Thursday, July 22, 2004

Time for a meeting

"Hi. My name is.... "

"Hehehehe. You don't need to tell us what your name is. We scanned the RFID tag in your cell phone right after you got out of your car. Then we cross referenced your Car's ID VIN number with the DMV and found out about those speeding tickets you've got. Hehehehe."

Welcome to Geeks Anonymous.

It wasn't like I woke up one morning and realized I was a geek. I really don't believe that that is one of those things that can really sneak up on a person. For some people Dilbert and The Far Side are just a bit too funny, if you catch my drift.

Back in 2000, I went to the E3 Expo (The three E’s stand for, Entertainment, Edutainment, and Entoxication. Geeks have never been known for their spelling abilities) in Los Angeles. Anywho, for those of you that don't know what that is, E3 has become the videogame enthusiasts equivalent to a pilgrimage to Mecca. What it was then, and has continued to be, is a gigantic exposition hall filled with deafeningly loud sound, bright flashing lights, and scantily clad women posing in front of each company's "booth” in order to promote that companies games.

I've always found the idea of having beautiful women at an event dedicated to people who never leave their parents basements, except for the occasional run to the local Quickie Mart for more Stridex pads, quite comical.

Back then I was “working” for a company that had the foolish belief that they could actually make money by publishing video game reviews and previews on the Internet. One key fact, that I believe led to their eventual downfall, was the fact that they overpaid every single person that worked for them, including yours truly.

So, I wasn't really all that surprised when they decided to pay for a group of 20 or so guys to fly out to Los Angeles for the show. It just seemed like the right thing to do when you're already throwing away money on this group of "writers."

When I got out to LAX, I caught a taxi and found my way out to the house that the company was renting as their "corporate headquarters" at the time. So here is a big group of early 20-something guys that have just been flown in from all over the country, out to Los Angeles, and what do they want to do? The exact same thing that they were doing, probably up to the minute before they got on the respective planes. They wanted to play and talk about games.

Now, some of you know may have heard that I like to play an occasional game. I wont deny this to be true. In fact, I know that I play and own quite a few more games than I should, but when I'm flown all the way across the country into a city that's known to have more than a few outdoor activities, I think it would be prudent to get out of the house for a few minutes just to see what might be out there. Honestly though, a few of these guys were so pale that their skin was almost translucent. Really, it looked like some of them had saran wrap covering their soft tissues and it was quite frightening. So, we had to wait until the sun had set before we could try and convince them that they would be ok if we ventured away from their computers.

Eventually, I convinced the group of them that we should go out to a bar and stop talking about how they could "kill" off their families in The Sims. I determined then that I should try to use my sense of humor and conversational skills for the greater good and get these guys out and try to have them interact with real people. So, we got to a really nice bar on Wilshire and I sat and watched them all sit in the corner and chug Diet Coke's and discuss the strategy that you needed to employ to defeat each of the bosses in Final Fantasy VIII. I think it was at that very moment that I felt much better about the type of geek that I am.

What's the point of this story? I think it's because of the fact that I don't want to have to come up with an explanation of the 36 consecutive hour Tecmo Superbowl bender that I went on when I was a sophomore in High School. And I used to wonder why women weren't attracted to me. Now I just know why.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Nothing beats a good snort

I've been at this for a few weeks now and I'm really enjoying the fact that I can convey my thoughts via the written word to my friends. Before this, I had to do it either through speech (which frankly, I fail quite miserably at from time to time) or via telepathy. The first one worked every once in a while, the second just gave me and the cats quite a few headaches (sorry Vandelay.)

When I started writing this, I did get some good feedback from people. Comments ranging from "Glen, you don't entirely suck," to "Glen, go take a shower." Each of those statements may or may not have come from voices in my head, or from actual people. It really didn't matter which, I just took the shower. I felt it was for the best.

Throughout my life I've found a few things to be true. At the top of my own personal list is the fact that I enjoy making people laugh. (another life truth is found in an equation later) Getting people to smile, chuckle, or even snort at something I've done or said fills me with such a sense of satisfaction, that I can't even begin to describe how good it makes me feel. So, I guess it makes a lot of sense that I'm now writing stories that allow me to make fun of myself so that I can get a chuckle out of a few of you.

For every funny thing that I think I've done or said, I've usually had about 10 to 20 ideas that go through my head around that same time that are rejected for the following reasons.

1. They would be too offensive for the populace. If I was being paid to be entertaining, I might throw a few more "poop jokes" out there, but since I'm usually just doing it to try to keep you and a few other key people entertained for free, I'll try to keep the crap flinging inside my head.

2. No one would understand it. Recently I had, what I considered, to be one of the funniest conversations with one of my friends. The whole conversation was about us trying to explain who Rob Dibble was to a group of people that had never followed sports, nor would they have ever been interested in knowing who Rob Dibble was in the first place. We knew that they didn't care, but we still went on with it, because we knew it was funny. I try not to subject people to these situations all that often, but damnit Brandon just brings that stuff out of me.

3. It would make Sarah mad. Sadly, there are jokes that fall into this group. Slowly, I'm getting Sarah to understand the fact that she's just not as funny as me. It's a tough job, but someone has to take one for the team and explain the following equation to her.

Monkeys + Underpants = Funny

Once she gets that, we'll all be on the same page.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Byron Scott

I've never been a gifted athlete. I wasn't blessed with the ability to run incredibly fast or throw harder than other people, but what I've I always enjoyed doing was to jump. Any type of jumping, it really doesn't matter. Whether it is a small hop, or a leap from a sidewalk to the street, jumping has always been great fun for me.

I lived on a farm when I was in the 10th grade. It wasn't like we were farmers or anything though; we were just renting out a relatively big farmhouse that allowed each member of my family to have their own bedroom. One of the best features of this farm though, was the large hay barn. It had long since abandoned this role, as most of the land in that area was for growing tobacco. So it was left, except for one thing. The 9-foot tall basketball hoop.

I lost entire days playing basketball in that barn. I learned each of the little corners and all of the places that you could put up trick shots from.

"Stand behind the pole, bounce it off the rafter, no rim."

I found all of the dead spots in the floor where I knew the ball would thud off of the ground, so I could swoop in for the steal when playing against someone.

But games of "one on one" were not what that barn was all about. Oh, no. When you put a rim up at that height you're only looking for one thing. White kid slam-dunk competitions.

That's right ladies and gents. If you would have been living in Cambridge, Wisconsin in 1990 you could have witness what became one of the greatest spectacles of modern times. You could have witnessed a group of eight 15 and 16 year olds exhibiting their miniscule vertical leaps. It would have been a standing room only audience. Basically because there was nowhere to sit in "the barn," but you get the point.

We did it up like it was a professional event. If your definition of professional involves 10 white kids in shorts in a barn, then it was professional in that sense.

We got a Pepsi banner from one of the "competitors" workplaces and tacked it up to the walls.

Ok, to be honest there were two reasons that we got the banner. The first one was so it looked like it was an actual sponsored competition. The other was so that it could cover one of the holes in the wall. It was February and it was Wisconsin, so anything that could cut down on the wind that would be whipping through the barn was a good thing.

We even got a camera crew together. I took my parents camcorder and a few of the shorter guys, who couldn't "throw down" like the rest of us, were put on filming duty. (Poor Greg and Mike.)

Then it was on to the competition. Each person took on their own basketball player persona that they would be emulating. Or in the case of Trevor, he took the guy who was able to do it all, Bo Jackson.

Once the names were picked and we went through the "pregame introductions" we started to show off. Each dunk was a chance for each of us to show off our 10 to 12 inch vertical leaps in all of their glory.

One-handed tomahawks, trick dunks off the backboard, reverse dunks and windmills too. We did them all. All the while, the "commentators" scored us and kept the competition lively. Eventually it ended in the last round ended with a battle of attrition. One player missed all of his dunks, while the other did a bland "one-handed stuffa." (If you can hear Jack Ramsey saying that in your head, it sounds much better.)

Sadly, I was the one who won. I have the whole event on tape and every few years I'll throw it in for a laugh. For some strange reason I've noticed a flaw in the contest. I only did three different dunks throughout the entire day, and yet my "scores" kept going up. I actually feel bad about winning the contest, isn't that odd?

15 years later and I don't really know any of those guys anymore. I've talked to a few of them in the past 5 years, but none of us are close. It's corny, but if there were ever something I could give to each of them, it would be a copy of that tape because I can't think of a better day that I had with that group of my friends.

I'd want them to remember that on one cold February afternoon, we all got together and had a great time.

That and the fact that I beat them all. They should remember that too.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Hakuna Frittata

"My legs are burning," he thought to himself.

It was true in a way.
They were burning on the inside and the outsides were already burnt.

He continued onward though. It really was the only thing that he could do. There were a few things that he had to finish before the day got too far along so he continued onward, ignoring the constant sharp stabbing signals of pain that his muscles and flesh were sending to his brain

The path he was journeying on was a relatively short one, but there were things that had to be done. Point B had to be reached and then he could go on with the rest of his life. As he continued forward he thought, "Should I go back? Is there something more for me there? Perhaps if I just finish this, I can just keep on going."

In a way that was true. Where he was going was basically just a simple destination with one task in mind, but after he was done there he could just keep on going.

A small squirrel leapt onto the path and he stopped short. Why did such a small thing cause him to be startled? It wasn't the first time that he had been disturbed by a small woodland creature before. In fact, it wasn't the first time that it had happened to him this morning, but each time he questioned why he continued to be bothered by them.

"No matter," he thought and continued on the path.

He was tired. It had been days since he had gotten more than an hour of uninterrupted sleep. He longed for the feel of his own bed and the comfort that you get from being "home."

His legs had gone from burning to a full-on internal inferno. Large jets of flames began above the ankles and crawled upward teasing then igniting each individual nerve. He couldn't stop though. He volunteered for this duty and he volunteered to do it alone.

He'd always sought out ways to try and prove himself to others. The sad part though, was the fact that he was almost always disappointed in his own results. He knew why hid did it though. It was no great secret. It was for the same very reason that the outside of his flesh was scorched. It was in his blood. Every opportunity was a chance to proof that he could be good at something. It didn’t matter what it was to be done, everything could be a chance to find out if he should reward or punish himself for a job well done or a job done poorly.

Each step took him closer to his destination, and he was closer than ever before.

Two insects noticed that his arm was nearly motionless for a second and took the opportunity to latch on. His other arm flailed toward them and crushed one while it was still attached to his milky white underarm. A small bubble of blood seeped from the insects now flattened form, and it streaked down his arm. He flicked the bug aside and then checked for any other freeloaders that were attempting to come along on his journey. With none found, he continued forward.

The sound of soft ground under his feet changed to that of soggy old wooden planks, and he knew that he was close. He could hear voices in the distance now. Other people were beginning to stir as well and he thought to himself, "It's for the best that I did this alone."

He looked ahead and saw that his task was nearly complete, but there was something distracting him. Two creatures stirred but this time, for some reason, they did not alarm him. They strutted back and forth for a time, and then looked his way. It seemed as though they felt his presence from quite a distance, but were not concerned in the slightest that he was close to them.

"Look at him," the seemed to say to each other, speaking only through their eyes and subtle movements. "I bet he thinks himself better than us. His knees don't even bend the right way."

Then they left him, striding slowly without a care in the world other than for where their next meal would be.

He stopped, let out a deep sigh, and reached down to massage his aching legs. Part of his work was done, but there was a good deal left. He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply.

It felt good.