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Lifetime warranty Thu, Jan 31, 2008
I like reading the first few words of lifetime warranties.  They usually say something like, "This product is guaranteed to last for the entire life of the product."  Wikipedia clarifies:  "This is not to say that the product is guaranteed for the lifetime of the consumer ... A lifetime warranty is a guarantee on the lifetime of the product."  So in other words, a lifetime warranty says a product will last as long as it lasts.  After it dies or ceases to work, it'll no longer last.  Ah, lawyers. #products

Super Singers (1) Wed, Jan 30, 2008
In elementary school, we used to go to music class once a week.  Typical classes consisted of playing strange instruments like zils and glockenspiels, and group singing led by a tape or record (I still don't know why records were around as late as 1990; was my school waiting for a personal invitation to throw them out?).  After the group singing, our teacher would go around the room and ask each person to sing a single line or phrase from the song, encouraging us and helping us along the way. 

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I have an unimaginable fear of singing in front of people (more so then; less so now).  If I had to choose between eating a hundred spiders, laying in a pile of spitting cobras, or singing in front of people, I'd choose the spiders and the cobras just so I wouldn't have to endure the trauma of singing in front of judging, criticizing, taunting people. 

Each week, one person would receive the ever-so-coveted award of Super Singer.  It was obvious that the award was simply handed out to people in a rotation, but the point was that it came with a certificate.  Nothing says "I'm better than you, jerks" than a certificate.  My mom probably saved them, and they're probably sitting in a box in my attic.  Someday I'll frame them and decorate an entire room with them. 

Because of my hatred of singing in front of people, music class was really stressful.  It would get towards the end of class, and I'd always have an ounce of hope that we wouldn't do Super Singers, but we inevitably almost always did.  The worst was when I sat in the back of the room.  I'd have to listen to each and every person sing their little solo, all the while feeling my lunch in my throat and my heartbeat in my head.  If I was fatter, I probably could've had a heart attack. 

When kids don't like things, adults usually rationalize by saying things like, "Oh, you'll turn out ok," or "Someday you'll look back on this and laugh," or "It builds character."  Well, Mrs. Mello, you're only partially right.  Sure, I turned out ok (relatively), but I certainly don't look back and laugh.  I still look back at Super Singers as one of the most traumatic and damaging experiences of my life, tantamount to child abuse.  You're a great lady and a great teacher, but please end the torture that is Super Singers. #education

It's not ok (3) Tue, Jan 29, 2008
Sometimes when people say they're sorry, I don't respond.  Normally, an acceptable response would be, "It's ok."  But a lot of times, it's not ok, so I don't feel like lying and saying it is.  Consider, as a hypothetical example, that someone pukes on you.  They do the right thing and say they're sorry.  You can't respond by saying it's ok.  It's not ok.  It's never ok when somebody pukes on you.  It can't be.  Puke is disgusting.  And they puked because they were drunk.  So it's their own dumb fault for getting too drunk.  Dumb → drunk → puke → not ok.  You're under no obligation to accept that person's apology.  So what do you do when they say they're sorry?  Keep quiet, I guess. #psychology

Peeing Calvin Tue, Jan 29, 2008
Seeing those Peeing Calvin stickers on the backs of cars and trucks (ok, it's mostly just trucks) makes it real easy to classify the intelligence of the owner of the vehicle. #travel

Of soap and cleanliness Mon, Jan 28, 2008
If I were to guess what would lead to my eventual downfall and possible death, I would go with this statement: 
Since a bar of soap cleans dirty things, it can never itself be dirty.
I know it's not true, but I still believe it.  I would rather die than share my meal, but I don't think twice about sharing soap. 

Related:  This Dilbert comic. #psychology

Mud flaps Mon, Jan 28, 2008
I don't think I fully understand the purpose of mud flaps.  While driving behind a tractor trailer, no less than 16 billion rocks are flung at my windshield.  There aren't even that many rocks on the road to begin with.  It's almost like trucks create rocks.  So what exactly is the purpose of a mud flap?  Would my car get hit with more rocks if trucks didn't have mud flaps?  I find that hard to believe. #food

Puke on me, jerkface Mon, Jan 28, 2008
Saturday night was my first time being puked on.  Not by a baby or a child or a sick person, but by a drunk friend.  If I were to guess beforehand how I would've reacted, I would've gone with something that contained the words "explosive belligerence".  But in reality, it actually wasn't too bad.  It was kind of funny, while still being really gross.  I think it had something to do with the fact that it was on my lower leg and my foot.  If it had gotten on my hand, arm, torso, or face, I probably would've returned the favor.  And I have a colorful history with puking, so I would've won that battle. 

All in all, my first experience of being puked on wasn't too bad. #psychology

Cover songs (7) Thu, Jan 24, 2008
After my unfortunate purchase of a CD containing only cover songs, I've come to a realization:  Cover songs suck.  Even when you like the artist performing it, and even when you like the original song [*].  And there's a simple reason for it:  When performing a cover song, a band usually tries to mimic several aspects of the original song and the original band that performed the song.  This almost always produces bad results, simply because it's a difficult thing to do.  Each band has its own style and abilities, and those qualities often don't overlap.  In the unlikely case a cover song sounds as good as the original, a band has a good chance at becoming a cover band, which really isn't something to write home about.  Otherwise, a cover song is just a half-hearted attempt at reproducing something.  There are some exceptions to this rule, mostly when the band covering the song improves upon it in some way, or essentially recreates it.  But those exceptions are few and far between. 

[*] Or should I say, especially when you like the original song.  Cover songs I like are often covers of songs I don't like, so they're essentially new songs that happen to sound like old songs. #entertainment

Worship leader hero fantasy (1) Wed, Jan 23, 2008
This is gonna sound really stupid.  With that in mind, I'll publish it for the entire world to read.  That's why I'm smart. 

I've been a "worship leader" since I was forced into it as a sophomore in college.  It's a simple-sounding task:  Play a musical instrument and lead a group of people in singing Christian songs for the purpose of "making a joyful noise to the Lord" (Psalm 100:2).  I play guitar, which has become the de facto instrument for leading small groups of people in this endeavor.  I was "forced" into it because it was never something I set out to do.  I was perfectly happy being the second-in-charge guy and helping out where I could.  But the main guy left, and I was the only person with the skillset required to perform the task. 

This probably sounds really stupid.  Perhaps it would help to know a little more about me.  I have an extreme fear of human beings, especially talking to them or standing in front of them.  As a guitar player, I'm impossibly shy for altogether unknown reasons.  And the icing on the cake is that I'm not, nor have I ever been, a singer.  So adding everything together, it's kind of like putting a cat in a cage with dogs, telling it to clean itself, and forcing it to speak German.  Or if that analogy doesn't work for you, it's kind of like putting a shy person in front of a group of people and asking him to play guitar and sing.  Yeah, kinda like that. 

Needless to say, I stepped up to the plate and performed my duty, and I think it went pretty well.  As minimal as it sounds, I count it as one of the crowning achievements of my life, not only for the psychological feat of overcoming fear, but also because it's something I've willingly volunteered to do several times since.  I've even grown to like it, though I still don't claim to be a good singer.  God gives points for trying. 

Now onto my main point.  Sometimes I sit around at church during the worship time, mostly when I'm visiting someone else's church (and where no one knows me), and I envision a scenario where the worship leader steps up to the mic and says, "Sorry, folks.  I can't play this song.  I don't remember how it goes, and my hand is all cramped up from the previous song.  We'll have to skip the rest of the worship service ... unless ... unless there's someone out there ... who knows how to play guitar, and who can play this song." 

I call this my worship leader hero fantasy, and it's something I've thought about on more than one occasion, though I've never told anyone.  I can picture myself sheepishly raising my hand, stepping out of my seat as a spotlight focuses on me and the entire room practically explodes with silence.  "I could give it a try," are my words, knowing full well that not only is this one of the songs I know, it's one of the songs I know well.  I go on stage, play the song, make it great, and save the day. 

I realize there's a major moral conflict between "serving God by leading worship" and "saving the day by being a worship leader hero", but that doesn't stop those thoughts from coming to mind during church. #religion

Jesus statue hijacked (2) Wed, Jan 23, 2008
A Michigan woman's Jesus statue was stolen from her front yard because her neighbors were angry that she didn't clean up after her wiener dogs.  A ransom note was left in the statue's place: 
"We are holding Jesus ransom until you clean up the poopie from your wieners and trust us we see you take your wieners for long walks w/out picking up their poopie in our yards. This has upset us dearly so please clean up all the weiner poopie, if you want to see Jesus unharmed. Sincerely, Lindy Lane Residents."
List of reasons why I can't stop laughing: 
  1. Holding Jesus ransom.
  2. Adults (presumably) using the word "poopie".
  3. The phrase "poopie from your wieners".
  4. Threatening to harm a Jesus statue.
  5. The phrase "weiner poopie".
Who needs TV writers when you get comedy like this? #entertainment

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