Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Guest Blog: Rants on the Train

Whoever said "it's the journey, not the destination" probably didn't travel that much. If you've ever been stuck in an airport for ten hours, trying to sleep on a bench with the arm bars dividing your back into thirds, you probably appreciate the destination more than the journey.

Here are the late night travel thoughts of my friend C-DUB, aka Big Willie Style, trapped on a speeding train and somehow still going too slow. For his sake, I hope the train caught a nice tailwind... or derailed, killing everyone, but him.


Say cheese...........generic camera clicking sound.

a minute later....


and then again....


Somebody please teach this kid to say something else before taking pictures, so I don't throw him/her off the train.


For the love of my sanity, shut up.

At this point, I opt for the annoyed over the shoulder look. Only I don't see a 10 year-old taking pictures of her mom. It's a 30-something snapping pictures of the scenery we pass.

I have eight hours to kill until we reach my destination, so I start to think........

Does this lady expect the alpine firs and raging rivers to smile back at her?

Why doesn't she turn off this option?

Better yet, why is this option available?

Is our culture so lazy that we need a computer voice to instruct us to say cheese?

Doesn't saying cheese always make for the worst pictures?

Does anyone over the age of 3 find this saying funny?

Why doesn't this train sell earplugs?


What's the deal with clear Band-Aids? Can you really call them clear when the cotton swab is still brown?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

vocab lesson

Im-prompt-ti-cue - a spontaneous potluck involving grilled food, alcohol, and friends, usually held on Sundays as a relaxing way to end the weekend before the beginning of a new work week

Origin: coined by a group of friends in Boston, MA


This Sunday was perfect imprompticue weather, making Armin miss his old friends. He hopes you are all doing well.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

worth your time

Tell me, does this happen to any of you?

You get home from work and you crack open a beer to unwind. But our multi tasking society has trained us that we can't just sit and enjoy a beer, so we need to do something while we're drinking that beer. Something mindless. No crossword puzzles or cryptograms. You decide to go to to watch the Simpsons or Family Guy.

Seems fine, but you realize the show lasts longer than your beer. Three fourths through the hilarity, you need to grab another beer. But that second beer lasts longer than the episode and now you are right where you started, drinking beer alone. So you watch another episode, run out of beer, grab a beer, run out of episode, watch another episode, run out of beer... before you know it, you need to go to the 7eleven to buy another case, but end up getting Boones Farm instead because it's so gosh darn colorful.

You know how to avoid this hangover? Go to 1000 Ideas and click on one of these hilarious short movies. The buffering and watching time together should just about equal the time necessary to enjoy a refreshing Old Style, PBR, Genessee, or Lone Star.

Trust me, it's worth your time. My favorite is the "Doorman" episode. Even if you only have five minutes left to live, wouldn't you rather spend it having a good laugh instead of lying in bed making awkward confessions to a priest, hoping it'll get you a walk on spot in heaven?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

todd sweeney

I'm not a fan of haircuts. I just think there are cheaper ways of humiliating myself without wasting $10 plus tip. I don't have hair that is genetically predisposed to looking good. It's just there. You can cut it whichever way you want; no stylists are going to be using the finished product for their portfolios. No one will mistake me for Zac Efron.

Aside from the haircut itself, I also hate the whole experience of getting a haircut. First they ask me to take off my glasses, which, for those of you who are 20/20 and can't commiserate with me, it's comparable to stabbing my eyes out. Then they tie that collar thing around my neck which always itches and I have to make small talk while I'm blind and completely unaware of what they're doing to me, except for the sensory clues of a ghastly buzzing noise and the of fuzzy clumps of black hair raining down.

Then, they spin me around and say, "What do you think?"

"I think I'm nearsighted. You took my glasses, remember?" I never say that actually. I'm meek as a church mouse with social anxiety disorder and acne.

"Looks great. Thanks," I lie, squinting. Then I put my glasses on and recoil in disgust at my reflection.

I do like the little brush they swish around my neck to sweep away the hair. But, i could probably buy a little barber's brush for less than $10 plus tip and swish away at the back of my neck to my heart's content if I wanted.

All this being said, I still do get professional haircuts occasionally, thinking maybe this time, it'll be different. I had a graduation to attend recently and wanted to sexify myself for the festivities. I went to a barbershop near my house where I had been before. I think the barber's name is Scott. He was odd the first time I'd met him, but this last encounter was downright disturbing.

Everything was going as normal. Glasses off. Itchy collar on. Small talk activated.

"What do you want today," he asks.

"Just trim the sides and the neck. I have to look presentable for a graduation."

"Do you go to University of Portland?"

"No, my girlfriend is graduating from pharmacy school."

"Oh, I have a friend that's a pharmacist."

"Where does your friend work?"

"Oh, I don't know. He moved away. I won't know where you are if you move away and change your phone number. Don't you hate when people do that? People shouldn't do that to me. I don't like when people do that to me. People shouldn't forget me." He laughs loudly. Though, I'm usually good at fake laughter, I can't even pretend to laugh this time. The guy is very creepy. Please put down the clippers.

He continues cutting and laughing loudly. I close my eyes. Finally, he spins me around.

"What do you think?"

"Thanks, I look very presentable," I say, unable to see anything. The haircut is the least of my worries. I can't feel any blood dripping, so I'm relieved.

"Yes, you look like a nice guy. Don't you get tired of being a nice guy? I hate being a nice guy. People always say, 'Oh, he's such a nice guy.' I don't want to be a nice guy. HAHAHAHAHAHA." I leave a big tip and bike away quickly so I don't have to witness him take all the hair trimmings from the day and craft them into effigies of people who have wronged him through the years.

With all that said, I'm sure the next time I need a haircut, I'll still go back to him. He only charges $8.99, after all. So yes, I'll probably go back. And the haircut isn't so bad, this time. In my humble opinion, I look devastatingly cute.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Dear Facebook,

Thanks for killing Myspace.



Dear Myspace,

Thanks for killing Friendster.



Dear Reader,

No I do not have a Facebook account. This is not an act of protest. I have nothing against society, technology, or computers. This might surprise you, but at this very minute I'm using the technology of a computer to write a blog post that will better society. Sort of. Not the betterment of society part, at least.

But anyway, for any of you who have sent me a Facebook request, I am not snubbing you. I just don't feel like signing up for Facebook. Back when I frequented Myspace, I'd only check it regularly when I was still hung up on some old girlfriend, checking her profile constantly to see if there were any hidden messages to me.

"Oooh, she's listening to 'Every Rose Has its Thorn.' Maybe she's trying to tell me that I'm the rose... or its thorn."

And if there was no girl to be heartbroken over, then I rarely checked it.

I know what you're going to say, "Armin, Facebook is SOOOOOOO much better. I mean, like you wouldn't believe how much better. Like an All-You-Can-Eat-Tater-Tots-While-Watching-a-Marathon-of-Van-Damme-Movies better! If Facebook and Myspace were siblings, Facebook would be a virgin prom queen going to Harvard while Myspace would be a limbless thalidomide baby flippering around in its own excrement!"

I get it. Facebook is better. I just don't think I'll be that into it.

But back to my original point, if I even had one. Myspace is dying, and though I don't rue the loss, I did have a little known blog on my page called "Welcome to Earth, Spaceboy." So, as a dying civilization tries to preserve its language in stone, I feel the same need to save some of those blog posts and transfer them over to ATKU. And, yes, it's an easy way to toss out a blog post when I really have nothing new to say. Consider it the same as that bail out episode of your favorite sitcom, the episode that just shows spliced together clips of previous episodes because the writers were thin on ideas that week.

Looking these old posts over, they are very dated. The following post from "Welcome to Earth, Spaceboy," has a reference to "My Humps." How quaint! Life was so much simpler in the halcyon days of 2005.

your bff,

(originally posted 12/20/2005)

Current mood: sleepy

Sure i've got the basic five: sight, hearing, touch, taste, telekinesis... but I was deprived the most basic of all animal senses, smell. Now it's not like I'm completely devoid of olfactory prowess, it's just that I have to really try hard to smell. The rest of you out there are just sitting around and smelling stuff constantly, having a grand old time, while I actually have to concentrate on it. For instance, i can't smell and do algebra at the same time; it just requires too many neurons to run both programs in this feeble windows 95 virus ridden brain of mine.

I guess it's not really the same as being blind or deaf and I completely understand why no one gives me change on the train when I wear my sandwich board that says "Feed the Smell-less," but there are certainly downfalls to my disability.

When I was a kid and someone would say, "Who farted?" I'd always have to pretend I smelled whatever they smelled. Now in my neighborhood, the rule was "whoever smelt it, dealt it," but I recall at least three occasions when that adage was overruled by the "whoever didn't smell it, dealt it" ammendment of 1985. So seven out of ten times, I was safe by admitting I didn't smell anything, but if some crafty son of a bitch kid would shout out, "Whoever didn't smell it, dealt it!" i was surely going to eat lunch alone. Would you play russian roulette with that bullet? I think not.

The safest thing was to be the second person to say he smelled something. Of course I'd be conservative about my reaction, always a notch less disgusted than the original smeller, and always much more vague about what I was smelling ("yeah,, ewww, what is that? it smells like something, i can't tell what that is"), and hopefully one more kid would agree that he smelled something and I would be safely nestled between two accurate affirmations and could skip home gleefully, my disability (and identity as the flatulator) undetected.

But being the second to affirm the smell had its pitfalls too. Say you were in a large group, one kid says he smells something, you agree that you smell something, but are very vague about it, and the rest of the fifteen kids don't smell a damn thing. Well you are now caught in a lie my friend, and that's called perjury.

In those cases, I'd have to fatten my lie with details to make it more believable. So if
little Billy said, "Eww you guys smell that? I think I'm going to throw up!" I'd follow with something like, "Yeah, that is gross. It smells like three to five over ripe bananas floating on a raft of fragrant white pine in the middle of a miasmic Alabaman bayou during a crisp harvest moon night after the rains." Needles to say, this route was never my first option.

The point is, I would dread whenever kids said they smelled things. And this didn't stop until college when I met friends that loved me unconditionally and I felt safe enough one tearful night to come out of the closet and say "I am without smell."

This lack of smell thing affects me in my adulthood too. As we all know, attraction is based on pheremones, so the girl of your dreams has to find the way to your heart through your nasal passage. Of course, mine has a detour sign up. So instead of finding true love based on a girl's pheremones, I have to judge my attraction based on her tits and ass. So ladies, just remember, if you're at a club and some guy is staring at your humps, think first... he might be smell-less. Don't be so quick to judge; he can't smell you enough to know if he thinks you are his soulmate. This is the only way for those of us in a dark scentless world. And would it kill you to drop a damn quarter in his cup?


Recently, while stranded at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, I was watching TV at the gate along with an older couple, maybe in their fifties, who were the only other people in the airport. A commercial came on for the iPhone (maybe you've heard of this product... it has the popularity--and fleetingness, i'm predicting--of the hula hoop). The narrator of the ad kept repeating, "Yeah, there's an app for that, too."

The fifty year old woman asked the man, "What's an app?" He shrugged.

I interrupted, "It's short for application," startling them both because they didn't realize I was behind them and because I look fairly disturbing when I travel--picture a minority who hasn't showered for days sleeping on benches with his yellow stuffed dog. She thanked me, the way people thank hobos when they clean your windows, then they abruptly left.

I don't know why I did that, interjecting into a strangers' conversation to give my two cents. First of all, I don't even really know if "app" stands for "application." I don't have an iPhone. There's plenty of words that start with the letters A-P-P. For all I know, "app" could be short for appendictomy. That's unlikely. But it could stand for "apple."

"Want to make juice? Yeah, there's an apple for that." Makes sense.

Secondly, I generally hate people who give unwarranted advice or information, your Nicky Know-It-Alls, if you will. Like when you're lifting at the gym and some dude you've never met wearing a tank top with hairy shoulders says, "Gotta do those reps slower, man. Bring it all the way to your chest."

Or that Nicky Know it All that says, "Armin, you can't pour water on a grease fire! That only makes it worse!" Thanks, for your gratuitous trivia, Professor Einstein, but save it for Jeopardy. If you didn't notice, I have a fire to deal with.



Tricia writes: Just thought I'd share my "favorite" thing about keeping old phone numbers in my phone. It is when I give my phone to my 1 year old niece and she randomly calls only the people I haven't spoken to in 3-4 years. Of course I'm hoping these people don't have my number in their phone anymore, but if they are like me and know it's me calling because they don't delete phone numbers out of their phone they are probably like "why the heck is Tricia calling and hanging up, she should at least say hello.

I have an easy solution for that. I lose or destroy a phone about once a year. And of course, I don't have anyone's phone number written on paper. So i email people for their contact info, but if I can't remember who you are or how I know you, then I don't email you.

My friends Robbie and Julie have another solution: during parties, they engage in drunken, supportive, group phone number preening, usually involving the phone numbers of exes. It's very cathartic, as is vomiting the morning after the party.