Sunday, February 6, 2011

In Which Our Author Ignores The Prompt

So the prompt for this one is "most influential year in school," but I already did that with the childhood memory post. So I'm gonna use this post to write about different childhood memories. I hope you won't mind.

Most of my favorite childhood memories that weren't at school involved my brother Mike. We lived on the edge of the school district, so all the friends I made in school lived at least a fifteen-minute drive away, and all the kids in the neighborhood were much older than we were. So we hung out a lot. We'd play with Legos, and we'd build really complicated spaceships and compose epic space operas. Or we'd run around the backyard with Jake. It was...

In Which Our Author Discusses His Biggest Fault

Oh, I definitely can't take this one seriously. So let's pretend that my biggest fault is not my tendency to avoid uncertainty until my professional and personal lives leave me to stagnate and rot. Let's pretend that my biggest fault is my tendency to be way too handsome. Or my tendency to have too much sex. I am just way too good at trying new things, adapting to circumstances, making friends, meeting deadlines, and growing up.

In Which Our Author Talks About Freakin' Superpowers Again

Man, what is with this guy and superpowers and alter egos and superheroes and all that comic book crap? What a nuhrd! Remember when we were gonna throw garbage at him? Let's do that again but with glass. Yeah!

But seriously, guys. Seriously. If I could have any superpower ever, I would want telekinesis. It's pretty much every superpower, anyway. Wanna fly? Just telekinesis yourself. Wanna have super-strength? Just telekinesis harder. Wanna walk through walls? Wait, you don't have to because you can just telekinesis the wall out of your way. Want to shoot lasers out of your eyes? Okay, well you can't do that.

However, in conclusion, I still think that telekinesis is the best superpower. The end.

In Which Our Author Wants to Be Something Else

The topic of this next post is "someone/something you've always wanted to be." If I were in a different mood, I might wax self-deprecating here and say something like, "I wish I were someone who wasn't worthless" or "I wish I weren't the worst person I know" but that's really not true, and I am much too slap-happy to pretend that it is. So I'm going to say I wish I were . . . . an Oscar Meyer Weiner? Because then. . . everyone would be . . . in love. . . with me. . .?

In Which Our Author Reveals His Mundane Talent

I have already written on this, so I'm going to pull a Franklin manœuvre and just copy and paste that balogge post here. It's pretty much my favorite anyhow.

I have a secret to confess, the Internet.  You see, I'm not like you.  I have special. . . abilities.  Abilities that I struggle everyday to control.  I constantly face the temptation to use my powers for selfish gains, but I remember what every public speaker since 2002 once told me.  They said, "Remember what Spider-Man says: With great power comes great responsibility."  I then told them that Uncle Ben is actually the one who says that, and they gave me a blank look, but their words stuck with me forever.  Especially when they were all gunned down later that night.

To keep myself from temptation and to protect the ones I love, I've kept my powers a secret, but I'm ready now to face the world and all its cruelty.  I, Joe Flores, have a superpower.  I can change my ethnicity at will.  With subtle shifts in syntax, posture, clothing, and hair gel, I can become any of the vast amounts of races between black and white.  Except East Asian.  It's like my kryptonite.

Born to normal parents, I was raised Hispanic.  But just as the yellow sun of Earth changed Superman's alien DNA, Indiana's cultural homogeneity acted on my brown body in unexpected ways.

My powers first manifested during puberty, but I finally began to realize them in ninth grade.  While practicing with the cross-country team one day, I fell behind the rest, and the football players practicing nearby yelled out to me, "Run, little Abu!"  

"Odd," I thought.  "I'm not Arabian," but I put it out of my mind.  Later that year, in gym class, I thought I had made a friend in Siddarth, an Indian kid who talked to me every day and competed with me good-naturedly.  But when I mentioned that I loved my mom's Puerto Rican cooking, he gave me a look of shock and betrayal.  He called me a freak, and the rest of the class joined him, laughing as the camera panned quickly around my head.  Panicking, I pushed through the crowd and ran home to get away from their silently-mouthed jeers.  As I ran, I heard Sid shout after me, "But you're too smart to be Mexican!"

When I got home, I ran to my room, happy that both parents were at work.  I should have seen this coming, I thought.  Flashbacks came at me one after another.  Elementary school teachers unsure how to pronounce my very phonetically-spelled name.  Airport security taking me out of line while letting the rest of my family go by.  Strangers saying things in weird languages and giving me candy for no reason.  But there was no time to collect my thoughts, as I was suddenly overcome with exhaustion.  I barely managed to get my clothes off and make it into bed before collapsing unceremoniously as the screen faded to black.  

When I came to, I felt a new power coursing just under my skin.  I looked in the mirror and was startled to find that I did not recognize the person staring back at me.  Without my glasses, standing there in my white undershirt, I looked almost Mexican.  I put on the gold crucifix my mom had given me for my birthday, grabbed a denim jacket from my dad's closet and, concentrating, willed myself to grow a thin mustache.  I felt a little dizzy, but I'd done it!  Excited, I went through a deliberately-paced montage of discovery.  I realized that, in addition to being able to take on the appearance of numerous races, I could also gain their powers for short periods of time.  I had the medical expertise of the Indian, the shy invisibility of the Mexican, the histrionics of the Puerto Rican, the unconscious intimidation of the Arab, the guilt-inducing sadness of the Native American, and the Mediterranean's talent for mob leadership (a skill I only used once).

Frightened by my abilities,I suppressed them, only using them in emergencies.  But they've only gotten stronger as I've gotten older and more adept at growing facial hair.  This year I have made five Indian friends merely by walking through campus, but they've all abandoned me on learning that I was not from India but Indiana.  A week ago my roommate introduced me to a friend of his, saying, "This is my roommate Joe."  His friend held out his hand to shake mine and politely asked, "I'm sorry, how do you pronounce it?"

I have come to realize that my powers have grown too strong to keep selfishly to myself.  I have decided to take up the mantle of the crime-fighter, donning my sari, sombrero, keffiyah, eagle feathers, and beard to battle the forces of evil as Brownout, the Master of Casual Racism.

In Which Our Author Cleveland


In Which Our Author Takes Sides

The next prompt is "Better creature: dogs or cats." Answer: dogs. This is my dog. His name is Jake.  He enjoys chasing rabbits (good boy), jumping over things, and being my best friend.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In Which Our Author Talks About His Irrational Fear

Okay, so this post is an easy one, because it involves one of my favorite stories ever. See, I have an irrational fear of rabbits. I mean, it may not be fair to call it a fear. It's not like I can't be in the same room as a bunny. They just unsettle me. They make me nervous and on edge. I hate them, but I do have a couple of good reasons. First, I distinctly remember my dad telling me about how they might look cute, but they had teeth and claws and would hurt me if I grabbed them. Then I read Watership Down.
That led to a memorable dream where I was walking down a path through the woods, and there was a cute brown bunny sitting by a tree. As I got close, the rabbit grew to giant size, leapt on me, and started nibbling my face off.
That's when I woke up (in a sweat I don't mind telling you). But that's not the story. Not the real story.

The real story starts sometime in early March, at least a couple of weeks before Easter if memory serves. I was home alone at 10 o'clock at night with my dog Jake, and the doorbell rang. I answered it, and staring through the screen door was a dead-eyed, soulless rabbit face. In a high-pitched voice, it said, "I'm the Easter Bunny!"
I was immediately drenched in a cold sweat. Jake started whining. I cautiously asked, "Do I know you?" It answered, without hesitation and with unchanging emotion, "I'm the Easter Bunny!"
"Right, but do I know you?"
The same unhesitating answer: "I'm the Easter Bunny! I have a basket of gifts for you and your family. Open the door."
Shit. Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit. Okay. I can do this. Jake's a big dog. If nothing else, he can distract the creature enough for me to grab a knife or something. So I opened the door, fully expecting to see a basket of severed limbs and viscera. Instead it handed me some stuffed animals, Great Illustrated Classics, a blanket, and some candy.  Naturally I left the candy unopened until my brother got home. When he didn't die after a day, I figured it was safe to dig in. The worst part of the story? I figured my parents would know which of their friends was dressing up as an unholy horror, but to this day, I have no idea what grim spirit visited me that night.
I hate rabbits. Hate them.

In Which Our Author CHRISTMAS

So the prompt just said "Christmas." So I will write a little about Christmas. I love Christmas. My family has always been on the nonpracticing side of religious, and for myself, I find that the complications associated with faith outweigh the gains. That may be a controversial statement, but I am going to leave it unexplained, because it is tangential to the purpose of this blog, namely Christmas. Christmas, man! I friggin' love Christmas! And it's not about getting presents or playing in the snow or Rudolph or any of that bee ess. I hate all that secular crap. It's about the hope and the love and, yes, the faith. The faith that the world can be better. For a few weeks everyone is caught up in the idea that Man can conquer his imperfections, nations united, and move together into a future of peace. That's great. I love that. Christmas. Dude.

In Which Our Author Writes Twelve Rhyming Couplets

Twelve rhyming couplets? Okay!

Today I sit here and I blog with friends
And you may rightly wonder to what ends.
Last night I went to see an improv show.
Some friends of mine performed and asked I go.
They played a game called Whiskey Scenes, I think.
And Peepaw Preston had too much to drink.
I cling with desperation to the past
I cannot change the heading of my mast.
For if I do, what terror shall I find?
I sit transfixed by my unyielding mind.
At last, with pain I grab the jib and pull
I thrill with fear, but now my sails are full.
I'm almost out of time here on this post.
From out of it I've tried to wring the most.
Iambic pentameter's been my foe
Five minutes left, and I am still named Joe.
Four couplets left to write in minutes four.
I took a nap; I hope I did not snore.
Three couplets now to write and oh so fast.
In lines above I wrote about a mast.
And still I cling to this outdated style.
There are a lot of feet within a mile.
One more to write and just a minute left.
And still of hope I am not yet bereft!

Done, with seconds to spare.

In Which Our Author Goes To a Place

To those parts of the Internet that are used to all of my posts being carefully composed, effortlessly thoughtful, and relentlessly insightful (i.e. everyone), I apologize for this 24-hour thing. I am growing increasingly tired, and I no longer have the energy to wring inspiration from these prompts. Still, we soldier on.

I need to describe a place that I have always wanted to go and then discuss its benefits. Well, for a while now, I have wanted to go to sleep. I don't know if I've "always" wanted to go there, since I've been there a couple of times, but I'm gonna say it counts. The benefits of sleep are numerous, and some of them are detailed here: In addition to the benefits on physical and mental well-being, one must also consider how fun dreams are. I recently had a dream that my friend Tom got engaged to a girl he met in a diner, but she turned out to be a member of a deadly assassination clan, and she and her friend tore up the diner trying to kill me and Tom with axes. But we held our own in the fight until they finally gave up and decided to sit back down and behave themselves. Then we all flew kites.

In Which Our Author Utopias

Utopias. They are defined in the dictionary as real or imaginary societies, places, states, et cetera, considered to be perfect or ideal. I think I am supposed to describe my utopia. So here are some characteristics of my utopia:

1) When someone says something dumb, they are immediately shipped off to Mandatory Sterilization Camps.

2) Ugly people wear magazine pictures of celebrities in front of their faces secured with rubber bands.

3) People who are taller than me have to stay home at all times.

4) Insecure, superficially judgmental assholes are punished by not being allowed to write blogs for 24 hours. How terrible that would be for them!

5) Something about peace and justice and the bright climax of human potential 

In Which Our Author Theme Songs

This one's supposed to be about theme songs for different moods/moments. I, uh, I don't want to do this. I just talked about my musical tastes, and it should have been clear that my musical tastes are uncommon, and do not lend themselves to this type of blog. This type of blog is one where I say, "When you're doing this, don't you think of this song?" and you say, "Oh my shitting dicktwit! You're right! I always think that! I recognize that song and appreciate your taste in music and have finally realized how painfully difficult life is with your penis outside of me!" As it stands, though, the only theme songs I can think of are either arduously obscure or pointlessly obvious. When you're taking care of business, don't you always think of the song "Taking Care of Business"? When you're wondering if anybody knows what time it is, don't you always think of the song "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" When you're in love, don't you always think of every other song ever written?

In conclusion, this topic does not fit into my personal preferences. Therefore IT'S BULLSHIT.

In Which Our Author Reviews His Favorite Movie/Book/TV Show/Music

Next webllawg topic is a media review, another thing I don't normally do. But I'm gonna go for it. Trying new things is so exciting! I didn't know when I woke up today that I would be blogging a review of something. I am truly maturing as a human being.

I don't really have a favorite movie, since I like a lot of movies a lot. I have a couple of favorite books, but I don't want to talk about them, so I won't. My favorite TV shows are "Glee" and "Avatar: The Last Airbender." My review of "Avatar" is that it is excellent and the best cartoon series ever, and I can really only be friends with people who appreciate that fact. My review of "Glee" is that it is fun but also really terrible.

Favorite music, though, could make for an interesting post. Normally I don't talk about my favorite music, because I'm really self-conscious about my musical tastes. But I'm growing up today, right? So I will talk about some of my favorite Broadway musicals. Actually, since I wasted my time dickin' around on Facebook, I will just list some of my favorite Broadway musicals. My dad is a big fan of musicals and has shared his passion with the rest of the family. My best friend Liz has come from a similar family and has shared some of her favorite musicals with me.

So, in no particular order:

Man of La Mancha - a musical adaptation of Cervantes's Don Quixote. It's about pursuing your dreams and being a good person in spite of the pressures of the world around you.

West Side Story - a musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The Juliet doesn't die. Loves conquers all? Not my favorite message or anything. It's just a really good show.

Assassins - a really cool show about presidential assassins. The theme is about how the failure of the American Dream drives us crazy. It sounds really weird. It is really good.

Oh no, time is almost out. Here we go. Alphabetical order time.

Avenue Q, Chicago, Chorus Line, Company, Fiddler on the Roof, In the Heights, Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, Next to Normal, Passing Strange, Spring Awakening, Sweeney Todd, Urinetown, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

In Which Our Author Friends

The prompt for this one is "friends." My friends are the best friends. Objectively. Most of them are here with me now. Some of them are very far away. I would go through and write pæans to all of them individually, because they deserve it, but I only have an hour, and I am afraid that my words might not do everyone justice.  So I will throw up a bunch of pictures that should explain things nicely.

In Which Our Author Alter Egos

Okay, the Internet, you may remember that I have already done two posts extensively exploring the idea of my alter egos. They can be read here and here. So I don't think it's necessary for me to participate in this topic. I think it's stupid, and anyone who thinks I have to write something is also stupid.

Ooh! Wait, I just thought of something.

My real-life honest-to-goodness [hyphens are my favorite punctuation, remember?] alter ego is the person I am on stage during improv shows. Or is it the person I am when I'm not on stage during improv shows? Who's the mask?! Who's the mask?!

When I'm on stage, I have the same sense of humor and the same personality as when I'm not on stage, but everything is bigger, more confident, and more interesting. I am someone people want to get to know. I am someone that gets phone numbers and friend requests from strangers. This is me on stage:

Or, you know, on ground. Performing anyway. That is a sexy, interesting dude. Don't you want to kiss him up? Who wouldn't?

This is me off stage:

What a loser! Let's throw garbage at him! Yeah!

Anyway, alter egos. They can be a bitch.

In Which Our Author Destroys Traffic?

The topic for this one is "methods of destroying traffic." Okay... Bombs? Bombs. Oh wait, this has to be three paragraphs long?


Bombs are a good way to destroy traffic because bombs destroy pretty much everything. Traffic is made of cars and people. Both of these can be destroyed by bombs.

Bicycles can also sometimes be a part of traffic and can also sometimes be destroyed by bombs. Additionally, ice cream trucks, palanquins, unicycles, horses, rickshaws, and homeless people selling oranges can fit into both categories. That is, things that are traffic and things that bombs can destroy.

In Which Our Author Something Something Childhood Something

The whole topic is "When someone mentions childhood, what one memory pops into your head? Explain in detail." I'm going to ignore the word "one" and write about a series of related memories. Just try to stop me.

Most of the defining moments of my childhood, the ones that didn't take place at home anyway, took place during fourth and fifth grade, when I had class in the Merit Program. They gave a test to everyone in the school district, and those that scored high enough were placed in a special class for two years, at Watson Elementary. We rode a special bus by ourselves to get to and from school, our classroom was on the opposite side of the building from everyone else, and we wore extra special gold stars sewn into our clothing. That was two truths and a lie. Still, most elementary school kids do not need help being ostracized and harassed, but our school board was kind enough to give us a hand. We were the most hated kids in the school. Even the kids who ate boogers were higher on the social ladder than we were. Except the kid in the Merit Class who ate boogers. No one liked him. He was my best friend.

Specific memories include the time we played soccer against the rest of the school, and someone accused my friend (not the booger-eating one) of "saying a bad word." The recess aides, who liked us about as much as anyone else, took this accusation very seriously. Within minutes, the soccer game morphed into a bizarre Kafka-esque courtroom scene, with me as counsel for the defense, trying to argue my friend out of the death sentence. I mean, the standing on the wall sentence.

Speaking of dramatic courtroom scenes, a year later, in fifth grade, we made a mock classroom government. I was chief justice of the Supreme Court. One day, I was accused by someone else in the class of working on homework when I was supposed to be watching a video. I had to write a dramatic apology about my abuse of power. There was also a scathing election scandal when the popular, handsome front runner for President rolled his eyes during the plucky underdog's speech. This led to the election of the mediocre, lackadaisical middle candidate being elected President. That was a disaster.

And that's how I define my childhood. Normal, mediocre moments apotheosized to dramatic and life-changing events. I guess that's what this blawgg is about, though. Insignificant stories made interesting. See you in an hour!

In Which Our Author Funniest Moments

I went shopping for snacks during this one, so I'm going to have to shortchange it. I hope it is not offended. Let's limit and talk only about embarrassing classroom moments. Recently there was the time that a lecturer asked the class if anyone knew what "gynecomastia" meant. Underestimating the volume of my voice, I said "man-boobs." I don't think that is as funny when I write about it. How about the time my professor was talking about different dosage forms and delivery routes and mentioned that "size matters"? When no one laughed, she repeated herself. "I don't mean to be rude of course, but size matters." She did this for about thirty seconds before we gave her a pity laugh. Then a minute later, without any hint of self-awareness, she said, "... every orifice is an opportunity." I think that's funnier.

The funniest classroom moment of all time, however, is also one of the most mortifying moments of my life. I was taking a class on illegal immigration, and the class had a "lab" period every morning where we'd watch relevant movies. The class only had about five people in it, and there were two lab periods. So on this particular day, there were only three people. They left early, and so did the professor, but I figured I might as well finish the movie. It was the George Clooney classic Babel. I was watching it in the darkened classroom, when a seduction scene replete with full-frontal nudity began happening. As I was sitting there alone watching a very young very naked Asian girl trying to seduce an older man, the door opened and members of the next class walked in, stopped, and left. It was very embarrassing...

In Which Our Author Participates in a Thing

Uh-oh, the Internet, it looks like I am coerced back to my blawgghe for the first time in - a year? Some friends came up with this thing called "24-hour Blog Day." It is more or less exactly what it sounds like. There are topics in a box, and every hour we are drawing one, and we have one hour to write a post about it. The first post is...

"Best of 2010"

The challenge of 24-hour Blog Day, for me, is going to be blogging about topics that have a different style from the rest of my buhloguh. For example, I do not normally do lists or bests ofs. But let's try it and see what happens, okay?

Best Birthday
The best birthday of 2010 was definitely the one I had on February 12 of that year. I turned 21 for the first time (and the last time) and it was easily one of the most memorable nights ever. I have been told this is considered an insult for twenty-first birthdays, but the people who say those things are not important to me. I had a delicious lunch with friends, and then I went to the bar and got drunked up with friends. Friends are great. I wore a helmet, but I don't remember why.

Best Christmas
I think the best Christmas of 2010 was Christmas 2010. I got some great clothes that make people think I'm cooler than I am. I get stopped on the street and asked where I got my coat. It's no big deal or anything...

Best 24-hour Blog Day
This one. It's time to move on, or I'd write about more bests ofs. Oh well, see you in nine minutes, the Internet.