Archive for February, 2005

In the headlines today…

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

This week state senators in Georgia came to the same conclusion that many had suspected for years: legislation is best dictated by 9 year olds. A fourth grade class in Rome, GA has successfully lobbied to make the green tree frog the official “state amphibian”. After learning in their government class that a citizen can make a real difference on any non-controversial issue not controlled by large corporations, they decided to take action.

Their first victory was securing the support of Senator Preston Smith. After complaining of having a frog in his throat, he appealed to his fellow lawmakers, stating he would give his best “ribbiting speech” and urged them not to let the bill “croak”. In a historic unanimous vote, the legislators then moved to have Senator Smith stoned to death.

Despite this blow, the fourth grade class prevailed and the bill was passed into law. To honor the momentous occasion, diners across the state held $3.99 “all you can eat” frog leg specials. Sadly it took thousands of little green tree frog legs to pull this off and the entire population was wiped out. However the important thing is the voice of the mini-people was heard. Bolstered by their success, the fourth graders now plan to tackle other important issues, such as the State Vacuum Cleaner and the State Dinosaur.

The Fall of Civilization (PART III, Things Get Really Very Ugly)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Microsoft was completely caught off guard by how many systems sold over the holidays, and production was no where near caught up. “Yeah, dude,” said Noah “me and my brother have been looking for weeks to find one.” This is coming from an X-box distributor! The reality of how serious the situation had become was now setting in.

I called Ryan and told him to take GameStop up on there offer immediately. Like a bad dream though, Ryan was denied yet again upon his return to the store. He spoke to the manager who scoffed at the Friday reserve offer. No such magical shipment was coming in and whoever had promised such would no longer be working at GameStop. And so the heads begin to roll in this dark new era.

If you look around you will see the evil manifesting itself, corrupting all that is pure. In no time at all it has spawned a new breed of scum, both wretched and vile. It oozes across the earth, preying on the deprived, feeding off the desperate. It is the X-box Marauder. It lies like a spider waiting in the final place people without hope inevitably come to: E-Bay. Yes, that’s on E-Bay.

It is unknown where the marauder’s acquire their supply, but they are not above flaunting their spoils shamelessly. Ryan came across one teasing him with a picture of twenty brand new systems lined up in unopened boxes, all ready for immediate shipment. Twisting the knife further was the description which reminded the buyer how difficult it is to find a new X-box. Your only hope, said the scumbag, was to bid.

So Ryan did the only thing he could. He bid. The list price of $150 came and went quickly. And Ryan bid. He held the lead with five minutes to go, but then was overtaken. And Ryan bid. The clock finally expired…and Ryan had won. It had only cost him $180 plus another $30 for shipping.

Ryan will get his X-box. It will no doubt bring him joy and happiness for years to come. But at what cost? His pride? His dignity? His extra $60? And how many poor souls will suffer the same fate? Heed my warning now. If Mr. Gates doesn’t come down off his high throne and listen to the little man soon, the end result will be complete Armageddon. Now all we can do is hope and pray the green delivery trucks start rolling again….

The Fall of Civilization (PART II, Things Get Ugly)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Monday, Ryan went to the stores I suggested only to find empty shelves. Toys R Us did have one in reserve but would only sell it to him if he bought two additional games and a year subscription to X-box Live. It was only then that we realized just how serious the situation had become. The Man had declared war on the little guy with this disgusting abuse of power.
Not giving in to the Man’s demands, Ryan searched on, traveling to every conceivable X-box vendor in the city. All he found were dusty outlines where X-box packages once were. One gangly teen working at GameStop told him that for 10% down he could reserve one for Friday. I told him he may be better off just ordering one on-line and having it overnighted.
While Ryan went to the gym to blow off some steam, I decided to call Electronics Boutique and verify this was reliable plan. Their website claimed several new systems were available for immediate purchase. However when I spoke to their representative, Noah, he confirmed our worst fears:

The X-box shortage is real.

(stay tuned for Part III, Things Get Really Very Ugly)

The Fall of Civilization (PART I)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Every couple decades an event will take place that shakes a society to its very core. The Great Depression of ‘32, the Wall Street Crash of ’86, the Britney Spears Wedding of ’04, all tragedies to be sure. However, we have always been able to come together as a people, supporting each other through the crisis, giving each other the strength to rebuild from the ashes. I fear though that this resolve is about to be cracked by the most terrible disaster we have ever faced. Mother will turn against son, brother against brother, dog against cat, farmer against cow and everything will be left in ruins. The very fabric of our existence will unravel and all because of…


This sinister threat was brought to my attention by my roommate Ryan. He did not think it would be difficult to replace his beloved X-box which passed away on Saturday. He spent all Sunday with family and friends watching the SuperBowl, thinking that afterwards he could still go to Meijers (the WallMart of Michigan) which is open 24/7, and pick up a new system. He was mildly irritated when none could be found. He asked the clerk to call the store on the other side of town. No luck. The store in the next town over? Zilch.
Frustration was now turning to panic. He offered to buy the clerk lunch if he could locate the closest store that actually did have an X-box. After several calls, the clerk finally found one…in Toledo, OH. Ryan was about desperate enough to drive to the Buckeye boarder, but I talked him down. Just wait till tomorrow – you have MediaPlay, GameStop and Toys R Us all within 100 feet of each other. One of them will have it and everything will be ok. Little did we know just how far from ok things are…


Monday, February 7th, 2005

It is my sad duty to report that Ryan’s X-box passed away quietly on the Saturday, 2/5/05. The exact cause of death is unknown, but has been listed as “natural causes”.

The X-box brought joy to several owners in it’s short time here on Earth. It was originally purchased by Mark, where it was used primarily in a group gameplay role. With it’s help, 16 grown men were able to come together and bond in a way that is rarely legal.

In November 2003, the X-box was then purchased by long time video game addict Steve. He was tentative with the system at first, but eventually the two made a connection. Their strong relationship allowed Microsoft to corrupt his soul. He would ultimately give his Playstation to his girlfriend.

However, even Steve could see something special was forming between the X-box and his roommate Ryan. Early on it was obvious they were morphing into a new living entity. Realizing that it is never wise to interfere with true love, Steve bought a new unit for his bedroom and sold the X-box to Ryan.

Over the next year, Ryan would log countless thousands of hours, on-line and off, with the likes of Halo, RainbowSix 3, RainboSix 3 Black Arrow, and of course Halo 2. The X-box opened up a new world to him, offering opportunities to talk to random people in Tennessee at 4am. This had always been a life dream of Ryan’s and the X-box made it happen. The long term impact the X-box had on Ryan’s life will be immeasurable – it kept him off the streets and out of the bar, saving him thousands of dollars and possible time in jail. Cutting him off from loose women, it gave him the opportunity to focus on what was important, ultimately resulting in the respectable, engaged gentleman he is today.

A memorial service is being planned and a notice will be forthcoming.

Via con Dios X-box. You will truly be missed.

A History of Hives

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

“Hives – urtication: an itchy skin eruption characterized by weals with pale interiors and well-defined red margins; usually the result of an allergic response to insect bites or food or drugs”

This is a good definition, but it does fail to mention some of the other symptoms, like eradication of self-esteem, impulses to curse the day you were born, and overwhelming urges to grab any sharp object handy and convert your skin to luggage. Gross, yes, but when you are hived to the max you will quickly see what a great hookup Skelator had.

Mine started in 10th grade. No one is ever really sure what triggers them, but I think they were set off by some impending social event that would force me in to the same room with dangerous exotic creatures known as “girls”. (Fortunately I was able to overcome these social anxieties and received my first kiss only 9 years later (see glass, crushed)) It’s a little fuzzy now, but I do remember lying in bed in my underwear, completely covered in round raised red itchy skin, wondering what I had done to offend the Lord. If only I had heeded the nuns warning about self fornication. Ultimately, my parents took me to the emergency room, where a nurse shot me in the butt with benedryl. It knocked the hives down and knocked my butt to sleep.

A couple months later it happened again. Took another shot to the butt, but it worked slower this time. Can’t really remember the chronology, but by the third or fourth outbreak, benydryl was completely worthless. So, They switched me to a tiny sugary pill called Atarax which knocked the hives down and knocked my butt to sleep…(sigh) those were the days.

By the time I got to college, I was breaking out every night. The doctors had no idea why – back scratch tests, blood tests etc. showed no common denominator. One doc suggested I eliminate everything in my diet but water, then slowly add things back in over the course of the month. Yeah, might as well tell me to give up self fornicating. Atarax was no longer functional, so they switched me to a drug called Hismanal. No side effects and controlled the hives – perfect!

Back then I had no cool girlfriend to read those “label thingy’s”, so I was a little alarmed, when in my senior year of college, the doctor told me that he was going to phase me off Hisminal, because of it’s tendency to kill people. Remember kids, always trust your doctor because he does his homework …eventually. Fortunately, there was a new safer drug on the market, called Zyrtec. It works beautifully and has yet to blow up my heart. In fact if Zyrtec ever goes out of business, I’ll just drive off a bridge and call it good.

But what’s caused 14 years of nightly breakouts? My allergist has come up with an interesting theory. At some point my autoimmune system went haywire and started attacking my own body. “So basically, what you are telling me doc, is that I am allergic to my own blood?” Um, well yes.

Ok, that’s a little disheartening, but I’m dealing with it. In the meantime, I come up with some fun anyone can have while in the grips of full Hive agony:

* Take a marker and play connect the hives – hours of entertainment.
* Go to the food court at the mall and sample someone’s taco bell – free lunch every time.
* Show up for work in something revealing like a tank top – always a fast ticket home.
* Try out for a play that needs a leper – you will smoke the competition.
* Self fornicate – hey you paid the fiddler, so you might as well dance.