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Inspirational Reads


September 29, 2009

Hey guys, one of my wife's friends and co-workers was killed this morning while crossing the street. I knew him, I really liked him, and I'm kind of numb over the news. She's obviously devastated.

I'm going to probably be posting rather sporadically this week. If you're the praying kind, keep him in your thoughts, and those he left behind, as well.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. XLI

September 25, 2009

Well, the fall season for television is upon us. Pardon me for a second. *gaping yawn*

Where was I? Oh, right, television. Hey, look, a butterfly!

I don't think I could give a damn less if I tried when it comes to the new season of the network television shows. Pretty much, they all suck. Is Dirty Jobs starting back up soon? What? Not until October sixth? Mother of fuck.

It used to be that I would watch Heroes because, seriously, I'm pretty much their intended demographic--nerdy comic-book fan type. However, I grew tired of their time-travel antics during the second season when Hiro kept popping back and forth in time to meddle with his feudal-era hero. When they went back to the fucking around in the time stream last year, I gave up. It's not so much that I can't keep up with the plot, I just find it tedious. Also, I got a little tired of the whole "everyone's related" plotline that they were putting together with Claire and the Petrellis and Sylar and all that. Ho-hum. Wake me when they're done with this Cyclops/Havok/Corsair/Adam-X bullshit.

Maybe I'm just too much of an X-Men purist (which I've been accused of, recently even, when I lambasted the Wolverine movie for being fucking horrible), but I just found the whole thing a little too contrived and perhaps a bit overworked (coming from a guy who wrote a long and involved time-travel story for an assignment in college). Plus, aside from Hayden Panetierre's cleavage, most of the characters on Heroes are rather pedestrian. They have these incredible powers, and yet very few of them want to plumb the depths of their abilities or explore their weaknesses.

All that aside, I think the part that pissed me off is when they took the sexy Irish lass to the future and then sort of just let her disappear. I do love me a good accent.

Anyway, when it comes to Heroes this season, I'll just yawn and say the following:

"Non gratias tibi ago. Id salivit pistrica."

Pronounced: "Nohn grah-tee-ahss tee-bee ah-goh. Id sahl-ee-weet pees-treeck-ah."

Translation in the hovertext!

Interestingly enough, I discovered that salire, the infinitive form of the verb "to jump, to leap", can also be translated as "to mount for copulation" (applicable for males only--sorry ladies, you can't mount, only be mounted). Those Romans, they had a word for everything!

Now, if you'll excuse me, soliturus sum meam uxorem.

[EDIT]: Sorry, guys. I had originally translated "they have jumped the shark", but I decided I didn't like that. So, I reworked the phrase to say "it has jumped the shark", but I forgot the "id" part of the phrase (which translates as "it"). I just realized that and fixed it.

Here's a Sad Indictment of Our World

September 24, 2009

Culled from CNN earlier in the day:

Yes, that's right. Gmail going down gets top billing. Buried five stories deep? A possible HIV vaccine.

We might have found a way to prevent hundreds of thousands of people dying from a nefarious disease, but, ZOMG!, we can't check our email or chat with our co-workers in other departments!!! How will we ever survive???

TMI Thursday: Car Jacking

If this does not sate your thirst for awesome TMI stories, then check out all the other glorious tales of things we probably shouldn't tell at LiLu's home for the staunchy raunchy, TMI Thursdays!

Yesterday, I told you of the girl I dated briefly my senior year of college, Carrie Nation. I call her that because she was a violent teetotaler. Which is understandable. She had a friend in high school die in a drunk driving accident. Well, actually, there was a drunk driving accident, and her friend drove by it. He was rubber necking and the road was icy and then her friend, while not paying attention to the road, ended up in a ditch and was killed from the accident. So, it's not really understandable at all.

This was at a point in my life (my senior year in college) where I would make trips to Illinois with a $20 bill in my pocket and swoop down into Scotchman's East and Scotchman's West liquor stores. Therein, I would promptly buy up all of their 32 ounce Old Milwaukee beers. 32 ounces of beer for $1.09? I'm sold. I would come home with cases of the shit. Will dubbed me "Beer Tsar".

So, here I am, freshly broken up with the Ex- (again), when Carrie Nation "befriends" me. And by that, I mean that she invited me to see one of the on campus movies with her. See, we were sort of friends before. The previous semester, I had met Carrie Nation because some friends of mine had invited me to come and watch a movie with them. The movie was in Carrie Nation's room. When I knocked on her door, I saw a little picture of Sports Voldemort hanging on the door. Someone yelled "come in" from the interior of the room and I swung the door open, struck a dramatic pose, and asked "are you a Packers fan?" Carrie Nation said she was. Jokingly, I said, "Oh, I think I'm in love."

Apparently, this was enough to convey to her that I was proper dating material. So, the fall semester of my senior year, she invited me to come and watch a movie with her and the rest of her friends. I ended up sitting next to her and we watched...Scream, I think? You can see how memorable our time was together. Anyway, during the movie, I sort of held her hand a little. A couple of nights later, she shows up at my room and asks me if I liked her. The only thing it was missing what a "circle yes or no" on a note. It was so junior high. I circled yes, and we started dating that night.

The great thing about that night? I was watching some nature documentary on bugs, because there wasn't shit else on and because I have a strange fascination with Praying Mantises. So, Carrie Nation shows up and we talk until after visitation hours are over (visitation hours were until 11 pm on week nights...remember, Catholic college). She was all worried about getting caught after visitation hours were over, despite the fact that I was friends with all of my RAs. I mean, hell, the RA on my floor was Sweet Mic Mancuso, the most melodic voiced RA in history--there was no way she was getting in trouble.

Anyway, we ended up talking until midnight and I finally was like, "Well, I'm going to bed. You can stay if you want--I don't want to throw you out or anything. You can even have the bed. I'll sleep on the couch." It ended up, she slept on the couch, I in my bed, and at 6:00 am, when I had to get up and get ready for class, I escorted her out of the building. Fortunately, she lived in Halas hall, which was next door (and named for former Chicago Bears owner, George Halas) to Gallagher, so her Walk of Shame wasn't so terrible.

This went on for about six weeks. She'd come over, we'd chat or watch a movie, she'd invariably end up staying the night, and then walk home in the morning. Ah, the luxuriant life of a senior with a single room. The plus side of all this was that I kept my room clean and smelling good. I mean, I made my bed nearly every day--and I was in college!. Shit, you'd only make your bed if you were getting a visit from your parents.

I digress. So, there we are, Carry Nation and the Beer Tsar. And, you know, something had to give at some point. Now, at this point in my life, I watched NASCAR. I was quite the fan. Carry Nation? Not so much. She detested NASCAR, and for all the right reasons--there were cars who were sponsored by beer companies. I do not lie when I tell you this.

And so...on that fateful night when Sam was stinking up my joint, Carrie Nation came over to watch the football game for our normal Monday night affair. Except, there was a replay of the NASCAR race being shown on ESPN2, so I would flip over during the time outs on the football game to see what I could of the race (despite already knowing who had won). This infuriated Carrie Nation. She stole the remote from me and shoved it down her shirt. So, I did what came natural--I went after it. This infuriated her more. She made a reference to how nice Sports Voldemort's butt looked in his tight football pants (as luck would have it, the Packers were playing that night). I made a reference to wanting to bang one of her friends. Something else happened, and I sat on the bed, and then sat in the hallway (the door was open). This really cheesed her.

Needless to say, she didn't stay the night that night.

The next night, she had to work until 10:00 pm at Wal-Mart across the street, so I didn't see her. The night after that, she got off work early, so I told her to come by the computer lab and we could hang out. I worked in the computer lab as a lab monitor. It was awesome. I always signed up for the less popular lab, so all I would have to do is sit there, do my homework, and occasionally restock the printer with paper or--on particularly tough nights--I'd have to put a new toner cartridge in. And all of this for a sweet $6.00 an hour, which really helped fuel the Beer Tsar trips--literally and figuratively.

Anyway, Carrie Nation comes shuffling in, says high in a clipped, curt fashion, and sits down two rows away to check her email. I'm quiet while I'm sitting there, reading about the nervous system in vertebrates (I was working on filling out my biology minor and was taking Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy...which was one of my favorite classes of all time). She gets up, and I thought she was coming over to see me, and I look up and say "Did you know that you shrink an inch during the day because the disks between your vertebrae compress while you're walking upright?"

I've always had a knack for knowing what to say to a woman to turn her on...

She kind of gives me a look and says, "That's fascinating." She then throws a folded up piece of paper at me. "That's for you." I stare at it for a second, without opening it, and I look back up at her.

"You're kidding, right?" I asked. "You're breaking up with me? And worse, you're breaking up with me in a note? What the fuck, is this Junior High school?"

She didn't respond and, instead, shuffled out of the lab and, out of my life. In response to the note (which was, indeed, a break up note), I wrote a very long, and very carefully constructed email in which I told her that I wanted to talk to with her and we could sort this out and that I really didn't want to break it off with her and blahblahblahblahblah. She didn't respond. Two days later, I had moved on. On the third day, after I had said something about dating someone else to one of my friends during dinner, she must have overheard me. She stood outside of the cafeteria and lit into me when I was finished (she usually sat at the next table over from ours during meals) about how I didn't want to work things out after all and some other such shit. I countered that I had written a long letter to her, extolling her virtues and the greatness of our relationship, but when she hadn't written back, I got over it. Fast. I suggested she should, too.

And, that was pretty much the end of the story of Carrie Nation...or is it?

I graduated the following spring. The following fall, for Homecoming, I arrived with a cooler full of beer that I was planning on drinking with my buds still at St. Joe, Will and Giles. At this point, I'm well over Carrie Nation. I'm back with the Ex-, and we finally decided we loved each other more than cheese, and that we should get married. I had asked her over the summer, and oh we were happy together. Spinning around in a circle holding hands with flowers falling from the sky and cheesy montage music playing in the background happy. Is that a flugelhorn I hear?

So, for Homecoming, I'm celebrating the fact that I've got a job, a fiancee, and a future. I had already been accepted to two different graduate programs, and I was waiting for word from two others, so this book store bullshit job wasn't going to last forever. It's time to drink.

When Homecoming hit that year, it was time for the baseball playoffs. The Cubs, by all manner of miracles, had actually won the wild card in the central and were playing the Braves. And badly. This led to a series of events that are cloudy in my mind, but involved me and some Freshman girl sitting on the couch in my friend Derek's room watching one of the final games of the Cubs series. Since I had a shit ton of beer at my disposal, I was pretty well toastified. I kept giving her beers, too, because, hell, I could. Plus, she was cute. Ish.

Sadly, I don't remember her name, but I do remember that she wore an orange shirt. Briefly.

As things progressed, we got more and more toastified. Apparently, this was a girl who "got hot" when she got drunk, and as we were sitting there, she took her shirt off. And then her pants. And then she put her hand on my knee. And suddenly, I found myself at a moral crossroads.

I had been engaged for a couple of months by this point, to a woman I truly and genuinely loved. Here was a cute...ish...drunk college chick taking her clothes off and making amorous advances toward me. Did I want to? Fuck yeah. Did I want to NOT cheat on my fiancee? Fuck yeah. So, I carefully explained the situation to this young lady and kindly excused myself and ended up back in Will's room. Or Giles'. Or someones. Fuck, I don't remember. I just know it wasn't her room.

Anyway, I spent the whole weekend pretty much in a drunken stupor. But, after having a young woman essentially give me a private strip dance, I was on a slow burn. Come Monday morning, I gathered up whatever soldiers had not fallen over the weekend, packed them into my car, and prepared to drive back across the lonely expanse of North Centeral Indiana so that I could get to work by 2:00 that afternoon. When I describe it as lonely, I do truly mean that. It was corn and soy bean fields as far as the eye could see, dotted occasionally with tiny towns that no one's ever really heard of--Royal Center, Lucerne, Twelve Mile (which was fourteen miles from Logansport), just to name three.

As I was pulling out of campus, I saw the girl who had stripped for me a couple of nights earlier. I waved, because I'm chivalrous like that. I then pull out onto US-231 south and head down to turn onto Indiana-16 east and head for home. The stretch between US-231 and Monon, IN on 16 was one of the most desolately boring and lonely places on the face of the earth. And I was horny after having had a private show and then seeing her again on my way out.

So, I pulled it out. While I was driving. The glorious things about roads in North Central Indiana is that they are fucking arrow straight, and the alignment in my car had recently been fixed, so I could get away with not really paying attention to the road. All I had to do was make sure I didn't hit any deer. So, there I was, in the throes of autoerotic ecstasy, thinking about this young lady who had shown me the Holy of Holies just two nights before. Finally, I finish myself off as I pull up to a stop light. There's another car at the stoplight, which turns and heads west on Indiana-16.

It's Carrie Nation, coming back to campus after finishing her student teaching assignment that morning.

So, I honked my horn and waved at her with my cum-streaked hand, a big smile on my face. She looked over as she was turning, saw me, screwed her face up into a scowl (moreso than normal) and sped off into the west.

I cleaned myself up with a handkerchief, laughed triumphantly, and continued on down the lonely road, wondering where I could find a good cup of coffee.

The Ballad of Samad Hoshweebeeweebeeweebeeweebee...

September 23, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated the first 100 followers to this blog with a rather long, drawn-out, and frankly sycophantic post wherein I thanked everyone and let them know that I either was a regular reader, remembered their pithy comments, or just generally gave them a thumbs up. I started the train with Gwen, who was my first blog follower.

Speaking anyone else's blog following add-on malfunctioning, or is it just mine?

Anyway, I differentiate between Gwen being my first blog follower and, well, followers in general because, long before I started puking words onto a screen in some semblance of cohesion and story, I had a follower. Well...follower seems kind of a light term to apply to the chap. Imagine, if you would, that the foot fungus you picked up on the floor of your gym was a follower, and that might quantify the meaning a bit better for you.

As a senior in college, I had it all: easy class schedule, ability to drink, living next door to Big Willy Style, single room, hot on-again-off-again girlfriend with loose morals and big tits. Apparently, this hedonistic lifestyle was enough to attract the attention of this freshman named Samad Hoshweebeeweebeeweebeeweebee...

Samad's last name is kind of messed up because his dad was Iranian and his mom was German (or something else Teutonic), and the pronunciation was kind of confusing. I'm pretty sure there's a K in there somewhere. Anyway, saying it is kind of like when I'm drunk and trying to spell "banana", I don't remember where the "weebee"s are supposed to end.

Anyway, Sam (as he liked to be called) was a solid 350 pounds on a 5'5" frame and his features were strikingly like a blond Rupert Grint. Everywhere that Sam went, he wore a cream-colored sweater that might have--at one point--been white, but prolongued exposure to dorm life and Sam quickly turned it ecru and worse. And, when I say "everywhere", I mean everywhere. Given Sam's bulkiness, this meant that he sweat profusely everywhere he went. Sunny day in spring? Sam's sweating. Sitting in the cafeteria, wasting the evening? Sam's sweating. Walking to the pisser? Sam's sweating.

Not only did Sam wear the sweater everywhere and sweat everywhere, he followed me everywhere. It was like I had summoned some sweaty, foul-smelling, portly familar from the very bowels of Hell to constantly be at my side and a step behind. Creepy, yes, but also flattering in a megalomaniacal sort of way.

And he would appear at some rather inopportune times. Once, I went down to the toilets to toss a whiz. I left my door open a crack. I came back to find Sam sitting on my couch, unannounced (though the yellowish tinge to the air should have clued me in that he was in the building). One time, I was having a rather naughty conversation with the aforementioned on-again-off-again hot girlfriend and we were galloping toward the phone sex route. My door was closed, but not locked. Just as I unzipped, there was a bang at the door, like someone had kicked it as they were shuffling toward it. A fraction of a second later, the door swung in and there was Sam, hulking in the doorway. I frantically pulled a jacket over my lap and told the Ex- I had to go and hung up the phone as Sam came in and sat on my couch. He just wanted to chat. About nothing.

Sam was good at putting the cockblock on me.

There was even a night when Sam caused me to break up with another girlfriend, whom I've dubbed Carrie Nation. You'll learn more about her tomorrow. Carrie Nation worked at Wal-Mart across the street and lived in the dorm next to mine. She loved football. On Monday nights, after I get done helping Dr. Awesome teach the freshman general chemistry lab, I would come home, unwind, and Carrie Nation would come over after work and we'd watch football together. What a fucking sexy couple we made.

Anyway, Sam came busting into my room about ten minutes before Carrie Nation arrived, plunked himself down in my chair, and proceeded to sweat copious amounts of funky Sam sweat everywhere. The mephitic cloud pulsed around him, getting slightly larger with each dollop of sweat that ran down his temples. So, I'm chatting Sam up, and it puts me in a weird mood. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen in the room, maybe I just woke up on the goofy side of the bed that day, or maybe I just remembered to take my meds that day, but I was in rare form when Carrie Nation showed up. I was, like, extra flirty. I was grabby. I was all sorts of weird.

This, coupled with the fact that I was flipping over to a NASCAR race on ESPN2, really pissed Carrie Nation off. Two days later, we were through. I blamed Sam, because he stayed with us until halftime of the game. Then he and part of his funk left; the rest of the funk stayed behind, lingering in the air like the greasy residue clinging to the grill in a short-order kitchen.

Retrospectively, I should have thanked Sam for rescuing me from the evil clutches of Carrie Nation.

This was not the only night that Sam put the cockblock on me. No, there was also Halloween of the same year, when I filled up on rum and went ashore a-lookin' fer some booty...and not the kind you find in a chest. Well, maybe ON a chest, IN a bra. You get the idea. There was this girl, Ann-Marie Vidal, whom I had a touch of a crush on. It was one of those kinds of crushes where, if we were better friends, maybe I would have followed up on, but it was borne mostly of youthful lusting. Which, for college, was good.

Anyway, as I was staggering about the darkened campus, I came upon Ann-Marie and a couple of other people. I started talking to her, noticing that she wore a tiny Christmas tree upon her head. Halloween does provide for some easy conversation starters. Things progressed nicely with Ann-Marie, and suddenly, I'm thinking, "Holy shit, this might actually come to fruition!" Yes, I am strangely verbose when I'm drunk and having conversations in my mind.

Suddenly, as if he rose up from the ground, Sam hove into view.

And Ann-Marie recoiled in horror. It's one thing to suddenly have a very large, very sweaty, very stinky person appear out of nowhere; it's apparently quite another thing to have a very large, very sweaty, very stinky person appear out of nowhere and do nothing but stare at your tits. As quickly as she could, Ann-Marie sped away. I tried to follow, asking her if I could escort her home. Sam was nipping at my heels like an eager puppy. I don't know if he had designs on my sloppy seconds or what, but he was not to be dissuaded.

Finally, I did the chivalrous thing: I let Ann-Marie escape. As I stood there, watching my lustful desires bounce away into the night, I wanted to gut Sam. But, I was too nice. I started toward my dorm, but Sam was to follow. Finally, at the last second, I diverted my course and turned toward the on-campus bar, where--being only 18--Sam could not go. I eluded him and spent the remainder of the night drowning my sorrows with my friends Susan and Julia and some dude wearing a Yoda mask.

You would think that my story would end here...but, alas, it doesn't. Every spring, my school hosts a go-kart race for students. Alumni tend to gather because it's a weak excuse to drink heavily. My wife and I had been dating for about a month and a half when the race rolled around in 2000, and I made plans to take her there and show her off to my friends. Along with us came my grad school buddy, Dr. Assy. It wasn't difficult to get him to come; I said, "There'll be a beer and brat tent." He perked right up and came along for the ride.

In the 23 months since I had gotten my sheepskin and joined the ranks of alumni, I had forgotten about Sam. Apparently, for the 23 months I was not there, Sam had been doing the 350-pound upright walking version of a puppy pining for its master. I arrived, girlfriend in tow, and within five minutes, there was Sam. Still wearing the white sweater (which was now a sort of dingy gray), still sweating, still looking to clean up my sloppy seconds. Holy fuck.

I tried every diversion in the book I could think of. Nothing worked to try and escape his predatious clinging and licentious staring at my girlfriend's chest and ass. I knew I should have gutted him long ago.

Suddenly, it dawned on me: Sam is young. He graduated from high school young. Sam can't go in the beer and brat tent.

I immediately bee-line for the beer and brat tent, my girlfriend in tow, Dr. Assy not far behind. Sam is halted at the door by the cop watching the tent and making sure the underaged crowd doesn't sneak in. My girlfriend gets in because she's with me and she's not drinking. We leave Sam to rot.

Finally, served our lukewarm beer and tepid brats, we sit down for lunch. Sam has abandoned all hope and has shuffled off somewhere else. We dine in a relative stench-free environment.

"Who was that?" the Comely and Buxom and As-Yet-Unwed Bouddica asked me, an involuntary shiver tingling her spine as she spoke.

"Jesus Christ," I said, after sitting down and smearing ketchup on my brat, "that fucker was like that when I was in undergrad, too. Guy followed me everywhere."

"Yeah," Dr. Assy added, "I can see that guy being like a disease."

No truer assessment of an individual's personality and demeanor has ever been uttered in the annals of human history, because Dr. Assy got it right in his very first shot. To avoid further conflict, we spent the rest of the day in beer and brat tent, only coming out to go to dinner with a bunch of my friends and then returning to campus to drink in the bar and enjoy a gloriously Sam-free environment.

Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays: Clean Burning, Even Heating Propane

September 22, 2009

One of my guilty pleasures is being totally fucking lazy and not posting nearly often enough to satisfy the hordes of ravenous readers I have show up here every day King of the Hill. I'm not sure if it's Hank's no-nonsense approach to the world or his love of propane (I worked on cyclopropane in grad school) or just the fact that I pretty much look like him (though I don't need butt implants), but I'm a big fan of Hank Hill.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I was sure that I'd get a little Bobby Hill, which was really quite a terrifying thought. I should also add to the story here that my wife is WAY better looking than Peggy Hill. Also, she doesn't get upset when I dream about grilling naked with the neighbors. urethra is not narrow, thank you very much.

Why am I bringing all this Hank Hill goodliness up now? It's all a lead in for this week's edition of Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays. And, well, I've already talked about how much I enjoy watching Brainiac, and I don't need to be reminded--again--of how they will sometimes augment their explosions for better television viewing.

In case you're not overly familiar with the Brainiac series, they featured a whole host of episodes in which they pitted everyday things against the awesome power of thermite. That's how I first heard of the ice explosion thing that I trotted out last week. They've done other things, but now matter how much stuff they vaporize/burn through/detonate, I'm still impressed with the fiery curtain of destruction that is the thermite reaction. Chemistry is fucking awesome.

Wait? What? Blowing my own horn? No. Never. Just reaffirming why I got into this business in the first place.

Back to the topic at hand. As I mentioned previously, last week I showed you what happens when you mix ice and thermite. I'll bet you were like, "Yeah, that's pretty impressive, there, indefatigable one, but what happens when you mix thermite and, say, a cylinder of propane?"

Well, wonder no more:

Explosions are full-frontal awesome.

Not much sciencey going on here. Actually, there is. The thermite, which, after it starts the reaction, is basically a cascade of molten iron, burning at a balmy 2500 degrees Celsius. This is hot enough to melt through the steel cylinder holding the propane. And, with propane having a flash point -104 degrees Celsius, thermite is also hot enough to ignite the liquified gas housed within.

Sorry that I made you do math, even if it was just "less than, greater than, or equal to".

The fun part here, of course, is that the gas ignites first, which acts as a wick for the liquid fuel lying within the cylinder. It explodes because the thermite only punches a thin hole in the tank, trapping most of the vapor and liquid inside. Once the fire hits the fuel, it's Kaboom time, and I'm not talking about a deliciously over-sugared breakfast cereal (though that would kick ass, too).

Mmmmmm...sugary bits of what used to be edible grains mixed with food coloring and marshmallows....

Hey, I wonder if that shit would blow up, too...

Well, This Stinks

September 20, 2009

I don't really believe in luck. I don't believe that every step of our lives is determined by destiny, either. I think we make our own luck, and that we have to pay for bad decisions and whatnot.

However...I'm beginning to rethink my ideas about what shirts I wear on the days Notre Dame plays. In 2006, I wore a t-shirt with a skunk on it the day Notre Dame played Michigan, because a nickname for the wolverine is the Skunk Bear. See? Much like our fat coach, I was trying to be too cute and clever. Anyway, we know what happened that day...and in case you've forgotten, Notre Dame got beat by Michigan. Badly. Kind of derailed all shots at a National Championship and a Heisman for Brady Quinn. I attributed the loss to the shirt I wore, jokingly.

A few weeks later, I wore a t-shirt with a bear on it for the day Notre Dame played UCLA (the Bruins), and, well UCLA was leading late. Disgusted, I went upstairs and changed into a different shirt. I come back downstairs, Notre Dame scores late and wins. Coincidence? Most likely, but now suddenly I'm having second thoughts.

Then, in 2007, I decided I'd wear green shirts instead of Notre Dame shirts, just to see what would happen on game days. Well, I wore green shirts for the first 9 weeks of the season, and it was a disaster. So, I scrapped the green shirts. I scrapped them last year, too, and we struggled to mediocrity.

I say all of this because last week, I wore a green shirt. Notre Dame lost. Today, I wore my favorite shirt--a gray shirt with dark green sleeves. And, well, Notre Dame struggled mightily to pull out a victory. The defense--or the lack thereof--stunk the joint up.

This whole thing is not only a cathartic working out of the pain and suffering of yet another nail-biter of a game that Irish fans had chalked up as a win, but it's also the lead in to a fabulously awesome word I stumbled across last week while putting together the Latin lesson: mephitis.

And Notre Dame's defense has been rather mephitic these past two weeks.

Mephitis (meh-fight-is): n. 1.) a foul smell or stench, 2.) a foul-odor or poisonous gas emitted from the Earth, such as in a swamp or bog.

Mephitis is also the name of several genera of Skunks, because of the whole stink thing. Adjectival forms are mephitic or mephitical.

Mephitis is Latin in origin. Mefitis was a Roman goddess that was the personification of the noxious odors emitting from the ground, specifically from swamps and volcanic systems. The closest thing she had to a temple was at a place called Mefite (May-fee-tay), which was a part of the Vesuvian volcanic system. While marching along the Appian Way (via appia)--the most famous Roman road, stretching from Rome (around the knee of the boot) to Brundisium (on the heel of the boot)--Roman soldiers would rest at Mefite. There, they sacrificed animals to Mefitis, apparently by holding them in the areas where the poisonous gases were most concentrated so that they succumbed to Mefitis' natural aromas.

I haven't really thought of how to use this particular word, yet. However, I'm guessing that I'll be more able to use the first definition rather than the second. Hell, I'm guessing I'll be able to work mephitis into a TMI Thursday story, given the joyous fun that my bowel system, minus the gall bladder, tends to provide.

Oh, and by the way...I'm wearing a red shirt next weekend.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Volume XL

September 18, 2009

Holy crap! Did you guys hear about this Kanye West fellow? Apparently, he had been hitting the liquor a little hard prior to strolling down the red carpet at the Mtv Video[1] Awards. Better yet, I guess he kept hitting the liquor during the show and got up in arms when this girl named Taylor Swift won an award for best female video or something. Apparently, this Kanye fellow went completely out of character (most likely fueled by the alcohol...we can't all just puke in a trash can and go quietly into the night), and he lost his shit. Jumping onto the stage, he shoved Swift out of the way and told everyone that Beyonce should have won the award.

This was big news, and then Patrick Swayze died and reminded us all how much we loved Red Dawn. Now, get up here and piss in the radiator!

Anyway, yeah, so Kanye was vilified the world over because he dared to speak his mind. That's what America's about. Okay, so maybe the forum in which he chose to speak wasn't the best means of getting his message out. Isn't that what Twitter is for? Bitching about something you don't like?

The funniest part of this whole thing, I thought, was when someone caught President Obama saying "He's a jackass" over the whole Kanye affair. Congratulations, Mr. President! You've finally found something all Americans can agree on! Ironically (based on the previous paragraph), this was reported through Twitter! Ah, there's the main reason for Twitter: reporting on verbal Presidential gaffes.

Anyway, what President Obama should have done was to go a more classic route. Had he uttered the following instead of going the "jackass" route (no matter how true it is), he could have had people applauding his verbal aplomb all the while they're scratching their heads saying "What the hell did he just say?"

"Quando podeces te regi eorum fecerunt?"

Pronounced: "Kwon-doh poh-day-case tay ray-ghee ay-ore-oom fay-kay-roont?"

Translation in the hovertext.

The other funny line that came out of this was someone (I think Katy Perry) "tweeted" that it was like Kanye had stepped on a kitten. That made me laugh, because of the mental image. But really, which is worse? Kanye stepping of a figurative kitten, or all the kittens that God kills when all the middle-age loser country music fans are masturbating to Taylor Swift's video? Exactly.

[1] "I see"

TMI Thursday: Me and Mr. Wodka Don't Hang around Where We're Not Wanted

September 17, 2009

Let's head back in time to that magical era I called my sophomore year of college. It was early spring of 1996, and for some reason, I had not been involved in the theatre production that had just wrapped up. I think it had something to do with my work schedule.

Despite having missed the show, I was invited to one of the cast parties because I was a regular. Being that I felt like throwing caution to the wind and actually having a little fun, I decided to head on down to the party. Accompanying me was the other two legs of my Unholy Triangle, Scooter and Young Bob. You might remember them from the infamous "White Chair Incident". And Young Bob was the camera operator for Sparkle Belly. Rub my nipples.

We finally roll into the shindig there on second Justin West, and immediately I grab a beer and start drinking. What fun is college with alcohol-fueled shenanigans? Alright, alright, it can be fun without the booze, I know. But, seriously, I'm not one to pass up free booze. This could be downfall, as we'll soon see.

Foreshadowing aside, I down the first beer rather quickly. Not feeling anything, I get a second. Again, it's gone painfully fast. Time for a third. What the hell is this I'm drinking? Water? Oh, Miller Lite. Same fucking thing. But, it's college. I give myself a pass. Plus, hello, free beer = good beer. Not always true, but in college, it's a 90% win rate.

When it comes time for my kids to go to college, I'm going to teach them a few rules. The first one will be "Liquor before beer, in the clear; beer before liquor, sicker quicker." This is a talk I wish my father had had with me, but since my mother threatened me with bodily harm if I even so much as touched alcohol in college, I left for Rensselaer, IN with a wide, innocent-eyed view of my future. You have to remember that in high school, I was a much different person than I am now. Alcohol? Me? Never!

Back to the party. Not only did I head off to this party with my good friends Scooter and Young Bob, I also arrived with a healthy lust for a Croatian honey that we'll call Amy. We'll call her Amy because she's in the army now and I'm pretty sure she could kill me with a look if I used her real name. So, Amy it is!

Anyway, Amy was this beautiful first-generation Croatian girl that I had been sprouting wood for since we both arrived at St. Joe in fall of 1994. As I was in one of the "off again" periods with the Ex-, I felt that anything and everything was fair game. Did I ever mention that I have a thing for Slavic people? They are a beautiful race of individuals, in my opinion. Amy had dark hair, gorgeous, big, round brown eyes, and a singing voice that would make the gods themselves weep. Plus, she had big tits.

Amy showed up at the party, but didn't stay long. She came in, got a drink, and mingled for a moment or two and then left. I had waded about four or five beers deep into the Sea of Debauchery when I saw Amy show up. I sauntered over to the bar, struck up a feeble attempt at conversation, and then asked what she was drinking. It was a college party, so it wasn't like I was going to go all captain smooth here and try to buy her a drink. She was having a screwdriver, medium vodka.

'Fuck,' I thought--though hazy my mind may have been--'if she can handle a medium vodka screwdriver, I can handle a heavy vodka screwdriver.'

"Can I get one, too?" I asked the lovely Mandy, who was manning the bar and hosting the party. "Heavy on the vodka."

I'm pretty sure that the lovely Mandy upended the bottle of vodka into my cup and whispered the words "orange juice" over the top of it. When this young woman made a drink heavy on the vodka, the stock price of Smirnoff shot through the roof. Like an idiot, I drank it.

Up to this point, I was largely a vodka virgin. I knew what it was, that it made an excellent drink, and that it largely had no flavor. I also knew that it was a bit tricksy when it came to you feeling drunk. You drink it, and then you don't feel all that drunk. However, suddenly--WHAM-O!--you're fucking blotto and quoting lines from Crime and Punishment. What? I love me some Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov.

So, here I am, stumbling mingling about the party with my half-consumed bucket of vodka and I'm not feeling drunk. In hindsight, I'm acting drunk, but not feeling it. Case in point. Remember, I came to the party with Scooter and Young Bob. Now, Young Bob was not one to drink. He didn't like the flavor of alcohol and he was one of those who enjoyed staying sober and laughing at the stupid antics of us drunk motherfuckers. Scooter was a bit more of a casual drinker. He got a drink, nursed it through most of the night, and usually left a party feeling buzzed but not drunk.

Me? I'm Barney Gumble.

Early on, we had met this cat named Robert. He was a friend of the lovely Mandy's (host of the party), and Scooter was chatting him up all night long. Robert was pretty cool. I came over and asked them, "Hey, how you guys doing?" and Scooter responds with "We're good. We're talking about comics." I think he was trying to lure me into the conversation, maybe to play wingman. I dunno. Things have gotten a little hazy at this point.

I stare at Scooter and Robert with a very serious look on my face. "Awesome," I say, "Comics RULE!" *insert requisite fist pump to accentuate the word 'RULE'*

Having finished the screwdriver, I decided I wasn't nearly drunk enough. So, I head back up to the bar. Now my friend Kurt is manning the bar.

"What can I do you for, my good man?" Kurt asked.

"I think I need something to drink. I'm not nearly drunk enough," I respond.

"Shot of vodka it is."

Kurt pours me a shot of vodka.

I down the shot of vodka.

"Nope, not drunk enough."

"Shot of vodka it is."

Kurt pours me a shot of vodka.

I down the shot of vodka.

"Nope, not drunk enough."

"Shot of vodka it is."

Kurt pours me a shot of vodka.

I down the shot of vodka.

"I think we're getting there." I say. I put my arm around a talking zebra that I befriended somewhere between the second and third shot and we stagger away from the bar.

(In case you couldn't tell, there was no zebra.)

I find Young Bob.

"You're drunk," Young Bob says. He has a mastery of the obvious.

"Yesh," I slur. At this moment, It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M. is queued into the stereo.

"Oh my God," I say, wide-eyed. "Thish ish the besht shong! I know all the wordsh." I try to sing along, muttering and mumbling everything except for Leonard Bernstein (naturally).

Young Bob shakes his head. "Bitch, you couldn't do that sober. You're just embarrassing yourself, drunky."

"I got 'em all," I insist. "I jusht shang too fasht for you to hear."

What happened after this, I'm unsure. However, I know that Amy the Croatian Honey had left the party. At this point, I'm drunk AND horny. I start hitting on something close by. Now, when I say I'm drunk, I mean really fucking drunk. People, I started hitting on one of the Stankus girls. Swear to anything and everything I know that's holy, Stankus was their last name. I'm pretty sure Stankus is Latin for "disease-ridden sulfurous pit". Yes, I'm referring to that particular pit.

Finally, I end up out in the hallway. It's well past midnight, but it's before quiet hours (which started at 2 am), and I'm beginning to feel the copious amounts of vodka that are now coursing through my veins. As the Bolshevik Revolution was playing out in my liver, I felt the need to escape the pounding music and the close quarters. The hallway was a great place to do this.

Young Bob accompanied me. We were standing there, talking. Well, he was talking, I was slurring shit together into incohesive incoherency. There was a lull in the conversation, and as the Russian army continued pounding through my vasculature, my stomach suddenly turned into the Romanovs. They needed to get out of the country, and they needed to get out NOW!

Being that I'm a polite drunk, I simply walk away from Young Bob. He turns to tell me something, and I'm gone. I'm down the hall. A trashcan is in my sites. I walk over to it, stare at it, and then I fountain into it. And by fountain, I mean a raging torrent of alcohol-tinged vomit comes rushing out of my piehole, splattering noisily against the back of the trashcan, and landing in the bottom. I can identify dinner. I think I can identify lunch. It was brown. It was chunky. I remember it tasted like pasta sauce and vodka. The flavor clings to my palate to this day.

Not all of it went into the trash can. When I puke this violently, it comes out my nose, too, and so there was some left-overs on my upper lip. I needed help. I looked up. The only person around me was my nemesis: Vanzetti. Yes, he was related to that Vanzetti. For some reason, we strongly disliked each other.

But, I was desperate.

"Oh my God, Vanzetti, could you get me some paper towels?" I asked in my most pathetic voice. Vanzetti's girlfriend at the time lived on the same floor as the party, and he had walked down the hall to use the bathroom. I saw him as he was headed into the toilets. A few seconds later, he re-emerged, carrying some paper towels. I thanked him, wiped up, and proceeded to puke some more.

I heard Young Bob at the end of the hallway ask Vanzetti, "Is he throwing up." Later, Young Bob related to me that Vanzetti paused and then said with a look of horror on his face: "Oh. God. Yes."

Having emptied my stomach of everything, I was feeling better, but still drunk. I return to standing in the hall with Young Bob. The world is spinning. It's almost 2 am.

"We should get going," Young Bob says. I think he's more worried about the fact that I just puked up my internal organs than it being late.

"Just a sec," I said. I stopped the Stankus girl in the hallway. "315 Gallagher. It's almost 2 am. Come by before they lock the doors."

Young Bob and I wander back across the quad. Together, we mount the stairs to the third floor. All is silent. I pour myself into my room and strip because, hey, there's a Stankus on her way, right? I'm still powerfully drunk. I lay down in just a pair of red Indiana shorts. Sleep claims me immediately.

If there was a knock at the door, I'll never know. However, I do know that the fucking fire alarm went off at 3:15 am. And there I was, wearing only a pair of Indiana shorts that are indecently too short. I pull myself from the alcohol-fueled reveries and fall down the three flights of stairs to the safety of the outside. It is fucking freezing outside. I am wearing just a short pair of shorts. I am still drunk.

Finally, after fifteen minutes, we are allowed back in. I am cold. I am drunk. I am so cold and drunk, I cannot sleep. Finally, after an hour, I fall asleep. The next morning, I woke up sick. And hungover. And with a healthy distaste for vodka.

If this does not sate your thirst for awesome TMI stories, then check out all the other glorious tales of things we probably shouldn't tell at LiLu's home for the staunchy raunchy, TMI Thursdays!

Constant Vigilance!

September 16, 2009

Remember back when I told you about going to see Miss Saigon in Raleigh? One of the things--aside from all the mostly-nekkid chicks grinding in front of me--that made me love the show was that it reminded me just how much I missed being on the stage. From my senior year in high school on through the end of my college career, I had been fairly active in pulling off live productions on the stage. Whether it was plays, musicals, one-acts or doing improv work--or even the time spent doing student-run television shows--I've had an active career in the dramatic arts.

And, now that I'm out of it, I miss it.

So, I've found a way to get past this: reading to my children.

Shortly after the Miss Saigon viewing, I started reading The Tale of Despereaux to my kids. The good thing about Despereaux (the book, not the movie--the movie is an abortion of the story) is that most of the characters (since it's written for kids) are achetypes. So, it was pretty easy to get into character by varying my voices. And once I started getting into character, well, then I felt like that piece of me that void in my life that had formed since I left the stage had been partially filled.

And, honestly, it was fun. The voices were easy to create: Miggory Sow had a heavy, gravelly, cockney accent; Roscuro had a slimy, evil, plotting voice dripping with vile and revenge; Despereaux had a soft English accent; Despereaux's brother had a bit heavier English accent; Despereaux's father had an even heavier English accent; Despereaux's mother had an over-the-top dramatic French accent. And so on.

Well, we finished Despereaux months ago, and, well, I've had to find other ways to work this stage-presence-cum-narrator persona. For some reason, the same Thomas the Tank Engine books over and over again don't work quite as well, though my son has decided to begin with the Magic Treehouse Books. Again, the characters are largely the same, and therefore don't really offer much of a creative outlet.

Fortunately, my daughter is having me read her the Harry Potter books.

Since most of you are familiar, I won't have to rehash the wide variety and depth of characters here. A lot of the characters are easier to do than others: Hagrid's part is written for him; McGonagall's voice is slightly lilting with her words clipped; and Snape I try to do my best Alan Rickman because, seriously, it's Alan Fucking Rickman.

So, we're currently working our way through Goblet of Fire, and last night we got through the first Defense Against the Dark Arts class. In case you've forgotten, this is where Mad-Eye Moody shows the class the Unforgivable Curses and how to prepare for them. The best preparation for the Unforgivable Curses? CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Now, when I do Moody's voice, I give him a gravelly sort of voice, lower and rougher than my normal reading voice. It's not quite Christian Bale doing Batman, but it does convey a bit of the crotchety old man that is Mad-Eye Moody.

So, last night, I'm going along, reading away and my daughter is flipping through an American Girl magazine looking at the pictures. She's listening, but she doesn't know what to expect. When we get to the proper place, I fire off a loud, booming "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" I thought she would jump out of her skin! It was so entertaining to have her jump, catch her breath, and then stare at me with those big, blue eyes that convey the question "What the fuck was that?" oh so well.

We continue reading, and she lets her guard down and goes back to flipping through her magazine (she's a multi-tasker, that one). We come to it again. "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" I roar. Again, the same satisfying jump, the same satisfying "What the fuck was that?" stare.

Finally, we come to a break, and I close up the book and she's like, "Is there going to be much more of that, with Moody shouting and all?" she asks as I'm tucking her in.

"There might be," I said, bending down to kiss her pure, sweet, angelic forehead. "You know what the best way to prepare for the yelling is, though, right?" I ask her.

"What?" she says, her face the very picture of angelic charm.

"CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" I roar once more.

I thought sure she was going to wet herself the third time.

Parenting skillz: I has 'em.

Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays: Ice, Ice Baby

September 15, 2009

What's going on, everybody? Yeah, it's been a couple of weeks since our last installment of this lovely little series, but, you know, sometimes you need to take a moment from the explosive excitement and gather your thoughts. Hell, even Shakespeare took a little time after writing A Midsummer Night's Dream (I assume). That's right, I just likened myself to the Bard. Except, I have more hair. What? The Bard loved him a good explosion, as well, which is why his Globe theater burnt to the ground in 1613 after a cannon misfired during a performance of Henry VIII.

Did you see what I just did there? I combined several of my favorite things: Shakespeare, useless history lessons, explosions and Latin. Self-induced priapism is three, two, one...

Alright, let's get back on track. Originally, I saw this little piece of awesome on Brainiac, but since they've done the old bait and switch on explosions before, the "experiment" was repeated on Mythbusters. Satisfyingly, that smug grin was wiped off Adam and Jamie's faces (along with their so-called explosives expert) when they successfully caused a detonation by repeating the conditions previously reported.

The recipe for this explosion is easy: thermite + ice = explosion. Being that I'm not an expert, I'll let someone else tell you how to make thermite. Ice, I think, you can pretty much figure out where to get: water + cold = ice. Anyway, when you let the thermite reaction pour down onto a carefully constructed pile of ice blocks, it blows up. Don't believe me? Watch.

Now, why does this seemingly innocuous mixture of fire and ice result in explosive goodliness? Fuck if I know. Ask someone else in the field, and they'll give you some hand-waving explanation. My initial thoughts were that the ice sublimates under the extreme heat of the thermite reaction (up to 4500 degrees Fahrenheit), and such a rapid expansion of gas against a relatively solid wall of ice causes it to explode.

Another explanation is that the thermite induces the water which forms the ice to break down into its elemental units of oxygen and hydrogen. We've already seen the explosive nature of hydrogen a couple of times on here, and the mixture of the right amounts of hydrogen and oxygen form a really good explosion. My only problem with this is that hydrogen is very flammable. A curtain of molten metals burning down through a cloud of hydrogen should cause it to ignite fairly quickly. It doesn't seem like there would be an accumulation of sufficient amounts of hydrogen gas to cause an explosion like that.

Finally, a third explanation is that with the rapid sublimation of the ice into water vapor, it helps to aerosolize the thermite as it rains fire down through the ice blocks. Again, we've seen what happens when you mix fine powders and source of ignition. No one has definitively proved how this happens. In fact, I'm pretty sure that everyone who sets out to prove the mechanism of explosion ends up laughing and saying "What happens if we add more ice?"

The whole point of this is that, while the Brainiacs have been known to enhance their explosions, this is not one of those times. It's been repeated on Mythbusters with most satisfying results, AND it's been repeated several times by amateur scientists with video cameras and too much time on their hands. Not to mention a healthy love of explosions.

Now, if only other songs of ice and fire could finish so satisfyingly, I'd be happy. Or, better yet, maybe they could just, you know, finish.

Confession (It's a Pun)

September 14, 2009

When your blogs aren't enough to fill up my wasting time calendar, I rely heavily on the quizzes at I was clued in to Sporcle a few months ago when Lou mentioned there was a periodic table quiz there: they give you a blank periodic table, you fill in the elements. Being that this was a synergystic exercise that combined both my need to justify the vast amounts of useless knowledge locked in my brain AND the eight pounds of crazy stuffed into a five-pound sack that was my decision to become a chemist, it was perfect.

Today I flipped over there and found a quiz for the Seven Sacraments. This combined both the useless information AND all those years of Catholic schoolin' for two minutes of sheer, trivia-fueled bliss. Only problem was, I tore through them. Well...actually, I tore through the first six that came to mind, but the eluded me. I sat here, wracking my brains, coming up with nothing except a big empty void (the one that's usually there). Finally, I muttered to myself: "If I don't get this one, I'll have to go to Confession."


~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Jill Pilgrim showed us how she sits up between the hours of 1 am and 3 am and does her hair and redoes her hair and redoes her hair some more before taking lots of pictures of herself and then she lets the computer decide what celebrity she looks like.

I once did this, but instead of a computer program, I let my student at Notre Dame tell me whom I looked like. And, really, I didn't let them tell me so much as one of them suddenly had it dawn on him whom it was that my sweet visage reminded him of.

See, while Jill Pilgrim is pretty and gets compared to people like Natalie Imbruglia and Laetitia Casta, I am decidedly unpretty. Therefore, my celebrity look-alike, as deemed by my students was Tom Green.

That would have been fine because, at the time, Tom Green had a fairly successful variety show and was banging Drew Barrymore. However, someone else added, "Yeah, you do look like Tom Green...except, fatter. Yeah, you're like a fat Tom Green."

And then everyone in the class agreed. And, not only did they agree, but they told my students in my next group that I looked like a fat Tom Green, and they all rushed in and they, too, agreed that I looked like a fat Tom Green. They didn't even sugar-coat it. I was just "a fat Tom Green...with glasses."

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

During this weekend's Notre Dame and Michigan game, the swear filter was in full effect...for most of the game. As the inevitable conclusion continued to play out, the filter became a little less rigid, we'll say. Finally, at one point, things broke down so badly that I let off a string of "shit"s that would have done a hamster or a Canada goose proud.

This was picked up by my five-year-old son, Tank, who echoed the staccato salvo of shits. "Shit, shit," he said, aloud. And then, in truly inspired brilliance, he fired off "Triple shit!"

My wife was less than amused. She explained to him that shit was a bad word and that he couldn't say it, but when he got older he could if he wanted to. Then she leveled a look at me that was supposed to be upbraiding.

I, however, was amused. Because, really, "triple shit" is fucking awesome. Not only does it show a creative streak, but how many kids in his kindergarten class know what "triple" means? Plus, I have now vowed to work "triple shit" into my Notre Dame watching routine.

Friday Afternoon Latin Lesson, Volume XXXIX

September 11, 2009

Much like college football, the NFL started on a Thursday night. So, by the time you read this, the football season will officially be underway (I have the game on in the background now while I write--I forgot how much I hate Cris Collinsworth).

But, before I get into that, I owe you some Latin names for your favorite college teams. I spent the week working on this, because, you know, I had nothing better to do (aside from nursing sick kids back to health). Just to remind you, Eamus, O... translates as "Let's go...", so use that when rooting on your favorite team. I'll put the literal translation in parantheses, because those were kind of fun.

OtherWorldlyOne: mentulae (Cocks)
Erin: pari (Panthers)
Words...words...words: I'm not sure which to pick from. Based on the fact that you like to knock Notre Dame, I'm guessing you're not a Harvard Crimson, a Cornell Big Red or a Dartmouth Big Green (I'm guessing you went to a D-1A school). I don't think you're a North Texas Mean Green, either, which leaves Stanford or Syracuse. Since you're smart, you could easily have gone to Stanford, and since you're from the east coast, I can see you being a Syracuse alum. I can't pick, so I thought I'd go with both: Cardinale (Cardinal) or Aurantiacus (Orange). Also, your NFL team is Aquilae.
Jill Pilgrim: Infanovores (eaters of babies). Unum facite pro meretricibus americanis! (Make one for the American whores!).
Cooper Green: aves tornituum (Birds of Thunder)
Soda & Candy: We'll just do this: tigres bengalensum (Tigers of Bengal)
Nej: I'm assuming (since you're in Big XII territory) that it's Kansas (only Big XII team I could think of with blue and white for colors). Falcones aphelocomae (Jay Hawk).
Lisa: agricolae (Farmers)
Happy Hour Somewhere: tigres (Tigers)
Eric: boves cum cornibus longis (bulls with long horns)
JenJen: ursae mephistae (Skunk bears)
Adam and Someguy: Indi qui nominant ipsos Illinos pugnaces (the Indians who name themselves the Fighting Illini)
Chemgeek: Agricolae qui cutem frumentorum resecant (Farmers who peel the skin of corn)

And, yes...I had way too much fun doing that.

Anyway, last year I didn't watch any of the NFL. I was vaguely aware of it, but basically I was pissed because I felt like Green Bay pushed Lord Voldemort out in favor of Aaron Rogers. Well, Voldemort is off with the Purple Death Eaters now, and I can't really hold Green Bay responsible for all the bullshit he's pulled the past ten months or so. I'm officially re-embracing the NFL this season, and I'm still going to root for my formerly beloved Packers.

Just out of curiosity...does anyone want a replica Voldemort jersey, XL? I'll throw in an XL Packers sweatshirt with Voldemort and the number 4 embroidered upon it. Sorry, it's not in purple.

Anyway, with all that in mind, I give you this week's Latin phrase, which of course will pay homage to my favorite NFL team. Clearly, this must be true, otherwise I can think of no other reason for reasonably sane young women to be dressed like this Wisconsin in the winter:

Ecce potestas casei!

Pronounced: Eck-aye poh-taste-oss cahs-aye-ee!

Translation in the hovertext.

I guess I'll extend the offer to translate your favorite NFL team name into Latin, if you'd like. Also, thanks to Al Michaels, I just learned that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is married to Fox News anchor Jane Skinner. I used to think Jane was kind of hot; now I don't know what to think.

And, I'm sure, Rog will hit me with a $5,000 fine for that comment.

TMI Thursday: Sparkle Belly

September 9, 2009

NOTE: I thought I set this up to post at 9:15 am this morning, but apparently I didn't change the time, so it was set to post at 9:15 PM. Since I typed the whole thing out AND since I still wanted to wish Will a happy birthday, I went ahead and let it post, but it's too late to tie into Lilu's TMI Thursday. As such, I'll be pushing the Latin lesson back a few hours. Enjoy.

I will give you a little bit of a warning here: this isn't my usual brand of TMI Thursday fare. You see, yesterday, while I was beseeching you all for your pity (and entertaining myself with pictures of nurses)...I mean...beseeching you all for your pity for my sick children *shifty-eyed*, I failed to remind everyone that it was Big Willy's 32nd birthday. You might remember Big Willy from such birthday shout outs as this one.

So, I'm going to tell you a story that took place featuring Will. While it has a definite lack of bodily fluids, I does feature me naked and on film.

That caught your attention, didn't it?

While a senior roaming the hallowed halls of Saint Joseph's College, I lived in a single room on the first floor of Gallagher Hall. It was the "healthy living floor", which is hilarious considering I lived there. Some of the other perks of living on Gallagher first were Kody Hooker puking on your window nightly, a lovely view of the coal-fueled power plant, and all the watermelons you could smash. The other perk was that next door lived my good friend, Will.

As my days of being a Puma were winding down, my friend, Young Bob, faced a dilemma. You met Young Bob briefly here. Anyway, Young Bob was a Communications major, and in one of his classes, he was given a song and told to comprise a video to go along with it. Unfortunately, Young Bob is a bit like me: morbid and sarcastic with an eye toward the symbolic. The song was in-your-face-chip-chip-chipper-sugar-rush-sweet-and-happy. This was not going to be an easy task for him. The most footage he had was of a puppy chasing itself around a yard and a Wal-Mart greeter waving to him from the front of the store.

This is where I came in.

Young Bob knocked on my door with camera in hand. "I need help with this. I need you It just has to"

"Like, bottle of chloroform and a black van fun?" I asked.

"Uh, no. More like something I can use for my video fun."

"Oh, right. Video evidence of the other would be dangerous." I thought for a second. "It is getting kind of late, though."

"I'll buy you Steak 'n' Shake."

"Deal. But, I can't do this alone."

So, I pounded on Will's door. Half-drunk on Russian history, I ripped him from his room, threw him into my car, tucked away thousands of dollars worth of expensive camera equipment, and we were off. Where? We didn't have a fucking clue, but we were off.

Forty-five minutes later, we were in Lafayette, IN. Our first stop was a sprawling Meijer store wherein resided a purple dinosaur kiddy ride that, I knew from a previous late-night trip, would support my frame. Digging through my pockets, I found a handful of pennies that I fed into the machine (it was one $0.01 per ride! Can you believe it?) and began lurching up and down, back and forth upon the back of this prehistoric mechanical bull.

And then I started to sing.

(to the tune of "Help me, Rhonda" by the Beach Boys):

Hump the dino!
Hump, hump the dino!

Yeah! *clap*
Hump the dino!
Hump, hump the dino!

It was at this point that a surly old woman, freshly escaped from some retirement home, shambled up to us and growled "What are you doing?"

"Humpin' the dino. What does it look like?" I responded, the ride still bucking feebly under me, the camera still rolling. "Mind you, I paid good money for this ride, and I intend to enjoy it."

"Not you," she uttered, a fog of smoke and halitosis belching from her maw. She pointed a gnarled finger toward Young Bob and his camera. Her nails had the sheen, texture and color of unpolished granite. "Him. What are you doing?"

"This is for a school project," Young Bob returned.

"You can't film in here," she shot back. A moth flew from her disheveled and misshapen coif.

"Seems like a good waste of perfectly free advertising," I stated. "Not to mention, all the money you're making off this sweet ride."

"Get out," she hacked, spittle flying over her lips. A froth formed at the edges of her mouth, and suddenly I wondered if she had had all her shots prior to escape.

Because Jesus hates a conflict, the dinosaur ground to a feeble halt, and I swear I heard it sigh audibly as I clambered down from the saddle. I patted it on the snout. "That'll do, Pig," I projected just loud enough. "You, too, dinosaur." A look of unbridled fury was shot to me by her sickly yellow eyes; I doubt she picked up on the literary reference.

Undaunted, we pushed forth toward the summit of Caradhras. Because civic planners drip with genius, a Wal-Mart hove into view as we left the doors of Meijer. A few quick moments later, and we were there. A quick tour of the facility showed there were no dinosaurs to hump ride, but there were unattended lawn tractors. Digging around in my trunk, I found a wide-brimmed straw hat that I stole from the costume shop after filming a western-themed TV show earlier in the semester. Plopping it on my head--and Will with his John Deere hat (or maybe it was Caterpillar...I don't recall)--Will and I sat on two lawn tractors and pantomimed driving and riding. We did this for a good fifteen minutes while Young Bob went about getting different angles and such for the shot.

As it was late, not much was open. We soon found ourselves in downtown Lafayette (such as it is), where the Tippecanoe County courthouse stands. Also, there is a cannon on the lawn of the Tippecanoe County courthouse. For some reason, Will and I thought it would be fun to spend ten minutes chasing each other around the cannon, giggling like school boys...all while being filmed. Finally, since Young Bob was not saying "Okay, that's enough!", I ran around to the fuse end of the cannon and straddled it. Sure enough, seconds later, Young Bob told us he had enough footage, and we could continue on.

Back in the car, we drove around for a while, unable to locate anywhere else to wreak havoc. I decided that, since we were in Lafayette anyway, I should do a psycho drive-by of an old girlfriend. Will, in a moment of inspiration, stripped off his shirt, and folded it around his head into an Instant Ninja Mask. I say inspired because my old girlfriend happened to live on the same street as a bunch of the Purdue frats...who were, of course, busy doing frat stuff. So, Will, bedecked in his Instant Ninja Mask, hung out of the car window and screamed "Behold, Infidels, the Gleaming Sword of Islam!" We were greeted with the typical drunken "Woo! Islam!" from the frats. Awesome.

After having soiled some memorial cannon and successfully stalking girlfriends of day gone by, we returned to St. Joe, but Young Bob still had half a tape of film that needed to be recorded. Trying to come up with some inspiration, Will and I both sat on my two-seater couch, arms folded, seeking something that would spark a creative bit of genius in us. What happened then was a good fifteen minutes of me cocking my head one way, and Will doing in the same, so that the two of us looked like our heads were connected by the same string.

Finally, unamused by that span of my life I'll never retrieve, I said, "We could do something with the grill."

This is where things went...weird.

Young Bob said, "Whatever you want." So, for some reason, I took off my clothes. And then I put on the same straw hat that I wore earlier for the lawnmower scenes. Decency got the better of me, and I wrapped a towel around my waist. Not to be undone, Will also stripped and wrapped a towel around his waist. Instead of a dopey straw hat, he put Instant Ninja Mask back on. Having nothing else at our disposal, Will grabbed a Wisconsin hat and we plopped that on the grill.

Some of the alumni of Gallagher Hall had put together some donations and made a really nice patio area for all of us right outside the west entrance to the hall. There was a deck and a nice brick patio which had a gas grill set up on it. This was the scene of our little display as Will and I stood there, acting for all the world like we were grilling the aforementioned hat, both still wearing only towels.

That's when this guy named Eric Schneider showed up. Schneider was a good guy, lived above me somewhere, but was originally from Chicago. And on this particular night, he showed up drunk. After a quick explanation of what was going on, Schneider started giving us directions like he was the director. Only thing was, he acted like he was directing porn.

"Will! Will, I need to see both nipples," he started. "Okay, good. Good good good. Now, I need a look of despair! LOOK OF DESPAIR! That's the money. Now, give me Sparkle Belly! Yes, yes, that's right. Sparkle Belly." And then Schneider started to sing.

"Sparkle Belly. Sparkle Belly.
Sparkle Belly, rub my nipples.
Sparkle Belly, rub my nipples.
Sparkle Belly. Sparkle Belly."

Of course, being the professionals and veterans of the stage that we were, we followed our directions perfectly. This went on for a few minutes. And then, the coup de grace: Schneider yelled, "And now, run off into the night!"

So, Will and I turned (still wearing only towels) and took off running into the night. We went about fifty yards, and then we heard "Now dive, DIVE!" So we did. In only towels. That didn't stay on so well.

Picking ourselves up, laughing until our sides hurt, and reaffixing the towels, we returned and Schneider and Young Bob gave us slow claps. "Excellent job! Well done." Schneider praised us. And then Young Bob: "The perfect thing was that, as you guys took off running and then dove, the tape ran out."

"Then, I guess this means we're done, right?" I asked.

"Yes," Young Bob confirmed.

"Alright. I'm going to go put some underwear on," I said.

"Jesus, dude, I didn't know you were naked under there," Schneider said. "I wouldn't have had you dive like that."

"It's alright. It was my choice," I offered.

"Whatever. I would have had you rip the towels off first and then go tearing off into the night."

So, there you go. There's the tale of my time spent on the camera naked. Like I said, it's not the usual sort of bodily-function-saturated Thursday post that you've come to love, but it did feature nipple rubbing. Young Bob offered to digitize the video and send it to me (he still has a copy, naturally dubbed "Sparkle Belly", which he watches from time to time for nostalgia and comedy's sake), but since I didn't ask Will, and I didn't feel comfortable slapping his nipples on the internet without his permission, you got the verbal story.