January 30, 2008

Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges


You wouldn't believe why, either.

Posted by Ryan at 12:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Wait. . . What?

I was reading something on a blog earlier today, when I noticed the following skyscraper advertisement:


Now, I'm no marketing guru, but why in the hell would Vonage choose the emblem from the Chinese flag for an advertisement? What are they trying to convey, exactly? I suppose it's possible they're trying to play up the 2008 Olympics, or something, but just generally speaking, it makes no freakin' sense.

Choose Vonage, and all your Marxist dreams will come true?

Posted by Ryan at 09:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 29, 2008

From The Department of Freakin' Obvious

Caroline says: PB is really hard-hitting today. Headline: "Deaths from head-on crash leave sudden voids"

Caroline says: Whaaaaaaaaa? Really?

Ryan says: That's pretty deep.

Ryan says: Better headline: "Deaths from head-on crash lead to joy, merriment."

Ryan says: THAT would make me want to read further.

Ryan says: Also in the PB: "Blizzard brings an Arctic Blast."

Caroline says: Aren't those two names of desserts? I think a Blizzard is from DQ and Arctic Blast is a generic Icee drink.

Ryan says: In today's beleagured newspaper industry, they're resorting to subliminal product placement.

Caroline says: Hey, head-on IS a topical treatment for headaches.

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

The January That Just Won't Die

Thanks to global warming, or climate change, or planetary dissociative disorder, or what the hell else you want to call weather patterns we pathetic humans can't even begin to fathom, this Minnesota winter has been one of the worst in recent memory, at least going back to 2001. Of course, I predicted this (according to me), but that does little to soften the jagged, sharp edge of this most egregious winter onslaught.

We were granted a brief reprieve yesterday, with temps climbing into the 40s, with actual RAIN. That rain transmogrified into a nice treacherous sheet of ice overnight, as temps decided to mimic the housing market and plummet back into the familiar territory of a whole 5 whopping degrees. Gee, thanks, Mother Nature. Five degrees, huh? Your generosity knows no bounds.

And, to top the tater, it's snowing like crazy right now. From rain to full-fledged blizzard mode in less than 16 hours. Honestly, it's enough to make me question my sanity, and I STILL have February to endure. Great gobs of gopher guts.

Posted by Ryan at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2008

You Just Have to Have It

Caroline says: So apparently Windows on XP doesn't have a driver for a wireless card. Looks like we'll have to get Vista on our new computer. Weird.

Ryan says: Microsoft is genius.

Ryan says: Produce an inferior product, but make it such that you need the inferior product to run superior products.

Caroline says: Werd.

Ryan says: No, MICROSOFT WERD.

Caroline says: Yo.

Posted by Ryan at 09:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 27, 2008

When A Movie Review Suffers Bush Derangement Syndrome

This review of Rambo is just an unintentionally hilarious scream:

Just in time for the final days of the Bush regime comes “Rambo,” a movie with its heart in Reagan-era ham-fisted foreign policy and its brain looking for new geopolitical evil that can be reduced to its most simplistic form.

Seriously. If you can take a movie like Rambo and wrap it into a screed about the "Bush regime" and ham-fisted foreign policy, you've pretty much leaped over the fence of sanity and rationality. It's Rambo, for crying out loud. If you find yourself reading anything into it beyond blood and guts violence, you simply have too much time on your hands. Also, chances are good you probably look like a veteran nerd. Oh, wait:


The film does for the Myanmar genocide what “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” did for same-sex marriage — it brings a serious issue to the attention of morons who haven’t picked up a newspaper in five years while dragging that same issue down to nincompoop level.

Oh, sweet mother of pearl. If it were up to this guy, every movie being made would give the proper gravitas to the issue at hand. Try to imagine "Rambo" being treated along the same lines as "Philadelphia." How is it possible a movie reviewer can't seem to grasp the concept of "entertainment." I love how this guy can write "morons" and "nincompoop" into the same paragraph; it's like he tore a page out of "Nick Coleman's Rules for Writing."

I encourage you to read the rest of his self-righteous and indignant diatribe, if for no other reason because it's hysterical in its pretentiousness.

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

January 25, 2008

It's a hell of a drug

Ryan says: In the P-B today: "Researchers seek to cure cocaine overdose."

Caroline says: Oooo. Toughie.

Ryan says: Cocaine abusers REJOICE!

Ryan says: I wonder how you can become a test subject for that study.

Caroline says: I was just wondering how you become a researcher on that study.

Ryan says: It might be fun up until the point you're actually asked to overdose.

Caroline says: "Oh, c'mon. Just a little bit more. It's for the study."

Ryan says: "Jeez, guys, that seems like a pretty long line you want me to snort."

Ryan says: OMG.

Caroline says: Heeee

Ryan says: Our brain waves are apparently fine tuned to the same frequency this fine Friday.

Caroline says: This has been a pretty fine Friday. It all started with "Grief is a funny thing."

Ryan says: Yeah, our handbasket to hell was pretty well on its way by 10 a.m., wasn't it?

Posted by Ryan at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 24, 2008

Anyone else notice?

Am I the only one who sees a kind of general growing disinterest in blogs, er, ThunderJounals?

I'm not talking about myself. I'll keep ThunderJournaling until the Reaper lays me low, if for no other reason but because I like having a journal and, as a writer, it's just good practice to have something like this to sharpen my craft.

I'm talking more generally. Like, Fark seems less lively somehow, and some of the usual sites that seemed like they were poised to take over the world two years or so ago just strike me as quiet nowadays, by comparison.

I don't know, it could just be the general "blah" feeling of January and February. Maybe I'M not taking other sites as seriously any more.

Did I mention it was -15 (-34 with wind chill) on the way into work today? This has been one brutal, mean-assed winter, and there's still A LOT to go.

Posted by Ryan at 02:04 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 23, 2008

Batman. . . Or Something

Ryan says: Any bets on Dark Knight being the biggest blockbuster ever to hit the movie screen?

Caroline says: I expected it to be big even before he died.

Caroline says: I wonder if he could be nominated for an Oscar even though he's dead.

Ryan says: Movie execs must be crying into one hand and whacking off with the other.

Caroline says: That's not easy to do.

Ryan says: I thought Oscars could only be won by the living.

Caroline says: No

Ryan says: No, that's the Nobel.

Caroline says: Same diff'.

Caroline says: Gore has both.

Ryan says: Now THERE's a guy who cries into one hand and whacks off with the other.

Caroline says: shudder

Ryan says: They call the maneuver the "Gore Weep-N-Wank."

Posted by Ryan at 02:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dumbest "Letter of the Day" Ever Printed

This one is a doozy:

If you want to start up a good discussion about how "green" the Green Bay Packers are, the Star Tribune should do an article about the energy required to heat a football field in open air to 50 degrees in 1- below conditions with a 23-below wind chill. I think that the fans and the public would be amazed at the amount of energy consumed to accomplish this feat! They will also find out that the Packers really aren't that green.


Yeah, if you WANT to start up a good discussion about nothing. If you have no life whatsoever and you WANT to delve into something as nonsensical and pointless as this. If you really believe heating a field for a single game in a blistering cold climate in any way, shape or form has even the most minute impact on global climate. If you have nothing better to do in the middle of January but to scream "GREEN" at the top of your lungs in an indignant manner.

Look, I dislike the Packers as much as the next rational person, but this Bill Howe guy could use a good cornholing with an environmentally safe horse brush for being such a nattering and pointless idiot.

Posted by Ryan at 09:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

Today's Random Observation

People who call other people idiots in YouTube comment threads are typically idiots themselves.

And no, I don't know why I continue to subject myself to the abysmal spelling, grammar and dialogue of YouTube comment threads. I guess it's kind of like a literary car wreck; you just can't look away.

Posted by Ryan at 02:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Six Degrees of Luscious Bacon

In honor of Blog for Bacon Day 2008:

O Bacon! my bacon! our tasty breakfast is now nigh;
The pork has been shorn from every rib, from the hip, back, legs and thigh;
The pork is near, the sizzling I hear, the taste buds all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady meal, the ribbony grissle flaring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the clogged arteries constrict,
Where in my chest, my aorta cries,
An eventual coronary, I do predict.

O bacon! my bacon! You greasy siren meat of sow.
Rise up—for you the pans are heated—for you the doctors won't allow;
For you forks poise and tongues await—for you arterial walls are clogging;
For you they call, the obese masses, with many of them even blogging;
Here bacon! dear breakfast slag!
This fork tine pinned through your grease;
It is some dream that on the plate,
My lifespan you will decrease.

My bacon does not answer, as it has no lips and cannot speak;
My bacon does not feel my stomach juices, as it's digested through the week;
The heart is anchor’d safe for now, its bacon doomsday all but certain;
From this day on, the bacon builds, to my coronary final curtain;
I exult, for now, my bacon fork held high!
But I, with creeping dread,
Know where my bacon future lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

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



Via Fark, of course.

Posted by Ryan at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 21, 2008

Coming To. . . The Super Bowl

Posted by Ryan at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sometimes, A Post Just Writes Itself

During my many years writing this ThunderJournal, I’ve had to resort to numerous tactics when conjuring a topic for a given post. For the most part, I’ve been able to mine anecdotes from my own bizarre world of personal experience. Other times, I’ve resorted to finding news items that are generally odd, or specifically relate to bathroom and bodily function references. To be sure, if you’ve been following my ThunderJournal over the years, you may not be the most informed person on the planet, but you’ve most certainly read every toilet joke ever written.

Well, this post marks a first for me. Not only did I not have to resort to my usual odd news outlets to bring you my own brand of potty-related humor, I didn’t even have to work that hard to slide such humor into my craft; in this case, the media largely did my work for me.

According to a Jan. 21, 2008 news report out of Monrovia, Liberia, and filed by TIME magazine, no less, “One of Liberia's most notorious rebel commanders, known as Gen. Butt Naked, has returned to confess his role in terrorizing the nation, saying he is responsible for 20,000 deaths.”

See? I didn’t even have to TRY to make that opening sentence funny. Right there, right away, you have a notorious rebel commander, Gen. Butt Naked, terrorizing a nation, which at the very least should be the plot line for a future adult movie. As if that opening line isn't comedy gold all by itself, the article continues:

“Joshua Milton Blahyi, who now lives in Ghana, returned this week to face his homeland's truth and reconciliation commission, this time wearing a suit and tie. His nom de guerre is derived from his platoon's practice of charging naked into battle, a technique meant to terrify the enemy.”

I’m sorry, but if an article begins by talking about a notorious rebel commander named Gen. Butt Naked terrorizing a nation, that article loses any and all license to use a pretentious phrase like “nom de guerre.” That’s like trying to put a cherry on a cow pie.

As for the platoon’s practice of charging naked into battle in an attempt to terrify the enemy. . . well, let’s just say I’m not all that impressed with the military capability of Liberia. I mean, here in Minnesota, if I see a naked man charging at me, particularly in this January cold, I wouldn’t be so much terrified as I would feel compelled to rigorously defend myself. Transfer that onto a battlefield, with me holding a rifle, and you have all the ingredients for a pretty one-side victory for me and my clothed compatriots. Back to the article we go:

“‘I have been looking for an opportunity to tell the true story about my life — and every time I tell people my story, I feel relieved.’”

Great. Now Gen. Butt Naked is relieved. Who’s going to clean THAT up?

“Drugged fighters waltzed into battle wearing women's wigs, flowing gowns and carrying dainty purses stolen from civilians.”

Modern warfare meets “Project Runway.” Oh, sure, you may be gunned down, but at least you’d look fabulous.

“In 1996, while charging naked into a battle, Blahyi said God appeared and told him he was a slave to Satan, not the hero he considered himself to be, according to an earlier interview with The Associated Press.”

I’m trying to imagine what, exactly, God may have said to Blahyi at the time:

GOD: Blahyi, don’t you realize you’re a slave to Sa. . . I’m sorry, but you’re really distracting me. Could you maybe cover that up with something? Just. . . look. . . hold your dainty purse in front of it, I don’t know. SOMETHING. Look at yourself! Do you honestly think that’s a heroic look? You know what? I have a full length mirror you can use. Look at that. Tell me that’s not the work of Satan.

Posted by Ryan at 01:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Stages Of blogging Hubris

1.) Shock or Disbelief: What? You disagree with me? You don't think my take on politics or the proper disposal of cat feces is the one true way? I can't belive that! That's just not possible!

2.)Denial: You're just messing with me. There's no way you could have an opinion so completely different than my own. I don't believe it.

3.) Bargaining: Look, we're just going to have to agree to disagree here. You're liberal, I'm a conservative. You're anti-porn, I'm pro-porn. You like Dane Cook, I despise the hack. Can't we just get along? I mean, really, if we were to sit down and have a beer together, I'm sure we'd get along great and have some good laughs. Whadya say?

4.) Guilt: All right, I'll admit it; some of my arguments in the past were ill-advised. I'm big enough to admit that. I apologize if I may have made a little too much fun about a certain cum-guzzling boozehound. And maybe, just maybe, I've devoted way more time and effort into ripping on Nick Coleman than was probably necessary. I could have spent my time online doing more productive, thought-provoking things. I have nearly six years worth of content now. It can't ALL be literary gold. So, look, I'm sorry.

5.) Anger: You know what? No, wait, FUCK YOU! Who the hell are you to tell me what I should have been blogging about for the past six years?! It's my blog, not yours'! Actually, it's my THUNDERJOURNAL! That's right. THUNDERJOURNAL! You have a problem with that? Well, you can just go to hell!

6.) Depression: I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. I was just venting. I guess I'm just coming to grips with the fact, despite six years of writing, most of my visitors come here looking for a picture of my hairy ass. I mean, what kind of legacy is that? I mostly started this blog to strengthen my writing skills, which it has, I guess, but there's always been a part of me that wanted to be the next Instapundit or James Lileks. Instead, I'm that one blogger with the hairy ass and tiger poster.

7.) Acceptance and Hope: Oh well. I guess having a famous ass is better than nothing. Hell, it worked for J-Lo, right? Besides, things might turn around over the next six years, provided I still have this ThunderJournal. I have outlasted most of the blogs I used to read regularly, after all. At some point, maybe I'll be the only blog left standing, so people will HAVE to read me. Well, here's to the next six years. . .

Posted by Ryan at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 18, 2008

Just When You Think Things Are Normal

Your furnace goes on the blink, right before one of the coldest forecasted weekends of the year.

Posted by Ryan at 08:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 16, 2008

Another Pre-emptive Nick Coleman Column

Hey, Nick, if you're reading this, feel free to use it in your next whining column.


Gusset Plates Were Designed By Republicans
I refuse to have my skewed worldview tainted by inconvenient facts
By Nick Coleman

So, the NTSB has come out with preliminary findings regarding the I-35 bridge collapse that occurred on Aug. 1, 2007, which seem to indicate a failure of ill-designed gusset plates, when we all know--and by "all" I mean "I"--that the failure simply has to rest on the feet of Republicans somehow, or as I like to call them in my professional journalistic parlance. . . wingnuts. You can actually look it up; I wrote that once, in this very newspaper. Wingnuts.

Anyway, the findings are currently focusing on something called gusset plates, which I don't actually know anything about, but I've been pretending to be a structural engineer since August, so I figured I'd just pen some drivel in the hopes some of you will take me seriously and think I'm some sort of expert when it comes to bridge engineering. Amazingly, there is, actually, a large contingent of Strib readership that does take me seriously, which is rather frightening, but I'm making money off their stupidity, so who am I to complain? Just kidding! Compaining is what I do!

Gusset plates were invented back in 1942 by William J. Gusset, a Republican of course, who was serving overseas and saw a way to make a quick buck by reinforcing army corps of engineer-made bridges with metal plates that were taken from poor people. There were a lot of poor people in Europe at the time, thanks to a war being fought for German oil, so there were plenty of metal plates to be found.

That wingnut Gusset, being evil and greedy and all, realized he could make even more gusset plates by skimping on the metal and making them half the thickness they needed to be. He figured such a tactic was just fine, because military-made bridges weren't supposed to be long term anyway. Who would notice?

Well, World War II came to an end--even though we never actually brought Hitler to trial, and the Japanese emperor was allowed to keep his throne; two more great failures of America to throw on the pile, along with dead Native Americans, segregation, smoking, our inability to redirect hurricanes, and a whole long list of other crap that makes me impotent with rage to a point an entire bottle of Viagra can't get me hard, and. . .

Where was I again?

Oh, right, the end of World War II. After that ill-advised war--oh, and hey, we still have forces in Europe and Japan, by the way, speaking of wars without end--we finally started bringing many of our troops home and began focusing on our own crumbling infrastructure. It doesn't matter what era I'm writing about, just so you know; there will always be a crumbling infrastructure. Infrastructures crumble. I know a lot of stuff, but top amongst them is that if a country has an infrastructure, that damned thing is crumbling.

So America started trying to de-crumble-fy its infrastructure, which meant an emphasis on building new roads and bridges, which eventually culminated in the opening of the I-35 bridge in 1967, complete with Gusset's skimpy plates, which were destined to fail in August 2007 and send me into my new career as a professional bridge engineer and critic.

As I perused the bridge wreckage all those months ago, my professional engineering analysis concluded Gov. Tim Pawlenty was somehow to blame, along with Carol Molnau and Republicans in general. I took one look at those skimpy gusset plates and thought: "If only there had been a five cent gas tax, this never would have happened." Oh, sure, that seems to make absolutely no sense whatsoever, but you're not a professional bridge engineer like I am. I don't expect you to understand the kind of stuff I know.

As luck would have it, William J. Gusset is still alive, and living in Minnesota, no less. When I contacted the Gusset home, I was assaulted with the kind of verbal abuse I expected from a wingnut Republican greed machine.

"I'm afraid you have the wrong number," Gusset said, trying to dodge the issue. "I'm 25 years old. I live with my mother. I haven't invented anything in my entire life. I think you've pretty much made up everything you're saying to me completely in your own mind. Please, stop calling me."

You know, THAT kind of wingnut rhetoric.

Stonewalled by the Gusset spin doctors, I decided to pound the pavement and land one of my signature man-on-the-street interviews, which always ring with the kind of convenient quotes that leave you thinking "no way; he HAS to be making this shit up." And, to your credit, I usually am making shit up but, honestly, how would anyone ever prove it?

Anyway, even though it was ear-lobe shattering cold outside (thanks to global warming), I did manage to flag down a woman walking down the street. She was Marjorie Wilson, 46, of Edina. I told her about William J. Gusset and his faulty plates, and about dead native Americans and poor people and about those Powerline guys I hate so much who probably have a wider readership than the newspaper I work at, which makes me just hate bloggers all the more.

Marjorie listened to me go on for about an hour-and-a-half before finally interjecting.

"Well, that's what you get with this Bush administration," she said. "You can only do so much wire-tapping before the wires weaken and the gusset plates can't sustain the weight on their own, so you're bound to have bridge collapses. I was just telling my life partner, Susan, the other day, about how BushCo has been weakening bridges now for the last seven years so they collapse as soon as a lesbian, gay or transgendered person drives on the direct center. We're afraid for our very lives. We're living in Nazi America and we don't even realize it."

Wisdom like Marjorie's is rare to come across these days. Thankfully, in Minnesota, you're more likely to find Marjories than you may realize.

And so here we are, at a crossroads of sorts, with Republicans out weakening bridges to kill gay people, and Democrats wielding the tax-increase Excalibur of truth, honor and awesomeness. That's about as close to an unbiased point as I've come in my last 30 or so columns.

UPDATE: See, now, this is why I've grown almost tired of making fun of Nick Coleman. The guy really IS that predictable.

With a nod to my ThunderJournaling colleague, LearnedFoot.

Posted by Ryan at 11:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 15, 2008

I'm Sure This Will Offend Someone, but. . .

Ryan says: That one girl is such a coont.

Caroline says: That made me giggle.

Ryan says: Coont Giggling is all the rage right now in D.C.

Caroline says: Goin' down to D.C. to do some C.G.

Caroline says: yeah yeah

Ryan says: Have you giggled your coont lately?

Caroline says: For best results, giggle your coont daily.

Caroline says: You're such a coont giggler.

Ryan says: Coont Giggler sounds like a superhero's arch-nemesis.

Caroline says: Why so seriousssssssssss?

Ryan says: You're a coont giggling freak. . . like me!

Caroline says: Batman: Dark Coont

Ryan: I'm thinking of putting this up as a ThunderJournal post, because it's too funny not to.

Caroline says: You better not. You might end up on some fed list.

Ryan says: The fed has a list of coont gigglers?

Ryan says: Seems niche.

Caroline says: More like douche.

Ryan says: You = FAIL.

Caroline says: Wha?

Ryan says: You had a good run, but the douche line just won't wash.

Caroline says: Oh, you're just filled with salt and vinegar.

Ryan says: These puns have to be administered carefully, with an applicator.

Ryan says: Man it's cold out right now; what I wouldn't give for a nice warm summer's eve.

Caroline says: You can't double dose me!

Ryan says: Cleaned you out, didn't I?

Caroline says: You= NOT FRESH

Posted by Ryan at 02:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2008

New Rochester Restaurant

Rochester is a weird city in one major respect. That being, when a new restaurant opens in town, it becomes THE place to be, and it can seriously be months before you can even get in the door to try it out for yourself. It's like army ants dismantling a fresh corpse. When an Olive Garden opened a few years ago, the traffic and parking looked like the closing scene in "Field of Dreams." Likewise, when a Green Mill opened back in the summer of 2006, just a couple miles from my house, parked cars spilled out from the restaurant's parking lot and into the street.

The latest addition to Rochester's pantheon of franchise resaurants is "Hu Hot," a Mongolian grill place located in the city's main mall, across the hall from Applebees. From some initial reports following the opening of its doors earlier this month, patrons could expect a waiting interim before getting seated that would make an organ recipient list seem quick by comparison. You need a kidney? Right this way, sir! Oh, wait, you wanted to eat at Hu Hot? I'm afraid we'll have to put you on dialysis for a few days, first.

At any rate, Mel and decided to try Hu Hot during non-peak hours, so we ventured through its doors around 3 p.m. yesterday, and we did, indeed, get seated right away. The food was actually very, VERY good and, dare I say it, kinda FUN. I mention all this in this post primarily to see what effect it will have on the targeted ads, because I'd hate to see ads appearing for "Smashed Assholes." That would be embarrassing.

Posted by Ryan at 02:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Hole; It's Smashed

Ryan says: Okay. I just read the best insult ever.

Ryan says: "Her face looks like a can of smashed assholes."

Caroline says: Imaginary?

Ryan says: Huh?

Caroline says: Smashed Assholes

Caroline says: in a can

Caroline says: impossible

Ryan says: You sayin' "Smashed Assholes" is a brand name?

Caroline says: I think it goes without saying.

Ryan says: I think it would be like Alpo.

Caroline says: Dogs have it rough.

Ryan says: When your dog whines, he's asking for a nice fresh bowl of smashed assholes.

Posted by Ryan at 12:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 11, 2008

Don't Forget To Clean Your Screen

This should help.

Posted by Ryan at 03:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2008

Massive YouTube Post, Because Demetri Martin Rocks

Posted by Ryan at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Caroline says: Are you feeling better?

Ryan says: A little bit. Slept from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. yesterday.

Ryan says: With occasional wake-ups to cough up a whopper of a loogie.

Caroline says: Sleep halmps.

Ryan says: Still coughing up a good quantity of lung butter.

Caroline says: That's pretty disgusting.

Ryan says: Hey, I agree.

Caroline says: Then we'll agree to agree.

Ryan says: I've been walking down the hall and spitting into a neighbor's trash can.

Caroline says: You're like the opposite of Mr. Rogers.

Ryan says: You mean. . . I'm alive?

Caroline says: I mean ... you're a bad neighbor.

Ryan says: And alive.

Posted by Ryan at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 08, 2008

Oh, Yeah, Airborne

I mentioned awhile back that I purchased the PC game Medal of Honor: Airborne, but because my existing computer at the time was just a pubic hair (in computing terms) shy of being able to run the game, it sat forlorn on my desk, accumulating dust.

Well, now I have my new computer, which is more than capable of running all the latest PC games, at least until next year or so, so I've been playing Airborne pretty regularly for the last eight evenings.

Airborne takes the Medal of Honor WWII first person shooter genre into the skies, at least briefly. As an Airborne soldier with the deliciously American name "Boyd Travers," you're a young buck who is not afraid to leap from an aircraft into the unknown turmoil below.

The richness of detail, combined with the additional component of jumping out of an airplane, looking down at it all, must have been a crazy difficult 3-D animation engine trick to pull off, but the good folks at Electronic Arts accomplished it in fine form, althought they could only manage about five or six missions for the entire game. Which. . .

There was a time when I had the patience for meticulous first person shooters that required me to creep along, ducking behind walls and crates that are curiously impervious to rounds fired from a Tiger tank. But, after two leaps from an airplane and getting fragged within seconds by unseen Nazis, I was out on the Internet, looking for cheat codes. Specifically, I was looking for the "God" cheat, which basically makes you invulnerable. Finding the cheat of my choice, I set about tweaking the game file so I could wipe Nazis out at will without fear of any consequences. There's something deeply wonderful about watching a Tiger tank take a shot at you, and you can watch the shell approach and everything and basically just stand there, like Superman. You'd think that would demoralize the enemy somewhat, but they just keep on coming in waves.

Oh, and the game developers have apparently been working tirelessly on the AI algorithms that dictate enemy movement, because these Nazis have MOVES. They duck, they run, they jump, they dodge; they basically don't stand still for very long. The only thing they don't do, as far as I can tell, is the MC Hammer dance while taunting "Can't Touch This." The best solution to this problem, I've found, since I can't die, is to rush them with a shotgun until you can see the whites of their pixilated eyes, and then pump a round into them. Very effective.

As I said, there aren't many missions--although I'm sure an expansion pack is due out any month now--but if you were to play by the rules, each mission would no doubt take ages to complete; in God mode, you can pretty much mow your way through the missions within 45 minutes, max.

I play it primarily to take in the whole "WOW" experience of the graphics, which are just dripping with detail and realism. As with the last Medal of Honor games, this one could use a little more blood and gore, as twisted as that may sound, but somehow seeing someone getting launched 20 feet after a stick grenade goes off between their legs, and they don't even lose a limb, is just disappointing somehow.

Posted by Ryan at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 07, 2008

Everyone Say Cheese, Except Me

Even before I start this post, I should note, for the record, I have nothing against pictures. In fact, I like pictures. I even dabble in a little amateur photography. In other words: YAY, PICTURES!

That said, I HATE having my picture taken. I mean, I can't even begin to describe how much I hate having my picture taken. It's the whole process, really. The preparation. The staging. The "okay, smile" directive, which makes it practically impossible to generate an actual, enthusiatic mouth curve in the upper direction.

Think about it. There's no other time in your life when you're expected to smile on demand other than when you're having your picture taken. Generally, smiles just happen. If you're on a roller coaster, chances are good you'll smile. If you're watching a comedian who isn't Jerry Seinfeld, you'll probably smile. If somebody trips and falls down in front of you into a pile of dog feces, you may not smile at the time, but you'll probably smile--maybe even laugh--when you think about it later. The point is, smiling comes pretty easy, when it's not expected--nay, required--of you.

So, I smile regularly. Daily, in fact, unbidden, about a myriad of things, both large and small. But aim a camera at me and tell me to smile, and I'll glare daggers into your soul. How dare someone take an act as enjoyable and natural as smiling, and have the audacity to turn it into a chore.

You see, there's nothing fun about having your picture taken, at least in my experience. First off, there's all the prep work involved in putting your best possible face forward, and then all the positioning of both yourself and anybody else who is going to be in the picture--family photos being the worst. Staged photographs are, when it comes right down to it, momentarily choreographed lies. Nobody really looks like they do in pictures. No family lines up by height, or age, or whatever and smiles blankly, unless, and ONLY UNLESS, they're having their picture taken.

I routinely drive my mother crazy, because I simply refuse to flash my teeth in a brightly manner on demand when she aims a camera my way. She always insists it's not a big deal to smile, but really it IS. There's nothing more torturous than to smile when there's no reason. It's like being told your dog got hit by a car, and then being instructed to laugh.

Onto this pile of resentment towards picture smiling is tossed the countless ways photographers try to extract a smile when a smile is not forthcoming. There's the standard issue "Say cheese!" which lost its effectiveness when I was about seven; or they'll mime a smile or tell a particularly corny joke, which generally just serves to sour my mood rather than enhance and en-smile-ify me. My mother, having endured years of my stubborn anti-smile picture crusade, has resorted to such defeatist smile entreaties as "just this once, for me" and "it won't kill you to smile."

Which, by the way, I have to say, no, it probably won't kill me to smile, but now she went and threw that mere possibility onto the table. What if it DID kill me to smile? Why in the world would I want to take such a life-ending chance just so my mother could get a picture of the whole family together in Las Vegas in 2007? Mom would get her film developed, and there would be that one picture of all of us together, for the last time, with me smiling and the distinct look of the life leaving my eyes forever. Gee, thanks Mom. Way to go.

To further darken my mood and deepen my disdain for picture smiling, the world went and invented digital cameras, which mothers around the world both love dearly and have no idea whatsoever how to operate. Nothing wipes a smile from a mouth faster than to stand, posing, for minutes on end, while a mother stares blankly at a digital camera screen, cluelessly pushing at buttons and saying things like: "did the flash work?" or "wait, that one was blurry," or "is it this button, or this button?" or "Ryan wasn't smiling in that one." Yes, digital cameras: no longer do you have to deal with the expense of film, only the incompetence of the operators.

Now, after writing all this, I'm in such a foul mood, I probably won't be able to smile for weeks. Unless I see a guy fall face first into dog feces; that always brightens my day.

Posted by Ryan at 11:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Just so you know, I watched the latest episode of "The Simpsons" last night, and even though the episode had all the humor of a tree stump, it still has to hurt the old guard at newspapers to have Nelson Muntz point at a newspaper representative and say "HA HA! Your medium is dying!"

Nelson Muntz can be so cruel. Accurate, but cruel.

Posted by Ryan at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2008


Ryan says: Oh, hey, I came up with a pretty good line last night on the way back from Red Wing.

Ryan says: I was talking about the hard drive capacity of my new computer, and I said it was half a Petabyte.

Ryan says: Mel had never heard the term Petabyte before, so I went down the line of storage terminology.

Caroline says: riveting, as always

Ryan says: Bit, byte, megabyte, gigabyte, petabyte.

Ryan says: Then computing processor speed: megaflop, gigaflop, and petaflop. . . which sounds like a failed child molester.

Ryan says: Huh?

Ryan says: Huh?

Caroline says: that was the line?

Ryan says: Yeah.

Caroline says: meeeeeeeeeeh

Ryan says: Well, we had a good laugh.

Caroline says: maybe funnier if delivered in person

Caroline says: because reading it doesn't have the same delivery

Ryan says: Yeah, when spelled out, petaflop looks more like a failed animal rights activist.

Caroline says: See? Exactly.

Ryan says: But, when you SAY it, it comes out "Pedoflop."

Caroline says: Which is funnier.

Posted by Ryan at 02:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Manic/Depressive "Mind" of Nick Coleman

So, previously, Nick Coleman, Minnesota's very own contribution to journalistic dipshittery, wrote about how the 150th anniversary of our state being admitted into the Union should pay adequate mope-fest bloodletting to the treatment of native Americans, because nothing says "CELEBRATION" like apologizing via unspecific means for something that happened 150+ years before my dad was an itch in my grandpa's pants.

Now, of course, my favorite Metro columnist punching bag is back in whining mode because the 150th shindig isn't shaping up to be as big as he wants it to be. Apparently, when a state is laying prostrate on the ground, being lashed by the great-great-great-great grandchildren of unjustly-treated native Americans, it should be a lavish affair.

Honestly, I don't care one iota about the 150th anniversary of this state. I approach the 150th pretty much how I intend to approach my 15 year high school reunion: it's interesting to note in passing, and I might show up for a beer, but other than that. . . what's the big deal?

Posted by Ryan at 01:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bad ThunderJournalist

Apologies for the crapaliscious blogging as of late. New year holiday, followed by a funeral yesterday. It's been a broken week, complete with broken blogging.

Posted by Ryan at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 02, 2008

Computer Purchase Retrospective

1997 -- Compaq Presario; 200 Mhz processor; 4.3 GB hard drive. $3,000.

1999 -- Custom built computer; 450 Mhz processor; 20 GB hard drive. $1,000.

2003 -- Custom built computer; 2.3 Ghz processor; 80 GB hard drive. $1,000.

2007 (December 31) -- Gateway computer, purchased at Best Buy; dual core Intel processers (2 GB each); 500+ GB hard drive. $860.

I've been trying to wrap my mind around a 500+ GB hard drive. I mean. . . HOLY HELL! I remember my computer science roommates in college telling me 4.3 GB was more storage than I'd ever use; now you have hard drives so large, they can record television shows in real time. To say nothing of the 3+ GB of RAM. There was a time, not that long ago in my mind, when data storage and memory was at a premium and priced like gold; now they practically give it away.

Posted by Ryan at 02:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
I use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit my website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.