Monday, February 27, 2012

Cross Doing that Giant Crossword Right Off My List

Six and a half feet tall. Six and a half feet wide. No, I'm not describing any freakishly large bit of anatomy (skin), I'm describing a crossword puzzle. A freakishly large skin-sized crossword puzzle.

My girlfriend knew I dabbled in crossword puzzles,so she got me this monstrocity for my birthday. But my birthday was in September, and if you look closely at the picture, you'll probably see it's not very well filled. Of the 28,000+ questions, I might have cracked 700 answers. I fully plan on being done with it next week.

It looks like a Magic Eye. But no, no it's not.
That is, next week after I eschew eating, all forms of sanitation and cheatily employ Google, but next week I shall be done nonetheless. Only after going through this intense process can someone, anyone, finish an undertaking as large as this one.

Monstrous size aside, I can't even remember the last time I completed a normal crossword puzzle. And even if I do somehow recall when I did it, odds are it was a Monday edition consisting of 180 easy questions like “What is the first word in this question?” Tyler Hinman, five time world Crossword puzzle champion, I am not.

Standard reaction after paging through half
of clue book.
The hardest part about this crossword is actually finding the clues. They come in a 100 page book packed to the gills with questions. If you think you know an answer for an across question and want to cross reference it with the down section, you have to flip through 50 pages to do it. If you're standing on one end of the puzzle and an answer you know jumps out at you, you might have to walk all the way over to the other side, which as we've established can be up to six feet away. Lord help you if you also have to get a chair to reach the upper questions.

Although I know I'll never finish this thing without my plan for massive cheating, I have still gained the great fundamental background that a good crossworder gets. But while they might see “muse of poetry” (ERATO) once every other day or so, I've seen it five times on this puzzle. Ditto for STYE and OLEO. At no point in my life will this knowledge come in handy—I don't even know what a “muse of poetry” would do, maybe eat OREOs (also common). These crossword puzzle cliches probably account for 62 percent of the progress I've made on my puzzle. And that is the only way this knowledge has helped me.

But that leaves a gigantic 38 percent entirely on me, and when you add in the horrendous errors in my probablility calculating, what lies ahead of me is an even more daunting task. As luck would have it though, my cat tore down one part of the puzzle, so I literally cannot finish it. She might end up being the convenient scapegoat I use for why I didn't finish. I imagine being a grizzled old man ranting about the good old days when I coulda been a contender, I coulda finished the puzzle, but Rio wouldn't let me. I could just ignore the patch she ripped, but I already immortalized the incident on #16211 across “Destroyer of Crosswods” as “Rio,” when I know it's actually “Alf.”

That's probably just proof that this thing has driven me insane.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Otis cuddles up to idea of a dead Papa

Your dashing guest blogger.
For some reason, Papa cannot write this week. But don't worry, his most favorite of cats. OTIS! Will take over in his stead. We on such similar wavelength, you probably not even notice difference.

It actually seems weird Papa not write. I mean, he been extra cuddly a lot recently. Usually to cuddle, I must put frog in mouth and moan for upwards of 17 minutes. Usually only then does he relent to cuddles.

I think it weird that Papa write this entry about us eating him, and then all of the sudden he stop moving. Of course we going to eat him, because what else we eat? Vegetables? NO! But I say I only eat bits of neck. Sprocket eat whole lot of Papa. Sprocket a stupid cat. Not smart like Otis. Otis not bite to kill. Otis bite to survive. Although I do kind of miss kibble. Kibble taste good, but Papa taste good. So conflicted.

Either way, I still give him the best cuddles. Like if you rank them, I'd probably be just below some automated cuddling machine straight from the labs of Apple. Or maybe Ron Jeremy on the level of cuddle goodness. He seems to cuddle good. I cuddle good too. I equal him. Papa probably realized this and that why he cuddling so good now.
Normally I must moan like this to get cuddles.
Not anymore.

Although it kind of weird. Usually he move and put arm around me to cuddle, but not anymore. I need to work my way under his arm. He not move much, he also not have pulse. Not exactly sure how the human arterial system work, but I assume that means he totally in cuddling mood. I find when he do have pulse and I stink, I no get cuddles. He have no pulse, no matter how I smell, I get cuddles. Even when I have my "DiarOtis™" we still cuddle. Win win all around—except for Papa's vital organs. Which Sprocket says taste delicious, but I not know. I good kitty. I smart kitty. I way better than Sprocket.

This just might be the best thing that ever happen to the Papa-Otis relationship. Just need to get rid of Sprocket and life becomes absolutely perfect. Place a little bit of arsenic in Papa's pancreas and the fool Sprocket will chow down on it. Joke on him though, not only does he get no delicious beta cells (I hear), he don't even get to live longer. Ha ha. Otis win. Sprocket lose because he stupid.

That's really all I have to say. Sure, I admit to catricide, but I also admit to having awesome cuddles with Papa, and no jury in the world would convict me for that!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nothing Crazy about being a Crazy Cat Lady

It's the same old story. Person only has her family—no friends. Person dies. Family eats person.

While the above statement holds true for large parts of the South, it also happens just about everywhere there's a crazy cat lady. You know the type, she's a lady. She has cats. That's all you need to know about her. She's a crazy cat lady.

The corpse of the crazy cat lady only gets discovered when neighbors notice cats adorably walking around the house wearing their former master's wigs and eating her ribbon candy (of course laced with large parts of intestine). While it might look insanely cute from the outside, it reeks of decomposed old woman on the inside. Or as we call it in the crazy cat lady industry call it, a push.

My big question is why can only ladies be considered crazy cat ones? Is this some form of bizarre reverse sexism? There's no crazy cat men or insane iguana girls. The entire concept relies on a very pointed finger with only a certain type of person and a certain type of animal.
Kitties, Cats, Craziness
You'd be crazy for these cats too... lady.
I'm sure men out there would love to have a cat nuzzle up against them, tenderize their extremities and regale in their mews. As a guy, I can confirm that. And I'd love it even more if there were 34 of them. Yet society and its nomenclaturing dictates that I cannot do such a thing.

Personally, I own three cats. Which many people would claim puts me on the way to CatLadyDom. I think it's just the exact amount of cats necessary for a household to function properly. My three cats have their own hierarchy worked out where Otis hates and beats up Sprocket, Sprocket doesn't care about Rio, and Rio just exists. Were I to add another, it'd be like adding dynamite to Rock-Paper-Scissors—would just screw everything up and make people angry enough at each other that they start attacking with real rock, paper, scissors or the oh so controversial dynamite.

But with my three kids, there's no sort of dynamite kerfluffle. Everyone gets along in our own community. For a good while, I lived in a house with 500 square feet. This gave us all a good 100 square feet of space that was personally our own. Sure, occasionally those 100 feets overlapped while kitties would battle it out or I'd make them cuddle with me, but brought a welcome change to our loving relationships. And it was adorably cute. But then again, kitties were doing it, and I love my kitties.

Even animated, those cats are still adorable!
Come to think of it, my whole Rock-Paper-Scissors analogy is off. I need more kittens added to my masses. I'm in an apartment nearly twice the size now. Applying some permutations and purposefully incorrect math, I can easily fit at least a 50 cats in here—hell, I could even hop up to a gross of them.

And the names I'd have for my new loves—Launchpad, Roderick, Pizza, Cheyenne, Television, Role Models on BluRay, Wyoming, Item. That just represents a small amount of the names I could go through for my brand new bundles of fur.

All the kitties in the world will love me, much like the Grey Gardens people had adoring fur friends, or just about anyone who has ever appeared on Hoarders knows. There will be oodles of kitty love reciprocation. Who cares if they eat me once I pass, I know my 165 pounds will provide them with sustenance for years to come. They will lead happy, healthy lives because my corpse will always be there for them, much like they were there for me.

Although the sight of our animals devouring my corpse just might confuse and sicken my girlfriend, I'm not going to let her stop it. I wouldn't let my Otis, my Rio or (most of all) my Sprocket suffer. I love them too much, and I will use my crazy cat man powers from beyond the grave to allow them sustenance.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The turn of the Centurion results in death for weathermen

Yes, I do look this bitchin'
I've decided to become a Centurion.

I didn't initially plan on having this happen, but I just kept writing stuff and writing stuff and suddenly I found that I now have 100 posts on BreakMentalDown. But, as any Roman could tell you, that does not a Centurion make. It's also quite helpful that I engaged in the ritual slaughter of the Helvetii people and ensured nobody would ever use the Helvetica font.

Now that I have decided on this fate, I'm really not sure what I can do with my newfound Centurionism. Don't get me wrong, the feathery hats definitely qualify as “severely bitchin,'” but just try wearing one of those things out in public. LARPers will swarm around you, hailing you as a god, while women will ask if you got separated from your parents. Of course I didn't get separated, I drink blood!

I suppose I could walk around randomly shouting out “This is SPARTA!” but that would cause the “300” nerds to snivel and say “Doy, the '300' guys were Greek, not Roman, doy.” And I could proceed to mock them there for using “Doy” twice in the same sentence, but being a “300” fanboy is punishment enough. However, I probably won't do that, because they might stab me with their foam boffers.

This great power can't just fall by the wayside. I'd be doing a disservice to nearly 2000 years of Roman culture. Sure, I've never been to Rome, and I tend to agree with Voltaire that the Holy Roman Empire was none of the above, but I've earned the title, I'm going to use it.

I finally came to a conclusion of what my honorary title can do for me. Willard Scott. For those who don't know, Willard Scott was the original Ronald McDonald—while this has no relation to my statement, I just thought it's awesome—but more importantly, Willard runs a segment on The Today Show where he wishes happy 100th birthday to just about any yokel who can manage to not die for roughly 100 years. And that is where I belong.

Keep smiling, clown. Keep smiling.
People might point out writing 100 posts and aging to 100 are not on quite the same level. Well, I will point out that you are a “300” fanboy, and we all know the problems that go along with that. I will also say that as a centurion, I have real weaponry, and you need to back down. Willard knows the value of having his head attached to his body, and I will get on that program as a result.

And with this, I honor the Roman roots that have been thrust upon me. It might seem like I'm not living up to the name, but I probably forgot to mention that I plan on impaling Mr. Scott on some sort of medieval torture device (probably Mariah Carey's movie “Glitter”) and parading him through the town for all to gawk and bow down before me. Only after I have done this will I truly live up to my Centurion roots.

With that I say, happy Centennial Celebration, BreakMentalDown! Hear ye! Hear ye!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Necco Sweethearts--neither sweet nor heartful

I <3 You 1 on 1 Soul Mate Angel.

This lead paragraph paragraph for my Valentine's Day Eve entry has been provided for you by Necco Sweethearts. And that's the only thing those vile bits of “candy” have ever done for anyone. The reason for this? Necco Sweethearts are nothing but flavored chalk with a total of six different sayings on them. Yum.
Even the Sweethearts are sad they received Sweethearts.
Please note, that was a sarcastic yum. Nobody has ever said “Yippy! Sweethearts, those things taste so good!” The most ecstatic response anyone has ever given to these is “Oh, Sweethearts... I guess.”

Sweethearts present such a bizarre situation. It's like saying “This Valentine's Day, show your love how much you adore them by giving them something that sucks.” Although I do believe they actually ran that campaign in the more cynical 1940s.

It might seem weird for me to pull a date as random as the 1940s out of the air, but I chose it just to show this candy is old. It's even older than the 1940s. They're actually 145 years old. That means a wholly undelicious candy has been awfulling up the grocery aisles and an entire aisle of candy since the 1860s. Although I suppose it truly is a product of the times, because I'm assuming people back then just wanted to avoid death from sepsis and/or Civil War, so they didn't care that their candy didn't taste like candy.

Expanding upon that, I'm fairly certain all Sweethearts that were ever made actually happened during a two week long process in the 1860s. After creating literally billions of them, they no longer needed to mass produce a product with no market. Every year they just dip into the warehouse and funnel out “new” hearts. You might claim this couldn't be true because the sayings change everywhere and people back in the 1860s wouldn't understand phrases like “Txt Me” or “Lets Fck.” I'll dispute that succinctly—they would.

How has this batch lasted so long? Obviously the Necco Corporation has some dealings with the occult that allow the supply to never run out. I'm suspecting a mystical witch enchanted the batch so they could use it infinitely, but would also never taste good. Don't believe me? Well, why else would hemlock be the fourth listed ingredient, behind high fructose corny syrup, deliculin and puns? Obviously the dark arts came into play at some point.

And as a result, there are only three “foods” purporting to be “candy” that I describe as “chalk like.” The first is, of course, these accursed Sweethearts. Next comes dark chocolate that's above 60 percent cacao—after that point, the sweetness just turns into vapid awful. And finally, there's chalk. Some might claim chalk isn't technically a “food,” no matter how liberal I am with the air quotes. However, I site exhibit A as proof that some consider chalk to be a food item—Necco Sweethearts.

So what should you do this Valentine's Day if your sweetheart gives you Sweethearts? Odds are it's just a test to see if you'll “Let's Get Busy” even after receiving one of the worst presents ever. It's all right though, you can plan ahead. If this happens, simply say “What we can do with this is give it to some needy orphans, so they can have a Valentine's Day too.”

Not only will you look like a compassionate lover, you'll shift away the blame, still get busy and get to poison some undeserving children. Win win all around. Thank you Sweethearts.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Parking Lots Don't Take the Right Angle

“Oh, that spot looks good. Oh wait, we can't go there.”
“But don't worry, that one looks... oh, we can't go there either.”
“Well that... no.”

I don't even need to say what the above conversation is concerning, because anyone who has ever parked in a lot with angled parking has had it numerous times—even if there's nobody else in the car. Angled parking accomplishes nothing except delaying and angering people. This is such a common occurrence, I've created the portmonteau “Delangering.” to describe the experience.

Angled parking causes car fires
(unretouched photo)
Delangers come any time someone drives through an angled lot. Without fail, the direction the car is going will have absolutely no parking spots angled at it. A quick look to the left though reveals parking space after glorious black topped parking space. Or maybe one, but what remains is it is an open space, and trying to park there is nigh impossible.

One could awkwardly back into the space, or do an exceedingly wide turn that would scrape large chunks off the Camry parked next to the space. They could also continue around the parking lot, trying to loop back and grab the space. Each present a problem. Backing into an angled space is insanely awkward, will probably anger people on both sides of the road and get you stabbed. While circling around will just cause all of the open spaces to mysteriously vanish—just the nature of angled parking. You'll note, both add to the delangering activities of the day.

It's true, angled parking serves absolutely no purpose (aside from the aforementioned getting you stabbed). It just makes it harder to park. Sure, it might be argued that it's slightly easier to pull into an angled space than a sane space, but that's debatable. What isn't debatable is it's much harder to back out, much harder to see people, much harder to drive. Oh yeah, I guess it's also easier to run over small children, so angled parking does have that going for it.

Normally with problems this great, it requires some sort of paradigm shifting idea to solve. Some new and novel way of thinking, like composting or not dropping nuclear weapons on anything with a pulse. However, the solution for this one is actually quite simple—normal parking. By normal, I mean straight in, straight out. Introducing slants into the equation just wrecks things. And by “wrecks things,” I mean the most literal definition of the phrase. There is a reason some call this parking at the right angle.
Straight in, straight out. That is parking
lot efficiency.
The wackiest reasoning for angled parking is the claim that is actually saves spaces. But no. In addition to being a waste of time, angled parking also wastes space. Let's take a second to compare though. A lot that uses normal parking has the capability of being 100 percent full. It could have the only open areas be the lanes to get to and from parking spaces. Whereas with angled parking, there's always going to be the small little triangle at the very end of the lot where nothing, not even a Hummer H3 (the small Hummer) could fit.

It seems people will continue constructing their lots in this insane fashion. My solution, fight this wrong with a massive wrong. Don't give into the angled nature of the lot. Park in the space like a normal person would, at a 90 degree angle. Some might decree you a pig parker, but if they want a space, they need to follow your lead. Suddenly, that angled lot has become a normal lot and people will delight in their ability to park normally. And then we've started a revolution.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Beef, cheese and tortilla, nothing M.I.A. from this Super Bowl

What an amazing Super Bowl that was. All the elements, all the items really came together. Most of all, what an insane ending! I mean, I knew there'd be the meat and the tortillas, and cheese, but who would have thought there'd be a hidden cache of black beans underneath everything?

Oh, I'm not actually talking about the Super Bowl game—because really, who cares? Some watch for the commercials, some watch for the game (a very small some), but I watch, because I know wherever I'm viewing, there's going to be condiments. There's going to be nachos. But not just any nachos, nachos so super, I needed to put them into a bowl. A Super Bowl.
This actually is not a picture of my nachos. But I didn't
actually have any, so my metaphor holds true.

I realize most people don't put nachos into a bowl, no matter how super they may be. They claim it's strictly a platter entree. Well to them I say, I'm just being clever... oh, and they aren't allowed to have any of my nachos—which are super good.

Nachos, by definition, will rock. All of the base elements are deliciously super on their own, but when combined together, we approach flavor nirvana. As long as a plate (ermmm, bowl) incorporates, at the very least, tortilla chips and cheese, you have nachos. Everything else that gets added just piles on and makes for even more taste sensations. You like jalapenos? Add em. Salsa? Go ahead? Pulled pork? Why not! It's extremely adaptable as a meal. My Super Bowl had all of the above and more.

One bar I go to even features what they call “Irish Nachos”--traditional nacho toppings, except they're served over a bread of waffle french fries. While this does go against my previous statement of combining tortilla chips and cheese, the taste more than makes up for the difference. They taste as amazing as they sound.

The one downfall of nachos is people occasionally like to put black olives on them. Or as I referred to them in the opening paragraph “The hags.” See, you thought I was talking about Madonna, but note, I didn't have “Old” in the front of it. I thought most people realized olives were like miniature hockey pucks (but with a hole in the center and a worse taste) and wouldn't dream of ruining a batch of flavor perfection with their inclusion. The only logical conclusion is there must be some sort of nacho curse and they must be included. Which I can deal with—at least the nacho overlords didn't dictate it needed to be mushrooms.

Really the only way to improve upon nachos is if you take all the ingredients and blend them up into some sort of slurry. That way you can just drink the product and not have to worry about getting spicy salsa into any sort of open cut or lesion you might have on your hands.

But until we get blending technology capable of achieving that feat, I will continue enjoying the superest of snacks, my Super Bowl of Nachos.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day hogs up logic with winter predictions

Happy Groundhog Day!
… this is a holiday we actually still celebrate, right? Oh, it isn't? Okay then, Happy Thursday!

It seems recent years and understandings of weather phenomena have made this so-called holiday less and less noteworthy. The main problem with Groundhog Day is nobody actually knows what it signifies. No matter if the groundhog sees its shadow or not, people grimace, because it always equates to more winter.

Even with that confusion, this holiday is one of the largest betting days of the year. Will the groundhog see its shadow, will it not? Will anyone care?

The  Groundhog predicts more winter. The joyous dance breaks the 
hearts of millions.

The standard setup is if the groundhog does something (anything), that means six more weeks of winter. However, it's never made clear where that six weeks starts. Take six weeks from today, and that puts you in the middle of March, making Spring actually start on March 15, yippy, an early Spring.

But this previous statement probably made fans of logic cringe. They're probably busy scoffing that nobody would add the six weeks on from today. “Of course, it goes on after the first full day of Spring, March 21,” they'd snark. But simple addition places the “start” of Spring at the beginning of May, and even where I grew up in the arctic tundra of Minnesota, nobody could describe that time as “Winter.”

So this enlarged rat has a 50/50 shot of predicting when winter will end, however, it has a 100 percent chance of not making any sense. Yet all sorts of Bill Murray fans flock to it and apply significance where there shouldn't be anything of note.

Also, doesn't it really just depend on whichever way the guy holds the groundhog? The sun will always be in the east. The person can aim him to any cardinal direction and control the dawn of Spring. Seems like people from the shovel production industry might slip the groundhog a little bit of whatever groundhogs eat to grease the wheels in longer winter's favor. But then again, sunglass manufacturers might also give him even more of whatever groundhogs eat (kelp?) and result in an arms race to decide the sheer insignificance.

Even barring the sheer confusion of Groundhog Day, the holiday is fraught with other bits of sheer confusion. Why exactly do we give this groundhog such mystical weather predicting powers? Was it thought up by some Pennsylvanians? Probably.

Why did we choose groundhogs? I realize they look amazing when they decide that there will be more winter and then start dancing to a Kenny Loggins tunes. But that doesn't really give it any sort of weather predicting powers. I mean, my cat busts some amazing moves too, but he also commonly gets stuck in TVs—I wouldn't give something like that weather-granting powers.

Even with my sheer dislike of the anti-logic of this fake holiday, I still support Groundhog Day. Why? Because it's one of those glorious fake holidays that people feel obligated to celebrate. Arbor Day, Columbus Day, and Groundhog Day. They all fall into the glorious realm of fakedom that I love celebrating. None of these have any effect upon anything, even when they claim to do so, and that makes them fantastic.

So enjoy your magnificent Groundhog Day, I have a feeling he just might see his shadow. I also have a certainty that means nothing.