Monday, April 30, 2012

I Heart Captain Planet

Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart!

Any sort of Gen Y-er worth his place in this world knows this is the kicking start for the Captain Planet theme song. What many of these same people don't realize is that Ma-Ti, AKA “Heart,” was perhaps the most important member of the Captain Planet team. Instead of honoring him with the love (heart) and respect he deserves, they insult and mock him for his lack of powers and/or overabundance of elbowchiefs.

I don't mean to get too punny, but I'll say it right now—Ma-Ti was the “heart” and soul that held Captain Planet and his team together. Without Ma-Ti, nobody could have talked to animals telepathically like he did. Nobody could have been the fifth wheel who seemingly did nothing but was vital to bringing forth the Captain.

Which Planeteer could talk to a monkey? Not Wheeler, that's for certain.

The episode that really shows Ma-Ti's worth is “The Conquerer.” In this episode, Zarm, the evil former ruler of Earth convinces the Planeteers to trade in their punily weak power rings for much more powerful power gloves. Everyone takes him up on this deal, EXCEPT for Ma-Ti. This is probably because much more powerful heart really wouldn't have any effect, but Ma-Ti stayed true to Captain Planet and Gaia. When Zarm tries causing a nuclear war, Ma-Ti can prevent it and save the day.

Also, Zarm was voiced by “The Police” frontman Sting. Talk about sending out an “S-O-S.”

It's a background like this that made me love Ma-Ti and his contributions to the team. So it should come as no surprise that when I decided I wanted to be a Planeteer for Halloween one year, I immediately started constructing a Ma-Ti related outfit. No other Planeteer was even a possibility—it's not like I was going to dye my hair red or anything. Getting the elbowkerchief and a stuffed monkey were just the start of my outfit. I needed to also get into Ma-Ti's state of mind. I used his heart powers to converse with the animals. Since my cat was the nearest animal, I found out he wanted food.

Captain Planet, Heart, SimiI was now Heart.

With being in the mind of Heart, I got an even deeper appreciation for every thing he did. A person to rally around and mock—that's Ma-ti. Who gets the final word in bringing Captain Planet—Ma-ti. Who not only had a pet monkey, but went as far as naming it Suchi—Ma-ti. Who's awesome—Ma-ti. Who's Ma-ti—Me. Who therefore is immune to syphilis as depicted in the season four episode “Future Shock,” that's right, Ma-Ti-Me.

I arrived at a deeper understanding. Ma-Ti brings so much to the table, while being so unsuspecting, and that right there is what a true hero does. I'm certain even Captain Planet would be jealous of Ma-Ti for those abilities, but the power of the Heart would calm him down.

The Captain Planet theme song should have really included the line "Ma-Ti, he's my hero / gonna love the entire world / HEART!" Until it does, I'll just know it's true in my... well, in my heart.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Constructing slow moving traffic

Constructing slow moving traffic
By Kevin Nelson
The Good Time Happy News

The cars pass... slowly. What compels them to move at such a snail's pace, and then I see it. Nathan Jacobson, a road construction flag waver guy furiously tapping his “SLOW” sign, and everyone does as his sign commands.
"In bus terminology, 'SLOW' means 'FAST.'
I hate buses," said Jacobson

What struck me about Jacobson is how in the zone he seemed. Even people in yellow cars, notoriously known for driving ridiculously fast and/or being a taxi drove at reasonable speeds. Obviously Jacobson had struck a chord with the world, and I needed to find out his secret.

“You caught me on a good day, I'm just really in the zone,” Jacobson said as I parked my car right next to him, blocking eight lanes of traffic. “Like just now, people have come to a dead stop, which we in the sign waving business refer to as 'super slow.' Gifts like that have just been coming to me all day.”

There was a method to his madness. I needed to know more.

“I'll never forget that day, July 11th, 1983,” said Jacobson, with seemingly little prompting. “We had just gotten out of the weekend and those Monday morning drivers were wanting to jet through the construction zone. But I held strong. I tapped my sign, I made eye contact, they slowed. One guy tried going 35 MPH. At that point, I actually had to do the often talked about, but little realized 'Four Tapper.' That's when you take this here sign and you tap it once, then you tap it again, then you tap it again. Usually by that point, most people have slowed. If they haven't, you tap it again.”


“We call it the 'Four Tapper,' because there are four taps involved. The first one is followed by the second one. Then the third one comes along, only to be followed by the fourth. There are four taps, so we call it the 'Four Tapper.'”

Redundancy made it slightly less fascinating, but still fascinating nonetheless.

“You better believe he slowed,” Jacobson said. At this point, one of Jacobson's fellow sign tappers noticed the conversation and came over to join in.

“One time an aardvark actually came through the traffic line. Can you believe it, an aardvark?” said Cheryl Smith, a longtime coworker of Jacobson. “Nate here didn't even bat an eye. He just tapped that sign until that Tubulidentata realized it was making a traffic faux pas and slowed down to a more manageable gait.”

“That was also the day when I got two people to slow at the same time, with only one sign,” said Jacobson. “I think it really helps that I spend my life standing at various crossroads. Lord knows various underworld entities and demons have accidentally granted me special powers down at the crossroads. I didn't sign over my soul, but I'll definitely accept the magic sign waving abilities.”

“Jealous!” said Smith. “The closest I've ever come to an encounter with the darkside is that time those aliens kidnapped me.”

“I tried slowing them down, they just couldn't read our language.”

“Yeah, SLOW should be universal,” I said as I hopped in my car and sped away. No matter how many times he tapped that sign, I wasn't coming back nor slowing down.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Strike for your Right to Party

We're still on strike. Still against all of the corruption. In fact, we're so against it, we've recruited The Beastie Boys to record a protest song specifically for our cause.

You see, it's such a special version of the song, it sounds similar to the original, but it isn't. Please make sure you're substituting in "strike" in your head every time Mr. Mike D says "fight."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Strike Down the Dragons

On strike!
No, we're not going to do it. From this point forward, is no more. We're officially on strike.

There are just far too many dragons eating us and we're not going to stand for it. When we ranted about dragons last week, it wasn't the mad ramblings of an insane person, it was the mad ramblings of someone who didn't want to be consumed by a mythological medieval killer. Yet Timothy still suffered the expected fate as site owner Kevin let him be consumed.
On strike!
And it's a real strike too, not like the time when I said I'd stop doing chores if I was forced to eat any more mushrooms. I even penned the awesome sandwich board “Shrooms be dooms!” But my girlfriend then explained to me I was 26 and needed to grow up. Lifespan of that strike—a surprisingly long nine minutes.

Although it might have run even longer if it had actually happened.

On Strike!
When BreakMentalDown goes down, there'll be no more giant space kitty, no more pointlessly renaming days to other days that already have a name, and you'll also notice a significant reduction in the amount of spider erotica available on the market. Statements about the uncoolness of getting things thrown at you will remain at their normal (or potentially elevated) levels.

As you might have guessed from the songwriter filled with rage that came out during Mushroomgate 2010, we know our chant writing will earn us the credit necessary to get our demands met, no matter the magnitude of our previous failings. Our voice will be heard!

Feel free to stage sympathy strikes at either your place of business or wherever preschoolers gather, it works for both audiences. Double bonus if you're a preschool teacher.
And you're out of here if
you thought I'd make some
lame strike 3 joke.

What do we want? No dragons and cake!
When do we want it? Now!... as long as the cake doesn't have red icing, for that's a horrible waste of icing material. Please note, we will restart said strike if that inedible mass gets plopped in front of us.
Will yellow frosting do? Yes!
Can I have your autograph? No, because we are a collective group and to single us out from one another would literally break us apart, because many of our protestors are actually cardboard cutouts of screenshots from the 2002 film “Bloody Sunday.” Oh, and it goes against our ethics.
Really, I was just being nice? Don't be nice by being mean!

So Mr. BreakMentalDown, you've seen our demands. You might as well settle with us, because we are definitely sticking to our guns. Maybe even literal guns, if your strikebreakers force our hand. Oh, but if any opportunities do come up for scab employment, we'd be very interested. We have this great piece we can write about going on strike.
On Strike! Oddly enough, bowling puns are okay.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dragons are a drag on just about everything

Last night, authorities found another one of my friends, Galahad, burned to a crisp. They sufficiently ruled out spontaneous combustion, so that leaves only one rationale for my friend's untimely demise...

Spontaneous combustion.

Wait, they already ruled that one out. This leaves only...

Planned combustion, caused by dragon.

That's right, dragons, scourge of all things living. Something I hate, but everyone seems to love. That is, everyone except Super Mario and me. All they do is set things on fire, snort and throw hammers. How could a concept like that endear itself to so many people?

Yet people are always defending them and promoting them as about THE coolest thing ever to walk/fly on four legs. They always proclaim them as misunderstood geniuses. But dragons must use the same PR people that sharks and spiders use.

People will claim, “Oh, they're more afraid of us than we are of them. Let's respect our mythological friends!” But that's a statement that's patently false. Just like how spiders are responsible for the destruction of the once booming megacity of Billings, MT, dragons are responsible for untold deaths and genocide. They do this all with being completely mythological creatures.

This clipart displays dragons as adorably cute...
And at least when spiders feast upon the living, they're doing it so they can survive. A dragon torches random people/items/POGs just to be a dick. They might as well be vegetarians. Carnivorous vegetarians, but vegetarians nonetheless.

These publicists also are quick to push forth things such as “Puff the Magic Dragon” and the fact that the dragon boss was the easiest baddie to beat in the NES classic “Zelda.” Those might be incredibly valid points, but dragons, at their hearts (if they have them), remain evil sociopathic killers. There will never be a Boo Radley-esque dragon, because that defies all logic.

How can we make society learn to hate dragons once again? In medieval times, they accomplished this by allowing dragons to feast upon villagers by the score full. Some might have say that was actually the black plague, but nope, it was dragon attacks. Dragon attacks and lack of “Arrested Development” on television accounted for 93 percent of all deaths during that dark age.
But all dragons are diabolically evil. Most even
have a watermark like this one!

When everyone realized that black plague never actually existed, they started hating dragons. We just might need a global pandemic and then suddenly there's no things that make dragons seem positive. To farther drive home the point, I would cite other areas where dragons are portrayed positively, but I think I have blown through them all.

Regardless, I do believe I've convinced everyone we should dislike dragons. Otherwise, I'm going to have to unleash a wave of plague sauce, and that never ends up pretty.

In conclusion, dragons, they're not good. Galahad will never be the same as a result!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What number do I call to stop receiving phone books?

“Kevin, there's blood on this one.”

A phrase like this might seem outdated. No, not because people no longer bleed (especially not on things) but because, as anyone who has ever been suckered into delivering phone books knows, this will be the catchphrase of any delivery experience. The name might change, but the truth still stands—delivering phone books is awful and will only become worse as they head further and further into their own irrelevancy.

Phone books are largely a relic of the past and I (hopefully) will never have to help deliver them again as a fundraiser for my brother's baseball team. But that will never change those weeks in 1997 and 1998 when that fundraiser brought my mom, my brother and me into the indentured servitude that is phone book delivery.

A phone book in its very rare non-bled upon state.
For some wise reason, the phone book company decided it would be a great idea to deliver phone books door to door in February... in Minnesota. Anyone who has never lived in that barren wasteland, knows the average daytime high during that month and location usually hovers around absolute zero. On some of the “hot” February days, molecules can actually move. But those are few and far between.

Those Februarys, we were the only molecules moving, because who else would.

We had it set up where my mom drove the minivan, my brother walked the books to the doors, and I lived amongst a thousand ton pile of books, packaging the Yellow Pages, White Pages and local Yellow/White Pages into one bag. A sharp turn would cause the stack to tumble onto me, killing my organs and all life therein. But that actually might have been preferable to what I did do.

Since nobody has probably looked at a phone book for several millenia, keep in mind as to how a phone book works. It is a whole bunch of useless information contained between razor sharp covers. Those covers, as their descriptor states, are razor sharp. This is not a good combination. This is a combination that causes massive paper cuts. And since we've established it was literally freezing in the van, I didn't notice the blood trickling down my hand.

Need I point out that blood is red and White Pages are some non-red color. When my brother noticed the bloody pages and said that catchphrase I listed at the top, we both took a beat, looked at the bag and shrugged our shoulders. He delivered the book and we moved onto the next house.

I delivered those phone books back in 1998, a crazy era when something as awesome as Google didn't exist. People needed phone books to actually make calls. Nowadays when I walk outside and I see a bag of books propped up against my door, I don't recall those fine delivering memories, but I also don't toss it straight in the recycling either. I first remove it from the plastic bag and THEN toss it in the recycling bin. Our recycling guys refuse to take anything that's in a plastic bag. But they gleefully accept phone books.

All in all though, my mom, brother and I worked four hour shifts for three weeks. I believe in the end we earned something like $80 for my brother's baseball team. The death of the phone book industry means kid's baseball teams won't see those slave-like wages for much longer. Who knows, they just might have to resort to asking parents for money. I know I would have much preferred that one.
We should probably rename dumpsters to
"Phone Book Receptacles"
As phone books die out, I just wonder what kids will bleed on next. It definitely can't be phone books, but maybe Google will be the target of various A Positives and O Negatives. Us phone book deliverers can only hope.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bike Helmets Protect Against Idiocy, Death

I'm going to apologize for this, but I'm going to have to go solemn here. I'll never forget that day, May 25, 1998. My best friend, Ryan, and I were riding our bikes. We weren't wearing bike helmets, because only nerds wore helmets. Only that day, I wish he had been a nerd.

Ryan flew over the handlebars and cracked his head against the ground. I, being 13, immediately started screaming. However, soon bits of brain matter flew into my mouth, which simultaneously muted my screams and made me want to scream even more. From that day forward, I always wore a bike helmet.

That didn't actually happen.

What did happen is I was riding my bike along Aurora Avenue in Seattle when I was pulled over by a bike police officer. He was wearing a bike helmet, I was not. That $103 dollar ticket severely limited the amount of marshmallows I could purchase. At that point I vowed I never to get ticketed for this again and always wore my bike helmet.

That didn't actually happen either.

Instead, I started wearing my helmet when I ride, because I just realized it was stupid not to. My bike consists of roughly 25 pounds of metal plus my 165 pound frame. When a 3,000 pound Toyota Prius comes barreling at me going 60, there's no way I wouldn't be injured in that collision. Sure, a helmet is basically a glorified piece of plastic and Styrofoam, but it's a glorified piece of plastic and Styrofoam in a very important spot.

For anyone who claims helmets
are dorky looking, let me present
counter-argument A.
I'll admit, growing up, I never actually wore a bike helmet. And I'd do all the stupid kid things too, like hitting jumps, riding no-handed, getting abducted by aliens and turning without signaling. I gave all the standard excuses for not wearing one—dorky, itchy, makes hair look “helmety,” various other descriptors ending with y. I went 20 years riding a bike without a helmet and never had an incident related to it. But I suppose it's a case of growing up and realizing nobody is invincible.

The numbers bear this out. If you're wearing a bike helmet, you're 85 to 88 percent less likely to be affected and have head or brain injuries in a crash. Oddly enough, if you don't wear a helmet, you're more likely to enjoy “Two and a Half Men.” But those numbers skew heavily because of the former could cause massive head trauma and the latter is product of massive head trauma.

Since I do many post-midnight rides along populated highways, I want to put as much of a damper on people running over me as possible. Also, those motorists who think “Look both ways before I run over the biker” aren't helpful either.

I realize a helmet isn't a prevent all, there are other fleshy parts of me that could get torn off in an accident. But I do want to prevent the things I can prevent. So now when I ride, I always toss on that helmet. Yes, all my negative childhood thoughts still exist (and it's kind of itchy too) but I realize all of those negatives aren't actually that bad. And dying sucks, especially when you launch brain matter into your best friend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You'll have Easter Egg On Your Face, If You Hide Them Poorly

Not there.
Nope, guess again.
Like I'd even think of hiding it there.
You are currently bearing witness to Easter egg hunts Nelson-style, and you know it's only going to get worse from here on out.

Look at how many eggs this kid found!... Talk about
an Easter egg hiding fail.
Many people stopped doing Easter egg hunts when they realized the Easter bunny was a sham, or they turned six—whichever came first. I kept up the hunt until I was 19. But please, cut me some slack, I engaged in the sport for so long, because I loved the competition of it. I had stopped believing about a benevolent Easter creature at least five years before that.

My mom and oldest brother spent hours upon hours hiding upwards of 40 eggs. They didn't do lame hiding spots like in the carton of eggs or in the antechamber behind the hidden bookcase. They didn't hide anything in plain sight. Those would be far too lame to actually use. Instead, they got creative. Taped to the ceiling, hidden atop blinds, the mystical land of Narnia, placed in the cap of a bottle of Tide. Anywhere that existed (or did not) was fair game for the hunt.

We couldn't actually use real eggs for this. No matter how fun they are to paint (they're not), the awfulness of forgetting a fantastic hiding spot can be bad. Very bad. Sure, it's great to hot glue an egg to the undercarriage of the horse carriage that was brought in just for the occasion of hiding Easter eggs, but by Labor Day, those things start to reek. Not only that, but by virtue of being a real egg that means they can't contain results in having no Robin's Eggs on the inside of them, and that is a truly tragic waste of egg hunting time.

But I've already talked about Robin's Eggs, that's not the reason you're reading this. The reason you've clicked through here is to find some excellent egg hiding spots. Now I realize not every house is going to have an anti-matter device like we do and the Mir rests at the bottom of the ocean, but that doesn't matter, you can still use those excellent hiding spots. Just use the anti-matter to raise the Mir out of its watery grave and drop an egg in the airlock before tossing it back into the watery depths. Just see if anyone gets the Peeps in that one!
Next stop, Mir.
Another really good spot is tucked away within the special features of the Ben Affleck/Sandra Bullock starrer “Forces of Nature.” Please note, I did not choose “Gigli,” or “All About Steve,” because who in their right mind would even bother with those special features? No, I chose “Forces of Nature,” because if someone drops to the level of desperation of seeing more “chemistry” between Affleck and Sandy, they just might need a little jellybean pickup (hidden in the background, over Sandy's right shoulder as she talks about Superstring Theory).

Creating some master race of Easter eggs that have legs is definitely a grand idea.

I've saved the best hiding spot for last—your egg competitor's soul. It's just a spot they'll never think to look. They'll be too focused on finding eggs within the physical realm, which this strategy avoids. Although, then again, this all hinges upon if they actually have a soul, and since they're trying to steal your hard earned chocolate, they might not have one. In that case, hide it behind a clump of grass—nobody in their right mind actually has outdoor

So this Easter weekend, enjoy the hunting and the hiding, just remember, it's not over there.

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's cookie milk time, cookie milk time, cookie milk time. Cookie milk time, cookie milk time.

I've just discovered probably one of the most amazing recipes ever conceived. It's so amazingly amazing, I am dedicating this entire posting to it.

Awesome Drink that Tastes Great Even without the Advent of Alcohol Recipe®
1. Glass of milk.
2. Standard serving of cookies. In my household, that's 10 in the bizarro world that's nutritional info, that's two.

1. Combine above ingredients.
2. Leave room.
3. Let cookie mingle with milk, milk mingle with cookie. Five minutes is a generally accepted time.
4. Enjoy.
It should look like this. AKA, it should look amazing.
Some might question this recipe. They might agree cookies and milk is one of the greatest things ever invented, everyone agrees with that, even lactose intolerants. Is it too much of a leap then to combine them to a point where one has soggified the other? I respectfully say it is not.

Sure, I already have the awesome and registered name for my drink, but I might just colloquially refer to it as “Cookies in Milk,” because that's what it is. I mean they're literally floating around in a glass of milk. Like a stew, but with no beef product particles. A perfect version of this drink should feature cookies that taste like milk and milk that tastes like cookies. It's a perfect synthesis that Reese's Peanut Butter Cups could only dream of having.

Some are going to criticize this as “weird” or “a bastardization of all that is good and holy.” Don't invoke the good and holy until it's actually tried. It's not like trying it is too big of a leap. Everyone loves cookies, everyone loves milk, everyone loves cookies and milk, therefore everyone should love cookies in milk.

This is probably one of the better ways to infuse cookie sensation into things that don't normally contain cookie. In a perfect world, I could just place cookie dough into everything, like I want, but that gets even more gawkers, so I will stick with this inbetween of cooked cookie dough infused into my milk.

One thing is certain though, you must use skim milk for this procedure. If you try doing it with two percent, or (lord help you) whole milk, it just won't work. My strategy works because you're putting a solid into a liquid, which allows the milk to engorge the cookie and place its flavor inside of it.

However, if you use the other types of milk, you're putting a solid into a solid. There's no overlap, no engorging. It's just cookie on top of milk. You could pretty much play Jenga with that sort of set up... although that actually sounds like something a molecular gastronomist just might engineer. Regardless, it shouldn't be done. Solid into liquid good, other way, not so good.

I'm completely okay with using chocolate milk as well, because that just amps up the level of awesome of said drink.

Feel free to enjoy this thing, I'm pretty certain everyone else will, and suddenly cookies will become completely acceptable to have for dinner.