Yes! One step closer to having a bust of my own head with a secret button inside that opens a secret passageway or something.
3D file created using 123D Catch – available here. For free. (I know, right? It’s like science fiction and magic shared a special hug and made a baby you can download guilt-free.) Printed on an Objet 3D printer. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. It is so choice.
Fuck all these Twilight haters. But not because it’s a good book. It’s not. It’s a weird book, which I think is better. It is entirely a story of the denial of self and the subjugation of a woman to her man told in excruciating detail by the codependent victim of the worst case of statutory rape ever. It’s garbage that romanticizes female weakness. Except for this one part, spoiler alert!, where Bella gets her cervix chewed out by her vamp-child, which is weird as hell and totally bad-ass. Though it is a torturous act to bear children for her man, an act that nearly kills her, Bella soldiers on and pumps him out a brood.
I don’t want to point any fingers, but self denial and sublimated sexual feelings and a rush to make babies sounds a lot like some fundamentalist religions. And, as it turns out, the author of the Twiight series just so happens to belong to a particular brand of religion with a tendency to espouse many of the beliefs expressed in the book. It’s essentially the cultural guide to sexual puritanism as expressed through vampires. Sex is something to be done only with one’s husband and for the purpose of procreation. You’ll recall Bella’s only sexual act immediately results in a child, which takes four books of Bella breathlessly lusting after Edward to finally accomplish.
As far as romanticized, self-destructive relationships go, theirs is relatively tame. Bella is a need-machine and Edward is a condescending older man and Jacob is a wild experiment with Indian guys. That’s the part that people seemed to like, but there’s a subtle streak of almost-racism. Not overt red-face caricatures of American Indians saying “How” or being part wild beast (like, say, werewolves), but that assumed “Well obviously she’s gonna end up with the white guy” scenario where the audience, knowing full well that he cannot have her, watches Jacob fail to get the girl because a rich dude with shiny white skin sweeps her off of her feet.
It’s a quick read and the fad’s just past, so people will let you borrow their copy and forget they lent it to you. Take a look. It’s a decent story presented in a super-weird way. How and why so many people loved it, especially women who in real life would never tolerate Bella’s weakness and codependency much less live it themselves, is an extra fascinating wrinkle. Its popularity makes the books even more interesting.
My dream is that some Aeschylus- and Stephanie Meyer-loving fan puts together some fanfic in which the series ends with Bella being torn apart from the inside by the baby forced upon her by a calculating 174 year old pervert with a penchant for 17 year old girls and brooding. Edward gets killed by the Italian super-vampires, and the story wraps up with Jacob wailing in grief at the loss of his love and delight at the demise of his enemy. The director’s cut. Make it happen, internet.
So, like, people in general do not sound all that bright. I mean, you know what I mean, right? It’s just like… so… weird that all these people say pretty much the same things with the same voice. It’s just so random how people talk, I guess.
Here are some of my favorite Shit ____ _____ Say videos. Some are good only because they are bad. Some are good, but only after seeing the others. Context is important, so I have tried to put them into some semblance of an order. Feel free to jump around like house of pain, though.
The socially conscious version
The commercial from like five years ago that was built upon this premise
There are about 3 billion other fish in the sea. Controlling for age and language, that number drops to like 500 million. Geographically, you have access (conservatively) to like 100,000 guys who meet your minimum qualifications. Losing one is not even statistically significant. There are tens of thousands of age-appropriate and reasonably attractive fish in the sea.
A little girl wrote a letter addressed to Captain Kirk at my place of business. It was an assignment in her computer class, and she was to request a product sample. As the Enterprise has no samples to distribute, I thought I would give her some insight into the future.
Turner Middle School
950 Massachusetts Avenue
Berthoud, CO 80513
Captain James Tiberius Kirk
82 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Thank you so much for your recent letter. I enjoyed reading it almost as much as I enjoyed hunting down something from the ship that was appropriate for a girl in middle school. I hope that your computer class is teaching you a lot, particularly since the future requires an extensive knowledge of computers and code. If you work hard and get good grades, we may have a spot for you as a yeoman aboard the Enterprise.
Since I am writing you from the future, I should know. The Hunger Games is going to be huge. Read the book before you go see it. Also, Lady Gaga’s first child will be named Gumdrop. Her second? Alejandro. In the future, people brush their teeth four times a day. The color purple is outlawed. Beets cause severe allergic reactions, so much of Northeastern Colorado is vaporized. The Rams are still a football team, despite the destruction of Fort Collins, and they are no worse at football when neither they nor their school exists.
Unfortunately, the Angry Birds sweaters have owners who love them very much, so we could not send you one. As you were not specific as to which necklace you wanted, my crew elected not to give you one. (“Perhaps next time she will be more specific,” Sulu said.) We are sending you robots who misbehaved aboard our ship in the robots-only middle school. In fact, we’ve sent you one who likes to pass notes during class. Perhaps being sent back to a time when robots are vacuum cleaners and children’s toys will teach him a lesson. If he continues to misbehave in your time, you have my permission to beat him with a stick. Please use a sufficiently large stick in order to fully maim him, as this may anger the robot to the point of violating all three of Asimov’s laws of robotics.
Capt. James T. Kirk
Lesson to be learned?
Captain Kirk is all about helping your children in their computer classes.
Quinoa is delicious in a good-for-you sort of way. Since I can’t eat french fries with every meal due to a family history of diabetes and a personal aversion to purchasing new pants every time I’d need to size up, quinoa is adequate. It is proper food. It sticks to your ribs. It is not laced with additives and artificial ingredients to improve its mouthfeel. It is not full of gluten, high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, Yellow #anything, MSG, BGH, BHA, or aspartame.
The thing is, when you have a severe case of the munchies, eating real food causes problems. It doesn’t just pass through the system leaving nothing but a trail of broken promises and mild diarrhea like a sack full of Jack in the Box tacos. When you put away an entire bag of Funyuns and wash it down with a 2 liter bottle of Coke, it’s a scenic tour of your insides. Like InnerSpace, the discomfort only lasts for about an hour and a half.
Quinoa and its leafy friend spinach are not meant to be consumed irresponsibly. They are upstanding foods. No-frills. No marketing. You won’t see either on television except maybe as a foodstuff that gets interviewed by Charlie Rose. Calm, sensible, and healthy.
When you consume quinoa and spinach in bulk, be prepared to be underwhelmed initially. It tastes tolerable. The exciting parts are coming up, though, particularly if you fail to drink a sufficient amount of water. Enjoy your filling meal; quinoa completely annihilates the munchies. Hunger cannot stand up to the nutritious power of quinoa and its sidekick.
Just bring a newspaper and something to bite down on the next morning. Because when those bowels move, it’s gonna get uncomfortable. And whatever you do, don’t look down.*
Quinoa is simple to prepare, especially with a rice cooker.
Growing up can be painful.
Funyuns can look remarkably like a Nativity scene, even without a crèche.
This hurts like a cast-iron son of a bitch. What happened?
GOUT: Remember that meal at Great China? The one with 5 orders of seafood & pork dumplings? Peking duck? That unfiltered Pinot Noir? That happened. So did a lifetime of rare steaks. And pork chops. And the beer? Remember college? So now I’m happening.
How did you know about that? Who are you? Have you been stalking me?
GOUT: I know everything there is to know about you. But I haven’t stalked you. I’m a part of you. I’ve followed you like a hemorrhoid, always there but not always noticeable. I’ve been waiting, watching you consume each morsel of meat and every ounce of alcohol, and coming with you when you work out.
What do you mean, when I work out?
GOUT: Exactly! Maybe if you got off of your ass and moved around a bit, I wouldn’t have all these awesome uric acid crystals to play with. As it stands, I’m trying to assemble a life-size replica of Superman’s fortress of solitude in here. It’s pretty and sharp and I really wish you could see it under all the swelling. Does it hurt?
Yeah, it hurts. I haven’t felt like this since the bald kung fu man snapped my big toe. Even then, the pain subsided pretty quickly. But this… it’s like that feeling when you stub your toe in the dark after taking a full and decisive stride. But instead of dissipating immediately, that initial note of pain does not stop. It grows and expands into an orchestra of discomfort, arpeggios of agony on top of a miserable melody. And it gets louder and louder and louder until even Spinal Tap would say, “How about turning that down a bit?”
GOUT: You’re only 26. Why are you referencing a movie that came out before you were even conceived?
Because… holy shit, where did that come from?
GOUT: I thought I’d give you a little percussion to add to your musical metaphor. Did it work?
Ow. I mean, yeah. It worked. Hurt like hell, but it solidified the metaphor.
GOUT: Speaking of solidification, what are you gonna do about this whole crystalline uric acid situation?
I was going to give up drinking.
GOUT: That’s it? What are you, some kind of pussy? I spend all this time to let you know that your lifestyle choices are contributing to the most *poke* painful *prod* condition *stab* of your life, and you’re just going to give up drinking? You hardly drink as it is. That barely counts as a sacrifice. Sure, it might do as a half-assed New Year’s resolution, but come on.
Fine. What if I slow down on the refined sugars? High fructose corn syrup? You know I love that. Will that appease you, you sadistic bastard?
GOUT: Whoa whoa whoa, language! No need for name-calling you alcoholic asshole, you carnivorous cunt. I have famous cousins, you know. The gout that afflicted Henry VIII? Family. I even had a sister who was getting ready to take out his wife’s big toe, but Hank got to her head first. Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. That was us, too. Watch your tone with me mister. Wait. Where was I?
High fructose corn syrup?
GOUT: Go fuck yourself. Just playing. Yeah, I guess you could eliminate that. That’s still not really enough. I can tell you’re holding something back. Something delicious and chewy and moist and meaty.
Ugh. Fine. What about meat? What do I have to cut out?
GOUT: You can still have some. You can have about 4 oz at a time. You know those tiny filet mignon-sized pieces? You can have about half of one of those. Same goes for pork, chicken, and any other meats you might try to sneak by me. Turkey? I don’t care how lean it is, it’s chock full of purines. You can also forget about shellfish. Neither surf nor turf. Based on what I’ve seen of you, though, you’re better off just avoiding meat entirely. You eat meat like an asthmatic breathes: you take huge gulps and barely get enough air. No seafood and no meat for you.
Aw man. I really wanted those. How about I just keep eating the way I have been and take colchicine? Then what?
GOUT: Go for it. The nausea and diarrhea should make short work of that plan. How about this: go veggie for a little while. Drink plenty of water. You’ll be healthier for it.
I guess, but I’m really going to miss alcohol and meat.
GOUT: Awwww… who’s got first world problems circa 1700? You do. Yes you do. Get over yourself. You’ll be fine. Suck it up and act like you’re poor. Not “We are the 99%” poor, either. Real poor. “We don’t eat meat because meat doesn’t live here anymore”-poor. “We sometimes drink fermented berry juice”-poor. You’ll be fine. There are numerous faux meats in the shape of meat that you can enjoy. Plus, you have access to food that is more plentiful and better-tasting than ever before anywhere. Anywhere. So you can’t have like six things? So what? Boo fucking hoo. Walk it off. Once I’m done with my crystal sculpture, that is, and it ain’t looking like that’ll be anytime soon.
I somehow managed to sprain an ankle… in my sleep.
This is the most annoying injury ever. There’s not even a good story for it. If I’m going to be laid up with quite possibly the stupidest bodily problem I’ve ever had, it’s as good a time as any to relay my three favorite sports injuries of all time. But first, the mystery of the somnambulatory sprain.
Yesterday I woke up with some minor pain in my ankle. I thought to myself: no big deal, walk it off, must have slept with pointed toes like a ballerina or something, it’s just stiff, it’ll pass.
I made it through yesterday without too many problems; I stepped gingerly off of curbs, I shortened my stride, and I tried not to do any Presidential Physical Fitness shuttle runs.* I made it to and from work without any problems. The train ride home was a subway-surfing, standing affair. I thought I was out of the woods and had successfully walked it off.
Today was a whole ‘nother story. I got out of bed and almost fell down. Like my foot was in negotiations with David Stern and decided it wasn’t gonna play ball for less than half of the CBA. So it has been RICE** time all day. Icing my ankle with my foot in the air while working from home. I can’t imagine going in to work like this, much less explaining why I’m limping.
To dull the pain in your lives with epicaricacy inspired by mine, here are my favorite injuries of all time. In ascending order of seriousness:
#3: My first sports injury was an ankle injury.
I was about 11 and playing peewee football. I don’t know what happened to hurt my ankle, but I knew what an injury represented: a chance to not have to play peewee football.
I hated playing football. Hated it. I hated that weighing more than 100 pounds meant that I had to be a lineman. I hated running laps from our practice field to the shriveled pine tree our coach nicknamed Charlie Brown (like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, get it? I still get flashbacks just watching MetLife commercials.) I hated not understanding the plays. I hated getting penalized for lining up in the neutral zone without understanding what that meant. I hated our coach, most of my teammates, and getting my fingers squished between helmets. It was, to say the least, a less-than-stellar first experience playing the sport.
So I milked the hell out of my ankle injury. It was a much better tactic than simply crying on the way to practice to guilt my mother into not making me play. I should have realized that a preemptive strike was much more likely to be effective. Once we were in the car, I was committed. I can only imagine how my mother felt while teaching me the “We follow through on our obligations” lesson for the duration of each tear-filled car ride. I should have started the theatrics when we were still in the house, before I had pulled on my still-damp pants with the pads in them from practice earlier that week.
I knew I was faking. My mom knew I was faking but was so beaten down by the tears that she didn’t push it. My coach knew. The guys I played with knew but didn’t care because for every down I didn’t play, our team failed to receive a five yard penalty because I couldn’t master a three-point stance.
I’ll have you know, however, that I went on to have a wholly mediocre high school football career after being bribed by my father into playing again. I received a 333MHz computer when I was in 8th grade in exchange for giving the sport another chance. My feelings about the sport did not change much, but the social capital of being a “high school football player” was worth the months of misery. So was having internet pornography right at my left-hand-mousing fingertips.
Injury #2: I broke my left big toe practicing tae kwon do.
I was a part of a strip mall martial arts studio run by a very kind man with lots of stripes on black belt. Imagine a combination of Johnny Cage and a cool youth minister who plays the guitar. There was an evening class that also included a few of the middle-school-aged children of some of my classmates. (One of whom is responsible for my receipt of a pair of college scholarships; I wrote about her kicking my ass at my first-ever tae kwon do class.)
Every Friday night, we would have an all-sparring class. Just an hour and a half of people almost getting punched or kicked in the face. No pads, just well-controlled strikes that we did not land. The sparring class brought in the other disciplines of martial arts that our instructor taught, mainly the kung fu class.
Kung fu is very different from tae kwon do. The emphasis is a lot less on sportiness and a lot more on spiciness. That is to say, they trained to become proficient fighters while we trained to become proficient athletes. That is very nearly the same thing. Like the difference between kickboxing and Tae Bo. They’re both nominally about punching and kicking, but one will get your ass handed to you by Jean-Claude Van Damm, while the other will merely tone your ass and make it more likely to be handled by an attractive member of the opposite (or same) sex. The difference is in the “handed-to” as opposed to the “handled.”
I had my ass handed to me by a short, bald practitioner of kung fu. If you have ever watched a kung fu movie, you know the following:
kung fu is most dangerous when practiced by old, short, bald men
I did not know that. Towering almost a foot above this man, with enough hair on my head for the both of us, I was sure it’d be a fun match. Me standing at arm’s length and nearly punching and kicking this man for about three minutes. Good times. It’d be like those cartoon scenes with a tiny child yelling, “Let me at ‘em!” while another, larger character yawns and holds them at arm’s length by their forehead.
That man was fast and kept kicking me in the shins and knees. Hard. Repeatedly. My powerful but slow punches got me nowhere, especially as we weren’t supposed to be landing any blows. I started to get annoyed by all the kicks directed at my legs, so I chose to respond in kind. I should have really realized that if he was prepared to throw those kicks so readily, he must also be prepared to block them.
And block my kick he did. Authoritatively. Like Mutumbo in his prime. It had everything but the finger-wag: it was fast, vicious, and decisive from out of nowhere. His shin met my toe with both traveling at full speed. My toe snapped backwards and to the side as he followed through with the block.
And my toe stayed that way, sprawled back across the top of my foot like it was excited to finally look up and really see the world. It wiggled flaccidly with every step. I, however, did not realize that it was broken. It hurt like hell, but I thought I had just stubbed it unusually hard. I kept fighting, Daniel-san style, on one foot.
Slowly, though, people around us stopped fighting to stare at my floppy, deformed toe. The match was abruptly cut short, and I hobbled off to my car after brushing off help. I drove myself the 3 miles or so to the urgent care facility, hopped from my car to the entrance, hijacked a wheelchair, then flirted with the nurses until it was time to snap the digit back into place.
No longer riding high on a wave of adrenaline and endorphins, the pain drugs luckily kicked in as the doctor rearranged my toe bones into a straight line with an audible crunch. I was on crutches for the remainder of that winter.
Winter crutches, for those of you from a place that does not freeze properly in the wintertime, meant hobbling my way over icy pavement to get into school. Those little gray nubs at the end of a crutch? Those grip pavement really well. They’re good on grass, too. They do not grip ice. Crutches unable to gain purchase, slipping off to the side while I try to regain my balance just enough to not fall hard onto my ass just in front of the door to school. On more than one occasion, I collapsed slowly into a heap of limbs and aluminum, booted foot in the air.
Injury #1: I received a concussion during a rugby game in college.
Occidental College is pretty tiny. Liberal artsy, located in Los Angeles, it is known for being almost as good a school as Pomona which is almost as good as Princeton. It is not known as a sporting powerhouse, due in large part to having rather strict (though not too strict) academic requirements and only 2000 students.
Oxy, as it is referred to by its familiars, plays club rugby. That meant that we had to play against other club teams. Because rugby is about as popular as popular as frisbee golf, but often less organized, we would play against the other schools that even had teams. That meant schools like USC, UNLV, and CalTech (known for sucking massively at all NCAA sports, their rugby team is comprised of giant graduate students from countries where rugby is played routinely during PE class by all children, not just drunk ex-football players.) Playing big schools was fun, particularly away games at UNLV. An excuse to go to Las Vegas is a wonderful thing for a college student.
We were playing in a tournament in Las Vegas. Our coach had driven me and a few other players out in his springy 1980 Mercedes sedan, blasting Tubular Bells for the duration of the journey as “pump up music.”
We played games on Saturday, went out Saturday night, and played another game on Sunday. Sunday’s game might have been for a place in the rankings, maybe even first place, but I never really played rugby to “win”, I played it because it was fun and there was often drinking after.
During Sunday’s game, I was playing the flank and had just made a tackle. As I climbed back to my feet, a player was running just in front of me. I received a knee to the side of the head from a runner moving at full speed. I do not recall what immediately followed, but I do remember being told that I was muttering about The Simpsons to my teammates as they helped me off the field.
A concussion means that you must stay awake or risk masking life-threatening symptoms like double-vision and unevenly dilated pupils. You won’t die from falling asleep, but that’s what my coach and teammates thought. I was propped up next to the UCSD ladies rugby team on some bleachers while our game finished up. I think a particularly luscious lock**** may have doted on me. I like to think so, at least.
We drove home after the game, coach blaring Tubular Bells. My teammates were drunk because they had a few with the other team after the game, as is customary. In the car, they had a single directive: Do not let Wade fall asleep.
They achieved this by slapping me in the face each time I looked as though I was about to nod off. They hit me every couple of minutes from Vegas to Barstow until they fell asleep. I sustained more brain trauma in the car than I did on the field.
Relating these stories, I think there are three major lessons to be learned:
Getting out of the house is 90% of the battle for most things.
Under no circumstances mess with a short, bald man who knows kung fu. (Even if he looks like George Costanza.)
The music from the Exorcist holds up remarkably well.
*Successfully, I might add. My streak of not accidentally doing a shuttle run is Cal Ripken-esque.
**Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Also, I ate some brown rice.
***If you’ve had it, you understand why there are quotation marks there.
****”Lock” is a rugby position just behind the biggest, strongest players on the team.
I searched for stats on internet usage among Chinese youth today.
Searching for facts about internet penetration in China means you come up against the public-facing side of the Great Firewall. Or so I thought when I embarked on my slide down the Google Scholar rabbit hole. I expected to struggle to find any information at all. To be honest, I was expecting to find something shockingly censorish. Turns out, Chinese statistics are just like everybody else’s: dull. (Only on a much larger scale.)
One thing that was both impressive and not at all surprising, the Chinese government does a great job of surveying its population.
Sure, I couldn’t find the precise statistics I was searching for, but I got to read scholarly, statistics-based articles that had been translated from Chinese to English.
Here’s everything you should know about Chinese youth internet usage**:
there are approximately 145 million kids using the internet in China
after a while, reading even a mostly-good translation from Chinese to English causes the same headache as 3D glasses
“peasants” is still the de facto nomenclature for poor people, even in government publications
when your query is for “chinese internet adoption children”, you find a lot of babies
when your query is for “chinese internet penetration youth”, you should turn SafeSearch back on
Not gonna lie, I was scared. You can act like a tough guy, but any time you need to mess around with electricity, it makes you a little nervous. A little on edge. That shit can kill you. More people die screwing around with their home’s electricity than die of lightning strikes.*
And you’re not poking lightning with a PIECE OF METAL. Unless you’re a golfer, but let’s face it: you deserve to get zapped if you’re trying to play through when Zeus is all pissy. Hit the 19th hole and go home to your three car garage and 2.3 children and 1% problems. As a matter of fact, stay out and play. Say something blasphemous while you’re at it, you John Daly-looking*, Tiger-wannabe goofball.
(Golfers are the safest athletes to pick on. I wouldn’t fuck with Federer and forget about a Williams sister. I wouldn’t even talk shit to a Canadian curler; those dudes carry around rocks and very abrasive brooms.)
Brief tangent: There have to be amateur curlers, right? They’re not all in the Olympics. Some grizzled dude from Saskatchewan with a burlap sack full of 200 lb stones with a big-ass broom over his shoulder? Even if he IS Canadian, I wouldn’t mess with him. Wind up with a crushed spine, bristle marks on my face, and a broom out my ass like a cosplaying Bewitched fan who really preferred Dick York as Darren.
They’re the nicest people in the world, though. Not the cosplaying Bewitched fans, although I’m sure they’re awesome. Canadians, I mean. Nicest people. Unless you’re from Quebec or one of those American hyper-liberals from 2003 who really followed through on the whole “I swear I’ma move to Canada if Bush gets reelected.” You can keep them. Outside the major cities, though, it’s a whole other ball game. Anywhere outside Vancouver and Toronto (sorry Edmonton) reminds me a little too much of the Deep South. Y’all are the Deep North up there. All hockey hair and xenophobia and half-frozen sacks of milk. We gotta close that border or start weaponizing moose the way we did with those Navy SEAL German Shepherds who got Osama.
Anyway, replacing anything electrical can be a might spooky. And I live in an apartment complex where I don’t understand the whole circuitry system. I shut off every switch in our breaker box, then hunted for a flashlight because I thought it through enough to buy the new parts at Home Depot but not enough to find a goddamned flashlight before I killed the power.
I asked my girlfriend for her “Oh shit, did you hear that noise?” flashlight? And she couldn’t find it, ’cause the lights are all off.
By the light of a tiny, 5 LED lamp, I stripped wires that I swear could have been successfully prosecuted for conspiracy to commit murder. Then wrapped ‘em around a couple of screws, tightened everything up, and put it all back together. Now the concern isn’t so much about electrocution, it’s more about being incinerated in an electrical fire in an apartment building whose disco-era sprinkler system is as rusty as its first occupants’ roller skates.
We flipped all the switches back to ON like we’re Samuel L. Jackson, then went to turn on the light in question. The switch flipped easily, no noticeable electrical fires have consumed the bathroom where I installed it (yet), and the light in the room somehow seems brighter now.
Which is awesome. Hooray for trying something new and slightly nerve-racking. Hooray, also, for not hiring someone (asking our landlord to hire someone), but instead doing the work myself.
Lessons to be learned?
Do something scary.
Save some money.
Re-watch Jurassic Park because that Samuel L. Jackson clip was so dead-on it was disgusting, and it’s been too long since you’ve watched a movie featuring dinosaurs.
*Citation needed, but that’s gotta be true. There are just too many paperclips and too many lightsockets compared to the quantity of lightning-related deaths. Just like people being more likely to drown in a bathtub than in the ocean. Sure, the ocean can be more treacherous, but you’re bathing at home every day.
**Yes, those are unusually strong feelings to feel about John Daly.