No post tonight! Tomorrow is my last work day of the year, and I need to spend some major time packing up my gifts for my family. I know what you're thinking, "Can Cody's car possibly hold that many bean bag chairs?" We're going to find out the hard way.
In the event I don't post again for a week, Merry Christmas to all and please don't poison Santa, even if you think the fat bastard is asking for it.
Praise be to Santa, Christmas shopping is over! Each year, it gets a little tougher. That's because, with almost everyone I buy gifts for, I only have like three ideas on what to buy. Unfortunately, I've been buying gifts for some people for many, many years and I can only channel these three ideas so many times before I get beaten to death by a yule log by an enraged gift-receiver.
It's a lot easier to buy a gift for someone who's growing up, because they'll like lots of dumb stuff and you can just contribute to that. You dig Pokemon and emo? With the help of amazon, I can hook you up. However, my mom, for example, is never going to get into Warhammer 3000 or rock tumbling. She's got her interests picked out, and so I've been operating within the same gift-giving confines for like 20 years. I am of the opinion that every year, you should take up a strange hobby just to make gift-buying easier for all of your relatives.
The one great thing about the Internet is that it makes it so easy to buy stranger and stranger gifts each year. Can that continue forever, though? I bet that ten years from now, we've exhausted all possibilities and we all just give each other the weirdest Japanese porn we can find. I guess if that's what you're asking for anyway (*cough cough Frito*), you're in luck.
I'd continue, but the Mavs are on in HD. I figure the NBA probably deserves like one fan, so I'm going to give them a few minutes.
It's the last week of work for me this year, and my mind is already consumed with dancing Santa Clauses. Let's start these winter festivities!
Well, we can't start them quite yet. I'm about 87% done with all of my shopping. When I get down to the last 13% of shopping, it means I already exhausted all of my good ideas and now I'm just buying crap for people. Sometimes the crap is good, but usually it's just a bunch of weird stuff. Last year at this stage, I actually bought season 1 of Full House on DVD for someone. Does anyone make wrapper paper that says, in bold letters, "I'm not sure where this came from"? If so, hook me up.
If I'm buying gifts from you, don't worry; I put a lot of thought into it, I bought it a few months ago, and I spent ten times as much money as I did last year.
In other news, the Paddington Bear and I are plugging away on Operation: Find Way to Make Money and Become Rich Eccentrics. As well as we're doing, I'm not letting anyone take a look just yet. If anyone is looking for any last minute gift-ideas for me, I will take a crack staff of Asian PhD's who live to code and take direction based on things I've written on cocktail napkins.
Oh, Time Warner. My time on this earth will not be a success until I can drive a stake of consumer justice into your cold, megacorporate heart.
I came home from work yesterday and booted up Computapus Rex, my laptop. I tried to check my email and got errors. I tried to browse and got errors. I tried a few other online things, and absolutely nothing worked. I checked all of the normal points of failure: the computer was plugged in, I wasn't trying to boot up the washing machine, I was in the right house, etc. All of the problems pointed to the cable modem. That's no big surprise for me as a Time Warner customer; my cable modem's roughly as sturdy as Glass Jaw Joe in Mike Tyson's Punchout.
I gave it a little while to see if the modem would start working, but I had no luck. I had this great idea while I was waiting. I thought, hey, let's watch tv! I went into the living room and fired up the cable modem. It gasped pathetically and wet its pants.
At this point, I knew my cable situation was totally screwed. And since things were totally screwed and I have no patience for that kind of malarkey, I did the intelligent thing and allowed Laura to handle the problem. I gave her the Time Warner phone number and left the room promptly.
After a few minutes, she came back with news. "It's a problem they have to fix," she said. Of course, of course. When can they come out? "In a week." This is the kind of service that $140 a month gets from Time Warner. Thank God I don't pay $135 a month! We'd be out for a month! Why I oughta!
Time Warner, I know that some people live without high-speed internet and DVRs. I call them hillbillies, and I do not intend to join them. Fix your mess!
When I came home from work today, everything was working again. I'd call Time Warner to inform them, but that would require cancelling our service appointment for next week. A representative is coming out to my house and I'm going to make him crawl around in the attic for a few hours. He will do that until my account is credited. At that point, I will shout "Consumer justice!" and let him go home.
In your face, literature! A few months ago, I set out this goal for myself to read the entirety of Neal Stephenon's Baroque Cycle. In case you're not familiar with the work, it's around 3000 pages of dense European history, alchemy, Puritanism, and various pirate terminology. (All of that does sound kind of interesting, but 3000 pages? Who are we trying to impress here, Neal?)
If ever there were a time to run down the street in my underpants, screaming in glee, and high-fiving the neighbors, this is it. If I did that though, one of them would ask what the foofaraw was about and I'd have to tell them that I just finished reading 3 books in 6 months. In those terms, it's not quite as impressive. Oh neighbors, did I mention these books were about science?
I did enjoy the books quite a bit, but it's hard to read anything for that long and stay interested. I imagine I skimmed no less than ten pages there in the middle, looking for profanity or pirate battles. I missed a subplot or two. When I got to the end, I was still frequently saying, "Wait, who? The guy with the pegleg?" These are only minor criticisms, as I am freaking done with those books and have nothing to prove to anyone anymore.
Now that I'm finished, I don't really know what to do. It needs to be equally momentous. I'm thinking I either read a 3050 page book or I eat 400 pudding cups.
What's up, jive turkeys? Life in Powelloplis is particularly sweet right now, because I recently got a wok. I've actually had this wok for a long time, but I didn't realize I had it until a month ago. I've been getting pretty familiar with this thing and in doing so, I've realized something: with a big enough wok, I could literally feed the world. (And no, I wouldn't break the wok apart and feed the world with wok-shards.)
Here's all you need to know about woks: 1.) they're large; 2.) they're non-stick. Sounds pretty good so far, right? Now consider this last little nugget: you make food in a wok just by stirring the food around. That's right, you don't even have to flip anything over. Oh, and did I mention the fact that woks are enormous and can make 5 meals worth of food in a single wokening (my own term)?
The past few weeks, I've really been getting my stir-fry on with this wok and it's been so successful, I considered buying every single male I know a wok for Christmas. I would also include some frozen veggies, a few chicken breasts, and a note that reads, "Believe in the magic." It's just too easy. Let your wok loose once a week and there's virtually no chance you'll get scurvy.
Some people are worried about Asian economies potentially taking the USA's place as the world's dominant power. After some a few wok experiences, I can say that these folks are right to be scared. If they apply the same ruthless regard for efficiency in cookware to any other industry, we can just give up. I don't know if we should even bother competing with them. They'll just do to us what they did to crockpots and frying pans, and I'm slightly interested in the brave new woky world.
You know the holidays are here when folks start getting pissed off about those Lexus commercials.
Everybody knows these commercials: husband leads wife outside, wife sees a new Lexus with a bow on it in the driveway, wife decides she temporarily likes husband. I'll hand it to Lexus: these are compelling ads. However, the reason they're compelling is NOT because this is every woman's dream, but because the whole scenario is totally ridiculous. Here's how this would work in real life.
Husband: Come on out here, honey. I've got a surprise for you.
Wife: Hush up, I'm watching my stories.
Husband: Honey, please. This is way better than your stories.
Wife: Better than my stories? *throws curling iron at husband's face and trudges outside unhappily*
Husband: Look in the driveway. There it is, your new Lexus!
Wife: You rented me a Lexus for Christmas?
Husband: No, I BOUGHT you a Lexus!
Wife: That is awesome. Wait, you bought this? Don't these cars cost around $40,000?
Husband: They are, but you're worth it!
Wife: Did it not occur to you to consult me before spending $40,000 on a Christmas gift? I only got you 2 seasons of CSI as your gift. Those cost $70 in total. According to my calculations, you spent 571 times that amount.
Husband: Not to be pedantic, but it was actually $45,000 due to the fancy bow wrapped around the car. However, you're worth every penny.
Wife: $45,000! Sweet Jesus! Can we still keep our house? How much can I sell my eggs for?
And it just gets worse from there. That is why you should only give your wife homemade peanut brittle for Christmas.
A few people have asked me for my Christmas list. Am I going to simply email it like a chump? I don't think so. If I did that, how would the spambots know what to insert crazily into my comments? You're welcome, viagra purveyors! (Note: this is for my family only. I'm not one of those website dudes who asks for gifts from you lunatics.)
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang - A select group of Internet weirdos went crazy over this, and those weirdos are my weirdos.
A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin - As one of the few people in the world who'd be interested in a novel where Godel and Turing hang out together, I feel like I need to support this author somehow.
Zodiac by Neil Stephenson - I'm 100 pages away from finishing the Baroque Cycle (review: it's a task to read, but I love me some crazy Stephenson yarns), and I'm worried my appendix will burst if I don't get my regular dose of Stephenson.
The March by EL Doctorow. EL easily surpasses Cory in the Most Excellent Doctorow contest.
Super Mario Galaxy - "Hey, it's me, Mario!" I am unhealthily excited about this one.
Songs for Swingin' Lovers by Frank Sinatra. I'm going through this magazine's list of the top 1001 albums of the past 50 years, and this has been one of my favorites.
The Wildest by Louis Prima. This was also on the list. From the songs alone, Louis Prima sounds like a great guy to hang out with.
Portrait of a Legend by Sam Cooke. I leave it to the words of Cusack in High Fidelity: "Do you have soul?" "That all depends."
More if I think of it.