Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Seeds

When I went out to my car on Sunday morning, I discovered that the rear window and trunk were covered in sunflower seeds.


When one discovers that a portion of their motor vehicle is pasted with seeds of Kansas' state flower, one question immediately springs to mind*: Why does my car look like it took a wrong turn through a Major League Baseball dugout?

*No, it's not, "What flavor are they?"

Why were these full seeds adorning my car? Did I unknowingly order a dumping of seeds at Have I made enemies with the folks at DAVID? Did I suffer the brunt of a scattered seedstorm? The answer eluded me.

Now that I've had a few days to think things over, I think I've figured out the answer.

Strange things just seem to happen to me.

What type of strange things? I'm glad you asked*.

*If your inner monologue did not ask this question, I apologize, as it's going to be answered anyway. If you would rather have something else occupy your mind, perhaps could sing the theme to The Facts of Life. I'll even get you started... "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have..."

- Once, a girl I had never met before came to my apartment, opened my front door, walked inside and asked me if Lisa was around. Upon being informed that I had no clue who Lisa was and that I was the sole resident of that apartment and had been for three months, this stranger looked at me like I was crazy.

- After moving from that apartment, I had some trouble locating some mail that I figured may have been delivered to the wrong location as I was transitioning to a new apartment. I went back to my old place to see if the new resident had received any of my mail. The timid-looking female that answered the door said she hadn't seen anything... Oddly, this girl - despite the fact that she wore a colorful bandanna in her hair, a blouse, and a long skirt and spoke in a rather melodious tone - sounded like a man. As I apologized for taking up her time, I got a better look at this girl's face... This girl was a man. Yikes.

- A friend was once trying to encourage me to go introduce myself to an unknown female at a bar. I glanced in the direction of this female only to have an obscene gesture (commonly nicknamed for a winged, feathered animal) waiting for me. It was definitely intended for me, and I had definitely never met this girl before. Apparently my aura offends people. 

- After getting ready for work one morning, I went to the coffee pot to fill my mug. Oddly, my coffee had a rather transparent look to it. After much deliberation, I realized that I had not brewed crystal-clear coffee, but instead forgotten the grounds completely.

- As mentioned in this space not long ago, I recently received over 40 calls from a family member's cell phone during the wee hours of the morning. This was a result of his phone soaking up water like a ShamWow. Because I was sleep deprived, enjoy torturing myself, and have no common sense, I periodically answered the calls, thinking something might be wrong. Because I enjoy torturing myself, was sleep deprived, have no common sense, and I'm a nice guy, I did not simply call back out of fear that I might wake my niece.

If the above examples are not proof enough that book of my life has some odd chapters, rest assured that there are more. Unfortunately, I have to quit writing, as I'm feeling a bit hungry.

... I wonder where I could find some sort of sunflower-based snack...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ask how...

I saw an ad today for the Buxton Palm-Sized Wallet. This amazing product is made of genuine leather and "fits in the palm of your hand!" This is amazing, since my wallet just fits in the palm of my hand*.

*You'll notice that my wallet doesn't merit an exclamation mark for being palm-sized. What a piece of junk.

The ad for Buxton's Palm-Sized Wallet (BPSW for those who enjoy acronyms) caught my eye not because it features an accordion-fold interior with plenty of room for eleven credit cards (although, of all folds named after musical instruments, the accordion is my favorite); not because of the exterior ID window pocket (although it would be convenient to be able to remind myself of my identity without having to actually open my wallet up); and not even because it has the Buxton assurance of quality*. No, the BPSW ad caught my interest because of a line toward the end stating, "Ask how to get the Buxton Palm-Sized Wallet in brown or red..."

*When was the last time a company as renowned as Buxton let you down? Think about it.

Up until this point, I had little interest in the BPSW. Aside from the tear in the top and the fact that it could potentially fall to pieces at any point, my wallet suits me just fine. I paid little interest to this commercial, since I knew it was a product I did not need. This all changed when I discovered I could ask how to get the product in different colors. Who doesn't love variety? With a TV Drama-like twist at the end of their ad, the Buxton folks not only provided information that the BPSW is available in more than just standard black, but they provide a cliffhanger in that you have to call to find out how to attain such alternate colors.

The suspense is killing me.

Odds are that to get the alternate colors all you really need to do is ask for them and the Buxton folks are just trying to pique curiosity of those who are feeble-minded like myself.  Nevertheless, I like to think that there's a chance that the operators in Buxton Land have more interesting journeys in mind for those that wish to attain these color-splashed versions of the BPSW. Consider the following:

1. Call the Buxton folks at their 800 number to inquire how one might be lucky enough to get a BPSW in an aesthetically pleasing shade of red or brown.

2. As instructed by the operator, walk outside, find a hobo and tell him that you liked him better before he was corrupted by the all-mighty dollar.

3. Duck the punch the hobo attempts to knock you out with.

4. Run.

5. After escaping the murderous rage of the hobo, find a shubbery and unearth its roots.

6. Transport the shrubbery to the nearest park. Plant it there, and then run tiny laps around the plant until you are dizzy enough to fall over.

7. Fall over.

8. Upon regaining your equilibrium, go to the nearest store that sells art supplies. Buy one bottle each of red and brown acrylic paint.

9. Take the bottles of acrylic paint home, mix the pain together in a mason jar, and the paint a picture of a brownish-red (or reddish-brown) Palm-Sized Wallet on the screen of your newest television.

10. Take a picture of your newly-painted television with a digital camera.

11. Email the picture of your television featuring the BPSW artwork to the folks at Buxton. Include your name, social security number, and credit card information in the email.

12. Destroy your digital camera.

13. Upon receipt of your digital picture, SSN, and credit card information, your information will go through an approval process (estimated to take 6-8 months) during which time you might notice unusual charges on your credit card statement. Ignore these.

14. Once your emailed information is approved, an operator will contact you. When this occurs, you will have six minutes to recite the alphabet backward, name all state capitals in alphabetical order, and answer three trivia questions about William Howard Taft's teenage years.

15. Pass the six-minute test and, just like that, you'll have your choice of a red or brown BPSW... If they have any in stock.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comment of the Night

I've never been a fan of the New York Yankees. Appreciating the small-market Kansas City Royals as I do, the free-spending, "we'll pay a popcorn vendor $35 million if he might be worth another win" attitude of the Yankees has always disgusted me. They have players that make more money than some small nations, after all.

It is this loathing of the Yankees, of whom my dad is a fan, that made this evenings Comment of the Night so very enjoyable. After a dinner at my parents' home, I started watching game 5 of the ALCS with my father, mother, and brother. Dad was openly rooting for the Yankees. My brother and I weren't holding back in cheering for the Angels. My mom, whose interest in sports lies only in the fact that her family enjoys them, mostly ignored such proceedings and casually flipped through a magazine.

As the game progressed, it was only natural that Derek Jeter's name came up. He is, after all, the Yankees' all-time hits leader. He's a former Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove winner, and a former World Series MVP. He's the most identifiable Yankee today. Naturally, this all means that I'm not his biggest fan. Unfortunately, as is often the case, tonight's game announcers seemed to care little about my personal feelings. The praised Mr. Jeter to no end. My dad rooted for Jeter to help the Yankees get things going. My brother and I rooted for Jeter to leave during the game to go on a date with some celebrity. Meanwhile, the sportscasters gushed about the Yankee shortstop.

As the commentators carried on about Jeter as if he could have created the Earth in five days and turned an unassisted triple play on the sixth, my mom suddenly took notice. With no intention of poking fun, just looking to be informative, Mom said, "Jeter... I know him. He's in my AVON catalog." Then, she grabbed the catalog for the "world's leading direct seller of beauty and related products" and flipped through the pages until she found the one bearing his face. It's true, Mr. Yankee is featured in a publication that exists solely to get females to buy cosmetics; it's also true that those who don't know a sacrifice fly from something on the end of their fly swatter know Mr. Jeter for this very fact.

Now I'm just trying to figure out what verse of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mentions AVON.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Topic? Who needs a topic?

I made a trip to the grocery store this evening and, frankly, it was a bit depressing. Recently, you see, a new grocery store moved into town and it seems that many folks feel it is the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, and many other animal possessives that don't really make sense but are intended to make something sound popular. As a result, inside my supermarket of choice I encountered more store employees than I did fellow shoppers. It was almost like they had closed the store for my own personal shopping spree, only I still had to foot the bill at the end. I went shopping to pick up necessities and hopefully find some quirky folks to write about for another edition of People in Your Neighborhood. I left pondering an eternal question* and wondering if my checkout lady thought I was some sort of scout sent by a larger grocery store**.

*If a grocery store is open but no one enters, do the automatic doors still work?

**I did not have a radar gun with me, but this tiny woman was slinging my groceries across the barcode reader like a pitcher looking to hit triple digits. If I was a scout, she would have been in trouble anyway. I've always thought control was more important than speed in the checkout process.

Luckily (or perhaps not) for you the reader, we at The Writings always have a contingency plan. With no viable topics presented by the ghost market, we'll move forward with no topic whatsoever. Focus is overrated anyway.

First things first, this man is an imposter
Hmmm... He wears a Royals cap, a K-State shirt, and they call him "Derek"? This sure sounds like someone I know. Rest assured, dear readers, the guy featured in this video is not the blog author you've grown to adore (the words "tolerate," "have indifferent feelings toward" and "despise" can also be used here as necessary). How can I be so sure?
1. I don't shop at Wal-Mart unless it's absolutely necessary. The mass chaos combined with scenes like these make me feel odd about purchasing fresh produce there.
2. When I go grocery shopping, I purchase more than Cheez-Its, two packages of candy, and deodorant. This impostor seems to be on some sort of Everyday is Halloween diet.
3. I'm fairly confident my ancestry is Swedish, not Asian.
4. This guy did not have a single awkward encounter with another human on his entire shopping trip. Meanwhile, I can't get a haircut without the stylist admitting that she loses track of what she's already trimmed when she's talking and then having to run off to get a bandage because she cut her finger. (Welcome to today's lunchbreak.)

Sir, we've been jammed.
While cooking bacon have you ever thought, "Boy, I wish I could just spread this from a jar instead?" Perhaps you are not satisfied with your current options when making a jam sandwich? Or maybe you just really enjoy punishing yourself (and/or your arteries) via the spreadable items you ingest? Whatever the case, it looks like your covered. Bon appetit.

Competitive Gaming; How do you get started?
I saw this question posed earlier. The answers that come to mind immediately:
-Abandon any hope of dating.*
-Move in with your parents.
-Become comfortable with only encountering pixel-generated sunlight.


Fly Me To the Moon...
It just struck me that The Writings has not given an official stance on the Balloon Boy story yet. Such an omission must be rectified. Whether the panic over the possibility of the young kid named after a species of bird (thank goodness Dodos are extinct) was real or fabricated, I think the whole situation proves to be an argument in favor of childhood obesity. Think about it; if the little man in question was more Augustus Gloop than Charlie Bucket there would not have been any worry about the idea of that balloon floating off with him inside. People would have realized there was no chance the thing was leaving the ground. Parents (and future parents) remember this when you're wondering if your little kid really needs a couple more donuts: The larger he is, the less likely he will be to float off in some ridiculous weather balloon/UFO-hybrid that you have for some reason decided to tether to your home.*

*Is the author making this argument simply because he was hefty to the point of appearing Hutt-ish as a toddler? No comment. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nothing but Football - Wading the Red River

Another fall Saturday means another day packed with college football. This Saturday, however, presents a twist that previous NbF Saturday's have not: K-State has a home game tonight, meaning I'll actually be moving from my couch in order to go watch that game in person, interact with other people, and write a game story for (shamless plug). Human interaction? Crazy concept, I know.

10:50 a.m. - ESPN analyst Lee Corso just picked K-State over Texas A&M as his weekly upset. To cap his rundown of his reasoning behind the pick, he said "Go AARP." Bill Snyder did just turn 70 years old, but I had no idea that the university had changed the mascot. Does this mean Wille the Wildcat is going to be looking extra gray today? Or do we debut a new mascot: Leroy, the old man that is still angry that his evening paper was wet when he picked it up three months ago?

10:56 a.m. - Corso and his College Gameday crew are in Dallas, for the annual Red River Rivalry matchup between Texas and Oklahoma. Earlier in the show, they mentioned that Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning (who went to school at Tennessee) is in attendance; now they have brought Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, to the set to make predictions for the day's games. I'm all for bringing in celebrities to a broadcast, but it might make more sense if they actually have a connection to one of the schools involved. Where's WWE broadcaster Jim Ross when you need him?

10:59 a.m. - It turns out that the National Anthem doesn't apply to those on the Gameday set. The analysis of the upcoming game just carried from the opening "Oh say..." through "...of the brave." I wish they would have at least stood up and spoken their thoughts in Star Spangled melody.

11:11 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
OU just converted on third-and-10 thanks to a 65-yard catch and run by running back Demarco Murray. This directly followed a comment from a broadcaster that this was the exact down and distance that the Sooners wanted to avoid. I disagree. Now if they are third-and-66 at some point, they might be in trouble.

11:15 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
OU kicker Jimmy Stevens just kicked a field goal off the left upright and through the posts. Replays seem to show that he did not call "bank," but apparently it still counts.

11:21 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
The Sooners force and recover a Colt McCoy fumble. Oklahoma's next play from scrimmage is a sack of Heisman Trophy-winning QB Sam Bradford, who is consequently forced out of the game with a shoulder reinjury. With the way pass protection is working out so far, this game might just be a battle of kneel downs and punts in the second half.

11:34 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Oklahoma backup quarterback Landry Jones just led the Sooners down the field on their way to another field goal. The Sooners lead 6-0 and the Texas defensive coordinator is currently looking increduously at his defense and saying, "Seriously, guys? We're ranked No. 3 and we're letting a guy named Landry with a Super Troopers mustache lead scoring drives?"

11:42 a.m.
Iowa @ Wisconsin
In other game action, Wisconsin leads Iowa 3-0 in the second quarter. Big 10 football... it's pretty boring.

 11:44 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Texas punts for the third time in the opening quarter. Thus far, their offense has been somewhere between "pathetic" and "Raider-like."

11:45 a.m.
I realize that the KC Chiefs lost to the Oakland Raiders (whose offense is about as Raider-like as can be). I'm also fully convinced that seasonal depression is a direct result of being a fan of poor football teams.

11:51 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
While discussing a penalty, the field judge, line judge, and umpire were just standing in a row with their backs to the camera. The result was the letters on the back of their ref shirts spelling "FLU." I'm now trying to figure out if it's a coincidence, or some sort of cryptic warning about germ warfare from the officiating crew.

11:56 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
The Longhorns fit in one more punt before the end of the first quarter. Coaches normally go into games with specific game plans. I wonder if Mack Brown's gameplan included having his punter on the field nearly as much as his Heisman-contending quarterback.

12:10 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Colt McCoy is sacked for a loss of 17 yards and Texas punts again. I'm beginning to wonder if the Longhorns remember that the goal of each possession is to advance the ball down the field and score.

12:22 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
This Brent Venebles-led defense of Oklahoma has the Longhorns looking as if they haven't played organized football before. In other words, the Texas punter had the opportunity to show off his leg again. Venebles was once an assistant coach at Kansas State... Yes, I am to the point this season that I will accept transitive moral victories.

12:28 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Landry Jones bounces two passes in a row and it's the Sooners' turn to punt. It's at this point that all Big 10 fans wonder what in the world I'm talking about when I call their brand of football "boring."

12:33 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
In a strikingly intelligent move, Texas wide receiver James Kirkendoll headbutts an OU defensive back after being tackled short of a first down. The headbutt comes while Kirkendoll is just five feet from the nearest referee and just five yards from his head coach.  Such positioning kind of elminates the usual "It wasn't me" defense.

12:35 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
This game is taking place at the Texas State Fairgrounds and the play that just happened belonged in a circus. A Texas punt (surprise!) is fumbled by the OU returner. A Longhorn (Texas football player, not an actual bovine) picked it up and ran it toward the end zone, but the ball was knocked loose by OU and it went out of bounds. Thanks to the ruling that the punt was muffed by the returner, Texas keeps the ball, as muffs cannot be advanced. Had the play been ruled a fumble, OU would have had the ball at their 20-yard-line thanks to a touchback. If you are confused after reading all of this, imagine how the folks in the stands that came to the game because they knew they could go eat a funnel cake and ride the Octopus to the point of extreme nausea after the game feel.

12:45 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Texas finally scores, thanks to the fact that they started their possession in field goal range. OU fumbles the ensuing kickoff and Texas starts another drive on the Sooner side of the field. Odds of Texas actually scoring a touchdown this time? My guess is that it's the same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.

12:52 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
McCoy carries the ball down inside the 10 before being stripped (of the football, this is a family game) by an OU defender. Result: another empty UT possession and OU ball at the 20.

12:56 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
A prankster has apparently replaced the game ball with a greased pig from the fair, as an attempted OU reverse is fumbled. The Sooners recover the slippery swine at their own one-yard-line. To increase the chances of scoring, look for the referees to award points every time the ball touches the turf in the second half.

1:00 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
A view of Oklahoma's punt team reminds me of the time K-State's punter did not join his punt unit on the field. (At Oklahoma in 2005.) I'm not sure why this occurence is never mentioned in discussions of unconventional moves in football. As Pepper Brooks of "Dodgeball" might have called it, "It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for them."

HALFTIME Thought...
Last night, I taught my one-year-old niece to clap for herself whenever she successfully got the lid on her sippy cup. Sure, that may not seem like much of an accomplishment to those of us whose motor skills are advanced to the point that we could complete such a task consistently*, but for a tike like her, it was something to celebrate. What does this have to do with this game? The Texas offense has looked poor enough that I think they might want to start clapping for themselves whenever they make a first down.

*I think I reached this point about three years ago.

1:28 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Texas not only gains a couple first downs on their opening drive of the second half, but they also tie the game with a field goal. I'm now picturing Mack Brown clapping wildly like my niece. Oddly, the mental picture is complete with Mack sitting in a high chair, like my niece. Once again, I think I have too much time on my hands.

1:41 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
OU's Ryan Reynolds comes up with a tackle.
Cue a random tangent relating to Ryan Reynolds, just not this one...
Remember when Ryan Reynolds starred in the sitcom "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place," but after a couple of seasons the show changed its title to the more concise (and ambiguous) "Two Guys and a Girl"? Did the shows producers really think that having the pizza place involved was holding the show back? Was there an actual conversation that involved the quote, "I think we may really have something here, but the pizza place is dead weight. We have to drop it"?*

*These are the type of thoughts spurned by boring football games.

1:49 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Toss some some Twinkies in the deep fryer, it's time to celebrate in Dallas as the Longhorns scored an actual touchdown. The myth that field goals are the only way to score points in football has officially been debunked.

1:57 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
With the realization that touchdowns are still the most effictive way of scoring points in American football, the Sooners follow suit and tie the game at 13. I'm also now remembering that football can be entertaining.

2:18 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
In a shocking turn of events, we see a field goal. What are the odds?

2:26 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
The Sooners fall a foot short in converting on fourth-and-one at midfield. The broadcast crew applauds coach Bob Stoops for "remaining true to himself" and being aggressive in the situation. I applaud myself for not turning off the television after such a weird statement.

2:33 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas (obviously... i think this labeling has run its course)
Texas defensive back Aaron Williams makes an absurdly athletic interception, placing the Longhorns in scoring territory again. Time to seal things up?

2:36 p.m.
The answer to the previous question is "no" as the Sooners come up with an interception of their own. This game has had a strong "When in Rome" feel... When one team fumbles, the other does, too. When one team can't score anything more than a field goal, the other follows suit. When one team finally scores a touchdown, the other does right away. Now, when one team throws a pick, the other follows in a hurry. I'm kind of hoping that one coach declares that his school has been cheating and that all their wins should be given to Kansas State. They'll be back in bowl contention in no time.

2:42 p.m.
Interception Texas. Time for another round of hot potato?

2:46 p.m.
Not sure how I've gone this far without mentioning that Brent Musberger is wearing a hot pink shirt with a yellow tie and a brown jacket. Note to self: style is not a requirement to make it in the world of sports broadcasting.

2:54 p.m.
Texas runs out the clock and wins in rather uneventful fashion, 16-13. Fitting end to a rather uneventful game. At least the Longhorns can go clap for themselves now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nothing but Football - Monday Night Edition

Since its incarnation, the wildly popular* "Nothing but Football" series has been limited to covering college football on Saturdays. Those who tend to be curious might wonder why NBF has yet to venture into the realm of professional football. The answer to that query has little to do with the fact that I do not enjoy the pro game; but, a lot to do with the fact that I'm lazy. Nonetheless, tonight we at The Writings are making the transition to the NFL. It's Monday night, the Dolphins are facing off against the Jets, and my fantasy football teams needs 13 points to secure a victory. If that's not a storyline that will draw folks in, I have no idea what is.

*Read: The author enjoys it.

7:54 p.m. - Dolphins' running back Ronnie Brown scores from three yards out to cap an 80-yard opening drive. Brown is the one player in this game that the fortunes of my fantasy football squad - "Get Off of Mike Cloud"* - lean on. Thanks to my decision to play a suspended wide receiver over a Cowboy that had more receiving yards than anyone in team history, my squad enters the final game of the week trailing by 12 fantasy points. Oddly, I feel pretty good about my chances. 

*If you have a working knowledge of Rolling Stones' songs and former Chiefs running backs, hopefully this comes off as slightly humorous... If not, it fits pretty well with everything else in this blog. 

8:00 p.m.  - I realize that the simple fact that I feel good about something probably spells doom more assuredly than most spelling bee participants. I am the guy that predicted both Kansas State and the Kansas City Chiefs to win their games this past weekend. Instead, they lost by allowing a combined 3,851 passing yards.*

*Figure may not be accurate, but it's my best estimate.

8:01 p.m. - The Jets fake a punt and the punter actually runs like an athlete. No offense to the punters of the world, (and I have little room to talk, since I run with the speed of an overburdened burro), but the fact is that most punters look like they're running in concrete shoes when the have the oppotunity to sprint on the field.

8:07 p.m. - Jets' receiver Braylon Edwards catches a touchdwon pass from rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez to tie the game. Edwards started the week as a member of the Cleveland Browns, but was traded last Wednesday. Edwards had gone 12 games since his last touchdown reception with the Browns. He also allegedly got into a fight with a friend of Cleveland's favorite son, LeBron James. It seems there's a lesson to be learned from all of this: If you want to be traded from one of the worst teams in the NFL to a playoff contender, perform poorly for an extended period of time and then deck a celebrity's pal. It's just that easy.

8:28 p.m. - Commentator and former coach Jon Gruden is speaking in glowing fashion concerning New York assistant head coach Bill Callahan. I know some Nebraska fans that might disagree with his assessment.

8:42 p.m. - Rendering the very title of this Writing moot, my digital cable has discovered TBS, where the Philadelphia Phillies lead the Colorado Rockies 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning. A win for the Phillies would push them to the National League Championship Series, where they'd face the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies are the team I decided to back when the Royals were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. (Although I still think they might be able to find a loophole to get into the World Series... Never give up!) Unfortunately, my backing seems to have eerie powers, as all teams that I root for are prone to disappointmet. Thus, I apologize, Rockies. You did not deserve the curse of my support.

8:51 p.m. - A strikeout ends things for the Rockies, and the Phillies are celebrating their series victory. If only I could bring myself to root for the Yankees, I'm pretty sure they would fold like an expert oragamist.

8:53 p.m. - A 15-yard pass to Ronnie Brown is nixed thanks to a Miami holding penalty. I haven't felt this invested in anything involving the Dolphins since I was rooting for Ace Ventura (pet detective) to figure out who kidnapped Snowflake, the field goal kicking dolphin.

9:01 p.m. - After totaling 8 fantasy points on Miami's first drive, Brown has tallied just one since. It seems that now is a good point to show concern that I might lose this matchup in tight fashion. Apparently I need to quit rooting for myself.

9:11 p.m. - After deep thought, I'm now wondering how deeply The Curse of Derek's Support actually affects my life. I mean, my favorite NFL team has won just two of the last 30 it has competed in; the college squad I root for lost by 52 points on Saturday; the one Major League Baseball team I support no matter how many mistakes they make has not been to the postseason since I was three years old. Can this all be coincidental? Or do I not only need to abandon any athletic allegiances I have, but also start rooting against myself in life to have a better chance at success? (C'mon, Derek! Make a complete ass of yourself in public!)

9:25 p.m. - The Dolphins just went three-and-out on a series in which Ronnie Brown did not see the field. If there is a concern-colored crayon in your box of 64, you might want to grab it right now.

9:35 p.m. - Mr. Brown returns and carries for seven yards. Go Ronnie! ... Wait, I mean, don't go, Ronnie! Fail! Fail!

9:36 p.m. - This whole jinx idea has me rather conflicted.

9:38 p.m. - A six-yard carry by Brown puts him at 12 points on the night and ties me with my opponent. At this point, I need to root against fumbles and carries for negative yards... I mean, I need to root for those events. I'm going to figure this whole thing out at some point.

9:44 p.m. - Miami running back Ricky Williams runs for a first down, hurdling over a defender on his way. This seems like a good time to mention that the Kansas State defense limited Williams to 43 yards on 25 carries during his Heisman Trophy-winning 1998 season. Ahh, memories.

9:50 p.m. - The Dolphins grab a 17-14 lead when quarterback Chad Henne connects with tight end Anthony Fasano for a short touchdown pass. Said play has no implications on my fantasy football match up, but apparently the outcome of this game actually matters, too. Who knew?

9:57 p.m. - Braylon Edwards just made one of the most athletic touchdown receptions that anyone familiar with football could imagine. To attempt to describe it would be an exercise in futility.

10:01 p.m. - Note to self: Edit the last entry, as a coach's challenge resulted in Edwards being marked down at the one-yard line, as opposed to finding the end zone.

10:02 p.m. - Guess what, Miami? Your challenge doesn't matter. The Jets score the very next play.

10:09 p.m. - Not two minutes after Gruden mentions that the Dolphins need to get receive Ted Ginn involved in the game, Henne connects with him for a 53-yard score. I'm not frantically searching to see if I can find Gruden's cell phone number in order to request that he mention that Ronnie Brown needs to score another touchdown.

10:11 p.m. - In what has to be a shock to many, it turns out that I do not have the cell phone number of a former NFL head coach that once led his team to a Super Bowl victory.

10:17 p.m. - The Dolphins break up a pass on third down and the ESPN production crew cuts to a shot of what seems to be some fan that is on the field pretending to be a cheerleader. He just threw down a pair of foam fingers in excitement.

10:21 p.m. - A two-yard carry by Brown gives him 60 rushing yards on the night. It also gives Get Off of Mike Cloud a 102-101 lead. Now I might be forced to root for Brown to be benched the rest of the game, just to avoid any possibilty of achieving negative points.

10:22 p.m. - Call the game due to lightning! Call the game due to lightning!

10:23 p.m. - I realize there has been no threat of stormy weather in the Miami area tonight... I'm just shooting for hope.

10:27 p.m. - The Jets just picked up 49 yards on a pass interference penalty that should have never been called. 49 yards! The referee that called that one may need to send an apology card later on this week.

10:29 p.m. - The Jets score one play later and now lead 27-24. Fantasy implications or none, this is one heck of a game.

10:39 p.m. - There are less than two minutes left in the game. Miami trails by three; yet, they're alternating quarterbacks. Calling this strategy "unconventional" is like calling the throwback uniforms the Broncos wore this weekend "aesthetically displeasing."

10:43 p.m. - Touchdown, Ronnie Brown! Brown carries up the middle for a score with just six seconds left. He just cemented a victory for Get Off of Mike Cloud... Oh yeah, and I guess he helped his real team out a little, too.

10:45 p.m. - It seems that I can put off rooting against myself for now. Ronnie Brown has proven that the Derek Curse can be overcome. Thank goodness. I would have felt pretty awkward quietly repeating to myself "Say some thing offensive! Say something offensive!" when encountering potential dates.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Something for the "Bad Idea" File

Whether or not you, dear reader, are a member of the Twitter community, I have confidence that you have at least some idea of what the ornithologically named social networking website is. With 140 characters at their disposal, people can post updates (tweets) on whatever they like. People might post what they're currently doing, their thoughts on current events, or lousy attempts at being funny*. Twitter has become a worldwide phenomenon. Everyone from no-name bloggers to failed vice presidential candidates utilizes the tweet factory.

*I'm sure you've guessed what category most of my tweets fall into.

Unfortunately, like most areas of the web, Twitter also suffers from spam. Twitter accounts are created every day that have as much legitimacy as the guys selling bootlegged DVDs on the street corners of big cities. Believe it or not, the tweets from these spammers don't really cover a wide range of topics. As one would expect, like evil pied pipers, they're all trying to lead you somewhere you probably shouldn't go.

A bevy of these spammers attempt to post things that should be... uhh... provacative in nature. Unfortunately, such tweets aren't always thought out in good fashion.*

*Insert appalled gasp here.

A post I read earlier this evening had me particularly concerned. I noticed I had a new follower on Twitter. Thinking it might someone willing to pay me a very generous salary to write anti-Favre propaganda, I checked the identity of said new follower. It was then that I discovered that this was a blatant spam account. I was about to click away from the page, when I noticed the account's most recent post.

"Taking a shower."

Now one convenient thing about Twitter is that you can update it from anywhere. All you need is a computer, a Blackberry, a cellphone, or a carrier pigeon with bluetooth*. Unfortunately, none of those items react very well with water. Believe me. I received 44 phone calls between the hours of 2 and 5 a.m. the other night as the result of a family member's phone acting as a sponge. Electronics and water are not yet good buddies.

*I cannot confirm that the final option actually works.

Because we at The Writings value education, we're going to pass on a lesson to all; even the spammers out there. Feel free to tweet that you're eating broccoli. Feel free to tweet that you're enjoying an a cappella rendition of Rockin' Robin. Feel free to tweet that you have issues with the plot of Teen Wolf. Just don't tweet when you're showering. It's bad news for everyone.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Quick Thoughts - Five Hour Energy Edition

According to a televised ad, the big question surround Five Hour Energy is "What's in it?"

Thankfully, this ad keeps suspense to a minimum, following with the answer.

"Everything in Five Hour Energy is available in everyday foods - like apples, avocados, broccoli, or bananas - or already in you."

Pardon me, ad wizards, but I must ask a few questions of my own...

- Is there a reason that you refused to look beyond the letters A and B in your Encyclopedia Britannica when finding foods to mention in your ad?

- Who eats avocado every day? Is there some sort of Guacoholics Anonymous organization that I'm unaware of?

- Could you really not craft better wording than saying many Five Hour Energy ingredients are "already in you"? Unless Five Hour Energy is actually a drink created to help convert all daywalkers into vampiric beings, I'm not sure your wording paints the correct picture.

- Was there a study completed to determine that five hours of oddly-flavored energy is the preferred amount? And how accurate is that five-hour estimation? If I don't feel that I got a full five hours of energy after ingesting this concoction, can I complain and get those valuable minutes back?

Thought for the Day - Cycloptic Tiger

The '80s band Survivor released "Eye of the Tiger" in 1982. In fact, according to this, Survivor's examination of tiger optometry was the top song in the U.S. on the date of my birth. The song was prominently featured in the third movie of the Rocky series (as were Mr. T and Hulk Hogan... Perhaps this film should have been called "The Perfect Storm.") and has since been pumped through the PA systems of stadiums and arenas to get sports fans psyched up for athletic competitions.

As songs from the '80s go, it's rather iconic.

I just have one question: Why does this tiger only have one eye? If having the "eye of the tiger" is an advantage, wouldn't having multiple tiger eyes weigh things even further in your favor? (That was two questions... That type of miscalculation is what I get for avoiding math since sixth grade.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ode to the Drunk Sitting Behind Me

It's game day at Arrowhead Stadium,
The game clock has just started to crawl;
Unfortunately the guy sitting behind me,
Has consumed absurd amounts of alcohol.

K-State stands on our side, Iowa State on the other,
Meanwhile, we're up in the top stadium deck;
There's no chance someone on the field could hear your "quips,"
Nevertheless, you decide to check.

Your taunts of the Cyclones are insufferable,
Your mouth is where lame, slurred comments are born;
I understand the opposing squad is from Iowa,
But please don't tell them to "G'eat some hot corn."

I'm not sure how many beers you've consumed,
Nor the number of brain cells you now lack;
But, it's hard to pass much respect your way,
When you fall forward over my seat and onto my back.

I help you back up, you mumble something incoherent,
It's quite a relationship that we maintain;
I don't recall any bonding, or singing of "Lean on Me,"
But with your level of inebriation, you'd probably forget the refrain.

Apologies are passed on by your family,
But, oddly, the booze continues to flow;
Seems that those truly apologetic,
Would either cut you off or tell you to go.

How can I tell that you're still drinking?
How do I know that on a liquid diet you continue to dine?
Perhaps it's a gift, a sixth sense, if you will,
That, or I feel the suds just spilled down my spine.

More apologies are given, a "free ride" is mentioned,
I'm not really sure what that means;
I just know my shirt smells a lot like a brew now,
Sitting in front of you? It was "Bad Idea Jeans."

The game is a tight one. It's down to the wire,
I could live without you hitting me as you clap and cheer;
The 'cats won by one, so I'll try not to complain,
Your celebration? Probably more beer.