Caution: Wet Water!

It's time for another rant, thanks to an article link from my recent muse, Sylvia.This article is another glimpse into the new era of our growing dependence on electronics. Just roll out the robots and let's be done with it! We can all officially retire into stupidity and worthlessness whilst the robots out-everything us. And then we can realize the error of our ways, rage against the machines, and rediscover our ability to actually do things on our own.

An excerpt from the article reads:

As the bikini turns 60, it’s entering the electronic age with a new model featuring a built-in alarm to warn wearers to get out of the sun -- and ease concerns that the scanty swimsuits damage the health.

The American Cancer Society advises that the best way to lower the risk of skin cancer, the most common form of the disease in humans, is to avoid too much exposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet light.

So Canadian company Solestrom has come up with a new bikini that goes on sale next month with a UV meter built into its belt and an alarm that beeps to tell wearers when to head to the shade.

“There’s so much concern about sun exposure and skin cancer that we saw the demand and designed something to be safe for the wearer,” Solestrom spokeswoman Emily Garassa said.

Garassa said the meter on the $190 bikini displays a level of UV intensity on a scale from 0 to 20. A person’s sensitivity to UV depends mainly on skin type, but generally three to five would be considered moderate strength, 8-10 very high and anything above 11 extreme.

People, please. I don't really know whom to rage against on this one. Is it the businesses who continue to create inventions that foster our other growing deficit (i.e., attention)? Is it the consumers who will buy anything because they have too much disposal income and blossoming tech addictions? Or is it the lawyers who perpetuate the ridiculous letigious nature of our lives?

Come on. I like to believe in the axiom of "treat people greatly and they will show themselves to be great." Is this line of thinking old and busted? Why must we pander to the least common denominator? Get some sun, then take your ass to the shade. And we're done. Next!

Ford wants to build cars that alert you when someone is in your blind spot. On our campus, all the busses beep when their turn signals are activated so people will know the bus is turning. God forbid pedestrians distract themselves from their Blackberry/iPod/cell phone/electronic voodoo trance of sensationalistic brain deadness and...(gasp) BE AWARE! No, we have to be distracted from our distractions by louder/brigther special effects.

I say we get rid of all these moron alerts and stick to the one absolute fact of this world. You want a warning, here it is:

I like to think of it as a catch-all.

Life is about making choices, not relegating responsibility to an object, especially when your life is at stake. We can't become too dependent on the ghost in the machine because it leads to idleness, assumption, and undermines critical thinking. We think we are eliminating human error, but we are simply replacing it with another kind - complacency. I'm all for convenience and progress, but I draw the line when common sense is undercut. Let's have faith in people again. Our humanity got us into this mess, so our humanity is what will get us out.

Army the Apothecary

Well, it appears a career change is in my future! Forget my job of advising the youth of a nation because my true calling has rung me up. I'm going to be an apothecary! That's right, an olden days pharmacist!

Really, you ask?! Umm, not really, you goob.

It's like this... I had my strange and metaphorically romantic encounter with Chatty McBlabby the Stepford Manager, which eventually led me to share my idea for my child sedative "Hush, Little Baby."

Now I'm coming up with other medications. I derive a strange pleasure from making up drug names to see if people believe they are real.

"Yeah, my brother is taking Dylozanex. Ever heard of it? No? Sounds legit, eh?" Yeah, so I can't keep my ruse up for long because I crack myself up too much.

Sylvia and I were talking about what a drug like Dylozanex would treat, and she suggested diarrhea of the mouth. HAHAHA!! I love it! So what would Biprevidan treat... constipation of ideas? I know some people who would benefit from a B & D cocktail (Oh, Chatty? Come out, come out where ever you are...)

So I come home today to find some killer magic mushrooms sprouting in my backyard. Check 'em out! I could do some business in my neighborhood, especially with my drug addicted "neighbor" Linda, who hit me up for some "milk money" one day by way of a really shady scam story. Like what kid needs MILK to survive? Just tell me you need booze and pills and a fix. I'm more likely to reward honesty. Linda needs to work on her material. Or take an acid trip on one of Army's delicious joyride fungi. What's the going rate these days?

Lesson learned: Sometimes the world delivers your destiny to you. Sometimes your choices lead you to your lot in life. And sometimes it's just a lot of rain and a rotting tree stump. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a shroom cap... and a bottle of ipecac!

Mythology of Life: Shadows

Ashmore Estates was most recently a facility for the mentally and physically disabled. Prior it was a poor farm. It was shut down in 1987 for failing many health and safety codes. In its vacancy, it has fallen prey to vandals -- broken windows, graffiti, and likely other destructive acts. I had heard of this place through a coworker, and it intrigued me. I had mentioned the eerieness of this place in a previous post. In scouring the internet for any kind of information, I found there's too much history to this building that I had to see it in person. It seemed like perfect timing to scout it out when Allie was visiting me, so off on an adventure we went.

What struck me at first was how this building seemed as if it was covered with shadow of its history, reflecting a time that has passed and people who have since left. Hidden away on a gravel road in the middle of the country, it has become an eyesore, obscured only by the overgrowth of trees and shrubs -- a kind of disguise.

Armed only with cameras, Allie and I set out to explore its depths and perhaps to figure it out. The place is in really bad shape. I entered knowing there was risk -- of being caught, of injuring myself. But when you choose to be an explorer, you have to accept those consequences. This may seem like child's play to you bolder folks out there, but trust me when I say this was a major step for me -- trespassing. Sounds so daring, doesn't it?

As I explored the halls and rooms, I made sure to test the tiles for integrity and mind
the broken glass littering the floors. It's easy to see the building holds a mysterious sadness, as if has carried so many burdens and now has become the burden itself. A victim of neglect and destruction.

The few pieces of furniture brought a sense of life -- a wooden bed frame, a dresser with drawers half opened, a couch by the window. They were the remnants of the people who lived here, reflecting in their disheveled states the disorder those occupants endured in their lives.

One hallway reminded me of a scene from the movie, Session 9. Allie and I watched it after our visit and were even more frightened by the imagery because it felt so surreal -- the similarities were creepy. We agreed it was best
that we saw the movie after our visit and not before.

Rumors on the internet is that Ashmore is haunted. Do I think it is haunted? That depends on what you bring to it. If you can feel the history of a place and imagine the conversations that echoed through the walls, then you have made a connection. In a way, the building inhabits you as much as you do it. If you see the building around you and what it has become, you cannot help but feel a bit of sorrow. It hits you on an emotional level, I think. As for being afraid of it or what lies inside, that is a haunt we bring with us, and one that
will follow us in all the dark places we must travel. Unless I ever witness otherwise, I think the ghosts exist only in the mind.

After taking many pictures, reading the tags on the walls, and feeling generally creeped out
, it felt good to be outside. Allie and I explored maybe half of the building, so there may be another time for me to see what other mysteries it has to offer. My hope is that it survives that long.

Ashmore Estates is a shadow of what it once was -- a place that sheltered those who were in need. Now it is consumed by graffiti and the earth itself, slowly being erased. I'm glad I was able to visit and preserve a piece of this place.

To read Allie's account of our trip, check out her blog post.

Away Message...

I will be on hiatus for the next week because Allie is visiting me from Washington! We have been friends since high school, where we first met in Frau DeYoung's Deutsch Klasse. Ah, the old days. But we really became close friends in Mr. Mlinek's Television Production class where all kinds of randomness went down... including Jeff Peanut Butter, the Plaid Power Ranger, My Perogative (sp), Chia Chest, and the God Mic. LOL, too much.

Then we tried to write a couple of stories together, but we're such procrastinators that that didn't pan out so well. What else... late night computer game sessions, 3 hour phone conversations, and tandem reading (in which we basically sat next to each other on a couch and read different books in the same series... I'm not quite sure WHY we did this).

Anyway, thanks for your readership, friends. I will be back soonish with more thinks to share.

Conspiracy Theory

Upon a moment of reflection and post-Friday debriefs, I have a few theories regarding my evening with Maybe Single Guy. Let me recount the details of the eve with an investigative eye:

The Pre-Screen

Point of contact: He emails me about going out with friends to see my interest level. Non-confrontational, no chance of a date request rejection, a safe and easy approach.

The Art of Magic

In retrospect, he was really good at this. He started his getaway story early. A distraught friend with no where to go will be staying with him this evening. The perfect "out card" in the deck of tricks.

The Assessment

As I mentioned, we don't know each other all that much. But twice he got fairly intimate with me, but not in a sleazy way. When recounting a story in the car, he touched my hand to emphasize a point. Later, he got within three inches of my face (head on, not like mouth to ear) to ask me a question. Testing the waters, perhaps?

The Interviews

Like trying on a pair of pants in a fitting room, he was looking to see how snug I was at the waist, if the cuff was too big, if sitting down caused the fabric to cinch or constrict, and how I made his butt look. Then he showcased me to all his friends to get their opinions -- how does this look on me? Is this something I can wear to any occasion or just when I'm going out on the town? Do you think it's good quality? Worth the price tag?

Remember on Seinfeld when Elaine liked the dress at the one store, but thought they had skinny mirrors, so she takes it to another store for the second opinion of an unbiased mirror? This was like the second run to movie night at the Orgy House.

The Ruse

As I think back, the phone call at Orgy House may have been a getaway maneuver. I noticed MSG and Russian Guy talking back and forth, but I figured it was RG being sassy and insinuating that MSG and I were going to hook up or whatever. Then I thought, what if MSG had a friend ring his cell so he could step away and take the important call from Distraught Friend? With abbra cadabbra, his disappearing act was complete (with a flourish)... and I was totally the Dazed Spectator. I had no clue it was going on, partly due to the Perfect Set Up. Thus is the art of magic.

The Tourist Rebuttal (i.e., Chris Needs Help)

It's possible that MSG did not do any of the above, and that he simply likes to make cameo appearances at various venues. He could be a tourist like that. Because he was out of sorts due to problem at work, going on little sleep, and his social dilemma with The Host at the birthday party, maybe he was a bit more antsy. So maybe Chris is over-theorizing, but I tell myself its for entertainment value, so what's the harm!

Only time will tell, and I have decided that instead of backing away, per my usual mode of operation, I'm going to keep an open mind, and see what happens. It's not like we can get married or anything...

The Night of Engagement and Ambiguity

I had one of those nights in which everything seemed to come together into a theme and felt as if it was preordained or remarkably coincidental. I won't try to work out which it is, just enjoy it for what it was. In order to do so, I need to catch you up on a few things, especially the origins of a guy I will refer to as Maybe Single Guy.

Here's the scoop on Maybe Single Guy. MSG is someone who I know at the university and works in another office. We've chatted all of twice during a couple of random meetings on campus. I found out from a friend that he had a boyfriend, so I'm like, figures. He's attractive and has a nice smile. Bonuses! But someone else has dibs... not so good. I'm many things, but not a relationship-wrecker. So these encounters with him took place earlier this year. I saw him at Meijer with Maybe Boyfriend about three weeks ago. I noticed them a few lanes away and was checking out when they left, so we never made eye contact, but I know he saw me. Then about a week later, he emails me about wanting to be more social and asking me to join in if interested. So I'm like, sure, hit me up. Can't hurt to meet other people in town... but I was still a bit intrigued about the intended nature of his communique.

I get an email this morning asking me along to his friend's birthday party. At first I'm apprehensive because of my awkward social phobiette (not quite a full-blown phobia) is certain situations. But after some wise counsel from Sylvia, I realize, fortune favors the bold.

Fast forward to a pre-planned delicious Thai dinner with Becca and KM. The three of us together is a bizarre sight to behold. Take the insanity of the Miss MINI Chambana debacle and multiply generously. So we're chatting on all manner of topics. It comes up that I know someone that works in Becca's environs. We played volleyball a few times, she has a killer serve, and she knows Ambiguously Straight Guy. So I have to ask if he came up in convo, and sure enough he did, and sure enough, Volleyball Pro thinks he's gay. Add to that the verdict from basically everyone else who's come into contact with him, and ASG seems to be the only one who doesn't think he's gay. So that was enlightening, and as I realized later, an omen for the near future.

After our parade insanity, Becca's friends and family from back home checked out the photos, read my blog, and now think she found a new man, Chris. But of course, there's one little hitch, which only her brother had caught onto by purusing my blog. I've got "the gays." But that didn't stop the three of us from riffing about it, and one of us had the wacky idea of taking pictures of us in a park like we just got engaged. Now, normal people would laugh and move on... but we were all like, let's go to a nearby park and totally do this! Shared brain syndrome synched us up perfickly.

Off we go to get ourselves into this hot mess! Becca wants to post these pictures all serious-like and send them to her friends/fam as her engagement photos! We are such DORKS! Check out my Uncle Rico pose second on the left. Ridiculous. KM did some great photog work : )

Then Maybe Single Guy calls to pick me up... by himself. So I'm confused. Did I receive faulty intel about the BF? Did they break up between the Meijer visit and the email (which would make me a potential Rebound Guy)? Or was that a roommate I saw? Maybe it's open relationship week? Whut up?

We head to the party, which is pretty low key, and I meet everyone, and they are nice. After sitting there a while, I'm playing the wallflower, and I noticed Girl Two looks way familiar. Then it clicks! She is totally the ex-girlfriend of Ambiguously Straight Guy!! So I'm like -- your name is ***, right? She's all yeah! And your last name is? She tells me. We've met before, I say. Huh? I met you at Dos Reales with my friend ASG. Oh yeah! You have a really good memory for such a brief encounter!

I didn't elaborate that ASG showed me all these pictures of her, and told me he broke it off because she wanted to be more serious than he did. Good thing I didn't because I think Green Shirt Guy was her new boyfriend. At post-night debrief, Becca asked, is she a lesbian? I said no, but I recall ASG telling me she likes hanging out with gay guys. And she says, um, well yeah! LOL

So we hang out with everyone for a bit, and there are a couple of cuties there -- Birthday Boy and Not Me Chris. The Host tells a story about this 18 year old student of his who is going off to be a porn star. Apparently Mom didn't like this news and kicks Porno Boy to the curb, and The Host plays Big Brother for the kid. It's suggested that he's porn-worthy but not so wise to the ways of the world. A bit later MSG wants to leave because he has issues with The Host. He tells me that The Host has wanted to get with him for a long while but often makes inappropriate comments which isn't cool. At this point, I'm further confused by MSG's status -- sounds more single at this point, right?

We head to movie night at a place I've come to know as the Orgy House. A friend had attended a birthday party there once that morphed into an orgy by the waxing of the moon and heavy consumption of libations. I also know Russian Guy who owns the place is a bit eccentric. But I'm up for anything now.

Apparently movie night usually consists of feel-good gay themed flicks, and the people are lively and at times rowdy (hence the orgy). We enter to see eight guys quietly focusing on a movie that, as it turns out, takes place in Nazi Germany during WWII in a concentration camp. It centers on these two homosexual men who are captured by the Gestapo because they are gay and all they do at the camp is move rocks and talk. I'm sure it's a great movie, but not what we expected and a bit heavy for the night. And Russian Guy says, ooh, Armstrong, so your arms must be strong! He shakes my hand and says, yes, they are strong! I just smile. Sassy old bean! I notice the back wall of the living room is plastered with pictures of semi-nude, half-nude, and fully nude men. Imagine a teen girl's wall filled with Tiger Beat posters of Kirk Cameron and Joey Lawrence -- but replace it with a plethora of naked men. And the hallway beyond was smattered likewise, so there was a whole other level of flesh and muscle to dazzle the eye.

We're there for a while, I noticed a guy who works at Aroma and nod at him, and MSG says he needs to pick up a friend who is staying with him for the night because he has no place in town to stay. Maybe Single Guy drops me off and we're like, let me know when something is going on.

An interesting evening, indeed. Not sure about my feelings for MSG. He was very sensitive to certain social issues, which I understand, but trust me when I say it seemed a bit too reactive. There were easily four instances I can think of during this evening alone. It's not a deal breaker, but I feel a bit on guard because people who are very hypersensitive tend to make melodrama from the mundane. And I don't roll that way. But then, I don't know the true status of Maybe Single Guy, so maybe he's operating from the friend angle only. Regardless, I'm interested in hanging out some more to see what comes of a friendship, relationship, or whatever.

If it doesn't work out, no big whoop. My Plan B is to hitch up with my lovely fiance, Becca : )

School of Rock

While at a happy hour last night with other advisors counting down the last days of an exhausting summer registration, we were chatting about various topics. Inevitably, a bit of work-related business creeps in... it's unavoidable. At one point, the Poli Sci advisor was talking about seats open in various classes in his department, what they were like, ones he recommended, etc. I blurted out, being the ever-goof I am, "You should offer a class called The Politics of Dancing!" He didn't get the 80's song reference, so I had to explain it (which immediately eradicates it's comedic value), but maybe you caught it and chuckled.

Then I thought about a what a whole class schedule would look like if it was based around song titles and the band itself was the instructors. So yeah, fairly bizarro, totally in line with my style of thinking, and freshly minted from the mental press for your confused, perhaps slightly bemused, consumption:

iRant: The Superego Speaks

Today's lesson in morality comes from Royal Dutch Shell. That's right, the oil company. Read and be enlightened.

This is a classic story of "do as I say and not as I do" which is a parental favorite that I'm sure spans all cultures and countries. There's nothing like a big ol' corporation wagging its finger and telling us what's what. It's not that I don't agree with what dude at Shell is saying... but this is not a time when I want to hear oil rich fat cats professing morality to the masses. We already have another dude, whom I call Mr. Man, who likes to tell us what our values should be.

I appreciate that dude mentions that corn ethanol is at best a transition source and that they are putting efforts into making cellulosic ethanol an option for commercial deployment. Couldn't he also mention that corn ethanol is not as efficient as other forms of ethanol, like sugar cane or cellulosic (which is what they are pursuing).

It just sounds like they played the morality card to hit a hot button issue, and I'm tired of that kind of pandering. If people can't figure out who they are and what they stand for, I'd hope an oil company or a government isn't their dictator of right and wrong. Elsewise, we got some issues to work out...

War It Forward

So I'm reading my morning dose of and see that Japan is considering a pre-emptive strike on North Korea in response to its missile launch last week and the aggressive stance said launch implies. We all know that Kim Jong Il has a flair for the theatrics (hey, I saw Team America: World Police, LOL), but heed this Japan, please aim clear of the Ryugyong Hotel. It has a special place in my heart.

The article mentioned that the U.S. was behind the possibility, which is no shock. We've wanted a piece of North Korea ever since Mr. Man declared them an Axis of Evil member. Then they were relegated to being an Outpost of Terror... I suppose Den of Inequity is around the corner.

Anyway, no big shock we're nudging Japan to go for it, kinda like urging your friend to moon the teacher. I mean, look how well our pre-emptive war went! Operation Spic n' Span has resulted in WMD's falling out of proverbial closets, a quick rebuilding reminiscent of Mary Poppin's home brand magic, and most importantly, no hard feelings! Japan, be the kid who learn vicariously.

Anyway, it got me thinking how dangerous this concept is... pre-emptive strike. A very slippery slope. But also, it's like the next wave of war -- of which I have coined several terms -- Domino Domination, Eminent-er Domain (in honor of Mr. Man himself), or War It Forward, which I borrowed from the movie Pay It Forward.

Basically, we beat up Japan in WWII. Now they war it forward to N. Korea. We beat up Iraq. Twice. Now they can prepare to war it forward to Iran. It's a topple-down campaign to honk off all those nasty people we just don't like looking at us that way. Then we can eventually invade ourselves because we can't stand looking at the face in the mirror. It has a certain poetic justice, huh?

So that's my prediction for future wars. Now, all you politicos, pundits, paupers, pirates, puppets, poets, pawns, and kings, listen up! Don't be trying to comment all serious-like on this post. I clearly have no basis for intelligent debate but my own twisted sense of reality! If you come at me with researched facts and how-dare-yous, you'll make a grown man cry. Just laugh and tell me how funny you think I am. As you pet my hair.

Solutions To Problems That Don't Exist

There's nothing more satisfying than solving the lack of a problem. It's a trapping of modern technological lifestyle that I often lament to the thin placating of my various friends and coworkers. Now I submit you, reader, to the same level of scrutiny and crankiness with one fine difference -- you can turn me off at will. Now there's a real solution!

In my night stand, among various old writings and drawings is a manilla folder filled with clippings, archived to remind me, when times are moody or low, that my life could be so much better if only I owned a big fake plastic rock to cover up that unsightly pipe in my backyard! Because somehow a cheap ass faux-rock is much better, especially when it costs $300! Or perhaps I could buy a turbo nail clipper because it traps flyaway clippings! That's been keeping me up at nights. The list goes on: the Greyhound Doorstop, Super UV Toothbrush Sterilizer, a man-shaped pool equipment holder (for just $600), and of course the beer tap in the shape of a golf club... cuz sometimes the little lady doesn't need to know that when you yell "fore", it really signals how many drinks you've secretly imbibed. These miracles came from the panaceatic SkyMall magazines in airplane seat pockets... you know, next to the barf bag. Convenient!

My other rambling is about Pampered Chef products. Now before you send me notes about how you like PC and its fine line of doodads, I'm not condeming the entire line or those who purchase their wares. But I get really tired of these objects will one single niche freak-of-nature purpose that will make suburban home life bearable. Like the ice cream sandwich maker. Um, yeah. Or the Hold 'n' Slice that looks like my grandmother's hair pick from the 1970s. C'mon now. These silly items aren't truly what drives me crazy, though. Because they are just quick fixes for our core issues.

How many people have garages with no cars in them because of all the stuff packed inside? Homes get bigger, and we fill them with more stuff. Consumerism is handy for covering up empty feelings, and it's a trap anyone can easily fall into. I'm no different, so I lament on this as a fellow hooked fish.

I guess my point is this -- it seems the difference between healthy and unhealthy consumerism is as fine as a razor's edge. It offers us the ultimate escape from a reality created by ourselves, our society, and our world. But how much happier does it make us? This is starting to sound like a "Fight Club" rip off, but I happen to agree with it.

So what is my solution to all these insolutions? I wish I knew. I think it's something we all have to think on individually. And perhaps that's the true problem -- we've become so distracted from ourselves by the world around us, that we get set into an auto pilot holding pattern. Fortunately, we can become unstuck.

My solution is to seek a little more mindfulness in my day. More being and less doing. Making time to reconnect with friends and family. Feeling all my emotions. Tasting food as I eat it. Breathing deeply. Smiling often, especially when it hurts. I'm a firm believer in balance, much as I don't always practice it. But any practice is an experience. Intentions get you only so far.

In light of what I have written, I am thankful for the technology and conveniences in my life; this blog is a testament to that. But I should not be what is consumed in the process of consumption. Life is too precious.

Can't Rain On Our Parade

Today I was in an Independence Day Parade!! The short of it is, in the olden days a bunch of people didn't like the way Britain was doing business, so they came here, threw some tea in the ocean, and decided to have a parade! And the tradition continues to this very day (literally)!

Our MINI Cooper car club (founded by yours truly) decided this year to be in the parade. I wasn't sure if we could pull it off in the short time span we had left, but we rallied six owners to the cause and got a slot in the parade fifth from last.

Best part, Becca was in on the action. As I mentioned in a previous post, Chris + Becca = all kinds of random shenanigans. Once she started telling everyone she's going to be in the parade, it snowballed into her becoming Miss MINI Chambana (local slang for Champaign-Urbana). And the unwise move on her part was to relay this information to me. So Miss MINI she became!

We travelled around town on the eve of the parade to find the most ridiculous accessories for her. We scoured the teeny girl stores, the outlets, the department stores, and the Target. We were on a mission, and the mission was so accomplished. I even found some sweet duds for me! Check out the ridiculous photo! Yeah, that's me in a teen girl's cowboy hat and girl glasses from Kohl's... it's all too true! But they were so perfick! And don't worry, that's not Becca's full parade gear -- I'm saving that for the big reveal!

Morning of the parade: First off, in another struggle against Mother Nature, it started raining during the parade line up. So not cool! Our colorful streamers were rendered unusable. How can our princess wave from my sunroof under such unpleasant conditions? Would the parade be a sham with her stuck behind a glass window? Who would appreciate her for all her achievements? Tension mounted.

Then this freaking hoss chugged past us. Not sure why they didn't get the big one instead... Upon further investigation, we found out that it runs on endangered species. It gets 15 miles to the panda. In city, of course. Whilst running over small children.

Another favorite in the parade - Guns Save Life. It's true, people. Somehow, guns save (not lives), but life. Interesting. Of course, these folks have those sing-song signs along the interstate that give Illinois its survivalist charm. And for that we love them (because we're afraid of what they'll do to us otherwise).

We had our pictures taken with celebrities! Becca found a photo op with the Hometown Buffet Bee! LOL -- And I asked Gandolf the Gray to take a moment from his wizardry to smile wide. After he put down his cell phone, we snapped this priceless picture. And I had my suspicions this wizard was really Gandolf the Girl! I love a bearded lady.

Here's our group all prepped for the parade. Thankfully the rain did let up by the start of the parade, so we dodged a bullet. Miss MINI Chambana was able to wave to her fandom in full intended glory! As a side note, Mother Nature and I have since made up.

We had the antenna flags poised, the window paint inked, and other random decorations bedazzling our cars and persons. Now gussied up, Becca takes her post through the sunroof. We were cracking up the whole time! Consult the photo montage:

How freaking silly can you get!? I love it!! Once the parade was under way, we met our spectators who had, by this point, been out in the muggy hot air watching a 2 mile an hour parde for an hour and a half. Some looked beat. But plenty were cheering and waving and looking at us like we were something else.

We basically got two strong reactions. The people who thought we were serious and the people who totally got it. Becca was doing the royal wave, calling out to people "You can be anyone you want" or "This totally isn't real." It was funny to see people wave, read the sign on the car, and THEN actually react. Again, the folks who got it would shout something out, crack up laughing, or give the royal wave back. For some reason, the middle-aged women got the biggest kick out of us. We saw people we knew in the crowd. The looks on their faces were priceless.

At the parade's end, all of us gathered in a parking lot and were reflecting on the fun. This woman and her children come up and say to Becca, "Congratulations! We just came here from Italy. How does one become Miss MINI?" She was so nice and so sincere, and started laughing with us when we told her the genesis of our hair-brained scheme. We kinda loved that people took us seriously.

In all, a most ridiculous out-of-control day of enjoyment was had. And for that, I am thankful.

For more pictures with wonderful captions, check out Becca's flickr site!

Mental Manufactory: Computer Case Box Fan

This invention from the rotating gears of my cognitive workshop may not be edgy, scintillating, or even an eyebrow raiser. In fact, it's like peanut butter and jelly. At some point in history, someone decided it was a good idea to put these two delicious spreads together and make one tasty sammich. While the PBJ isn't a gourmet meal, it certainly gets the job done when you have a case of the hungries.

And thus the genesis of my latest invention. Companies have fret over how to solve the problem of overheating computer cases with good reason. A hot internal environment damages sensitive equipment and lowers PC performance. Creating air flow, installing more fans, more powerful fans, liquid coolant goes on and on. But why not make one side of the computer a fan itself?? A box fan is like a perfect fit. I bet I just blew your mind. Or you fell asleep. Either way, I had an effect on you : )

If you think about it, the one side of the case is completely useless. It's just a removable access hatch. Now, it serves a dual purpose. Sure, it's loud. I think we can work on that part. But it's also cool, in a double entendre kind of way.