Two links, a story, and some Goldfish snacks

Check out this fascinating article about Conan O'Brien. Veddy interesting...

Also go look at the site of a NYC group called Improv Everywhere. They do really great "experiments" in the city that are really funny, but not at anyone's expense. They're not messing with people to be mean, they're just kind of messing with them to make them smile. I think it's nice and that Scott should move to NYC and join.

Speaking of Scott, he called me today and opened with the line, "Hey, want to save lives and read comic books?" This, surprisingly, is only the second weirdest opening line he's delivered this week. The weirdest was on Monday when he simply yelled "I LOVE YOU!" when I picked up. This was odd because I was in Barnes & Noble at the time and I think the people around me heard. Fortunately, I was in the graphic novel section and none of the nerds knew what those words mean.

Anyway, by "save lives," he actually meant donate blood, so we went to the Springfield Blood Center and did the fun interviewing routine. (Some of the questions on that interview I really feel are just for laughs - "Have you ever traveled to the moon or been paid to have sex with someone who HAS traveled to the moon?" is really not that far off from some of the questions on the interview.)

I assume I passed, because I was ushered into the blood-letting room and given a nice cushy chair to sit it. Let me tell you, the chairs in the blood center are a heck of a lot nicer than those ramshackle wicker things they have at your college or high school. Very nice. Scott (or "Harry," as he was addressed in the blood center) was given the seat next to me. We were both prepped, stuck, and then...the race was on.

15 seconds and a few squeezes later, Scott lost. Or possibly won. Depending on the rules.

It seems Scott is so AMAZINGLY strong that he managed to squeeze the needle right out of his arm. And once it's dislodged, they can't put it back. And they can't try again. So despite the fact that Scott gave about three tablespoons of blood, he was done for the day and in fact the next 56 days. That's how long he has to wait before attempting (and most likely COMPLETELY failing) to give blood again.

He waited and ate cookies he did not deserve while I completed my selfless humanitarian act. Honestly Scott, how do you sleep at night?


No seriously, they're space cowboys

Holy crap! A Smoosh video? How adorable!

Remember when my blog used to be filled with exciting things like church camp and island adventures? I remember those things too. Those were good days.

My blog is not very exciting at the moment because my life is not very exciting at the moment. Just a lot of mundane stuff you do before you move, I guess. My biggest accomplishments today were returning a library book and measuring a desk. I could tell you everything that happens in every day, like Kevin Smith apparently does now, but I doubt you would find posts about Eragon, NHL 2004, and Veronica Mars very exciting. (Although Veronica Mars is a great show. Both Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon say so.)

Speaking of Joss Whedon, only two days until Serenity. I never understood what all the fuss about Firefly (the failed, nay, axe-murdered TV show on which the film is based) was about. Then I watched it. And it's really good. So that's something to look forward to. Me and my fellow geeks (read: Scott, Rob) are planning to catch the late show on Friday. Scott says that not only will he be watching all 14 episodes (including the 2-hour pilot) on Friday, he'll also be dressing up for the film. I hope he's kidding. On both counts. Actually, I hope he's not.

Okay, sorry I'm so boring that I'm telling you how excited I am to see a space western that comes out this week. Maybe tomorrow, if you're lucky, I'll tell you the story of the time my college roommate almost killed me with an apple. I think it deserves to be preserved.

Finally, I've been listening heavily to Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros recently. Do the meandering, instrumental songs that are sometimes sung in a made-up language (when there are words at all) reflect my current state of being? Discuss.


Mice are the highest, by the way. Read the book.

"It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars and so on -- whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man -- for precisely the same reasons.

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had made many attempts to alert man to the danger; but most of their attempts were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left Earth by their own means shortly before the Vogons arrived.

The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated double backward somersault through a hoop whilst whistling 'Star-Spangled Banner,' but in fact it was this: so long and thanks for all the fish."

- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The second-highest intelligent forms of life on this planet.

And we've turned them into armed assassins.


Well, guess that's the end of mankind.


The Art of Posing with Poseurs

Okay, enough about that crazy Raph character. His day is over. He can start his own blog if he likes the attention so much. Back to me.

Not too much going on here - just preparation for the big move and mundane things like getting my eyes checked. Incidentally, my eyesight is incredible. I actually have laser eyes. And I know what you're thinking.

So because I don't have much to talk about, it's time once again for a...


Actually, it's time for a random SERIES of pictures...of the day.

Back in the spring semester of my junior year, I was asked by a friend of mine to help him out with his final project for a class. In one of the journalism classes, the final project is to produce and film a TV show. They chose to do a late-night talk show in the style of The Tonight Show, et al, and asked me to be the host. So it came to be that I was involved in "The Great Late Show with Tim Ryder." Good thing they got me or the name would have made no sense. ZERO SENSE!

Part of the prep for the show was to get pictures of me that could be used to bump into and out of commercials. So I walked around Drake's campus with none other than Miss Keri Thompson, which was funny because we didn't really know each other at the time but are great friends now. We took quite a few pictures of me (58 in fact) doing many silly things on campus and they really turned out well. They're actually some of my favorite pictures of myself, and I generally don't like pictures of myself, so that's saying something.

Anyway, I recently unearthed the CD with these pics on it from my vault o' crap and thought I'd share some. I really was tempted to just post a ton of them, but I thought it would be better if I doled them out in series, just to stretch things out.

The first series is with some statues outside the Harmon Fine Arts Center, or FAC. (It's where all the music and theater nerds live.)

At first, the group and I were getting along great. I thought we meshed well and really sounded great together. I was going to name us "Tim and the Coppertops," because some of their heads were wearing through and maybe Duracell would sponsor us.

Then that stupid little boy kept losing his place in the music. Look at me trying to get him back on beat, but he's not paying attention. Look, he's not even LOOKING at the music. How unprofessional.

So I thought I'd switch gears and bring out the axe. (I'm totally rocking a G chord in this picture.)

I could totally wail with those guys. (I'm still rocking a G chord, you just can't tell.)

But then that stupid little girl told me I was out of tune.

So I broke my guitar over her head.

It was the big finale.

You can thank Keri for the great photography. And don't worry,
there are plenty more where those came from. Just wait until you see the series entitled "Variations on a Theme of Olmsted Furniture and Howard the D-Shoppe Guy."

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My good friend Raph turns 23 today. For some reason, the greatest gift I can think to give him is a post entirely dedicated to making him look like a goofball. He doesn't really need a post for that, of course, but I do what I can to remind the world that Raph is, in fact, a huge goofball.

This picture is almost as big an indictment of myself as it is of him, but it fits just the same. It's almost artsy (note the jacket half on - that's a social statement of some kind), but mostly just proves what happens when idiots get cameras.

One of the things we loved to do on our camping trips was to go take awesome action shots by the lake. With the waves crashing in the background, it just seemed appropriate to take pictures where we looked like wizards and the like. Here, Raph is imit
ating Mitsurugi, the character he always plays in Soul Caliber II. (I feel the need to remind you [and him] that this is also the character he completely failed to beat me with in the final match for Champion of the Universe.)

This is not Raph making a funny face. Raph always makes this face when posing for pictures. He honestly thinks it looks good.

And of course, who could forget...

The infamous "Raph stoned at graduation" picture? Man, I bet Gavin's speech was about ten times as funny for Raph that day.

Happy birthday, buddy.

Everyone feel free to share your favorite Raph story. Or just make one up.
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Two guys, two girls, and a dry cleaners?

Well, it took a System Restore and some third-party extraction software, but I figured it out. Switchfoot is on the iPod and the evil record companies have been held at bay for one day more. (And I agree, The Meez, it is quite good. So shut up and go listen to your Goldfinger, Jacob.)

Okay, on to happier topics. Let me tell you about my new apartment in Chicago.

Let's imagine, for the purposes of this exercise, that my life is a sitcom. The series focuses on a mildly sheltered Midwestern youth moving to the big city for the first time. He gets an apartment with a friend, not a wildly expansive Friends-like apartment, but one that's realistic to his recently graduated price range. This apartment (and the surrounding environment) has many wacky quirks that lend to sitcom hilarity. Can you picture it?

Okay, keep that picture in your mind. I'm not even joking you - that's my apartment. To a T! I'm going to live in a sitcom apartment.

Allow me to explain, in easy-to-understand list format:
  • The apartment is located above a dry cleaners. Our packages are delivered to the cleaners if no one is home. The owners are apparently very nice and will give you a discount once they get to know you. I do not know if the owners of the cleaners are Asian, but given that the name of the business is "Swan Cleaners," I like to think that they are. (Or that they are in the business of cleaning swans.) Unfortunately, we do not have to go through the cleaners to get to our apartment. That would be extra-special hilarious.

  • The apartment is literally RIGHT next to the El tracks. There is a bend in the tracks to avoid our building. I could probably reach out the window and touch the train as it passes, but that's just because my arms are 10 feet long. And you can hear it every time it goes by. Picture Brad Pitt and Gweneth Paltrow's apartment in Se7en, only the place doesn't shake as much and no one's head ends up in a box.

  • My room is not even close to being square. It is long and narrow and kind of curves around in a way that would give M.C. Escher a headache. In short, it resembles my own body. Also, there is a step-up closet. Yes, step-UP. I predict lots of head-hitting.

  • I have three roommates. Two are female comedians. I'm not even talking comedians like "Ha ha, they're so funny." I'm talking comedians like "Ha ha, they're so funny, they make a living being funny." (Regular blog visitors will know one of them as the infamous tara d.) I have another roommate (male) who I really don't know. He's the wildcard. Three's Company plus wildcard updated to 2005, anyone? I demand Don Knotts be our landlord.

  • Next to the cleaners on the ground floor is Stage Left Theatre, an alternative, kind of radical political theater that could provide many hilarious guest stars in the "crazy actor" mold.

  • It's just a few blocks south of Wrigley Field and right between two of the big improv theatres in the city, making the apartment pretty much the epicenter of hilarity and revelry for the entire city.
So there you have it. I'm moving in early next month and I'm super excited for the sitcom to start filming. Or if not sitcom, at least a reality show.


Nothing is Allowed on Your iPod

Currently listening to: NOT the new Switchfoot album, that's for sure!!
Current mood: Salty

Oh, I'm salty alright. FRIGGIN' SALTY!!

The saltiness is directed at EMI, Columbia Records, and their parent company, Sony. You see, the new Switchfoot album, Nothing is Sound, comes equipped with RI-DONK-U-LOUS copy-protection software - so ridonkulous, in fact, that it only allows you to rip the audio file to a computer in protected WMA format. Are these files compatible with iTunes, and by extension, my trusty iPod?

No, they are not.

I don't listen to music these days unless it's coming through my iPod.

Hence the saltiness.

When are record labels going to learn that taking measures such as these do NOTHING to stop piracy and EVERYTHING to infuriate loyal customers? Honestly, they're so paranoid about piracy that they're willing to massively inconvenience users of the MOST POPULAR digital music player in the world just to feel like they're doing something about the problem!

Hey, here's a thought, music industry: STOP PUTTING YOUR ENTIRE MARKETING BUDGET BEHIND CRAPPY, FLASH-IN-THE-PAN ARTISTS!! IT'S CALLED ARTIST DEVELOPMENT - LOOK INTO IT!! People are willing to pay for things that they love and are loyal to. Family Guy is probably one of the most downloaded things on BitTorrent, yet their DVDs still set sales records? Why is this? Try extreme loyalty based on extreme quality. It's that simple.

Grrr...I am so peeved about this. (I bet you can tell.) I started out just feeling mildly inconvenienced and rapidly progressed to decrying the state of the entire music industry. (Yes, I do this often, but come on. I don't need reminding.) And I just watched Switchfoot on Conan and feel bad that they have to be swept up in all of this. They're such a great band and from what I can tell, care very little about making money from their music. I highly doubt that they had anything to do with all of this. Maybe they don't even know.

Anyway, you can bet that some highly-charged e-mails will come out of this. President of Sony, look out. My tongue is a-fiery.

I guess it's just a good things I have uber-haxxor friends that have nothing better to do than figure out workarounds to this.

EDIT: I was right about the band not knowing about this whole thing. Check out this post from Tim Foreman on Switchfoot's message boards. Glad to know I can still stand proudly as a Switchfoot fan.


A wagonful of pamcakes? In the champeenship?

Haven't posted for a week. Sorry. Much to report. But not tonight. Tonight, two things:

My favorite commercial right now is the one with the song that goes, "Being a dad is AWE-some." I sing along every time.

Also, my little second cousin Layla is hilarious. I went to her fourth birthday party and put together Dora's Talking Kitchen for her. That's right - a talking kitchen. Assembled by me.

Anyway, she got a cat and named it Waffle, after what she had for breakfast that morning.

Then she found a stray cat at that landfill. She brought it home and kept it. Its name?



I am 10 ninjas.

I finished the Ninja Game. Every level. Owned.

This is the proudest accomplishment of my entire life.

Now, off to Chicago to look at an apartment. Keep your fingers crossed, it sounds like a great one...


Epilogue and stingers

Okay, so I made a mistake when I left Rob completely out of the Risk account. He did a lot of important stuff, like...show up late. In complete Best Buy regalia. And then play PS2 all night, while occasionally looking at the board and encouraging Jake to do something. Man, I can't believe I left that out.

Although after I left the game, we did thoroughly enjoy the many nuances of Super Monkey Ball, which is of course a video game and not a terrible euphemism. Especially great is the monkey boxing. But it's hard to steer your monkey when you're laughing your head off.

Geez...steer your monkey...I give up. It's impossible to talk about that game without sounding obscene.

Good thing though - we really don't have to worry about it anymore. Josh was trying to take the disc out of the case and BROKE IT IN HALF!! Guess all that brickmonkeying really built him up. So...no more Monkey Ball. Sad, because Monkey Bowling was really great.

Okay, so I need your help on something. I still haven't changed my sleeping habits from college, so I have some late nights, but even worse, sometimes I can't fall asleep. So what do I do when I'm lying in bed at 2 in the morning? Sometimes, I imagine I go to Hogwarts. That's what you think about when you re-read the entire Harry Potter series because you have the time. But sometimes, I write jokes.

And these are really weird, surreal messed-up jokes, and I have no idea if they're funny to anyone else besides me when I'm in my bed at 2 in the morning. So I'm going to post a few and you can tell me what you think. When you read these, think Mitch Hedberg-ian one-liners, only me, slightly ripping off this style.

  • If you sustained an injury while walking, it probably wouldn’t be good advice to walk it off.

  • Popes get to name themselves when they become Pope, but they all pick boring names. I'd be Pope Batman the Destructor.

  • If it was really two-percent milk, the container would not be nearly as full. It would be ninety-eight percent air.

  • Once I got lost in a corn maze. To a Native American, that sentence sounded like, “Once I got lost in a corn corn.”

  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do: make fun of American tourists trying to fit in with the locals.

  • Most people react badly when someone says, “Hey man, I’m gonna knock you into next week,” but I think that would be cool because then you would be in the future.

  • What if your mutant power was that you never had to sleep? You probably couldn’t go be a superhero, but you could get a lot of stuff done.

  • I am very thankful that I have never had to say the phrase, “Oh no, my brother is trapped inside the TV.” But now I have and I can never use that joke again.

  • I named my dog Armageddon, but mostly I call him Red. Especially when I have to call him home for dinner. I changed because I was spooking the neighbors.

  • If you are celebrating Independence Day and you are counting on your neighbor to bring the hot dogs, you are completely missing the point.
FRIDAY MORNING EDIT: After I posted this last night, I went to lie in bed and the very thing I described happened again. So here's last night's 2 AM joke:
  • Do you think Heaven has a library? I bet if it does, it has every book in The Babysitter's Club series, because God seems like he values completion.