There and back again: A Ryder brothers' tale

Yeah, I used it again, Scott. Kill me.

Well, we made it. Barely. 3 solid days of driving, 2 super cheap hotels and 1 narrowly dodged bullet of a snowstorm later, we're back safe and sound in the grand state of Illinois. I could give you a blow by blow account of the whole trip, but honestly, most of it was just...well, driving. Not that cool. But there were some scattered moments of hilarity, which I now present to you in the amazing quote list for what was dubbed the...

Return of the "R" Tour 2004

(Doing the crossword in People)
Tim: Patrick or Rod...
Josh: Swayze!
Tim: Wow.

(Still doing the crossword)
T: 3 letters - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one. Abbreviation.
J: Black.
T: And how would you like me to abbreviate that?
J: B-L-K.
T: Wow.

(A gas station in Massachusetts)
Woman: (noticing our Illinois license plate) You boys sure are a long way from home!
T: Yeah, and we're headed back there.
J: Don't worry, we've got everything UNDER CONTROL!!

Okay, this isn't that funny on paper, but it was simply the strangest response possible on Josh's part. He said it like he was trying to convince himself that everything was under control. I'm sure the nice lady assumed everything was fine. Josh just apparently thought she needed extra convincing. Let's move on.

J: Have we gone through New Jersey yet?
T: We go through New Jersey?
J: Yeah, just barely.
T: See, that's why I don't look at the route beforehand. I like to be surprised.
(We never went through New Jersey.)

J: (finishes pumping gas) Warm up the car, T. (goes into the gas station)
T: Okay. (also enters the gas station)
J: What are you doing?
T: When I said okay, what I really meant was that I was coming in here to buy some juice.

J: That's a nice house. I'd like to climb the outside.
T: Doesn't look like it would be very...workout-y.
J: Excuse me?
T: Probably wouldn't give you a good workout.
J: No, what you said the first time.
T: Uh...workout-y.

J: You can't take compass readings inside the car because all the magnets in the speakers screw everything up.
T: There are magnets in speakers?
J: Yeah.
T: ...I don't know how anything works.

(Late in the drive of Day 2)
T: (quite loopy at this point) Just hold me. Tell me everything will be okay.
J: That's it, we're stopping.

(Morning of Day 3, J is at the window of the Super 8.)
J: Wow.
T: (groggily) What?
J: I'll just let you see for yourself.
T: (goes to window) Holy geez. We've been blizzard-ed.

J: Pack up, we're going to make a break for it.
T: Don't kid yourself, we're not going anywhere. We're going to die here. We're going to DIE HERE, JOSH!!

T: How much snow do you think was on the ground this morning?
J: 6 inches, maybe.
T: Yeah...I'm going to say a foot and a half. It sounds better.
J: That's 16 inches!
T: 18, actually.
J: ...right.

Parts of Indiana and Ohio got over a foot of snow that day. Turns out waking up to 6 inches and an unplowed Super 8 parking lot wasn't so bad. As we drove west, we got away from the snow and narrowly dodged a bullet that could have DESTROYED Christmas. So we're back in J-ville with the family. Hope you're with yours, enjoying the holiday. Merry Christmas, everybody.


Look out, Eastern Seaboard!

That's a funny term, isn't it? Seaboard? Why is that stretch of our country referred to as a "seaboard"? Honestly, what's the deal with the seaboard? And...we're done.

Anyway, I'm headed out to the Eastern Seaboard today. I've got a one-way ticket to Boston, which sounds a lot cooler than it is. I'm not headed there to look for my fortune or strike gold or anything. Just picking up my bro and driving back. That's right, we're driving from Boston to Springfield, Illinois. The ultimate road trip. Only with none of the usual road trip trappings like hot girls or warm weather. Or really any stops of any kind. I'm going to see if I can totally avoid touching the ground between there and here. Or at least avoid treading on the soil of any red states.

So hope for the best as Josh and I embark on what I have tenatively named The "We'll Be Home for Christmas Tour 2004." I've made mix CDs, so we should be okay. Those are much more important than maps, right?


Mini what now?

I meet a lot of interesting people at my internship. Young, creative, professional people for the most part. But so far my favorite person is one that I haven't even met. Every so often we get a new phone list at the office to represent anyone who might have been added or removed. A while ago, one of those lists contained what I believe to be the greatest name ever:

Mini Shanmuganandan.

Go on, try to say it. It's fun. I always end up adding about eight extra syllables on the end. I never really stop, I just trail off into a neverending string of Muganandan-an-dana-dan-dan-dans...

And the fact that her first name is Mini only compounds the hilarity. The idea that somewhere there might exist a larger, full-size Shanmuganandan is simply breathtaking.

Unfortunately, after about two weeks of laughing at her name on the phone list, we got a new one with her name absent. I have no idea what she did here or why she left, but things just aren't the same without her around. Or at least without her name on the phone list. I'm actually pretty glad I never met Mini, because there's no way I would be able to talk to her without cracking up. I guess I'll never know...

In other news, if you haven't seen this week's Strong Bad e-mail, you owe it to yourselves. Maybe it won't be as funny to someone who doesn't work at a college radio station, but it's funny how the world (or at least Strong Bad) perceives the genre. You know who loves college radio?

Mini Shanmuganandan-dan-a-dan-danan-dan-adan...


I was right. I didn't care.

Hey, thanks for all the great album recommendations, everybody. I think my list agrees with a few of your choices, but for the most part I told you and your musical opinions to take a hike. Seriously, you and your opinions could use the fresh air. So, without further adieu, here's my list:

1) Straylight Run - s/t
2) Various Artists - Garden State Soundtrack
3) Jimmy Eat World - Futures
4) The Killers - Hot Fuss
5) The Western Front - Go to Your Desire; Don't Hang Around Here.

I'm assuming that most of you haven't heard of the last band, seeing as they're a local Iowa band and I only know them because they played in our Battle of the Bands. You should check out their purevolume site. Anyone with a song that shares its title with a quote from "It's a Wonderful Life" is okay by me.

Okay, let the Tim-bashing begin.


I'll listen to your opinions, but I probably won't care

As the music director of a college radio station that no one listens to, mainly because it doesn't even have a frequency, I often think myself more important than I actually am. But it appears someone agrees with me.

I got an e-mail this past week from Kyle Munson, music critic/columnist for The Des Moines Register. Actually, KDCS Bulldog Radio got the e-mail, but anything music is my domain, foo. So back off. In it, he said that he was preparing for his year-end wrap up and was looking to hear from various other people with "deeply held convictions about music." He then asked for my top 5 albums of 2004.

Several hours later, I awoke in a daze. The sheer power and perceived influence I felt at that one moment had apparently overwhelmed my nervous system and I failed to maintain biological homostasis. In other words, I fainted like a little girl. But now I was beside myself with joy and also, trepidation. This is quite a bit of pressure. My musical opinions published for the world (well, Greater Des Moines area) to see, my very self laid bare for ridicule and scorn. What do I do? Do I go with my gut and talk about my favorite albums? Do I pick five random indie albums from our collection in a desperate grab for street cred?

This incredible dilemma has not yet been resolved. I think my list is almost solid and settled, but I need to hear from my favorite Internet people before I make up my mind. So hit me - what have your favorite albums been this year? And apparently, live and reissued albums count, if that's your sort of thing. And remember, my life depends on this.

Okay, not really. But the fact that I've thought more about this than any of my projects due this week probably says something about my priorities.


More lessons learned

It's been requested that I sum up my Thanksgiving break in much the same manner as my epic Labor Day posting. Well, I can't promise the moon, but let it never be said that Timmy Tapeworm is a man who does not honor requests. (Except for that one request you made over break, Scotty. I know it was the day after Thanksgiving and you were still tanked, but that was just uncalled for. Honestly, I don't care how much time the doctors say you have left, I'm not doing that.)

So here we go...the lessons I learned this Thanksgiving break:

- All it takes are some terribly snowy roads for me to turn into a Hollywood stunt driver. I did a 540. On the highway. A 540. With nary a scratch on me or the Stallion. The old girl held up quite nicely. Except for that whole 540 thing. That probably never should have happened.

- I love my brother more than his girlfriend does. I know this because when he was leaving his plane and called our respective cell phones, his girlfriend didn't answer her phone. I did. Who loves you more, baby?

- My mom is the most hilarious mom ever. Her sign to greet Josh at the airport: "Snow glad you made it." Hilarious.

- Sleep is awesome. I really should do it more.

- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is awesome. It gets in the way of that sleep thing. (Yeah, I know I'm a year behind in my gaming. Cut me some slack.)

- Thanksgiving at the Ryder family farm with no electricity probably would have worked, but not very well. Josh and I could have made a spit and roasted the turkey rotisserie style. There just would have been less true enjoyment of the food and much more...salmonella poisoning. But this year proved we can have Thanksgiving anywhere, just so long as there's family, fun, and that pretzel strawberry stuff.

- Strangely, one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is the nachos and cheese available pre-meal. That...really makes no sense.

- If, during the two hours you spend in a social setting, the only words that escape your mouth the entire time all involve alcohol, you might have a problem. (This is not directed at my family. We don't have anyone like that, now that Dad's out of the legislature. Hey-oh! Just joking, Dad. This is directed at an old high school acquaintance. Who apparently really enjoys drinking now.)

- My nipple hair is amazingly long. I didn't really learn that over break, but I just noticed it and thought I'd share.

- The Battle of the Sexes grudge match proved once and for all...that guys are smarter than girls. The girls may complain about the overabundance of fishing questions, but come on. I knew the author of She's Come Undone in less than a second. (Wally Lamb. Mom watches Oprah, okay? I absorbed it through osmosis.) So don't complain to me about your hard "guy" questions.

- Finding a Christmas tree with the family is just as hilarious as ever, and having my brother's girlfriend along gives me someone else to push around. You're lucky the ground was soggy, bro. You and your girly would have gone down.

Alright, that's enough of that nonsense. To the friends and family I saw over break, it was great to see you. To those of you I didn't, what's your excuse? "Oh, I live in Florida." Lame excuse, Gramma. Lame excuse.

(I just called my Gramma out. How funny is that?) Anyway, thanks for the great break, everybody. What do you say we have another one? Say...in a couple weeks. Only much longer this time. I've got some serious Star Wars to play.