Do you Sporcle?

I always hesitate to mention Sporcle to friends because the site is like crack for nerds. It features timed trivia quizzes on a variety of topics, and it has become part of my daily routine. There is nothing so important that I won't procrastinate on in order to play Sporcle.

Today, one of the quizzes that I created is featured on the homepage, which has given me a bit of dork-gasm. How well do you know your 90s songs? Give it a play and tell me how you do.

Also, my username is "KevinBabbles" if you want to compete against me on other quizzes to see who gets the better score.



Oh look, this guy who used to sit next to me in Environmental Physics class (and I haven't seen since) has requested to be my Facebook friend. How nice of him to think of me after all of these years. I see from his profile that we now live in the same city, maybe that's why he's trying to reconnect.

I wonder if we know people in common in LA. Let me check our mutual friends... just high school people. Wait, he wasn't actually ever friends with her. Or him. And definitely not him. And what's this on my newsfeed?

Slut! Clearly, I ain't nothing but a number to him. Take our internet "friendship" and cram it.


Video Music Award Nominees

The MTV Video Music Awards are on tonight, and while browsing through the nominees, I realized that I have only seen one out of dozens of videos. Am I getting that old? To convince myself that I'm still hip to pop culture, I watched through all of the nominated videos and... wow. If these are the best videos of the year, perhaps they should just call the whole ceremony off.

I'll be rooting for two videos, each of which only received one nomination: "Howlin' for You" by The Black Keys, a captivating spoof of a Kill Bill-ish movie trailer and "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green for having a video that's as fun-spirited as the song. I also have a soft spot for dimwitted Britney Spear's "Till the World Ends" because she seems to think a post-apocalyptic world will consist of writhing gay men. Mostly, I'm partial to the closing shot where her head is coming out of the sewer. It's a metaphor for her career, y'all!

As for the rest, whatever. We'll never see any of the New Artist nominees again (what the heck are you, Kreayshawn?) and the most controversial video might be Kanye West's "All the Lights" for the epilepsy warning that prefaces it. Way to keep it menacing, hip-hop.

I have some problems with other nominees. Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)" is pretty revisionist as to how much power women have. And far be it from me to tell you how to do feminism, but having women dancing provocatively in skimpy clothing doesn't really signify empowerment as much as it demonstrates oppression. Lady Gaga, maybe you shouldn't have linked homosexuals with space aliens when your hokey song is trying to promote acceptance. And what right does Eminem have to turn his collaboration with Rihanna into a message about her own domestic abuse?

I figured the nominees for best video would be the cream of the crop, but they're all pretty lame, actually.:

Bruno Mars's "Grenade" is dull, though I did laugh when gang members screamed at him for a pushing a piano through their turf. I mean, what?

If Adele can't even be bothered to stand up during "Rolling in the Deep", why should I like it? She just sits in profile like she's Whistler's Mother or something. There's also enough broken glass to summon Annie Lennox. Maybe that was her dancing in the cocaine?

Katy Perry has four different videos nominated in various categories, but the one getting the top distinction is "Firework". I'm a little confused by the narrative. Are they doing a Care Bear stare? Is the sparkling a cautionary tale of gonorrhea? I know the song is supposed to be inspirational, but if all those people are lighting off hundreds fireworks in that enclose space, it will surely end in fatalities.

The Beastie Boys have an appropriately named song, "Make Some Noise", as they've been making the same noise for decades now. This gimmicky video's cast is a who's who of comedy (AKA the Beastie Boys call in every favor ever), though, and this is probably my favorite Elijah Wood performance ever.

By default, I guess I'm cheering for "Yonkers" by Tyler, The Creator, even though it only contains three main plot points: eating a cockroach, vomiting, hanging himself. MTV seems to have decided that suicide is "in" this year, because they've also nominated similarly themed videos from Pink and Rise Against.

Now that I know I'm apathetic to the nominees, I've decided to go see a production of Hamlet tonight rather than watch the awards show. If I'm going to be bored, I'd rather do it in the name of culture than pop culture.



Eyebrows scare me. Not actively, because they're subtle little things - I can go weeks without remembering eyebrows exist. Then suddenly I'll notice someone's eyebrows and freak out and then start looking at everyone's eyebrows. Why are there hairy strips sitting on our foreheads? Who thought that was a good idea?

We'd look even sillier without them, a friend pointed out. Would we, though? Whoopi Goldberg doesn't need eyebrows. For the first twenty-six years of my life, I didn't even notice she didn't have eyebrows, and I've seen Sister Act 2 at least seven times. Granted, once you've seen that they're missing (are they in the witness protection program, too, Sister Whoopi?), you can't un-see it, but clearly they aren't necessary.

Wikipedia argues that eyebrows are "important to human communication and facial expression", but Whoopi is an Oscar-winning actress. If she can communicate and emote that well without eyebrows, who needs 'em? If they're not good enough for Whoopi, they're not good enough for me.


A Conversation I Overheard That Didn't Go Much Like This, But I'm Pretending It Did Anyway

Girlfriend 1: I have some exciting news.
Girlfriend 2: What?!
Girlfriend 1: I found out I was pregnant.
Girlfriend 2: Oh my god! Congratulations!
Girlfriend 1: Yeah... but I lost the baby.
Girlfriend 2: Oh no! I'm so sorry.
Girlfriend 1: It's okay.
Girlfriend 2: I, I, I... must have misunderstood, I thought you had exciting news.
Girlfriend 1: That is exciting news. I mean, I lost in on purpose. I had an abortion.
Girlfriend 2: So we can still go out for drinks, then?



Came home from the bar after a hard-fought trivia victory (free shots and drinks, y'all!) and saw Carlos's Facebook status and felt the need to share a fun fact about myself:

It's true, I thought women's genitals were known as "baginas" - yes, with a b - until a frighteningly old age. However, before posting, I started to doubt whether I learned the correct pronunciation from Hocus Pocus and decided to research.

I found a script online and while there is a suggestive exchange about "yabos", there are no vagina references (or bagina references, for that matter), so it must have been another film from my childhood that taught me the proper enunciation of vagina. But which one? Again, I decided to research. And this is how I searched:

I'm pretty sure the FBI is currently on its way to apprehend me. It's been nice knowing you all!


You've Had Enough

I spoke of the never-ending pasta bowl special yesterday, but it's worth noting that not everything is limitless at Olive Garden.

By the time we were slowing to halt on the pasta-eating front, the manager appeared at our table. I was momentarily concerned that he was going to call us foolish pigs, but instead he had a question for Ted, who had just ordered his fourth beer: "Will you be driving?"

Most of our party had never seen an establishment do this. I've seen something similar twice before: when Pam got drunk at Chili's on The Office and also when the annoying guy next to me on an airplane got so nervous that he drank five whiskies and amusingly/drunkenly told the flight attendant who asked whether he would be driving, "No, ma'am, I'm flying." I give kudos to Olive Garden for being responsible, but if they really cared about our well-being, they would have cut us off of the noodles, too.

Since Ted carpooled and wouldn't be driving, the manager said he'd be happy to bring him a fourth beer. While the manager went to get the drink, Ted admitted that he thought about saying, "I'm not driving, but I am an alcoholic." I would have given all the breadsticks in the world to see that and learn just how much Olive Garden cares.


All You Can Eat

I participated in two all-you-can-eat events in the span of three days. I'm refusing to step on a scale currently, but I think it's safe to say I have an obese state of mind, if nothing else. What's wrong with me?

First was Korean BBQ, where I ate meat, meat, meat, and meat. While there, I unbuttoned my pants, but asked the person next to me to remind me to button them before leaving so I wouldn't repeat the time I lost my pants at Olive Garden. Fortunately, I ended up remembering all by myself!

The next day I saw a commercial that the never-ending pasta bowl special was back at Olive Garden. And rather than saying, "I'm still full from last night," I immediately starting organizing a competition for the following night.

Six of us participated in this fierce battle, which required a lot of strategy. Skip the complimentary salad and breadsticks to save more room for pasta? Choose a lighter sauce? Pick a hollow-shaped pasta so that your bowl would be full of more air?

Jessica, who hadn't eaten all day in preparation for the event, took an early lead. Once she lapped us a bowl early, she had the enviable position of just being able to match us bowl for bowl. I think my mistake was trying to eat whole wheat pasta. Healthier, sure, but way too filling. I wanted to make a move at the end, but she would have just forced herself to eat another one, so the final tally was 2 bowls: Alice and Laura; 3 bowls: Ted, Preston, Kevin; 4 bowls: Jessica, proving she is worthy of her "Hungry, Boastful Jessica" title.

I was worried that the waitress would be annoyed by how much food we were having her bring, but she got into our competition, calling out the slackers for slowing down. I asked the waitress what the pasta bowl record was, and she said that her boyfriend served a guy who ordered and ate thirteen refills. My jaw would have popped open in shock were I not too afraid that pasta would pour out.

"Is it safe to assume that this was a rather large man?" I asked.
"Actually, it's safe to assume that it was a skinny Asian man."
Skinny Asian men always besting us fat Caucasian Americans at eating contests! What do we have if not excelling at shoveling hotdogs and pies down our throats? Sigh.

I'm not exaggerating when I say several of us were on the verge of vomiting. While our peers were out on Friday night putting themselves in a similar state from drinking too much, we dealt with pasta hangovers the next day. On the bright side, however, I again remembered to button my pants before standing up from the table. That makes it twice in a row that I didn't lose my pants in public at a restaurant. Looks like I'm getting smarter! ... in addition to getting fatter.


Dwarves and Elves

At dinner, my companions were nerding out and talking about their favorite fantasy books, a subject on which I know nothing. Looking for a little clarification, I asked what I thought was an innocent question: "What's the difference between a dwarf and an elf?"

You would have thought I dropped a racial slur the way all six other people acted offended by the question. Here are my three favorite responses to my query:

1. "Are you fucking kidding me right now? Dwarves are just short, but elves are so much more."
2. "That's like asking, 'What's the difference between a mountain and a forest?'"
3. "Let's put it this way - I would never have sex with a dwarf, but I dream of having sex with an elf."

I still can't say that I understand the difference, but I know better than to pose that question again.


My Madonna

Happy Birthday, Madonna! How Plastic Surgery Gave Her a Youthful Face at 53

Yeah, I'm a hack. But I'm a hack who is good at Madonna song wordplay.


White Noise

Why's it gotta be called "white" noise? How come the soft, soothing noise that people fall asleep to is "white"? Does that mean that the annoying sounds that disturb you are "black noise"?

You know them white folks are like "What's with all that black noise out the window. I need some white noise just to get some shut eye around here.

You know white people think that white noise goes like this: "After I finish my latte, I'm on my way to my tennis match."
And then they think that black noise goes like this: "WAZZUP? LET'S FUCKIN' LISTEN TO SOME COOLIO AND DRINK SOME FORTIES, BITCHES!"

It's all a buncha racism, I tell you.


And thus concludes my attempt at being a hack 90s standup comic.


Laugh 'til You Cry

"Come to the bar," he said. "I'll probably be there."
"Probably?" I asked. "What's with the indecision?"
"I don't want to say," he said.
"You don't want to say?" she asked.
"It's a phone call. About what, I don't want to say," he said.
"Sounds like a booty call," she said. "You're hoping to get a better offer for the night?"
"Now I really don't want to say," he said. "Maybe I'll see you there."

We walked to the bar without him. Fifteen minutes later, he appeared.

"Everything okay?" I asked.
"Everything's... okay," he hesitated.
"And the phone call?" I asked.
"Oh, the phone call didn't happen," he said.
"Why not?" I asked.
"It might have ruined my night," he said. "And I decided I'd rather come here."
"I don't understand," I said.
"I'm expecting to hear bad news," he said.
"Oh," I said.
"Now I feel like I have to tell you," he said.
"No you don't," I said. "Unless it really is about a booty call."
"No, it's..." he started saying, but he was laughing. "We have to stop laughing before I tell you this. Because it's not funny."
"Okay," I said.
"You can't laugh," he said again.
"I won't," I said.

I could already feel my lips moving upward into a smile, however. Not laughing is hard when you're forbidden from it. He looked about to laugh, too.

"The phone call has to do with a family member who... who is not doing well," he said.
"Oh no," I said.
"Really not well, actually," he said.

I laughed. I had tried to contain it, but I laughed, and I felt like a dick for doing so. But he laughed, too.

"I'm sorry," I said. "You're right, that's not funny at all."
"It's okay," he said. "I don't know why, but I'm laughing, too.

We laughed because we weren't up for crying that night.


The Mystery Teammate

My trivia teammate "Nina" was already at the bar when I arrived. Sitting across the table from her was a dude, "Carl", who I assumed was some friend of Nina's I didn't know. Meanwhile, Nina was messily eating chicken wings. "Mmm, mmm, I love chicken," she told me with sauce all over her face and fingers. Though I couldn't pinpoint what, something was off.

The rest of the team arrived, and some of the members weren't even formally introduced to Carl, but we accepted him as our own. Things came to a head on a particular question about elements when the majority of the team wanted to say "gold", but Carl argued "silver". We ended up going with Carl - whoever he was - because he said he had a degree in earth science. The answer was gold, though, and we lost a lot of points. We put more blame on Nina than Carl because we actually knew her and she brought him, and she just made awkward faces and left the table. In fact, she repeatedly left the table throughout the night to make phone calls, abandoning her friend.

Carl made it up to us, however, by kicking butt in the drinking round, winning us all shots. Now we loved Carl! Nina didn't seem to love Carl, however, pretty much ignoring him. Before the last round, Nina got up and left without saying goodbye. We figured she would return, but she didn't. Carl sat around waiting, and finally excused himself, too. Before he left, Jared invited Carl to play golf with him sometime, and encouraged him to come back and join us for trivia in the future, saying, "We're here every week."

One of the teammates received a text from Nina apologizing for the awkwardness. Apparently, Carl was Nina's blind date who she met at the bar earlier for dinner. When she decided she didn't like Carl, she tried to get rid of him before trivia started, but then the teammates arrived and were friendly with him. So Nina ended up ditching her date with us, while we were unaware of the dynamic at hand. We could have helped Nina get rid of him, but instead we made him part of the team and asked him to hang out again.

Poor, Carl. The only situation that would be more awkward is if he actually did show up and join us at trivia again.


Dumb and Plumber

I had a plumber coming to fix my toilet yesterday. Since he said he'd be there at 8:30 in the morning, I set an alarm so I wouldn't miss him. I was so anxious that I would somehow miss the plumber that I woke up at 2 am from a stress dream to go let the plumber in, only to realize in a half sleepwalk state that it was the middle of the night.

8:30 comes and goes. Noon comes and goes. 3 comes, and the plumber still hasn't come. Finally, I call the plumber. He's friendly on the phone, asks for my name and how he can help me. When he discovers that my problem is that I've been stuck in my house for six and a half hours waiting for him, he suddenly says, "I'm at a meeting, I'll call you back in five minutes."

A meeting. He's in a meeting. You know, a plumber meeting. You know how plumbers have meetings? Yeah, that's what he was doing.

Fuck him.

Did he call back in 5 minutes? 10? An hour, even? No, he never calls. But he does show up at 4:15pm - nearly eight hours after he said he'd be there - and when I tell him that it's not a good time because I have to leave soon, he lets himself inside anyway and waves his hands in my face to indicate that my time is unimportant to him, as if that weren't already clear. An hour later he tells me my toilet is fixed and leaves.

Except that my toilet isn't fixed, the water keeps running. Color me disgruntled, but I think this guy needs more plumber training and fewer plumber meetings.


My First Concert

Yes, I just teased people whose first concert was Bryan Adams, but the truth is, my own first concert was way more embarrassing on several levels.

In 7th grade, I received a birthday present from my dad: a ticket to the Lilith Fair! And a second ticket, too! Not for a friend, but for my dad, who would be going with me!

It wasn't an altogether bad gift. At that young age, my musical tastes skewed more Lilith Fair than Lollapalooza. At the same time, my dad's two favorite musical artists were Sarah McLachlan and Natalie Merchant. And who do you suppose was headlining the festival? So, like, Happy Birthday to you, too, Dad.

Like any new teenager, I was embarrassed to spend any time in public with my dad, never mind at this concert. More than anything, I worried about the lesbian factor. Everyone at school talked about how the Lilith Fair was for lesbians (because who else supports female musicians?) and I was afraid to be caught in that scene with my dad.

As it turned out, most of the concert-goers were teenage girls accompanied by their friends and boyfriends. Oddly, none of them had come with their fathers. More importantly, it was hardly the lesbian-fest my friends purported it to be, and ended up being way less awkward than I expected it to be.

Well, less awkward until the butch-est lesbian couple you've ever seen sat in the seats in front of us. From our position, there was no ignoring them because we had to look around their buzz-cut heads just to see the stage. And if their aesthetic wasn't enough to identify them as gay, they erased all doubt when they made out. A lot.

I cannot even describe my discomfort. 7th grade Kevin did not want to have to witness sapphic affections with his dad. They were nice ladies, even, as they turned around an offered to lend me their binoculars so I could get a better look at Bonnie Raitt. But even their kindness upset me as that meant I had to acknowledge their presence rather than having some plausible deniability that I was so entranced by "Something to Talk About" that I was oblivious to the lesbians sucking face in front of us.

Look, I've matured a lot since those youthful prejudices to the point where I've been labelled an "honorary lesbian", but that doesn't change how embarrassed I was at the time. The headline that day could have easily read "7th Grader Dies of Mortification at the Lilith Fair". And while the coroner removed my body from the arena, Sarah McLachlan would have led the crowd in a rendition of "I Will Remember You".


Straight from the Heart

I'm not sure I've given Bryan Adams' song "Straight from the Heart" a second thought in my life, yet today it popped into my head, which led me to watching this live version on YouTube. Then again. Then again. Then again. "What are you doing, Kevin? This is Bryan Adams," I reminded myself. And then I watched it again anyway.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for sing-alongs. Look at how happy he's making all of those Canadians! They love him. And now I love him? I don't actually love him, in fact I took the piss out of him on his 50th birthday because he's such a ridiculous performer. But now he has found a chink in my armor. I'm only human after all.

I tried to seek solace in the YouTube comments to see if anyone else was as ashamed as I am, but I didn't make it past the "top" comment:

I took my son 19 and daughter 24 to see Bryan Adams. I had been waiting all these years to see him and was so glad he came to Malta. It was the kids first concert and they loved it. They knew all the songs because I had played them so often. They grew up listening to Bryan and his great music. It was a night of dreams come true. Love ya Bryan - angel97302

These kids made it to 19 and 24 without having seen a concert? Did their mom lock them in a basement or something? I'm honestly concerned for the youth of Maltese. Tell you what, angel97302: I'll apologize to Bryan Adams if you apologize to your kids for raising them on Bryan Adams.


Clifford the Big Red Dong

Lately I've been curious about the origin story of Clifford the Big Red Dog. Like, how did he get so big? Are his parents big? Did he mutate? Would his kids grow up to be equally as big?

When I brought this up to Dan, he pointed out that Clifford is not "genetically sustainable". At first I was confused, but then I realized he was just finding a polite way to say that Clifford is, for all intents and purposes, unable to procreate because of a presumably massive penis. At his stature, Clifford must be hung like a horse, by which I mean that he probably has a penis the size of an actual horse. For a moment, ignore the fact that he's a ginger and that no one would be attracted to him - even if a lady friend of Clifford's was daring enough to give him a whirl, she would surely die in the process.

However, I could definitely see someone using Clifford's sperm to artificially inseminate another dog to breed more huge dogs. But even that's probably not in the cards for Clifford at this point. Surely his owners have had him neutered, otherwise he'd be humping every billboard and building in town. Trampling through a neighbor's rose garden is an appropriate conflict in children's literature; thrusting against a church steeple is not.

So how was he neutered? I figured they might have to use a sword, but Stacy thought of a more appropriate implement: a pair of those comically oversized scissors meant for ribbon-cutting ceremonies. I could definitely see that being a mayoral duty. "I may not have cut taxes, but I did snip Clifford's big red dong. Never has it been so important to control the pet population."


NEW FASHION TREND: Double Sunglasses

No really, there's no better way to look fly than to wear TWO pairs of sunglasses at once.

Don't even try to tell me you couldn't see that look in Vogue. It's MAJOR!

But how do we have so many pairs of these sunglasses? When Michael Michael moved to Miami a few years ago, Alex said he was going to turn into "Miami Mike", which Michael Michael objected to. But when he came back to visit California wearing white pants with corresponding white sunglasses, there was no denying the Miami Mike transformation was complete. After laughing at Miami Mike's getup, best believe that fifteen of his friends promptly went and bought the same white sunglasses to mock him further. But double sunglasses aren't mocking. Double sunglasses are pure fashion.


Kevin Babbles Turns 6 Years Old Today

Holy heck, I've reached another milestone. Today marks SIX YEARS of Kevin Babbles. I can barely believe it, this blog has grown up so fast. Granted, it hasn't necessarily matured, but time has definitely passed!

As is tradition on my blogiversary, here are my favorite posts from the past year, you know, in case you weren't reading as closely as you should have been:

20. The time I ruined a classic love song by interpreting its lyrics
19. The time my dad learned to swim
18. The time I found a racist book for children
17. The time I had an awful job interview OR a separate awful job interview
16. The time I exposed "rhythm" for the monster it is
15. The time I criticized nature's dirty sense of humor
14. The time I caught some thieves neon-handed
13. The time I paid tribute to a vegetative woman
12. The time I made a homoerotic zine
11. The time I took aim at the worst comic strip ever
10. The time I set fire to my kitchen
9. The time I fell for a Beyonce impersonator
8. The time I ran around public dressed as the dead Olympic luger OR the police chased around my covered wagon
7. The time I decided my Super Bowl allegiance based on an unrelated lifelong grudge
6. The time I rediscovered an AIDS coloring book from my childhood
5. The time I counted down R. Kelly's most sexually explicit songs OR thanked R. Kelly for helping me earn my Masters degree
4. The time I was an idiot at the wax museum
3. The time I thoroughly analyzed a hairdresser's sign
2. The time I deduced the true meaning of a classic fairy tale.
1. The time I accidentally made a girl feel self-conscious about her weight

If you're interested in seeing this blog in its infancy, you can also see the best posts from previous years, too:
1st Year
2nd Year
3rd Year
4th Year
5th Year

Thanks to everyone who reads and supports: I assure you that I've still got a lot of babbling left in me.