Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Not long ago, I was reminiscing about the past. As a teenager I was a Skater/Punk. I hung out with other skateboarders, listened to punk music and "sang" in a punk band called Kaptain Kommunist. It was an epic adolescence. I grew up in a small town and for a long time, my only means of transportation was my skateboard. I would ride it across town everyday to go to work at Dairy Queen. 

With this reminiscence came a longing to ride my skateboard. I still have one and I probably always will, although it spends its time in a closet gathering dust these days. And so, not too long ago I pulled the skateboard out and used it as a means of transportation.

You know what? It sucked. In fact, it was the worst thing ever.

I'm not sure why I thought of this today, but the why is not important. The fact of the matter is that I thought about it today and it somehow brought my mind on a journey which mysteriously ended at the subject of camping.

I thought to myself, "Why do people like camping? Also, when did people start camping? There was a time when camping was just living. Your house was a tent and you lived there. Occasionally shit would get real and you'd be forced to back up your tent and whatever else you owned and find a new home.

Then, one day a smart guy decided he hated living in tents and he sat down and thought up a solution. And shortly thereafter the first house was constructed. I'm sure there were naysayers, as there always are, but before you could sing Alice's Restaurant everyone on the block have built themselves a house and the invention spread from there.

About ten years later a guy named Joe Campton reminisced, much like I did recently, about living in a tent. "Moving was so much easier back then" he thought. "I didn't like the Jones' and how they would show off their fancy camel, so I took down my tent and moved it over by the McCormick's. But now I have these walls and it's so hard to build a new house."

What do you think old Joe did? That's right, he took his tent out of the storage closet and carried it out of town on the back of his practical camel. When he found a nice place by a stream and a tree, he set up his tent, rolled out his sleeping bag, and started cooking over a fire.

Guess what? That's right, it sucked!

That night Joe remembered that sleeping in a tent is basically just living in a sheet. It's cold, there are bugs, and also you don't have a house! The next morning Joe packed up his tent and went home. He was embarrassed that he'd been so foolish though, so when people asked him about his night in the tent, he lied.

"It was the best!" he said enthusiastically. "You can go out there and forget about everything at home. You feel like you're one with nature! It's the best thing ever!"

People are generally gullible and so they believed him and before you knew it, everyone was doing the same thing Joe Campton did. They went "Camping". They all hated it too, but because they thought they were supposed to like it, no one ever said anything. People are also very scared of being wrong, so they made themselves believe they were having fun feeling at one with nature.

And so, from then until now people go camping. They go out in the wilderness, live in a sheet propped up by sticks with all the bugs and the cold wind and just like Joe Campton, they call it fun, and say they enjoy the feeling of being one with nature. They are all liars!

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Thing I Shouldn't Know

When I was a very little boy, maybe in first grade, my dad worked with a guy named Bret. (Name been modified) Bret had two kids, Zak and Jacky, whom my mom babysat. (Their names are likewise modified) There aren't a lot of facts about these two kids. Zak's nose was always runny and he called my Gramma, Gramma, much to her displeasure. Jacky was pigeon-toed and always tripped over her own feet. Also it was annoying as hell when she cried. My younger brother and my cousin who were about the same age as Zak used to beat him up with sticks. It was a hard knock life for any child at my house twenty years ago, but no one had it worse off there than Zak. Sometimes I feel bad about it. But, what are you gonna do, we lived hard and we played hard.

There was one time that they were worried because their mom and her boyfriend were late picking them up. My oldest brother told them that she was dead in a ditch. It made them cry, they had nightmares and my brother got in trouble. But it was worth it; we still laugh about "dead in a ditch"today. What else is there to say about those kids? We didn't much care for them. The really sad part is that they would bring us candy for every holiday and how did we repay them? We tormented their young minds and beat them with sticks. (We believed in paying it forward!)

Why am I telling you all of these things?

Today is Bret's birthday. Why do I know this? I wish I didn't. One day, some twenty years ago, he came to pick up his kids at the end of the day. I stood in the kitchen with him while he waited. He started talking to me and, without being too obvious, I did my best to talk down to him. I don't remember thinking too highly of him either. As we were talking he asked me when my birthday is.

"March 20th" I answered.

"Oh mine's March 19th" he replied, "So it's the day after yours."

"You're an idiot." I didn't say that, but I thought it. "It's the day before mine" is what I actually said. Thinking back on it, I'm impressed with my self-control. I'm not sure I could have done so well today if faced with the same conversation.

So, today is Bret's birthday. Happy Birthday, Bret... I guess. Twenty years later I still remember this fact. I wish I didn't.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Robotic Armageddon is at Hand

If there is one thing my best friends know for certain about me, it’s that I have no desire to ever be in outer space. If there are two things they know about me, it’s 1) That I have no desire to go to outer space, and 2) I’m terrified of Robots.

Now, I’m not terrified that they taught a machine to play the piano better than I ever will, or even that they taught him to dress so well. The issue here is that we all know that this was only the harmless looking beginning. Before you know it, he’ll get sick of playing that song and then, well, we all die.

Then, there are the sorts of robots who look like real people. This is the worst thing we could ever do! Now, when we see a cute little Asian girl, there’s no telling if she’s people. I can see it now. She starts dating some guy. He will eventually break up with her. He can’t figure out what it is about her, but something about the way she talks and the way she moves just seems… what’s the word… ROBOTIC! So her circuit board heart gets broken and, well, we all die!

Apple made Seri. Seri is part of the iPhone that knows everything. You can have conversations with her, she has a personality. She has intelligence. I’m positive that she’s self-aware. Hell, she has gender! She will probably be the one to tell the other robots to attack and then, well, we all die!

Then there’s a company called Boston Dynamics. They are the literal incarnation of SKYNET from the Terminator movies. They are creating robots that terrify me more than any others.

There’s “Big Dog” who has learned to react and change his footing when forced sideways in order to keep from falling over.

There’s “Cheetah” who runs 18 miles per hour.

These robots are made to fight wars and there’s only one thing that can possibly come from this. Well, we all die!