Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Burying the Lede

The day started the same as any other, which meant I was seriously considering going to Las Vegas. It’s super close to Los Angeles, and you can get a nice hotel for practically free. (They recoup the money when their guests gamble in their casino, but I’m far too clever to fall for that. I always gamble in OTHER hotel’s casinos.)

Now granted, going to Vegas wasn’t necessarily the wisest idea. But I was feeling antsy. I’d recently applied for a bunch of jobs and I was just playing the waiting game. So my choice was either Vegas or San Diego. San Diego felt a little less adventurous, but it was only about two hours away, instead of Vegas’ five.

I decided to mix the two. I’d go to San Diego—but take my passport. After all, the border was only fifteen minutes away, and I’d never been to Mexico before. I could get my passport stamped. And anyway, I’d heard good things about Tijuana. Or at least, I’d heard things. They were probably good.

I did make an effort to do the San Diego thing. I went to Balboa Park, which is where San Diego keeps its touristy things like zoos and museums. But by going to places like these, I ran the risk of learning stuff. Far be it from me to do something educational.

So fifteen minutes later, I was crossing the border. Ask me how much fanfare there was! There was very little fanfare. I could have just as easily been crossing into Indiana. There was certainly no passport-stamping going on.

So it seems—and someone should probably look into this—all the street signs in Mexico are in Spanish. I got lost twenty seconds after I entered the country. The highway split, and I was left with two simple options: right or left. The highway signs were all Greek to me. (Except, again, they were Spanish.)

I chose left. "Always choose left in Mexico," as the saying goes. I pulled off the highway and actually did end up in Tijuana, which, if you ignore the graffiti on the buildings, the cracked, broken streets, the garbage piled on the side of the roads and the prostitutes lining the sidewalks, is still kinda a dump. I spent the majority of my time in Tijuana figuring out how to get out of Tijuana, which was no small feat—again, Spanish road signs.

Using my impeccable sense of direction (I know; I’m as surprised as you!) I made it to the road leading back into the US. Traffic backed up about half a mile from the border—and it took me well over an hour to make it that far.

When I finally made it to the border, they asked my license and registration. And I couldn’t find my registration.

And so, highly suspicious, border patrol was forced to detain me. For quite a while.

Please refer to the title of this post for more information on that last sentence. And tune in next time for part two: "How to Outwit Border Patrol!" (AKA "How to Wait Patiently at Border Patrol Until They Eventually Let You Go.")

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Things I Don't Understand" #3


Where does the saying "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it" come from? It means you'll overcome some future obstacle, but that would imply that the bridge WAS an obstacle, wouldn't it? The line should be "we'll ford that river when we come to it." Or maybe, "we'll cross that rickety bridge with the 500-foot fall to a raging river below when we come to it."

It's unclear. All I know is I have a sudden hankering to play Oregon Trail.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The top 10 Internet clichés we’d be better off without, in no particular numerical order:

4) “LOL cats.” I guess these are supposed to be cats that know enough Photoshop to slap text on a picture, are web-savvy enough to know how to upload those pictures to the internet, but haven’t quite grasped the English language. Maybe these cats aren’t stupid after all--they’re just foreigners.

“Rickrolling.” Why this is a thing, I don’t know. It’s a bait and switch—you pretend you’re linking to something interesting, but the link instead goes to a video of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” People apparently find it hysterical, though it’s unclear why. Especially when there’s much better stuff out there.
2) Annoying “top 10” lists. It seems that every blogger eventually makes one of these dumb things, either because they’re too lazy to write original content or because they genuinely think people are interested in listening to them rant. Either way, it’s a practice that should be abolished.

10) Commercials that make fun of Internet acronyms. “People use ‘LOL’ all the time on the Internet—imagine how funny it would be if someone actually SPOKE this way!” It was mildly amusing the first time we saw this, (to be generous) but advertisers don’t seem to understand that it’s been done a bazillion times by now. It’s definitely time to lay this one to rest.

1) Internet memes. I think a couple items on this list technically ARE internet memes. But I don’t know what they are, and I don’t like them.

6) Twitter. I’m only going to say this once, but I’m going to say it loudly, so be sure to turn up your speaker volume when you read the next sentence. TWITTER IS POINTLESS. It serves only two purposes. One is to annoy your friends with constant facebook status updates, except that Twitter cleverly renamed them to “tweets” so no one will know the difference. The second is to allow marketers to sell to you. Gee, Walgreens all of a sudden has a Twitter feed? That’s not an accident.

But no one seems to realize this, and Twitter remains one of the internet’s biggest, most pointless fads. It will go the way of Friendster and Beanie Babies because it serves no practical purpose. ...Also I hate it.

3) Bing. I can’t say anything that this video doesn't say better. When you’ve finished watching it, search for it again on Bing. It’s oddly satisfying. 

5) The “You’ve won a free iPod!” girl. Spoiler alert: All you’ve actually won is identity theft.

8) Hasbro. Remember when they took away the incredibly popular facebook game, Scrabulous, and replaced it with their moderately popular board game, Scrabble? Their thought was that Scrabulous was ripping off their franchise, and so they’d better get control of it right away by releasing a bad facebook app. Good call, Hasbro! Instead of all that free publicity, it’s a much better idea to alienate your fan base.

9) Farmville. It’s a simplistic Sim City, where you annoy your facebook friends to help you build a farm, or rescue sheep, or whatever it is that goes on in this game. The worst part is that people seem to think that this is serious gaming, which is kind of like saying Marmaduke is serious literature. People actually go beyond the free version of the game and pay money to play it. If you’re going to do that, for god’s sake, try a Sim game first. It’ll cost you less in the long run and it’s a much, much better game.

I apologize for this list of awful. To make up for it, check out this chunk of internet awesomeness.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mega-Man Strikes Again, Police Baffled

SNAKE MAN’S LAIR: Disaster struck Snake Man’s lair yesterday when Mega Man, notorious cannibal, broke into the beloved robot’s home, murdered him and stole his Search Snakes. It’s the fifth murder in as many weeks, and has baffled citizens and police alike.

“I just don’t understand it,” said a tearful Top Man. “Snake Man was a model citizen, a wonderful robot, and a friend. What kind of deranged madman would hunt him down and wear his snakes as a grisly trophy?”

Mega Man, (also known as “Rockman” in some circles) has already been implicated in the deaths of Gemini Man, Hard Man, Shadow Man and Magnet Man. Attempts to catch him have proven ineffective, and robots everywhere are terrified.

“I covered my entire lair in spikes,” said Needle Man. “Just spikes, everywhere. And I hide in my panic room every night. But he’s coming. I know he’s coming.”

Needle Man’s fears are not entirely unfounded. Magnet Man’s lair was filled with disappearing blocks, a defensive measure that cost millions of dollars to develop and implement. But Magnet Man was killed in his lair last week, and it’s feared that Mega Man may have gained the disappearing block technology for himself.

“But it’s Rush that worries us the most,” said a police spokesman, referring to Mega Man’s rabid, sidekick dog. “Used to be, a robot could protect his lair with large, random gaps in the floor, but Rush changed all that. Gaps are ineffectual against Mega Man and Rush. Completely ineffectual.”

Police are reaching out to the community for help. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Mega Man, Rush, or the notorious Dr. Light, who is being sought in connection with the murders, should contact the police immediately.

For now, it appears that Mega Man’s horrific rampage will go unchecked.

Snake Man’s funeral will be held at the Wily Center at 12pm.