Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Who's Living in a Fantasy World?

With the recent Hobbit movie in theaters, I've been hearing a lot of geek chatter lately. I enjoy Fantasy and Science Fiction movies so I would classify myself in the Nerd / Geek category at times although I don't own any hobbit feet or Vulcan ears, and have not named any of my kids Legolas.

I think the stereotypical guys in their 30's living in their parents basement who are consumed with Fantasy role playing games get a bad rap. I know it's easy to label those who show up for movies looking like this and say they are living in a fantasy world.

But...before you go pointing fingers and accusing people like this of not being in touch with reality, I'd like to point out that there is a worse offender who has been getting off the hook for years.

I think it is actually more likely that a wizard would appear to you to send you on a quest with a magical sword and several companions to defeat a dark lord than it is that Fabio is going to show up at some housewife's doorstep with a rose in his mouth.

So who is the worse offender of living in a fantasy world, your middle earth enthusiasts or the regular Harlequin romance reader? Just a thought.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter Expectations

We recently got our first real snow storm of the year and it is interesting to see the different reactions people have to the weather.

My friends who ski and enjoy spending time outside this time of year are very excited. These winter enthusiasts see the upcoming months as opportunities for recreation, holiday fun, and time with friends and family. Their optimistic attitudes resemble the beautiful winter scene to the left.

I have heard others express fear of driving on icy roads or having their heating bills shoot through the roof. Some view the winter as being symbolic of earth's death. They associate it with cold temperatures, decreased sunlight, increased financial strain, dirty snow, and depression.

I try to be a glass half full guy, but I have to admit I can easily relate to those in the second group. If I could get away for a month up to a warm cabin and sit around watching videos and drinking hot chocolate with my family without any financial concerns, then I would be much more excited about winter.

Rather than be a party-pooper, I am going to try to have a good attitude over the next several months knowing that we will eventually have warmer weather, more sunlight, green grass and leaves again instead of the great desolation which is now upon us. Happy Winter. Let the count down for Spring begin!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What Happened?

I am in shock. I just realized I have not written a blog post since July! What happened? I used to have so many topics and ideas I was excited about.  It feels like it was just yesterday that I enjoyed regular blogging but I have been under such stress over the past year that I have become neglectful.

My creative juices have been dried up for some time now and I really struggle with coming up with fun topics since ideas don't flow like they used to. I used to make fun of people with blogs who did not post at least once a week but I have slowly turned into the person I used to mock.

If you take a peak to the right column you can see in the archive how much I blogged in the past. Last year really slowed down and 2013 has been nothing short of pathetic. I originally blamed the decreased activity and interest on competitive social media but I new deep down inside I was the reason....or was I. Who left who? Did I abandon my blog or did my blog forsake me?

I'm not saying my blog bears all of the responsibility, but if it didn't exist none of this would have happened in the first place. I've checked in on it regularly for years but it never reciprocates. I'm not even looking for a 50/50 commitment. I'd be happy if I could just get 10% back from Chaka's World, but some people and entities are just take, take, take. Maybe I should rename it "The Black Hole" since it just sucks the life and light out of me. Why did I ever start a blog? Did I really think it was possible for one man to stay on top of this? What started out as a cute peeping chick has since turned into a malignant monstrosity of pain and anguish.

Kids, just do yourselves a favor and stay in school and don't ever blog. Just say no when Blogger or WordPress makes that first offer. It may start out fun and exciting but over time it just doesn't satisfy you and then one day you wake up naked in a dumpster asking yourself "what happened?"

Damn You Chaka's World!  Damn You!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Over-Reacting News Commenters

Sometimes when I watch or read the news it makes me crazy when I see what is happening in the world but it is even more frustrating when I read the comments posted by all the arm chair quarterbacks who have to weigh in with their two cents one each news article. That's the nice thing about having a blog. I could never get away with posting a comment this long on a news website.

Last week in the news someone found a two year old wandering outside alone and the police could not locate his parents for several hours. Many of the commenters were chiming in about how mad they were and how the parents should be in jail and that some people should not be able to have children, etc. I think little toddlers wandering around alone is a dangerous thing, but before we call for a public lynching of the parents it would be wise to find out exactly what happened.

It turns out that the toddler snuck outside after the mother left that morning and the others in the house who usually watch him thought the mother had taken him with her. Luckily they were safely reunited and it ended up being just an embarrassing misunderstanding. People were quick to criticize and condemn the mother before they even knew what happened.

I also can't believe how many people are so quick to react to news by demanding new rules and laws anytime something bad happens. Last week a boy scout was run over and killed at a local camp while he was collecting garbage with the camp staff. After reading the article I noticed some people commented that the scouts should implement rules that require having adults on each side of a pickup that carries the garbage and walk alongside it like the secret service would in a parade route. That may be a safer option but requiring two adults to accompany the truck driver and those collecting the trash seemed a little reactionary to me.

I think the accident was tragic and it is very sad, but it was an accident and accidents will unfortunately continue to happen no matter how careful we are or how many rules we make.

When I hear about parents leaving kids alone in cars in the summer with the windows rolled up or leaving a baby unattended in a car while they go to a movie, I think they should have the book thrown at them, but I'm tired of seeing people react with extreme criticism towards people who have occasional mishaps, accidents, or misunderstandings.

Accidents happen. I have several friends who have shared stories with me how their parents had accidentally left a sibling behind somewhere when they were on vacation or traveling and didn't realize it until half an hour later. This does not make their parents bad. It makes them human.

If we used today's criteria to judge our parents or people who lived hundreds of years ago, they would probably be deemed as unfit neglectful parents since they allowed their kids to do all kinds of dangerous things. I'm sure any pioneer who let their children cross the plains with them would have them taken away by D.C.F.S. with today's standards. I am not suggesting we go back to times of children working in mines and running around in the streets like in Oliver, but from what I can tell from that movie, kids were not only tougher back then, they were also better singers and dancers than kids today.

I am always telling my kids to be careful, settle down, or be quiet. I sometimes feel like I am putting a wet blanket on their fun. Some might consider me a protective parent, yet even I think the seat belt / bike helmet / hand sanitizer / playground removal police seem to be getting more powerful and popular every day. Past generations would probably laugh at how we have become such a wimpy society.

I'm starting to ramble but I guess my point is that mistakes, accidents, and bad things will always happen in life. I think it is wise to have safety procedures and implement safety guidelines, but let's try to deal with them intelligently and not freak out and have a knee jerk reaction of trying to insulate everyone from life anytime something bad happens.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Photoshop Favorites

Since I don't have anything of substance to write today, I thought I'd at least share some of my favorite photoshop pictures that I've found on the Internet.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Creating Controversy

I have always tried hard to not make waves on this blog, but today I'd like to speak my mind. I'm not going to share my opinion on gay marriage, abortion, religion, or politics, but rather some other topics that I am equally passionate about. I may step on some toes and offend readers but I don't care, I've got to express how I really feel about the following topics.

Cool Ranch Doritos- I love Doritos...unless they come in a blue package. Cool ranch is an abomination. Taco Bell spraying the magic cool ranch dust on their tacos does nothing for me. It's either nacho cheese or nothing for me. While I'm on the topic or ranch, let me just say that ranch dressing is way over-rated. I think it's fine on salad, or for dipping vegetables, but I see teens dipping bread, pizza, and all manner of food into ranch dressing. Take it easy people.

Skateboarding- I know this will sound very judgemental, but I have always considered skateboarding to be a loitering sport and I don't just say that because I suck at it. When I see kids hanging out with skateboards they give off some bad vibes to me and I think it is just a matter of time until jumping over steps escalates to vandalizing stuff.

Bartering- I can't stand haggling in order to buy a product. If I have to go to a foreign country I don't worry about the language or my security nearly as much as I worry about having to barter and negotiate purchases. Some people love to bargain with a vendor and talk down the purchase price. I feel it is a meaningless victory and a waste of time. Let's not play games.

Seafood- I am not ashamed to admit I am scared of large bodies of water and don't care to eat anything that comes out of them either. I don't get what the big deal is about lobster, crab, and fish. Stuff like mussels, squid, and oysters take it up a notch and just make seafood that much more disgusting.

Golf- I should probably not criticize golf until I try it, but it just seems so boring, expensive, and time consuming. Golf is to America what fox hunting is to England. I know it takes concentration and is a mental game but I'd be more apt to watch it if the "athletes" actually worked up a sweat during the event. Even ping pong players move around more than golfers.

Health Food Stores- I was going to buy my wife a $25 gift card at a health food store until I realized they didn't have any merchandise under $25. I appreciate people making healthier food choices, but I sometimes question if some of the organic, gluten free, etc. products are just an excuse to charge double. I wonder how many products in a health food store are not really that healthy and are just riding on the coat tails or the reputation the health food store has.

YouTube comment trolls- I can't stand the comments cocky punks leave while watching videos. Any athletic event I see always has people bragging in the comments section about how they are so much faster or better than the athlete being featured. Guess what kid on the 10th grade track team? Nobody cares how fast your time is for the 100 meter sprint so don't brag about your accomplishments. If you want to tell people how great you are then post your own video!

Ripped Muscle Shirts- When I go to the gym I occasionally see guys wearing a sorry excuse for a shirt. I understand it's the gym so I don't have a problem if a guy wants to wear a tank top or a tight muscle shirt, or even a wife beater to show off their muscles, but when they wear the tank top with spaghetti straps that is ripped down both sides and completely open it drives me nuts. Just take your shirt off dude.

Black Licorice- How do some people like this? I have dear friends and loved ones and I have seen them put black licorice in their mouths. Why? What can I do to help them? I've heard some people claim it is a healthy treat. It may be healthy but it is not a treat.

If you were planning on skateboarding in your ripped tank top today and then later enjoying an all you can eat shrimp buffet before you settle down with a bag of black licorice, I'm afraid I have probably offended you. The nice thing about decreased readership is that there are far fewer of you to offend now.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thrift Stores- Making Me Feel guilty

Yesterday my daughter asked me to take her to Deseret Industries which is a local humanitarian thrift store. She was looking for some clothes and prides herself on getting good deals. I have never liked thrift stores. I always get depressed when I'm in one and that in turn makes me feel guilty as if I think I am better than people at those stores. That is not the case.

It's not like I shop at Beverly Hills and am into brand names. I would never buy Ray-Ban sunglasses. I get mine at the dollar store. I am fine with generic food and clothes and am probably 15 years behind the times when it comes to style so why do I have such an aversion to thrift stores?

I regularly give donations to this store. I think it provides good employment opportunities and helps many people in the community, but I just get so depressed if I ever go inside. While I was waiting for my daughter I decided to browse around and that just made matters worse.

I came across this treadmill in the lawn and garden section. It was on sale for $15. At first I thought it was made for a doll because it weighed about 10 pounds and I'm pretty sure if I stepped on it my feet would break through the wooden rollers. It came with a speedometer gauge and what looks like a countdown kitchen timer mounted to it. I feel bad for the person that bought this originally and tried using it. It was not really a treadmill, but rather a symbolic representation of one.

I decided to head back where my daughter was, and on my way I came across the the picture below. What on earth is this? It's a bunch of rusty wires and cables coming out of a metal box. Who would buy this? Seeing garbage on display just makes me depressed. If I were on an island with no supplies like Tom Hanks in Castaway then I might possibly find some use for this, BUT I'M NOT!

If you have something you no longer use then my hat is off to you for donating it, but don't donate garbage. I am all about re-using and re-cycling, but when I see garbage that belongs in the dump on shelves it just smothers my soul. What makes matters worse is when I see people so excited to buy that which I consider to be junk. Some of the shoppers I saw were collecting things like old decorations, a clock that was missing a hand, and old VHS tapes. My experience there made your average yard sale look like a Sotheby's Auction.

I am probably going to go to Hell for coming across as condescending and too proud to shop at thrift stores, but I can't lie about how severely depressed I get when I am exposed to the merchandise in them. I know of many wealthy people who shop at thrift stores and I understand you can get 5 times as many clothes there than you could at Target or some other retail store for the same price. Many of the items that are donated are in great condition and work well, but it's just all the junk I see that brings me down. Maybe I just happen to see the worst of things whenever I've been there. At any rate, I plan to keep on donating to thrift stores but I can not afford to have my mood messed up by going inside.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Instagram Schminstagram

I never would have guessed that someone could make a successful business idea by promoting modern day photographs taken with digital cameras that look so faded and dingy that you would think they were developed in the summer of 1976 at a photomat. I've given in to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but I put my foot down when it comes to Instagram. I just can't support something that makes modern pictures look so old and crappy.

I'm also tired of seeing so many pictures of food. Don't get me wrong, I love food and pictures of delicious victuals, but if you are going shares photos with the world over the Internet, then make it something interesting. Pictures of Big Foot, UFOs, or the Loch Ness monster are news worthy, the omelet you made for breakfast is not.

One of the problems with technology is that everyone now has the tools to promote their stuff. Many people with a cell phone camera think they are professional photographers just like anyone who can burn their own CD believes they are a successful musician.

I am probably jumping to conclusions and I admit that I'm not familiar with all the benefits of Instagram. I'm just tired of so many social media programs that detract from blogging. Chaka's World used to be a popular blog with many visitors and comments but now it is just a lonely forum for me to gripe about stuff. I now know how the carburetor and vinyl record industries must have felt when technology gutted them. As a result, I have gotten a little depressed and have started neglecting this blog much like a meth addict neglects their appearance. Maybe I'll cheer myself up by taking pictures of random stuff and posting it online for everyone to see.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Ear Infection... Why Men Are Wimps

If the title "my ear infection" does not leap out and pull you in, then your soul is dead. I try to make it a policy to not complain and share medical problems on my blog since nobody likes a "whoa is me" post, but in this case it may be therapeutic for me. I have had inner ear problems since I was a little kid. I remember a couple times walking to school and getting so dizzy I had to drop down on my hands and knees. There were periods of time when despite being such a super human athlete, I could not swing and hit a baseball since my inner ear and balance was so messed up.

Over the years this condition got better to where now I just get a bad ear infection every several years after I have a severe cold or if I get really stressed. Last night I had one of those wonderful experiences. I played in a basketball game and was feeling great but fifteen minutes later I started to feel pressure in my ear. It built up quickly until about three hours later I found myself rocking and whimpering in bed in the fetal position.

There was such a sharp pain in my ear that it reminded me of the scene in Star Trek when Ricardo Montalban reminds his staff to smile then proceeds to put an ear wig in the ear of his enemy.

Gradually the pain spread until it felt like my jaw had been removed the right side of my head had exploded. The pressure and pain in my face can best be described by the following actual photo of the event.

This is where I give credit to women for being so tough. If my wife experienced the same thing, she may have had a furrowed brow but she wouldn't be moaning like me. I felt like I was re-enacting the final torture scene from Braveheart.

My wife was patient and supportive but I have a feeling deep down inside, anyone who has given birth doesn't want to hear about how excruciating an ear ache is. I think the sign below best describes how men handle sickness as opposed to women.

Even though I admit that guys can be wimps, I still have to say this was not your average ear ache but rather a full blown eardrum rupture and it hurt like *&!@#!. Sorry to use symbols like that in front of the kids.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Post That's Not About The Sequester

Sequestration is a word I don't care for, but I have sure been hearing it a bunch lately. In an effort to give you a break from that word, I am going to write about another current event recently featured in the news.....wrestling. I recently heard that they have decided to remove wrestling from the Olympics in the future. I find that hard to believe. Wrestling has to be the oldest Olympic event but apparently it does not have a very big audience and since it's not a big money maker it will be replaced in 2020.

I am not a wrestler, but I feel the need to jump to their defense. When I was in high school during basketball practice I could see the wrestlers working out on the other side of the gym running stairs, doing drills, getting cauliflower ear, and basically killing themselves. I always felt like a wimp after seeing the grueling workouts they went through.

I understand the sport might come across as being a little awkward to some since it involves two guys in tights rolling around, but removing wrestling from the Olympics is like removing motocross freestyle jumping from the X games. I guess this change will give them room for more exciting events like ping pong, badminton, croquet, and handball. How did some of these sports ever get into the Olympics and how is lawn darts not an Olympic sport too?

If the problem is that Greco Roman style wrestling does't make enough money, then I suggest they turn the sport over to Vince McMahon and let him fine tune it before the next summer Olympics.

He could take something people don't have enough interest in like this.

And turn it into a cash cow like this.

McMahon could teach the Olympics a thing or two about making money if that's really the reason they are doing away with wrestling. Your Olympic athletes would have their own action figures, the gold medal events events would be pay per view, and they interviews would be much more exciting. Problem solved.

So I guess those are my thoughts about sequestration.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Studies Show...No Doy!

This morning while I was at the gym riding a stationary bike and sweating like a pig, I saw a brief report on the news that said findings of a recent study suggest children who watch educational programs on television do better in school than kids who watch violent programs. Shocker!

I have a couple questions for the people who did this study. Did you actually get people to pay you money  to carry out this study? It appears that any person older than 5 would instinctively know that, but maybe you need several degrees, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and years of research to come to an accurate conclusion. Maybe there was confusion due to all the kids who grew up watching Robocop, Natural Born Killers, and Rambo instead of Sesame Street and Electric Company who are now administrators at Ivy League schools.

Thanks for the clarification!
This recent study reminds me of a story Seth Meyers reported on SNL weekend update a couple years ago. He said “A new study has found that the linemen on college football teams are often obese. The study was conducted by the University of My Eyeballs.”

I googled the phrase "obvious studies" and came across studies that indicated "traumatic brain damage might lead to headaches" and "women are more likely to use emoticons in their e-mails." Ya Think?

I'm sure studies have also been done to show that women are more verbal than men in case there might be one person on earth who didn't already know this.

I'm looking forward to more ground breaking studies in the future on topics like: "Eating more calories than your body can burn may lead to weight gain" and "going several days without sleep may impair your ability to perform certain tasks."

I'm just grateful that we live in a country where money (probably our tax money) is used for such ground breaking studies that can clarify things for us that we might otherwise never know.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stop The Star Wars Confusion

I finally have a serious and meaningful topic to write about today: STAR WARS. I've been having an ongoing argument with my kids recently whenever they talk about the Star Wars movies. It drives me crazy when they refer to a movie as "episode 1-6". I understand that the original Star Wars movie that came out in 1977 was not the beginning of the story and that 3 prequels came out later, but can we please just refer to these movies by the title they were known by when they came out?

Star Wars: A New Hope-1977- Technically Episode 4 but don't call it that.
The Empire Strikes Back-1980-Episode 5
The Return of the Jedi- 1983- Episode 6
The Phantom Menace-1999- Episode 1
Attack of the Clones- 2002- Episode 2
Revenge of the Sith- 2005- Episode 3

Nothing good happens when people refer to them by the episode number and it only creates confusion. I'll bet the people who do this also number their jokes for greater efficiency. Do those same people also refer to the recent Hobbit movie as episode 1?

I know it doesn't help my cause when the movie producers list the episode number on the movie poster, but what do they know? We all understand that the order in which the movies were released doesn't coincide with the plot, but that should not be a problem. Could we all just refer to these movies by their actual titles listed in bold above and stop all the episode talk? I guarantee the world will be a better place if we do.

That being said, I can't wait for episode 7 to come out in the future.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Distracting Onlookers

Last week I went to the dentist and was lucky to come home with no cavities despite some very lazy brushing and flossing habits. I promise to do better in the future, but that's not why I'm writing this post. While I was in the dentist's waiting room, the TV was tuned to The Today Show. I was casually viewing it when I realized that they still film the show with a bunch of idiotic attention seekers in the backgound in front of a live audience. I also realized how horrible morning television is.

I don't know why it upset me so much but I can not stand it when I see a show and they allow people to be in the background waving and pointing. I can understand a live news report for a breaking story outside with bystanders gawking at the camera and walking by, but if you are going to broadcast a live TV show every day for years, why would you film it in front of glass windows on a busy street in New York?

A rare moment without the window gawkers.

As I sat watching this show, they talked about style, recipes, home care, entertainment, and other topics and I became infuriated as I saw the same thing happen over and over at regular intervals. Adults walking by would do a double take when they noticed the cameras. Then they'd stop and wave and jump up and down and act like a 3 year old to get attention in the background of the show. What the heck?

There is a local news channel that does the same thing and I refuse to watch their broadcasts because of it. I guess I am not as mad about the dumb attention seekers as I am at the producers of the show who not only do nothing about it but actually encourage this distracting behavior.

It's one thing if you want to take a break from the studio and mingle with the crowds outside during parts of the program, but to have distracting people in the background throughout the entire program just kills the professionalism of the show. I understand they have celebrities and musical artists in the show that people may want to see, but what kind of people stand in big crowds holding signs hoping to be caught on camera with Al Roker? Get a life people!

I'm not trying to pick on The Today Show. There are also many other programs that utilize this distracting presentation style. Apparently the producers of the show believe they have a formula that works, but I won't be sold on it until I see the President address the nation with a bunch of people walking by in the background.

I was surprised at how easily this whole thing set me off. I'm usually a laid back and patient guy, but when it comes to watching a program and seeing distracting idiots jump around in the background I have a short fuse. I felt more like I was at a photobomb convention that I was watching TV. How much did this whole experience bug me? I actually found it to be a relief when I was finally able to go back and have the dental assistant scrape my teeth and gums with a sharp instrument.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Embarrassing Confessions

I thought I would try to spice up Chaka's World from it's current stagnant state by confessing some embarrassing personal things about myself. I figure I might as well start some juicy gossip about myself now so if I ever run for president and someone else digs up dirt on me, it will steal their thunder. I am willing to put myself in a vulnerable position in front of millions hundreds of potential readers if it will rejuvenate my blog. Here are five confessions.

Just last week I realized that jello shots contain alcohol. When I had seen movies or heard references to jello shots at parties, I just assumed those people partying were just big jello enthusiasts like myself and Bill Cosby. I guess I am just naive, but I still think slurping up just plain jello cubes at a party sounds fun.

I can't drive a stick shift. This has always haunted me. I drove one for about 10 minutes nearly 30 years ago during drivers ed, but have not practiced since then. I'm pretty sure if you ever have an emergency and ask me to drive you to the hospital in your manual transmission car, the clutch would be destroyed by the time we got there. I know some car and driver enthusiasts prefer a manual transmission, but they also probably wear special gloves to enhance their driving experience. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be?

I was having my oil changed last week and the mechanic asked me if I was excited for the Super Bowl. I said yes and then the he asked me who I was rooting for. I froze when I realized I could not even name one team in the playoffs. It's not that I don't like football, I just have not followed it one bit this year. I was going to fake a seizure to get out of the awkward situation, but then abruptly changed the subject and said something about how I can't wait for all of the super bowl food and he agreed with me. I've never had or been to a Super Bowl party in my life and am secretly jealous of those of you who do.

I lied to the Red Cross when they called me to donate blood last night. I told them I hadn't been feeling well. I didn't tell them it was due to a dislocated finger as opposed to being sick. I donated a couple months ago so I didn't feel too bad for putting them off. I guess when I get craving  famous Amos cookies and apple juice I will schedule a new appointment.

This exact thing really did happen to me this week.
Also for one final embarrassing update, I think I like Pinterest more than any other social media site. I made fun of it forever for being such a chick thing, but I really like all the pictures and it doesn't require much reading. If you ask me, that sounds more like a dumb guy thing.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Since I have been on a blogging sabbatical for months now, I thought I would at least share something that made me laugh recently. I saw this yesterday and thought it was pretty funny. 

Cap'n Crunch cereal may be responsible for creating fleshy stalactites that hang down from the roof of your mouth, but Otter Pop wrappers are even more dangerous since they  slice the sides of your mouth when you eat them. I thought I'd give an explanation for any of you who have not eaten one of these frozen treats lately.