October 31, 2004

Credit Cards and a Scary Election

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.

Scary Election

Melissa and I carved these late Saturday night.


Posted by Ryan at 06:38 PM | Comments (3)

October 29, 2004


Holy crap.

Best quote: I sensed there was a problem on the other end of the 911 call, said dispatcher Jenny Buchanan. The dog was too persistent in barking directly into the phone receiver. I knew she was trying to tell me something.

Posted by Ryan at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)

Pet Peeves

I'm not what you would call an ideal candidate for pet ownership. My track record with pets is spotty at best, demonic at worst, and mildly evil in between.
It's not my fault, really. It's just that the two dogs my family owned while I was growing up came into the family fold while I was. . . er, growing up. As such, my brother and I often didn’t understand the fine line between "playing with the dog" and "teasing the dog into insanity."

The first dog we owned was a German Schnauzer named Max; which, by the time my brother and I were done with it, may just as well have been named Hitler. Except that Max was even crazier than Hitler. Max, although a small dog overall, was graced with the strongest jaws in the world. Even sharks would have been hard-pressed to match the sheer chomping power of Max.

In addition to gnashing our couch, the drapes and several book bags to tiny little bits, Max also developed a taste for human ankle. Our entire neighborhood, and quite probably most of the town, lived in fear of our family pet. Everyone knew that, if you were to enter the Rhodes home, there was a 70 percent chance you'd be bit on the ankle, a 100 percent chance that it would hurt really bad, and a 98 percent chance it would bleed. Therefore, there were very few visitors to our house during Max's tenure.

Our next foray into pet ownership was a mutt we named Ray. Ray was a mix of many, many breeds: there was obviously a little terrier blood in him, as well as possibly some beagle blood. But, the overriding genetic trait that coursed through Ray's blood was a heavy helping of "stupid." Ray was a very, very stupid dog and, although he lacked the vise grip-like jaws of Max, he possessed twice the angry enthusiasm, in thanks primarily to the fine teasing tutelage of my brother and me.

Once again, the Rhodes family was known by pretty much everyone as the people who owned the smallest, yet meanest dog in town. Unlike Max, Ray didn't specialize in biting any one body part. If there's one positive quality about Ray, it was that he didn't discriminate when it came to biting body parts. Everything was fair game to Ray. He once bit my good friend, Joe, in the groin which, as you might imagine, didn't go over to well with Joe. Ray bit me in the face once, and he bit Jody (now my sister-in-law) on the hand. Ray could bite with a surgical precision that would leave most doctors in dumbfounded awe.

Given my less-than-stellar history with pets, it came as a shock to me to find that, about four weeks ago, I allowed two kittens to come live in my home. I can assure you that the idea of housing two kittens was not mine; it was my girlfriend's.

Originally, I started talking about getting a cat because my girlfriend brought it up and, because I was trying to watch TV at the time, I absentmindedly agreed to think about it. After awhile of not thinking about it, my girlfriend asked me if I had thought about it, at which point I lied and said "yes, I've thought about it."
All of which led to, invariably, me agreeing to get a cat. I figured that getting one cat wouldn't be a big deal. As pets go, cats are fairly self-sufficient, which means I wouldn't have to care too much about a cat strolling around the house.

Then, my girlfriend's sister's cat had to go and mess everything up by getting pregnant. Suddenly, there was a whole litter of kittens to choose from and, if there's one thing I've learned about women, they simply can NOT choose just one baby ANYTHING. Therefore, I found myself engaging in deep discussions with my girlfriend about the pros and cons of owning TWO kittens.

GIRLFRIEND PRO: They can be friends, and they won't get bored when you're away from the house for a couple of days.

RYAN RHODES CON: Yeah, but that's still TWO CATS.

GIRLFRIEND PRO: If you don't get two cats, I'll be sad, and I'll probably cry.

So, now I have two cats running around the house. And, I have to admit, they are cute, in a scratch-my-fingers-into-oblivion sort of way, and they do, indeed, appear to be friends that can get along just fine when I have to be gone for a couple of days or so.

Of course, seeing as how I have a reputation to uphold, I now have to tease both cats into such a deranged state, they're feared everywhere within a 70 mile radius.

It's tradition.

Posted by Ryan at 01:08 PM | Comments (3)

Crazy Croats

Caroline says: There are so many things wrong with this story: http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/10/29/croatia.sexvideo.reut/index.html

Caroline says: "Top Croatian pop star"? Are there that many?

Ryan says: Oh sure. You've no doubt heard of the "Crooning Croats?"

Caroline says: Hmmm, I don't think I have.

Ryan says: Oh, they're wildly popular.

Caroline says: What have they sung?

Ryan says: "Please Don't Let My Airplane Croatia"

Caroline says: ugh

Ryan says: Admit it. You smiled.

Caroline says: I gagged.

Ryan says: But you were smiling while gagging.

Caroline says: impossible

Ryan says: I could give you something else to gag on.

Caroline says: That nasty lunch you were eating?

Ryan says: But, you probably don't want to sniff my shoe.

Posted by Ryan at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2004


I'm sorry. I realize the content of this blog has been sucky as of late. Work has taken precedence for a change, since I have several articles with looming deadlines that must be written yesterday. I promise to provide more humorous content sometime in the near future.

Posted by Ryan at 10:03 AM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2004

It Makes The Brain Hurt, It Does

How can you tell if your local daily newspaper is staffed by complete dorks?

When you see a photo caption like this:


Do they even HAVE editors?

Posted by Ryan at 04:03 PM | Comments (1)

October 25, 2004

Religious Ramblings

I'm not a particularly religious guy. I have a fair, but by no means extensive, understanding of the history behind most of the world's religions. Generally speaking, however, I've never been an active participant in any particular belief.

I was brought up, loosely speaking, as a Unitarian, which is the religious equivalent of a buffet table: you take what you want, but you're not required to eat everything you take. You pretty much are allowed to believe what you want, so long as you acquiesce that, yes, there's probably a powerful being that's larger than ourselves who certainly crafted this reality in which we find ourselves. Whether He or She takes an active role in the day-to-day machinations of His/Her creation? Well, that's kind of up to you to decide. As religions go, Unitarian belief is pretty darned flexible.

My mother was brought up a Catholic, in the strictest sense of the word. As such, she couldn't wait to get out from under the heavy weight of sin, sin, SIN that is one of Catholicisms hallmarks. She decided well before I was an itch in dad's pants that any child of hers' would not be force-fed any religion. She read to me at bedtime, occasionally, from a child-friendly version of the Bible (new and old testament), and she made sure I knew the Lord's prayer, but that was pretty much the extent of her religious training for me. Typically, I wanted her to read Dr. Doolittle and the Pirates instead, so my familiarity with the Bible was flimsy at best.

As for my father, well, he's from the school of thought that, once you're dead. . . you're dead. Light's out. Kaput. You're done. Worm food. No extra points. No endzone dance. No bright tunnel. Just dead.

In other words, I had some conflicting messages coming at me regarding religion as I was growing up. But, there was one thing that I've always believed, and that's that there most assuredly is a God. Whatever that God is, I'm not sure. Whether God's a woman or a man, or a burning bush, or a booming voice on a mountain top handing out stone tablets, or that crazy man on the street yelling that sunbeams are actually miniature robots sent to eat our brains. . . well, it's all possible.

For me, the brilliantly complex simplicity of the universe, with all its secrets and everyday miracles is just too nearly perfect to have happened by accident. Science can tell me that the universe is ruled by the laws of physics, but I have to wonder who put those laws in place in the first place. Science can uncover all the physical laws imaginable, from quantum physics to plain old Newtonian physics, and that would be great, but they still likely couldn't tell me, with any degree of satisfaction, how the heck all those equations and formulas originally came into being.

So, I pray. I'm not particularly good about praying. I'll miss an evening or two, depending on how engrossed I get into a given computer game or softcore program on Cinemax, but I do try to pray when I remember. And, I have a standard issue prayer that I use that has been gradually taking shape since I was about 10 years old. I thank God for everything I have, and I God bless the appropriate litany of people who are important to me, and I ask for the same stuff: long life for me and family and friends and a better understanding of the world and my place in it. Pretty tame stuff, but it makes me feel good, a little bit more secure, and a little bit less lonely.

All of which is a long-winded segue into this little bit of stupidity uttered by one silvery-maned windbag known as Bill Maher:

To me, to me it's a real dividing line between people of intelligence and – not that there haven't been some intelligent people who are religious. I mean, T.S. Elliott was a great poet and he became a very devout Catholic… But I always call religion a neurological disorder. I really do believe that. I mean it's not criticizing. I'm just saying if you took religion out of it and somebody went to a psychiatrist and said you know I believe in you know this crazy, illogical thing, the shrink would say, well you have a neurological disorder. And you need to really get therapy or take a pill.

Did you get that? Maher isn't criticizing, he's JUST SAYING. He's JUST SAYING that myself and the vast majority of the world's population suffer from a collective neurological disorder. Gee, thanks Bill. Apparently, Maher is uniquely enlightened to the point that he's immune to this scourge of this religious neurological disorder. How does he do it? Does he take extra vitamin C?

I also like how he calls religion a "crazy, illogical thing." When I engage people on a theological debate, nine times out of ten they'll throw out the "religion is illogical" riposte, as if they're about to grow pointy ears and utter a Vulcan greeting with their hand extended in the familiar Vulcan "V" salute.

The thing about the "religion is illogical" that gets me is that people can spout off that religious belief is illogical while at the same time totally ignore so much else about human beings that is illogical. Love, for example, is probably one of the most illogical human traits we've been dealt. Someone will tell me that belief in God is illogical and I'll ask "Do you love your child?" or "Do you love your parents?" or "Do you love your friends?" and I'll invariably get a blank stare because "Of COURSE I love them."

"Would you run into a burning building to save your child?"

"Yes! Yes I would! Absolutely!"

"But why? It's illogical for you to love someone so deeply that you'd run into a burning building to save them. It flies into the face of all the rules of self-preservation and common sense."

Obviously, I'm playing devil's advocate when I put forth such an argument, because I'd fight off a grizzly bear if it were threatening someone I love. I'd lose the fight, mind you, but I'd be sure to get in a good groin kick.

The point is, there's a lot of illogical human behavior that we ALL dabble in, so to single out religious belief as a neurological disorder because it SEEMS illogical is quite possibly the weakest single argument against religion that you can trot out, yet Maher lobbed it up for all the reading world to see. Excuse me while I whack that one out of the park there, Bill.

The thing that rankles me about squishy-headed wonks like Maher is their inability to even acknowledge their own raging hypocrisy. They'll rail against religion as an illogical crutch of the un-intelligent, and then they'll shuffle on up to pray at their own personal alter of politics. They've simply substituted one brand of worship for another. And really, politics is far less satisfying than any other faith, in my most humble opinion. Think about it; would you rather pray to an all-powerful being for long life for you and your family, or to a Washington bureacrat for tax increases and a balanced budget? Your call, I guess.

And I'm certainly not saying that all religious belief is a good and wise thing. The Falwells and the Pat Robertsons of the world are quite obviously good examples of religious belief taken to unhealthy extremes. And, obviously, there are some certain individuals in the Middle East currently strapped with explosive belts that have been drinking too deeply from an unhealthy religious doctrine.

You can choose to believe in a given faith, or you can choose not to. It's entirely up to you. But, if you choose not to, you're still putting faith in your beliefs, which sounds suspiciously like, you know. . . a religion.

So, anyway you slice it, Bill Maher thinks you're suffering from a illogical neurological disorder.

And doesn't that just piss you right off?

Posted by Ryan at 01:40 PM | Comments (15)

Who Are We?

Evelyn says: Is Andrea in the office?

Ryan says: Not right now, no.

Evelyn says: Hmm. We're supposed to be meeting right now.

Ryan says: We? As in me?

Evelyn says: no

Evelyn says: Andrea and I

Ryan says: Oh. We as in she.

Evelyn says: something like that

Ryan says: Sooo, when you say "we" you actually mean "she" and not "me."

Ryan says: Which is an important distinction, because "me" and "she" aren't "we."

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

Take A Picture, It Will Last Longer

Over the weekend, my good friend got married. I never thought I'd see the day, but on Saturday afternoon, I saw the day.

Troy asked me to be the wedding photographer, which, well. . . it's one of those things.

In college I took a few photography classes, since that was a requirement for aspiring journalists. The classes dealt primarily with black and white film, which I learned to develop and enlarge and all that happy horse crap. It wasn't all that boring or anything. In fact, it was kind of relaxing. I'd go out and take all sorts of pictures, and then I'd spend roughly 897 hours in the campus dark room developing film.

Well, Troy, being my college roommate, apparently remembered that I took a few photography classes, so he asked me to be the photographer for his wedding. You know, because I'm cheaper, in that I work for free.

Thing is, I don't really have the equipment that actual wedding photographers have at their disposal. My equipment consists of a Canon camera that my parents bought sometime in the late 1970s. It's a beat up piece of hardware that got me through five years of college and two years of newspaper work, as well as countless hours of recreational picture snapping.

The lighting in the church was not well-suited to photography. It was just dark enough to keep my light meter guessing, so I had to rely on my flash with maddening regularity. And, as any photographer knows, relying on a flash is a dangerous habit to get into.

So, now here I sit, with six rolls of film, unsure whether any of the pictures I took of my good friend's wedding will even remotely turn out. I'm absolutely dreading bringing them in to get developed.

Perhaps David Grenier has some advice?

Posted by Ryan at 10:31 AM | Comments (10)

October 20, 2004

Oh. My. Goodness.


Posted by Ryan at 02:09 PM | Comments (2)

Oh, Canada

I returned from Toronto last night, where I'd been since Saturday afternoon. It was all business-related, of course, which meant that the percentage of fun I actually had was pretty minimal. Still, having never been to Toronto before, I had some memorable moments.

First and foremost, our company party Saturday night was the most memorable, primarily because it took place in the Horizons Restaurant, located way up high in the CN Tower. There's something about being that high in the air that just makes you think "Gee, I'm really up high in the air."

In the observation deck of the CN Tower, you can walk over glass tiles, which some people do, and some people cower in the corner in tears unwilling to do so. I was fine when I simply walked over the glass tiles. No problem. It was when I stood over one of the transparent sheets and looked down for a few seconds that the survival instincts in me started getting all twitchy. It's funny, because your mind can brush everything away and be totally assured that it's safe, yet there's some primeval scream that yell "This isn't right! Step away from the glass!"

The Canadian currency, also, gave me no end of headaches, and not only because it's not worth as much as the US dollar. Canadian paper money looks like Monopoly money, plain and simple. I'm sure plenty of other people have made this connection, but COME ON!



I haven't seen that much color since I broke open my Crayola markers when I was 12.

But, it's the coins that took even more time to get used to. Here in the United States, we stubborn Americans simply refuse to adopt anything that even resembles a one dollar coin. We just won't have it. Oh, sure, we'll get the occasional one dollar coin in circulation once and awhile, and we'll be intrigued by it for awhile, but generally when we see stuff like this:


Or this:


Oh, but not those Canadians. They LOVE their metal currency. Not only do they have their beloved dollar coin (which, by the way, inspired the gold tint to the U.S.'s latest failed attempt at a dollar coin):


Those Canadians love their dollar coins so much, in fact, they went and started striking. . . wait for it. . . TWO DOLLAR COINS:


But, it gets even better. Thanks to the unexpected longevity of England's beloved queen mother, Elizabeth II, the Canadian government finally went and realized that the good queen doesn't quite look like this any more. So, they went and updated her profile. So, there she is, Elizabeth II, looking decidedly older and, strangely, sans crown. At this rate, when she does finally go to that great big throne room in the sky, Canada will update their currency to show her lying in a casket, followed a couple years later with the profile of a dessicated corpse. Hey, they have to stay current. This is CURREN-cy, after all.

Toronto itself offered a great overall experience. There was no end of things to do, and practically every restaurant offered the most tongue-drippingly wonderful foods imaginable, with an ethnic variety that left me on the street corner wondering just where the heck I should even begin considering eating. Should I do Indian? Italian? French? It was awesome. Seriously awesome.

But, politics, as it so often does, eventually reared its ugly head. While I was on the toilet, no less. I had slipped away from the conference expo floor so that I may relieve my bowels. Now, keep in mind, I don't normally get the majority of my public discourse from reading the etchings on toilet stall walls, but I just didn't have anything else to do between loaf pinches, so I started perusing my surroundings.

There, on the stall door, scribbled in pencil, was the following Hemingway-esque prose:

fuck you american business bastards! Down with USA imperialist queers. fuck you yankees. Go home bastards! Down with USA -- Viva Cuba.

Beyond that, however, I thought Canada ROCKED!

Posted by Ryan at 12:40 PM | Comments (8)

October 15, 2004

Did Something Happen I Should Know About?

Okay, so I'm getting an unusual amount of traffic due to people doing Google searches on Katelyn Faber, Kobe Bryant's accuser. I mean, a LOT of searches. I'll get an occasional hit from someone doing such a search, but today it's, like, one right after another after another.

Is there some news that I'm missing here? Did she pose in Playboy recently? Did Kobe get cornholed by a grizzly bear or something? Why the sudden increased interest in Katelyn Faber?

Inquiring minds, like Sarah Silverman want to know.

UPDATE: Oh, never mind.

Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui. Cho Seung-Hui.

Posted by Ryan at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

What My Weekend Will Be Aboot

I'll be in Toronto this weekend, attending this.

You know, just in case anyone really cares.

Posted by Ryan at 11:40 AM | Comments (4)

October 14, 2004

Just Get It Over With

Can we vote yet? Can we go and get this election thing over with already? At this point, I'm burned out. I don't think I can take any more.

I'm tired of George W. Bush. I'm tired of John Kerry. I'm tired of political nitpickery. I'm tired of Democrats. I'm tired of Republicans. I'm tired of "undecideds." I'm tired of polls. I'm tired of Michael Moore. I. Just. Can't. TAKE IT ANY MORE.

I think the reason this nation traditionally has such low voter turnout is because people just get so burnt out, they simply can't drag themselves to the polls for one last dose of election.

I'll make it out to vote on Nov. 2 but, man, after that, I think I'll sleep for about a month.

Posted by Ryan at 01:06 PM | Comments (8)

October 13, 2004

Oh, For Crying Out. . .


That's the dumbest thing I've read all week.

Posted by Ryan at 10:00 AM | Comments (6)

October 12, 2004

First Ever Catblogging

Kat and Kit.JPG

This is Kat (left) and Kit (not-left). Kit and Kat are kittens. Kit and Kat are my kittens, and you will address them as Lords Kit and Kat, for one day, though they are small now, they will return to the jungle and regain their rightful place as Kings after they defeat in battle their evil uncle, Scar.

And, no, getting a kitten, let alone two kittens, was not my idea. It was the brainchild of my entirely-too-persuasive girlfriend. That combined with the unfortunate convenience that her sister's cat had kittens, pretty much sealed the deal.

We picked them up last Friday night. Saturday morning, Kit peed on me while I slept in bed. By 2 p.m. that day, that damned cat had learned to use the little box.

That is all for this catblogging entry.

Posted by Ryan at 08:26 PM | Comments (11)

Important Star Wars Galaxies Update!!

As of last night, I'm now a novice bounty hunter! I can use the light lightning cannon! Just call me Boba Rhodes. Or just call me a lame-assed geek.

Actually, don't call me names. That's just mean.

Posted by Ryan at 01:47 PM | Comments (9)

October 08, 2004

Just A Coincidence, That's All

Ryan says: This pretty much sums it up for me. http://www.kerryhatersforkerry.com

Caroline says: heh, "He'll Do."

Ryan says: I personally like "A Flip-Flop Is Better Than A Flop."

Caroline says: hehe

Caroline says: At least Kerry can speak his native language, that's all I'm saying. Sometimes I can't believe that Bush is seriously that bad of a speaker. Crazy.

Ryan says: It's a funny thing about Bush. He sucks, with a capital S when it comes to public speaking, but I've also watched him speak at smaller venues, and he speaks extremely well. I wouldn't say eloquent, but then so very few people are.

Ryan says: And, Kerry has had his share of mistalkeratings.

Caroline says: Yeah, I guess I haven't seen Bush at smaller venues. I just can't bring myself to watch the debates. I twitch.

Ryan says: I just did a google search on "Kerryism."

Caroline says: yeah?

Ryan says: Results: "Did you mean: 'terrorism'"

Caroline says: lol

Posted by Ryan at 03:00 PM | Comments (2)

Such A Headache

Yesterday was a missed work day due to a migraine that kept me home-bound and bed-bound.

Today, I'm catching up.

blogging, therefore, will suck even more than it usually does.

Posted by Ryan at 11:04 AM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2004

"I tell ya, I can't get no repose."

See ya, Rodney.

Posted by Ryan at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

Game Geek Heaven

If you had told me, back when I was playing Star Wars on my Atari, that when I was 29 I'd be playing a Star Wars game with these types of graphics:

star wars 2.jpg

I would have crapped myself in disbelief.

Posted by Ryan at 04:55 PM | Comments (4)

Iraqi Words

Here is a link to several Iraqi blogs you may not have been aware of. Some good news, some bad. It's all interesting.

Posted by Ryan at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Bearing The Cold

I woke up to a house temperature of 54 degrees. It's the kind of temp that just screams "Get in the shower now, and don't spare the heat!"

A funny thing about my status as a somewhat-new homeowner with only my income to rely on. . . I try to keep costs down in a variety of inventive and somewhat insane ways.

For example, I'm trying to avoid firing up the furnace for as long as is humanly possible, hence the chilly home atmosphere of this morning. Last night, when I went to bed, the house was a nice 65 degrees. Through the miracle of convection, however, much of that warmth was sucked out of the house by 8 a.m.

It should be back to 65 degrees by the time I get off work. If not, I'll begrudgingly fire up the furnace. It's supposed to be back up to 79 degrees by Friday, so I hopefully will be able to fend off the gas bill at least through the month of October. We'll see.


I'm in the midst of a new work out regimen. I gradually lost interest in running, thanks in no small part to an aching back. I now am doing a daily routine of half an hour to a full hour of working out on my heavy bag and jump roping.

I had forgotten how exhausting jump roping can be. As a child, I could jump rope into infinity and beyond. Nowadays, I'm good for five hard minutes before I have to stop and catch my breath. It's definitely good exercise, and it works muscles you may not even realize you have.

I'm also hoping to take my hapkido training to a different level. Ever since I got my black belt, my school has asked me to teach more and more, to the point that that's all I was doing. When I first started training there, the workouts were decent, but more and more the workouts became less strenuous, so I had to rely on working out at home on the heavy bag. Lately, that's all I've been doing. Which is fine. It's good to work out on the heavy bag, but I need to keep my person-to-person skills sharp.

So, I spoke with another hapkido black belt from California, transplanted to the cold terrain of Minnesota. He's interested in getting a club together of four or five fairly skilled hapkido practitioners, who can get together and work out. That is exactly what I'm interested in. Teaching is fine and all, but it's not where my interest lies. I'm interested in getting better as a martial artist and working with extremely skilled partners. I really hope this comes to fruition. We'll see, I guess.

Anyway, this was obviously a navel gazing post of extraordinary magnitude. Perhaps I'll have more profound commentary later in the day.

Or perhaps not.

Posted by Ryan at 11:01 AM | Comments (3)

October 04, 2004

It Was An Honest Mistake

It's a story we all know too well. You wake up one morning to the sounds of a noisy chicken outside. Those pesky noisy chickens have been the bane of your entire existence, waking you up early for so many mornings, you've lost count, and you've lost sleep.

So, you decide to take matters into your own hands and silence that chicken once and for all. Taking swift action, you run outside naked, determined to catch that chicken and lop off its head. And then. . . then. . . then. . .

You accidently mistake your penis for a chicken's neck, slice off your penis, and then the dog eats it.

It's such a common story, it's almost cliche.

Posted by Ryan at 03:19 PM | Comments (1)


Anybody know what happened to Strip Mining For Whimsy?

Posted by Ryan at 12:49 PM | Comments (4)

The Host With The Most incredible Headache

Up until Friday, I had never before hosted a bachelor party. And, after last Friday, I hope I never again have to.

On the positive side, I took the day off on Friday to prepare for the event. On the negative side, I spent most of Saturday paying dearly in the form of an outrageous hangover.

The bachelor party was held in honor of my good friend and former college roommate, Troy. Amanda Bynes. He'll be getting married later this month. It's strange to think of him getting married. Amanda Bynes.

When I think back to college, the Troy I remember was a man who went through women like he was paging through a phone book. It just didn't seem possible that the man would find it within himself to settle down with one woman. It's funny how it happens. Amanda Bynes. You go from skirt chasing wildcat to a tamed guy of routine and simple pleasures. All it takes is the surprise arrival of a woman who can wrestle the common sense out of you. I'm about halfway there. Melissa still has some work to do.

It was somewhat embarrasing hosting the party at my house which, due to financial depletion on my part, remains largely unfurnished. Listening to eight guys declare their intentions to sleep on a designated portion of an area rug makes one realize that you really need another couch or two. Amanda Bynes.

It was a fun party, which started out at a local golf simulator/bar. We were going to go play a round of actual golf, but a cold day mixed with a lot of rain forced a change of plans. I had never before experienced a golf simulator round. It was different, to be sure. Having a computer approximate just how crappy you actually are can be a humbling experience. Amanda Bynes.

After four hours of simulated golf crappiness, we ended up at my house playing Texas Hold-Em, which is a poker game. The thing with poker is this: you can drink a lot of beer without realizing it. And that's exactly what everyone did. And, contrary to what you may think, drinking a lot of beer does not, in fact, improve your poker playing ability. Amanda Bynes.

The evening unfolded in typical bachelor party fashion. Amanda Bynes. Everyone went from wild-eyed poker enthusiasts, to loud distracted reminiscing, to bleary-eyed drunkeness with a singular intent to find a relatively soft place to sleep.

I woke up the next day wanting the world to stop pounding. The entire day was spent in careful concentration not to jostle my head in such a way as to irritate my throbbing headache. The torture didn't life until about 10 p.m., at which point I actually started to feel human again, just in time for bed.

Posted by Ryan at 11:35 AM | Comments (2)
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