Category Archives: Random Events

Getting Published

I was sitting in Good Times taking my break from being a UPS driver and all, and I found a very inexpensive way to entertain myself for a few minutes before it was time to get back to work. I took a copy of the “Tidbits” newspaper (its a paper with random stories and local ads that’s maybe 8 pages total) and slightly altered all the photographs of people in the paper. Here is a partial list of items I added:

  • Harry Potter glasses
  • monicals
  • bushy eyebrows
  • pointy goatees
  • Hitler style mustaches
  • cigars
  • handlebar mustaches
  • devil horns
  • mustaches that curl up around at the ends

Also I found a really cute golden retriever that I altered so he was smoking a bong.

After I finished with that, I started the Suduko puzzle, but it was rated “very hard” and I gave up after I filled in a half dozen squares.  So I filled in a few more squares with random things like numbers bigger than 9, letters of the alphabet, pi, and a small drawing of a tree.

Of course the really entertaining part was carefully putting back on the stand with all the other new copies.  I amuse myself thinking of the next person who gets to see what I’ve done.

Now that I think about this, I remember doing a similar activity back in high school.  We would go out to Taco Bell, order the nachos, and take a few extra straws back to the table.  Carefully, we would take a straw out of the wrapper, suck up the nacho “cheese” into the straw, place the straw back in the wrapper, and casually take the straw back to the condiment area.  We never did get to see anyone get the nacho cheese filled straw, but knowing that someone did made entertained us for the rest of the afternoon.

I was always proud of that because it was funny, but not destructive.  Kind of like putting a rubber band around the trigger of the pull out sprayer at the kitchen sink so when the next person turns on the water it shoots straight at their chest.  I did that to my sister when I was in middle school.

Rest room question

I realized something while eating lunch as Wok ‘n Roll this afternoon.  After drinking 3 large Diet Pepsi’s I had to answer the call of nature.  I was forced to put the call on hold, however, when the door to the mens’ bathroom was occupied.  Now when a place of business only has only one bathroom it isn’t for a specific gender– it is just “the bathroom.”  When a place is large enough, there is a “Mens’ Room” and a “Womens’ Room” each with multiple stalls.  But what happens, as in the case of the moderately small Wok ‘n Roll, when there is just enough room for two single rooms with a single toilet in each room?  Does it really make any sense to assign a specific gender to each of them?  I didn’t really want to go into the empty womens’ room for some psychological reason I don’t completely understand.


This all leads up to, obviously, how things work on the SciFi series Battlestar Galactica.  There are large common rooms where men and women, at the very same time, go about all their personal hygiene needs.  Unspeakable Act or Sign Of Things To Come?

Lisa Loeb

There aren’t too many famous people I would want to meet in person, but I thought I would keep track of who I would like to meet for lunch.

Lisa Loeb: OK, she is rather pleasing to the eye (or at least both of mine), but what really won me over was her short lived TV show “Dweezil & Lisa”. I would call it a cooking show, but I don’t think many other people would be quite so generous. One episode revolved around them hosting a pancake party. While at a cooking store Dweezil wanted to buy an $80 batter dispenser. Lisa said it was too expensive and not worth the money. Now here is a woman who I’m guessing is pretty well off financially realizing that she doesn’t need another kitchen gadget. Also, she didn’t insist on having her name be first in the show’s title.

So, Lisa, if you are still reading this, and plan on being in northern Colorado in the future, give me a call and we can go out to Chipotle for some chips and burritos.

License Plate

OK, so I’m driving around in a UPS truck this afternoon and I saw the following personalized license plate without any spaces in between the letters:

BIGAL

I guess the meaning really depends on where you put the space.

Travel Guide: Estes Park

Welcome to the first installment of the newfunny travel guide. After an exhaustive planning session, I have decided to focus this series on various geographic areas in Colorado. Being that I’ve lived in the state since I was three, I have more than two decades of life experience to help provide rich and thoughtful descriptions. Or I can just make stuff up as I go along and pretend it actually happened. Either way, my goal is to provide entertaining, useful, and possibly historically accurate information about Colorado.

There is no single best way to get to Estes Park. But, if you are starting the journey from Denver, Colorado, get on I-25 and head north. Unless, of course, you are on a bicycle, in which case a less highway-centric route would be advisable. Exit the Interstate at Highway 34 and head west. This will take you through the town of Loveland and into the mountains. Stay on Highway 34 through the canyon, and eventually you will drive right through the town. You can’t miss it. Estimated travel time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, unless your girlfriend/wife/significant other/life partner/pet has a hankering for cherry-rhubarb pie. (But more on that in a minute.)

From a geological perspective, the most interesting aspect of the ride to Estes Park is Big Thompson Canyon. Despite stunning views of the high canyon walls, the area, much like the Bubonic Plague, is best known for its history of death and destruction. The date was July 31, 1976. The nation as a whole had just finished cleaning up all the fallen ticker tape from its bicentennial celebration when a sudden rainstorm drenched the area, causing a massive flash flood. When all was said and done, 146 people died in the canyon that day, and countless homes and businesses in the canyon were destroyed.

Authorities in the area used the natural disaster as a catalyst for change. Bridges in the canyon were rebuilt, roads were improved, and the, “In case of flood, burrow to safety” road signs were replaced with a more effective campaign recommending that people instead climb out of the way of flood waters. In addition to these infrastructure changes, the receding waters provided a fertile environment for various tourist-oriented operations to blossom. Businesses in the area tend to focus on such niche markets as cherry-rhubarb pie and high-volume discount T-shirt sales.

While the drive up the canyon is chalk full of visual stimulation, anyone looking for even more colorful scenery might want to consider taking Devil’s Gulch Road instead of the main highway. Located about ten miles up the canyon, this slight detour adds a few miles of twisting road to the journey. In exchange for a reduced average velocity, this route goes through remote mountain areas and the small rustic town of Glen Haven. To get an idea of how out of the way this road is, the Starbucks corporation hasn’t even begun to attempt replacing the general store with a coffee franchise.

The main street in Estes Park is a pedestrian friendly series of shops. Being a secluded mountain town, many of these stores focus on specialized candy and dessert items. This phenomena can be traced back to the spring of 1910, when the state legislature passed a law limiting where certain types of food can be produced and distributed. As a result, you can’t buy fresh-pulled taffy anywhere on the front range or eastern plains. In Estes Park, however, there are no fewer than seventeen stores that produce this delicacy on a daily basis. In the slower winter months, groups of candy thugs meander through town threatening violence to anyone even thinking about making a purchase in the wrong taffy store.

Despite this minor turf war, the area is quite family-oriented. During the warm summer months children can be seen enjoying themselves on just about every sidewalk, often times with their hands, mouths, hair, and clothes enveloped in a sugary, gooey, slobber-laced mass of pulled taffy. When they finally surrender to the sticky force of the candy, these kids inevitably head back towards their parents for assistance. Mom and dad stop their window shopping, smile at the display of childhood innocence, and watch as their offspring try to outrun the pack of local domesticated canines focused on scoring their next hit of refined sugar. The slower children generally come out unharmed, except for the severe psychological damage associated with being stuck at the bottom of a taffy-induced dog pile.

One of the most well known landmarks in town is the combination Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Following at a distant second is the Stanley Hotel. While the Hotel’s fried chicken is mediocre at best, this location is what comes to mind when recalling the movie, “The Shining.” The classic horror film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, and based on the Stephen King novel, has almost nothing to do with the physical building. The book was only loosely based on the hotel, the hotel in the movie doesn’t look anything like the real one, and high-profile movie stars hardly ever rampage through the building with a fire ax while possessed by evil demon-spirits. In fact, the hotel sports a light, open, and refreshing architectural design.

In an attempt to “make it real,” the Stanley Hotel was used in “The Shining” miniseries. Like most other Stephen King made-for-TV specials, the final product received poor reviews and, based on the Nielson television rating system, was watched by fewer people than it took to film the show. To date, revenue from the miniseries trails behind “The Shining” book sales, “The Shining” movie DVD rentals, and even advertisement proceeds from The Simpsons’ “The Shinning” Halloween special. The Stanley Hotel was briefly featured in the full length motion picture, “Dumb and Dumber” as Jim Carry pulled up in a Ferrari at the Hotel’s main entrance. It wasn’t the Stanley Hotel in the movie– it was, according to “the script,” supposed to be a glitzy hotel in Aspen. Despite intense and continued efforts, the Hotel has yet to make it to the “A list” of motion picture locations.

So there you have it– Estes Park in a nutshell. While this chapter is not designed to be a complete history and travel guide for the area, it should help casual visitors understand the overall character of the city. For more detailed information, as always, please refer to your local library or pulled taffy Mafia connection.

Newfunny Consulting, LLC

Since my pursuit of a traditional computer geek job has been about as successful as Paula Jones’ television boxing career, I’ve decided to expand my horizons and offer my creative talents to one of my favorite things in the world. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there thinking, “Reality check here Omar, nobody is going to pay you money for your stupid Taco Bell song!” I’m not abandoning my dream of writing meaningful burrito music, but rather putting it under the warming lamps until the right customer comes along to order it. In the mean time, I’ve decided to offer my creative talents to television networks in the form my new high priced consulting service.

How high priced? Well, lets just say I’m booked solid through the next 5 television seasons. Yes, I know that has absolutely nothing to do with my fee. My goal here is to alter the traditional logic of supply and demand by creating the perception I am incredibly busy. If anyone wants to actually pay me money, I’ll have a last minute and suspiciously convenient cancellation in my schedule. Hey, it worked wonders for Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo, so I don’t see why the same principles can’t be applied to my life.

As much as I would like to, I can’t just say I’m a high priced television consultant and have the networks start shoving hundred dollar bills down my pants. So, to demonstrate some of my talents I’ve decided to put a few of my creative visions on the Internet so the network executives can feel comfortable when handing over briefcases full of money.

My first recommendation is for the Fox network and show “King of the Hill”. While this has proven to be a moderately successful animated cartoon, turning the show turned into a live action situation comedy for a season or two would improve ratings in the key demographics. Which, of course, is the “eighteen to thirty year old short attention span but attracted to anything that gets labeled as gimmicky” group.

Getting back to the “King of the Hill” proposal: Finding actual people who look and sound like the cartoon characters might be a challenge, but the end result would be worth the effort. After a full season of using live actors, other mediums could be considered. This includes—but is not limited to—claymation, Japanese Anime, interpretive Irish folk dance, and, of course, marionette puppets.

When MTV decided to stop playing music videos and instead started filming a house full of unemployed whiny people a lot of viewers were quite upset and annoyed—especially those interested in watching actual music videos. While this approach is exactly the opposite of what many “idealists” thought a cable channel called “Music Television” should be doing, the producers unknowingly lit a fire under the bandwagon of “reality” television and proceeded to give it a healthy shove down the road of good intentions.

Shows such as “The Real World” created a lucrative market for doing little more than going around and filming people in their daily lives. As the competition increased, the gimmickry factor was pushed to it’s limit. To succeed in this genre of television programming these days require, at an absolute minimum, a tropical island, a half dozen Playboy Bunnies, a medium sized team of professional pyrotechnics, and the threat that some or all contestants might lose one of their kidneys. And that is just for the promotions.

The next logical step in this progression is to have a reality show ABOUT reality shows. The title of the show would need to clearly identify itself with its predecessor—current working titles include “The Really Real World”, “The Meta Real World”, and “MTV’s Sex-o-rama Voyeur Cam.” Imagine all the creative potential in having a television crew following around the original television crew following around five young adults in their jobs as entry level accountants. Just kidding—they would really be in an elite group of disco rollerblading fire fighters patrolling the streets of a major metropolitan area.

Finally the general public could get a glimpse into the high paced world of reality television programming. Sure, it may look easy, but getting these kids to open up to the cameras can be a real challenge when they spend most of their free time discussing delicate issues such as the best way to download pornography from the Internet and planning spontaneous week long free trips to the Bahamas.

Making television not suck cannot be accomplished by any single person. We all have to do our part and work constructively together to accomplish this goal in peace and goodwill. If someone wants to go track down and savagely pummel the guy running around in the question mark suit explaining how to get free money from the government, well, I just can’t see how that would do the world any harm either.

Women Are Strange

Many great philosophers have tried to isolate exactly what separates human kind from the rest of the animal kingdom. As a species human beings are not the fastest creatures, we do not have the most strength, and when it comes to flying through the air under our own power, well, it’s safe to say that we suck pretty bad there too. I sat on my couch the other night eating a half dozen tiny saltine and peanut butter sandwiches and realized we are the only species on this planet where the males spend quite a large percentage of their free time trying to understand the females. Which might not be such a bad thing if it did a lick of good.

I look back to my high school days and think of many things I regret doing and not doing. For example, I could probably track down my ninth grade algebra teacher in order to cover his house in toilet paper and put someone else’s license plates on his car, but my anger has dissipated over the years. Sure—I still firmly believe he took way too much pleasure in torturing me, but if I got caught throwing eggs at his house I would no longer have the luxury of being charged as a minor.

The biggest thing I would have NOT done in high school if I could do it all over again would be attending my senior prom. In fact, I use this as evidence I will never create a time traveling device. If I were to master time travel sometime in the future, the first thing I would have done is gone back to 1992 and physically prevented myself from going through with it. I bought into the hype that everyone should go to their senior prom. Not that I’m against the general idea, but I ended up asking this girl I hardly knew to be my date. The whole night was incredibly awkward. I spent the entire night asking myself questions like “Is this supposed to be fun?”, “Why did I pay 80 bucks so I could rent clothes that make me look like the waiter?”, and “I wonder who is on Saturday Night Live tonight? Maybe this time it will be funny.”

I learned many, many things during my time in college. Very little of this knowledge related to any higher understanding of women. My love for Taco Bell was at its peak during this time in my life, and I was always asking my friends if they wanted to join me on a run for the border. When I would ask my guy friends to go with me they would usually respond with something to the effect of “Omar, you are becoming a freak about Taco Bell—get a life!” They would never agree to go and then pout and be otherwise ill tempered the rest of the night because the mere thought of another soft taco and bean burrito made them gag. My girlfriend at the time, however, seemed to do this on a surprisingly regular basis.

Starting a relationship with a woman is a lot like buying an automobile. When going to buy a car it is usually quite difficult to know exactly how much the car costs. Sure, there might be a price on the windshield, but this is just a ball park figure. The final cost of the car is the sticker price plus a certain number of dollars determined by a complex set of factors that include rifling through all potential customer’s wallets for detailed personal financial information. The entire process is designed to be disorienting and confusing. Is the 500 bucks for rust proofing a good idea or a total scam? Should I buy a car that is entirely manufactured in Peru? Did the salesman just steal my wallet? In the end most people consider the purchase a success if they have any money at all left over and the vehicle they drive off the lot has close to the number of doors as the sales person promised.

Starting a relationship with a man is more like buying groceries. While lacking the new car smell and endless strings of colored plastic flags, grocery shopping is a very simple process. You can look at an item, pick it up, and use any other senses to determine if a given product meets your needs at the time. While trying to be helpful and courteous, employees at these establishments are for the most part apathetic about individual decisions made by customers. Nobody get fired based on, say, how many cans of soup are purchased on a given day.

If you happen to be a man, you probably find the behavior of women to be just as foreign and confusing as a crooked Mexican real estate time share scheme. For better or worse, that is just the way things are. And it helps prove how advance the human race has become over the years.