Tuesday, March 26, 2013

More Disturbing Patterns.

If you've been keeping up with what I've been up to on Sprocket Ink, you'll see my last few posts all seemed to be part of a particular theme. A disturbing theme. Without planning it, both my posts last week focused on specific areas of the human anatomy. The naughty areas.
Oh, no, you didn't!
First, on Tuesday, I wrote about a guy born without a penis, who still managed to be a ladies' man. Then, my post on Friday was about several Japanese studies all pointing to there being benefits to women not wearing bras and how Japanese women were already adopting the habit.

Then there's my post today...

There are only two areas yet I haven't covered (or uncovered, as the case may be) and let's just say today's story isn't about butts.

You do the math.

This has happened before, but I swear it's totally unintentional (which is what the Japanese guys claimed in today's post, actually). Today's story is about a pastry product that's raising more than a few eyebrows in Japan. Yeah, I know. It's got even them shocked. But be warned, this particular baked good may cause you to lose your appetite.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Modern Life Of A Trend.

1. The Trendsetter:

Often the first person given attention for displaying a new trend, the trendsetter may be a celebrity, or even an average individual caught in the right place at the right time.

2. The Virus:

This, of course, refers to the act of "going viral" by the new trend. After the trend is discovered, it draws the attention of others. From curious onlookers to tireless trend hunters. The trend is observed, discussed, liked, disliked, commented on and referred to others who, in turn, observe and discuss and so on. Pop-culture and entertainment media programs begin to "bring you the latest on the craze that's sweeping the country/world/known universe" and even the prime time news makes mention of the trend as relates to its meteoric rise to popularity.

Much like the highly-publicized zombipocalypse, the spread of the trend has taken on a life of its own and seems virtually unstoppable.

3. The Copycat:

There soon emerges trend "copycats" who then set themselves to the task of mimicking the trend and posting video and images of themselves performing the same act which made the trendsetter famous to begin with. As with all things, "artistic license" is soon after introduced by many of the copycats and alternate variations of the trend are born.

4. The Hipster:

Seeing the popularity of this new trend as a new way to draw attention to themselves, the hipster incorporates the trend into their way of life. The trend has now become theirs' and was theirs' "before it was cool" for everyone else to have it. In fact, you know what? Forget that! Everyone else can have the trend. The trend has already become too mainstream, too commercial, too diluted in the mass media social networking culture to be cool anymore.
But always remember, the hipster got tired of the trend before any of you did.

5. The Corporate Machine

By now, the potential for the trend to generate revenue has been noticed. This is where branding of the trend occurs. Sporting goods manufacturers, electronics, all want a piece of the income earning potential the trend possesses. Soon, the trend makes its way to television, the movies, music videos and the top runways all over the globe. Now being a part of the trend comes endorsed with a designer logo and a $2,000 price tag.

6. The Trend Hater

Of course, not everyone follows the trend. There are those who choose to reject the trend on principle, based on its stupidity, or how it has been commercialized. The trend haters thumb their noses and laugh at the followers of the trend, calling then "immature" or "sheep". Trend followers in an act of rebellion vehemently defend their trend and begin blitzing the internet with more and more of it. This soon erupts into all out social network war, with trend haters and followers firing online attacks against one another. Before long the heavy artillery is launched and the battle of the memes begin.
It's not pretty.

7. The End:

All things, however, must eventually come to an end and with time (often about a week) the trend is shuffled off to a retirement spot where it slowly and painfully withers away and fades into oblivion. The trend does not die, though. Not for a long time. Rather, it clings desperately to life, hanging on to the memories of its followers who have given it so much love and attention and spent their hard earned money on maintaining the trend. As long as these relics of its existence remain in use, even sporadically, the trend's light will not be fully extinguished. At least, not until another up and coming trend is born.

Then the cycle begins again...



1. In case you missed it, don't forget to check out my post I did yesterday over at Sprocket Ink too.

2. This post is just one of many you'll find on My Half Assed Life's Weekend Funnies.
Be sure to check it out for links to other funny blogs that'll put a smile in your weekend.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Crazy People Seem Drawn to Me.

Last night I was out on the corner waiting for my wife to get home. Since they don't clash with the days I have school, I normally wait for her like this on the two nights of her own classes, so I can walk her in and help her with her heavy bag full of law books. I’ve even stopped complaining about having to do it for several weeks now. I know… I know… I’m an awesome husband. No need to make a big deal about it.

Anyway, like I said, I was waiting on the corner, playing some bejeweled on my phone when, from the corner of my eye, I noticed some guy walking past. I wasn’t too concerned, but with the amount of cell phone snatch-and-run thefts we’ve been having these days, it never hurts to be careful. I took quick glance and, by all appearances, he just seemed a normal-looking guy on his way home from work. With that, I went back to what I was doing. I decided he wasn’t anyone I needed to concern myself with.

Or so I thought…

When he was close enough to me he suddenly stopped, “Big man (a common way one guy addresses another here), that Blueberry (what he actually called it) could tell me where I living?”

Now when faced with a situation like this I have a tendency to act as if the crazy is totally normal, so as not to agitate the crazy person. I politely nodded and said, “Nope.”

“No? What the fuuu-?!” He never finished the word. He just continued on his way, muttering something that was indiscernible to me.

I watched as he crossed the street and slapped a street sign as he went his way. I put my phone away after that. I didn’t feel like playing anymore.

Was he drunk? I can't say I noticed the scent of any alcohol. This leads me to believe he was just plain nuts, which makes sense since it’s like I’m a magnet for crazy.

I hope he found his way home, though.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Me Vs. Nature Part IV - Revenge Of The Grackle.

Just like with the job I had about a year and a half ago, I now work close enough to where I go to school that I can walk from one point to the other in less than 20 minutes, even if I take my time and walk slowly. I consider it my cardio for the week, plus it saves me on taxi fare, so why not? Right?

Still, it is the dry season again and the sun has been out with a vengeance the last few weeks, so I recently started taking the scenic route, which in this case, ironically, is the shorter of the two main routes to get to class. This route takes me down a street that runs alongside an area known as George the 5th Park, which allows pedestrians to walk under a series of the trees, lining the sidewalk. On the southern side of that street, however, there are some houses and businesses and The Oval, a really large sporting ground used mostly for cricket matches. That takes up about half of that side.

Now you know.

The Oval's walled off like a maximum security prison, sans the guard towers and razor wire and so it's kind of boring and you get more of the blistering sun on that side of the street, so I prefer to stick to the other side with the cool shady trees, some of which start to show their colors off at this time of year, like this Pink Poui tree:
My apologies to all of you who are currently not enjoying the snow wherever you are that are forced to watch this.
Pretty, right?

There is a down side to all this, though. Where there are a lot of trees, there will probably be a lot of Grackles. I've mentioned these guys before. They're tiny black birds that get very territorial around this time of year and attack anyone who comes too close to their nesting spots. They seem to favor attacking me.
Nothing personal, bub... I still kill you.
How they normally do their thing is to swoop down at the heads of passers-by from behind, squawk and then fly back to the safety of a nearby tree. They'll continue doing this until they're satisfied the intruder is well enough away from their territory. You might think they're brave, but I've observed them running from pigeons, which is kind of insulting, if you ask me. Since I don't particularly like being made to duck like a crazy person in the streets every time I suddenly hear that high-pitched "Squawk!" behind my head, I prefer to avoid them.

Then I found the solution to all my problems.

With the birds anyway...

It was purely by accident. The other day, I was on my way to class as usual. I wasn't even thinking about my feathered nemesis at the time and had my music cranked up through my headphones as I made my way. I was also distracted by the text conversation I was having with my wife at the time. It was then I looked up from my phone and noticed my shadow in front of me and an even tinier shadow of a Grackle that was repeatedly swooping down from the trees. I was almost to the end of the Park so I could only assume it had been trying to get my attention for some time, but I hadn't even noticed it until then and not once was I forced to duck or dodge his assault.

AT LAST!!! I found my answer. Music! Music loud enough that it prevented me from hearing the fluttering wings and the annoying "Squawk!" that would force me to look like an idiot in the streets. That was my answer. From here on in I knew what I had to do. So the next day, I was ready. I decided the shorter, scenic route was mine and no tiny bird was going to deter me ever again. I would have the shade of the trees. I would have the shorter walk. I would not be denied! I walked down the street and, as I came up to the trees, I saw a Grackle take up position.

"Hey, Mr. Grackle'" I thought smugly, "You here to try your luck? Betcha won't spook me. Betcha I don't even notice ya."

I may have been enjoying this a little too much.

I continued my walk and turned my MP3 player on my phone up. I wasn't even going to look out for him. In my mind, I had already won against the dreaded bird, so why bother paying attention to his fruitless efforts. The Grackle was now beneath my noticing.

Or not.

Here we have a saying: Who doh hear, does feel.
Apparently, Grackles also practice this policy since, I hadn't made it more than a few steps before I felt its talons on the back of my head.

And I ducked.

Son of a....

The Grackle will not be ignored, it seems. I guess he figured he would try harder this time around to get my attention. It looks like the bird is more persistent than I thought. I looked up and he perched himself up in a nearby tree waiting to strike again, watching me with his beady little eyes and daring me to continue. I decided to admit defeat and crossed over to the other side of the street, away from the trees. I don't get enough sun anyway.

This round went to the bird.