February 28, 2009

They probably won't see the next decade

I actually feel sorry for a lot of the newspapers struggling today. The Internet really hit them like a perfect storm.

Newspapers traditionally prided themselves on knowing a little about a lot of things, which was fine when they controlled the information. But, with the Internet, very specialized sites and forums offer Web surfers with countless outlets that know a hell of a lot about one or two specific things. Why would you turn to a newspaper that knows only a portion of a topic, when you can go to a specialized forum, blog or other online outlet and learn everything you ever wanted to know about that topic?

So, some newspapers tried to shift gears and become more locally focused and personal, but then the Internet went and spawned FaceBook and MySpace and Twitter and others, which all excel at being local and personal, so why would you possibly want to turn to a newspaper?

I hope newspapers can find some sort of footing, but the Internet just evolves far faster than they do.

Posted by Ryan at 01:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2009

Danger! Falling Ice!


This picture and caption appeared in the local Post-Bulletin.

"Ice falling from the sky?"

Back in my day, we called it "snow." Get off my lawn.

Posted by Ryan at 12:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 26, 2009

Not my fault

I apologize for the lack of childhood mugshot updates. My home Internet has been out since Tuesday, and it won't be back up until a Charter tech arrives tomorrow afternoon. Childhood development drama will commence thereafter.

Posted by Ryan at 02:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2009

Entering The Public School System


A respite from the cruelty of horizontal stripes! I actually skipped ahead a couple years, since the photo record is strangely quiet regarding my fourth year of existence. Perhaps my parents were more focused on verifying my genetic match with them to be bothered with pictures. Whatever the reason, here I am at age 5, in kindergarten. Still ridiculously cute, as you can see, but that will take a major turn in just a few short years.

Posted by Ryan at 06:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2009

Phoning It In


One year later, and a new outfit consisting of horizontal stripes. Here the photographer has opted to tap into my bright future as a telemarketer. If I remember that toy phone correctly, it was a rotary. I was no fool, of course; I knew, deep down, that I was holding onto a facsimile of a communication technology that would one day be transformed by a global network of sattelites beaming down cellular signals so people could type out such inane texts as "IDK, my BFF, Jill? LOL!" I knew all this, but I was just being nice to the photographer. Poor fool.

Posted by Ryan at 06:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How is Ryan Formed?

Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, blogging for the sake of blogging just doesn't cut it any more. Nowadays, blogs need a hook, and it's not as simple as referring to your blog as a ThunderJournal, which was cool in 2006, but I've come to terms with the fact that just won't catch on.

So, I started thinking: "what should I do with my blog," while at the same time I was thinking about what a shame it is that all my old childhood photos aren't in digital format. And so it hit me! Rather than just scan in my old photos for the sake of having them in digital format, why not post them on my ThunderJournal and make fun of them? Together, all five of my regular readers can witness my transformation from adorable toddler to disgruntled postal worker/kid toucher. It's a WIN/WIN idea, really.

So, let's get started!


Here I am at the age of two, and this is the first of several outfits that highlights my mother's apparent obsession with horizontal stripes. What remarkable about this shot is how the photographer managed to get me to hold a Rodan's Thinker "thoughtful fist under the chin" pose, while at the same time apparently neglecting to wipe a hardened smear of snot from under my right nostril. Yeah, yeah, I was cute. As we go through the years, however, this blond little Hitler Youth will transform in ways you can't possibly imagine.

Posted by Ryan at 06:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2009

Didn't Even Wave Good-Bye

Maybe it's just my imagination, but it seems like the turning of the calendar year to 2009 has signalled the demise of blogging. I don't know if it's because of all the crib note blogging alternatives like Twitter, MySpace, FaceBook and the countless community forums (like Fark), but seemingly overnight blogging has become the equivalent of VCR tapes (still around, but no one uses them).

Not even a year ago, blogging was still a blast for me. Hell, by this point last year, I hadn't even yet experienced the awesomeness of the David Hanners episode. I still enjoy blogging, and I have no intention of stopping entirely, even though my volume of posts has admittedly dwindled. If nothing else, blogging continues to be an excellent way to keep my writing skills focused.

Still, I think back to when I started this blog back in 2002, and it honestly doesn't seem like that much time has passed. But, I suppose it has, and seven years is a fairly long time to expect an Internet fad to stay popular. Nowadays, if you can't say it in 140 characters or less, apparently, you're writing too much. Which is fine. I can adapt. I just miss the blogging hey-day a little bit. There were some fun times back in the day.

At any rate, I have some new plans for my ThunderJournal coming up, and I'm pretty confident it will be funny as hell, if only to me. But, since one of my life's goals is to entertain myself, that should be just fine.

Posted by Ryan at 04:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 17, 2009

Surreal Morning

This morning, I entered the office about 15 minutes early, so that I could adequately scramble and do absolutely last second prep work for an interview. I sequestered myself in a nice, quiet conference room with a good quality speaker phone, set up my tape recorder and dialed the number.

Things started off quite well, at first. I was knowledgeable enough about the subject matter to not stink it up entirely, and I had been able to stick to my list of prepared questions, more or less.

And then suddenly there was a knock at the door that made me jump out of my skull. It was a delivery woman with a huge Dell computer package. It didn't matter to her that I wasn't the intended recipient, or that I was on a call or. . . well, it didn't seem like much at all mattered to her beyond getting my damned signature so she could go smoke a pack of Winstons or whatever. I was so surprised and flustered by the whole thing, I had a fairly tough time getting back to the interview at hand, which I managed to conclude, albeit in limp-a-long fashion.

But then I had that damned box to deliver, which didn't seem at all fair to me. After all, it's not my job to be the go-between guy when it comes to UPS deliveries. Still, I managed to locate the actual intended recipient and work my way back to a familiar hallway. Just when I thought my day was about to return to normal, a voice called out behind me.

"Excuse me, do you have a minute?"

I turned around to see a guy carrying a box and wearing a Jimmy Johns baseball cap. Since the box also said "Jimmy Johns," I immediately assumed he was from Jimmy Johns. My first thought was "how the hell did he get in here?" That was my first thought because you need badge access to get in the building. Lacking that, you piggy back behind someone who DOES have badge access, but I didn't see anyone else anywhere near him. It was like he just materialized there using some sort of Jimmy Johns transporter beam.

"Would you be interested in a box of free sandwich samples from Jimmy Johns?" he asked, before I could press him on the whole badge access thing.

Normally, I'd be all over a free sandwich offer, but I couldn't shake the central question of "where the hell did this guy come from?" From which of the earth's frozen poles did this Sandwich Clause travel? Also, why me? How did I get singled out for this particular offer. Surely, provided he didn't beam directly into the building, as I suspect, he could have asked the person he piggy backed behind. My head was full of questions, and very few answers. Clearly, I needed someone with more interpersonal skills to adequately deal with the situation.

Thankfully, here in cubicle land, there's a go-to person who has more personality than Sybil. I knew I could count on her to deal with the unexpected appearance of the Jimmy Johns guy and his box 'o sandwiches.

If the Jimmy Johns guy was to be believed, the random sandwich bestowment was part of a promotional program for a new Jimmy Johns that supposedly opened nearby, although I'll be damned if I know where that store is; I've certainly never seen it.

Apparently, I'm the only person who is reasonably paranoid by the appearance of a box of free Jimmy Johns sandwiches, which were quickly scooped up and put in the big refridgerator in the break room. This was followed by a group e-mail to the whole office informing everyone of the community sandwiches that could be procured in the break room. Through the day, I witnessed several of my fellow cubicle denizens happily munching down on the Jimmy Johns offering, while I could not bring myself to do the same, owing entirely to the suspicious nature by which the sandwiches came to be with us.

If you happen to read about a massive outbreak of food poisoning coming out of Rochester this week, you'll know why.

Posted by Ryan at 02:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 16, 2009

Stupid Year

Just my observation, but so far 2009 hasn't exactly been a banner year. Then again, I'm not sure what constitutes a banner year. I'm guessing a banner would be involved.

For that matter, at which point to you write off a year as not being a banner year? It's probably premature for me to do so, since it's only the middle February, but there simply has to be a sweet spot time of year when you can confidently proclaim a year to be bannerless. If July passes without so much as even a token banner, for example, you should be able to say "well, 2009 isn't a banner year." Sure, someone might sneak a banner into November or December, but you can downplay those as being "too little, too late."

What happens if a banner year presents itself too early? What if 2010 is declared a banner year on Jan. 2? Wouldn't that sort of set the bar kind of high for the rest of the year? I mean, a year that hits its stride that early in the game is bound to be winded and gassed by June. I'm not saying it would be a waste of a banner year, necessarily, but it would be nice if a year was better paced and established its banner bonafides a bit later in the game. . . maybe around June or so. That way, we'd be able to appreciate the banner year, with the hope of an additional banner year just around the corner.

On the other hand, how disappointed would you be if a banner year didn't appear until December? What if we spend the rest of 2009 waiting for it to become a banner year, but the banner doesn't unfurl until Dec. 28? Can you imagine a banner year emerging between Christmas and New Years? No one would even notice. Years from 2009, people will say "hey, remember that banner year of 2009?" and no one will be able to answer in the affirmative.

2009 is shaping up to be a forgotten year, like pretty much all my college years.

Posted by Ryan at 11:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 13, 2009


You know, maintaining this blog, a Facebook account AND Twittering would almost be considered a part-time job.

You know, if I made money doing it, I mean.

Posted by Ryan at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 12, 2009

I only started following it in 2004

Still, Fark.com is 10 years old today.

Posted by Ryan at 02:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wow. . . just. . . wow

You wouldn't normally expect to see such a monumentally retarded piece of brain excrement as this in a respectable newspaper.

And yet, not only did the Strib run it, they gave it "Letter of the Day" billing.

Posted by Ryan at 11:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 10, 2009

Chop Till You Drop

Ryan says: I'm writing about "uterine fibroids."

Caroline says: Owie.

Ryan says: Sounds like a cool type of laser.

Ryan says: It's not though. FYI.

Caroline says: Well, sure, if you say it with a robotic voice.

Caroline says: Anything will sound like a laser with that voice.

Ryan says: And do the robot chop.

Caroline says: Doesn't Vince sell the robot chop?

Ryan says: 3 out of 4 women of childbearing age can develop *robot voice/chop* uterine fibroids. *robot voice/chop*

Posted by Ryan at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


You know, I'm generally a cranky, sarcastic a-hole, but every once in awhile, an image like this will come along and totally melt my grinchy little heart.

Posted by Ryan at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 09, 2009

Where's MY Nick Coleman article?

I won't fisk this latest Coleman column because, as with most stuff he writes that's not political or self-righteous nonsense, this one isn't terrible. Still, I have to ask:

I had lived in Japan, visited China AND Hawaii by the time I was 19. And I'm STILL ALIVE. Where the hell is my column?

Posted by Ryan at 11:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 06, 2009

Gutter, meet mind; mind. . . gutter

I think it's a perfect time for me to make an adult film called "Stimulus Package," starring Handy Chasm. It will start off with a lot of build-up and throbbing necessity, but it will eventually devolve into a lot of talk and unnecessary and uninteresting sex scenes, and finally it will reach a point where no one wants anything to do with it any more. Years from now, people will talk about my adult film, "Stimulus Package," and they won't really remember much about it, except for the awesome performance by Handy Chasm.

Posted by Ryan at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 05, 2009

At the risk of my blog becoming a YouTube channel

Posted by Ryan at 01:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 04, 2009

Canadian Police Chase

Posted by Ryan at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2009

Your Guide to the Internet Caste System

The Internet today—whether you realize it or not—consists of a fairly well-established caste system. This social stratification of the Web occurred gradually, and most people remain blissfully unaware of its existence. Therefore, I've taken it upon myself to compile an easy-to-learn guide so you too can learn the Internet caste system.

At the top of the Internet caste system, there are the Webmasters. Webmasters are the elite class of the Web, consisting of people who can create and maintain their very own Web pages, whether for personal or professional use. These people know all about HTML and XML and all sorts of other coding languages that allow them to design and maintain Web pages that aren't complete, useless junk. Webmasters are generally held in extremely high regard online, and they can actually make money and command the respect of people and businesses that require their services.

Just below the Webmasters are the bloggers. While blogging itself may have peaked sometime back in 2005, millions of bloggers remain active to this day, writing about anything from politics to the daily bowel activities of the family cat. Depending on how rudimentary the blogging engine, bloggers may have some of the skills and coding languages prized by Webmasters, but without the flair for design or financial willingness to maintain a pure, independent Web presence. Bloggers are afforded a certain mix of admiration and disdain in the online world, depending on how many people they manage to annoy or impress. Generally, blogging remains a purely individual pursuit, although some blogs can catch national and even international attention, allowing them to profit in some cases.

Below the bloggers, we find the social networkers. Social networkers currently represent the saturated middle class ranks of the Internet. Social networks such as FaceBook and MySpace tend to dominate this class. Additionally, sites like Twitter exist that limit your online musings to 140 characters or less, in a sort of online ADD alternative. Social networkers build. . . social networks. . . of friends, family members and mutual acquaintances, and they keep their audiences entertained with regular missives about what they ate for dinner or how they're feeling right now. The social networker class is also known for uploading tons of amateur photography and video and having almost no clue about something known as "copyright law."

Nearing the bottom of the Web caste system are the Internet commenters. This is a very specific caste group that tends to obsessively comment on news articles, on blogs, or both. While it can be argued most such commenters aren't certifiably insane, those commenters who are insane tend to overshadow their sane commenting counterparts. Insane Internet commenters can actually be quite decent in real life, but online they regularly come across as obsessive, pseudo-intellectual, pant loads. They're generally arrogant, half-informed, intrusive, abusive and my research shows they tend to have a heavy, gamey smell to them. Insane Internet commenters are best to be ignored, as responding to them seems to further fuel their nonsensical blatherations.

Finally, there's the pariah class of the Internet caste system. These are the YouTube commenters. This is a class so vile and useless, to even intermingle accidentally with them can threaten to mark you as forever unclean. Your typical YouTube commenter has no detectible spelling prowess whatsoever, often misspelling as much as every single word in their comment. To a YouTube commenter, "grammar" is something you call your mother or father's mother, as in: "I went to see my Grammar Rhodes the other day." Despite their untouchable online status, YouTube commenters are a very prolific class, with some of the more popular YouTube comment threads showing submissions numbering in the thousands.

Thankfully, the Internet caste system is not absolute; there is room for mobility. A social networker can also be a blogger or even a Webmaster, and even insane Internet commenters can aspire to be bloggers.

Unfortunately, I have to report, YouTube commenters will never be anything other than YouTube commenters. Seriously, those people just suck.

Posted by Ryan at 01:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

My Stimulus Package, Let me Show you it

Plain and simple, since most people in Washington D.C. apparently don't pay their taxes, here's my idea:

Declare 2009 a tax holiday year. No one has to file their 2008 taxes. See what happens.

Hell, it would have to work at least as well as the nonsense about to be approved by Congress.

Posted by Ryan at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You're gonna love his nuts

Posted by Ryan at 09:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Ryan says: BTW, "House" is getting very close to jumping the shark.

Caroline says: Ugh, don't remind me. I'm in denial.

Ryan says: They should just change the name of the show to "13" and be done with it.

Caroline says: I really don't like her.

Caroline says: I'd rather have Amber there than 13.

Ryan says: The make-up people must be losing sleep trying to figure out new ways to emphasize 13's eyes.

Ryan says: They make her eyelashes any longer, Taub could swing from them.

Caroline says: Wouldn't that be called swinging the Taub? Kind of like jumping the shark, only more Jewish.

Ryan says: Or "Jumping the Jew," but now we're just back to Hebrew porn.

Caroline says: They go right to left.

Ryan says: . . .

Ryan says: Wow.

Caroline says: What'd I say?

Ryan says: Nothing that wasn't totally awesome.

Caroline says: Then my work here is done.

Posted by Ryan at 08:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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