Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Frog

Happy leap day! Wouldn't it be nice if leap day were a holiday? Once every four years, we'd get this bonus day off. Why not? I think I got that idea from somewhere else, but it's worth sharing. Anyway, in honor of this day, I'm treating you to an arcade classic -- Frogger. Enjoy!

Old Arcade Games

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Potpourri No. 20

Brain spillings o’ the day:

Simply Indigestible
I recently saw one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I almost thought it deserved a post of its own, but I don’t want to devote that much of my time to it. The reason this movie deserves special mention isn’t just because it sucked, but because it’s one of those movies where you seriously can barely fathom that the thing was created. And it’s not even laughably funny for the most part, it’s just jaw-droppingly bad. The script, the acting, the story, even the editing—horrible! It’s the kind of movie you want people to see just because you know they won’t ever understand how bad it is without seeing it themselves, no matter what you say about it. So, on that note, I urge you all to rush out and rent Simply Irresistible, the 1999 romantic (?) comedy (?) starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as a cook who gets crabs from some stranger at the outdoor market. (And that’s why you should listen to your health teachers, kids!) For some unexplained reason, she doesn’t kill one of the crabs. Instead, she puts it up on a shelf. Then, she magically becomes a wonderful chef. Supposedly it has to do with the crab, because whenever she cooks something, it cuts for a second or two to a close-up of this crab just sitting there on the shelf. Some guy falls in love with her food, then with her, but problems arise when he begins to think she’s a witch and not just a really bad actress in unflattering outfits. It rips off Like Water for Chocolate at times and the crab thing is never explained whatsoever. It’s just bizarre, lame, unbelievable crap. Rent it today!

Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa
Of the five schools to which I applied for their respective Ph.D. programs, I have now heard back from one—Indiana University-Bloomington. They rejected me. Not a big deal, quite honestly, because they were probably the last on my list as far as which school I was the most interested in. Still, they were number three for how decent I thought my chances of getting in would be, so it might be a bad sign that they’ve turned me down. What’s worse, having heard back from one school makes it incredibly difficult to put the Ph.D. applications out of my mind, which is something I’ve strived very diligently to do. Now I find myself constantly waiting to hear from someone else, which is not exactly a relaxed way to feel. I keep thinking it’s good that I haven’t received rejections from more schools by now, because that means I wasn’t someone they don’t even want to give a second thought. Then again, if I were among their top choices, chances are I would have heard from them by now. To quote Michael Jackson: “I’m stuck in the middle, and the pain is thunder.”

Proof that the Legal System Works
Finally, finally, finally our insurance company is beginning to pay for the injuries I sustained in the September 7th car accident. Just a little over five months, half a dozen phone calls, and three broken promises that I would be called back within a day or two to have it explained to me what exactly is going on with my claims later. Oddly enough, the claims are finally being retroactively processed just a week or so after I filled out an online customer satisfaction survey about my insurance company. The plethora of phone calls I made to their customer service hotline didn’t seem to do any good, but the survey included an area for comments wherein I expressed my interest in acquiring a lawyer who could help me get my claims paid. Now they are getting paid. Coincidence?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Number Five is Alive!

Once in a while, I’m commissioned to participate in a meme. Memes can be a bit tacky, like many a forwarded email, the same ones somehow managing to show up over and over and over and over and over and over and over. On the other hand, they make it incredibly easy to put up another post. And so, here is yet another meme…

The Rules of the game are posted at the beginning
B. Each player answers the questions about themselves
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 4 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

10 years ago
Believe it or not, it was also a February 7th. I don’t remember it specifically. It was 1998, which means I was a high school graduate, but I don’t know if I would have had a job or not. Well, hey, you know what the cool thing about keeping a journal is? You can go back and check! Nope, it looks like I was jobless at that time, having quit my telemarketing job for Kirby vacuums the previous June. Judging from my February 10, 1998 journal entry, I may have been in Pasadena, California sometime on or very near February 7, 1998. I went to Disneyland and went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride for the first time, although I had been to Disneyland at least a couple of times before that. My 9-year-old (!) little sister wouldn’t stop screaming on Star Tours, which kept me laughing all during the ride. How specific was this question supposed to get?

5 things on my to-do list today:
1. Go to physical therapy (already accomplished)
2. Grade at least 17 student papers (I’ve done 15 so far! Then again, it’s after 8 p.m.)
3. Read at least one or two chapters of Nabokov
4. Get the mail because the next flick from Netflix should be there!
5. Relieve myself as needed

5 Snacks I enjoy:
1. Don-Don’s
2. Toast
3. Snack foods that are kind of like real food, but generally considered low quality real food, not something you’d really eat for a meal, or at least not without eating more of it or with it, but something a little beyond what you normally think of when you just think of snacks (e.g. nachos; the week-old crap you find under a heat lamp at the gas station; value menu little burgers or something like that that you’d eat two or three of if you weren’t just snacking; fried miscellanea)
4. Breakfast cereal (good call, sis!)
5. Probably more don-don’s

What would I do if I were suddenly made a billionaire:
For crap’s sake, it’s kind of sad that the things I most desire right now wouldn’t be remedied at all by such a fortune. I might buy a better car, not that ours is bad. I’d buy a new computer for darned sure. I’d buy many books and CD’s. I might upgrade us to the 2-at-a-time option from Netflix. I’d pay off my fifty cent fine at the library. My foot would still hurt.

5 places I have lived:
1. Salt Lake City, Utah (yellow house)
2. Salt Lake City, Utah (different house)
3. Salt Lake City, Utah (apartment)
4. Salt Lake City, Utah (other apartment)
5. Atlanta, Georgia (waffle house)

5 jobs I have had:
1. Extra for a locally-produced direct-to-video movie (one long day)
2. Janitor at an elementary school (about a month)
3. Clerk at a video rental store (I think only about five or six weeks)
4. Pizza deliverer (about 3½ hours)
5. Graduate student teacher – doesn’t really fit the résumé does it? Or maybe it does all too well…

5 things people don't know about me:
It seems to me there is probably a reason people don’t know these things about me, but I’ll do my best. Of course, my wife already knows everything, but hopefully that doesn’t count.
1. Sometimes I have a hard time not laughing in serious situations because my brain will flash these ridiculous images at me, like I’ll picture someone else in the given serious situation (e.g. during class) suddenly being blown down the street by a strong wind, rolling down the sidewalk, screaming.
2. Sometimes I feel annoyed, embarrassed, or both because my brain will flash ridiculous images at me, such as when I’m in an office (back in my job days) or at school, and I suddenly picture everyone in the room bursting into song and dancing, all smiley and whatnot.
3. I am very interested in things that seem to have always been a part of human cultures, as far back as history shows. Because of that, I think both sex and religion are very interesting topics. I’m very interested in the psychology people (both now and in the past) have had about these things, given that they are such constants. They both seem to play a huge role in how humans see themselves and make sense of the world. They are often portrayed (at least now) as topics that are relatively abrasive to each other, yet views on one so often dictate views on the other. It’s fascinating.
4. The details of the most surreal experience I’ve ever had.
5. Nobody knows what I would have put for #5 if I had spent more time thinking about it and not given the answer you are currently reading.

I’m not really into the tag thing, especially since most people I know have already done this. So, if you haven’t done it, I’ll leave up to your good moral conscience to decide whether or not to participate.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

You Say You Want a Resolution

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year, but it does so happen that ever since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to devote more of my time to reading. This is a commitment I’ve made time and time again in life, and often enough reading has been a focus of at least one of my official New Year’s resolutions. So I guess you could view my latest recommitment as a resolution of sorts. The only problem is, I haven’t set any specific parameters by which to judge my failure or accomplishment of this goal. In years past, I’ve come up with a certain amount of pages that I hope to read by year’s end. For 2007, it was 5,000 pages, which I managed to do. For 2008, I am not being so particular. The only aim I have, other than the generic “read more,” is to indulge in the act of reading in bed. Spending the last few minutes of the day buried in a good book, propped upon one’s pillows, teeth already brushed, bladder already emptied, covers already tucked snuggly around the bottom three quarters of one’s abdomen and the entirety of one’s lower extremities—it is, quite simply, a luxurious experience. It is a tranquil transitional period in which I have engaged all too little over the last two or three years. I am trying to rectify that, and I must admit I have felt quite pampered in allowing myself to do so.

Now that February is here, I’m amazed to see what a difference this recommitment to reading has already made. Although I’ve really enjoyed the reading I’ve done over the last five weeks or so, it hasn’t seemed to me that I’ve done that much more reading than normal. But when I looked back at the reading I had done in January alone, I was shocked to learn that I had already read 1,121 pages worth of books. And that is only what I would call normal books—not magazines, not the textbook I’m teaching as a GTA, not the Old Testament I’ve been reading with my wife on a daily basis nor the New Testament I’ve been reading everyday on my own. Just the basic kinds of books I keep posted in my sidebar. I was impressed. It’s kind of exciting, really, because I’ve always known that no matter how much I read, there will be thousands of books I wanted to read but never did. If I keep going at this rate, however, I might knock out a few dozen more tomes than I ever thought I would. Pretty cool.

I’ll make a similar disclaimer here to the one I made in my previous post, wherein I celebrated writing my 200th blog entry: I know there are plenty of people out there who devour ten times the amount of literature I do. Congratulations to those people. I am merely attempting to celebrate my own further ascent into an activity I find very rewarding and valuable. I am not boasting, and lest anyone think otherwise, I assure you I am still subscribed to MAD Magazine. You can’t boast while admitting to that, can you?