Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All The Things You've Wanted To Know But Were Too Apathetic To Ask

I've decided to add Formspring to my blog. This is in part due to the fact that a lot of other people are doing it, and like the myth about lemmings, i'm into following the crowd, despite the fate that might lay ahead.

Ask your questions and I will do my best to answer. If I get questions from people other than my own Mother ("Where were you last night?".. "Why can't you find a nice girl?"..etc) then I shall feature them on my blog. I know - Instant stardom for you.

Now, try to contain yourself enough to find the Formspring box on the right-hand side of this page.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"You Are Disturbing Me. I Am Picking Mushrooms."

I just read a story about a reclusive genius in Russia. He solved a century-old math problem and was thus awarded a $1million prize from a fancy mathematics institute in the States for his efforts. He lives with his mother and sister in a small apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, he refused to accept the award. His reasons for the refusal are unclear at this point. I choose to believe that he just doesn't care about money.

While the story itself is almost certainly destined to be turned into another one of those "Beautiful Mind" type movies, this quote from the man himself pretty much made my day:

"You are disturbing me. I am picking mushrooms," he told a journalist who managed to get in touch with him."

He's just a smart man who wants to be left alone to pick mushrooms.

You can read the full article here : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/24/grigori-perelman-reclusiv_n_511938.html

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Charlie Brooker - Your New Favourite Writer

Charlie Brooker is brilliant -

On talent shows: "A bit like watching a show in which children line up to be punched in the face by Santa Claus. Absolutely riveting for all the wrong reasons."

— Charlie Brooker

His postings on The Guardian's Comment is Free site are an inspired collection of hilarious musings on almost any topic imaginable. A week ago, he did an existentialist article on the subject of time. I think I've read and re-read it about 15 times now. The first paragraph alone is one of the best of any article i've ever read. (Ok, i've only ever read 3 articles before. And two of those were on the subject of Family Guy vs South Park)


Hopefully you enjoy it as much as i did. See me for any English to North American translation.

A Cat Owner's Guide To Our Feline Overlords

Blog friends, it's that time - The time you and I both knew was coming: my first post about my cat. Now, I'm not sure if his cat friends read blogs, so I’m going to call him Melvin in order to protect his identity. Even though he is instantly dislikeable and probably has no friends.

Melvin  is an annoying, grey rat-like creature. At night, he will wait until I am about to sleep before wanting attention. In the early hours, he will claw at my door until I cannot stand the 4am doorstep screeching concert any longer and let him in. Then, on entry he will try and bite me - my head at first, and then after each swat away, he will try biting other parts of my tired body until he gets the reaction he wants: sworn threats on his life, followed by food.

Cats wait for no man. We are slaves to our feline overlords. We attend to their every whim. They live in a world where you feed them, provide them with shelter, play with them, and generally treat them like gold. They do not care.

The common household cat is a strange creature with ridiculous behavioural patterns. For example, when and only when my Grandmother stays with our family, my own kitty captor will constantly attempt to scale the television stand in our living room until he makes a successful attempt to the summit, knocking all pictures, clocks and books down from their lofty position until he proudly arrives at the peak, therefore overseeing the entire room like some sort of flea-infested sniper. It's as if this is some sort of trick he saves for my 90-year-old Grandmother, and he waits eagerly for her arrival every 6 months. The problem for my family is that my Grandmother hates this trick. I think that's why he likes it. She yells at him. "Why does she keep doing that?" my Grandmother asks. (All cats are female in my Grandmother's world.)

Cats. Are. Evil.

And yet, millions of people around the world share their houses with these creatures. Why? At this point I was hoping I would have answer. I do not. All I can think is that it's similar to a medical problem I like to call Dane Cook Fan Syndrome - You hate something so much that you're compelled to spend endless hours with it just so you know you're human because of the angry reaction.

As I type this, Melvin is trying to crawl onto my laptop and bite my fingers, attempting to grasp them with his claws like a kid using one of those toy grabbing machines. Or me, using one of those toy grabbing machines. It must be time for food again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

As Time Flies By

We used to sit on her porch and talk until six, sometimes seven into the bright summer morning - quoting Simpsons and laughing together about the random events of the previous evening and the strange things that happened within our particular group of friends. We were "regulars" for the night shift workers at the local 24-hour coffee shop, where we would get slightly stale, but very free bagels and other baked goods when their new orders came in overnight.

Walking to go get a much-needed haircut a few days ago, I bumped into her again, as she was picking up her son from the local kindergarten.

I had met her son before, a year or so earlier. He calls me "robrob" now. I quite like it. Seeing my close friend walk her progeny back from school that day though, it hit me: my friend whom I used to mock the coupled masses with, was married, with a baby, now a child. It's probably my fault, to be fair. When she asked me back in 2003 whether she should date this guy from her college class who had shown an interest in her, I said she should go for it. In my defence, I had no idea my approval of this hopeful young man would lead to this - me being the unwitting instigator of a life-long relationship including children. Children! How does this work? I mean, well I know the basics. Seeing friends with children is still terrifying to me, though. Because here I am, a 26-year-old man, hobbling into the dark unending abyss of adulthood: a place where you're supposed to "settle down", get married and have little versions of you, you 2.0, and I still struggle with basic skills they teach you in adult training camp, like cooking and laundry and not yelling at your brother when he clearly cheats at Mario Kart. Who knew Wario was so fast?

I'm hoping there will be a day soon where everything just clicks into place and I start becoming more mature ; because soon it might be time for “robrob” to put down his videogames and hop into the abyss - terrified, yet hopeful. Mostly terrified.

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

While we should be celebrating the women in our life on a daily basis for having to put up with us; today is the day marked out in the calendar as International Women's Day and so I would like to mention a woman who has inspired me - my Grandmother.

I remember the day clearly: my Dad and I walked through town on a rainy, dark Saturday afternoon and arrived late at the charity shop where my Grandmother worked well into her seventies. My Mum had asked that we go there to help her put away these giant boxes filled with clothes. We arrived just in time to see my Grandmother pulling the last of these giant boxes across the carpet towards the backroom to go with the other 10 boxes she had previously moved. "You look cold, boys. Let me make you some tea, " she said, as she emerged from the stock room and grabbed towels for both of us to put on our rain-soaked bodies.

During our final conversation together she asked me to take care of my Mother and Sister. With her as their role model, it will undoubtedly be the other way around.

Happy International Women's Day to all.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Boy Eats World

This is what it will look like when Ben Savage comes for the human race. Consider yourself warned.

P.S - Why yes, it is a slow news day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Game Of Life - 50's style

I don't like new boardgames. There's nothing that bothers me more than when people add "extreme" to something to make it sound more exciting. "Extreme Jenga" is still putting blocks one on top of the other until they all fall. (I was just trying to learn if there is indeed a difference between "Extreme" and regular Jenga when I noticed this :"Jenga, the blockbuster of all stacking games . " Best. Tagline. Ever.

My friends and I played the old school version of the Game of Life the other night. Naturally, we began the evening by looking at ridiculous Youtube videos (I love that this video has 16million views) while drinking domestic beer, so by the time the big game began it was already well into the evening.

I had never played The Game of Life before. And so I imagined that it would be quite similar to the real game of life and by the end of the playing I would be referring to everyone as a "scamp" and viewing anyone who looks slightly different from me with great suspicion.

It was around the time that I was rewarded with 50 new dollars for climbing Mount Everest that I realized this might be the greatest game of all time (besides Guess Who, of course). Though, unfortunately, since the game was invented in the 1950's, it's very sexist. If you pick up a"you had a boy!" card, you're awarded 300 dollars. Whereas if you get a "you had a girl" card, you get sent to marriage counseling. I was sent to marriage counseling 3 times over the course of the game. I suspect my mountaineering exploits affected marriage. My other accomplishments during the game included :

  • Discovering uranium near my house (award 130 dollars) (apparently back then this used to be a positive thing).

  • Discovering an oil well (award 100 dollars).

  • Having 7 children (4 boys and 3 girls).

Not bad for a night's work.

It was just the three of us playing, but i still managed to meticulously avoid victory and so my friend won. Sadly though, she's a girl and so the victory was awarded to my other slightly more masculine male friend, as per 50's sexist Game of Life rules.

I might have to get into board games again. Guess Who is still my favourite. If only for the fact that I invented a new facet to the game called "the desperation question".

This occurs when your opponent has only one piece left standing up and so will obviously win on their next turn. You are allowed to ask your opponent one random question about the person on their card. For example "Where do you think your character buys their clothes?" and then you can guess based on their answer. Rarely do these questions help in leading you to Guess Who victory but they definitely add to the game.

Can somebody help me in bringing old board games back in style?