Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Back to Earth

My parents were liars. When I was a kid they said, "Shoot for the stars, buddy." Yeah, well I was five years old then and I took things quite literally. Sure, I jumped off of a roof or two in an attempt to shoot for the stars. And I might have broken a few bones. I mean, expectations were set pretty high. What else was I supposed to do?

Maybe there is a smarter way to shoot for these so called stars that my parents are so fond of, thought my eighteen year old self. So, naturally I went to college and studied astronomy and physics. It turns out that you have to be good at math. Things just didn't add up. Needless to say, my dreams got shot down and landed battered & broken in my driveway. It's too late for me. But it's not for you. That's what I told little Billy.

One day I was shopping and I overheard a mother tell her child, "You can do it Billy. Shoot for the stars kiddo." And I stopped and looked little Billy right in his sad, pathetic face and I said, "No Billy. No. You can't do it. You'll never be an astronaut. You can shoot for the stars all you want. But NASA will just shoot you down. Trust me, I tried. And I mean look at you, and look at me. If I can't make it, then you sure as hell won't." Who knows maybe one day Billy a.k.a. Joseph Mazzello, will fly high into the sky after him and his brother a.k.a. Elijah Wood miraculously build an airplane; as seen in the movie Radio Flyer.

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger....? No. What doesn't kill you leaves you weak, mangled on the ground, battered and bruised, with potentially permanent scars. On the other hand, what doesn't kill you leaves you grounded. And that ain't such a bad thing. Is it?

- Ryan

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Twinkies and Resentment

Once upon a time there was a high school history teacher named Fred Gable. Fred loved Twinkies. He loved them so much that he kept a stock of them in his closet. The bottom shelf held tape, staples and paper clips. The top shelf held paper. And the middle shelf was jam packed full of Twinkies. That shelf was consistently full and rarely had any space, let alone any other tasty treats.

One day Fred died. His death came unexpectedly. However, it was quick, peaceful and was completely unrelated to Twinkies. His funeral was a few days after his passing. There were all sorts of people there: his wife Mildred, family, friends, colleagues, and a man that attended Twinkie conventions with Fred. But more importantly there was Donald, Fred's apprentice; with whom he spent most of his time.


Every seat in the place is being used. Donald is standing at the front of the room comforting Fred's wife. He hugs her then makes his way to the casket. The inside of the casket is full of pictures, Fred's prized possessions, and a few boxes of Twinkies. Donald kneels down in front of the casket.

Hi Fred. Wow. I don't know where to start. I mean you taught me so much and so much about myself. I just want to thank you for your friendship and your guidance. It truly has been an honor.

Donald glances at the Twinkies.

And...You know what, I guess now would be a good time to tell you how I really feel. It wasn't all rainbows and puppy dogs. And I love puppy dogs. (Pause) Two years Fred. Two very long years and you never shared a single Twinkie. Not once. But now it looks like you're going to share. Aren't you?

Donald opens a box of Twinkies, takes one and puts it in his pocket without anyone seeing him.

Aww. Thanks Fred. That's very nice of you. It means so much to me.

Donald kisses Fred on his forehead and walks to the back of the room. The Priest, Father Lupton walks up to the podium. The room gets quiet.

I'd like to start out by saying thank you to everyone for being here. Fred was a loved man. And that is clear to see. I'd like to ask Fred's wife Mildred to come up and say a few words before I proceed with the service.

Actually Father, I was going to ask Donald to come up and say a few words first. He spent the most time with Fred. So...Donald, could you...?

Donald looks baffled.

Yes. Of course.

Donald starts walking up to the front of the room. SOUND OF PLASTIC WRAPPER RUBBING AGAINST DONALD'S PANTS.

What's that sound?

Donald pauses for a moment, then proceeds walking while trying not to make any noise. Mildred hears the noise and immediately looks at the casket. She notices the open box of Twinkies and looks at Donald.

No. Donald...


Say it ain't so.

It ain't so.

Why would you steal Fred's Twinkies?


I don't know what you're talking about.

Then what's in your pocket making all that racket?

That noise isn't coming from me.

Oh yeah? Then keep walking.

Everyone is staring at Donald. He stands there then starts to mosey on over toward the casket. SOUND OF CRINKLING PLASTIC.

It is you!

You're right! Fine! I did it! Big whoop!

Who steals a Twinkie from a casket!?

I do! Fred never shared his Twinkies. Never!

What is wrong with you!? Put the Twinkie back!

No. It's mine now!

Mildred charges at Donald and tries to get the Twinkie out of Donald's pocket.

Ahh! What are you doing? That tickles! Stop! You're smushing it!

Pardon me Mildred, but that's quite inappropriate.

I'm sorry Father, but you've never seen inappropriate.

Mildred pulls out the Twinkie but it explodes all over Donald's pants.

And now you have Father.

It happens.



- Ryan

Friday, September 16, 2011


Don't you just love it when computer programs try to read your mind? Take Microsoft Word for instance. It likes to assume things. Now, humans know the baggage that comes with assuming; asses fly, everywhere. People think they're so clever. "Well you know what they say (talking like a corny nerd)" Response: "About what, assuming? Yes, yes I do. Thanks for the reminder. And I hate "they" say, by the way. Next time please don't beat around the bush. Just call me an ass." And, "beating around the bush?". Who the hell came up with that saying? Probably some type of ass. One can only assume. Anyway, where was I? (ponder) Ahh yes, unfortunately computer programs aren't smart enough to know when they're wrong for assuming. The computer program assumes that you want to jump down a line and tab over twice to continue a "Things to do" list. Why yes I do want to go on an excursion to try and find the closest Jack in the Box restaurant which is 3000 miles away. But I'd prefer if the first thing to do was up a line and two tabs back that way. Ass. And yes I did call my computer an ass. I know how to choose my battles; battles I can definitely win. Unless my computer starts pulling stuff like this everyday, then I lose. But, say I rough it up a little bit. Technically, physically I win the fight. But mentally, psychologically the computer wins because I am without a functioning computer; as it lies there broken, hard drive bleeding out, laughing at me like the Predator laughed at Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film Predator.

Most cases that involve assuming are really just acts of kindness. But somewhere it gets flip flopped and misconstrued. For instance you get invited to a birthday party for your wife's friend's husband whom you've never met before, whom you believe to be Mexican because you've seen a picture of him. It's the summertime. On your way to the party you stop by the liquor store and pick up a sixer of Corona; a refreshing, summertime, Mexican beer. You get to the party and find the birthday boy alone in the kitchen. You figure this is your chance to get aquainted. You introduce yourself and surprise him with the Corona. He says "Thanks but..." You jump in and say, "You're welcome. One sip of this stuff and I'm sure it'll bring you right back to your homeland. Mexico (throw in a little spanish accent to impress)". He responds with, "I was going to say thanks but I'm a recovering alcoholic. Plus, I'm Guatamalan you ignorant son of a...." He begins beating your face in. You scream, "I shouldn't have assumed! Next time I'll put my foot in my mouth!" But that was a bad idea because it enticed him to stick his foot in your mouth De Niro style. Terrible. Tragic. But atleast we can look back and laugh. And by we, I mean me, the Guatamalan in the story. DUN DUN DUN! Just kidding. That story is loosely based on a fictional event. Plus, I'm not Guatamalan. I'm basically a mixture. Sort of like a mutt. Better yet, a melting pot. I am the melting pot. A mutting pot. A...Where was I?

Assuming. From now on I'm going to replace the word assume with the words educated guess. I think you can avoid a lot of aggrevation and pain if you use "educated guess" instead of assume. This is how the birthday party story could have went. You don't pick up the Corona. You drive right pass the liquor store; providing that the liquor store is on the same route as the party, otherwise don't drive by it at all. Remember, you're not assuming he's Mexican, you're taking an educated guess; which means you could be guessing wrong but it won't matter because educated guess sounds better than assume. If you were assuming then you're already an ass.  So...You get to the party and find the birthday boy alone in the kitchen..baking cupcakes. You walk up to him, introduce yourself and say, "I'm gonna take an educated guess here. I could be wrong. But, you're Mexican right?" He responds, "No, I'm actually Guatamalan." You say, "Damn! I'm sorry." He says, "It's okay. You were just taking an educated guess." The end. I just love happy endings. Though, I'm sure it wouldn't have ended there. You probably would have found a way to insult someone. And by you I mean you, the one and only person that's reading this right now.

Where was I? Oh yeah, educated guessing. You can use the word belief too if you want. It is my belief...No one would dare mess with that. Assume is just too easy to tamper with. But, belief is way too serious. It is my belief that God doesn't appreciate it when people use the phrase "God awful". I'm sure he doesn't want to be associated with awfulness or anything of the like. So there we have it. Using the word belief is kind of like religion. It's kind of like heroin too; you just don't mess with it. Kids! Believe me.

- Ryan

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I met this 90 year old woman the other day. She was the sweetest lady; sweet like a bowl of sugar free candies. Before she left, she shook my hand. But let me tell you, she had the firmest handshake I've ever had the pleasure of feeling. It felt like she gave my hand a Swedish massage. Most men I know can't shake a hand as well as she did. It's not like she had man hands either. If that were the case I would have anticipated her senior death grip. But no, she had really delicate looking hands; magician hands, ninja hands...magician ninja hands. They were so soft, like she was no stranger to a daily moisturizer. Unfortunately I can't think quickly on my toes; especially when my hand is being crushed. That's where the word "regret" comes to mind. I regret not challenging the old bag to a hand duel or a hand off if you will. Have you ever made a 90 year old woman cry? Yeah, neither have I. But, there's a first time for everything. And that could have been my first. Not that I would want to make the 90 year old woman cry. But, I mean she's the one who brought the pain first. I should have brought it right back to her until one us gave up.

Then we could have transitioned into a thumb war. I probably would have won because I'm assuming she has arthritis in her hands. However, if she has arthritis then she would probably beat me in a shadow puppet battle and possibly a gang sign battle. 

What about that hand slap game? If she slaps as hard as she squeezes then she would have a severe advantage. Then again I'm probably quicker. Or I would hope so anyway. What about a slap bet battle? Well, she's been through the Great Depression, a bunch of war time eras, some other serious shit and she birthed like eight babies. It's safe to say that life has slapped her around a few times. So, she could probably take more slaps to the face than I could.

What about rock, paper, scissors? I can't be certain but I think that she had a glass eye in her left eye socket, which leads me to believe that I could rely on my quickness to pull a fast one on her. I could shoot my signs to her left side so she couldn't see, then switch it up right quick if I had to. Or I could just make shit up. She would be like, "I win. Scissors beats paper." Then  I'd be like, "No. I don't think so. This isn't paper. Haven't you ever seen Edward Scissor Hands? My whole hand is covered with scissors right now. Use your imagination. If anything it should be a tie. Or I should win because my scissors would totally shred your dinky scissors. Or maybe my hand could just be a hand again and I could slap the crap out of you right now. How do you feel about that? It's your move Betty White."

Oh well. It would have been a great battle of battles. Who knows, maybe we'll meet again. And if...I mean when that time comes...I'll be ready.

- Ryan

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Mutual Understanding

Let’s face it kiddies, there are unwritten mutual agreements in every facet of life. Some of these agreements are universal, such as pigeons chilling in the middle of the street while some are on a personal level. As Jerry Seinfeld so eloquently put (about the human and pigeons agreement), “Of course we have a deal: They get out of the way of our cars; we look the other way on the statue defecations.” So when driving down the road with pigeons on it…I will slow down and allow them the proper amount of time to honor the agreement. If they choose to ignore the pact, then anything goes. But I’m not here to tell you that I justify massacring pigeons on the idea that there is some agreement with them. What I am here to tell you about is the epic time I had with my printer last week.

Every Monday I am responsible for submitting my company’s payroll. This task requires my printer and me to be on the best of terms because I have to print out dozens upon dozens of expense reports. We have this “mutual agreement” that the printer DOES NOT jam on Mondays. I allow the printer to act up any other day of the week without (visual or verbal) frustration; however Mondays are off limits. And my printer knows this. Last Monday morning it jammed 4 times in a row. Am I, the owner of said delinquent machine, to be blamed? Probably. I proceeded to ask myself, could I have been a better owner? Definitely.

Keep in mind, my printer is definitely seeing the light and is close to going to mechanical heaven. It has dawned on me that I have had so much lost time with my expiring (mechanical) friend, Sammy. I now have the opportunity to make her last days her best days. So since payroll didn’t getting done because my printer was refusing to cooperate (sorry fellow employees), I had plenty of time to plan out a fun-filled week with my printer. She never came out and said it but I know she never had the pleasure of an ocean breeze on a September morning. Feet in the sand. Corona at hand (very poetic, I know). Sammy had so many things she wanted to do, I feel obligated to fulfill some of those dreams....

We've talked about going to the half-pipe some day. Unfortunately, we don't have time anymore :/ Doesn't mean we can't enjoy some street skateboardin'.

We've had so many conversations in the office about football. She always wanted to play the role of Randy Moss (and I was playing as Daunte Culpepper circa 2004). 

That's good for six points.

Everyday at work I would play Stand by Me by The Beatles. Sammy was always air-guitaring during the song. I figured I would take the time to teach her how to play her favorite song.

So I took Sammy back to work this morning...She didn't even power on. At least we had a great last week.

?? - 9.12.11 Samsung 

Well, good thing we got that warranty!


Thursday, September 8, 2011


I love the names of roads. Names like Breakneck Road and Good Intent Road make me smile. They're kind of one in the same though. "Hey. How do I get to this particular place?" "Oh you're going to have to take Breakneck Road. But be careful." It's like the road tells you to beware anyway. Intentions were good when this road was named. However, it wouldn't be fair to name a road Smooth Cruising Road and then put speed bumps halfway down the road. Then it would have to be called Smooth Cruising Until You Reach The Speed Bumps Halfway Down The Road Road. But that's just not practical. Plus by the time you finish reading the sign, you'd probably be hitting the first speed bump, doing like 65 mph. What about Good Intent Road though?


There is a huge pothole with orange cones and barriers around it. A reporter is on the scene.

I'm standing here hole-side with Officer Ballanskey. This pothole is so massive you could fit like seven elephants in it. Don't ask me why I know that. So officer Ballanskey, if you could, give us a run down of what happened exactly.

Well, I was patrolling the area. It's part of my standard routine. It was raining pretty hard. So, I decided to park right over there in that lot.

Conveniently right next to a Dunkin Donuts. Since we're on the subject of holes, do you like donut holes or do you prefer the whole donut?

Umm...I'm more of a croissant guy. Dunkin Donuts has great croissants.

Really? Wow. How about that.

The reporter turns to the camera.

You're welcome, Dunkin Donuts.

Anyway, so I was sitting there and out of the sky falls a parachuter. And he landed in this crater right over here.

Holy crap. Is he okay?

I'm not sure. He's still down there.

I'm okay. Can you throw down a rope or something? And I'm kind of hungry. For some reason I can really go for a croissant. Throw me down a croissant.

Well there you have it folks. Intentions were good on Good Intent Road. Orange cones and barriers were set up to block this really big pothole. But in the end no one took into account parachuters falling from the sky. They should name this road Good Intent Road...But Not Good Enough. I'm Stu Donaldson. Stay safe and watch out for holes.

- Ryan

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No Room for Resting

I never understood why we call restrooms "restrooms". I mean, it's not like I'm out for a jog and say to myself, "Man I'm tired. Where's the closest public restroom? I need to rest. Now!" When I think of rest I think of the word lounge and I can't see myself lounging in a restroom. I sure as hell don't want to lounge in a place that smells of shit and is hot and steamy for some God awful reason. Gross.

With that said, I do have to thank restrooms for having everything sensored and for making me lazier than I already am. Thanks. Sure it is a convenience and I'm sure it prevents people from touching things thus making it more sanitory. But, there is still a lazy factor in there somewhere. Next thing we know, there will be mechanical arms coming out of the walls trying to wipe our asses. "Umm, excuse me Mr. restaurant proprietor. I just got fondled by your restroom. Yeah, your restroom walls to be specific. The lights dimmed for some reason and I got fondled. Then I felt a yodel in my ding-dong and I went "yoo hoo!" and now here I stand hunched over. Restrooms? Restrooms my ass. Like literally. My ass won't be resting at all tonight."

Soon we'll see this in Presidential campaigns. They'll be handing out free rolls of toilet paper with the candidates faces on them. Example: Bob Whataliar says, "The people are drowning in a poor economy. We can't clean that up right away. But we can atleast wipe their asses. They deserve that much." Then there would be some kind of scandel. "This just in. Bob Whataliar was caught in a shit storm after not being able to hold up his end of the bargain." Headline says, "Bob Whataliar drops huge deuce on America: Who's going to wipe his ass?"

Sometimes I forget that not all restrooms have sensored sinks. So, I'll be drying my hands and realize that I left the tap running. I wonder what would happen if I left one running and didn't remember to shut it off. "This just in. A Cheese E. Cheese was found floating up shits creek this morning. Apparently, last night some idiot left the sink running on full blast which then flooded the entire facility. However, it is said to be a blessing in disguise because it brought some horrifying ball pit artifects to the surface. These artifects include multiple syringes, a crack pipe, and worst of all a stuffed animal of a cat wearing a Discovery Zone t-shirt. Take that Chuck. And thank you, idiot that left the sink running."

I'm telling you, this is how the world will end. Not by natural disasters, not by nuclear warfare, not by distructive meteorites, but by the hands of defiant robots that we've engineered. And it'll all start in the restroom. Probably at an IHOP.

- Ryan

Tuesday, September 6, 2011



DON is leaning back in his chair. RICH walks up and they start shooting the shit. MARY is sitting a few feet away from DON. She's on the phone with a customer.

Let me double check that. I'll be right back.

Mary places her phone on her desk and exits the room.

You know what I hate?

What do you hate?

I hate customers who call and ask questions, but aren't prepared for the answers. I'll be like, "Yes sir, I can give you that web address. It's..." Then they interrupt me with, "Oh hold on one second. I just have to find something to write with and something to write on." A couple minutes pass; which feels like eternity, especially when it's completely silent. The only noise you hear is the sound of them searching through their junk drawer for a pen and paper. Then they finally find something to write with, but they still can't find anything to write on.

Umm hello. It sounds like there are plenty of things to write on in that junk drawer. Or just write it on yourself silly.

I know right.

Which reminds me. Some chick wrote her number on me the other night. Can you check to see if it's still there.

Isn't that something you can handle yourself?

She wrote it on my ass.

I don't even want to know. But I would hope that the number wouldn't still be there. Anyway, where was I?

My ass. Just kidding. Junk drawer.

Same difference. So this guy finally finds something to write on. I start giving him the web address, "usland..." and he tells me, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down." So I speak slower and read off the web address, "uslandrecords". I finish the uslandrecords part, pausing every few seconds mind you. Then I say, ".com" and he says, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. What was that again?" And I'm thinking to myself, "It's dot com you dipwod. You know, the most common ending to a web address?"

Yeah. You should have been like, "U" as in you are an idiot. "S" for stupid. "L" for loser.

DON (sarcastic)
Haha. Yeah. That totally would've been worth getting fired over.

Mary comes back to her desk, picks up the phone, and proceeds to talk to the customer. But, Don notices that she didn't have the customer on hold.

Um Rich. Mary didn't have that customer on hold.

So that customer heard everything we just said?

They both pause for a moment.



Don and Rich are standing by their cars with boxes full of their belongings.

Definitely not worth it.




Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crazy Loves Company

So, my fellow co-workers and I were listening to the radio. Bruce Springsteen's "10th Avenue Freeze Out" was playing. For some reason they thought that he was saying, "Tent Devil in the Freezer." Now, I'm not entirely sure what 10th Avenue Freeze Out means. But, I know damn well that it means more than "tent devil in the freezer." When would that ever make sense? Never. Maybe if you were tripping. And they very well might have been. But check it, here's the kicker. I googled "tent devil in the freezer" and before I had a chance to type "in the freezer", it popped up. So that means there are other crazy people out there that heard "tent devil in the freezer". Well, you definitely do learn something new everyday. Plus, it looks like I found a new band name: The Tent Devils. Title of first album: In the Freezer.

- Ryan