Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Roommate Stories (Part 1 of Many)

As I have mentioned before, in college I roomed with a person who was named Eric Hanson. The only difference in our names was that my name ends with a K and his ends with C. Thus, our identities were reduced to single letters, kind of like the Men in Black. At least I get to be played by Tommy Lee Jones. We are good friends, but we frequently talk about our hatred for each other, trade insults, and threaten each other’s lives.

One instance that exemplifies this relationship was when C was returning to our dorm room from a meeting one evening. About halfway down the hall, he started screaming at me, calling me a slut and saying he was going to beat the crap out of me. As he got into our room, he grabbed a towel bar off of the rack, slammed the door, and proceeded to pound the door with his new weapon. Nobody on our floor thought to investigate the sounds of what could very well have been C beating me to death. Perhaps this just shows that our neighbors were used to us being generally awful people to each other.

Another moment that displays our adversarial friendship involves a challenge I once gave to him. In the mornings, we would frequently watch “Mike and Mike” on ESPN and one of the hosts would frequently talk about how someone needed to “man up” or be tough. This started a trend of C and I giving each other man up challenges, culminating in an instance where C threatened to throw me down the stairs and I told him to man up and do it. To live up to the challenge would mean going to jail, so either way I win. Naturally, he backed down, because he is weak.

There will be more roommate stories in the future, but this is a sampling of what our lives were like.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Could Be on Survivor

I have never been a huge fan of realty game shows on TV. At least half the time, the focus is on making things overly dramatic and having people complain about each other on camera. However, I think I could suck it up to be on “Survivor” and do alright.

After all, I spent years in Boy Scouts camping and exploring the wilderness. I’m used to sleeping spending time in rugged areas. Hanging out for seven weeks in some remote location wouldn’t really be that bad.

Before leaving for my adventure, I would study up by watching episodes of “Man Vs. Wild” and hunting animals in the woods for practice. By the time I got to whatever place we were going, I would be ready to traverse a desert, wrestle an alligator, or make a sleeping bag out of a camel. Between my Boy Scout skills and rigorous training regimen, I would be a valuable, and possibly crazy, addition to any “Survivor” cast.

And since I’m not the sort of person that complains about others, and especially not to a camera, I would need some craziness to be interesting for an audience. I could do this by fearlessly eating insects in a challenge, hunting down animals with my bare hands, and crafting a shelter out of the non-meat parts of said animals.

So the next time “Survivor” is taking applications, get ready to watch me take on Mother Nature in an epic struggle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Inception: How Many Levels Down Can You Go?

Tonight, I just got done seeing Inception for the third time, because I think it’s incredible and one of my friends had not seen it yet. Every time I see that movie, I get to thinking about dreams. For example, after the first time seeing Inception, I distinctly recall going two levels down. I “woke up” from a dream, realized I was still in a dream, then woke up for real back in my room. It was kind of trippy, but awesome at the same time. I felt like a badass and that I should become a dream thief.

In my dreams, I’ve also discovered other skills that would be helpful as an extractor, or idea thief. I frequently run around, either escaping something or sneaking into some place. If I have to, I’ll even fight enemies off to get to make my escape. So the next time Leonardo DiCaprio is recruiting for an inception mission, I’ll be ready.

Unfortunately, my subconscious can sometimes be unfriendly. At different times, I’ve run away from a bus, fought my way through aliens, and dodged tornadoes. My friends aren’t always friendly in my dreams either. In a dream a few weeks ago, I was hanging out with some friends, then they left me and wouldn’t tell me where they went. This situation may not be as intense as fighting aliens, but it shows that my subconscious might not be trustworthy. But it is these things that make my dreams exciting, if weird.

Tonight, I try for three levels down.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Failings as an Employee

After spending a summer working at my internship, my boss has informed me that in a recommendation letter, he would note that I had performed my job well, but I had several shortcomings. I have written out a list of my failures below:

1. Failed to identify the Barry Manilow song “Mandy”

2. Would not sing along with “Mandy”

3. Failed to successfully sabotage his phone line

4. Refused to take his place to shop for a house with his wife

5. Refused to go to baby classes with his wife

6. Would not put a whole sub sandwich in my mouth at once

7. Did not want to go to one of his band’s gigs and flash everyone

8. Would not compete in an eating contest and give him the winnings from doing it

9. Worked over lunch one day so I could leave early and go home to have supper with my family

10. Told him that his idea for “poop robots” (a story coming soon) would not be marketable

I sincerely hope that this list does not hold me back from my dream job someday, but some of those items are pretty serious offenses. Wish me luck in overcoming these obstacles.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Good Time to Move

Yesterday, it was time to move from the apartment I was living in during my summer internship to my new apartment for grad school, which is why I did not get a chance to post anything. While the place I’ve been staying at got the job done this summer, it was not the best apartment building ever.

It actually used to be an old hospital, so it has a large elevator, wide hallways, and doors big enough for a wheelchair to move through easily. If the lights were off at night, it would be a great place to film a horror movie. My room was pretty basic, with a bedroom/living space and a bathroom. There was a community kitchen on each floor, but I didn’t use it. Hauling a ton of kitchen supplies across the building did not sound appealing to me, and the kitchen had a questionable state of cleanliness.

The other people staying there were interesting characters, to say the least. I was consistently the best dressed person walking around…even when I was dressed in my workout clothes. And I would sometimes get to listen to the wonderful sounds of my neighbors yelling at each other. To be fair though, I was routinely retaliating with the sounds of gun fire from video games.

When I was moving out, I ran into someone who asked if I had heard about the fight the night before. Apparently, a couple of people had been yelling at each other and got into a physical fight. There was blood all over the stairway and the cops had to come. I was glad I had not heard about this until I was on my way out. This story made me wonder what other kinds of things went on that I did not hear from my apartment at the back of the place. Although, part of me really doesn’t want to know. Let’s hope my new neighbors are more peaceful than the old ones.

Friday, August 20, 2010

If Driving Was Like Mario Kart...

Last night, I was playing Mario Kart on the Wii with one of my friends from work, and I got to thinking: What if driving in real life was like this?

We could all ride go-karts around, while dressed as Nintendo characters. I think I would maybe be Luigi, since I have the facial hair for it. I would stock up on turtle shells and banana peels, and off I would go. People could throw random things at each other and bump into each other as they race around town. There are plenty of bad drivers out there who act like they’re in a demolition derby anyway; this would just make it exciting instead of frustrating, since everyone would be in on the fun.

Even a short trip to the corner grocery store could turn into an epic event, with people smashing into each other and shells flying left and right. If you’re lucky, you could pick up a star that will keep you safe for the otherwise treacherous journey, or pick up a mushroom that lets you boost past all of the destruction.

Of course, it wouldn’t be like Mario Kart unless the world itself was determined to set you off course. There would have to be ramps to jump your kart off of, along with pitfalls and bridges without railings to send you tumbling off of the track. Obscenely large Venus fly traps would be waiting to munch on you and your kart. And, of course, there would have to be some fireballs randomly flying about the road.

While it may seem like a dangerous way to drive, in Mario Kart, all of the characters always survive to finish the race. So even though your kart might be blown up, eaten, or lit on fire, you will always live to race another day and can drive like the maniac you always wanted to be. But, alas, we must live in a world without consequence-free driving and where we cannot throw turtle shells at each other. And so I must confine these driving fantasies to the small amounts of time I play Mario Kart.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Purple Primer Story

In 8th grade, our experience with Destination: Imagination resumed the strange and disturbing journey that had begun in 6th grade (here) and continued in 7th grade (here). This year, the challenge we chose was to write, perform, and create the set for a mystery. The greater focus on story allowed us to come up with our most twisted plot yet.

Our skit began with a number of business executives from a huge food conglomerate gathering at a large mansion, belonging to the executive from England. Other countries who were represented included the United States, Russia, Germany, and Iraq, all complete with accents. They were meeting to discuss how to increase sales by adding addictives to their food. This way people would not be able to stop eating their products.

But as the meeting progressed, people began to disappear, killed by one of the people at the mansion. One of my favorite conversations was when we were planning how people should be killed. People threw out a number of ideas. “How about a gun?” “No.” “Knife?” “No.” “Gas chamber?” “No.” “Anthrax?” “YES!” That’s right, we settled on anthrax as our weapon of choice. Keep in mind that we performed this in the spring of 2001, mere months before the real anthrax scare after 9/11. I’m half surprised we didn’t get waterboarded and interrogated about giving the idea to the bad guys.

Also, through the entire skit, we sprinkled about red herrings that led the audience to believe that it was the Iraqi who was doing the killing. Politically correct, we were not. But in the end, it turned out to be the German, who wanted control of the conglomerate for himself.

Once, when Eric "C" and I were working on the set, a portion of it had to be painted. But first, the PVC pipe we were using had to be primed. So we busted open a can of purple primer and started going to town. However, since this was a frigid day in February, we opted to keep the garage door closed, which meant the fumes from the primer had no place to go, except for our nostrils. After an hour of unintentionally inhaling primer fumes in an unventilated garage, we were high as kites when we went back into the house. This event has left me without the ability to smell rubber cement, and C and I think that the purple primer incident has possibly handicapped our IQ and led to some our less successful decisions in life.

It is after this defining event that I have named this blog.