Friday, October 30, 2009

Lonely Weekend Blogging

I am always amazed at how busy blogs are with new posts during the first of the week, but something sad happens each Friday around noon. The new posts pretty much come to a halt until Monday. Sometimes when I check my reader on weekends I feel like Charleton Heston in The Omega Man as he drives through abandoned city streets with noone in sight. The main difference is he drove a cool convertible and I drive a crappy laptop.

Some bloggers still post over the weekend, but most of the traffic really slows down. I actually enjoy checking blogs during the weekend even though there is less activity. I'd like to thank those who give us something to read while most everyone else has checked out for several days. It's probably a good thing that some people take the weekends off or their weekend posts might not be so coherent. In the mean time, I still think there is something sad about the lonely blogs during the weekend. No need to comment, I already know this is the lamest post I have ever done.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

EZ Spelling

Years ago I bought a lawn mower and on the bag it had written, and I quote "Kwik & EZ Kleenup". I was a carefree teenager at the time but it still irritated me to see such lame spelling. It looked like Quiet Riot had done the spell check for that product. If you have ever read my posts then you know that I am the furthest thing from a strict speller. I don't jump down people's throats when they spell a word wrong and I have my fair share of spelling errors, but when words are intentionally and blatantly spelled wrong it bothers me.

Sometimes I see signs and banners like Sale-abration or Kar Kare, Kidney Kars, etc. The other day I was walking by a building and saw a small box that said EZ KLEAN rodent killer on it. Just last week I saw a store called Sav Mor (can I buy a vowel please?) Maybe the girls who wrote notes like "UR a QT Pie" in junior high have a future in marketing. I wonder when they started Krispy Kremes, if they experienced any opposition with the spelling of the name. Today there would be none. Toys R Us took it a step Further by not just using a letter instead of a word, but they also turned it around the wrong direction!

I'm sure the Internet and copyrights have only compounded the problem. I imagine many people want a name that is already taken so they just resort to messing up the spelling. I think that is one reason why many businesses spell their name wrong. They either don't want to infringe on the copyright of another business or they want to piggy back on the confusion. If I changed the name of my blog to ESPM, I could bank on all the sports enthusiasts with big fingers that would accidentally be directed my way.

I suggest you lump the practice of intentionally spelling words wrong into the category of drugs and remember to just say no. Spelling words wrong is acceptable if it's an accident, but when it's intentional it really sux.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama Urges Moms to Read Chaka's World

I'd like to address the many annoying online ads that I regularly see each time I check my e-mail. I feel a little hypocritical ripping on ads since I am guilty of allowing third parties to use my blog space for their advertisements, but hopefully none of the ads I will discuss have ever reared their ugly faces on my blog.

The first ads that moved around to get your attention that I remember were with little dancing silhouettes. Then they evolved into cowboy line dancers. These ads stop their teaser activity after a few seconds but you can keep it going by putting your mouse over the ad. I admit I have had the mentality of a three year old and moved the cursor over the cowboys so I could keep watching them dance but I never refinanced my home with their company as a result.

There are the "can you name this celebrities" type of quizzes. They will show some body's famous lips, eyes, tattoo, etc. and ask who they belong to. Another version asks very easy pop culture trivia questions and you click on their ad to submit your answer.

The most insulting advertisements are the skin care simulations that show before and after pictures. The before pictures look like a gorilla that has third degree burns on its face, and then after using their product a young beautiful model with a fair complexion appears. Wow! I've never seen such dramatic results. Where can I purchase this wonder balm? I'm sold. More disturbing than the fake skin comparisons are the disgusting weight loss ads that features neck and tricep fat that jiggles around.

The most recent trend I have noticed are the "I'm crazy ripped" ads for some new wonder product that scientists have just discovered that makes you "crazy ripped". Some of the models they feature make me a little uncomfortable like I'm looking at a Chippendale's calender. The other problem is that I don't want to be crazy ripped, I want to be "freaky chiseled". Maybe someone can come up with a product that can take me to that next step.

Over the last year I have noticed that Obama has been urging moms to go back to school. This ad used to have two attractive women (by computer animation standards) walking side by side. It has recently changed to show two haggled zombie women frantically running. This illogical ad was what pushed me over the edge and made me write this post. Whoever designed this ad makes the 1982 Atari graphics look amazing.

In summary, if you want to advertise on the Internet, use the most obnoxious ridiculous methods you can imagine. It may not make people buy your product, but it will probably provide them with life long memories they can share with their grand children. Maybe I can create an ad that features a drunk guy who is about to throw up with a little count down timer and if you don't click on the ad in time to stop him, then you get to see the mess. I just may have a future creating Internet ads.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Junior Mints Incident

I like the refreshing taste of Junior Mints and I am not being paid to say that! As you may recall they are on my list of good candies. I'd like to share an experience I had several years ago involving Junior Mints.

When the final Lord of the Rings movie came out, I went to see it alone. I have a healthy self esteem so being seen alone at the movies is not a problem for me. I decided that before I went, I would stock up on some treats. I stopped by the dollar store and bought a king size box of Junior Mints, which I snuck into the theater with the same stealth that a prisoner might use to sneak a shiv into prison.

As the movie began I opened the box and began to eat them. If you have seen The Return of the King, you know it is a good movie, but there are 6 or 7 endings and it literally goes on forever. When the movie finally finished I got up and drove home. When I walked in my house, my kids started freaking out when they saw me. I had somehow managed to sit in a pile of Junior mints and after 3 + hours of melting them onto my clothes, I had the appearance of an infant who had a diaper blowout.

My youngest kids were on the verge of tears when they thought their dad had pooped his pants. I was shocked at the mess they had made and began to pick and peel them from my pants. They still didn't know what the mess was and they shrieked when I put some in my mouth. To this day I still I'm still baffled how this happened, but my guess is that they were already spilled on the seat from a prior movie goer. I'm just not that careless or wasteful with my food to spill them all over myself without noticing.

As a result of this experience, whenever I see Vigo Mortensen in a movie, I experience a minty chocolate phantom scent. For the record, they taste better fresh from the box than scraped off of your Levis.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In Defense of Scientology

Last week during a college football game I saw a commercial for Scientology. I never would have guessed that the College Football crowd were their best prospects. I would have thought the Hollywood elite would be better candidates, but what do I know? I have noticed Tom Cruise has been the butt of Scientology jokes for quite a while now. I usually end up laughing when I hear Conan or Jimmy Kimmel, or others make these jokes, but the more I think about it, I just don't feel threatened by Scientology and I think Cruise gets too much criticism.

I am not a Scientologist and I understand that many of the beliefs associated with Scientology may sound strange to an outsider. Especially after learning that the religion was only founded in 1954 by a science fiction writer. By the way, can you imagine if Gene Roddenberry or George Lucas started a religion? They would overnight outnumber Christians, Jews, and Muslims combined. I can just see all the nerds with light sabers and phasers ready to join their ranks, but I digress.

I decided to do a little research on Scientology so I went to my favorite fountain of knowledge (Wikipedia) and brushed up. I have to admit that after reading a little more, I have even more concerns now and there is a lot more weird stuff going on their besides mother ships, but I am not here to bash other's beliefs. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would consider some of my beliefs to be crazy too.

Celebrities get a lot of attention and are easy targets for criticism, but I think Tom Cruise does less damage jumping on couches and touting a drug free lifestyle than many other celebrities who lead destructive lives. I'd much rather see Tom Cruise acting goofy than see Amy Winehouse stoned out of her mind. I also don't see how his efforts are much different than Sean Penn using his career for political persuasion or Moby using his influence to promote veganism, or Bob Barker telling you to have your pets spayed or neutered.

I guess this post has been more of a defense of Tom Cruise than Scientology. I was just looking for a title that might attract attention. If we are going to make fun of Tom Cruise I think we should do it for the fact that almost all of the movies he has been in feature a scene with him sprinting. Seriously, just try to name one of his movies that doesn't show him running as fast as he can at some point during the film.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Worst Night's Sleep Ever

I have been quite sick this past week and it reminded me of an experience I had last year. I know people don't like hearing stories about how miserable or sick someone was, BUT... Please indulge me for a moment while I tell you about an experience I had last winter. It was the worst night's sleep I've ever had and surprisingly it didn't involve a camp out.

I am usually a pretty healthy person. Over the past few years I have only missed a few days of work due to being sick. Last winter I was under a lot of stress and wasn't feeling so good, but I still went into work. By the end of the day I was dizzy with chills and my whole body hurt. I went home exhausted, took some medicine, and crawled into bed. I rocked back and forth while whimpering like a baby until the medicine finally kicked in and I fell asleep.

I woke up several hours later to the words that strike fear into my soul "Water is leaking into the basement". It was 10:00 pm and I was not in any condition to deal with that. I ran down stairs and saw that the basement window had turned into a fish tank from all of the melting snow and run off outside. We also had a drain pipe from the roof that wasn't draining properly which compounded the problem. I bailed the window out, but there was thick ice all over the back porch that was melting from the heavy rain which continued to drain into the window well.

I bailed out the window well and rang out wet cold towels in the freezing rain. To make a long story short (too late), I ended up getting up on the hour every hour from 10 pm until 7 am to repeat this process. After each ten minute clean up, I'd crawl back into bed wet and tired until the alarm went off again the next hour. It was one of those times when you can't believe what is happening and you start talking to yourself loudly like a crazy person.

That was obviously not the rest and relaxation the doctor ordered, but I eventually got over it. I still haven't fixed the broken run off pipe so if I ever tell this story again then it will be my fault and I won't expect any sympathy but rather rude comments and heckling.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Ultimate Shaving Experience

If you are a female reader I hope you don't feel alienated by this topic, but I had a recent experience I just had to share. My shaving routine hasn't changed much over time. I usually shave my face while in the shower, except for the goatee area. I save the more sensitive facial hair for my electric razor while driving to work. I use this routine since I seldom have time to properly warm, lather, and shave my face like the guys do in the commercials. It's also because I usually buy the cheapest disposable razors available and have never entertained the thought of buying the expensive fancy ones.

Last week a friend gave me a coupon and told me about a cash rebate offer where I could get a battery powered, 5 blade, pivoting head, vibrating razor essentially for free. I went ahead and bought an $11 Gillette Power Fusion razor. Yes, just 1 head, no refills, but it didn't really cost me anything, so I gave it a shot. Holy cow! I felt like the king of the world. Such unsurpassed luxury and extravagance. It was an amazing, effortless, close shave. After that pampering experience, I feel like I should be on lifestyles of the rich and famous or at least own property in the Hamptons.

My question is, how will they top the extreme state of the art razors of today? Why stop at 5 blades? Doesn't Schick or Gillette have the vision to make a razor with 6 blades that simultaneously slide across a man's face? If they really wanted to provide the ultimate shaving experience then they should do much more. I demand laser beams as part of the perfect shave, (not to mention a razor with a sexy computerized woman's voice). I want a NASA logo on my razor and I want custom craftsmanship with some jewels embedded in the handle, not something manufactured on an assembly line by a machine for the masses. Don't they know who they are dealing with?
So my review of the razor is that it gives a great shave, but be careful, because it also does a number on your attitude and you don't want to get too big headed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chickens and Motor Scooters

Last year my wife started saying some strange things like "It would be cool if we had chickens". I took her in for a CAT scan and MRI but the tests came back negative. Over time I found out she was serious. One day when I came back from a scout camp out, there was a big box in the garage filled with sawdust and 6 cute little fuzzy, peeping, chicks. She had done it.

I was secretly happy when I saw this because I had previously told her that if she got chickens, I was going to get a motor scooter. (I knew a motorcycle was out of the question). The chicks quickly grew and we converted a large shed into a nice coop for them. I prefer to call it their suite since I still do not see myself as a chicken coupe guy. No offense intended to anyone who may have grown up on a farm. I'm still just trying to adjust.

Just last week they finally matured to the point where they are laying eggs. The best part of the story is that I now have a 1999 Honda Elite Scooter. That's right, I have 80 cc of raw power at my finger tips. I can accelerate from 0 to 30 m.p.h. in 16 seconds. I now know what it's like to live life on the road on the wild side. Sometimes I feel like I am riding the vehicle above, but in reality it's the one below. I feel a little cooler now that I took the tassels and ringer off of it.
I have yet to touch the chickens and my wife won't even let me give her a ride on my scooter. She must know how stupid it looks from watching me. We still love each other, but I guess she's a little bit country and I'm a little bit rock and roll.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Marathon Running

Sorry I haven't been around for a while. I've been out of town running a marathon. I just got back and have decided to share some breaking news on Chaka's World before the normal news outlets get the story. I am retiring from marathon running. I'm sure all of my running fans will be disappointed, but I need more time for my family and other pursuits. I thought it would be best to leave the sport in my prime and go out on top. Okay, I have no fans and I suck at running, but I am still calling it quits on ever running 26.2 miles again.

I am not a runner. I pretend to be one and will occasionally run a 5K for the T-shirt. Several years ago when I was having one of my mid life crises I saw a documentary on TV about marathons. I was amazed and very motivated at seeing all kinds of sizes, shapes, and ages of people triumphantly cross the finish line. I thought "If they can do that, then I certainly can". I ran my first marathon 2 years ago after training only a little over two months. As a public service, I wrote a post called How not to run a marathon in order to help people not make the same stupid mistakes I made.

When I ran my first, I was injured so badly and did so poorly that I told myself I needed to do it just one more time to prove to myself that I could do better. This year I was able to get into the St. George marathon so I told myself this wold be the time to do it. I trained for four months and was doing well until I severely sprained my ankle last month playing basketball. I couldn't run for 3 weeks so I was really stressed about how I would do with so much down time right before the race. I did much better than before, but at mile 16 I re-injured my knee and at mile 18 I hit the wall. As a result I ran the last 8 miles in pain at a slower pace. Even so, I was able to shave 30 minutes off my prior race time. That is the good news. The bad news is that my entire body is still in extreme pain and I can hardly move.

I think serious runners are crazy, but I respect what they are able to do. I honestly don't think running marathons is a healthy activity. I think training for them can be, but when you actually put your body under that much stress for that long, injuries are bound to occur. I have heard of studies that indicate that many marathoners get sick shortly after a marathon due to the stress they have put on their immune system for so long during the training process. I am going to be sticking with 5Ks for now instead of trying to be a marathon poser.