Saturday, August 30, 2008

Halloween 2007

I hated the kids section.

When I worked at Barnes & Noble I worked with a girl named Lindsey Brockburg (I'm not sure if that's how she spelled her name, but whatever). She was really cool, had a great laugh, and loved her job as the lead of the kids books.

She also loved Halloween.

Halloween was her holiday. She would do small parties and some stuff for Christmas, almost nothing for Thanksgiving, and I don't think she cared much about 4th of July beyond having a good excuse to drink with friends. Halloween, however, she would go all out on.

Over the years of celebrating and throwing parties she had acquired a large amount of decorations, slowly adding to it each year with a new piece. She had the 6' ghoul statutes whose eyes light and laughs when you walk past. She had the severed limbs hanging from her porch door.

Not her house, but close.

She had the fog machine going so that it rolled down the blood-spattered steps and across the lawn with freshly dug graves. She had the fake spiderwebs throughout the house. She had the horror music CDs playing so that random creaks and screams would come from unknown corridors through previously unknown speakers. She had candles burning, providing haunting shadows that danced on the walls. She had all the lights gelled so they produced an eerie glow instead of welcoming light. She had the fake skulls on tables. She had the life-size Pennywise torso from Stephen King's IT.

Her Halloween parties were the stuff of legends. Legends.

But her decoration design had one flaw during the 2007 year.

Her house wasn't big. It was an older house, which helped add to the ambiance. The main floor is where most of the decorations were located - in the living room, dining room, and kitchen - while the bedrooms upstairs were lightly decorated, mainly used for talking and maybe watching a horror film or two. The bathroom was upstairs, next to the bedrooms, and knowing that it would be the most used bathroom during the night she didn't skimp on the decorations for it.

When I walked in I was greeted with a skull and some candles on the sink providing the only light in the room. Fake spider webs graced the doorway. The bathroom was like the house; small, older, and full of Halloween. As I entered I saw the sink to my left in front of me, the shower to my right. Closing the door I found the toilet located next to the sink and almost hidden behind the door. I also found the Pennywise torso.

She had hung it up behind the door, so when you walked in you couldn't see, but when you closed the door it was suddenly staring at you at eye level. She had the arms bent at the elbow, palms down, fingers grasping. It spooked me initially, but that was it's purpose. I raised the toilet and unzipped.

It was then that I noticed that Pennywise's arms were slightly longer than normal. Longer arms means the elbows don't bend at the usual location. They were, in fact, directly at crotch level.

He was reaching for my package.

I imagine if one was sitting on the toilet this wouldn't be an issue. The hands would be in eerily grasping in front of your face. However, while standing in front of the toilet and taking a piss, the hands were located immediately above my junk. The positioning was disturbingly perfect. There I was, on Halloween, taking a whiz, and Pennywise was positioned in such a way that, should the hands close, they would grab my johnson.

It made for one of the more awkward whazes I've taken in my life. I have never been more afraid that a doll would come to life for as far back as I can remember.

When I asked Lindsey about it, she broke out laughing and told me she hadn't even thought about that. She just thought it would be spooky.

I told one of my friends that taking a whiz was one of the most unnerving things I've done in awhile, when he asked why I told him to try it out. A minute later the whole house heard a voice from the upstairs bathroom yell "What the f***?!"

It was a great party. I'm sad I'll miss this year's.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Evolution sucks

The past few months I've experienced a rather on-going digestive inconvenience. I didn't notice it much until last March and assumed it was a passing thing; didn't think much of it.

Last month I realized it may not be passing.

Last week I spoke to my doctor and he mentioned that it might just be a food allergy.

Two days ago I had a suspicion of what it was.

Today I confirmed it: I'm lactose intolerant.

I can't express how upset this makes me. All my life I've been drinking milk; I love it. I enjoy the taste, it's got nutrients, and is among the best post-workout drinks because of the combination of whey and casein proteins. For 23 years I drank it without any trouble whatsoever. I would drink 2-3 glasses daily, sometimes more. I was happy. My body was happy.

My new enemy.

Now my body has decided that it's going to use milk as it's new laxative.

This does not make me happy at all. I think yogurt might still be ok since it's got less lactose than milk, but I'm still in the testing phase of that. I should know within the next hour whether or not I can keep eating yogurt. If I can, then ice cream should still be ok in small quantities. I'm hopeful, but I don't expect miracles.

How I found this out was that I stopped drinking milk two days ago to see how my body would react; it felt great. I spoke with Will about this and he mentioned that sometimes whole milk digests easier than skim does and so I should try that. I bought a half-gallon yesterday, had a glass before bed and this morning had another glass. Within an hour and a half I had been to the bathroom twice. I took a lactaid and 10 minutes later was feeling great.

My thoughts exactly.

It's unnerving to know that throughout history man has been drinking milk and here I

E. coli: more advanced than me.

am, in the year 2008 - four million years after Lucy - and I'm unable to digest milk. There are bacteria that have evolved to live in sulfuric acid, crabs that can live normally in 200+ degree water next to thermal jets, E. coli that has evolved under observation within laboratories to digest citrate (something E. coli normally can't do) and here I am, potentially thousands of generations into our species, 23 years into my own life, and suddenly evolution has decided to say "screw you."

Talk about a major kink in the evolutionary chain.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

40 ≠ 20

Cube farm!

The office I work for has a range of employees with various ages and, I suspect, educational and social backgrounds. I doubt anyone has extensive education or else they wouldn't be working a job that requires two weeks or training with no prior experience. Most I believe are either college students or recent college graduates trying to gain work experience. The managers or "team leaders" - which is just business lingo for 'manager' - might actually have more educational background; most of them are pretty good guys and seem to be pretty on the ball. I don't think any of them consider this a career thought.

They look like her.

There's also a few girls here who could easily be models. I'm not kidding; I get distracted whenever they walk by office.

Then there's the older generation. The >40-year-old guys who are working here because, well, I don't know why. I guess this was an open job and they needed one.

While most of the employees here are ok in regards to technology and computers, the older generation seems impaire
d. There's one guy here who's convinced that since I'm IT I must fix every single issue he's got in regards to anything, up to and including the students he works with [working with students is not my job; we have a student help desk for that]. This is the same guy who once asked me why his computer was running slowly and when I went to take a look he had 27 Internet Explorer windows open, 16 Outlook e-mails in progress, 13 Microsoft Word documents, 11 Excel spreadsheets, 7 Windows Explorer windows, and Windows Media player all open.

Not C++

Another of these gentlemen noticed my screensaver - the Matrix code - on one of my work computers and asked, "Is that a screensaver or are you actually coding something?"

Being the jackass that I am, I nonchalantly replied, "I'm compiling something I wrote earlier."

"Wow, I didn't know code actually looked like that." And he kept on walking past my office. I was shocked; I thought he knew I was joking.

While I understand the employees here are being friendly, my history in IT has taught me that you can never be too cautious when dealing with people who depend on you for technical support. Most often their friendliness is so that they can simply ask you a question regarding their home PC and thus gain free IT support without having to pay the Geeksquad $45 or they want you to get them a copy of Windows Vista for free. I imagine this is what it feels like to be a hot girl; always cautious that the only reason people are friendly is because they want to date you. I feel like I should send all the hot girls I've been friends with in the last decade an apology for doing this to them. It's not fun.

See? Awkward.

What this leads into is how the older generation of men here treat me. Some are nice guys and introduced themselves and that's that. Others feel the need to "connect" with me on "my level" - they try to fist bump me.

It's awkward.

I admit, I am guilty of fist bumping my friends on occasion. There are even the extremely rare occasions where I'll do a 'Wonder Twins' twist afterwards. It's not something I'm proud of, but there are times when I feel the moment calls for it.

Meeting someone half your age whom you need to go for help setting up your e-mail is not one of those moments.

It's my job to help them with technical issues. I understand that and I'm more than willing to do so. It's my job, it's why this company pays me. But please, to all who read this who are over 40, I beseech you, don't fist bump your IT guys. We're socially awkward creatures and being fist bumped by someone who could easily be our own father is too much for our fragile social abilities.

Plus most of us don't like touching things that aren't curvy and/or electronic.

This has been a PSA for August 26th on behalf of IT employees everywhere.

Now you know.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte

There's a scene in the movie Lost in Translation where Scarlett Johansson's character is at dinner with her husband and some of his friends or acquantences. She's talking with a guy who's describing these beats and rhythms he's working on and how he's layering them; she's just blankly looking back.
  • DJ Clean: You know that break beat, right? Well, I been takin' it to some next level shit. Like, I'll take that and put a delay on it, so it's like: [imitates hip-hop beat]. So it's like, evolving, the beat. So it, like, sounds hella large on the track. You know what I'm sayin'?
  • Charlotte: No.
  • DJ Clean: No? You don't listen to hip-hop?
The scene gives a perfect impression of what yesterday felt like.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

HTML editing and revamping

I'm working on revamping the site a little; changed the name already and am currently looking for a new template. Maybe something a little more with the main ideal of this blog; something less ubiquitous and more surreal or elegant.

Or maybe something with wombats.

I tried a few this morning, but few of them worked nicely with blogspot itself since they're not official templates meaning I had to do some html editing. I really don't mind doing that - it's actually kind of fun - but I don't like having my blog look like complete crap while I edit it in the event soemone actually visits.

I'm going to the html editing on the sides and then upload it when it's finally finished. Hopefully I'll have some downtime at work to read up on various techniques and see what I can do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


In the past few days I've had more than a couple people ask me what I look for in girls. This may be because to most people I date sporadically with no real pattern in the girls. While looking at my history with women there may not be any obvious similarities - they've all had very different personalities, physical features, and ideologies.

Actually, there are three things that determine whether or not I feel I could have a relationship with a girl:
  1. She has to challenge me mentally.
  2. She has to challenge me physically.
  3. I have to be able to nothing with her.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about this that went into more detail regarding the first two points, but the third is a new one I've learned recently. I don't want to always have to do something with a girl or always have to have something to talk about...I want to be able just do nothing with her; just enjoy her company and be with her.

And that's it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Once again.

A few months ago I presented many of my friends with "Shrimp on a Treadmill." For those whom I didn't send the link to, here's the video:

Today, I found a video that can only be called the sequel, Cat's on a Treadmill!

It's not quite as epic as the shrimp largely due to the lack of "The Final Countdown" playing, but I still think it's a fun watch.

And the finale, Dog on a Slide:

Thank you for viewing the update for today and I hope you will all visit again when we go back to our regularly scheduled updates about my life and the thoughts I have.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

21,700 calories

Cascade peak.

Yesterday I went hiking with Brady, my brother-in-law. We started at 4:30 AM and got done around 3 PM. We hiked up Cascade, a mountain who's elevation is 10,908 feet. Provo's elevation is 4,551 feet.

It's basically a mile straight up.

This post isn't about the hike. That'll be another post.

This post is about the my bathroom scale and how it responded to this hike.

I woke up at 3:56 in the morning to get ready for the hike. I brushed my teeth, showered, drank some water for th
e trip, and decided to weigh myself just to see how I was doing.

A few months back when I had moved to Utah I purchased one of those fancy glass bathroom scales that measures body fat, H2O, and bone percentages. It seemed like a good thing to pick up since I was going to the gym and trying to get back in shape; this would give me a good way to set goals for fitness.

My mother had received one over Christmas, only her's was a nicer model. Her's measured muscle mass on top of the other things I listed.
I figured that muscle mass would be nice to know but wasn't worth the extra $20.

When I measured myself on my mother's scale over Christmas, it said I weighed 162 lbs and 6% body fat. I didn't expect those same numbers 3 months later because I hadn't gone to the gym for about 6 weeks due to moving and working on a film set at the time, but I was still hopeful. On the scale I purchased, it said I weighed 158 lbs and 20.8% body fat.

According to this scale, in about 2 months I more than tripled my body fat percentage and lost 4 lbs. I assumed the weight discrepancy was lost muscle mass and the added body fat was because I had eaten pizza for dinner for about a week while moving and hadn't gone to the gym.

Yesterday I noticed something odd. When I weighed myself in the morning it said 153.4 lbs and 18.1% body fat. After the hike, it said 150.2 lbs and 17% body fat. After eating a bowl of spaghetti and taking a 20 minute nap, it said 153.2 lbs and 18.2% body fat. After going to a symphony and eating a very tasty buffalo burger at a restaurant, it said 154.3 lbs and 19.1% body fat. This morning, 156.4 and 19.8% body fat.

For those not familiar with human physicality and nutrition, one pound of weight equates to roughly 3,500 calories. If my bathroom scale is accurate, it means that yesterday I burned 12,100 calories hiking (I ate about 1,600 calories in trail mix and snacks during the hike), the proceeded to eat

21,700 calories? I doubt it.

21,700 calories over the course of the next 7 hours. That equates to eating 31 Big Macs from McDonald's.

Looking at what I ate yesterday and estimating on the high end of calorie intake, I'm certain I didn't eat more than 4,500. By "estimating on the high end" I mean that my beloved Men's Health recently reported that diners often underestimate the calories in their food by as much as 50%; so I'm taking the estimate I originally came up with and adding 50% to it, even though I highly doubt the burger I ate contained 2,100 calories. I have no idea how many calories I burned yesterday in total, but according to a calorie calculator I burned 4,506 calories just during the hike yesterday. My body should burn about 2,400 calories in a standard day, so taking half of that (from 3 PM to midnight) and adding that to the 4,506 I figure I probably burned around 5,706 calories.

Let's do the math together: calories eaten (4,500) - calories burned during hike (4,506) - calories burned during normal daily activities (1,200) = net caloric difference (-1,206)
≠ calories the scale said I must have eaten (21,700).

A net caloric difference of -1,206 does not equate to gaining 3 lbs (presuming the original reading of 153.4 was correct). Granted some of the weight could be water, but that doesn't explain the body fat % increase.

This can only mean that my bathroom scale is inaccurate.

Being the scientist that I am, I decided to test this further.

I noticed that the body fat % on the scale fluctuated directly with my body weight. While normally this makes sense, if I've been going to the gym, going running, and eating healthy, while my body fat % should decrease it would not be uncommon for my body weight to increase. This has never occurred according to this scale.

I grabbed a toolkit from our closet; I assumed it weighed about 10-15 lbs. This would be perfect to test the scale. While holding the toolkit I stood on the scale again: 171 lbs. Body fat %? 23.1.

Yep; holding a 15 lbs toolkit raised my body fat by 4 percent.

This scale claims it sends a current through your feet and measures the resistance to gauge body fat percentages (fat has a different resistance than muscle). Yet somehow holding a toolkit manages to increase my body fat even though the resistance in my body didn't change at all; no change in resistance should mean that the body has the same composition of fat and muscle and as such should give the same body fat percentage.

What this means is that all this $60 scale does is take your inputted height, measures your weight when you stand on it, and using those two variables performs a fixed calculation to determine what your body fat percentage must be.


It's completely bogus.

If you're looking to get a scale to measure body fat, go with one of the high end ones that measures muscle mass as well. This one just measures weight and estimates your body fat. It's quite worthless for fitness purposes.

My father taught me when I was young that you get what you pay for. He was right; I should have spent the extra $20.