10.28.2005

You can’t reason with a Zombie - a Hallowe'en pondering

In celebration of Halloween or All Hallow's Eve or Candy Day I present the following pondering. (and you thought that I forgot to post - bwa ha ha)

I’m not a fan of horror. I don’t like “the dark side” and I prefer never being scared by things of an underworld nature. It’s not worth it to me. Some people may enjoy that “high” of being scared or startled, but let’s make one thing clear – these people need help. From the occasional gut tossing rollercoaster to the gaudy faux-haunted house complete with vac-formed tombstones, people really need to find another device for excitability.
Like cross-stitching. Tedious it may seem, but the thrill of seeing a picture come to life from dots of yarn … well, one really can’t describe it fully to do it justice. I want to be clear in stating that I don’t suggest you cross-stitch a zombie on a throw pillow. That would be very off-putting for Grandma. Just keep the weird devil stuff where it should be – in large discount bins at Halloween Express-o-ramas. While you’re at it, seal it off and don’t go near it. You may think you are getting a good deal on a “Demented Dentist” starter kit, but in the long run your investment will depreciate on several levels.
Which brings me to zombies. Do we really need them? The very idea that something would slowly seek you out, without rest, no matter how far you traveled away only for you to be overcome by the feeling of inevitability is creepy enough. But why a zombie? Why not a gym coach? Or a telemarketer?
I remember my older brother trying to explain the “undead” to me. It went something like this:
Ricky “They aren’t alive, but they aren’t dead either.”
Me “Then what are they?”
Ricky “They’re undead.”
Me “Doesn’t that prefix just prove that they are alive?”
Ricky “No, they aren’t alive”
Me “But they move?”
Ricky “Yes”
Me “They talk?”
Ricky “More or less”
Me “They’re not dead though”
Ricky “No”
Me “Why not call them the ‘un-alive’”
Ricky “Because that would be stupid”
Me “Ah…”
I then started to think what I could do if I was approached by an undead zombie (as opposed to an un-alive salesman). If you can’t kill something that is already dead, by logic, your work is done and you can go make yourself a sandwich. However, you have to do something about it still moving un-logically toward you. If you lack the stamina and equipment and the stomach to hack it into itty-bitty bits you have only two options:
1. Revive them – yes, if the thing coming toward you is undead, then you must restore their health so they will stop their advances. Of course, to attempt this you would have to approach the zombie quite closely. An unfortunate prerequisite. Start your procedure by force feeding several vitamins and pain medications into the zombie’s mouth. Next apply a warm gelpack around the neck and start up the defibrillator. Should you succeed, the subject should be just plain dead and not be in this spooky undead condition.
2. Hold a debate – Explain calmly to the zombie that, logically, they cannot be this way. If the zombie will not move his position but would rather try to grab you, state your closing argument while running away.
Needless to say, my conversation with my brother did not bear any fruit on how to deal with zombies, but it just pointed out the idea of them. It’s always around this time of year that the subject comes up somewhere and people become more aware of the unrealistic but nagging possibility that maybe … perhaps … one is in your basement. Now, why this time of year? I don’t know. One would think that if you really wanted to scare someone you would do it around June 27th or some other unsuspecting day.
But then again, zombies don’t take to reason very well.

*the author is now spooked and will be thinking happy thoughts for the remainder of the day

10.21.2005

Oranges Poranges

The following is a true story. The office this took place in is a place of former employement where I worked with my wife. In no way could this happen where I am now for I would not have as much privacy to duplicate this without a pondering audience.

I bought an orange today. I rarely buy fruit, but in a moment of healthy thinking, I bought it with the intentions of eating it at work as a light snack. Upon my desired snack time, I retrieved my orange from the company refrigerator and became perplexed by a problem. How do I eat this orange without covering myself in orange juice? Eating the oranges in slices, with skin intact, would be the best bet. Fruit with wrappers want to help you. Looking for a knife in the office kitchen yielded no results and an orange peeler was out of the question. All I found was a plastic spoon. Innovation? Ready for a challenge to do something different, I marched back to my office with my orange and spoon-that-wants-to-be-a-knife.

Placing the orange on a half stack of Post-it® notes for easy cleanup, I began making an incision with the plastic spoon. My progress was very encouraging, although the spoon made more of a curved cut rather than the straight one that I required. To deal with this I just simply cut a circle about the size of a nickel and lifted up the skin.

Now I had an orange with a hole in it. No turning back now or I lose 68 cents and would have to explain to my wife where my orange went. Things like this she notices. My first circular cut turns out to be too narrow for my spoon so I elongate the cut into an oval, trying not to spill the juice that is squirting in abundance now. Wishing I had a grapefruit spoon, I remove the next portion with a little more effort but nothing to severe. Now my orange has a large oval hole. My Post-it® note base is stained but stable. I now have ample room for my spoon. But just what am I suppose to do now? I don't know. I once stuck a straw in an orange like they did in TV commercials (that doesn't work by the way) and had some success if I pre-mashed the inside of the orange. So, with this knowledge, I start to stab the innards of my orange repeatedly. Once enough pulp was loose, I fixed my mouth around it and tried to drink my orange. Knowing that my wife was away in her office and my boss was at the dentist, I figure I'm in the clear although this mash-slurp-repeat method is not very efficient.

Fearing that anyone will come by, I tear with my fingers at the orangy rind. I throw the spoon away, labeling it a traitor. As I make progress on one side, I decide to eat it like an apple. I'll be darned if there's one way to eat an orange! The juice starts coming in full force. Remembering my Tangerine staining incident from a month ago, I hunch over my trashcan frantically trying to eat my orange, deflect juice, and dislodge rind bits into the trashcan. I have become an animal.

Now that my hands were drenched in Vitamin C, it dawns on me that my phone could ring or that someone would come by. Could I answer my phone with my elbows? - were those footsteps? Without shame, I eat the last two slices as anyone else would in this world and walk to the restroom with hands outward, sticky sweet with orange pulp. I wash my hands with odd-fragranced berry hand soap and return berry soft to my orange aroma-ed office. Sitting at my desk I hear my wife come around and take some papers off the laser printer and then go back again. Safe. I look into my trashcan and see the mutilation that took place moments before. Unceremoniously, I cover the pieces with some discarded envelopes. I tear off the stained Post-it® note and begin my work anew.

I have snacked.

10.14.2005

Falling for Spring

It is time for Fall once again. Or is it Autumn? Autumn seems to be the correct, more appropriate term for this season, but how did it become known as “Fall?” The most obvious explanation is that is what the leaves and confused quarterbacks do in the time of Autumn, but I have another theory. Spring is the only season that has one syllable and it needed to find a mate - all in an attempt to not feel so lonely amidst the two-syllable seasons. Spring has co-dependency issues; did you know that? Well, Winter refused to be called “Cold” “Gift” or “Gray” and summer wasn’t going to change to “Hot” “Sun” or “Mow.” Winter and Summer both felt they were meant to be together and were secure in their relationship. Meanwhile, Autumn shuffled its feet and said “Okay, I’ll change, but what should my name be?” Autumn never stands up for itself like a season should, but it has a good heart. They got together at a food court in a mall outside of Tulsa and thought up, but quickly rejected, names like “Orange” “Plump” “Food” and “Sneeze.” Then, in a moment of cuteness, they both said “Fall” at the same time and giggled. The county registrar happened to be in that afternoon and after paying $15, it became legal. This transformation never really convinced everybody, especially those in Europe, but at least our two seasons know the truth in their hearts.

10.10.2005

A little extra sumpthin'

Tron: A remembrance


The year was 1982. For me, it was a golden age of video games, synth rock and the occasional Santa Claus-esque visit from the Ice Cream Truck Guy. But one of the best things that came out of that year for me was a simple movie known as ...


Okay, sure. It wasn't a very popular mainstream movie, but for those who ever made weekly (or daily) trips to the bliss-filled havens known as Video arcades, this was the film that was our banner to prove to the rest of the world that we were cool. Sadly, it just cranked the geek-o-meter to 11. Somehow, the idea of a computer hacker trying to find evidence of his stolen game ideas, while battling a computer who looks like a relative of the Kool-Aid guy, didn't appeal to a lot people in 1982.


Cousins?

Movies that involve computers really are reaching when they try to bridge a chasm of two worlds. Tron and The Matrix somehow tried to make you believe that slim, good looking guys are computer-chic techno geeks. When you see hollywood's computer hackers looking slick like this:

In real life, they are actually more like this:


Now, in sharing childhood memories with my wife, I had asked if she wouldn't mind watching this movie with me. Cautious and pensive, my wife reluctantly agreed. (Yes, I am a Tron Fan AND I have a wife. It IS possible my friends, shaky, but possible!) The main selling point was that I mentioned that it starred Bruce Boxleitner of Scarecrow and Mrs. King fame. My wife is a huge "Scarecrow" fan. Although, I think nothing could have softened the blow in her mind to see him go from this:

to this:

I don't blame her. It can be a jolt if you have no history with this movie. I had no history of Scarecrow and Mrs. King and have been watching the episodes lately. Since I never watched "SMK" before, I cuddled up to the idea that while in pursuit of an enemy cold war agent, he could throw a glowing disc at him or trap him in a square of jet walls from his lightcycle/Porche. But going from Scarecrow to Tron proved to be a bit more jarring on her. Some of the things going on in her mind were easily summed up by the constant furrowing of her brow through the entire movie. The experience left her with sore forehead muscles for the remainder of the evening.

Welcome to my world, baby

Now, I do have my own personal problems with Tron as far as storytelling. I'm not alone with others who know that this computer lingo they speak hardly ever makes sense.

Five bucks says that he'll get a syntax error

Sark, buddy, the MCP will not blast you into a "dead zone." A bad cluster, maybe, but not a "dead zone," sheesh.

The feel of the outside world is very dated now, but one thing we all agree on is that we want this desk:

It's shiny, black and frickin' huge!

Another sign that this is a movie made by geeks for geeks is that there's only one female with lines. Place technological double entendre here

"Heh Heh! Girl!"

Well, anyway let's hatch the plot: Our hacker friend sneaks into his former employer's laser lab armed with a forged group 6 access to try to find evidence of his stolen video game ideas. Everyone with me so far?

This shot always gave me the heebie-jeebies. Why place a terminal in front of a LASER that looks like this?

Or any laser for that matter?

Well, let's keep going: Flynn gets cocky and throws code at the MCP to try to distract him, but the MCP gets him back by zapping his null unit into the computer.

Compact Disc technology test goes awry!

Welcome to the Geek Lair! New to Role Playing, are we?

I love this movie. So Flynn is now in computer-land and meets a whole sort of friends and foes.

Friend

Foe

Friend

Foe

Friend

Foe: See a pattern?

Outsourced Union Temp

So anyhoo, Flynn and his new band of cohorts play a series of games which include:Lightcycles...

Yeah baby!

And Ultimate Frisbee...

Remember, in here, there is no reset button

They then break out of the game grid and assault the Master Control Program and his right hand man, Sark, with a little help from Whamo!®


C'mon, who didn't try to play this in the backyard?

OWNED!

Through a cooperative effort, Flynn and Tron destroy the MCP and the system becomes free from the tyrannical grip of Microsoft XP. Flynn is sent back into the outer world and the info he was looking for prints out on a ridiculously heavy dot matrix printer.

Yes, but will it hold up in court?


I've been scared of that terminal ever since

The next morning the Senior Executive who stole Flynn's ideas, sees that the MCP has crashed, the secret's out and realizes that he is about to get fired.

That's the "I-better-steal-the-towels-out-of-the-executive-washroom-before-I-put-my resume'-in-at-Steak-n-Shake" look

And within the course of 5 minutes or less, Flynn is placed in the top position of the multi-billion dollar company - with a free helicopter. No questions asked. Yeah. It must have been settled out of court.

A Winner is You!

The movie then ends with a time lapse on the cityscape to show how we and the electronic world are very similar, even though I've never been forced to wear tights.

We are all programs! BWA-HA-HAAA!!!!

Now order some neon wire and make your own costume.

You know you want to...


You can find this article of mine also at http://www.retrojunk.com

10.07.2005

Introducing

Several people have asked me (okay, only me talking to myself) if I should host a web page. My first thoughts are where do I invite one? Would the web page like to come to my house? Would it have time to spend an evening with me? I imagine that when I would invite the web page into my home, I’d take off its coat and put it on the bed, have it sit down, get it a drink and have some sparkling conversation capped with a rousing game of Catch Phrase™ and a light dessert. We’d then wind things down and I’d hand it the recipe for the cheesy ranch dip my wife had set out as the snacking medium for the evening. As the web page would leave, Carrie and I would wave through the glass door until it would turn the corner. With a sigh of satisfaction and a buzz of good cheer, I would think that I hosted that web page fairly well.

OR

I would awkwardly usher in the web page and tell it “Just put your stuff anywhere. . .No, not there! There!” and then leave it to return to my television viewing schedule for the evening. The web page would shyly follow me into the room and stand. On the second commercial in the break, I’d say “You can sit down, you know.” Then quickly and nimbly it would sit down stiffly and stare at the television. Maybe the web page would try to initialize a conversation. “Say, those Battle Bots are something else, eh?” I would then generate a “mmph” sound from somewhere around my head. All immediate hope for the web page would then vanish. As the show would end, the web page would look over at me for the next “phase” of our evening only to be answered by a continuous cycle of channel surfing. “A bloopers show was suppose to be on . . . let’s see here . . .” The phone would ring and I would pick up and it would be an old college buddy and we’d talk for a long time. Most of the conversation would come from the other end so that the web page would have not a hint about what was being discussed. After I’d hang up near the end of a “Hee-haw” reunion show, I’d remember something vaguely about someone talking and look around. I’d see no one, shrug my shoulders, and fall asleep during “JAG.” That is being a bad host of a web page.

So here, I've come across this. Yes. A place to post ...things. Things that have come across my fuzzy head and would like to share.

And I give you a ...
100% Clean Guarantee

That's right. No cussin' here! Nosireebob! And nothing inapppro- inappropi- rude either. You can come in and relax and I'll probably have something posted once a week to make you smile. That is, attempt to make you smile - on the inside at least.

And if you want a cheesy snack dip, you can email a request. Meanwhile, I'll try to be figuring out these dohicky web things.

Cheers!

Eric of Sillybear