Monday, July 30, 2012

This Olympian Pings from the Dorm Room to Pong at the Olympics

Another year of the Olympics has started and with that comes another harsh reminder that I still don't have the Olympic gold I've always sought.

I don't even have the Olympic bronze that I thought would be "okay..." to have.

For all intents and purposes, I am no better than your run of the mill Marion Jones, and I don't even have the doping allegations to show for it.

I tried getting POGs introduced as a competitive event back in 2006, but the International Olympic Committee turned me down because "... so, who are you?" And surviving the 2012 opening ceremony probably won't result in my gold medal, because it hasn't shown up yet.
So what am I left to do? Every sort of sport has already been incorporated into the Olympics, so I'll need to take up one of those.

In college I played a lot of Ping Pong. I realize this isn't that groundbreaking of a statement. I mean what do college kids have to do aside from playing Ping Pong (or "Table Tennis" as the communists call it). They really just have Ping Pong and drinking to do, so you know this is where some of the strongest competitors will exist (or drunkest).

Like many college-level players, I kept an Excel spreadsheet of my win/loss record. But not just win/loss, because that would leave many cells just empty and dull. My spreadsheet broke down the people I played, records against them, skunk records and overall records. I could have even kept track of points scored, but I'm not that much of a nerd.

I tried participating in a tournament at my student union, and I had a fair showing. It might sound racist to say this, but I was the highest finishing white guy in the tournament. However, getting my non-medal winning behind handed to me in that tournament is no way to show I had the tenacity to take gold. I realized I needed to take a different approach to obtain my Olympic/University glory. I created my own tournament in my dorm hall, Sellery Hall.

With 1100 residents in the place, obviously only the cream of the crop participated in this event. That means I competed with myself, two of my friends and one guy who responded to the shirtless picture of me holding a ping pong paddle that I plastered all over the dorm hall.

As I said, cream of the crop.

I ended up winning that tournament and laying claim to the Sellery Hall Ping Pong Association championship belt that I had created solely for the event. And for the purposes of that event, the championship belt was a toy WWE belt I bought off Ebay, covered with tin foil and drew Ping Pong-related messages with sharpie.

Bloody Ping Pong Champion
No time for losers, because I am the champion
Of the dorm room hall. And soon Olympics.
Winning the SHPPA world championship has really primed me to get that Olympic glory I know I'm destined to achieve. There might be others out there who are better than me. Others who legally serve and use a legal paddle. Others who don't giggle mercilessly when the score is six to nine. But those others don't have the heart and determination to wear a belt that is too small for most children to wear.

And that is why I'm certain I will finally obtain my Olympic gold in whatever spot the next Olympics is held. I do hope and pray that next spot is my dorm hall, because I just might have the inside track to win there.

So, so long London 2012, I realize it's not in the cards for me to take my glory there. Until then, I will wear my SHPPA belt with pride.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shoddy Design Will Save Us From Robot Apocalypse

We will survive the robot apocalypse.

I can say this with certainty for a very simple reason. I own a computer. I own a phone. They do absolutely crazy things and without my caring but stern hand, they would crash and burn faster than the previous computer I owned that also crashed and burned.

My computer has been on the fritz recently. The brightest the screen can go is ever so slightly above black hole. Luckily it's above that level, because otherwise all matter and light would be sucked into the darkness of my computer and humanity would come to an end.  As I recently said, if I want to see it, I must lean in and hold a flashlight to the screen to make out vague outlines of what may or may not be my icons or possibly pornography.

Terminator riding motorcycle
If the machines looked as cool as Arnie, they might
have a chance. Maybe.
It's annoying, but it's not the end of humanity. I even treated my computer with the utmost of care. Who here among us hasn't said "You know, I'd really like to have Doritos dust slathered into all of my orifices." Just about everyone with the exception of my computer has made that claim at one point, because I lovingly placed untold amounts of Doritos dust in that machine. Same goes for "Do I actually need this F11 key?" My computer knew it was an emphatic "No!" which is why I ripped it off in an attempt to get at the Doritos lode it had stashed underneath.

Yet with all this love, the power invertors have stopped inverting. The computer is now a very nice paperweight, bound to end up at the bottom of a quarry. This robotic system died, much like those plotting world domination will do.

On its own, this story might not be notable, but when paired with the following occurrence, a disturbing trend in the computing world emerges. I walked around downtown Seattle and needed to get to places I hadn't been. I loaded up the walking navigation app and went on my way. That part went off without a hitch, but when I hopped into my car to leave, problems exploded. I put in my home address and hopped on the interstate.

For some reason, my phone thought it was actually me walking the 65 MPH on the interstate. Note I didn't even say it thought I was running, it just said "Oh, he must have had some protein today and can go faster than any man ever has before. I'll just advise him to walk off the interstate."
Every time I approached an exit, the magical talking voice pleaded with me to exit. But I just kept driving, obviously messing with its intricate logic system. Were the robots rationale, it would probably think "Oh, he made an error countless people have made, I'll just adjust to driving directions." Instead, I met the computer equivalent of a screeching back seat driver/walker.

Some might claim these situations are all human error and actually shows the infallibility of a computer that it can follow the idiotic suggestions of a human, no matter how moronic the idea may be. Valid point, but at the end of the day, this so called moron of a human being is still alive, while his computer sits mournfully unused underneath a bookcase. And you better believe my cell phone got silenced because of our (not) harrowing journey on the interstate!

So fear not. Come December 21, 2012, we're not going to need to worry about robots uprising and stabbing us with their space age plasma swords. They're far too incompetent to actually succeed in that simple directive. Instead, we'll probably all die by slipping on banana peels simultaneously at everyone's "End of the World As We Know It" parties.

Dancing The Robot
Although, cyborgs on the other hand...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sprinkles sprinkled with evil by The Sprinkled Bandit

Here here, let me just sprinkle a little bit of love on your pastry there. It will definitely make everything magical and better. No worry, no need to thank me. Don't you worry, you deserve it.

You deserve it because I didn't actually sprinkle love onto your dessert, instead I sprinkled it with something a tad more devious--actual sprinkles!
Muhahahaaha, The Sprinkled Bandit strikes again.

Artist's Conception of The Sprinkled Bandit
Artist's conception of The Sprinkled Bandit
The Sprinkled Bandit strikes quickly and effectively. If he's done his job correctly, you won't even realize you've consumed his tasteless piles of... piles of whatever the heck sprinkles are made from. I'm against the Sprinkle Bandit because he never imparts positive flavors and occasionally leaves a bizarre texture over something as wonderful as desserts.

And there's a reason the Sprinkle Bandit plies his trade in the field of desserts. You really can't ever complain about desserts, unless there's some sort of raisin contraption in one. Otherwise, dessert is nothing but gravy--sugar and candy and everything nice. If there's a little bit of bizarre in the form of a sprinkle on the plate, who cares, the rest tastes great.

He especially delights in ruining ice cream. Have you ever actually had ice cream with sprinkles on it? Or even worse, one of those cruddy "birthday cake" ones where you're like "All right! Frozen frosting" only to have to wade through a literal pool of frozen shards of pain and agony? I'm certain that situation describes many of us, yet that Sprinkled Bandit keeps striking.

That's why I'm making it my goal in life to destroy The Sprinkled Bandit.

One of the easiest ways to launch this offensive is by taking down "Silver Dragees." With a name like that, many might think it's some sort of psychoactive drug with mind-bending powers and that's how we'll take it down. You're close, but not there yet. The silver dragee are those little silver balls that hack cake decorators put on cake to bling out the dessert.

Creepy picture of girl with sprinkle lips
Please act now before The Sprinkled Bandit
creepily claims another victim.
When I describe sprinkles as inedible, I'm being facetious. But when I call dragees inedible, I'm just referencing the Food and Drug Administration. As anyone who has ever read the packaging for silver drapees knows, they're "intended for decorative purposes only." Oh, and originally, the silver dragees had mercury in it to achieve its the vibrant mind-altering color.

That right there is easy to take down. Nobody likes to eat what is literally inedible, and they especially hate getting Hunter-Russell syndrome from a dessert product. From there it's just a domino effect. Bye bye dragees. See ya red frosting. Hundreds and Thousands? More like nones and nones. Chocolate sprinkles? Okay, we can keep those, since their name implies they have a flavor imparted on them. Ta ta non pareils.

And then it's time to take down sprinkles. Dragees crumbled because they had no taste other than "lead poisoning." Sprinkles have no taste other than "no taste," so it's a very similar situation.

Next time your dessert trifles or ice cream sandwiches or falafel comes out, if there's a sprinkle on it, refuse it. Send it back and demand one without a flavor deadening piece of flavor. Only then will we develop the groundswell of support necessary to take down that nefarious Sprinkle Bandit.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Technical Difficulties. Please Stand By For Your Mental Capacities To Be Broken

Simpsons Technical Difficulties
Apparently the power inverter in my laptop monitor is dead. This means to see anything, I need to mash my face up to the screen and hold a flashlight near my ear.

As a result, this is your Thursday post.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baby You Can Drive My Car, Yes I'm the Next Food Network Star

Justin Warner Doesn't Win Food Network Star
Don't let the Justin Warner glamor shot fool
you. He doesn't win.

That's the only way to describe my repeat as winner of "Food Network Star."

You might be saying "But Kevin, you are neither Justin, nor Ippy nor that annoying Paula Deen clone who somehow manages to be even more shrill and annoying than Ms. Deen herself, while simultaneously attempting to coopt Aarti's show concept causing massive amounts of vulgarities to fly out at the screen every time she appears, or Nikki.

These are all true statements, but if we used this type of "logic," I didn't actually win last year, which this post clearly shows I did. Game set and match.

So with joy down in my heart, I took back the title that was always rightfully mine. Sure, I definitely had slips along the way, none worse than when I intentionally set Bob Tuschman on fire. But who here among us hasn't done that?

My competition was virtually non-existent. The perceived frontrunner, is Justin, mainly because nobody has any clue what he's doing in the kitchen (himself included). Were he to have a cooking show, odds are it would be called "Burning Down the Kitchen with Justin." It would only last two episodes before the star died of massive smoke inhalation.

Although if I hosted "Massive Smoke Inhalation with Kevin," I'm certain I could definitely pull in a strong contingent of the stoner crowd. 

But that's not my show concept. From watching 5 seasons of this show, I know you need to approach things with a concept. Those who don't fade away into obscurity after winning. Oh wait, what am I talking about, Guy Fieri is the only one who hasn't faded out. But when my show concept wins, I definitely will not fall into the irrelevance trap that absorbed Aarti , Melissa or Freddy Krueger after their "successful" runs at the title.
With this victory, I'm going to do what no "Next" Food Network "Star" has ever accomplished—removing the air quotes surrounding "next" and "star." I'm going to become an actual star. Seriously, can you name any of the other winners? Nope. And that's especially odd, because I've named dropped several of them in this post.

 Just take a look at my pilot concepts that America will soon fall in love with and reherald me as a true star.

Cooking with Ninjas: It's like a normal Julia Child-esque show, in which you learn how nobody actually likes the taste of mushrooms, but then, what's this? There's a ninja in the cupboard. It escalates into a full scale brawl, and just at the moment I'm about to subdue the ninja, another one pops out! Cliffhanger to commercial!
Sorta like this, except my ninjas actually cut stuff/people.

Nachos: When most people think Nachos, they just think chips and cheese. This show will go far beyond that. Like putting bits of pizza on chips or swirling around tortilla chips in a fifth of whiskey and calling it the best nachos ever.

Kibble Gourmet: This one would be cohosted with my cat, Sprocket. He's not too verbal, but he does love kibble and he's absolutely adorable. That right there sells itself.

Kevin Eats Cheese: I like cheese. Cheese is expensive. Who wouldn't want to watch a full 60 minutes of me eating a slice of very expensive Gruyere? I can even share great info like limburger cheese is the best to use for Whiskey Nachos.

I plan on just showing up on the Food Network lot and filming all of these pilots.

Worst case scenario, Food Network doesn't actually give me a show and they kick me out to the street where nobody will ever see me again. Although, really, they could probably just toss me on an episode of whatever Aaron McCargo Jr. calls his show and accomplish the same thing.

Wait no, on second thought, I haven't done anything that vile to receive that fate. Don't worry Food Network, I'll be on my way, I won't take my title this year. But do know this, I will be back next year, and I will be the Next Next Next Food Network star.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Guess It's Reassuring that it's "Skydiving" not "Skydying"

Seven years ago I was a hunk of human man meat, hurtling towards the earth at 120 MPH, terminal velocity. That's right, that was the one and only time I ever engaged in the act of skydiving, and this is the story.

Skydiving is a series of points of no returns. I signed up for the jump in Madison, WI and we were taking a bus down to Chicago for the jump. Signing up in Madison and putting down the $60 deposit was a point of no return. The next day when I got on the bus was a point of no return. When the door closed, point of no return. Getting out in Chicago, point of no return.

Skydiving Jumpsuit
The jumpsuit is definitely the most
fashion forward point of no return
In the cashier's office they had an article The Chicago Times wrote about the place. The article mentioned in its “20 years in the business, only nine fatalities have occurred.” On one hand that's reassuring, because it's relatively low. But on the other hand... what caused those deaths? It didn't elaborate, which drove an extra pang of fear into an already stressed body. Oh, and point of no return.

Once arriving at the jumpsite, the point of no returns kept coming faster and faster. Pay the $90 to do the jump, no return. Have the “skydiving class” where the “skydiving teacher” explains how scary it will be, no return. Fitted for a jumpsuit and goggles, no return. Get on the jump plane. Get strapped into a burly skydiving guy. Plane takes off. Plane crosses 3,000 feet. Plane crosses 6,000 feet. Plane reaches jump altitude. Person in front of you goes. Burly man who you're still strapped to starts walking you towards the door.

No point of no return is scarier than when your knees are jutting over the edge of a perfectly good airplane. You so don't want it to be a point of no return, but the burly guy strapped to you makes it a point of no return.

With a count of three, we fling out of the window. And with the flinging out the window, I immediately black out. I come to about five seconds later and I see the earth hurtling at me at a rate that's far too fast to even think. I react in the only way possible by yelling a profanity at the top of my lungs. My profanity rhymed with “I really should not be falling at this rate. I very well could hit a truck.” Yet the ground keeps rushing at me. With all the air hitting me, nobody hears my yell. I keep falling.

There's a point in the jump where you're supposed to pull the ripcord and have the lifesaving parachute launch out of your pack. With my arm flopping around (due to the massive influx of wind hitting it) I thought I had zeroed in on when I was supposed to pull the cord. I started reaching to it, when suddenly the parachute shot up.

The burly man had pulled it.

“We needed to do that 10 seconds ago,” he said as we floated down to the earth at a much slower rate than we had previously been moving.

While I did live to tell this tale, it did have an effect upon me. I made this jump over seven years ago. While some of the details have washed away due to the deficiencies of memory, what will always remain is the reverberations of my profanity echoing all through out the Chicago skyline. I can still hear it even now.

Monday, July 9, 2012

An "Ade" for the Recession - Start Your Own Lemonade Stand

Awesomest Lemonade Stand
Sixty percent of the letters in your name should
be "cutely" printed backwards
 Anyone who has the ability to look at a calendar can see that the month is now July. And anyone who was too lazy to look for a summer job in May knows there's only one job left for them—running a lemonade stand.

Many might scoff at this suggestion, they might claim the only people who can look adorable providing slave labor at a lemonade stand are those who haven't even entered double digits in age. That's just completely wrong, eight-year-olds are about the worst people to work the stands, which is why us millennial need to swoop in and take these jobs from the kids who will one day employ us 50 years down the road.

Why must millennial take the lemonade stands? Simply because the lemonade stand is a inherently flawed practice. Kids only get into the lemonade slinging game because they're kids and they have no money. So who exactly are the lemonaders marketing to? Lord knows they're not doing it to other kids, because as we've established, the only way for kids to make money is by running lemonade stands or by selling an un-alcohol-tinged liver to a mad scientist. And as we've established, lemonade stands make no money.

So why advocate starting up a lemonade stand then? Because lemonade stands make no money for kids. And millennial aren't kids, they're some equivalent of adults. Adults have the money to market to adults. And therein lies the profit margin—selling lemonade to adults.

That's why I started my own lemonade stand as a 27-and-a-half-year-old entrepreneur. I know that to navigate the profit issues that sink so many stands. With that, I launched “Kevin'z Lemon'z.” The z's show I mean business.

Most lemonade stands only stay in business because the kids' parents are bankrolling the whole operation. But as a pseudo-adult, my parents were only willing to back me on half of the endeavor. Luckily, Ponzi Schemes are still all the rage in the financial/lemonade markets and I soon had a full slate of investors looking to capitalize on those sweet sweet profits. Just like lemonade though, I'm certain they're aware that everything will soon turn sour.
Vodka Lemonade Yum
A steal at any price!

And things did turn sour when the powers that be in the lemonade establishment didn't take too kindly to my entrepreneurial spirit. These powers were personified in Billy, a local nine-year-old punk that lives up the street. He told four of my potential customers that my stand didn't actually sell lemonade, but “regurgitated urine.” I'm not even sure how that would work, nor if he even knows the definition of the word “urine.” But I wouldn't just sit idly by while he besmirched my sole source of income.

I needed to teacher this Billy character and his “Billy Goat's Gruff” lemonade stand a thing or two about the cutthroat world of lemonade standing. And if I had slit his neck, that previous sentence would have been even more accurate. Instead, I simply followed the directives of “Kill Bill Vol 2” to “Kill Billy Vol Only” and used Pai Mei's fatal pressure point technique on that cocky child.

Don't look at me so negatively, this is lemonade standing, there aren't any rules. I'll Pai Mei's fatal pressure point technique anyone that looks at me crossly to make sure I can get my precious ade to market. I am a millennial, I can and will run this stand!

So if anyone would like some fantastic ade, stop on by Kevin'z Lemon'z, now serving lemonade without various nine-year-olds' blood in it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kevin Nelson's 115th Dream

Generally when I write a blog post, I write about realistic and true things. My journalism background forces me to seek out the truth (Umm... Ermm... Umm... Ohhhh...). But this matter I've encountered sits just on the outskirts of truth and because of that, I must bring it to light.

Fergie, Missy Elliott, Captain America and 72-time Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings must unite. They must unite and form a death metal band that fights crime.

I didn't just manatee ball those names. No, why they must come together is because of an amazing dream I had last night. It started out with just those four in a band, playing their death metal hearts out. Sure, KenJen and Captain America had no musical ability, but no death metal musician really does, so it didn't matter. The sheer awesomeness of seeing such disparate people together more than made up for it. And the fact that nobody could understand them—gravy.

But the death metal extravaganza soon paved way to attack. A giant pill bug rolled in and broke up the concert. Now I'm not sure if this was all part of the show or if former game show winners tend to attract Armadillidiidae that are pissed off at the world. Regardless, our fearless band of bandmates quickly jumped into action.

Four pseudo celebrities unite
Quite the dream team up.

They all roly polied into their own ball and proceeded to mash into the pill bug, beating it into smithereens. It helped that every time Captain America rolled up, a blast of shield shaped light shot out of him, which I imagine tends to frighten pill bugs. It certainly frightened me. And it let the band crush the bugs and live on to rock another day.

As I said, this occurred during one of the most glorious dreams on record. Even better than one where undeniable forces of darkness invaded my soul and sucked out my ability to live or think rationally. In that one, I lived as a shell of a human, in an eternity of dark depressingness... it was much better than that nightmare.

But that is the extent of the dream, and it might leave more questions than answers, I'll attempt to tackle some of those questions right now.

The first one is obviously “... what?... No, seriously... what?” While that's a very question, you should really be asking a different one of the five W's—how. As in “... how?... No, seriously... how?” Well, once this blog post gains traction, I'm certain all of those pseudo-quasi-celebrities will have to give in to the people's demands and unite as a band and fighter of crime.

Another question—“Why is Missy Elliott in this band?” Well, I know absolutely nothing about who Missy Elliott is. The only reason I could identify her is when she came into the dream, the neon lights behind her (also dream supplied) flashed “Missy Elliott!” As a result, she added nothing to the band, much like her contributions in “The Traveling Wilburys.” So it's really because my subconscious hates me and wants to confuse me. Yet I will still honor her contributions (her Roly Poly get up looked near the best, definitely top 4 in the band).

The final question you probably have is “What can we call this awesome band of awesome?” Well, I think you just answered your own question right there.

So Awesome Band of Awesome, the ball is in your court now. Please do realize I have a dream and you're the ones who can make it happen. I don't care if this only comes together in anime or See n' Say form, this needs to come to fruition. Please make it happen.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fireworks Celebrate Arsonist's Delight Week with a Boom

Happy Arsonist's Delight Week 2012!

For those who don't know, this is what people in the surprisingly strong arsonist's community refer to as the week leading up to the Fourth of July. Only during this week can they come out of their shell, set shit on fire and be regaled as a true American.

Happy Arsonists Delight indeed.

I'll admit, last year I kind of berated fireworks and their extreme pointlessness. But that was last year, I was just a kid who didn't know any better. I didn't realize the true meaning of fireworks. I didn't realize that fireworks equal legal arson, legal arson equals fireworks. I thought melting stuff was the way to go, but not this year.

To put it simply, fireworks take the work out of fire.
Cherry Bomb Exploding
Cherry bomb goes boom. See how easy that is. Please
do ignore the maimed children laying just outside the shot.

This might seem counter intuitive, after all, the word itself places “fire” next to “work,” making it seem much harder, but nope, fireworks have been proven to be an arsonist's dream.

There's no easier way to blow up stuff and maim people under the guise of fun than with fireworks. Sure, concentrated hydrofloric acid squirt guns come awful close, but you have to deal with telling the government why you need a permit for so much melty stuff and even then the G-men will probably just use the acid themselves.

Fireworks have none of those issues. Way back in the dark ages before we had fireworks (1973), arsonists in training needed to find some store that sold both gasoline AND a firemaking solution, like a lighter. Surprisingly, these were hard to come by, because even at a place where you'd expect to find said items, generally the clerks glared/winked at you when asking what you were planning on doing with this “unique” combination.

But fireworks can be used for the following applications during this special week. Maiming children. Maiming adults. Maiming dingos. Maiming dingos eating babies, thus saving said child, unless firework also maimed child (if so, see the second application of fireworks). Making Smores. Making bad Smores. Melting stuff. Making Elvis happy during his annual firework battle royales.

What versatility!

If your neighbors complain about the noise, or your second born child complains about the loss of sensation in one of his extremities, don't worry, just keep lighting. This is the one three day period when you can do that, and those problems will solve themselves by the time you're done celebrating America's independence from some other country. Wrists grow back, right?

So as you're roasting your Fourth of July BBQ this week over the carcass of an expended tank firework or smoking your turkey leg over a technicolor smoke bomb, take the time to sit back and realize none of this would be possible without fireworks. Fireworks truly do take the work out of destruction.

Have a merry Arsonists' Delight Week 2012!