March 30, 2009

Sheikh, Sheikh, Sheikh, Senora!

Based off this, the most awesome lede paragraph to grace a news item since the invention of the printing press, I'll be crafting limericks throughout the day that include the term "Anal Sheikh." And, because I'm particularly lazy today, I'm giving myself poetic license to use both pronunciations of Sheikh, including the one that rhymes with "shriek" and the one that rhymes with "steak."


A woman, whom we'll call "Anal Shiekh"
Is gifted at a certain sex technique
Men come from afar
Pay in Iraqi dinars
And none can walk right for a week.

There's a dance craze called "Anal Shiekh,"
The moves of which are quite tough to make
You put your right foot in
And that's just to begin
There's no describing how much you will ache.

Prince Abdullah is one anal sheikh
If you'll pardon my hard-edged critique
Stuff sand in his ass,
The sheikh will shit glass.
In the Arab world, this isn't unique.

Anal Sheikh, so they say in hushed tones
Goes up and down like the Dow Jones.
When she's penetrating
You'll need iron plating
Or you'll feel it deep down in your bones.

Advice commonly spewed by Anal Sheikh
Is you must simply turn the other cheek.
Don't do it, man!
She'll wreck your can!
That woman's an unconscionable sneak.

When risking it all, and there's much at stake
The last person to turn to is Anal Sheikh
She'll always screw you,
And your little dog, too.
Trusting her would be your biggest mistake.

Posted by Ryan at 10:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack



Is it wrong that I think the hairy guy looks like Christian Bale?

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March 27, 2009

The Online Evolution to Twitter

The Internet has a strange power over me. Without even realizing it, I've been swept along by the Internet and have engaged in all sorts of online fads; I've been an active witness to online history, but I've had no idea anything remarkable was even happening.

For example, back in 2002, a co-worker suggested I take up something called "blogging." I had never heard of such a thing, but it sounded interesting, and she set up my blog and everything, so I didn't really have an excuse not to blog. Over seven years later, I still blog.

But the Internet has moved beyond blogging, which is to say the Internet has gotten simpler. Whereas blogging in the early years required at least a passing understanding of Internet coding languages such as HTML and XML, establishing a presence on the Internet today is as easy as using a word processor.

So it's come to pass that I also have a FaceBook presence in addition to my blog. However, since my blog is somewhat anonymous, my blogging personality tends to be crude, while my FaceBook personality is a bit more refined (just barely) because my FaceBook audience consists of friends and family. So, I basically have a split personality. So long as the split personality doesn't intrude into the real world, I should be able to avoid the lads in the white coats.

But then the Internet went and introduced Twitter. If you're not familiar with Twitter, it's kind of hard to explain unless you've experienced it. Basically, Twitter is like shorthand blogging; you post your random thoughts throughout the day, but you're limited to 140 characters or less per "tweet." The goal of Twittering, inasmuch as there is one, is to make your tweets interesting/insightful/humorous enough so that other Twitterers will start "following" you. If all this strikes you as the groundwork for a serious psychological disorder, you're probably not far off the mark.

Regardless, Twitter is fantastically addicting. Maybe it's the challenge of crafting an interesting thought in 140 characters or less, or it's the narcissistic demon that's always dwelled within me, or it's a twisted combination of the two. Whatever the case, Twitter is the literary equivalent of digital crack.

Thankfully, I'm not alone in my love for Twitter. There are literally millions and millions of people on Twitter posting their most mundane thoughts daily. After several months of dutiful twittering, I now have 77 followers, which sounds like a lot, until you realize Christopher Walken has over 90,000 followers. Apparently, there are a lot of people who want more cowbell.

You're no doubt wondering what it's like to have 77 Twitter followers and to follow 41 myself. Well, it's kind of like being in a zombie movie, except instead of zombies chanting "Braaaaiiiinnnss," you have a bunch of otherwise normal people providing updates on their day and posting sometimes whimsical thoughts.

Where will all this Twitter madness lead? I'm not sure, but if I can just get Christopher Walken to start following me, fame and fortune can only follow.

Posted by Ryan at 12:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 24, 2009

Karma. . . or something

I just walked downstairs to the break room, intent on procuring a Diet Pepsi. I inserted a dollar into the pop machine, and I was confident I had an additional quarter to cover the cost.

I did not, and the coin return feature wasn't working, so there I stood, a mere 25 cents away from aspartame goodness. Now, I could have said, to no one in particular "hey, could you guard this machine while I go up and grab my wallet?" Instead, I threw caution to the wind and ran back upstairs, navigated the cubicle maze, grabbed my wallet and ran back through the gamut and down the stairs.

And just as I reached the pop machine, a very satisfied individual was just reaching down to retrieve a bottle of water he had just paid only 25 cents for.

I could have pressed the issue. I could have mentioned to the individual that he had just usurped my dollar and pleaded my case. But, why bother?

Instead, I'll just enjoy my current Diet Pepsi a little bit more.

A dollar more.

Posted by Ryan at 02:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 23, 2009

Plank-Like Rigor Mortis


Yep. The wife and I are in the process of replication.

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March 20, 2009

Geode Twins: Not Dead Yet!

Caroline says: So why do you get to work so early, Oh one who would hump sleep if he could?

Ryan says: A desire to look busy.

Caroline says: Right on

Ryan says: I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how one could physically hump sleep.

Caroline says: Time well spent, really.

Ryan says: Because once I figure that out, I'll be able to bottle that shit and make a fortune.

Caroline says: "Sleep Humper: The Fragrance"

Ryan says: "Honey, be sure to pick up a bottle of 'Hump Sleep.'"

Ryan says: Actually, I like "Sleep Humper" better.

Caroline says: That's what she said.

Ryan says: Won't be in copyright wars with "Hump Catting."

Caroline says: Wow. Hump Catting. Blast from the past.

Ryan says: Bear Blasting!

OBSCURITY POINTS: Readers earn 75 Obscurity Points for knowing where "hump catting" and "bear blasting" come from. You'll also be blessed with 400 babies!!!

Posted by Ryan at 09:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 15, 2009

Transitionary Baby


I was born in 1975, an uncertain time in photography, when some people still had legacy cameras only capable of black and white. My parents were "some people." Oh, sure, they had a color camera as well, but black and white really brought out the nudity images. I was a scrawny baby, as you can see here.

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March 13, 2009

How to love your child?

Last week, I was walking through the buildings at work, when I happened to pass through an area that specializes in pediatrics. For those of you who aren't up on medical jargon quite like I am, pediatrics means healthcare for Peds, which is Latin for "small proto-adults," otherwise known as children.

Anyway, as I was passing through the pediatrics area, I happened to notice a poster on the wall, and I noticed the poster featured a long and rambling poem of sorts entitled "How to love your child."

Now, even though I don't actually have a child, I figured it might be helpful to learn how to love one just in case one materializes in front of me holding the hand of one of my ex-girlfriends.

At the risk of basically second-guessing the poet who penned the advice regarding how to love your child, I have to say, quite frankly, that I believe the poet was either extremely wrong, extremely high, or a combination of both.

For example, consider some of the following actual love advice ladled out in poem form:

"If they're crabby, put them in water."

Notice it doesn't indicate how deep the water should be. Ankle-depth? 20 feet? Are you supposed to hold the child under the water until they're not crabby any more? For that matter, it doesn't even specify the water temperature. Ice cold? Boiling hot? What's the best depth and temperature to hurl a crabby child into to ensure an adequate amount of love?

"If they're unlovable children, love yourself."

Excuse me? How do you get to deem a child unlovable? What's the criteria? Is there an expert out there who hands out labels that read "Lovable Child," and "Hateful Brat?" This whole snippet of advice just basically makes it really easy to give up on a difficult child, lock yourself in a room with a naughty magazine, and love yourself like crazy.

"Hug trees together."

Because nothing says you love your child more than walking around embracing trees and making everyone around you super uncomfortable. "It's that tree hugging weirdo with the tree hugging kids."

"Go find elephants and kiss them."

Right, then. Well, you might somehow manage to score love points with your child by slipping through the zoo bars to peck pachyderms, but the child endangerment alone would probably negate the love gains. Say what you will about hugging trees; at least they don't trample you or gore you with a tusk.

"Make loving safe."

This coming from the same person who advocates smooching Dumbo.

"Plant licorice in your garden."

Show your child you love them by practicing non-productive gardening methods. Sure, you'll starve come winter, since that licorice just didn't germinate like you'd hoped, but the love between you and your child should take the edge of the starvation pains.

"Paint their tennis shoes."

If child services has not intervened by this time, there's something wrong with society. After snogging elephants, embracing trees, planting licorice and chucking crabby children into the local pond, there's a pretty solid dossier of evidence that you might just be an unfit parent. As if any more proof is needed, now your children are running around the neighborhood with tennis shoes painted with "Unlovable Child."

"Invent pleasures together."

I think I caught "Inventing Pleasures Together," one night on Cinemax. It wasn't much of a storyline, from what I saw of it, but it most certainly didn't strike me as the best way to show love to a child.

Posted by Ryan at 04:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2009

16 Years later

Okay, the class pictures are now exhausted, which is regrettable. Thankfully, my mother was nothing if not an insistent photographic record-keeper. Therefore, I'll be posting all sorts of scanned images from my childhood that will paint me in the most self-deprecating light I deem acceptable.

Hopefully, it will be a vast repository for new blog/ThunderJournal posts.

In the meantime, remember, you can still contrast my last post with this:


Posted by Ryan at 09:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 09, 2009

Losing my mind


A funny thing happens when you uproot a 17-year-old mid-western lad who lived his entire life in a town of 1,100 people, and you plop him in an Asian metropolis of 23 million people. The funny thing that happens is, he loses his mind. Believe me, it's not pretty.

This picture was the perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances. Obviously, my face is riddled with stress acne, and my smile has all the combined concerns of the last three weeks etched upon it. Also, that very week, I had been touring Kamakura, and I lost a damned contact lens (keeping in mind, this was back in the day when you had one pair, period). So, I had to rely on the "Twin Windshields of Doom" to get me by until new prescription contacts could be sent from the States. The only way I could have looked more uncomfortable in this picture was if there was a ninja standing behind me about to lop off my head.

As horrible as this picture, it really drives home just how out of my element I actually felt. Try to imagine, a gawky, overwhelmed teenage boy walking around Tokyo with his jeans pinned around his ankles. I stood out, man. Like a sore thumb just struck by a hammer.

Oh, also, I was in an all boys school, with a dress code. So, you know, keep that in mind.

Posted by Ryan at 07:34 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 08, 2009

Senior Pictures, Yo!


Ever since the movie "The Prophecy," I haven't been able to look at this picture the same way. It always reminds me of the way the angels "perched." At this point in my development, I had a permanent tooth in place, which remains to this day. However, my mouth hadn't stopped growing quite yet, so I had to have an extension glued onto the tooth back in 2002. For the most part, the photographer did a decent job of airbrushing my acne, which was pretty rampant at this point in 1992, what with me battling with the decision of whether to go with my family to Tokyo for my senior year.


You, too, can make millions of dollars each month using my amazing, unique, investment strategy! I call it the Rhodes Ponzi Scheme, and I've made $50 billion for myself and my clients!

Alternatively, you can think of this picture as a kind of "James Bond In The Crosshairs" sort of way. Regardless, I can still fit into that damned sport coat. Oh, and I still wear that exact same tie to work occasionally.


Check out the jeans. If you were any sort of perceived "cool" back in 1992, at least in Harmony, you either pinned or rolled your pants. Also, you wore anklet socks, which is something I still do to this day, although I do it now more for comfort than anything else. The pose was something the photographer relied on almost too much. The pictures shown here were the ones we decided on; there were dozens more rejected ones that featured the same pose.


Although I had graduated on up to contact lenses, my mother insisted I keep the "twin windshields of doom," and further insisted I wear them for at least a couple senior pictures. Why I needed to pose next to a step ladder is anybody's guess. What amazes me about these pictures is the lack of arm hair, and really body hair in general. Puberty really didn't finish up with me until I was 25 or 26, so these images are totally not representative of the hairy beast I am today. When somebody yanks your lower back/butt hair as a joke in jiu-jitsu, you know you may very well be the missing link between man and monkey.


And finally we have the creepy kid-toucher image. I was so sick and tired of wearing a sport coat and having my picture taken, I was reduced to weary insta-grins, which always look fake and creepy.

Posted by Ryan at 12:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 06, 2009

Next up. . .

Not to worry. I'll have my senior pictures posted eventually; I just have to find the damned things first. I only had two outfits for senior pictures: a sportcoat and football jersey. And then I didn't even end up playing football my senior year because I went to Tokyo.

Which reminds me, I should totally dig up my old Tokyo yearbook and scan my class picture from that year. You want to see stress acne? Good God, man, my face looked like early volcanic earth.

Posted by Ryan at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2009

Let the eagle soar. . .


Good God, where to begin? I suppose we can start with the necklace. I really can't make any excuses for the thing. I honestly thought it was cool, which proves that, even though I was an A Honor Roll student, I was actually very stupid.

Now. . . the teeth. I'm sure you noticed it looks like there's only one big front tooth instead of two defined teeth. Okay, remember the denture thing from the previous year? Well, basically, the thing fell out of my mouth while I was swimming in a river during the summer. Considering how freakin' expensive the damned thing was, the local dentist decided to try and glue a temporary tooth into place. I'd had surgery to drill a titanium post into my upper mandible that would one day support a permanent tooth, but since my mouth was still growing, we had to make do with temporary measures.

The glue treatment worked for about two weeks, before a slight bump to my mouth knocked it out again. Rather than go back to the dentist to glue it back in, I came up with the grand idea of using. . . Super Glue. And it worked! For about two weeks, at which point the tooth broke free again and I had to glue it back into place. This was an ongoing process, so by the time this picture was taken, the place holder tooth had enough Super Glue build-up on it to make it look like I was growing plaque as some sort of experiment.

The hair is it's own thing entirely. I have no explanation for that.

Posted by Ryan at 07:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

It's a dental miracle!


Okay, this wasn't really a dental miracle. What actually happened was, a few months after my ninth grade picture was snapped, I was doing pull-ups right before wrestling practice started. The pull-up bars were mounted to the wall, which meant I had to face the wall to do pull-ups. Lining the walls of the wrestling room were these big green military-type bags, which were ironically in place to protect us from running into the walls during practice.

Well, one of my fellow wrestlers thought it would be funny to throw one of those large heavy pillows at my back, thereby making me smack my groin against the wall. Unfortunately, I dropped down from the pull-up bar just as the pillow was released, so the pillow hit the back of my head, and the transfer of momentum meant my face smashed into the wall.

So, all those years of waiting for my teeth to grow together were basically for nothing, as in that single moment, my right tooth was ejected from mouth just as I nearly went unconscious. The sight of my tooth bouncing off my arm woke me right up though. Well, that and the pain of having my tooth snapped off at the root.

What's in place in my mouth in this picture is basically a temporary denture. It was a most irritating device that took up the entire roof of my mouth, and attached to the plate was this single tooth. I had to pop the denture out every night and drop it in a cup with Polident. Yeah, I was real special.

Also, you probably noticed that my eyesight also went south in the previous year, necessitating glasses. As class pictures go, this one is actually pretty decent for me, particularly when you consider the following year. . .

Posted by Ryan at 07:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I can has puberty?


True, it would have been nice if I had actually been looking at the camera, rather than some odd distraction over to my left, but as I said in my last post, you only really got one shot at class pictures back in the day. I suppose kids today get to see their digital images before they go out for processing. Little brats don't know how good they have it

I don't recall this particular shirt, although I imagine it was another hand-me-down. Thankfully, I didn't pop the collar. By this point in my developmental growth here in 9th grade, I was capable of growing just a wisp of a mustache, as evidenced here by the noticeable razor lip nick. My teeth are actually starting to squeeze together. Perhaps the dentists were right, after all. Maybe next year. . .

Posted by Ryan at 07:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2009

Tell Me About the Rabbits, George.


Well, I eventually ditched the jean jacket in favor of my hometown football jersey (Harmony Cardinals). I wore #80 from eighth grade to my junior year.

The larger issues here are the proto-mullet snaking its way down my neck, and the "don't-take-the-picture-yet-I'm-chewing-my-tongue" smile. That's the thing with class pictures back in the day: you only got one shot at it. You sat down, struck your best pose, the white umbrellas illuminated, and you just had to pray things looked okay. As we've seen, my batting average for class pictures was pretty damned low.

And. . . it's only going to get worse.

Posted by Ryan at 08:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fonzie Says: "Ayyyyyyy!"


Okay, I'm going to let ya'll have a few minutes to finish laughing.


You finished? You get it all out of your system? No?


Well, you're either finished laughing, or you're unconscious from lack of oxygen. Either way, here we go:

Honestly, at the time, this was my most favoritest class picture EVAR. I LOVED this picture. Granted, like Seinfeld episodes, it hasn't aged well. The spiked hair was a summer project; it took weeks of training with hair mousse to get that shit to stand upright on demand.

You may remember the jean jacket craze that rocked the fashion world during the late 80s. Well, I was not about to let that craze go without taking part. The only problem was, my mother was not about to spring for a jean jacket. Solution? This was my mother's jean jacket from when SHE was in high school! I didn't tell anybody that, of course; I had some concept of shame. I think the jean jacket aged well, don't you? You gotta love the popped collar. I was poppin' collars before it was cool, maannn. Unintentionally, of course. That jean jacket was so old, I think the collar was permanently popped by age.

Posted by Ryan at 06:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can We Talk?!


I've always wondered what the hell I was thinking, during this picture, putting my arm out like a chicken wing. It's kind of an aggressive posture, like I'm about to give Matt Lauer the 411 about Scientology. The photographer probably was afraid I was going to bite him with my Chiclet teeth. It had been about two full years since the toboggan to the face incident, and the teeth had moved at a glacial pace somewhat closer together. Dentists continued to insist braces weren't necessary. To their credit, in about three more years, they would be proven right. Just not quite in the way they imagined. Oh, and say good-bye to the bowl cut, people, because. . .

Posted by Ryan at 05:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, Hai Guys!


My bowl cut and gap teeth. Let me show you them. You really have to marvel at the level of self-esteem I must have had back then, to be able to confidently and proudly display my chompers without even a hint of embarrassment. Then again, maybe I was just so happy to be wearing horizontal stripes, once more! An alternative theory is that I was happy because I was drunk with the power of being a student patrol guard. They're all good theories.

Posted by Ryan at 05:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2009

What's Up, Doc?


In retrospect, maybe I should have adopted more of a "Plain Layne" approach to pictures after my teeth became bifurcated. Oh well, live and learn. I think that was the only Vikings jersey I ever wore, and I think it was a hand-me-down from my brother. Oh well, at least it was a final farewell to the world of horizontal stripes.

Posted by Ryan at 06:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All I Wanted For Christmas Was . . .


As stated in my previous post, a couple things happened not long after my second grade photo was taken. Thing one was, I lost a tooth. Thing two was, I lost another tooth. Now, the right tooth came out the nice, natural way, by which I mean I wiggled and wiggled it until it broke free from its gummy nest. The left tooth, on the other hand, came out a tad different, and well before it was supposed to.

How it went down was, a bunch of my classmates and I were sledding during noon recess, when one of my classmates thought it would be funny to hold out his red, plastic toboggan like a matador's cape as my sled raced down the hill towards him. A little known fact that's little known about red plastic toboggans is this: they are nowhere near as soft as a matador's cape, especially when they smack you in the mouth at 15 mph.

It didn't knock the tooth completely out, but there was a lot of blood and a lot of screaming. I eventually found myself in the principal's office and, I shit you not, the principal actually tied a string around my wrecked tooth and, with a flick of the wrist, my tooth went flying across the room. If that kind of shit were to go down like that today, I'd no doubt be living off a grand financial settlement.

At any rate, the premature departure of my left tooth gave my right tooth all sorts of room to grow however it damned well pleased, which led to the next six years of dental wait-and-see, where dentists all agreed the teeth would eventually gravitate together without the need for braces. Believe me when I tell you, hilarity ensued.

Posted by Ryan at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Calm Before The Storm


Nothing too remarkable about this year, which is a good thing, because the next year will make up for all the previous years of cuteness taken for granted. A couple months after this picture was taken, things started to happen in my life. Big, important, dramatic things that so warp a developing child's mind. Technically, I don't suppose you can say this shirt has horizontal stripes. It's just the one stripe.

Posted by Ryan at 06:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Childhood Resumed


We continue now with the photo journey that is my childhood. As you can see, the hiatus from striped shirts was short-lived. And, I just want to say, for the record, a collared shirt on a six year old is just wrong. My hair apparently didn't know quite what it was supposed to do that day. Oh, what I'd give for that particular problem nowadays.

Posted by Ryan at 05:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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