Tuesday, February 23, 2010

From Russia, With Love

From my spam folder today:

Click on the picture to see full size

I know this sounds crazy, but I'm seriously tempted to pursue a relationship with this Russian beauty. I mean, really... just look at that grammar. Who can resist the overwhelming charm of a sentence like, "You want what would you be good?"

My response:

Yes, baby. I want what would me be good. You have no idea how good what would me be want. Would you me make be good? Or would what other be good want me for to make? Moscow?


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unfinished Business

I start blog posts all the time that never get finished. If I begin writing something with only a mediocre resolve, what begins as a fair-sized fire in my belly inevitably fades into the last, flickering gasps of an aged candle. The post is then tossed into the dusty attic that is "blogger drafts."

I was fingering through some of these old posts tonight with the possibility in mind that I might finish one of them, but decided instead to just post some choice, miscatalogued fragments for your enjoyment.

Drafted: 10/2009
Title: none

"I have this fear that always nags at the back of my head that I'm somehow misrepresenting myself to people. It's quite often that I'll be talking to somebody while wondering if my body language and facial language are being true to what I'm trying to communicate."

Drafted: 04/2009
Title: Strange Talkers

"Did you ever see that episode of Seinfeld with the different types of talkers? There was a guy who talked really close. One who talked really low. One who... well, I don't remember the rest. In true Seinfeld fashion, though, the episode was both hilarious and "so true."

In the spirit of that episode, I'd like to disclose a recent encounter I had with a "strange talker".

Instead of saying, "It sure is a lovely afternoon." The strange talker would say something like, "I'm just guessing, but it's really nice out right now." And they say this with a smile on their face."

Drafted: 02/2009
Title: Hey, hey! It's my 25 things!

I've written and rewritten this email too many times to count. Seriously. One version was going to have a small novella associated with each of the 25 things, but after number 5 or so I decided that my time (and yours) was more valuable spent anywhere but reading my memoirs.

Another version was a bit too acidic for me. I was in a less-than-cheery mood that night and realized, after writing 9 of my 25 facts, that each one was negatively charged.

So here I am now, in a pleasant, neutral mood, ready to impress you with 25 things that you may or may not know about me. Some are funny, others serious, while others (like my social security number and tomorrow's winning lottery numbers) might just help you get rich.


1) Barry is not my real name. My first name is actually Barret. One T. And yes, if I ever become President of the United States, I will go by Barret.

2) I love Enya. And Techno. And Trance. There. Now you know all of my most embarrassing musical secrets.

3) I dance in the shower often. The style borders on something between Michael Jackson and 80's hair band lead singer. I've only slipped once. That's a pretty damn good track record.

4) Hell and damn are not, in my opinion, swear words. You'll hear me say them here and there. I don't say the SH word or the F word, though. I might slip a "bastard" in there on occasion.

5) I give money to homeless people. Not because I think I'll get blessings for it, but because if I were homeless, I'd like people to give me money. Who am I to judge?

6) Exercise > Eating Right

7) I've broken my nose four times, my left ring finger once, and have completely blown out my PCL in my left knee, though I've never had a cut that required stitches.

8) I am never afraid to speak my mind, though I do try to respect the feelings of others and am always willing to listen. If you're right and I'm wrong, I'll gladly admit that and learn from the experience.

9) I am very often wrong.

10) I aspire to be a voice talent and do things like movie previews and cheesy radio ads.


That last one was written when the "25 things about me" craze was whooshing around Facebook. Maybe someday I'll take the time to finish that one up. It is undoubtedly my favorite unfinished post.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Check out this incredible commercial for a Chinese TV station. This is the most beautiful and original visual effect I've seen in a long time.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Pirate Island

There's a new restaurant behind the University Mall Theaters. We were off to see Avatar a few weeks ago when we spotted a large building with this logo on it:

At first glance, it looked like somebody had misplaced their pirate logo on the outside of an old dollar theater. The exterior did nothing to impress. And by the looks of the logo, we wondered what could possibly involve pirates and CD's. It wasn't until we got a closer look that we realized that the object adjacent to the skull wasn't a CD at all, but a pizza cutter.

Pirates and pizza are two things sure to spark a man's curiosity, so we googled the place and learned that it was a themed restaurant similar to "The Mayan" in Sandy and "Casa Bonita" in Denver. This left us excited at the prospect of a pirate themed meal, but at the same time induced a heavy dose of skeptisicm. Would the interior match the exterior in the lack of theming? There was only one way to find out. It was decided that one day we would eat dinner at Pirate Island.

Tonight, my friends, we ate dinner at Pirate Island. My impressions:

1) It's definitely more along the lines of Chuck E. Cheese's and less along the lines of The Mayan. The atmosphere is mostly for little kids. We realized this immediately upon walking in but decided to rough it out despite feeling like most people were looking at us wondering why three grown men were in a pirate-themed kid's restaurant without children.

2) The theming inside is incredible when you first enter the building. There's a waterfall and an animatronic skeleton sitting amongst a pool of water and treasure. After that, you enter a surprisingly well-made cave with stalactites while you wait to be seated. Once through the cave, though, the theming goes from "nearly on par with Disneyland" to "this looks like something you'd have painted on your son's bedroom wall." The main room has fiberglass trees shrouded in moss, walls painted to look like a swamp, and a soundtrack of crickets and frogs playing in the background. In the corner of the room sits a small stage and against one wall there is a structure that you can tell is supposed to be a pirate ship, even though it doesn't really look like one. Imagine a guy wearing a wood panel on his chest with a few cannons protruding from it and a flag on his head. Now in that thought, replace the man with a wall and you can see what I'm saying.

3) The food was surprisingly good. Steve said the chicken was some of the best he's ever had. My pizza (barbecue chicken) was absolutely delicious. And Scott loved his fish and chips. This surprised me, considering the food at other themed restaurants always seems to be cafeteria grade.

4) The service was also surprisingly good. Our drinks were always full and the food came quickly. The downside was that our waitress spoke with a pirate accent. I always feel embarrassed for people that are forced to do something like that. I mean, for kids, that's totally fine. They need that to continue the illusion, ya know? But I'm pretty sure most adults are with me when I say that I'd rather not be spoken to in a pirate voice. You don't hear the employees at Olive Garden speaking with forced Italian accents do you? Or the people at Red Lobster speaking, begrudgingly, like they're underwater?

So that's Pirate Island. The food and service are good, but I won't be back till I have children of my own that beg me, every time we drive by, to eat there.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Mystery solved!

A few days ago I offered up this picture and asked you what you thought it was:

Merilee and Clair were the closest with their comments alluding to something microscopic. It's actually a picture of the end of a grey hair from my head as seen through a cheap, hand-held microscope I'd gotten for Christmas a few years ago. I recently rediscovered it and thought I'd try taking a picture through the eyepiece. I'm a huge nerd for this kind of stuff. Someday, when I can afford it, I'll buy a real microscope and spend hours playing with it. :)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Mattress

When I moved in to my apartment four months ago, I came with a desk, a bookcase, and my computer. I had no bed. My roommate Scott, though, had an inflatable mattress he said I could use until I bought something more permanent. I had planned on buying a bed the next day, but as things often go, days grew into weeks and weeks into months.

The fact that I didn't go out to purchase a mattress is a testament to both my laziness and the surprising quality an air mattress can give you. I found that the ideal comfort zone was at about 80 percent full. Write that down. Never fill an air mattress to 100 percent. You'll wake up the next day feeling like an old wood floor, creaking and groaning your way to the shower. I think this is why people generally look down on air mattresses.

I pulled open the ksl classifieds, because I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a bed I'll need to move in three months (when our contract ends.) I was looking for something really cheap. One ad in particular caught my eye:

"Cheap mattress. No tears. No stains. 10 dollars."

**Unimportant (but funny) tangent: the word "tears" (water from the eyes) and "tears" (jagged holes) are spelled exactly the same. Makes the ad kinda funny.**


I called the number and a woman answered.

"Hello...?" The tone of her greeting fell at the end, as if annoyed with me already.

"Hi, I'm calling about the mattress in the ksl classifieds."

"Uh huh..."

"Is that in good condition?"

"Well, it aint got no tares or stains or nuthin..."

"Uh huh. Okay. Well I don't have a truck, so if I needed you to, would you be able to bring it to my place? I'm right here in Provo."

She pauses. I hear her cover the phone and yell at something.

"Patrick! ... PATRICKKKK! *inaudible* Damn it, Patrick! *more inaudible scuffling* He's askin if we is able to delivur the mattruss!"

As she said this, she incorrectly emphasized the "de" of "deliver," turning a normally harmless sentence into one that invoked the image of somebody pulling out a mattress's liver. I smiled at the violent comedy of it all.

After some negotiating, we came to the conclusion that I'd come over and see the mattress and that if I liked it, they'd drive it back to my place for an extra five bucks. I wrote down their address and was on my way. Before she said goodbye, though, I heard her yell, "Get on yur bike and ride around so he knows which one we is."

I made my way over to the other side of Provo, where they lived, and as I approached their address I saw this really wiry, bald dude with tattoos all over riding around on a tiny motorcycle. He'd speed up the street and then whirl around, doing wheelies and stuff, looking around at traffic as if expecting people to roll down their windows and applaud his daring maneuvers.

I parked the car and got out, passing a truck that had - I kid you not - no less than 1000 cigarette butts in the back. He led me to his place where inside his wife sat on the couch with a tv remote in one hand, and a pink, rhinestone-covered netbook in the other. She gave me a look that matched the annoyed tone I'd heard on the phone earlier.

The mattress was standing against the wall next to the TV. It was mostly blue, with a pattern of reds, whites, and greens reminiscent of really awful Christmas wrapping paper. Patrick smiled at me and patted the mattress proudly. "Aint got tears or stains or nuthin." After quick examination I concluded that the mattress was clean and in good repair, so I bought it. We took it outside to throw it in the back of his truck when I realized that HIS TRUCK was the cigarette wasteland I'd seen earlier.

I was immediately intent on fitting the mattress in my car.

"Oh, hey. You know what? I think this will fit in my car. Yeah. It'll fit."

I opened my car door and started stuffing the mattress in. I was bending and folding it in ways that I was sure would ruin it, but the idea of brushing somebody's soggy cigarette butts from my bedding kept me oblivious to any damage I may have been doing. I handed him a crisp 10 and drove home.

Thankfully, the mattress came away from the ordeal unharmed. I put it in my room and made my bed up with fresh sheets. Later that night, when I went to bed, I was delighted to find that the mattress was adequately comfortable. I laid there shifting around - testing for weak spots, hard spots, any noticeable differences, and found none. It certainly wouldn't win any awards for comfort, but it passed.

I turned off my lamp and inhaled deeply, content with my new purchase, when I noticed something strange. My room smelled like a hotel room. I couldn't figure out why or how, but the similarity was so strong that a thousand memories of childhood vacations and the hotel rooms we stayed in rushed at once into my mind. The elation of remembering, though, was only momentary and soon I was tired of the smell. I'd realized what was causing my room to smell like a hotel room. I pushed my pillow aside and buried my face against the mattress to smell it and my suspicions were confirmed - the stale, dank odor of cigarette smoke.

Damn you, ten dollar mattress....


(P.S. After Febreezing the hell out of the mattress, the smell has been significantly reduced and, according to my roommates, I don't smell like smoke when I get out of bed so it's good enough for me. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Can you guess what it is?

Post your guesses in the comments. I'll reveal it in a few days.