Monday, May 31, 2010

Freaking People Out On Chatroulette

Chatroulette.com is a website that allows you to randomly share a webcam chat with someone else somewhere in the world. I decided to have a little fun the other night by appearing on Chatroulette wearing various masks. Here's a video of some of the more interesting reactions.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gary Coleman Is Dead

Diminutive actor, Gary Coleman, best known for his role as Arnold in the sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" had his life cut short today. Coleman had recently fallen into a coma and was on life support after suffering an brain hemorrhage. He was 42 years old.

Who would have thought that old Conrad Bain would outlive 2 of his 3 sitcom children? I guess this means that Todd Bridges is one overdose away from giving him a full set. I always thought that Conrad Bain owed his longevity to drinking the blood of his sitcom children, especially Gary Coleman. Now, with only Todd Bridges remaining alive, Bain is vulnerable to a strong attack. We must strike now before the light in the heart of Manhattan Island goes out and Bain is able to escape and spread his evil throughout the world. It's up to you now Emmanuel Lewis. It's up to you.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Heaven, Coleman has finally figured out what Willis was talkin' 'bout.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Some Sort Of Hummingbird?

I took a walk earlier this week and saw a bird whiz by me flapping its wings extremely fast. I had thought it was some sort of hummingbird, but a little further research seems to indicate that it is more likely an Eastern Wood Pewee. It let me get astonishingly close to it, so much so that I was able to snap the picture below.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ken Block And Ford Collaboration

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PacSun. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ken Block, one of the co-founders of DC Shoes and is a noted competitor on the rally racing circuit. Earlier this year, the Monster World Rally Team announced Ken as their driver for selected rounds of the World Rally Championship. Initially, DC Shoes was a small company specializing in the creation of athletic shoes for skateboarders. Today, DC Shoes has become known as a retailer of action sports gear including shoes and other apparel. Ken Block used his marketing acumen to sign a world class list of action sports athletes to market, develop signature lines, and enhance DC Shoes' ever growing business.

Ken Block/DC Shoes and Ford have recently collaborated on a line of apparel featuring artwork from Block's new Ford Fiesta rally car and a 43 Skull design from Huck Gee. The new line is available at PacSun and features a lot of great items. As much as I like the Pacific Sun jacket, I'd have to say that my favorite item is the baseball cap.

So what do you think? Which item of Ken Block Gear would you like to add to your wardrobe? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Don't forget to check out the cool video below to get a feel for Ken Block, his racing style and his collaboration with Ford.


Visit my sponsor: Ken Block and DC Shoes Collaboration

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Sting

Last Summer, I fought a pitched battle against a nest of wasps that had taken up residence somewhere on my lawn. A swam of them attacked the guy who mows my lawn, so he gleefully doused the nest with a generous amount of poison. I had thought that was the last I'd seen of the little buggers.

The First Attempt At Colonizing My Porch
This Spring, the conflict has gotten personal. No less than three times over the course of two weeks, I have had to destroy wasp nests that were in the process of being built right on my own porch. In two of those cases, the nests were being built right over my doorstep. Each time I caught them in the mist of their unauthorized building project, I took a pic to post to my Facebook account and then proceeded to flood the nest out of existence by using the garden hose to create my own mini-Hurricane Katrina. . I half expected to see a bunch of wasps running for higher ground carrying mini plasma TVs and tiny carts full of miniature malt liquor.

By the third time, the conflict escalated. Once again, I discovered a nest being built over my doorstep, and once again, I whipped out my trusty Droid to capture a picture and post it to Facebook. I snapped the pic, and in the midst of sending the picture, I felt a pinch on my neck. I slapped blindly at the source. And then I felt another pinch. This could mean only one thing: The wasps were defending themselves somehow! Faster than Mexican water through a first time tourist, I ran to the garden hose, turned it on, and waterlogged the wasp into oblivion. Then, I dashed into the house, retrieved the industrial strength insect repellent and strayed it all over the porch and doorway. I left no surface untouched. I left no crevice un-filled. I unleashed the chemical fury upon the wasps and effectively napalmed my porch with Bug Stop. Victory. Or, so I thought.




Attempt #2: Right in the doorway
I sat on the couch to reflect upon the skirmish and started to feel like my neck was bursting into flames. I began to get itchy dizzy and nauseous. Had I accidentally inhaled some of the insecticide? Were the volcano nachos I had for lunch coming back to haunt me? It didn't take long for me to realize that I was having an allergic reaction to the stings. And here I thought that I was the only one who was capable of conducting chemical warfare.

Soon, my guts began to rebel against the lunch that was being slowly digested inside of me. I ran to the bathroom and horqued up part of my nachos, most of my gordita and all of my chili cheese burrito. Sadly, it almost tasted better coming up than it did going down. Still, I knew that I was in dire straights, so I did what any lovesick man in my predicament would do: I txted my girlfriend. What little pride I had left that hadn't just been flushed with the re-fried beans prevented me from calling her directly. I thought it wise to spare her the sounds of my body rebelling against the wasp toxin.

As my body temperature began kicking up into the triple digits, I laid on the bathroom floor. The cold tile felt good against my hot skin and helped to work me through the nausea. I felt like a recovering heroin addict with my skin itching and the contents of my guts wanting to spew through every orifice. I eventually recovered enough to crawl to my bed and pass out for a little bit. Nice try, little buggers, but I've bested you again.

Attempt #3: They didn't get very far
In all seriousness, the latest round in this arms race between me and the wasps could have turned very bad. A few more stings and I could have very well ended up in the hospital or worse. And a large part of this is my fault because I had suspected that I might have a bad reaction to wasp stings and I hadn't taken the opportunity to take precautionary measures. That changes today. From this point forward, I'm carrying an eppi pen in the car and my girlfriend has graciously agreed to carry one in her purse for me. I'm also bowing out of direct conflict in this wasp war. I'm employing mercenaries instead. Time to put in a call to Terminix.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mouse Under Glass

Jason continues to fight an ongoing war against the mice who are invading his garage. Early on, he adopted a "take no prisoners" approach. Recently, however, he made an exception to the policy when he cornered a baby mouse in the garage. He trapped it under a glass and released it in a nearby field. A pic is posted below.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Uncle Max Is At It Again

I haven't heard much from my Uncle Max lately. The last I heard from him, he had been involved in yet another whirlwind romance with some random woman he met at Denny's. Max referred to her as the hottest 62-year-old pancake waitress he'd ever met. With Max at 74-years old, many people said he was robbing the cradle. I think it would be more accurate to say that she was robbing the grave.

They had a Shrek themed wedding a few months ago. This would mark Uncle Max's 8th wedding. In order to save money on invitations, Max took a batch that he didn't use from his 7th wedding, crossed out the bride's name on each one and wrote "That waitress from Denny's" over it. They honeymooned in a place that Max had often dubbed "The Happiest Place On Earth": Tiajuana. My family, as usual, weren't surprised or impressed by the latest antics of my father's step-brother, so we stayed away from the entire affair. We knew that this marriage, like so many of Max's previous ones, would not last long. Still, we made excuses as to why we couldn't attend, encouraged him for finally finding "the one" and wished him well.

As usual, this union didn't last longer than a few months. Apparently, he took his new wife out clothes shopping. She was trying on dresses and said "Everything makes me look fat, ugly and old! You need to pay me a compliment". To which Max replied "You've got excellent eyesight".

I got a postcard from him last week with a picture of himself and some as-yet unidentified woman. He's in California now. Max was short on details and didn't say what he had been up to since his latest divorce. Instead, he wrote that he wants to be one of those people who, when he reaches the end of his life, gets their head cryogenically frozen, wakes up in a new, strong, android body 10,000 years in the future and proceeds to lead the human race to victory over the alien insect overlords.

Same old Uncle Max. Stay classy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

No, I'm Not Losing My Mind

I've become something of a mental klutz as of late.

While at work last week a call came through my Google Voice account. My instinct kicked in and I knew right away that a telemarketer had fallen into my clutches. Good. I needed some new Virtual Sink material. I answered my phone using my "Billy-Bo Higgis" voice which is a delicate meshing of Southern redneck drawl and Texas twang. I wasn't more than two sentences in before the caller hung up on me. Busted. Frustrated, I looked over to my boss who seems to enjoy listening to me mess with these guys.

The boss looked over and said "That has got to be the worst attempt at an impression you have ever made". I don't normally screw up like that.

Early Saturday morning, the phone rang through again. I picked up and heard a recorded voice give me a set of options to connect with a telemarketer. Aha! Another chance for mischief! This time I would make that car warranty pusher fear for the state of humanity! I opened the digital keypad to initiate call recording.....and promptly disconnected the call. Ugh! One screw-up in the course of a week I could possibly understand. But, two? Has somebody been slipping something into my coffee?

There's a simple explanation here. I haven't been experimented upon by aliens or re-programmed by a rogue government agency. I haven't switched to decaf and I haven't been adhering to some Hollywood diet fad. No, I've simply gotten very emotionally involved with an amazing woman and it seems to have altered my thought processes.

It's only natural that when you find someone that you develop deep feelings for that certain neural connections in your brain are going to have to get re-configured. So, as a sizeable chunk of my mental processing power is now dedicated to thinking about my girlfriend and how smitten I am with her, it's going to take a little time for me to re-direct the finer comedic functions in my noggin. Verily, I'm told lately that I'm less sarcastic, noticibly goofier and obviously happier.

I've dated other women while I've maintained this site, but none before my current girlfriend have had a discernable effect on me or even merited anything more than a passing mention. That's where this differs. This is different. This is substantial. And this is a genuine shake-up of the status quo. I mean that in the best way possible.

Anyway, give me another week or two to get used to being so damn happy all the time and I'm sure I'll be able to start pulling decent prank phone calls again with all the skill I have had in the past. And I'll pull it together in time to write about all the goofy stuff I have been up to lately. Bear with me. And be happy for me. I deserve it, damn it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tracking Down Some Old Reliables

I got a little nostalgic this week for the old WXAV days, back when I was a DJ for the smallest FM radio station in Chicago. Those early days of my career in the entertainment industry were tumultuous. The station manager was a milquetoast with the personality roughly equivalent to that of spore mold. I suspect that he'd easily be the first human to fail the Turing test. The program director, aside from being a fairly intelligent and talented broadcaster, was a vindictive prick who ridiculed Jim for making a bad segue and then fired him for arguing over it.

That's not to say that there weren't good times. My brother, Mike, and our mutal friend Tim showed me the tricks of the radio DJ trade and constantly encouraged me. Soon I had my own show with my own little on air posse consisting of Marty and Bob. And throughout it all, there was the music. Some of it made such a lasting impression that I've spent a considerable amount of time tracking down specific tracks.

The last few years has seen me trying to complete the last vestiges of my collection. Most of what I have been looking for recently are releases from indie bands or small labels issued around 1991. Earlier this week, I was able to locate the following:

  • "Let Me Like A Feather Fall" by The Hannibals off of their album Monkeysuit. The Hannibals hailed from East Lansing, Michigan and were a favorite of WXAV's program director at the time. 
  • "Rita" by Jak Makral off of their album Lithium Head. Jak Makral were a Chicago area band that I often featured on my local music showcase. 
I purchased Lithium Head through Val's Halla Records via the Amazon.com vendor program. Being located in Oak Park, IL, they had the album out to me in just a few days, and, as I write this, I'm listening to it and "Rita" is just as catchy now as it was back when I played it ad nauseum. The good folks at Val's Halla added a commemorative postcard as an extra gesture of coolness. So a heartfelt thanks goes out to them for helping me with my musical quest.

Monkeysuit is in transit from another vendor. It's a cassette rather than a CD, so we'll see how that turns out. Meanwhile, I am still trying to track down a cassette EP from a band called the Karma Farmers that was issued somewhere between 1991 and 1993 and an album called Love by a band called Crickle.

Wish me luck.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Get Your Masters Of Art In Teaching Online From USC

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of USC. All opinions are 100% mine.


Are you an educator or an aspiring teacher? Are you looking for a way to earn your Masters degree but are convinced that you just don't have the time, resources or finances to do so? Wouldn't you like to earn a Masters of Art in Teaching degree online from a university that is both nationally ranked and internationally renowned? It may sound too good to be true, but The USC Rossier School of Education’s MAT@USC offers all that and more.

When you choose to pursue your education online, you can attend your classes anytime and anywhere. All you need is a computer. Because of this, course materials such as lectures, notes and hand outs are accessible 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You'll be able to use those materials to learn at your own pace.

The MAT@USC program offers an online program that combines highly interactive learning methods that are combined with field-based experiences from your local area. US News and World Report ranked the MAT@USC program #22 in the United States and #9 among all private universities. What that means is that you'll obtain full USC student status and benefits which includes the opportunity to learn from the distinguished USC faculty, participation in commencement ceremonies and free lifetime Alumni Association memberships.

You're probably thinking that this sort of elite program must be cost prohibitive. It turns out that MAT@USC offers scholarships as well as a tuition reimbursement program that is truly groundbreaking. With all these amazing incentives, you can't afford NOT to at least check out their program information and see if MAT@USC might be right for you. What have you got to lose?


Visit my sponsor: Master of Arts in Teaching degree online from USC

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Might Not Watch The LOST Finale...

I've been an avid viewer of LOST since it first aired six seasons ago. I've never missed an episode and I consider each new airing to be "appointment viewing". As the series draws to a close, however, I can't help but think about how the writers have confessed that they've never had a plan for an ending the show. And, because of that, I'm almost certain that the writers, as they scramble to tie up loose ends and terminate dangling plot-lines, have not come up with a plan to end this show properly. In short: This can't end well.

I guess I've been expecting some sort of Twilight Zone ending where everything is summed up and explained by some mind-blowing circumstance. Really, though, I fear that the ending will be much more like telling your girlfriend that you've gotten her something spectacular for her birthday, but you really hadn't gotten her anything yet. Then, at the last minute, you end up getting her a gift card from Best Buy. Instead of happiness and satisfaction, you've only given her confusion and bitterness.

The show used to be incredible, but, over the past two seasons it has not only jumped the shark, but it has gone completely off the rails. In general, the story-telling has gone from "show" to "tell". The writing that remains is slipshod. They're off the island. They're back on the island. Hydra island. Regular island. Hydra again. Regular island again. Richard has flipped his gourd for some reason, Sawyer has become a wuss, Jack has done a complete 180 and new characters are still being introduced. At least Kate is still as annoying and useless as ever.

I guess I could take a leap of faith, sit back and watch the finale and hope for the best. The writers have, after all, gotten me this far. Maybe the finale will be like that tie my grandmother bought me for Christmas the year before she died. It's not stylish and it doesn't go with anything I've got, so I can't really wear it anywhere. Still, I love that old tie.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Rainbow

I snapped this one while sitting on my porch last night. Contrary to what Kermit the Frog would have you believe, there aren't a lot of songs about rainbows. And seeing one is even more rare. Kind of curious that I snapped a picture of one at just about this time last year.

Rainbows are formed when water drops in the air refract sunlight entering the surface of the raindrop, reflect it back from inside the drop and then refract it again as it leaves. That's the scientific explanation anyway.

There are a number of mythological explanations of a rainbow's significance aside from the Judeo-Christian belief that it symbolizes God's promise that he would never send another flood to destroy Earth.

  • The Sumerians saw them as a divine sanction for war. 
  • The Norse believed that the rainbow was a bridge between Earth and Asgard.
  • The Greek believed that Iris used the rainbow as a path to deliver messages from the gods. 
  • In ancient Japan, rainbows were often viewed as omens of bad luck because they represented snakes


    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    A Robin Moves In

    Once again, my window mounted air conditioning unit is being squatted on by a family of birds. And, again, what had promised to be a mourning dove nest has turned into a robin's nest. I had been keeping an eye on the unit after I first discovered the indications of a nest being built earlier this month. I can only speculate that the mourning dove got its ass kicked by the robin who then claimed the air conditioner for itself.