weekly humor column that continues to this day.

3.) Two years working as a technical editor responsible for editing the content of IBM technical manuals. This was, quite possibly, the Great Poombah of all boring jobs, combing through technical material so involved, Einstein would have suffered a stroke. The trick was to keep sentence structure in mind without absorbing the actual information, while at the same time keeping your hatred of your manager in check just enough so you didn't belt her over the head with your keyboard and toss her down the hall. This girl redefined anal retentiveness, all the way down to her name, Jenifer, with one N. And don't you dare call her Jen, or she'll go off on some rant that can only be deciphered by others of her species. Thankfully, her species no longer exists because they kept eating their own young. Jenifer survived because nothing as foul as her could possibly be ingested. But I digress. Now I was making the big bucks, $15.25 an hour. And then IBM laid me off, and then hired me back a month later at $18 an hour as. . .

4.) News Editor of eServer Magazine, where I've been for about a year. I like this job. I'm good at this job. Jenifer is nowhere near this job. Everyone I work with is nice. Quirky, yes, but nice. I write articles, and I write product news pieces based on new and enhanced products geared toward IBM servers. I'm left largely to myself to get my work done, without the pedantic eye of certain Jenifers looking over my shoulder. I was just starting to remember why journalism was my college choice when this whole shake-up with the magazine started about four months ago. I'll ride it out and see what happens, but things aren't looking good. *gloom*

Posted by Ryan at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2002

"Getting Off on the Wrong

"Getting Off on the Wrong Foot" c. Ryan Rhodes, Nov. 19, 2001

It's generally understood by myself and most of my old high school classmates that I was pretty much considered a geek. I was one of those brainy guys who didn't study but managed to attain the A honor roll any way.

Regardless of the obvious benefits in the real world, being a brainy guy in high school is a guaranteed ticket to being a social pariah. I was accused of "reading the dictionary" and "going through encyclopedias for fun," neither of which were true.

Despite my brainy designation, I was perhaps guilty of doing some of the dumbest things imaginable, which only contributed further to my geeky image and added to the verbal tauntings of my classmates. Perhaps no other act resulted in more mental high school trauma than the time I shot myself in the foot with a B.B. gun. This was a very stupid thing for a brainy guy to do.

My freshman year of school loomed before me, it was the weekend before football practice began, and I was out walking with my Crossman 10 pump air rifle firmly in my grasp. I believed myself to be the blackbird assassin, and with my trusty mutt, Ray, bounding playfully by my side, we were a daunting duo to say the least. I can't really explain the appeal of shooting birds with a B.B. gun, and the thought actually disturbs me today, but at 15 years old, I considered it quality time. My dog, also, seemed to enjoy the outings, although I suspect he was just happy to be outside, where he could empty his bowels without fear of reprisal.

Ray was an enthusiastic rabbit chaser. And, even though he possessed half the speed and one quarter the intelligence of most rabbits, he managed to come close once in awhile, with 20 feet being considered "close." On that particular day, Ray surprised a rabbit, and, judging by the startled yip, himself as well. The two spooked and confused animals started an awkward chase in which Ray actually had the edge, and I absentmindedly lowered my gun just over my left foot to watch the show.

In a surprise move, Ray managed to make contact with the rabbit, and I overreacted to the close call by pulling the trigger, initiating a series of events that ultimately led to a steel ball crashing through my shoe and lodging firmly in the joint of my little toe. And it really kind of hurt. I hobbled hurriedly homeward, where I explained my situation to my father. He gave me a deeply concerned look, which most fathers probably give sons who have committed acts so stupid, they can only be rewarded with deeply concerned looks.

Then, it was off to the hospital, where I was certain there would be a crack team of experts who specialized in the removal of B.B.s from the feet of stupid kids. Much to my surprise, my crack team of experts seemed genuinely unprepared for the task. They took a series of x-rays, which proved what I already knew, namely that there was a metal ball lodged in my foot. I was, however, surprised at just how well a B.B. showed up in an x-ray. You may be curious as to how long it takes a crack team of experts to remove a B.B. from a foot. The answer, in my case, was four hours.

For four agonizing hours, a doctor, whom I was convinced obtained his medical license from a box of Lucky Charms, dug unsuccessfully in my foot using a glorified tweezers. They brought in a special x-ray television monitor, which they used to navigate to the metal orb that they consistently couldn't remove. Finally, just as I was about to demand that they leave my foot alone, Dr. Mengele freed the ball from my toe and held it triumphantly for all to see. Then he threw it away. I was sewn up, given a pair of crutches, and sent on my merry little way.

Unfortunately, my crack team of experts didn't offer any advice as to how I should tell my classmates what I had done come Monday morning and the first day of football practice. Initially, as I crutched my way into the locker room, every face was etched with concern. That concern gave way to boisterous laughter after I told them what happened.

I think I told the same story roughly 50 times that day, mostly to people who didn't believe me the first 49 times. On that fateful day, I spiraled forever into the realm of geekdom, never to emerge. I was no longer one of the brainy guys. I was that brainy guy who shot himself in the foot with a B.B. gun. Even the other brainy guys shunned me.

I guess I should blame myself for the whole incident, but I find that it's easier to blame Ray for almost catching that rabbit.

Stupid dog.

Posted by Ryan at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2002



Posted by Ryan at 03:33 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2002

"The Ryan Rhodes Shopping Experience"

"The Ryan Rhodes Shopping Experience" c. Ryan Rhodes, April 25, 2001

I went grocery shopping at Rainbow Foods last week, and although the overall outcome was typical of my shopping prowess, the end result was still no less perplexing. In short, after spending 45 minutes, and $70, I found myself without anything to eat, or at least nothing that would constitute a meal.

As I stood in my kitchen, staring blankly into my spacious refrigerator that had very little in it, I replayed in my mind my recent shopping experience. Here, then, is a stream of consciousness explanation of how I routinely end up spending a lot of money on relatively no groceries:

Man I hate grocery shopping. It seems that every time I come here I end up spending all sorts of money on absolutely nothing. Why didn't the automatic door open? Oh, that's the exit. I should maybe try the Enter door. There we go. Automatic doors have sure taken all the work out of pushing and pulling my way into buildings. That used to be such a chore. Hmmm. Do I want a cart or a basket? I need a lot of groceries, so I should probably get a cart. But a cart is so unmanly. It's so much more manly to carry a basket. Cart or basket? Cart or basket? Whoa! Who is that attractive girl? She's going for a cart. I'll grab one for her just to be nice, and of course to ogle her a while longer.

ME: "Here, let me get that for you."


Well, that clinches it; now I have to get a cart or it will look like I just hover around handing out carts to women all day. Let's see, I suppose I should make my way through the fruit and vegetable aisle. I don't know why I bother. I can never buy anything that doesn't have a shelf life of over three weeks. That reminds me, I have to throw away that bag of iceberg lettuce I bought a month ago. It's starting to look brown and soggy. Brown and soggy? That reminds me, I have to do laundry this weekend. Let's see, I need some sort of food. I don't know why people waste their time making out grocery lists. I know exactly what I need. It's all in my head.

Oooohh, I need hot sauce. But I already have five bottles at home. So what, I can never have too much hot sauce. Don't forget to buy a bottle of ranch dressing. But, I already have four bottles of ranch dressing, and all my lettuce is brown and soggy, and I have to do laundry. Well, I suppose one more bottle won't hurt. Hey, I should really buy some salsa. What goes good with salsa? What doesn't go good with salsa? Good point. I'll buy some salsa. Note to self: look for things that go good with salsa. Hey, now I'm getting to the good stuff. I need like eight boxes of macaroni and cheese and five boxes of hamburger helper. Well, don't forget to buy hamburger and milk then. Note to self: buy milk and hamburger. It's all in my head.

I wonder if macaroni and cheese goes good with salsa. I'll have to try that. I'll call it Salsaroni. No, that would be stupid. Ah, the soup section; my one stop quick meal section for soup and sandwiches. That reminds me, I should go back and pick up some bread and sandwich meat. Right. I'll make a mental note of that. It's all in my head.

Hey, that good looking girl just rounded the corner and she's checking out the soup too. We have something in common. She just dropped her shopping list. I'll pick it up for her.

ME: "Here, let me get that for you."


I wonder if she noticed that I'm smoking hot. Let's see, I'm in the chips and snack section. Do I need any chips or snacks? Chips. What goes good with chips? Chips and what? Chips and what? Well, I probably don't need any chips. I can always come back if I decide I want chips. It's all in my head.

I should really swing back and get that bread now. I'll get two loaves. You can never have too much bread. I wonder what the weather is going to be like this weekend. Let's see, cleaning supplies. Do I need any cleaning supplies. Yes, I need some sort of shower cleaner because. . . well, it just really needs to be cleaned. And toilet cleaner because. . . well, it just really, really, really needs to be cleaned. Whoops, my cart is blocking the aisle and someone wants to get by. Oh, it's that really good looking girl again.

ME: "Here, let me get that out of the way for you."


I should have said more to her, but here I am clinging to a bottle of toilet cleaner. What was I going to say, "My name is Ryan and I'm going to clean my dirty toilet tonight. And your name is?" Don't forget to buy milk, and lunch meat, and cheese, and hamburger, and something that goes with salsa. It's all in my head.

Hey, I need something quick to eat tonight. Pizza. I can never go wrong with pizza. Let's see, this pizza has five servings with 30 percent fat per serving. So, I just won't eat tomorrow. Or the next day. Well, that should do it. I guess I can head to the checkout line. I'm sure I've forgotten to buy something. Oh well, if that's the case, I can always come back. I'm really good at remembering things I need.

It's all in my head.

Posted by Ryan at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2002

Droopy Eyes and a Long

Droopy Eyes and a Long Work Day Ahead

I wonder when it was that I became unable to endure consecutive days of late nights and early mornings. When I first left for the adventure that was college, I could function on 2 hours of sleep and still manage a daily eight hour class load, go for a five mile run, play a pick-up game of touch football, play video games in the student center, watch television until 2 a.m., study for three hours, and repeat the process; with drinking and partying thrown into the mix on the weekends. I never though twice about it. I was Slumberless Man, and I was really good at it.

This weekend, I went to bed at 3 a.m. on Saturday (up at 9 a.m.), 2:30 a.m. Sunday (up at 10 a.m.), and 2 a.m. on Monday (up at 8 a.m.), and now I feel like absolute shit. Granted, I had fun each night, and I wouldn't go back and exchange my activities for others, but why do I need so much sleep? At 27, I refuse to say I'm getting old. Anyway. . .

A major part of my exhaustion is likely due to the fact that I golfed for 5 hours yesterday, ran five miles, and then went swimming for two and a half hours, all on the energy provided by a medium fries and five chicken tenders at Burger King. Just for the record, chicken tenders are not tender, and there's some real question as to whether they're actually chicken. These things were so rubbery they acted as some sort of dental trampoline. *boing* *boing* *boing*

I said my goodbyes to my parents on Saturday. They're heading back to Tokyo next weekend and I'll be unable to see them off because I'll be at a friend's wedding. There's something strangely depressing each year I bid farewell to my mother and father as they go back overseas to teach, leaving me grounded in Minnesota, dreaming of the day when I have enough "work experience" built up that I can find employment in an exotic country. I envy them and their jetsetting lifestyle, especially when I'm hit with the realization that my Monday will now consist of sitting in an IBM office writing a magazine article about iSeries selling strategies among independent software vendors. PU.

On the other hand, the IBM menu today consists of pork stir fry and an egg roll. That's pretty exotic.

Isn't it?

Posted by Ryan at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2002

Broken toilet and Random Thinks

Broken toilet and Random Thinks

So, the roomie/landlord called a plumber to check out why my toilet wasn't flushing properly. The plumber, whose job it is to plumb, correctly deduced what I've known for well over a month. Namely, my toilet won't flush all the way down. He then discovered something else I've known for well over a month. Namely, if you pour two gallons of water into the tank while you flush, the toilet will flush entirely. Diagnosis? Broken toilet. He didn't say exactly what was broken, mind you, he just said the toilet was broken and left it at that. So, the roomie/landlord is going toilet shopping this weekend. I feel bad for her, because toilet shopping always strikes me as being a tad embarrasing.

CLERK: Can I help you find anything?

ROOMIE/LANDLORD: I need a toilet.

CLERK: Towards the back of the store, and take a right.

ROOMIE/LANDLORD: No, no. I need a toilet for my house. You see, my roommate has a broken toilet and he needs to pour two gallons of water into his toilet any time he flushes and. . .

CLERK: Security!!

I realize that the toilet broke due to the everyday wear and tear that toilets are subjected to, and I know that my use of the toilet over the past year probably has little to do with its current state. Still, I like to think that the toilet broke because of my defecatory prowess. That makes me strangely proud.

After a brief period of withdrawal, I have relocated the brilliance that is Plain Layne. For those not familiar with her blog, I highly suggest a visit. She dabbles in "geek work," but her true talent lies in her writing ability. She's been offline for a few days, but she's back and I'm much relieved. Welcome back Layne.

Due to an unfortunate entanglement of circumstances, my officemate is slated to be axed at the end of the month. IBM's eServer Magazine is in a transitional state that apparently does not include a future for her. This bums me out and also reminds me how tenuous my own grasp is on the ledge that is IBM employment. I shall miss our mindless daily banter about everything from The Sims, to Mystery Science Theater 3000, to our fantasy worlds of the evil Slenlor and the righteous Chinsnub. Mostly, I'm dreading being in this office all alone, forced to actually complete work for a change. *gloom*

For some reason, I realized earlier this week that I didn't remember putting on new license tabs yet this year. So, I pulled into the driveway, ambled out of my car, and looked at my current license tabs. They expired in May. Humph. That's not good. So, after a few calls, I found out where the nearest local license bureau is and drove my way gingerly to the office, lest I break a traffic law and expose an officer to my woefully outdated tabs. I made it without incident and asked the bubbly clerk for new tabs. She toddled over to the computer, entered my information, and said, "So, which car do you want tabs for?"

Which car? I wasn't aware that I had more than one. She said I was registered with a '96 Cadillac and an '89 Cavalier. Well, I'll be a monkey's distant cousin, twice removed. I sold my Cavalier two years ago to a friend of mine, Marc, for $80 and a case of beer. Marc then built a makeshift racetrack around his yard and raced my old car brutally around it daily, as if he was somehow beating me up through my former vehicle. Eventually, he drove the car into the ground and had to have it towed away for scrap. As far as I know, the Cavalier is now a crushed cube sitting forlornly in some Iowa junkyard. At any rate, despite his assurances, Marc apparently never got around to transferring the title from my name to his. So, on paper anyway, I'm the proud owner of a '96 Cadillac Eldorado and an '89 Chevy Cavalier cube. Again, this makes me strangely proud. I should buy a whole bunch of junky cars just so the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles has me listed as an owner of over 20 cars. That would be so cool.

And, finally, I see that somebody came to my site after doing a Google search on "Pictures+of+an+80+Year+Old+Man's+Penis." Sometimes you really have to question whether the Internet is all it's cracked up to be.

Posted by Ryan at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2002

"What I Believe" c. Ryan

"What I Believe" c. Ryan Rhodes, June 13, 2001

I believe that I'm a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness.
I believe that my definition of "smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness" may differ considerably from the rest of the American population.
I believe that this population is rapidly becoming a society of victims.
I believe that if you spill hot coffee on your lap at a drive-thru, you are not entitled to a multi-million dollar settlement. Rather, I believe you should admit you're a clumsy
doofus and drive away with hot coffee in your lap.
I believe in holding doors open for people when I get the chance.
I believe that some people take way too long to walk through doors when somebody is holding them open.
I believe that Bill Gates is an incredibly shrewd capitalistic businessman.
I believe that Microsoft products should be a lot more reliable given how incredibly shrewd Bill Gates is.
I believe that, if it were not for fast food establishments, I would have died eight years ago.
I believe that, thanks to fast food establishments, I'll probably die eight years from now.
I believe it is far more valuable to have a small number of friends who will go out of their way to help me than to have a large group of friends who make excuses.
I believe that, far too often, I may be the friend who makes excuses.
I believe that the best way to keep a part of my friends with me forever is to attempt to enjoy their music, their books, and their food.
I believe that many of my friends have horrible taste in music, books, and food.
I believe that guns do, indeed, kill people.
I believe that knives kill people too, it's just harder to do from 10 or more feet away.
I believe in running and doing other daily exercise because I believe my body truly is a temple.
I believe I maintain one of the hairiest temples on the planet.
I believe I was at my most unproductive in college.
I believe I had the most fun in my life when I was in college.
I believe I've been hurt in relationships and have hurt others in relationships more times than I care to remember.
I believe I'm due to be hurt in relationships and hurt others in relationships more times than I care to imagine.
I believe that 65 percent of all questions in a potential romance can be answered during the first kiss.
I believe that two-thirds of all my first kisses have been good if not great.
I believe that, for the remaining one-third of my first kisses, I would have been better off kissing a ceiling fan set on high.
I believe that getting punched in the gut is an incredibly painful experience.
I believe I would like to meet the two people who punched me in the gut and punch them in the gut.
I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow just as brilliantly as it has for billions of years.
I believe I'll greet tomorrow's brilliant sunrise by covering my eyes with a pillow to catch just a few more minutes of sleep.
I believe the best things on television, in order, are The West Wing, The Simpsons, The National Geographic Channel, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and
Comedy Central.
I believe everybody who watches reality-based TV shows should get out and ride a bike, go walking, or engage in conversation with friends and/or family.
I believe cell phones are a wonderful invention that can be incredibly useful in today's fast-moving society.
I believe anybody who brings a cell phone along on a date should have hot coffee poured on his or her lap, preferably by his or her date.
I believe that waiters and waitresses have tough and often thankless jobs and people who don't treat them with respect are not nice people.
I believe that many restaurants hire sub-standard waiters and waitresses.
I believe in sleeping late on weekends, love at first sight, running in the rain, dancing as if no one is watching, and taking the time to talk to people who take the time to talk to me.
Finally, I believe that everyone should take the time to seriously think about what they believe.

Posted by Ryan at 01:44 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2002

A Superior Writer, Well, This

A Superior Writer, Well, This Time

Ryan says: Didja read me blog lately? I see you've been slacking.
Jen says: I read it, yes. I even blogged meself.
Jen says: Slacker
Ryan says: Except for Unwelcome Daydreams.
Jen says: yup.
Ryan says: Hmmmm, sounds like you read mine first, and then wrote yours. Plagiarism perhaps?
Ryan says: Truth be told. . . Caution, a compliment is on the horizon, don your protective goggles: your prose is brilliant.
Jen says: you and Lileks, yes. but I did have flashes of fall while I was working.
Jen says: huh
Jen says: ?
Ryan says: I loved your descriptive writing. Very nice.
Jen says: wow, thank you.
Ryan says: Yeah, note the praise now, because tomorrow we're back to derision.
Jen says: good, I'm more comfortable with that.
Ryan says: I figured as much. Plus, I have a new tooth, so my enlarged ego may prevent me from entering the office. You may have to bring my keyboard, mouse and monitor out into the hall.
Jen says: ha!
Jen says: I will do no such thing.
Jen says: You'll just have to squeeze it through the door somehow.
Ryan says: Mmmmmm, slivered talons of winter. Quite true. I'm envisioning an ice-crusted eagle, rasping at the Prometheus of summer.
Jen says: oooh.
Jen says: that's quite good.
Ryan says: Should you stop blogging, you shall be denying yourself a very valuable writing tool.
Jen says: yeah, it sorta forces me to write.
Ryan says: As you can see, I've jumped into my previous incarnation of a proper speaking 18th century Brit.
Jen says: You were Oscar Wilde in a past life?
Ryan says: Oscar Wilde in a past life, yes. Oscar the Grouch in my present one.
Jen says: *chuckles*
Jen says: nice one.
Ryan says: Hate to admit it, but I'm still chuckling.

Posted by Ryan at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2002

A New Spin On Layoffs

A New Spin On Layoffs

Additional Offices Open Up Throughout IBM Rochester Site

ROCHESTER, Minn. (RHODES MEDIA SERVICES) Aug. 6 -- IBM today announced a major initiative to free up office space throughout their Rochester facilities, a move that could, at the end of the month, provide as many as 80 vacant offices.

Called the "Office Reclimation Initiative," the sweeping change will ensure an airy and empty atmosphere within IBM, while creating valuable storage space for unused computers, chairs, desks, phones and other items that have lain dormant since the company discovered it could no longer afford to man the items with the appropriate personnel.

IBM steadfastly denies that its new office reclimation program is, in fact, a substantial layoff, despite the exodus of over 200 people who had to forfeit their jobs so that IBM could make use of their valuable office space.

"Well, yeah, it's definitely going to be hard to keep my head above water financially," said Clyde Shipton, a former software engineer. "But, really, they seemed to be very anxious to free up that office and start moving desks and stuff in there. I think it's all for the best so long as IBM has room to maneuver."

Those employees not ejected from their valuable offices felt relief, but they were also nervous that IBM could come around again in a few weeks and ask for additional office space. Said one frazzled IBM employee who wished to remain anonymous, "who knew our offices were worth their weight in gold? My office is really big, so it could definitely be next."

"Wheeeeeee!" said newly annointed IBM CEO Sam Palmisano as he spun in a chair in one of the newly vacated offices. "Wheeeeeee! Oh, man, now I'm all dizzy, but what fun! This is the type of valuable use we can get out of these offices now that they're devoid of hard-working employees. This is truly the most important program IBM has ever undertaken. Now, if you'll excuse me. Wheeeeeeee!"

Posted by Ryan at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2002

What the F---? It's August

What the F---? It's August Already?

Here in Minnesota (motto: What Kind of Crazy Ass weather Is This?), the residents, or at least the resident known as me, value the summer season like a salvaged chest of Spanish doubloons. I revel in the warmth of a waning summer day, and I genuinely believe there is no place quite as pleasant as Minnesota in summer.

But summer has an irritating way of not lasting all that damned long: three months, tops, of glorious weather, and then begins the descent into fall, that harbinger season that teases you with warm days interspersed with cool, wet, unpleasant ones. Then, BAM!, it's winter, and Minnesota winters SUCK ASS.

So here I am, face to face with the disheartening reality that my coveted summer is 2/3 over. Perhaps most maddening is that I didn't do all the wonderful things I planned on doing this summer. No camping trips, no canoe trips, no late nights with friends sitting around a campfire, drinking beer and forgetting just for an evening that we have bills and jobs and relationships and any of the other multitudinous concerns of daily life.

Granted, I've had a fine summer, complete with grilling out, many rounds of golf, sitting on the deck late in the afternoon reading until swarms of insects arrive, intent on completely exsanguinating me. I really have nothing to complain about when I really think about it, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't find at least something to complain about.

So, how shall I approach this, the final month of true summer for 2002? There's a wedding to attend next week which will require a lengthy commute to Madison, Wis., and I've swindled a friend of mine to go with me to alleviate the boredom. She seems actually excited about going, which just makes no sense whatsoever, until you take into account that the last wedding I went to ended in the arrest of two groomsmen, and the wedding before that I busted my chin open on the dance floor doing "the worm" and required seven stitches. So, she's going mostly to see something bizarre happen to me. What a friend.

I still intend to go camping, and the same goes for a canoe trip or two, but my summer weekends are numbered, and they are all the more fleeting with each passing year. Perhaps I should stop trying to plan things to do and just do things as they present themselves. That's probably best.

Still, where the hell did my summer go?

It went the way of Catalina Cruz. Catalina Cruz is hot. Cataline Cruz has big breasts. Catalina Cruz is smoking. Catalina Cruz makes me happy.

Thank You, Big Boy. Thank You

About a year ago, I read the book "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris. Hysterical stuff throughout, but one chapter in particular had me convulsing and uncontrollably in tears. This was drop-your-shorts-and-defecate funny; side-splitting-pee-on-your-uncle funny; vomit-on-the-carpet-and-eat-it-with-chopsticks funny. In other words, it was funny. And I found it online, and I read it again, and it's STILL roll-naked-on-a-floor-covered-in-tacks funny. And it made me laugh despite my August woes.

Remember, this is dry-hump-the-couch-cushions funny.

Posted by Ryan at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2002

At Least My Watch Won't

At Least My Watch Won't Drown

I made a maddening discovery late Tuesday afternoon. My wristwatch of three years had apparently given up its will for tickdom and it had died there on my desk: time of death, 6:16 p.m. Even a new battery could not resuscitate its beleagured ticker. So, with a heavy heart, I tossed it in the trash with the previous night's pizza crust and set out to purchase a new chronometer to adorn my metacarpal and radius/ulna intersection.

I was off to Wal-mart, that Mecca of all things cheap yet strangely stylish, and my eyes fell upon a near replica of my previous watch, without the digital date readout I had grown to depend on so when writing checks. It's a nice piece of $60 wristwatch technology, a Timex Indiglo with pseudo-gold trim encircling its face. In fact, if you look really close, you can actually see the time of day.

What I have never been able to understand about watches, however, is the advertised depth to which they can descend before their structural integrity is compromised. My new watch, for example, is water resistant up to 50 meters. Now, I can barely dive twenty feet before the pressure in my ears makes me feel as if my brain is being smooshed in a wine press, so I can't possibly fathom taking my watch to a depth of 50 meters just to see if it will spring a leak.

I can just imagine driving along the Mississippi, when suddenly I see a busload of soccer players go careening off the road and into the murky depths of the mighty Miss. Thinking fast, I pull over and go running to save as many people as I possibly can. But, no! I'll have to leave my watch on the bank, lest the bus exceed the watch's 50 meter depth restriction.

And what, I wonder, actually happens when the watch, heaven forbid, comes to rest at a depth of 51 meters? Does it cough and sputter and leak mercury battery toxins? Does it suddenly implode and become a tangled mess of unrecognizable metal?

Seriously, if a steel watch can't function beyond 50 meters, what the hell chance do I have?

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 04:44 PM | Comments (0)
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