Not a lot to report these days. Lots of internship, a little bit of class, and the occasional hang with friends. The third week in, you start to settle into your routine. It's not a bad deal. I'm more a creature of habit than I like to admit, but I like my routine.

I did a terrible thing on Saturday. I engaged in physical activity. Bad idea. Raph and I headed over to the Tennis Center to...um...play tennis, but upon arrival, we were told that there was nothing less than a HUGE MVC TOURNAMENT being played there all weekend. We really should start calling over before making the 10-minute walk. So we played racquetball instead. This is the sport in which two people are enclosed in a room with a super bouncy ball and try to hit each other. Great sport, racquetball. Then I played an hour and a half of broomball with my boys at Valley HSM. Broomball is also a great sport, but is killer on your leg muscles. I'm still sore. I'm still out of shape.

Mondays have one redeeming feature this semester: improv. I don't think I've mentioned this, but I started an improv troupe on campus last semester. It's called DICEY, which stands for Drake Improv Comedy Experiment, Yo. It's a great time. Just a bunch of fun kids getting together once a week to act like...well, kids. Tonight's exercises explored the empathy of soliders, virtual reality Smurf movies, and Nude Math. No, not New Math. Nude Math. You've never thought the word "rhombus" was dirty until you saw that sketch. It's good times.

Lastly, I love Jimmy Eat World to death, but that doesn't stop this from being funny.


Holy crap.

You guys have to check this out. It's one of the most amazing things I've seen on the web in a long time. Uber-creepy. Should take take you about 15-20 minutes to read the whole thing. Read all the e-mails first, then check out the updates. Be sure to check out all the links or you'll miss part of the story. And you might want to turn some lights on...

The Dionaea House


Scam of the century

Okay, back to the frivolity.

And it doesn't get more frivolous than this, let me tell you. So it's my last semester at Drake and in order to graduate with honors (which my extreme internal desire to overachieve tells me I must do), I have to do a senior thesis. Most people do huge research papers or some sort of critical examination of some issue they've been learning about. I thought about doing that, but it sounded like a lot of work. And about zero fun.

I'll graduate with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing, but my true passion, as many of you know, is comedy. And my all-time favorite class I've taken here at Drake was called Modern Political Satire. So I went to the professor who taught the course and told her that I wanted to do what amounts to an extended satire project for my thesis. Here's what I proposed:

A sketch comedy satirical revue, in the style of Second City, with short sketches, longer group scenes, blackouts, comedic monologues, and maybe even some songs. I would write it and the presentation would consist of some staged readings and a couple prepared performances.

She loved it and agreed to be my thesis advisor. I have to write a proposal and get the Honors people to accept it, but I've already got verbal agreement from one of the professors. Think about it - if this works out, I could be writing a comedy show for my senior Honors thesis. I can't believe how brilliant it is.

I was trying to name it while lying awake in bed the other night. Many of the titles for Second City revues have come from a play on words with a famous phrase from literature. For example, their current etc revue is titled "From Fear to Eternity." So I tried to work that angle, using something from Drake. I thought about maybe "The Drakes of Wrath" or "All's Quiet on the Western Side of Campus." But then it hit me.


A clever localization and a nod to the glorious heyday of investigative journalism. It was a fun little epiphany and I really like it. So I've got the title. That's the hardest part, I hear. Should all be downhill from here. Anyway, I'll keep you updated on the status of this thing - maybe post some sketches as I write them, ask what you think. Any ideas you guys come up with are welcome.

Because you know there's going to be some kind of sketch about blogging.


No jokes here, ironically.

I normally shy away from serious subjects on this blog of mine. It seems the world is often too serious for its own good, so why should it be perpetuated in this space? But I feel I would be remiss if I did not comment on the passing of Johnny Carson.

I've spent quite a bit of time today watching videos of news coverage on the Internet and I made it a point to catch The Tonight Show, which had some great guests and was very touching. Kind of a strange thing for me to do, considering I don't think I've ever seen Carson host a show, except in clips. I was not yet 10 years old when he stepped down from his hosting duties. I doubt I'd even stayed up until 10:30 at that point. So why was I so saddened at the passing of an entertainer I barely knew?

I don't know, really. Maybe I recognized his importance in the realm of entertainment. Maybe, as an amateur crafter of comedy, I felt he was a kindred spirit. Maybe he represented a simpler time when it was possible to have a uniting cultural touchstone...a time that, in today's increasingly fragmented world, is becoming impossible to return to.

Maybe it's all of these things. Like I said, I don't know. All I know is that we've lost someone very special and my heart is sad because of it.
He was before my time and of that, I am truly regretful. We will never see another quite like him.

Rest in peace, Johnny.


One line movie review

I saw House of Flying Daggers tonight, a Chinese martial-arts film in the vein of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. Here's my one line review:

I just can't get enough of people fighting on treetops.


Traditional media sucks. Yeah, I said it.

I've really been getting into webcomics this year. Don't get me wrong, I still love the syndicated newspaper comics that are good, of which there are very few. Get Fuzzy, Frazz, and Brewster Rockit, Space Guy are some notable newcomers that I really love. Relative newcomers, I should say, but since Beetle Bailey has been around for 80 freaking years, that makes a lot of strips relative newcomers. And don't even get me started on Prince Valiant.

But like all traditional media, the web has its own versions and they're every bit as good, if not better. They're more special interest, niche comics, but if you like the subject material, they're gold. For example, gamers can't get enough of Penny Arcade, PvP, and Ctrl-Alt-Del.

But I've finally found the webcomic that speaks to my niche. It's called Questionable Content and it's the webcomic for indie hipsters. The author name-drops indie bands like it's his job, the characters are really smart and funny, and there's an anthropomorphisized PC. What more could you want? Wait, what's that you say? You want someone to make fun of emo? Done and done.

Maybe I'll put my favorite webcomics in a links section sometime. Because I'm sure you all really care a lot and because I'm such an amazing html programmer.


Timmy Tapeworm: Cat Burglar

Hey, thanks for all the computer gaming memories, guys. Really takes me back. They were almost as good as Teddy Graham Memories.

In other news, I've made the switch to Firefox. All the cool kids are doing it.

So here's a fun story. The past couple nights, our senior PR class has been conducting research for our clients, which involves calling a bunch of Des Moines citizens and asking them to take a survey. Some are nice and give you their time, some hang up, some don't understand English.

Some call the police.

When I called my very first number, a lady picked up. I asked if there was a male present because, due to statistical sampling, we're supposed to alternate. She said no, so I said I'd call back. When I called back later that evening, she was very upset and asked for my name and who authorized me to call, looking for males in the house. Seems she equated checking for a male with casing the joint for a future break-in. After I called the first time, she called the police and said that this might be related to the recent "rash of Beaverdale break-ins."

I can totally see where she was coming from. I mean, it's not like I said I was a senior PR student at the local, well-known university. I definitely didn't explicitly name the organization sponsoring the survey. Oh wait, I did both of those things. I also said I was looking for a male 24 years or older (because, as an experienced cat burglar, I could take ANYONE under 24). She was a crazy lady.

Well, I gotta go. If she thinks I'm casing her place, I can't disappoint her. I've got some serious burgling to do.


Trip down Cyber-Lane

So as my constant mentioning of Middle Earth and my saving thereof might indicate, I've gotten back into computer gaming. I may never understand why the pressing of buttons and controlling an onscreen character is so enjoyable. But it is. Probably has to do with being able to exert absolute control over at least one part of my life. Someone once asked me why I always play as female characters in fighting games. I think I babbled something about how they're faster and more agile before I just admitted that I like having absolute control of a woman, even if she's virtual. So...that's creepy.

So I was thinking about my lifelong affair with video games. Even when I was very little, we had a computer. Now, it was basically a huge keyboard that you jammed a cartridge in the side and plugged into your TV, but you could play "Alphabet Zoo" and "Donald Duck Teaches Time." It also had an add-on unit where you put a cassette tape in a tape player and somehow that ran a computer program. Yeah, I don't understand it either. But I'm still trying to work out vinyl.

Eventually we got a sweet Tandy 1000 for Christmas and various units after that. Christmas was always a great time for games. Josh and I got to the point where we could identify a wrapped game by the sound made by the discs inside. We weren't allowed to get a Nintendo, so that meant we were Sierra devotees of the highest degree. They were the pioneers of the adventure game. You know, the "move your guy around, type stuff in and solve quests" kind of game. Like Peasant's Quest, to cite a modern example.

"King's Quest," "Police Quest," "Space Quest," "Quest for Glory," basically anything involving quests...we were into it. I was the typer and Josh was the idea man - we were a good team. The games got better as time went along - graphics and sound improved and eventually the typing parser was replaced with a point and click interface. (That was when they jumped the shark for Mom. No typing = no thinking in Mom's world. She obviously didn't know how hard King's Quest VI was.)

But the adventure game genre has long since gone the way of the dinosaur, replaced by so many Doom clones and MMORPGs. Sierra now makes games like Half-Life 2 and The Hobbit. Ah...they don't make 'em like they used to.

Anyway, this post was intended to let all you dorky gamers reminisce about the games of yesteryear, console or PC. The ones that make you think back and say what I just did, that being of course, "Ah...they don't make 'em like they used to." So let's take a trip down Cyber-lane in the comments.

Oh, school starts tomorrow. That's something.


Welcome back, Kotter. Where's the rent?

So I'm back in the dorms, which is nice. Being at home made me realize just how filthy this room was, so I went crazy with the cleaning. I mean, we're talking vacuuming (for only the second time this year) and dusting (definitely the only time this year). It was right around the time I started fixing the fringe on my rug when I began to fear I may be developing low-grade OCD just like the dude from Double Dare. Marc Summers was his name. Dude went pretty nuts. Tore his house apart looking for those little red flags.

I've started seeing more Enzyte commercials all of a sudden. You know, the drug for natural male enhancement. They'll send you a free sample now, which has about 8 pills in it. After those 8 pills, do you think you'd notice a change? Perhaps a more appropriate question: do you think you'd convince yourself that you notice a change?

Hey, if want to see just how unimportant my musical selections ended up being, the article is here. My choices weren't even printed in the actual paper and even online I'm one of about a billion people in the greater Des Moines area with musical opinions. So say goodby to my ego.

If anyone feels bad about me getting schooled on ebay last week, don't. Because I totally turned the tables and pulled the same joke on some unsuspecting kid on Saturday. So I have the same thing for only a couple bucks more coming my way. Now if I can just figure out freaking Paypal...


Casey at the nipple hair

So I was going to write a long epic poem about this terrible tragedy, but that sounded like a lot of work, so I just ripped off the last stanza of another poem:

"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout,
but there is no joy in Des Moines, for Tim's nipple hair has fallen out."

Yes, it's true. And it's very sad. But that's life. Fear not, my friends. It will grow back and yea verily I say unto thee, it will grow to be longer than it ever was. For that is the way of the eternal nipple hair. It always returns.

Now if you'll excuse me, Middle Earth is not going to save itself.


Two...maybe three things...

I just made a really long post, so now I'm going to make a short one, because I like to appeal to all attention spans.

1) I felt really weird all day today. Then I came home and found out that my undershirt was on inside out. That explained it.

2) Do a search on Google for "the answer to life, the universe, and everything." Go on, do it. It's great. If you do it and don't get it, read more.

Edit: Fine, I'll just do it for you.

Uh...yeah, that's it.

ebane of my existence

I've never done a ton of stuff on ebay. Sometimes I log on and look at the ridiculous stuff people sell, but I've never bought or sold anything. Yesterday, I realized why.

First, I should explain what I was bidding on, which requires a brief explanation of my current philosophy of buying computer games. This summer, I realized that I would be away from my friends and their gaming platforms for three whole months. (When I was young, I primarily chose friends based on their ownership of a Nintendo. It's no longer the main criteria, but it's a nice ancillary benefit.) This would not do. I needed my video game fix somehow. The purchase of a new laptop coincided nicely with my decision to return to the world of computer games. But I had been away for so long. What should I do? The answer was simple.

Retroactive gaming.

It was so perfect. I went into Best Buy, but instead of ogling the newest titles with their glossy boxes and promises of advanced graphics, I went straight for the bargain rack. There, I could find quality titles that they were just trying to get rid of. Often, they would be sold in just a jewel case. That's when you know they're desperate. But they were a great price and I could be confident that they would run well on my not-built-for-gaming laptop. It's really easy - you just go back one sequel. I've never played Max Payne. Why should I skip ahead and play Max Payne 2 before I play the first one? (That's $40.00 more and a complete lack of context and backstory. No thank you.) If I've never owned Madden, Madden 2004 will be just as good as Madden 2005. I will suck at both of them, but that's not the point. (Video game football and I don't get along, probably due to the fact that I never played football, hardly watch it, and hate selecting plays. I always Hail Mary when I should fullback sweep. I still think the fullback plays defense, and why would I want to hand the ball to the other team? Wait...does the fullback play defense? Crap...)

I realize this philosophy is completely uninteresting to non-gamers. And true gamers would scoff at the idea of being a year behind. Which means that, as usual, I'm talking solely to my target audience: myself.

Anyway, back to ebay. I was bidding on a copy of Final Fantasy VII for PC, because I'm a huge dork like that. It's at least a few years old, but considered to be a classic, so they usually sell for $40 or more. I found one person who had a starting price of $24, and no one had bid, so I thought, "Sweet. No one is paying attention to this guy because he doesn't have the original box and everyone on here is a nerdy collector. I could get a great deal." So 12 hours before the auction ended, I put in a bid for the starting price.

I was monitoring it the next day *cough* at work *cough* and I was still the only bidder. I was starting to get excited. I'd been trying to find this game for a while, and now I was going to get it for a song. Here's a transcript what happened:

10 minutes left in the auction. You are the top bidder.


5 minutes left in the auction. You are the top bidder.


2 minutes left in the auction. You are the top bidder. "Sweet, I'm going to win!"


The auction has ended. You have been outbid. "WHAT??!!" (double interrobang)

My jaw dropped. I was outbid by the princely sum of 50 cents by some dude who hadn't even made his presence known. I didn't even think anyone else was watching the freaking thing. I can just picture the guy, laughing at the newbie ebay user and swooping in to take it away in the last minute. Freaking...swooper. He's nothing but a...swoop jockey. I was upset. But I've learned my lesson. And also how to use the maximum bid feature to let ebay do the work for you. So it won't happen again.

I went home and cut up some orcs to make myself feel better. Because my new Return of the King game...over a year old. And awesome.


Ice Age

Ah...Ice Age. A quality movie, that. They really pulled a smart move in that one. When casting the part of the annoying sidekick, they chose John Leguizamo, who is actually annoying in real life. Brilliant move. Ah, who am I kidding? Sid is a great character. Too bad he sucked in Romeo & Juliet. Leguizamo, that is. Not Sid. Sid would have been hilarious in R & J.

Anyway, Ice Age. Remember yesterday when I was complaining about the amount of ice falling in Des Moines? Yeah, I shouldn't have said anything. Because it got FREAKING WORSE. I fear that we will enter into a new ice age. But not everyone, just Des Moines. And we won't be able to leave and no one else will care enough to rescue us. And that would suck, because I have VERY little food here. I mean, I've got my laptop and my iPod and I'm looking right at an unopened 10-pack of Double A batteries, which won't do any good in powering either of those first two things. Those things are all fun, but they don't taste very good.

Especially the batteries. Trust me on this one.

So uh...hey, if I never see you again...bye. It's possible that I'm being overdramatic about this whole thing, but I doubt it.



Okay, so I took a little Christmas break from blogging. So sue me, sue me, what can you do me? You would think that all the extra time would lead to a veritable torrent of blogging. Ah, you'd think that, but you'd be wrong. It's Hambone. (Only Josh and cool people get that joke.) Besides, I think those quotes were more than good enough to leave in the top spot for two weeks. They were deserving of at least 24 rereads, if not more.

Anyway, I'm back in the blog world and I'm back in Des Moines, where it snowed. A lot. It's amazing that the three solid days of rain that we received in Jerseyville came down as about three solid days of snow here in Des Moines. Actually, it's not that amazing. It's pretty simple physics. A little temperature change, a little change in the state of matter and biggity-bang, you have a winter wonderland of snow. (Which, contrary to its pretty appearance, is actually hiding an icy deathtrap of...ice. So...watch out for that.)

So hi, hello, welcome back, good to see you again, good to be back, let's banter, blah blah blah. Here's a thought that some friends and I were throwing around this weekend.

A vampire is coming right at you and you, being well-versed in vampiric lore, whip out a cross and wave it in his face. But the cross has no effect! With a slight wave of his hand and a muttered "Feh," he proceeds to suck your blood and what's more, he makes YOU feel guilty about it!

Because he's JEWISH!!

Hey, it could happen! "McWORLD!!"

Ah, it's good to be back.