Archive for February, 2016

Take a Leap

Wild Man and Kermit

Wild Man and Kermit

I wake up this morning and there’s a strange feel in the air, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. I ask myself: is it the gloom that comes with a Monday?

Maybe.

Or is it the ass-dragging hangover that comes with watching The Knick too late and taking a muscle relaxer for your sore back?

Maybe.

Or is it the acknowledgment that tomorrow is already March and the year is flying by and it’s a metaphor for how my entire life is doing the same amid a series of mundane day-to-day experiences that make up one enormously boring and straight-laced life?

Maybe.

Morning routine: feed the cat, switch on the coffee maker, take grapefruit out of the fridge, squeeze lemon wedges into a large glass of warm water, slip back into bed with my tablet. News. Leo won. Goodie. Trump is the valedictorian of Ignorant America. Great. And it’s Leap Day. February 29th. Wow.

Leap Day. An extra day every four years. Though it’s not a holiday, there seems to be an attached vibe. A free day. Make the most of it! Take a leap, be bold, be gutsy today, do something different.

Different. Wild.

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Stuff I Learned this Week

Miracle Pen

Miracle Pen

If you have nine brain cells and you’re not running for the Republican nomination for president, you probably learn a few new things every week. Sometimes these things delight you, sometimes they depress you, and sometimes they make you cry with the bitter shanks of self-realization.

Here are some things I learned this week.

Airplanes

As a man who ranks flying with the same comfort level as having a raccoon in his rectum, an article entitled “18 Airline Employees were asked: What are Secrets Passengers Don’t Know?” is as enticing as a Chipwich.

So, I read on and learn.

The two pilots on a flight are not allowed to eat the same meal and are not allowed to share in case of food poisoning. Despite myself, I imagine Peter Graves spitting out eggs.

Also, there is at least one dead body on every commercial flight. I wonder if they take this into account when tallying up body counts in crashes. I also wonder how they’d explain that if forced to account for it in a crash.

Plane crashes leaving a body count of 230 (229 killed, 1 pre-killed body on board)

It’s best not to think of these things.

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This Week in Idiots

Think he got picked out of the line-up?

Think he got picked out of the line-up?

Every now and then, I do something naive and dumb.

I allow myself to believe that the world is essentially filled with intelligent, humane people who simply want to live their lives in peace, happiness, and security.

But then I look at the internet and that gets blown to hell.

It only takes a few minutes on the internet to become convinced that the world is absolutely teeming with stupidity and idiocy.

I have decided to compile a short list of the most impressive idiots for today’s post.

Dolphin Selfies

Topping the list this week are a group of beachgoers who killed a rare dolphin after passing it around so that all of them (from the photo at least 15 people) could get a selfie (a delphie?) with the animal.

The fact that “we might want to get this sea creature who needs water to stay alive back into the water at some point” didn’t occur to any one of these people is stupid enough. And yet, the stupidest aspect is probably that when they had all gotten their delphies, they laid the dolphin on the beach and walked away.

Yes. Ingenious.

Note to all of you wildlife idiots out there: dolphins need water to stay alive.

What’s next? Are you going to drag a Bengal tiger into the middle of the Indian Ocean for a few snaps and then leave it in there?

Morons.

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The Unusual Suspects

unusual suspectsI’m at my Aikido lesson, and it’s hard going today. PJ isn’t here, so I am without a wingman. Moreover, I am getting over the flu and the rigors of this lesson are getting to me.

I am sweating the way most people do in a sauna or during chain gang duties in a prison film. I fear that my sweating combined with my inexperience with the sport will make me as undesirable a partner as it did at high school dances.

However, when the teacher calls for us to pair up, one of the more experienced students comes right over, smiles broadly, and bows to me. We start.

Now, to say this guy doesn’t exactly look the cuddly and friendly type is an understatement. He looks like a bad guy in a Bruce Willis film. His head is shaved, he has a ratty goatee, his cheek is decorated with a long pink scar, and he has a neck tattoo of a spider.

So, you know, not exactly someone I’d expect to see at a debutante’s ball.

We start.

One lesson martial arts has taught me each time I have done it, it’s that judging a book by its cover is perhaps one of the most inaccurate pursuits on Earth. It’s something I do all the time, and often without compunction or regret.

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Notes from a Hyperbolic Deathbed

Deathbed Notebook (pictured with Deathbed, and Deathbed Soup)

Deathbed (pictured with Deathbed Notebook and Deathbed Soup)

It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon. Blue. Cool. Freedom is in the air; someone has just snipped the chains connecting 200,000 Praguers to their desks.

My weekend is filled with plans. Like most cat-owning, sweatervest-wearing dudes who own three sets of binoculars and two hip flasks, I’m in demand.

And yet, something’s off. While others leap, prance, sing, and clip pirouettes along the sidewalks, I am achy, coughing, and slouching under the weight of a 200 lb. bag of rice. I am sick.

I knew it, too. I’ve felt off and sluggish all week. I offer an age-old directive of self-coitus to the deity that kept me just healthy enough to work all week before hitting me with sickness on Friday afternoon.

It’s a universal dick move.

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Pitfalls of a Fitbit

big brother fitbitVery few things have complemented my obsessive side more than a fitbit. If you live under a rock on Mars or are my father, a fitbit is an activity tracker one wears like a wristwatch. It measures steps taken, steps climbed, distance traveled, exercise logged, calories burned, heart rate and quality of sleep.

Sometimes I think the fitbit was created for schmucks like myself; those who obsessively crave the buzzy approval of an energy chip in a bracelet for getting 10,000 steps in a day.

OCD aside, it has indeed had a positive impact on my life. In order to get that step goal, I walk even more than I used to, mostly by forgoing transport or modern conveniences. I haven’t taken a lift or an escalator in seven months. My waist size and belly have shrunken.

It was a perfect gift for an obsessive chubby guy.

One evening a few weeks ago, I met a friend at my local pub for few beers. I didn’t bother to wear my fitbit. It was Saturday, my lazy day, and I hadn’t left the house all day. A few hundred steps on a fitbit wasn’t going to matter. Oh well. No biggie.

When my friend suggested we head to another pub down the road I agreed, but could not deny feeling a nagging splinter of uneasiness. We walked out into the cold night and as we chugged along, I realized what it was: I wasn’t getting credit for these steps.

Damn.

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Thirty Seconds with a Baby

cartoon-baby-images-and-wallpaper-14It’s a lovely day. It’s Friday at the end of a long week. The weather seems to know it, too, as it’s sunny and mild. Further, I have a half buzz from a gulaš lunch that was flanked by two beers and a Becherovka.

I am carrying a weekend’s worth of groceries up the hill behind my house. I am planning the remainder of my afternoon. Put away the groceries, read, take a short nap, then meet an attractive friend in the evening.

No immediate responsibilities, work done, the freedom of a Friday afternoon. Life could be worse.

So when I come across the baby, it’s sort of a shock.

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The False Economy of Cheating

CheatingIt’s testing time at the university, which means that it is time for me to observe the Central European Test Cheater in its natural habitat.

At the moment I am standing in the back of the room  shaking my head. I want to stop everything and converse with the students on an even level. No teacher, no student, just reason and logic.

It’s a time I fight the urge to channel one of my elementary school teachers.

We all heard it from a teacher at one point or another:

‘When you cheat, you only cheat yourself.’

If you are like me (and I pray to Dog that you aren’t) you cheated, got caught, and learned your lesson pretty early. Or maybe you did get away with it, laughed like a super villain, and didn’t learn your lesson until later.

Whether you got caught or not, all of us who dabbled in the dark arts of examination espionage has since learned the accuracy of that ominous claim.

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Yes, Master

My Master

My Master

It’s inspirational quote day on Facebook, aka Monday. So I am negotiating a minefield of platitudes and pithy one-liners which sum up being sad, happy, a good mother, father, cousin, dog owner, cat owner, and lover. Others remind me to carpe that diem, to wang that chung, to let go of that grief, regret, or [enter negative abstract noun here], and one that tells me to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Oof.

Also, I find an awesome recipe for baked salmon and potatoes. I save the recipe, deciding that I will make this tonight. This is the third recipe I have taken from Facebook in the last week. At first, this doesn’t worry me. I am getting something healthy and positive from Facebook, after all.

Right?

Maybe.

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