Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whose World Is It?

I like science. And philosophy. Or at least I think I like those things. I like them until they make my brain hurt, and then I don’t like them anymore, but after awhile I forget about the painful stuff and I go back to them. Kinda’ like the girls I liked unrequitedly in middleschool-highschool-college-adulthood-dreamtime. And then it makes me happy again.

But some of this early Greek stuff and modern quantum physics stuff has been freaking me out a little lately, what with the whole idea of reality simply being MY reality, and different (or even non-existent!) for everyone else. Aside from realizing that I’ve been watching NOVA too much, what do I do when my thoughts get mucky? Why, I turn to my good buddy Christian for advice.

Pat:  Sometimes the idea that I get my own reality sounds really cool--like when Greg got to move into the den, and then the attic, to get away from pesky Peter and Bobby and be his own cool self. But sometimes it gets really lonely, like I’m the only one in my reality, and even though others are there, they really only MIGHT be there, and that leaves me feeling not very comforted.

What do you think?

And just so you know, if I don’t like your advice, I want to warn you in advance that this is MY reality, so I don’t have to heed it. Proceed.

Christian: Who are Greg, Peter, and Bobby?

Pat:  Brady Bunch. Duh. C’mon, man...stay with me.

You know what, though? This mighta’ been a first for our blog--I’m not sure what the hell I was talking about in the intro and paragraphs above. I might have been drinking a bit, and/or this might be a sign that I really should go see a doctor. But it’s like another person was writing those words, man. I’ve tried like four times, but I’m not even sure what those words MEAN.


...this is EXACTLY the kind of alternate reality the drunk me was talking about!

We might have tapped into something very dangerous here, buddy!

Christian: What’s the Brady Bunch? You mean Gary, Paul, and Billy from the the old TV show the Gilbert Gang? The one about the man with three boys who marries a woman with three girls and no one ever talks about or mentions their former spouse/parent?

Pat: and they have a dog, Tiger (but only in the first season)? and Alice, the live-in maid? and Sam, the butcher who disappears with Alice into the live-in quarters between the oven and the fireplace?


And you know what? There is a house on the way to my local grocery store that looks EXACTLY like what I imagine the Brady (or...Gilbert) house looks like. Not from the outside of course, as we already have that image. But we all know that one wasn’t their real house. No, the house I’m talking about is the house that I imagine is what their house looked like on the outside from what the inside looked like. Right? It’s PERFECT! And I want to live there.

And you know what I would do if I lived in that house? I would rig a system whereby I could freak the neighbors into thinking they heard and saw UFOs floating around in their backyards. And I would throw a football into my sister’s nose...when she visited, I guess. And I would punch any asshole in the face who made fun of my sister’s, err--I guess my daughter’s--lisp!

Wanna’ move in with me?

Christian: OK, I’m going to go ahead and just admit that I was joking around with the whole Gilbert Gang thing. I was just trying to mess with you to try and make it seem like you were living in a different world than me. But based on those last couple of paragraphs of yours, you might already be doing that.

You seem dangerously close to slipping into a false reality where you think you are a member of the Brady Bunch. But I’m here to help.

I’ve posted some images below from the show. Remember these are images of a TV show called the Brady Bunch. Not reality. When looking at them try to concentrate on the fact that you are not part of this fictitious family. 


Hopefully that helped.

Pat: OH. MY. GOD. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

I haven’t felt that excitement since Santa brought me my new Schwinn Varsity Deluxe Ten Speed bike, only four years after I asked for it!

Do photo-shopped pictures enlarge and frame well?

Christian: Stop it. You are not part of the Brady Bunch and never will be. Accept it. I’m tired of having to keep telling you this all the time.

Now let’s get back to your original ramblings. Your own reality huh? Interesting concept. Here’s a question for you: If you knew without a doubt that you were in your very own reality and that everyone else in your reality was only there as an “actor” to facilitate your reality, would you live/had lived your life any differently? Or behave any differently?

For example, if you knew that every person you came in contact with was only there to participate in your reality as extras, or characters, would you care about what they thought about you? Would you ever be concerned about embarrassing yourself or failing at something? Do you think you would be more apt to talk to strangers? Lots of things to explore here.

What are your thoughts Greg... I mean Pat?

Pat: I think you might have just watched “The Truman Show”.

Christian: No. But you get my point. If you found out that your entire reality, including the entire Earth, Universe, what have you, was all set up just for you and everyone else was just there to participate in your story (but without the reality TV part like in The Truman Show) would you behave any differently? I for one might think about shoplifting more.

Pat: I would eat more Twinkies and other Hostess snack cakes. Unabashedly, and with wild abandon. Other than  I think it’d all be pretty much the same.

No actually, there’d be a couple more things.

I’d stare at people more, and not worry about them catching me doing so. And I might spend more time looking at their specific parts that I usually have to remind myself to avoid staring at. ‘Cause I can, you know. Without getting caught or slapped.

I’d wear the same clothes every day, until I couldn’t stand my own smell anymore.

I would make loud barking sounds anytime someone said something annoying or something I disagreed with.

I would run people over every now and then. With my car (I don’t think I ride my bike fast enough to both knock them down AND roll over them).

There might be more, but that’s good for now.

Christian: So putting aside the vehicular manslaughter attempts and perverse leering, it sounds like you might behave in a fashion that suggests you wouldn’t necessarily care what others thought of you anymore. Therefore my philosophical question becomes, why not live that way now? Again, minus the vehicular manslaughter and perverse leering.

Pat: Too risky.

Christian: You’re such a Peter Brady.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bicyclists: Environment Saving Heroes or A Bunch of Punk Assholes?

As some of you may or may not know Pat and I live in the grand old city of Portland. No not that one, the one in Oregon. And one thing our Oregon based city strives for is making itself bicycle friendly. In Oregon.

We have many streets with separate bike lanes and numerous designated bike routes. And if you have spent any time in our city you will have noticed that every other car here has a bumper sticker on it with a silhouette of a bicyclist that says, “Share the Road”.

Typical Portland vehicle.

I understand the benefits of having people ride their bikes. It means less gasoline being burned and less pollution being put into our atmosphere. I appreciate the fact that these people are putting aside convenience and are not only making themselves healthier but are also making the environment we all share healthier.

But as a driver, I myself can’t stand these insufferable assholes. They obey no traffics rules. They weave in out of traffic between cars and if you happen to get anywhere near one them they are more than happy to scream some unpleasant advice to you. All in all they behave as if all these roads were originally built for themselves and how dare I drive my car on them.

Of course I know not all bicyclists are like this. I’m a reasonable person and understand that it’s unfair to group all bicyclist into this single asshole category based on just a few bad apples. However, I deeply hate them all.

How do you feel about them Pat?

Pat: Two things I don’t mess with, man, when it comes to the road. Public transit buses and cyclists. Not that I admire them. Far from it. As you said, they break rules, they tend towards self-righteousness, and they can be kinda’ stinky in a way that could get on you if you get too close to them. But they are not to be messed with. So I want to stop talking shit about them.

I’ve been on a cycle before (the pedal kind, not the motor kind...can we get an official wordsmith to nail down that distinction?), and tend to really enjoy it. And I’ve done all of the annoying things to which you’ve alluded. And I’ve done them with the smug self-righteousness of someone who knows that their carbon footprint is smaller than yours. But I did them all KNOWING I was being an asshole, which I think makes me better than the cyclist assholes who don’t know they’re assholes! Right?

But bus drivers, man. That’s another league altogether. Those people are not to be tampered with. Wrong them, and a whole world of shit and hurt will befall you. I have no empirical evidence of this, mind you, just a really good gut instinct. Scary people, bus drivers.

Christian: Yes I agree that bus drivers are at a whole different level. The law says that we must always yield to them and they take that very seriously. I’m pretty sure that if my car was legally parked in a parking lot and was hit by a bus it would be my fault for not getting my car out of its way.

But back to the assholes that can’t run my car off the road. The thing that bicyclists do that most annoys me is the failure to stop at stop lights or stop signs. I can’t stand it when I get stuck behind a bicyclist riding down the middle of the street at 10 MPH in a 40 MPH zone. It takes me forever to finally pass them only to have them pass me at the next stop light because they blew right through the intersection and now I’m stuck behind them again. I’m not exaggerating when I say this happens to me about 300 times a day.

Listen bucko, if you want me to share the road with you, then you need to obey the traffic laws. Can I get that put on a bumper sticker?

And by the way, the next time this happens to me I will try and think about whether or not I’m less annoyed if the biker is aware that they are being an asshole. SPOILER ALERT! I’m not going to be less annoyed.

Pat: Well, I’m proud of you for trying!

You can try the bumper sticker thing too, but unless they have wide fenders I don’t think you’re going to be able to fit it anywhere on their bikes. You could try a new kind of really narrow bumper sticker, I suppose. Or you could try to develop a bumper specifically for bikes. Hey! There’s an entrepreneurial idea!

You know what else you could do? Get next to them and play with them a little by swerving towards them just a little and then swerving back. When they look at you and flip you off or mouth “H-E-Y-F-U-C-K-E-R-!” just smile and swerve into them again. I tried it and it’s fun. Kinda’ like playing frisbee with a border collie.

Think any cyclists read our blog, or are we more of a driver’s niche blog? In any case, if there is a cycling reader out there, please know that I was only kidding, but that Christian is really the kind of car-weilding asshole who would actually do something like that.

Christian: I think we should take a step back here. I may have lost my way at some point. I started off just wanting to vent my frustration with these environmentally conscious bastards but all of sudden I had flashes of Death Race 2000.

For those not in the know Death Race 2000 was a movie that came out in 1975 starring
David Carradine whose futuristic character raced around the country in a government sponsored race running over people for points in his lizard car. It predicted the year 2000 to a tee.

Look, I don’t want to run over any bicyclists. Right now. I just want them to obey traffic laws like those of us in cars do. Is that too much to ask? If that is too much to ask, then please stop it with the whole “share the road” attitude. Because Helloooo!!! If we are sharing the road then we are also sharing that stop sign asshole.

I think I’m going to go try and calm my nerves now and watch Death Race 2000.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What do Dustin Hoffman, Chocolate and Caulking Have in Common?

Hey Christian, what is “tootsie”? I know it’s a candy, but it’s like the Goofy of candy... nobody seems to know exactly what the hell it’s supposed to be. Is it chocolate? Is it taffy? Can it be used to insulate drafty windows?

Penny for your thoughts, compadré?

Christian: That is a damn good question. But I think they are officially called “Tootsie Rolls” not “Tootsie”. I think “tootsie” was a term they used to call a woman that was sexually available back in the 1940s, during the renaissance period.  

I’ve never been a fan of them (Tootsie rolls, not sexually available women), even when I was a kid. It was always the one candy I dreaded getting when trick or treating. I would usually just hand it back and say “If this is the best you got then I’m just going to be moving on. Thank you.”

I would have guessed that Tootsie Rolls are some sort of toffee based candy but according to wikipedia there is no toffee. However there is Soy Lecithin, which must be what I remember tasting.

The internet defines Lecithin as “a generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal tissues” which to me describes Tootsie Rolls to a tee. In addition to Tootsie Rolls, Lecithin is also used in paints and motor lubricants. Yum! 

Mmmm... yellow-brownish fatty substance. 

And here is another pic... oh wait that’s McDonalds’ McNugget Sweet N Sour sauce.

Also, I can’t confirm this but I suspect that Tootsie Rolls were created and developed by the Department of Defense.

Are you a fan of them? As more than a weather sealant?

Pat: No. Like you, they were always the immediate buzzkill of the Halloween candy haul. So disregarded, in fact, that I would look my mom square in the face and tell her my stash of Halloween loot was gone, despite the massive mound of tootsie (<--is it okay to not capitalize it?) behind me. So unwanted it didn’t even merit consideration.

Never thought about the weather sealant aspect though? It has been drafty around here lately...

Christian: But you asked about using it to insulate drafty windows in your opening paragraph? Have you been eating a lot of Tootsie Rolls? They say that ingesting too many can effect your memory. Or maybe I’m thinking of paint thinner.

Pat:  Huh? What are you talking about? I thought we were on another post about Canadians. Do they eat tootsie? I bet they call it something different if they do. Probably something like “brown-chew”.

ps-  this might have been me right before that last entry:

Christian: Pat, you need to lay off the brown-chew. And the tootsie roll in that picture is frighteningly large.

We must not forget though that the geniuses over at the Tootsie labs weren’t satisfied with just delivering tootsie in the roll up format -  they decided to play God and defy the laws of nature by packaging them as Tootsie Pops too.

Now when it comes to Tootsie Pops I’m a little torn. Yes I appreciate them as the pinnacle of engineering achievement, that demonstrates that there is truly no limit to what the human mind can achieve through science, but also, I actually do like the lollipop part of them. As far as lollipops go they aren’t that bad. It’s just that they have the unfortunate side effect of leaving your mouth full of Tootsie when you are done, instead of the more traditional nothing.

And I think we agree, nothing is better than Tootsie. Wait that’s not right. What I’m trying to say is that I would rather have nothing than Tootsie. Meaning, if given the choice between having nothing or having Tootsie, I would choose nothing. Umm... Wait. You understand that I would be choosing something, right? The choice being choosing the nothing. Versus choosing the Tootsie. OK. Let’s say I have two boxes... Oh never mind.  You understand.

I wish they made a Tootsie Free Tootsie Pops.

Pat:  Clear as tootsie, there, buddy! I getcha and gotcha! “Just say ‘No’ to Tootsie!” Word!

You know what, though? That ad...the one from the early 80s that challenged us to try and try and try to figure out how many licks it took to get to that annoying center of the tootsie pop? That was advertising GENIOUS!  I must’ve gone through at least 400 pops trying to figure that one out...BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS BITE TOWARDS THE END! Still trying!

Did anyone else suffer from “cut up inner-cheeks” from that? It seemed like the moment you bit into that tootsie center, the blood just started flowing.

Christian: Can’t relate. I was always very cautious when it came to Tootsie Pops. That drugged up owl from those commercials made it very clear that it was all too easy to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop prematurely.

You can’t tell me he’s not on something.

Maybe it was my Miyagi-style Wax karate self training that gave me such precision. WAX OFF! But I rarely bit into the Tootsie portion of a Tootsie Pop. And to be honest I didn’t really care how many licks it took either. I left that to the scientists to figure out.

My only concern was that once I sensed any kind of tootsie penetration or that the tootsie pop was about to climax into it’s tootsie center, I got that thing out my mouth.

Nothing is worse than premature tootsie-lation.   

Pat:  Now that’s just gross. And now I feel a little icky, and kind of violated, and I can’t even think of a witty retort.

Tootsie porn? Really?