Monday, March 31, 2003

Cycling Issues
As I continue training for my century ride, there are several recurring issues that play a part in my rides throughout the week.

Issue #1 - Knee pain
I have bad knees, from sports injuries during my glory days on the the jr. high basketball team and my highschool tennis team, further damaged by the Great Bike Incident (see Biking and The Incident) several years ago when I saved some lives and landed on my knee. Had my knees held up better through all the athleticism and heroics, I'd likely now be a famous professional basketball player for the WNBA, a tennis pro, and winner of the Tour de France.

Consequently, when I ride long distances now my knee doth complain profusely. Sometimes it behaves, and I mistakenly think I've been miraculously healed via a secret bionic knee transplant. Other times, I'm about ready to rip it off and continue pedaling with one good leg. I am determined not to let my knees keep me from riding and completing my century. I just need to figure out how to fill my Camelback with the right concoction of Powerade and morphine, so I can steadily sip and dull the pain throughout the ride.

Issue #2 - Wind
I hate wind. Even when the weather man tells me there is no wind, at the lake there is always wind. Wind is omnipresent. It blows debris into my eyes, somehow managing to swirl inside and around my protective cycling sunglasses worn for the sole purpose of shielding my eyes from debris. Thus, the wind renders me unable to see for all the blinking and eye-watering attempts to rid my eye of said debris. Wind hits me from the side in big gusts, trying to knock me over. It pushes against me as I pedal forward. Wind is not my friend.

The thing with wind is that unless it's a tornado, it should pretty much blow one way or the other. When cycling around the lake, I tend to think there should be one windy side to the lake. If the wind blows from the north, as I ride on the side of the lake pointing north, it makes sense I will encounter some wind resistance. My solace in that is to look forward to the other side of the lake where I should experience the wind at my back. So, imagine my frustration as I pedal several laps around the lake, finding that every side of the lake seems to be the windy side of the lake. If I didn't know better, I'd say the wind follows me just to taunt me. And blow things into my eye.

Issue #3 - Snot
Yes, snot. When biking outside my nose runs uncontrollably. I don't understand it. I don't have a cold, and my allergies are under control. So I ask, why all the snot? I could really do without it. I almost hyperventilate from breathing hard due to riding hard, plus continuously sniffing to keep the snot from trailing down my chin. It's disgusting. Even using my gloves to wipe the snot tends to mostly just smear it. I'm sure I make quite a spectacle, sniffing around the lake, trying to control the snot without breaking form.

Of all the issues, the snot is the biggest annoyance. The knee is aching, the wind is blowing, but the snot is flowing faster and in greater volumes than I can handle. I need to fashion some sort of device, attaching to my helmet, as a hands-free snot catcher.

It's a good thing I really love cycling. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense to spend so much time perfecting a painful, windy, snot-filled hobby.


More Daily Annoyances
6. People who are oblivious to personal space.
I am completely annoyed by the people behind me who stand pretty much on top of me in the checkout line, breathing down my neck and looking over my shoulder eyeballing my coupons, or trying to fill out their check on that one tiny check-writing platform before I've finished paying for my groceris and moved out of the way. Or people who reach around, over, or through me to grab something off the shelf at Wal-Mart because they can't wait two seconds for me to move. Or people who let their children run amok in the grocery store, letting them bump into my legs and touch me with sticky hands before they attempt to corral their kids out of my personal space.

If I don't know you, you and your kin don't belong that close to me. Step off.


Exercise Observation of the Day
After a weekend of intensely observing various people walking, running, biking, rollerblading, etc. at the lake, I've come to the following conclusion: No matter what kind of exercise you feel you are doing, if it can be done while having a conversation on your cell phone, you are not exercising.

Cell phone negates exercise. Plus, you are a hazard to people who are seriously exercising. Turn it off, or get out of my way.


Friday, March 28, 2003

The Drink Cooler
Here at my place of employment, we have a cooler containing cold softdrinks and bottled juices, free to staff. It's a beautiful thing. One of the few perks of working where I work. They pay me dirt and torture me relentlessly, but I can have a Coke.

I'm pretty sure at least something in this place will kill me before I'm able to escape. It could be the drink cooler. This cooler is likely the oldest known electric cooler still functioning on the planet. Somehow, it keeps running. But it looks like it shouldn't work and should have been put out of its misery long ago. In all honesty, it's probably made of some sort of toxic materials, now illegal to use in the manufacture of consumer goods since the cooler was made in the early 17th century. At one point a hole appeared in the underneath side of the lid, so every time you closed the lid this crumbly rusty looking powdery stuff would fall out of the hole and onto the lids of the drinks. The hole stayed open for a few days, forcing us to deal with the strange potentially hazardous substance. I finally took matters into my own hands and fixed it. With tape. Tape will surely protect us from any biohazardous material or chemical toxin. Right?

Now, I'm not sure what they did around here until I started working here a year or so ago. But without me, this cooler would be a constant disaster area. It's the source of endless frustration for me. The one shining good thing I look forward to here everyday is a nice, cold Coke for lunch. My one daily caffeine allowance. The one redeemable quality of working here. Free Coke. So imagine my disappointment on the days when I find no Coke in the cooler. How hard is it to keep a cooler stocked?

The drinks are delivered to the room containing the cooler. However, they do not jump into the cooler on their own. Someone must physically place the drinks inside the cooler. Hence the cooling process begins. Maybe we need to hire a Cooler Coordinator to make sure the cooler is properly stocked at all times. Because if I never went down there to attend to the cooler, we'd have a room full of warm drinks, and a cooler full of very cool air.

Occassionally people will decide they need to help a bit with the cooler. I don't know who these people are for sure, but I can guess, based on the flavors of drinks they decide to add to the cooler. These people do not understand proper cooler loading techniques. They'll look for whatever drink they prefer, and if they don't see at the top of the cooler, they'll throw in a 6-pack of it on top of everything else. While this is essentially the drink cooler loading process, it is entirely the wrong way to load a cooler for effective and practical drink cooling, selection, and retrieval.

I spent three summers in highschool and college working for a golf course in the food and beverage department. During my time there I learned the proper ways to load a cooler for easy location and distribution of drinks upon demand. There is a technique to it that allows for a wide variety of drinks to be clearly on display in a cooler, evenly cooled throughout the cooler, and easily reachable for serving. I became an expert. However, even without my extensive training in this area, common sense should allow anyone knowledge of proper cooler operation.

It's simple. First, you never load the entire 6-pack still in the plastic rings. You take the cans out of the rings. If you place 6-pack on top of 6-pack the 6-packs on the bottom become unreachable, and therefore unavailable, wasting space. Soon the rings and cans get all tangled together, and you have a huge mess inside the cooler. Second, you load from bottom to top, in columns, per drink type. This allows some of every drink to be at the top. When one column is low, you load more of that particular softdrink. Third, load the volume of each type of drink per the demand. Take notice as to the most popular drinks, and keep a good supply of those drinks in the cooler. There is never a need for 36 cans of Big Red or Sunkist or generic 'root beer'. That takes space away from the drinks people like, such as Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Diet Dr. Pepper. The Big Red, Sunkist, 'root beer' freaks don't need that much space in the cooler.

What is hard about that? I'll go in a couple times a week and load the cooler properly, to the top. It's a fabulous example of impeccable cooler maintenance. But without fail, I'll come along in a day or two and the Diet Dr. Pepper lover has thrown in two 6-packs of Diet DP on top of my beautiful arrangement of softdrinks. Then someone else will come along, unable to find their Big Red because of all the Diet DP on top, and he'll throw in two 6-packs of Big Red. This ruins the whole thing! Drinks running amok.

All I want is one cold Coke for lunch. And a tidy cooler. That is not too much to ask, people.


Thursday, March 27, 2003

Bathroom Talk
I know I said to keep it clean here, but I have to talk dirty for a minute.

I've changed a lot over the past couple of years in one specific area. I used to be a major germ-ophobe. You know, afraid to touch anything for fear of germs, washing my hands frequently, always carrying anti-bacterial hand cleanser. I'm not sure when I became so afraid of germs, or why. I guess it just became one of the things I obsessed about. When I fixate on something, it becomes a major obsession. Case in point: M&Ms.

Anyway, I'm now pretty much cured of my germ issues. How, you ask? Simple. A couple of trips to Russia did the trick. The purpose of the trips was not to cure me of my germ issues. My cure was just a byproduct of the adventures. After spending time in a country with an entirely different interpretation of the words 'clean' or 'hygiene', you learn that the germiest thing in America is automatically at least 100 times cleaner than the cleanest thing in Russia. Don't get me wrong, I love Russia. But be warned, it'll scare the germ fear right out of you. Germs, dirt, stench, et all run completely amok in Russia.

For instance, bathrooms. I was warned before going that there is a far inferior sewage system in Russia, and that toilet paper is scarce. But I was not prepared for the shocking difference in facilities upon my first trip to Russia. Since the pipes are so bad in Russia, you can't flush toilet paper, when you can find or purchase a few squares of toilet paper. In one restroom, the toilet 'paper' was actually sheets torn out of a book. But toilet paper aside, upon hitting the door of a restroom, you are immediately greeted by an offensive aroma and some things you don't ever want to see in a trash can. And these are the 'nice' restrooms in restaurants and hotels and such. Out in the sticks, you're doing well to get a covered hole and toilet paper that isn't frozen to the wall of the shack containing the hole.

Having endured these conditions now twice, you'd think I'd be prepared for whatever restroom atrocities that could possibly take place here in the States. We have far superior restroom functionality and standards here. So by default, you'd think things wouldn't be as bad. Yet, here at work I am continually shocked by what I endure during my trips to the restroom.

We have the potential to have a very nice restroom. It's a one-seater just for the women, with a locking door, so in theory it should be a very pleasant experience. You don't have to share the room with anyone while you're in there. You have complete privacy, plenty of room to stretch out or walk around a bit, and you don't have to worry about being interrupted while engaged in whatever bathroom activity you feel the need to embrace while in there.

My office is upstairs from the ladies restroom. Since there are only a few ladies in this building, it doesn't get nearly as much use as the men's facilities. You'd think it would be a pretty safe place to do necessary business. But, you'd think wrong. Truly, I'm appalled that some of the females here are so bold as to their use of the restroom in ways that should only be done at home in the privacy of your own, personal bathroom. It's one thing to funk up your own place, but it's a whole weird etiquette thing to go to work and funk the place up there.

Being upstairs, I can never tell when someone has just been in the restroom. And I swear I don't know how it happens, but I always manage to time my visits immediately following someone who has been in there doing some major, well, work. There are only a few people who could be the offending culprits, and yet I haven't quite managed to determine who gets in there and does so much damage. Maybe they are working as a team, conspiring against me. Whatever the case, they lay some major traps for me to discover once I've already committed to needing the facilities.

I always wait as long as I can, because I know what awaits me downstairs. I'm very sensitive to smells, and without fail, every time I open the door I'm hit by a wave of odor that shouldn't be humanly possible coming from any woman on earth. Once I've opened the door and timidly ventured in, there's no turning back. I've committed to the process, and I can't very well abort the mission and flee back up the stairs. I can only grab one last giant gulp of fresh hallway air, enter the demon restroom, think of my 'happy place', and hurry as best I can through what I need to do.

Sometimes, the bad smell isn't the worst part. Often the offending culprit has tried to mask the bad odor with what they hope to be a better aroma, in the form of air-freshener. I swear this can of air-freshener is the same can from the first day I started working here. It's been there maybe since the Mission was founded. It's a never-ending can. And it's not a good scent. So on top of the overwhelming stench of business gone bad, we often have the overbearing aroma of bad air-freshener. Since it's an enclosed room with a locking door and no ventilation, the mixture seems to increase in strength the longer I'm in there. It's a suffocating mix. And it burns my eyes.

Beyond the smell, sometimes the culprit leaves presents for me on the toliet seat. And I truly don't understand it. How is it possible to leave something behind on the seat without knowing? Surely if they knew they'd left an unwanted gift, they would have the presence of mind and the decency to clean it up. This tells me they aren't looking or considering that others do use the same restroom and don't appreciate their remnants left behind. There is plenty of room to turn around and make sure the coast is clear when you are finished with your business. If you see something, clean it up. It got so bad for awhile that I posted a sign about keeping the seat clean, to add to the other signs already posted asking people to turn out the lights and such. I didn't think we were 3rd graders, but apparently some of us are. We need lots of signs on proper bathroom use. But for the love of Pete, who cares about the lights when there are hazardous landmines laying in wait on the toilet seat??? Get your priorities straight, people.

For the sake of argument, I have not reverted back to my germ fearing ways. And actually, I feel much better not worrying about everything I touch, and I haven't been sick in quite a long while. Germs, schmerms. But for purposes of human decency and acceptable amounts of workplace torture, I feel that if I am forced to be here at work all day, when it comes time for me to use the facilities they should be at a certain level of cleanliness, and at a much lower level of smelliness. When in Russia, that's a different story, and a different level of expectations. But here in America, I have the right to a clean, odor-free restroom at my place of employment.

I shouldn't have to enter a bio-hazard everytime I need to use the facilities. I just don't have the haz-mat suit or gas mask for that sort of thing.


Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Tyrannical Rules
I didn't want to have to do this, but due to a couple of comments posted to a blog entry here, I have to pause for a minute to be your mom.

The rules here are simple. Read and have fun. I ask one thing: keep your comment responses clean.

I don't see the need for use of inappropriate language, four letter words, or any derivations thereof, when posting a comment. I truly believe you can effectively convey your thoughts on any issue here without cussing us out. I don't cuss at you, and I'd prefer to keep my blog a cuss-free zone.

If you feel you absolutely must use some colorful language to express yourself here, try this: Pause in your typing, say the colorful word aloud to yourself, get it out of your system, take a deep breath, and continue to type your thoughts being sure to leave out the colorful word. Or, substitute a more pleasant word. Like, 'flower' for the f-word. I promise your thoughts will be much more well received if you choose a kinder, gentler way to speak your mind here.

I love reading your comments, and I appreciate different points of view in response to the things I write. Feel free to comment on anything said here, whether you agree or disagree or just have something you want to say. But if we can't all be adults here, I will take off the comments. Don't make me do that.

You don't want to anger the Tyrant. Remember, I am a ninja. I will strike before you even realize you've been hit. You've been warned.

Thanks for your cooperation. Read on, and have fun.


Idol Analysis
I have a few words based on last night's American Idol:

1. Never, ever replace disco with country music. I was set and pumped for a night of disco. Then I was hit by the disappointment of Ryan's announcement about switching things up, and this tainted my viewing of the entire show. Since they dug Olivia Newton John out from wherever she's been hiding lately, they should have at least done her songs for the evening. I'd have preferred to hear Let's Get Physical 10 times, rather than one single country song.

2. Josh the Marine - At first, I liked this guy. For one, he's a Marine. How can we not like that? Plus, he just seemed like a sweet, good-singing guy. Now, he tends to get on my nerves. I do believe he was in his element last night as a country singer, but his performance just really annoyed me. I didn't think he sounded good, and if he'd quit running all over the stage long enough to get a good look at him, I'd comment on how he looked.

3. Seriously, Ruben. You sing wonderfully, but surely there is another shirt you can wear without the 205??? Last night I expected him to bust out into some kind of country-rap, based on his attire. Word.

4. While I still do not like her, Kimberly C. finally gave a performance worthy of being considered a finalist, albeit a lower tier finalist. However, she seemed to have forgotten the lower tier of her shirt.

5. Corey, Corey, Corey. Wins again for Most Annoying Male Idol Wannabee. The see-through mesh shirt, worn frequently in the 80's, is just not something I ever wanted to see again. And while his performance was not as bad as last week, he may never be able to redeem himself with me. He's just stuck in my mind as one severely annoying dude. I cannot figure out why Paula is so in love with him.

6. Carmen, Happy Birthday. After you finish your homework and grow into this competition, then you can come sing with the rest of us.

7. I didn't realize how tall Clay really is, til he stood next to Ryan Seacrest on the stage. Ryan must be a midget, because Clay always strikes me as non-tall. Clay, another good performance. A little lacking on the excitement, but your peppy hair made up for it.

8. Kimberly not C., your performance was not memorable enough for me to make a comment.

9. Ricky, ditto. And it may be time to give the 'Hercules' voice a rest.

10. Trenyce. I just noticed she now only goes by Trenyce. No last name. She's assuming she's cool enough to be a just 'Cher', or 'Madonna', or 'Tyrant'? I think not.

11. Saved the worst for last. Julia should just quit trying, since Simon pointed out quite accurately that she appears to be trying too hard. Poor Faith Hill should burn all ties to Breathe after Julia got ahold of it. America, please send Julia home tonight. Put us out of our misery.

I should totally be a celebrity judge on Idol. I rock.

UPDATE: The Julia issue has been contained. She has been forcefully removed from the premises. I hear she scratched one of Ryan's eyeballs out as she was dragged from the stage. He'll be wearing a carefully coordinated eye patch the rest of the season. Ryan's injury aside, good job, America. You rose to the occasion, you rid us of Julia, and you've made me proud. With Julia out of the way, the 'shock and awe' phase of American Idol will now commence. Next target: Corey.


Energy Bar Experiment
Since I'm cycling and working out so much lately, training for my century ride, I have to concentrate quite a bit on nutrition. I'm hungry literally all the time. I consume more food than I am capable of holding. Truthfully, I don't know where it all goes. I just know I eat alot, and often. And it's expensive. I can't afford to feed myself. Too bad my tummy doesn't know that.

Currently, I'm on a quest to find a decent energy bar type thing. I hate these things. But, they really do help with energy and nutrients before and after I ride, and they make a better snack before workouts than say, M&Ms. The problem is, I just don't understand why they have to be so gross.

For one, they don't taste good. All the different flavors don't help. The flavors are just poor attempts at imitating real flavors that make you wish you were eating the real thing, rather than a carrot cake 'flavored' bar. The first few bites are okay, sometimes. But I find it difficult to make it through an entire energy bar in one sitting.

Which brings me to the texture issues. Could they be any more disgusting in texture? If they tried to make the original PowerBars more wrong in texture, I don't think they could. In college, I was in the marching band. Say what you will about that, but I was in it purely for the free travel to football games, and to get out of the lame P.E. requirements, for which I'd have to take Beginning Tennis, or Bowling, or Hopscotch. You know, something stupid. Marching Band was a strategic move. And not entirely stupid.

Anyway, after our halftime performances of wandering all over the football field in 100 degree weather wearing wool uniforms, they decided PowerBars would be just the thing to restore our energy levels for the rest of the football game. That's when I discovered that a warm PowerBar, when taken out of the wrapper and rolled into a ball, bounces. Yep, they bounce, and will eventually stick to almost any given surface, such as a tuba, or someone's marching hat, or a drum. Or cheerleaders. Needless to say, the PowerBars stopped after awhile. Apparently college students aren't mature enough to handle PowerBars when bored and delirious from sunstroke.

By the way, I wouldn't recommend throwing a PowerBar Ball at someone you like or intend to keep as a friend. They hurt.

Anyway, knowing PowerBars are made of a substance resembling rubber and can be used as a toy or weapon, it's difficult to get past the texture issue to enjoy a PowerBar. They always seem to get stuck about halfway down my food pipe, lodging somewhere in my chest. No amount of water seems to dissolve it. PowerBars are just a weird idea for food.

Now there are many varieties of PowerBars: Harvest, ProteinPlus, etc. They each have a different consistency and a slightly different purpose. I've also discovered Clif Bars, which so far are winning my energy bar experiment. They have a slightly better taste, and better consistency, although still a little mushy, yet rubbery. I'm currently trying every variety and flavor of energy bar which seems reasonable to try. It's a confusing, difficult, but necessary process.

As my search continues, I still have to wonder why energy bars have to be so gross. Why must they torture me so? I never did anything to them. Well, after the throwing. And they started it by being gross first.

Maybe one day I'll build a statue in honor of whatever energy bar wins my affection. It will be a sculpture made entirely of the energy bar which loses the competition.


Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Caffeine - The Eternal Struggle
My battle with caffeine is an on-going issue. Several years ago I had a major caffeine problem. I'd consume much coffee and Coke throughout the day. These were pretty much the only beverages of which I'd partake. After developing some stomach problems (not directly related to the caffeine over-indulgence), my doctor insisted that I give up the caffeine. Little did I know this was the beginning of much suffering. It would have been easier just to put me down on the spot.

So, I stopped the caffeine cold turkey. This was a big mistake. What happened next was a three-week headache, much sleepiness, and general grumpiness. I was not pleasant to be around for many weeks in a row. And, I was thirsty. What do people drink if not coffee and Coke?

Water. Bland, boring, tasteless water.

Well, I discovered that once I was past the withdrawal phase, I actually felt much better. It was tough to stay away from the caffeine. Coffee is all over the office, and it was hard to go to lunch and not order a Coke. But, I adapted and soon I never even missed the sweet, satisfying caffeinated beverages of my past.

I went about two years, completely caffeine free. You don't get a chip, or go to a support group for this. No Caffeine-aholics Anonymous. No, I did it all on my own, and before I knew it quite a bit of time had passed since that last Coke. I discovered I actually didn't need the stuff to make it through a day. I definitely deserved a medal of some sort.

Well, somewhere along the line I slipped up. I'm sure it started with Coke, my main weakness. And I blame my family. When I don't spend time with them, I'm not tempted by Cokes or coffee. I'd quit buying Cokes, and I'd put my coffee maker in the back of my cabinet, so as not to be tempted to make coffee at home. But, my family does drink heavily when it comes to coffee, Cokes, and tea. Oh, how I love sweet tea. When I'm with family, I'm forced to participate in their custom of consuming the caffeinated beverages. When in Rome, right? I don't want to be rude. . .

So my caffeine rules are now this: Maximum one Coke a day. And no coffee while in the city where I live. Coffee is only to be had on vacation. And any time I am out of town falls into the category of 'vacation' for the purposes of these rules. Once out of town, I'm allowed basically a free-for-all with the Coke, coffee, and tea. After all, I work so hard the rest of the time staying away. I deserve a treat.

When back home after a caffeine-filled vacation, I usually suffer for a day or two back on my strict caffeine diet. But it's soooo worth it.

Today, I am in withdrawal because there are no caffeinated softdrinks anywhere to be found in the office. Sticking to my coffee rule, I do insist on one Coke a day. We usually have drinks available here at work. My preference is Coke. Then I'll go with Pepsi. And if all else fails, Dr. Pepper. Today, I saw Sunkist. And I was sad.

And now sleepy. And getting a headache. . .

Curse caffeine. I just can't win.


Protesting Protests
That's it. I'm taking time off from work, I'm not going to class, I'm going to make large signs and stand in the middle of the street in downtown, block traffic, and scream until I am heard and I make it on the news. I'm protesting all of these protests.

I'm not against the act of protesting. In fact, I support taking a stand on something and passionately backing that up. I just don't agree with the way many of the protesters protest.

Seriously people, do you think all the yelling and screaming and getting in the way of people trying to get to work or home from work everyday really makes a difference? Do you think Bush or people in influencial positions are sitting home, watching the mobs gather and march around the streets obstructing traffic and getting arrested, thinking, "You know, they really are right. I see them in the street getting in the way of people doing their jobs to keep this economy running. I see them getting arrested, filling up our jails, and taking police officers away from catching criminals. I see those naked people spelling out 'No War' in a field. I see these celebrities speaking out against the war at the Oscars. Because they are naked, celebrities, and angry mobs, I hear what they say and they have totally convinced me that we should immediately stop the war." Hmmmm. I don't think so.

To me it just looks like a bunch of silly people not wanting to go to work or class, and looking for an excuse to make a big deal out of something because it's "for a good cause". I don't take any of the protestors seriously because these scenes of protest just come across as loud, bored, angry, immature people. Why would I support that?

Go ahead and protest. But I implore you to get creative and think of a more constructive way to do it. Something that will really convince people to listen to you about your cause, rather than be frustrated and annoyed at the sight of you. Don't you think that might work a little better?

Especially don't get in my way while I'm trying to get to work or do what I need to do everyday. I may not ever be exactly anxious to arrive at my job everyday, or excited to be here. But when you start getting in the way of how this country runs, impeding those of us who still see the importance of going to work, doing our jobs, supporting the economy, and trying to make sure this place is still standing when our troops come home, you are working against the very thing you think you are trying to protect and support.

Now, put your pants on, go to work, get to class, polish your Oscar and/or Grammy, and think about what I've said.


Monday, March 24, 2003

Spandex: Why?
I know this is not a new question on the minds of anyone. But as I'm cycling quite a bit these days, on my numerous laps around the lake I have quite a bit of time to think, ponder, wonder. Lately I've been coming back to the question of spandex: why?

I'm a hater. Of spandex. I understand the logic of it, to a degree. But what I don't get is the over-indulgence of spandex that some people seem to claim as their personal quest.

For instance, last summer I participated in a cycling event. I was completely naive about the situation, but I'd decided at long last to choose an event, and actually go to it. I showed up with my clunker of a mountain bike, wearing a tank top and shorts, and I was good to go. However, upon arrival and exiting my vehicle, I quickly realized I was not good to go. I was in spandex hell. And I was severely over-dressed.

Everywhere I looked, I saw spandex running amok. Now, some people can pull off the spandex cycling garb thing. These are the people who arrived hours before the event was to start, removed their bike from their rack, begin airing up tires with mechanical pumps, and proceeded to check the gravitational pull of the moon versus the direction of the wind, to determine how their ride will go for the day. They have spandex shorts, spandex shirts, spandex socks, underwear, and likely even spandex shoes. I, on the other hand, rolled up just in time to stumble out of my car, pull my bike pieces out of my trunk, reassemble the bike, and nap til the ride began. About as unprofessional as one can get.

I have to admit I did wear spandex that day. But it was conscientiously concealed beneath another layer of shorts. I am only recently beginning to brave spandex shorts out in public where they can be seen, not hidden underneath a more acceptable type of short. I pray no one is looking, and I've worked hard to increase my cycling speed, so as to limit the amount of time I have to be out inflicting my spandex wearing on innocent bystanders. Like I said, I do understand the purpose of spandex, so in the sense that it helps in certain ways and can be worn tastefully, I am pro-spandex. Being a serious cycling-type person, I am in a sense forced into the spandex arena, and I assure you I go there kicking and screaming and with much protest. Because, you see, in the sense that one must senselessly drown one's self in spandex from head to toe in order to be a good cycler, I am anti-spandex.

I saw people that day in spandex that had no business being in spandex. Since this ride wasn't a race, there were people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and riding levels at this event. Yet all of them seemed to assume that since they own a bike and can ride at some level, they had earned the right to over-do the spandex attire. I actually have no idea how they got in to the spandex. That in and of itself had to have been a greater accomplishment than completing the bike ride.

I am totally in favor of anyone capable of remaining upright on a bike being out and about in the world of cycling. I wish I could get more of my friends on bikes because it really is a great sport. I am not, however, in favor of people inflicting the world with blatant spandex abuse, wearing it on bodies and in places that should never, ever endure spandex. Just because spandex is available to the free world doesn't mean anyone has the right to flaunt it mercilessly. And really, if you are old and fat on a bike, don't get me wrong, I am glad to see you out and about. But, is the spandex really helping you go any faster? Think about it.

Somewhere in the history of spandex, something went terribly wrong. I believe it was created for good, not for evil. Why people insist on wearing it for evil, to haunt me and create waves of nausea as I try to bike around the lake, I just don't understand.

My cycling this weekend came to no conclusion about the spandex debacle. I still see it worn immorally and indecently, with every lap around the lake. But maybe my small voice will be heard, and I can somehow in some way make a difference. Please, I implore you. Use the utmost discretion before you step out of doors in any form of spandex.

The right to cycle does not equal the right to spandex. Please use extreme caution.


Sunday, March 23, 2003

The Tyrant's Review
I always check my email right before I go to bed late at night, hoping to receive one last message sending me off to sleep knowing someone out there in the world loves me at the very last moment I'm awake for the day. Or something like that.

Well, checking my email late at night has finally paid off. I opened my Inbox tonight to find a message from, letting me know my blog has been reviewed. And holy cow, my eternal quest for mortal approval just got a HUGE boost.

I'll let you read for yourself here. And to my reviewer, Wendy, thank you so much for such a wonderful review! If I make just one person happy with my meager literary offerings, it makes it all worthwhile . . .

Right!!! Who am I kidding?? I love the attention and I really appreciate the props about my new venture into writing for people to read. It's a huge confidence booster, and I hope I can continue writing in a way that interests and entertains those who do me the honor of reading what I write.

You've made the Tyrant very happy. I will sleep well tonight.


Friday, March 21, 2003

My One Oscar Request
I realize the Oscars will be a quite different, more somber occassion than in years past, due to the war and such. But I do have one request of the Academy this year. It is vital that we control what we can control during these uncertain times.

My request is this: Please do not let Halle Berry accept any more awards, for herself or others. I beg of you, keep her off the stage at all costs. Don't offer a lifetime achievement, or a yearlong achievement, or a congratulatory statue for being the only actor who actually still attends the ceremony this year. Not even an acceptance on behalf of any actor who is a no show. I implore you, no awards for Halle Berry on Sunday.

I don't even really care who does win the awards this year. And I realize Halle Berry isn't nominated for anything. So my plea is a reminder to keep it that way for now.

I think she's still crying and freaking out and thanking people from last year. And I just can't take anymore.


Reality TV Shows That Need to Go Away
Or, Reality TV shows we should drop off in Iraq along with our bombs.

I keep my TV on most of the time while I'm at home, whether I'm watching or not. Just for noise. The following shows are shows that my TV is forced to have on screen, against its will, because networks are wasting precious air-time by producing these shows and nothing better is on during these time slots. A blank screen and the sounds of crickets chirping are a better use of air-waves. These shows do not even qualify for good background noise, and therefore must be destroyed:
(Tyrant's note: I've only chosen shows that can be viewed via rabbit ear attenae. I'm sure there are many more annoying reality shows on cable.)

Meet My Folks - Parents with a lie-detector deciding between three boys who think they can lie undetected. This show should meet my FIST.

All-American Girl - Based on what I saw, it's more like All-Annoying Girl, judged by a former Spice Girl (ie: not American, nor having talent enough to recogize 'all').

The Family - Whiney, immature, selfish Italian family gets to fight with each other over a million dollars. I deserve the million dollars for sitting through part of any given episode.

Married by America- This show should only be on if America gets to choose between five of the most digusting people on earth to marry the bachelor or bachelorette clueless enough to think they're in any way going to come out of this better than when they started it as single, still respectable adults.

Now, just because a show isn't mentioned here doesn't mean I like the show. These are just the ones we need to dispose of immediately, due to an extremely high idiocy and stupidity factor.

More shows to be added to the list.


Fashion Victim
I can now say I've been made fun of by the homeless. I've been the object of their ridicule. I've been pointed at with laughter and jeering. And I can't make any sort of retaliation. Why? Because they're homeless and it's not nice.

I work in a homeless shelter full of homeless men. I am a young woman. There are a few other women working in my building. But they are old, married, and have kids my age. Therefore, by default I am the office hottie. An honor that I abhor with every ounce of my being.

When I first began working here, I was not prepared for the attention I would attract just by my presence. By nature of being the only young, cute, skinny, white girl in the office, I tend to stand out a bit among my office workers and other people in the building. Even having an open mind about this completely new work environment, I wasn't quite sure what to expect about the atmosphere of the office. I was completely caught off guard that I was in the spotlight from the beginning. I don't like that much attention. I'm just not used to it. And considering where the attention comes from here, it's kinda creepy.

But, being the kind, somewhat naive (at times) person that I am, I did my best to figure out how to politely interact with the homeless as called for daily, assuming the fascination with me would soon go away. I was wrong. The friendlier I was, the more interested they became. The more I shrugged off, the more insistent they were. The 'newness' of me never wore off, since new men arrive daily to the shelter. Here I am wanting to help these needy people and just do my job, and I am rewarded by being constantly ogled and hit on, as best as men without homes or income can hit on a girl. I don't say any of that to brag or make fun. It all just makes me very uncomfortable.

For the men who participate in our long term rehabilitation program, they have a work assignment in the shelter during the day. Guys were fighting over who got to wash my car. (Ok, that one isn't so bad. My car can never be too clean.) But the guys cleaning the offices would come by to take out my trash several times a day. I appreciate the attention to the state of my office, but I don't make that much trash during one day.

When I'd come down for lunch it was a contest to see who would greet me first and who would get the best response from me. They all would make comments to compliment my outfit of the day. Nice the first time or two, but when I realized how much attention they were paying to every detail of what I wore everyday, it freaked me out a bit. Hair, clothes, jewlery, make-up. I make a point to dress conservatively while at work, but I still like to look cute. I made the mistake of wearing a skirt (a very long, non-tight skirt) once or twice. You'd think I'd just given them a brick of solid gold, the way their eyes lit up. I quickly learned that a burlap sack of some sort will likely be the only thing I can wear here that won't attract attention. A very large, very drab burlap sack.

Several guys would greet me at the door every morning as I arrived at work. Several other guys would stand at the door to say goodbye to me at the end of the day. One or two guys were so attached to me that when they decided to leave our rehab program, I'd get a drunken phone call at my office from them later, sometimes regularly for awhile, saying how much they missed me and apologizing for leaving. I began to get a little scared.

After one guy mentioned to me that he'd like to date me after he gets out of the program, I realized maybe I needed to change some of my patterns throughout the day to repel this fascination with me. I started distancing myself from the general population of the shelter. I'd keep to myself. I didn't venture out of my office as often. I'd try not to make eye contact. I didn't want to be rude, but I also didn't want to encourage that kind of behavior or whatever intentions they had towards me.

It created an interesting situation for me. Here they are, homeless men trying to get their life back together. Some of them learning for the first time how to talk and treat women properly. So, really having no course of action, but being exctremely uncomfortable by the amount and nature of attention I get here everyday, I'm in a quandry. How to repel, without being rude.

I thought some of the attention had died down a bit over the past few months. We have some new guys here, and I keep my contact with all people here to an absolute minimum, what with the evil co-worker and other co-workers of strange variety. Then, the lunch incident happened yesterday and I'm reminded that I'm still very much under scrutiny by the watchful homeless eye.

First of all, I blame the weather man. He misrepresented the forcasted temperature for the day, so if he hadn't told me it was going to be warmer than it actually was, I never would have worn the sandals. My feet were cold all day long, and I blame him. But the sandals I wore are very conservative black sandals, which cover almost my entire foot, except for the heel and my toes. My toenails happen to be painted a fabulous shade of pink, which contrasted nicely with the dark sandals and the shirt I was wearing. With the pants I wore, looking at my feet you would see the tips of pink toenails, and black shoe. Nothing shocking about that.

I'd worn these sandals many times throughout the previous warm season. I'd also worn them all morning, interacting with all the homeless men during our morning chapel service. My feet had been in plain view all day, just like any other day, without any disturbance thus far. Honestly, my footwear never entered my mind as a possible source of excitement. I was very, very wrong.

I went down for lunch, and as I headed towards the food line, one of the homeless men suddenly looked at me and started laughing, VERY LOUDLY. He pointed at my shoes, said he'd never seen shoes like that before, and continued to laugh like my feet were the funniest things he'd ever seen. Now, over the past year or so I've moved past a phase of being self-conscious about my large clown feet. I just never felt they were very attractive, so I always kept them shoed and socked. I now confidently keep the toenails painted during the warm seasons, the feet themselves well-groomed, and I allow them to be seen in various sandals. They are actually quite cute, and I have liberated them from shoe bondage to roam freely out in the world. But, for someone to suddenly direct a roomfull of attention to my feet was very off-setting, to say the least. Nightmares of people ridiculing my long, bony feet were rapidly returning to me. I was caught off guard. I hadn't anticipated such hub-bub about my feet on this particular day.

He continued to laugh and attract a lot of attention in my direction. I just stood there, unsure of what to do. I tried to laugh it off and move towards the food, but he kept going. I didn't understand if it was the shoes themselves, or the fact that I was wearing sandals in cold weather, or that my cute pink toes were out for the first time at work since last season and they were a shocking turn of events. Soon, all the other men in the room starting scrambling towards me and calling at me to come show them my feet. This was definitely a nightmare. A room full of homeless men laughing and making a big deal about my shoes. I mean, had they checked their own footwear lately? Not to point out the cruel and obvious, but they aren't exactly in a position to laugh at anyone's shoes or attire.

I became very uncomfortable that my feet were under such scrutiny. I had hoped my wardrobe had stopped attracting so much attention, but alas, it hadn't. I didn't want to be rude, but these guys were starting to make me a bit mad. They didn't understand that they'd pointed out my silly shoes, had a good laugh, and now the joke was over. I think they were more fascinated with my girlie feet than anything else, but really I'd just come down to grab some lunch, minding my own business. I did not come down to model my feet to a room full of men.

I secured my lunch and decided to head back up to my office to eat with my feet under my desk, safe from interested eyes. I don't think they meant to be mean or rude, but I was still very uncomfortable, nonetheless.

I guess I just need to abandon all good fashion during the work week. They just can't handle my style.

Seriously, burlap. And moccasins. My only hope.


Thursday, March 20, 2003

Idol Horror
What the heck is going on this season?? How on earth is Julia still on the show? Girlfriend can't sing. She never looks good. She always looks scared or annoyed. She is not Idol material.

I thought for sure she'd be gone last night, after her performance on Tuesday night. Rather, I hoped she'd be gone. I don't think I can take another week of her. She's annoyed me since the first time I saw her, and I've been completely baffled at her ability to sing like nails on a chalkboard every week and still remain in the competition. She must personally know millions of people in America, threatening to serenade them for all of eternity unless they appease her with millions of votes in her favor. No way is she still in this without some sort of pact with Satan.

If not her, then I thought for sure it would be Corey. These two are battling it out for American Anti-Idol, the search for a non-star. Corey never hit a right note til he stopped singing Tuesday night. And that note was in the key of silence. Aaah, it was music to my ears.

Don't even get me started on Carmen and Kimberly C. They're on my list, too.

Charles, though I didn't know ye, I never did like ye. But I didn't abhor ye as the likes of Julia and Corey. You'd be gone sooner or later, and sooner it must be. Too bad. We'll not miss thee.

At least they love him at his grocery store job. He can go back there and keep singing over the P.A. system as he stocks shelves. I guess if we ever lose Justin Timberlake, we can replace him with Charles and tell everyone he got a really dark tan.

Idol, wherefore art thou???


Career Goals
I think the reason I've not quite found my ideal career is because I don't have a typical career in mind. I mean, I guess the basic ideas are typical. But the context around them gets a little, well, quirky.

I want to write a book. Not a profound work of literary magnificence, destined to be highschool required reading someday. But something of a best-selling cult classic that quietly becomes the must-read of the century. One of those books that everyone has read and enjoyed and passed on to friends and family. My first book will be a great story loosely based on my life, but funnier, more dramatic, heartwarming, sarcastic, and with valuable life-lessons throughout. My book will eventually be read by a movie producer, and with my help on the screenplay and a small supporting role on-screen, my story will make it to the big screen and into history as a Steel Magnolias, or Shawshank Redemption, or Christmas Vacation, or some other staple of movie history. Not a huge blockbuster, but one with staying power, and a great cast.

I want to be an actress. But not a leading lady, having to pick and choose big movies that will define my career. I want to be the actress in the background of all movies and television shows. I'll be the girl that gets the laughs for a few brief minutes, but isn't a main character. Or the girl who gets killed as a friend of the main star, and the rest of the film is about my friend the star's quest to avenge my death. Or one of the evil secret agents that appears every once in awhile to spar with Sydney Bristow, then we eventually wind up on the same side, become friends, and decapitate Sloan and Evil Francinator. I'll be highly in demand and recognized as one of those "Hey, that's the girl who had cancer on ER and fought heroically for 45 minutes into the show, then died after Dr. Corday let baby Ella perform the life-saving surgery. Didn't I see her last week on Law & Order as a pick-pocketing drifter stalking her own stalker? Next week she's on The Practice as a lawyer who sues herself for sexual harrassment" actors.

I want to be a singer. But not the lead singer of a band or a solo artist with several platinum selling albums. I want to be the fabulous back-up singer on every one else's platinum selling albums. I'll be able to blend in with any musician in need of additional vocals. I'll tour with a group or solo artist from time to time, and when I'm not touring I'll add my voice to other recording projects as I'm needed. My name and voice will be on every big cd from all the big artists. Millions of people will hear my voice and not even know it.

I want to someday be a question on Jeopardy. You know you have made your mark on the world when the question to an answer on Jeopardy is your name, especially if none of the contestants even buzz in to attempt a response. Answer: Name the celebrity who has successfully accomplished the following career crossovers: well-known best-selling author and screenplay writer, widely known character actress for television and screen, and professional vocalist for many well-known musical acts. Question: Who is the artist currently known as The Cynical Tyrant? Correct!

Yeah, I can't figure out why my career isn't working out according to my goals, either.


Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Scrubs for All
I really think scrubs should be acceptable work attire for every occupation. Clothing options make me late to work everyday, and once I've arrived at work I realize I hate what I'm wearing anyway. Doctors and nurses have the right idea. Scrubs.

You may say, "Tyrant, why not choose your outfit the night before? This would save you time in the morning and allow you to arrive punctually to work." I'd agree with you, if that plan hadn't been tried and effectively destroyed long ago.

When I choose my outfit the night before, I never know if it will match my mood in the morning. I can never remember what I may have already worn that week, so as to not wear black pants two days in a row, or the same shirt that's been laying on the floor since I wore it on Monday. Plus, I can picture an outfit, and in my head it is the most fabulous outfit ever. It all works together, and I am stunning. But when I actually stumble into my closet early in the morning, and I put on the pieces I chose the night before, it never looks as good on me as it did in my head. I have to scramble to find something that does work, and that's where I lose precious time, ending up in an outfit that is less than satisfactory. It's all very discouraging.

So I say take the guesswork out of the situation. If I only have to choose between green or blue scrubs then my brain has much less information to process and mess up. I don't have to think about matching jewelry, or the right shoes. I'd just go from shower, to scrubs, to car, to office. Simple and idiot-proof. And extremely comfortable, so I hear.

Besides, does anyone at your office really care what you wear? I'm not trying to impress anyone where I work. In fact, I'm really trying to de-press the majority of people in my building, so as not to attract attention to myself. I'd rather save all my fabulous clothes for weekends and evenings when I'm around people who I might like to impress.

Scrubs for all. It can't possibly be a bad idea.


Today's Gasoline Price Update
Regular Unleaded: $1,999.9 per gallon + your other kidney + your left eye (just gouge it out)


Tuesday, March 18, 2003

More Daily Annoyances
5. People who ask me where other people are.
Just because my office is in the same building as other peoples' offices doesn't mean I know where they are when they are not in their office. Just because my door is open and I am in my office doesn't mean that is an invitation for you to pop in and ask me where someone is. Assume I know where no one is, and save us both the trouble of answering and asking that question.


Daily Annoyances
1. People who say 'knock knock' when they come to my door, rather than actually knocking, or in addition to knocking.
What do they do that? It's not cute or funny or original. It's annoying. Just knock.

2. People who tell me to smile.
Telling me to smile doesn't make me want to smile any more than I did before you told me to smile. And how do they know I didn't just get finished smiling for like, an hour? I may be tired from smiling, and just taking a break before my next big smile-a-thon. If you want me to smile, don't tell me to smile.

3. People who drive in cars.
Moving automobiles scare me because the people controlling them are idiots. If you can't not be an idiot in your car, don't drive.

4. People telling me I'm too skinny and I need to eat more.
If I were fat, no one would ever say anything to me about my weight or how much I eat. Why is it any different because I am non-fat? You are not the first one to suggest to me I need to eat more, and your suggestion doesn't mean I can actually fit any more food inside of me than I already consume daily. So if you feel the urge to say something or offer food, use the donut in your hand to plug your pie-hole.


Career Decisions
Never have I been so glad that I didn't join the Dixie Chicks.


Over 1,000 Served
Granted, compared to the total number of people in the world who can read, one-thousand isn't a huge number of people. But considering I only know about ten people, WOO-diddily-HOO!!

Congrats to my one-thousandth customer, whoever you were.

You'll note I've played around a bit and changed my 'Shout Outs' to 'Let Me Hear Ya', for now. Don't be afraid. This is still your place to leave comments.

In the spirit and voice of my favorite Kwik-E-Mart employee, Apu: Thank You. Come again!


Monday, March 17, 2003

Biking for Boys
It's happened to me once before, but I still find it highly amusing that it happens at all. Amusing, yet commendable. And entertaining.

Several years ago, I was biking on a trail and a guy rode up beside me and yes, started talking to me. I didn't know that people did that sort of thing, since I am afraid of people in general and almost never start conversations with people standing still or in non-workout situations. Nonetheless, this very cute guy I didn't know had approached me and began a conversation. He asked if I was looking for anyone to ride with, and when I said 'no', he proceeded to ride with me. We ended up talking a bit, stopped to get something to drink, and proceeded to date for the next three months. Yes, I literally picked up a boyfriend while working out. I'd never been so thankful to have a bicycle and two legs with which to pedal it out of doors, where boys apparently can be found.

I biked a lot this weekend, out at the lake. I don't bike with the intent to hook up with anyone. But when the weather is nice, I can often be found on my bike, and often at the lake. It's my favorite place to bike, as is the case for all of the people in the rest of the world, apparently. We had a gorgeous weekend, perfect for being outside, doing outside-type stuff. Lots of people out and about. Much fun for all.

I was on my third and final lap around the lake (nearing the 28 mile mark), when a guy rode up beside me and started talking to me. Now, I realize I am extremely sexy, but in mid-workout I am likely less attractive than, say, after I've showered, done my hair, put on make-up, and donned one of my ultra-hip outfits. While biking in the heat, I'm wearing play clothes, including a bike helmet, which severely mashes down my hair, and my cycling sunglasses, which cause me to look like a large-eyed, lanky insect on a bike. My legs are mega-white from the winter months indoors, and my shoulders are sunburned brightly pink from five minutes of being out in the sun. I'm sweating, huffing and puffing, smelling of lake, and trying not to swallow the bugs that keep hitting me in the face as I speed along the trail.

This is why I'm amused that men approach women in this type of situation. What is attractive about what I just described? I can't get a guy to talk to me when I'm properly approachable, yet when I'm as funked out, odd looking, and stinky as I ever am, they seem drawn to me. Why is that?

Anyway, I don't technically know that this guy was wanting a date with me. He rode alongside me for a bit, telling me I was riding at a really good pace because he'd been behind me for about eight miles, unable to catch up to me. I can only assume he saw me fly past him and was mesmerized by my phenomenal backside, leading him to pursue me nearly completely around the lake until he finally caught up with me. Whatever triggered his interest, I was very excited to hear that I was going at a good pace, since I was on the last mile or so of three laps, and getting tired. I guess my end-of-ride fatigue is what made our encounter possible. . .

We chatted a bit about bike stuff, training, etc. He offered some great advice for my training, and encouragement. He was very nice and friendly. He even offered for me to hook up with him and his training group for regular rides. Strangely, his group was nowhere to be found at that particular moment. . .

Once he found out what I do as my day job, he excitedly asked if we ever need volunteers here at the shelter. He apparently has a church group eager to get involved in some projects. Whether that's true or not, it was the perfect opportunity for me to get my (office only) name, number, and email address in his hands. I have to admit, the cute church-going cycling type is appealing to me. So I didn't hesitate to make sure he could get in touch with me at my office for 'official' business.

We parted at the end of my ride, he with my information, and me with forgetting his name. I'm pretty sure it starts with an 'R'. Could be Rick, maybe Ryan, or Ron. Hopefully not Rob. That was the name of the first bicycle boyfriend several years ago.

Whatever his intentions, I commend him for bravery. Striking up a conversation with someone you don't know who is deeply engrossed in a high-speed workout takes guts, and is not easy. So even if I never hear from him again, he is a brave, brave man.

And I will continue to ponder the great question about workout attractions. Why do I attract guys while biking? I've surely not ever been able to figure it out, and I just may never get to the bottom of it.

But, if you need me, I'll be thinking about it while on my bike. Out at the lake . . .


UPDATE: He finally called a month later. His name does not actually start with an 'R'. It starts with a 'D'. And he actually was only interested in coordinating a service project at the homeless shelter where I slave all day. At least I'm using my sexy bike-ness for a good cause. . .

More Tyrannical Thoughts on War
I have to admit I'm now having a very strong feeling about all the war hub-bub. My feeling is: annoyed.

I'm annoyed that with all the emotion and discusion and opinions and protesting and whatnot going into this big decision, we are only choosing between one of two options: war, or no war. Why are there only two options? Aren't we supposed to be a country of limitless possibilities?

I truly feel the bigger problem creating the current situation is very simple: a lack of creativity. Clearly, there has been a lack of effort to brainstorm more solutions to the situation at hand. Since we are now in a time crunch with the impending deadline looming on the very near horizon, I will throw out a few ideas I've had:

1. Send in the Girl Scouts
Really, why do we have them? What are they good for? I say we give them a purpose. They already have uniforms, and we are well aware of how sneaky and brutish they can be. So I say we train a few of the more adept Girl Scouts in the art of disarming nuclear weapons, load them up with boxes of cookies, and drop them off in Saddam's neighborhood. Some of the Scouts can distract Iraq with the cookies while others sneak over to the weapons and disarm them. Before you know it, Iraq is harmless, but well fed and happy from the cookies of the Scouts. And the Scouts have met their fundraising goal for the year.

2. Reality Television
Seriously, what are these shows good for if they are not helping with the world peace issue? I say we recruit Saddam as a contestant on Survivor, lose him in the jungle with a bunch of whiney girls and non-macho men, and let him fight unarmed with nature for awhile. While he's involved with immunity challenges and fishing for piranhas, we'll sneak into Iraq, disarm his weapons, and loot his fortresses. He'll be MIA in the wilderness for thirty-nine days, and therefore unable to contact his peeps. And when he returns home he'll be thankful for real food, Girl Scout cookies, and he'll weigh much, much less than he does now. Truly, I think his weight may be a factor with his anger.

If he's not the Survivor type, we could lock him in the Big Brother house for a few months and this plan would work just as well.

3. Non-Reality Television
Send in Buffy, or Alias' Sydney Bristow. I've personally seen Buffy pummel a variety of vampires, demons, and other miscellaneous big bad evils. Saddam would be no problem for the Slayer. And Sydney, no contest. She's an expert in finding and defeating evil world leaders and terrorists, disarming weapons, and covert operations. She'd be in and out of Iraq before Saddam realizes he's out of Girl Scout cookies and his weapons are useless.

4. Move
Criminals of lesser intelligence manage to move about, avoiding detection by our well-trained law enforcement institutions. Why not do that on a larger scale? If Saddam can't find us, he can't harm us. So I say we pick up the entire country and relocate. We could hide in Australia, or a lesser known island chain off the coast of Africa. While Saddam is looking for us in the ocean of what used to be the United States of America, we sneak into Iraq to disarm the weapons and steal back our Girl Scout cookies. We'll be a National Witness Protection Program. Once Saddam has been subdued, we can float back to where we belong.

You see, we just aren't trying hard enough to explore all the options. And until we do, I am very, very annoyed.


Sunday, March 16, 2003

Career Goals
They say your career should be something you enjoy and something you do well.

So far, my 'career' as it is now is none of the above.

The things I do well seem to be biking and blogging. If only I can figure out how to turn the combination of the two into a money-making venture . . .


Friday, March 14, 2003

Port o' Pride
I don't get why people who exit a port o' john have such a proud look of accomplishment on their faces. Almost every time I'm at the lake and I see someone exiting those blue port o' lets, they have a huge grin on their face like they just achieved a major victory while in there.

Are we supposed to be proud of them for using the portable john? Are we supposed to commend their valiant effort to do nature's business while in a putrid, public, moveable, metal cannister? I never thought of it as an opportunity for personal success, but I guess it could be if that's your thing.

I mean, I'd be prouder to manage using a bush or a tree or an empty cup without falling over or making a mess, rather than venture into any port o' john. The only look on my face before, during, and after a port o' potty experience is disgust and nausea. Those things are nasty!

I think from now on I will clap and cheer for everyone I see dismounting the portable toilet facilities. Especially if I don't know you.


Thursday, March 13, 2003

Warning: More Blogging About My Blog
Not to blog more about my blog, but as for an update about the status of my blog, I'm adding links to other blogs now, as you can see to the right. I will continue to add blogs as I come across blogs I like for whatever reason.

Please be advised, just because I link to a blog does not mean that I, the Tyrant, endorse all that can be found on any particular blog. Some things I may agree with, some things I may not. I'll link to blogs at the Tyrant's discretion, showing first priority to those who have linked to me, to return the favor.

Blogs are very personal to the people who create them. While I may enjoy or find value in a blog as a whole, you should not hold me accountable to believe or support or promote any or every word written or published idea in someone else's blog. As a basic rule, blogs listed here have passed through a rigorous screening process, and can generally be considered wholistically safe, fun, thought-provoking, humorous, worth reading, well-written and intriguing, well-written but pointless, or all of the above. Or not . . .

Also be warned, blogs may come and go from here from time to time, without explanation or warning. I'm a Tyrant, and therefore very, very unpredicatable.

And, of course I'd prefer you to never leave my blog. What more could you want than what you will find here day after day? So, you are under no obligation to view blogs under the Blog-rrific section. They may not interest you at all, and that's fine. No one is asking you to leave, and I'm actually prefering that you stay. I'm simply linking to other blogs to support the family of good blogs upon which I stumble. Read these blogs at your own risk and discretion.

To sum up, blog blogola blog bla blog blog blog.

Blog on.


Things I've learned from blogging

1) How to spell 'tyrannical'- (if you ask me, that is a completely superfluous second 'n')

That's it.

Learning requires you to first admit there is something in the world you don't yet know. If you don't know how to admit that, then that's the first thing you need to learn.

Next Window Please
I went to the post office today. I met the slowest moving life form on the face of the planet.

Actually, I've seen him there before. When I go to the post office during lunch, I always find that there is only one post office employee working during that time, and often it is this particularly turtle-like employee faced with a long line of customers who are racing the clock to get back to their offices before the end of the lunch hour. This guy can't move even moderately fast. He talks slow, he walks slow, his movements are excruciatingly slow. If he wanders away from his station to look for a package in the back, you might as well set up camp in line for awhile because he's not coming back any time soon. He's painful to watch when I'm an anxious customer waiting in a long line to mail one tiny thing.

Now, it makes sense to me that lunch time would be a busy time of day at the post office, since this is a time convenient for people with jobs to stop by the post office during a lunch break. And I could be way off base here, but maybe it would also make sense that not all of the post office employees should take off for lunch during this time. Higher volume of customers would seem to equal the need for adequate numbers of staff to be present to handle the additional customers. Right?

So why do I always walk in to see just one lone employee behind of all those empty post office windows every time I go to the post office during lunch? I'm always greeted with a long line of counter spaces proudly displaying the 'next window please' sign, and only one available post office person there to help, way down on the end. 'Next window please' is just a polite way to say 'all postal employees have gone to lunch so that you have to waste your entire lunch hour waiting for us to get back from our lunch before anyone will help you.'

I'm not denying post office workers the right to have a lunch break. We all deserve our time for lunch. I'm just not clear on why the post office has to send all of the employees to lunch during business lunch hour, and leave the slowest moving and oldest living postal employee ever as the only one up front to help customers with their mailing needs. I'm not sure this guy is even real. He may be animatronic.

Truly, the post office may be the anti-christ. Because all I know is that for $.37 a stamp, I should be the one saying 'next window please.'


Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Hand Check
There's a painting that I see everyday. It's a very large painting of The Last Supper. It's not a replica of the official Last Supper. But it's a huge Last Supper painted by someone.

When I say I 'look' at it everyday, what I mean is that I stare at it. I plop my lunch down right in front of it, and sit where I can stare right at it. No, I'm not meditating or anything holy like that. I'm just obsessed with it.

Why the obsession? It seems the number of disciples in the painting doesn't quite match up with the number of hands in the painting. I can't figure it out. Twelve disciples should equal twenty-four hands. I'm not actually sure there are twenty-four hands shown in the painting. But the more I look at it, the more I see that something doesn't quite add up.

The disciples are in various poses, some leaning over, some serving food, etc. Some hands are shown, some are hidden. I've very carefully followed the extremities on display as best I can, to see which disciple is connected to which hand. I haven't been able to find the exact discrepancy. And maybe I never will.

But until I find the scripture to prove otherwise, this historical, and I'm sure thoroughly researched and accurate re-creation of the momentous Last Supper tells me that one of Jesus' disciples did, in fact, have three hands.


Today's Gasoline Price Update
Regular Unleaded: $1,599.9 per gallon + your favorite kidney


Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I hate Spring Break
I am so mad at spring break. Why? Because I actually love spring break, and desperately want to break for spring. But, the day I graduated college and became technically an 'adult', I no longer had the spring break privilege.

I don't understand why spring break only applies to those in or involved with school. Don't we all deserve a break? Don't we all work just as hard as school people? And really, between summer break, fall break, and Christmas break, do students really work all that hard? Definitely not harder than hardworking adults with year round jobs.

I propose that spring break become an event in which all American citizens can participate. I have a dream that one day, people young and old alike can walk together in freedom from a standard workday for one week during the spring. I hold these truths to be self-evident, that Americans work hard, much harder than the average student, and therefore deserve a break during the spring. Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth to this nation the honor of vacation due to upstanding citizens of this country, because of the contributions they make to society by going to work each and every day. I ask not what I can do for my country, but what my country can do for spring break and me.

At least with most of the population on spring break and away from schools and offices, traffic is much better for those of us still stuck going to work everyday.


An aspiring actor
I wouldn't say I watch a lot of tv. I prefer to consider it the study of acting. I am devoting time to benefitting from the best professional actors by cramming in as much television and as many movies as possible. I'm getting the finest actors in the world, doing their finest work, in an environment where I can study their every word and action as many times and as often as I like. My home is the actor's studio.

One day it will all pay off. You'll see.


The Answer we've been looking for
Why can't we do this with Saddam? G.W. would totally have the advantage.


Career Goals
I hope one day to lose an Oscar. . .

Losers get better stuff than that silly statue.


Monday, March 10, 2003

One of my many questions about things I don't understand
From time to time, I cover serious topics. This is one of them.

I have a question that's been on my mind for a few years. After a chat with a co-worker today (a less evil one), I was reminded of my issue with a certain spiritual topic. This co-worker is very, um, charismatic, to put it kindly. Some of her beliefs are too 'out there' for my comfort level. She's also the type of person with whom you should never, ever strike up a conversation. Her conversations have no end.

I must have slipped into a brief coma during lunch, forgetting my rule to never engage her in conversation, because I asked her a personal question. Voluntarily. I think she's still down there talking, even though I've been back in my office for hours.

The topic was God's protection over us. My co-worker rambled on and on about God protecting us, and fulfilling our purpose in life, and a bunch of stuff that got really weird for me. But it got me thinking again. What does it really mean for God to protect us? Can we count on protection equaling safety by earthly terms? And what does it mean when we get hurt, or we lose someone suddenly and tragically? Was God still protecting then? Why do bad things happen under God's protection?

I pray everyday for God to protect my friends and family, to keep them safe. I believe God protects us. I don't think bad things happen because God took a break, or removed His protection. I'm just not sure what it means when something harmful happens even underneath His protection. I'm not sure why that makes sense to God. Was God protecting my sister and her friends the day they were suddenly killed in a car accident? I like to believe He was. Yet, it doesn't make sense to me. It seems like if they were under His protection, they'd still be here.

I really struggle with this issue. I do trust God. I want to believe He protects those I love, everyday. It's just hard to turn them over to Him and trust He has them, no matter what happens.

I don't have the answer here. And truthfully I think it's more a matter of the interpretation of 'protection'. There's the whole 'they're in a better, safer place now' argument. And the 'God knows best' argument. I believe those statements to be true, however 'textbook' they may be. I don't know the whole picture, or why things happen the way they do. But still, in my hurting human perception of things, 'protected' means safe from harm. It's hard to see a sudden death of a loved one, or friends in harm's way, as 'protected'.

And it's hard to accept that my understanding isn't the ultimate understanding.

I think it's through these kinds of questions that fear vs. faith becomes the real issue.


Welcome to the Internet
In an effort to rebuild and reunite a war-ravaged country, now all five people who have access to the two computers in Afghanistan have their very own internet suffix.

Plus, now Afghanistan can read my blog, and send me a government approved email about it.

Hooray for the world wide web.


Biking and 'The Incident'
I get nervous about new things. I greatly fear change. In fact, I'm very 'Rainman' when it comes to new things, new people, new places. Complete with swaying, head-banging, and repeating phrases over and over. Well, maybe not the head-banging. Definitely, definitely not the head-banging.

I'm obsessed with road-biking. Which is funny because up until a couple of months ago, I only owned a mountain bike. So I'm not sure the past few years of riding my mountain bike on the road technically qualified as road-biking.

However, in training for the 100-mile ride I have planned in a few months, I decided to get properly prepared for it. This meant a complete equipment change. I bought an actual roadbike designed for use on pavement, and all the necessary equipment to make me look and function like more of a professional road-biker. I figure if I look like a professional, that definitely makes me a professional.

Part of this new equipment involves new pedals. They are technically called 'clip-less' pedals, but that is completely misleading. These pedals actually do 'clip' or attach your shoe to the pedal. Why this is considered 'clip-less' is just silly. All I know is now my feet are attached to the pedal while I ride, and it's a whole new weird scary experience. Yes, definitely, definitely scary.

I've been riding inside on my trainer for several months. I've had plenty of practice getting in and out of the pedals. It's a simple heel twist outwards, and voila! I'm free from the pedals. Simple, when the bike is, well, still. Not moving. I never fall at all inside! Getting on and off is very, very non-scary. I am tremendously confident in my cycling skills, indoors. Outdoors and while moving, that's a whole different challenge.

This weekend, the weather outside cooperated with my biking hobby. The temperature was warm enough to be outside, and there was no rain to deal with. A perfect opportunity to take the bike outside for the maiden outdoor voyage. I was really excited about it . . . til Saturday morning. Then I got very, very scared. I started having flashbacks of 'The Incident'. (scary, dramatic dum-dum-dummmmmm music heard here)

'The Incident', as I hatefully label the event, happened several years ago. I'd recently discovered the art of cycling at that time, and also discovered it was something I really enjoy. I could often be found clunking around on the mountain bike, although always on a paved trail or street. No off-roading on the mountain bike. But having tons of fun, nonetheless. Until, 'The Incident'.

Danger for bikers comes in many forms, such as on-coming cars, other bikers, families wandering aimlessly, small children, wild dogs, search posses on horseback, tanks, rampant bears, or even stationary trees. These are real and possible threats while biking along a suburban city paved bike and hike trail. However, 'The Incident' involved a much more dangerous and unexpected terror: old people.

I was heading home on my bike, along a very busy road. As mentioned before, on-coming cars are one of the known dangers. And, knowing this danger, I preferred to take my short trip on this section of road by using the sidewalk. Technically, bikes don't belong on a sidewalk. But I made an exception for this very tiny stretch of road, along this particularly treacherously dangerous, high-traffic road. It's a very wide sidewalk. Safe enough to be shared by walkers and bikers alike.

Or so I thought. I under-estimated the safety zone needed for very slow-walking old people. I soon found out that they require more room than was provided on this particularly wide sidewalk. I was doing my usual excellent safety inspections of the road ahead of me, making sure to look far enough ahead to avoid any danger. I spotted the old people, and planned to 'offroad' into the grass, being thankful to have such a rugged mountain bike for the offroad terrain, then return to the sidewalk once I was safely around them.

As the old people very slowly approached, I moved off into the grass. I had slowed down, so as not to frighten them. I made my way past the old folks, and moved back towards the sidewalk, only to discover that I was deceived by the height of the grass. Where I thought I was level with the pavement, my tire caught the edge of the sidewalk in a dip hidden by the tall grass. This caused me to unwillingly stop dead in my tracks, and immediately slam over onto the pavement, with great force. I was flat out on the pavement before I could even realize what was happening, bike on top of me, legs and arms sticking out everywhere, massive amounts of pain suddenly all I could feel.

I was stunned. It took a moment to realize what had happened, that I was no longer floating along on my bike, care-free. I was now bruised and bleeding all over the sidewalk, which was supposed to be the 'safe' place to be. Fortunately, the old folks came out unscathed. And in fact, they didn't even stop to turn around and see what the commotion was about. Little did they know I'd just saved their life. I was now horribly crippled and mangled, but the old people were, in fact, safe and moving slowly on their way. I blame them completely for the fall.

I finally scraped myself up off the sidewalk and noticed my bike was as horribly disfigured as I was. I limped home, dragging the bike along beside me. My injuries left me unable to ride for about six weeks, doctor's orders. It was a thoroughly traumatic experience, known forevermore as 'The Incident'.

It came back to haunt me this weekend, as I decided to venture out onto the street. I haven't fallen since 'The Incident', but these new clip-less pedals provided a new obstacle in remaining seated upright on the bike. The pedals were a change in my typical riding paraphernalia that caused me to fear the possiblities associated with this change. The possibilities included another fall. And pavement is very, very hard. Much harder than, say, my carpet in my home where I'd grown to love my new bike. I was very, very nervous to venture out of doors on the bike.

I procrastinated as long as I could, then finally packed the bike into the Jeep and headed to the lake to ride the trail there. I have to say, I looked great, arriving in my Jeep, with my shiney new bike, and all the right gear to do this thing right. I confidently unloaded the bike, suited up, and swung my leg over the bike to get rolling. I looked around to make sure the way was clear. . . especially clear of old people.

I was detemined not to fall on my first trip out. I needed to set the bar with my confidence level for future rides, plus not look like an idiot who has never biked before. If the pedals, or old people, caused me to fall, it could scar me from biking for life.

It took a couple of tries, but I finally got moving and hooked into the pedals. After a few minutes, I realized I was having a lot of fun! I was cautious my first time around the lake. The road bike allows me to go faster than I could on the mountain bike, so I made sure not to overdo it going down the larger hills. It took awhile to get used to the differences in riding the roadbike, but I soon relaxed and concentrated on all the important pedaling and biking stuff I'd been practicing indoors. WOO-HOO, was I having fun!

I enjoyed the first trip around the lake so much, I went around again. And I'm proud to say, I never fell.

I passed the mental challenge of the first ride. I successfully conquered a new experience. I overcame the curse of 'The Incident'. I can learn to love old people again.

Definitely, definitely learn. . .


Friday, March 07, 2003

Apple Nose
I have a nose of length that when I eat an apple I get apple on my nose.


Hair. . . What is it Good For?
I've had an exceptionally bad hair week. My hair was great last weekend. But Monday comes, and I have bad hair. Overnight, it turns into a disaster. How is that possible? It's been rebelling all week. Every single day it's been subpar. This is unacceptable. I have a standard to maintain.

I mean, I treat my hair with the same respect everyday. I go through the exact same routine. Yet, some days it just decides on its own to look less than appealing. Why must it torture me so? I haven't done anything to deserve its wrath. I don't understand it.

I normally have fabulous hair. It's a great natural color (although when I bleached it blonde for a few months, it still looked fabulous). It's a great, simple, easy, flattering, trendy cut. But it goes through a weird cycle from haircut to haircut, almost as though it's a separate entity in and of itself. I lose complete control of it.

My hair looks it's best starting a day or so after it's cut. Then for a couple of weeks, it is truly amazing hair. It falls perfectly every time, and remains strikingly eye-catching throughout the day. During this time I am proud to have hair on public display.

Then after about Week 3-ish post-haircut, it drops the act and freaks out. It loses all ability to behave. I don't know if it gets tired, or if it just feels it's time to show me who really is the boss in the whole hair-wearing relationship. No matter what I do, it insists on falling short of what I like to see as good hair on my head. It sticks out in weird places. It refuses to stay where I put it. Even the texture changes, almost as though it's trying to morph into another life-form. I'm forced to clip it in funky arrays, to cover up it's independence. I always hope 'funky' is still okay to wear on an ordinary day. The insanity of it is extremely frustrating.

Through another week or so of exhibiting poor hair functionality, it gradually begins to redeem itself and look decent once again. By this time I'm planning my next haircut, because the hair is beginning to approach the length of being too long for my liking. It's acceptable at this point, but not as magnificent as it was at the beginning of the cycle. It's disappointing, and often sends me into a depression.

The next week or so varies from haircut to haircut. Sometimes the hair looks okay, other times I'm ready to cut it all off again, down to the nearly scalp. I'm very particular about the timing of my haircuts. I refuse to go any sooner than every six weeks, but if I wait any longer than two full months I almost can't function on a basic level of existence.

The hair is determined to control my life. And it truly almost does. But I will continue to stand strong and deal with whatever the hair throws my way, until I say it is time for the next cut. Thus, the cycle begins again.

Hair, hear me now. You are not the boss of me.


Superfluous Competition
I hate to admit it, but I am a fairly competitive person. I don't think of that as a necessarily attractive quality. But I am, in fact, competitive. Sure, with the normal stuff, like sports and games and the like. But I also make competition out of situations that aren't competitive. In fact, sometimes I'm the only one aware that I'm competing.

Take traffic, for example. I'm a cautious driver. I am a firm believer of safety first, when in an automobile. I do not make a game out of driving. But say, for instance, a car cuts me off, or I keep finding myself in traffic with the same car during a drive, it becomes a weird competition for me.

This morning I saw the same red Mustang on my drive to work that I see almost everyday. We start from the same neighborhood, and no matter what time I actually leave my apartment, I often see this same Mustang pull out either in front of, or behind me. I have no idea if he's noticed my fabulous black Jeep on the same mornings I've noticed his dirty, inferior Mustang. But when I see him, I have this sudden urge to beat him to work.

Of course, I have no idea where he works or who he is or if he's even going to work. He may be stalking me, for all I know. It would not surprise me, me being me, and all. He could wait every morning, watching for my Jeep to appear so he can take off in his Mustang and haunt me on my drive to work. He's one of those 'weavers' in traffic, where he weaves in and out between cars like he's a Nascar driver. He works really hard, but he never gets very far ahead of me. He seems to have not figured out that once you're in the flow of rush hour traffic, you're pretty much with the same cars all along your journey, until you exit the freeway and leave them behind. I give him props for his creative driving, but he annoys me, and therefore I must win.

However, I'm not sure what I'm trying to win. We don't have the same destination, but I can't help but try to stick as close to him in traffic as I can. If he gets too far away, I'll never catch him. Plus, I want to beat him as many times as possible during one drive. I'll pick a point up the road and make the best effort I can to get there first. I actually feel defeated if he makes it there before I do. But that doesn't happen very often. I make up the rules, and therefore I win more often than not. I'm an excellent competitor at whatever game I've made up to win. If he only knew how many times I've totally kicked his butt . . .

So, much like the superfluous Red Mustang competition, I have to admit that I had a really intense competition going on most of yesterday, having nothing to do with Red Mustang. As I watched the counter here on my blog yesterday afternoon, I noticed I was approaching the 700 mark. I became determined to reach 700 before the end of the night last night. 700 is a completely arbitrary number. It means nothing, except that it's cool to me to have had that many hits, most of them within the past few days. Of course, I have no control whatsoever over the point in time that I reach 700 hits. But the closer the number got to 700, the more excited I got, and the more I cheered on my blog. The blog, of course, is just sitting here. Not doing anything. Just being my fabulous blog.

I checked the counter right before I went to bed last night. It was at 699. I was SO frustrated!! Didn't it know it was supposed to get to 700 before bed time? I was telling it to get there. Why won't it listen???

At the last possible second before I absolutely had to get to bed in order to be rested and refreshed for my morning driving battle with Red Mustang, I clicked one last time on the site meter . . . and it said 701. I did it!! Yep, I showed them, whoever they are. I totally won.

What did I win? Absolutely nothing. What was the game? I have no idea. But I went to bed, relieved to have accomplished my random goal, and I slept well. Victory was mine.

Don't be frightened because I'm quirky. It keeps life interesting.


Thursday, March 06, 2003

Today's Worst Excuse for Celebrity News
This is the lamest drama ever. Did anybody care the first time we heard about it?

Phew! Now that they've resolved it, I can rest much easier.

And I can take these two crazy non-lovebirds off my prayer list. I think they'll be okay.

They say you don't know what you have til it's gone. But if it's gone because I stole it, then I knew you had it before you knew it. And now all you need to know is that it's mine.


My Secret Is. . .
I really didn't want to have to tell my secret. But I saw a blog the other day that has forced me to disclose something that, by nature of the issue, is something I should technically not publicize. I could be in grave danger for mentioning this. The truth is, I'm a ninja.

I stumbled upon a blog the other day that blantantly titled itself something having to do with 'ninja'. It was right there for the world to see! I was shocked. That was no way to keep a secret. Consequently, I had to take a look at the blog because by order of the Ninjas, ordinary non-ninjas should never see anything publicly disclosing information about who, or what, we are.

However, I quickly discovered that this 'ninja' was a fraud. At the most, he is a former ninja, which basically means he never was a ninja. Ninjas who do what this guy has done on his site are quickly ex-communicated from the sacred ninja sect. Not to mention, his information was incorrect. If he ever was a ninja to begin with, his obvious disregard for ninjaness and all that is sacred about ninjahood eliminated him from being a part of the ninja society any longer. We simply do not tolerate such lighthearted and careless handling of who we are. Therefore it is impossible that he could be an active ninja, if he ever was an actual ninja. I know I have never seen him before at any of our secret meetings, or bake sales.

What I saw when I clicked on the 'ninja' blog was a series of pictures. This faux ninja had photographed himself, or perhaps with the help of another faux ninja, in a series of ninja attack poses. Complete with a ninja-like costume. There was no text. Just the pictures.

Not only has he infringed upon the sacred society of Ninjahood, by daring to publicly portray lifestyle behaviors of ninjas, he has completely misrepresented who we are and what we do. He turned us into a joke. And not only that, his attack sequence was completely wrong. He made ninjas look like people who clearly don't know how to fight well. His portrayal of a ninja attack was much more elementary and ridiculous than anything covered on day one of Ninja Fighting 101. I would have no trouble killing him, without flinching nine of my ten fingers.

Ladies and gentleman, I am here to warn you of unofficial ninja websites, or of any information you would be able to find in public about the secret society of ninjas. Since I have developed a soft spot for my readers, I am taking a risk to warn you about false ninjaness. Unfortunately, this imposter has lead you astray, as to what ninjas do, how we behave, and even how we may look. Believe nothing that you might see on his site, or any other site, book, television show, movie, etc. Any information you could stumble across in the world is likely false, since ninjas have no official publications or published works. To abide by our secretive society and invisible lifestyle, ninjas have never turned to the written word, photography, or even crude stick-figure sketches, in order to record our history, rituals, or way of life. It is strictly forbidden. We communicate our traditions and techniques in ways that only ninjas can understand. You will simply never find concrete evidence in any form, that we exist. We have a strongly enforced code of secrecy. In fact, I am risking my sacred status as a ninja by even disclosing this small bit of information to you. But I felt betrayed by this ninja imposter, and in truly honoring my ninja heritage, it is my duty to make the public aware of this fraudulent website, and any other public ninja information lurking about. It is my duty to protect the ninja society, even if it means risking my own ninja status.

By nature of the ninjahood, we do not exist. We meet in secret locations, at undisclosed times, which only a true ninja will sense. We are virtually invisible, even in plain sight. We attack as silent predators, stealthy and quick. We are gone before you know what invisibly hit you. We are dangerous beyond anything you could comprehend. Our weaponry is known only to us. Our attack stances and fight sequences cannot be replicated by ordinary humans. We are not chosen to be who we are. We just are.

I know I can trust you with my secret. Please heed my warning and stay away from all things ninja. I don't want to have to sneakily kill you.