Thursday, June 21, 2012

Which Super Power?

The other day while listening to a solicitor who had come to my door trying to gather signatures and donations to help make our environment smaller or something - I really wasn’t paying attention - I couldn’t help but think to myself “What would be the best super power to have?”

As he went on about wanting to decrease wildlife habitats and maybe something about the importance of keeping our lake and stream water from being contaminated by wildlife, I was thinking “Flying? Super strength? Telekinesis?”

So I finally said “Yes. Thank you. I am thirsty.” and took the signature notebook and pen that for some reason he had kept trying to give to me, slammed the door shut, got myself a glass of water and started writing out this post in my new notebook with the nice pen that he had just given me.

So Pat, if you could have any superpower what would it be?

Pat:  The ability to solicit anything from anybody at any time? How does that sound? Good? Yes, I thought so too (and I knew YOU thought so).

No...I’ve thought about this a lot, probably more than is really appropriate given my age and esteemed position in society. Human mood ring. You?

Christian:  Human mood ring? What the hell is that? The ability to tell if someone is sad or happy or hungry? You can’t already do that?

Pat:  Not as well as I’d like to be able to (if my current relationship with my spouse is any indicator. Do you hear me husbands? Am I right?)! I actually even conceptualized an outfit for myself. It’d be woven from organic cotton of the highest thread count to ensure a form-fitting flexibility. No dyes, either. All natural! Whaddya’ think?

Christian: You mean something like this guy?

To the rescue!

Pat:  No. Not like him at all. His teeth are too terrifying, and that finger pointing is just abrasive. I would use my super power to make people feel more at ease, more comfortable. Perhaps something more like this:

...only the jeans and vest would be more of a neutral off-white. And I’m not sure about the headband. Can you dig it?

Christian: Well, good luck fighting crime with that.  

If I could choose any super power I think I would go with the ability to heal quickly and not age, like Wolverine. Or maybe the ability to summon stuff. Like a taco. No, no, ability to heal and not age.

It would be like I was immortal. No need to worry about eating healthy or any crap like that since my body will always cure itself of anything bad. It would be sweet.

Although I must say the ability to fly would be pretty tempting, but I’ll stick with my ability to no longer need to take good care of my body. I think that’s the way to go.

You want to change yours now don’t you?

Pat:  No, not at all. I already perfected that super power. It was in my twenties. I kept up running, but it was really just to fend off the ill-effects of all of the crappy food I’d been eating and the alcohol I’d been swilling. And it wasn’t really working, and I think that’s when “cholesterol” entered my vocabulary. Been there, done that.

I’m sticking with hippy-mood man. He’s innovative and unconventional. And he gives AMAZING hugs! The kind you don’t want to end.

It’s like he can melt evil with his hugs.

Damn, this keeps getting better!

Christian: When I asked you which superpower you wanted were you thinking along the lines that you would use this power to fight crime and save people from impending doom or were you thinking more about what superpower to have while you continue to live the normal life you are living now?

Pat:  Think outside the existing paradigm, Christian! (by the way...that’s the kind of line Hippy-Mood Man would throw out at felons and nogoodniks to foil their evil intentions. And then he would hug them!)  Imagine what would happen if the world were full of superheroes who lived each day without EXPECTING people to do dastardly things? Ever think about that? Maybe, just maybe, if that were the case, then superheroes and supervillains WOULD be able to live normal lives.

I’m assuming I have completely lost your respect at this point. Sorry...I can choose x-ray vision if that makes it easier for you (by the way, that sort of compromise is EXACTLY the kind of thing Hippy-Mood Man would do to ease the tension in a hostile situation).

Need a hug?

Christian: No thanks. Maybe an aspirin though.

So in recap. If the two of us were given our choice of super powers, I would have the ability to no longer need to work out or eat healthy and you would be a human mood ring. Pretty awesome.

Look out crime!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What We Did For Spring Break

A little while ago Pat and I closed up the PCPPP offices, let the staff have a couple of weeks off, and headed out on separate family vacations.

For my family we really wanted an adventure so we took the long flight from Portland down to Arizona to visit my parents who spend their winters in a retirement community appropriately named Leisure World. And indeed, it’s like a completely different world down there.

Now I’m not quite sure if Leisure World is it’s own city or not - I’ve heard that it does have its own laws and maybe it’s own military, I don’t know - but it’s located within the city of Mesa. I assume it’s similar to how the Vatican is located inside Rome.

I was really excited for this trip because I really wanted my kids to experience a different culture and see first hand how others, that are different from us, live. To receive a life lesson that they could carry with them throughout their years, that would hopefully teach them that there is more to our world than just what they experience in their own everyday lives.

And what a better way to give them this life lesson than a trip to a rich retirement community located in a suburb of Phoenix.

Pat, hopefully your vacation was as adventurous and rewarding as ours. Where was it that you and the family went again?

Pat:  I don’t know where my family went...maybe Seaside* or Gresham**. Not sure.

I went to Ethiopia for two weeks though. Remember...I posted a comment on our Facebook page from there. I think you were even online at the time. Do you even read our blog, Christian?

What were you saying about experiencing different cultures and seeing a world outside our own?

Christian: I thought you were just doing one of those facebook status joke things that people always do, like “Just arrived in Amsterdam” or “Just found out my grandma passed away”. I always just leave a comment saying something like “Ha ha” and call it good.

So you went to Ethiopia? The one in Africa? Or is there an Ethiopia, Oregon I’m not aware of?

Pat:  Nope, you had it with the one in Africa. That one. The one with the funny sounding capital (cool kids just call it “Addis”, by the way). The one neighboring Djibouti. Hard to say that without giggling. Actually, I just giggled as I typed it. Did you know its capital is also called “Djibouti”. Seriously!

I was in Amsterdam too. That was part of the trip, though just for airport purposes. Remember when we went there together? I barely do--it’s mostly memories of late-night pastry shops. Why was that?

Christian: We were in Amsterdam? That sounds familiar but hazy.

Wow, Ethiopia huh? That’s cool, I guess. I mean that’s no Leisure World, Arizona, but probably still somewhat of an adventure, right?

Do you feel like you got to experience a different kind of culture or lifestyle? In Leisure World everyone drives around in golf carts, which we got to experience a little bit of ourselves. It was quite a shock to the system.

Pat:  Yeah, in Ethiopia the act of driving--an act very few of the local Ethiopians have the means to practice--is really a sport akin to Deathrace 2000 (which made me think you would LOVE it!). It involves a lot of braking, a lot of horn use, and very little else. There are added points for not hitting people, goats, cows, donkeys or camels. Well, not points really, but avoidance of fines or prison sentences. Oh! But there is one road in Addis Ababa--the “Ring Road”--where you can actually hit a pedestrian with your car, KILL them even, and not be at fault. It’s ‘cause they built footpaths over the road, and they expect the people to use them. But hit ‘em on any other road, and you’re in trouble. You have to pay the police, or pay the people, or have the victim over for dinner...something like that.

Is that what it was like in Leisure World?

Oh, by the way...Addis has a population of between 2.5 and 5 million (they haven’t really been able to nail down a proper head count) and, as of my visit, only ONE working traffic light. THAT’S an efficient system!

Christian: So no golf carts?

Pat:  Nope, but the country is chock-full of Tuk Tuks, which are kinda’ much cooler than golf carts, and put out a lot more asphyxiating carbon monoxide, which makes them TOUGHER than golf carts 
too! can TASTE the adventure!

Christian: Well, hopefully next time you can go somewhere that has golf carts. Be sure to add it to your bucket list.  

What about food? We ate a local place that all the natives recommended that served authentic Arizonian food. 

Ahhhh, culture.

The food was rather salty but who am I to argue with the local culture.

Did you eat any Ethiopian food?

Pat:  I did! And you know what? After I ate it, it ate me, completely, from the inside out. That’s the great thing about Ethiopian’s a reciprocal relationship! Sometimes you get a worm, sometimes you die a slow death, and other times you just get the opportunity to hang out on a bed and in a latrine for hours on end (about 12 hours in my case).

Here’s what it looked like before it loved me back:


Is Arizonian food like that, or is it more self-centered?

Christian:  Didn’t have any problems with the food but we did have some issues with the native language. One day this older man was yelling at me but I could barely understand a word he was saying. He seemed very excited, but the only words I could make out were something to do with his lawn or garden. Who knows. But since I couldn’t understand him I just drove my golf cart out of his yard and left. I said, the main reason we went to Arizona was to see my parents. I feel like it’s important to visit family even if it means traveling someplace foreign like Arizona.

What made you decide to travel to Ethiopia?

Pat:  Oh, where to start? Cheap airline tickets? No, that wasn’t it. Dream vacation destination? No, not it either. Turning 40 and grasping at anything that might hold meaning or answers? Hmm...maybe partly. That, and my sister and her family live there. Well, they used to. They just moved to another one of those wildly exotic worldly locales--Baltimore.

*For those not in Oregon, this is a crappy town on the coast.
**This is an even crappier town, without even a water feature to redeem it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Zombies: Slow or Fast?

Both Pat and I are big fans of zombie movies. Not like super hard-core nerding out fans like this guy:  


No, we’re more just your typical fans, that really enjoy a good zombie movie and never pass up a chance to see one. Like this guy:

Definitely more like Pat and I.

So Pat, I have a question for you. Do you prefer your zombies to be more of the classical sense where they are slow moving and clumsy or do you prefer the more modern day zombies that seem to have Olympic qualifying running speed?

Keep in mind I’m talking about within the context of movies. If/when we are indeed taken over by zombies I’m pretty much assuming everyone is going to vote for the slow ones.

Pat:  Well, I used to be fine with slow zombies, but I think once you’ve seen fast ones in a movie you can’t go back. It’s like the slow ones are the gateway zombies, and the fast ones are the little speedballs that you liquidate your kids’ college funds for, just to keep the high going. Sorry, kids.

So, yeah, I go for the fast ones. But in real life? Like you say, I’ll take slow...even immobile maybe, if we get to have a say in the matter. There was a fun run held earlier this year where you can pay to get chased by other runners dressed up as zombies. You got a three minute head-start, but the zombie runners were GOOD runners. No way...that’s fucking terrifying, even if it’s not real. I’ll settle for this guy instead:

When I catch you, which might be in awhile,
THEN I’ll eat your brains.

Christian:  Really? You prefer your zombie movies to have fast moving zombies? Wow. You’re really taking this being wrong thing to a whole new level.

Come on, slow moving zombie movies is where it’s at. If they are going to be fast it might as well be a movie about a bunch of rabid gazelles. Who wants to watch that?

The thing that is so great about slow moving zombies is that the survivors can easily handle one or two of them and can escape them with ease. But you get a horde of them together then things get dicey. Just like if you were to come across a couple of spiders. No big deal right? But if you came across a thousand spiders all grouped together than that would be frightening! AHHHHHH!

Plus slow moving zombies makes more sense from a realistic point of view. I’m guessing your bones and muscles won’t quite be at a 100% after suffering from a death. So naturally you would be much slower and less coordinated than your living self. That’s just Biology 101.

Pat:  That’s just fine by me, man. You go ahead and focus on those slow zombies, and then if the time comes (WHEN the time comes, I say) you go ahead and saunter through town avoiding all of those slow zombies, while I prepare to run my ass off because I know that their slowness is just a ploy to lure suckers like you in. Be prepared. Thank you, scout master!

By the way...I think you really have issues with points-of-view different from your own. Y’ever thought of that, or were you too busy laughing at the many ways that fast-zombie aficionados were wrong? You know what ALL zombies value? An open mind. Oh my god...I didn’t even mean for that to be such a good joke, but it WAS! Because zombies like brains. So they would LOVE an open mind! That was awesome! And you should still learn to appreciate other perspectives.

Christian: I do not have issues with points-of-view that are different from mine. I just have issues with wrong points-of-view. This blog is called Point Counter-Point Point Point, remember? It’s all about presenting and arguing different points-of-view on a topic so that people can learn about both sides of an issue, allowing them to make their own informative decision that you are wrong.

Also, don’t worry about me. I’m pretty sure I’m plenty prepared for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. But boy are you going to look foolish running around as fast as you can as they slowly meander about.

You’re going to unnecessarily tire yourself out, get a side ache, and then find yourself surrounded by a gaggle* of them. And as you try to catch your breath while being devoured, I’ll cruise by on my Segway, at a moderate pace, with not a worry in sight. I’ll probably be eating a nice snack too. Most likely a plate of some nice cheeses or something since I won’t need to worry about staying in shape with all these lethargic flesh eaters around.

Oh I’ll be prepared all right.

Pat:  Like I said...that’s just fine by me! And, as a friend, I hope you’re right. I hope I work myself unnecessarily into a svelte gazelle-like physique while you fatten as you sup on gourmet deli items and fancy mustards.

BUT...there’s no way in hell that zombies, WHEN they attack, will be of the shambling variety. That’s exactly what they want us to believe! They convinced Romero to depict them that way, but I’m no fool--I know all about the corrupt Hollywood elite (hint:  ZOMBIES!!).

* I don’t know if there is an official term for a group of zombies but “gaggle” seemed appropriate since being surrounded by a group of geese also scares me.