Friday, February 26, 2010

Toilets in parallel universes are a pain to fix [Connor]

There are two kinds of people in this world. On one hand, there’s the people who, if their truck broke down on a deserted road in the mountains, would be able to fix it quickly and be safely on their way. On the other hand, we have the people who would open the hood and stand there squinting dumbly at the engine until they were eaten by wolves.*

I represent the second group.

I have no aptitude for mechanical things whatsoever. As I write this, the basement toilet has the toilet flu — which, as those of you with mechanical knowledge will know, is the technical term for when a toilet randomly floods every half hour. Normally this would not be cause for emergency, except that the two members of my family with any mechanical skills — and therefore the power to cure this toilet of its toilet flu — are away fishing, happy in the knowledge that, in the case of an emergency, they can fix the truck before the wolves get them. Which leaves myself and my mom at home with the solemn duty to hold the toilet at bay. Our current plan consists of bailing the water out of the toilet bowl with a bucket and into a larger container, which we then dump out outside. It’s kind of like being on a sinking ship, except that, if they fail on the ship, the sailors don’t have to worry about whether or not they need to call someone tear up the carpet. It’s rough, that toilet flu.

Not everybody would get eaten by the proverbial wolves when the proverbial truck breaks down on the proverbial mountain road. My brother Reilly is an example of this. My dad, who would also survive the proverbial wolves, will tell him some kind of complicated mechanical job that needs done around the house, like reassembling a Toyota from the molecular level, or fixing a doorknob. A couple hours later, Reilly returns, and something similar to the following conversation takes place:

DAD: So, did you get it fixed?
REILLY: Yeah. It took me a while because the truncated grommet components were the wrong caliber. I had to get some more at the hardware store.
DAD: I thought we had some of those around here somewhere. Connor, do you know where the truncated grommet components are?

Just now, as I wrote the script above, we finally got a plumber over to take a look at our ailing toilet. After inspecting it for several minutes from different angles, he announced solemnly that “it’s coming from someplace else.” For a tech-savvy person like me, that clears up the matter in an instant. I’m surprised I didn’t figure it out before, really. Clearly, there is a toilet in a parallel universe that transports water to ours whenever it’s flushed!

I’ll avoid making a joke here about the condition of the people using that toilet in the parallel universe and the fact that they’re apparently flushing every twenty minutes. The plumber is currently sticking a ten-foot long metal thing into the toilet. I’m assuming it has a note on the end addressed to the owners of the parallel universe toilet, politely asking them to quit flushing the toilet. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, it’s my turn to bail out the toilet.

To keep updated on the status of my toilet, become a follower of my blog. If that's not a very tempting offer, follow the blog anyway.

*Wolves strike me as the kind of capable, masculine animals that would be able to repair the truck after they ate us, thus dramatically improving their mobility in the future.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bring me five teenagers with attitude! [Ryan]

I’ve been thinking about my childhood. Specifically, I’m referring to the shows that dominated the airwaves of my youth. It was a simpler time then, when we were too young to look at the premises of our favorite shows and ask precisely which part of the brain stem of the shows’ creators had been taken over by alien sponges.

Hey, that would make a great idea for a 90s TV show.

Foremost among my memories of childhood television is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. If the omission of a necessary apostrophe in its title were the show’s only grievance, it might have become more than a reasonably predictable acid trip. Instead, with a little supplementary information from Wikipedia, I’ve compiled the basic premise:

A couple of astronauts accidentally free an evil space witch — the devious Rita Repulsa, an aptly named villain with a curious resemblance to Madonna — who immediately sets her sights on conquering Earth, or at least California.

Her arch-nemesis Zordon, whom she trapped in an alternate dimension a long time ago and whose base is conveniently located in California, manifests himself as a giant floating face and speaks to his robotic servant Alpha 5. (Makes you wonder what a floating head has been up to for all this time. He probably has a database somewhere of himself making funny faces in PhotoBooth.) Zordon gives Alpha 5 the succinct and totally logical command, “Bring me five teenagers with attitude!”

Alpha 5 beams five ethnically diverse teens into their headquarters, who spend a remarkably short time coming to terms with the idea of calling upon the spirits of prehistoric beasts and fighting evil on a weekly basis under the direction of a psychedelic floating head.

Each episode begins with Rita Repulsa throwing another clay-mation figurine into the oven. The creature then materializes on Earth, where it begins wreaking havoc until the Power Rangers attempt to stop it. But they can’t — and they have to call in their Zords, giant robots that somehow manage to hide in the wilderness of California.
The Zords and evil beings do battle, but the evil clay-mation creatures always prove too tough to handle, resulting in the Zords joining up to ultimately defeat them.

This happens every week. It seems like a fair assumption that the most efficient course of action would be to simply combine the Zords and kick some bad-special-effects butt right off the get-go, but we have to remember that these “teenagers with attitude” agreed to wear checkered jumpsuits in their quest to fight evil, so we can’t ascribe too much common sense to them.

Speaking of common sense, it’s a wonder this show ever became popular. Looking back at my memories, I’m inclined to believe that gas fumes in our basement near the TV contributed to my enjoyment of the series. However, I could also just write it all off as the follies of youth.

It’s a wonder I turned out normal.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Top Five Worst Songs of 2009 [Connor]

This is a countdown list of the top five worst songs of 2009 that I wrote for my school newspaper, the Trojanier. Tragically, I forgot about Cobra Starship's "Good Girls Go Bad" when I wrote this, or it would have placed at least third. Also, "Imma Be" by the Black-Eyed Peas failed to become popular until the week after I wrote this, or it would have taken its well-earned seat in the countdown as well. Honorable mentions go to Brittney Spears' "If U Seek Amy" and anything by Drake.

5. “One Time” - Justin Bieber

Everybody who heard this song for the first time and assumed it was a girl raise your hand. Yeah, me too. It’s no coincidence that there’s a Facebook group called “I thought Justin Bieber’s song one time was sung by a girl.” The guy (if that’s what he is) isn’t allowed to sing in most buildings due to the likelihood of his (her?) voice shattering the windows.*

4. “You Know You Want Me”- Pit Bull

No bueno. “If I could become famous by counting to four in another language and repeating the line ‘I know you want me, you know I want ya’, I certainly would,” says junior Sam Merril. Actually, Sam is incorrect- the singer only counts to three in another language.

3. “Sexy Chick” - David Guetta
If ol’ David really is “trying to find the right words to describe her without being disrespectful,” as the song says, he comes up with what can only be described as EPIC FAIL (cymbal hit). The song’s lyrics are a jumbled mess of vulgar descriptions and poorly disguised innuendos. “It makes me want to scream and tear my radio out of my car with my bare hands,” says Kaitlin Perrenoud, a junior.

2. “Boom Boom Pow” - Black-Eyed Peas

It’s a little known fact that this song was actually recorded as an aerobics workout so Fergie would have a beat to exercise to. Not even the Black-Eyed Peas actually dreamed anybody would want to buy it. They only put it on the album because they lost a bet with Justin Bieber, who, had he (she?) lost, would have had to put on his album a recording of himself singing “Santa Baby.”*

1. “I Gotta Feeling” - Black-Eyed-Peas

I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night

A feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night

If you’ve heard that, you’ve heard the whole song. It’s a mark of how repetitive it is that I simply had to copy and paste the first stanza to create the second. On the scale of Things That Drive Me Crazy, this song ranks just ahead of People Who Drive Seventy Miles With Their Left Blinker On and just behind Girls Who Honestly Believe They Will One Day Marry Edward Cullen.
*Ok, there’s a possibility, however slim, that these facts are wrong. If you plan to sue me, please disregard them.