Friday, April 4, 2014

Wake Up Little Buddy.

  The Death of Ivan Ipodovitch.
  A sad tale.


Nano Cornelius Ipodovitch accompanied Liz throughout her adventures for the past 6 years. Nano was an R2-D2 of electronic devices - faithful and snarky to the end. 
When Liz first received Nano as a birthday present from her brother, she wasn't sure that she needed an ipod. But soon, Nano had won its way into Liz's heart and they were inseparable for the next 6 years.
Nano accompanied Liz throughout approximately 2,400 miles of running since sophomore year of college. During this prolonged period of running, Nano patiently bore with Liz's selection of trashy pop -enduring untold amounts of Katy Perry. 
       Nano is survived by Liz and her laptop Alexander. Both will miss him dearly. They held a small memorial service for Nano complete with a funereal wreath made of the many ear-buds that Nano destroyed (about every 6 months- Ipod ages should be counted in dead ear-buds - Liz learned this from the book Cultural Customs of Small Electronic Devices" which has been very helpful in this trying time. )

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fools

On the eve of this fool's day I began to wonder why it is that we spend time, money and effort to create elaborate hoaxes that our loved ones will undoubtedly hate. 
Why is it that victims of pranks never stop and say, "Listen, couldn't you have spent your energies on baking me a cake instead lighting my hair on fire? But no." 
So I did extensive and rigorous historical research on Wikipedia to trace the origin of this ludicrous holiday and found the following interesting facts.

 April Fools and similar prank playing holidays are celebrated internationally. 
1. In Scotland it was called "Hunt-The-Gowk-Day" (Gowk - definition an idiot or a cuckoo). On this day you send someone a message which says for example, "Go find Sam and he will tell you where I hid your favorite chicken." They then go to find Sam and receive a message which says, "Go find Artis, he is the next step on the journey to find your chicken." This treasure hunt game is intended to never end sending the poor chicken deprived individual on a looping set of errands. 
In other news "gowk" is indubitably a good word for stupid and should be reintroduced to common usage. 
For example, 
Person one: "Hey everyone let me post this thing that I read from the mattwalshblog."
Person two: "Lord no. Gowk."

 2. April Fish. 
 In some French speaking countries it is called "April Fish" the goal of this day is to tape paper fish to your friend's backs. 
Why are fish funny? I don't know - but it is.
In past times they made April fish postcards and sent them out to their friends -
These postcards are so old that they are in the public domain - yay! And we thought old timey people never had any fun. But they made these postcards so they clearly enjoyed the ridiculous.

See you could spell out the word April using fish on your postcard. 
You could also take a picture of a couple awkwardly holding a fish between them whilst staring into each others eyes with doting expressions. 
You could then add additional questions such as - The fish they are holding doesn't seem to be real, since this is old school Photoshop- what are they actually holding? Are they holding anything at all? Is that what makes their hands so limp and awkward? What does it say at the bottom- I think it says something about "lovers" and "fish"...I changed my mind I do not want to know.
Why does the fish in the top-most-left corner have a huge bow around it? Is it exhaling in it's fishy stink breath the word "avril"?
Last but not least from a business perspective this "Awkward Couple Holding Fish" postcard should be re-printed I would buy that and send it to people for sure - not during April Fools though - just randomly. And I would write, "thinking of you" on the back.

3. Having holidays with the express goal of being ridiculous is not new. Ancient peoples held festivals where everyone was ridiculous- some of them were the famous, "Feast of Fools" (Spain) and "Saturnalia" (Rome). In all of these superiors and inferiors traded roles and people disguised themselves. Often a Lord of Misrule was established along with a supporting ecclesiastical set of "Bishops of Nonsense" or whatever. 

Here have an April fools wish:
"May the true Lord of Misrule, Puck* (duh kids, duh),
 bestow upon you this April day
 his square crown - each side of which depicts a leering face its tongue out.
 May all your tricks hit true 
but end up for the best as in the comedy of Fairies.
May Puck not choose you as his own and bestow upon you devious little horns."

 *From A Midsommers Night's Dream - today is his day and you should watch out 
because he is the king of tricksters: 

"Thou speak'st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob
And on her wither'd dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And 'tailor' cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Math Homework Battles

When I started doing pre-algebra I would spend much more time making up stories about battles between the positive and negative numbers than doing the problems- the winner was determined in the answer. It was not a very successful approach to learning the mechanics of mathematics.
My math homework always morphed into number story time.

And now a semi-math rant:
Math needs to get more interesting.
Kids are fully capable of talking about math - and theorizing about it. 
I know because I unintentionally started a conversation about whether or not one was a number with some of my students. I said something like, "some ancient mathematicians did not consider one to be a number." And boom some kids attempted to understand why they would say that - "yeah wait one is really different than the other counting numbers. One fits into all of the numbers." These kids challenged some others who said things like, "no but when you learn to count you start with one so one is a number". Suddenly a discussion about the number two developed from nowhere - "two is also a weird number..." 
Anyway someday I want to try teaching Euclid to elementary students. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dear Self, could we just not fall in love? - with skeleton.

Dear Self,

I thought that maybe by the ripe old age of twenty-four we would be over this whole - obsessive head over heels in love thing.
I mean when are we going to stop having crushes on stuff? When are we going to become mature, stable and somewhat boring individuals.
We need to have a talk about you falling in love with Skeleton.
No not the bones sort of skeleton - the sport kind of Skeleton.
Anyway you being all smitten by Skeleton is not what really what we need right now.
A sport where people sprint around and then go head first down an ice run at eighty miles an hour sounds like something that might end our future altogether.
Aren't you too tall?
                      Really though please,
PS: You are never allowed to watch the Olympics and fall in love with weird sports again.

Dear Liz,

We can't help but fall in love. From the moment Skeleton walked into the room we were head over heels for it. We saw a picture in our facebook news feed for an article on something not at all related to Skeleton. But in the corner there was something that looked like a sled. "Oh my goodness is it a Skeleton sled?" It was. We are stalking Skeleton.
We are in love.
Its been several weeks and we still can't get over it. We have watched a ridiculous number of Skeleton videos.
We don't give a crap about not having a shot. We want to try out for a Skeleton team anyway. I don't care if we are too tall. Trying it anyway.
         Really though watch this video- how could we not give this a shot?
PS: We will watch the Olympics and try Biathlon next if we want to. They have guns. What now?

Well that is boss.
These letters indicating that Seize the Absurd (occasionally known as Liz) suffers from multiple personality disorder will not come as a surprise.
Seize the Absurd's sudden and borderline obsessive desire to try out Skeleton and do well on the LSAT has distracted her from writing posts of late. She has by no means quit being a cartoonist. She also has not quit writing in the third person.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Seize the Absurd Writes some Children's books.

I have always wanted to write children's books.
I get about two sentences into writing them and then I stop - I will share them with you anyway.

1. The Iphone and the Whale

2.  "I am hungry"
"I am hungry" - said the black hole. It ate a nearby solar system, a comet, and an alien named Christoph. It was still hungry. 
It ate a universe. It ate a parallel universe. Is that even possible? 
Whatever - It was still hungry...

3. The princess and the social media snafu. 
Exactly what it says. Next.

4. And the Layer Cake's Name was Joaquin.
Why would the master baker at Creme de la Creme make a cake as boring as Joaquin? Has the baker completely lost his marzipan? All the other fabulously decorated cakes tell Joaquin that he doesn't belong. Is it true?

5. The Pickles and the Peanut Butter.
One day Alex decides to make her own lunch. Her peanut butter pickle sandwich causes a stir in the school cafeteria. Alex is instantly a school wide celebrity. Everybody knows her name and she basks in the elementary school glory.
 Pretty soon though, all the kids are eating revolting food combinations- bologna and strawberry jam and chocolate chip tuna- YUCK. After a few days Alex isn't so sure that she wants to keep eating weird food - the thought of a peanut butter pickle sandwich is making her downright queasy. 

Self Help books for kids- and anxiously success oriented parents:

Baby Harvard Business Series: "Graham Cracker Tycoon" 
Through investment, financial analysis, and stealing I acquired 90% of today's daycare snack material. You can too?
Ready to be in the top percentage of apple juice holders? Read this book and learn how to amass a bland snack empire.

Ready Set - 99.9th percentile -Prepare Your Baby for Standardized Testing. 
Welcome new human beings! Our society bases a person's value on numbers from a scantron machine. Yesterday is the time to get ready for the SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and HAZMAT .  
Featuring reading comprehension questions for babies like the following: 
         Which one of the following best expresses the intent of the passage from goodnight moon?
               (A) Saying goodnight to a gazillion inanimate objects helps the bunny drift into unconsciousness.
               (B) The old lady whispering hush is frustrated with the little bunny.
               (C) Since when do bunnies own cats?
               (D) Mush is this bunny's favorite bedtime snack.
Order today and receive a giant number two pencil.

Monday, February 17, 2014

NBC interviewers in the penalty box - Sochi Olympics

I love the Olympics.
I don't watch other sports. I watched the Superbowl only because there was five layer dip and a massive bag of tortilla chips. I watch the Olympics without food bribery.
I don't love the NBC interviewing stratagem.
 I think that NBC production should take an indefinite cross country ski trip to Siberia. Maybe a long time-out in in the penalty box.
         Their interviews seem intent on dragging the most painful story possible out of every athlete they come into contact with. Not that we don't want to hear their stories- if they want to tell us their life stories, cool. But whisking out painful moments of their lives right after they have competed in the most emotionally charged sports event in the world - is not politely asking someone  to tell you about their journey. NBC isn't encouraging Olympic athletes it is purposefully kicking them in the face.
NBC you are off team USA. Go home.

complaining- to come - but first this important message:

American Athletes out there- We are proud of you if you medal, we are proud of you if you fall. Thank you for representing us on the ice and snow today, we are cheering for you no matter what.
You didn't win- doesn't matter- you're still our hero.

P.S. Dear US Speed skating we love you unconditionally like that Katy Perry song.

P.P.S. I have no idea why NBC has it's head up a polar bear's butt. Ignore their crap please. Don't answer their questions if you don't want to. We are cool with that.

Ready for!~ Interviews that really pissed me off!

1. The Bode Miller interview 

Yesterday after Bode Miller won bronze in the men's Super-G. NBC managed to come up with the most outrageous sports interview I have yet seen.
It went something like this:
     I see that you just flew rapidly down a mountain- what were you thinking up there?
     How are you feeling?
     Remember that your brother is dead?
     Are you thinking about him today?
     Now how are you feeling?
     I see that tears are running down your face right now, how are you feeling?
 He later said that he was really thinking about his brother that day and that was part of the emotion that he felt, but even if he wasn't - adrenaline can make you bawl.
You can watch the video here- warning: it might just totally piss you off.
Bode Miller Interview NBC

After even the most insensitive person in the world could tell that he is tearing up - they keep asking him questions about his dead brother and they hold a camera close up which rivals close-ups in Les Miserables.
In fact "the miserables" is a perfectly good way to describe the viewing audience at that point.
I yelled more at the TV during the interview than during any sporting event I have watched at the Olympics to date. Appropriate phrases include: "DUDE. LEAVE HIM ALONE." and "NO. STOP."
At some point he just walks away from the interviewer.
Do they leave him alone? No.
Another camera man shows up from the other direction and films him crouched down beside the gate. A nearby audience member does their damnedest to interrupt the cameraman's line of vision by waving their hand in front of Bode.

Twitter exploded with some serious hatred for Christin Cooper- the interviewer.
Bode responded in a gentlemanly fashion not blaming the interviewer for what happened.
(Here is a link to an article about it: Bode Miller Interview - response)
Thanks for being a gentleman dude - but NBC shouldn't get off that easy.

If it was just this one interview we could say - hey why is that one interviewer such a jerk? But it is a trend that I have noticed throughout the Olympics.

2. Interview with Shani Davis

He just placed 11th in a race that he was expected to win. He gets off the ice and a reporter and camera annihilate him with questions -
Q: What happened out there today?
A: I had a really bad race - Started off like normal but the end of it didn't work out.
Q: Why do you think that happened?
A: I just had a really bad race.
Q: But why did you have a really bad race? I mean you are the best in the world right?
A: It just didn't happen for me today.
Q: Was it the suits?
He had a bad day. It happens. Have these people never played sports in their entire lives? Do they have no idea what it is like? Yes you train hard - you can build muscle and do sprints with a stupid parachute. You still have days where you feel the awesomeness and days where you don't. Poor Shani Davis is trying to explain that there sometimes is no why. And the camera just keeps being shoved in his face and the interviewer just keeps pushing.

3. Interview with Katie Uhlaender

 She missed the podium by four tenths of a second in skeleton. Four tenths of a second. She starts to tear up as she is asked by the interviewer about the death of her father. She is asked whether or not he would be proud of her. She pretty much says, "I am pretty sure he would be proud of me but I am kinda pissed about losing by this tiny margin." The interviewer also tells her that she will "have another shot in four years right?" That makes it all better. Thanks.

Unfortunately since these last two were not as big of a deal - I cannot find them online.
I usually write funny things here is a post I wrote during the summer Olympics:
Olympics of Blog Posting

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Greatest Love Story

It's Valentine's Day so I get to tell you my favorite love story.

Once upon a time a bunch of Greek men were all sitting around together being drunk and having a speech competition.*
The subject of the speech competition was love. 
Some people had given beautiful, rational, speeches about love - any of which would have put a decent person to sleep on the spot. 
Finally it was Aristophanes' turn. Some were worried that he would not be very serious because he was a comic playwright. To them he said, " I am not worried about saying something funny in my coming oration. That would be pure profit, and it comes with the territory of my Muse. What I'm worried about is that I might say something ridiculous." 
He did say something ridiculous. 
Something ridiculously false and absurdly true all at the same time. 

And it went something like this: 
Long ago human beings were very different. First off there were three kinds of people - male, female and androgynous. Secondly, they were fantastically odd looking. The shape of each person was completely round, with back and sides in a circle; they had four arms and legs and one head with two faces. They had two sets of reproductive organs and ears and eyeballs get it. They walked around and whenever they wanted to go fast, they stuck out all their eight limbs, and flipped head over heels, the way gymnasts do cartwheels. They were terribly fast at this - and it was quite dangerous because they charged everywhere like bowling balls.
They were round because they were descended from the heavenly bodies. Like the heavenly bodies they were powerful but unlike the heavenly bodies they were terribly behaved. They decided to attack the gods.

          Zeus and the other gods had a family meeting to speak about what could be done. On the one hand, the gods wanted to keep humanity around because they liked the sacrifices given to them. On the other hand, the human beings were attacking heaven so something had to be done to stop them. 
          Zeus said, "Hey other deities, I have a plan to put the kibosh on the misbehaving human beings. It does not even involve killing them off. I will simply blast them all in half. They will not be as strong and they will walk around on two legs instead of spinning about and making everyone dizzy. If they still run around idiotically and cause problems - I will split them in half yet again and they will have to get about by hopping around on one leg." 
        Zeus didn't wait for anyone else to agree with his plan because he did whatever he wanted anyway - so he just whacked them in half right then like fruit ninja. Apollo was given the job of sewing them up a bit but he got lazy around the middle so we have bellybuttons.
        But the human beings were so utterly distraught and alone without their opposite halves that they just lay around everywhere holding each other and dying of starvation. Zeus felt sorry for them because they were so pitiful. He solved their problem by flipping their reproductive organs round to the front so that they could have sex and be one person again.
And Aristophanes summed up his story about the origin of love by saying:  "So this is where love comes from, love calls the halves of our original nature back together and it tries to make one out of two and heal up our terrible alone-ness. love is the name for our pursuit of wholeness and our desire to be complete. Also we should behave ourselves if we don't want to end up half-faced creatures who get about by hopping on one leg. Let us respect the gods because it would be awful to have half a nose."
And what he said was obviously false and profoundly true.

(*this story comes from Plato's Symposium, I have bowdlerized it somewhat - and cut out some chunks because it is very lengthy. I am too lazy to cite every quotation but you can find the beginning of it at 189a)

An Aristophanes Valentine - what everybody has been waiting for.
If we only had one leg and we hopped about on it - would we also have half a butt?
I think that we would.
For some reason I find the one-legged hopping thing hilarious.

And also these additional valentines which I made this morning instead of studying:

Feb -RU-ary. Brew? Brew what? Beer? A magic potion? Stupid month.
Through extensive research I have discovered some possible alternative names for the month of February - for example some Old English terms for this month are: "solmonath" (meaning: mud month) and "Kalemonath" (meaning month of cabbage). A month named after kale! Health-nuts rejoice!

 No really. This could also be captioned "together forever". Not even that "get the legos apart without using your teeth machine" will fix this issue.
 Who likes my computer mouse painted hearts?

Another Lego Valentine because yes.
My thumb is in this picture because I am too lazy to crop it.

Doing great on that forth section.