Awkward Family Photo

This family photograph of Kim Jong Un that Melinda introduced to me is one of my new favorite things.

Just look at how well a North Korean dictator who has allegedly had plastic surgery to look more like his grandfather gets along with his nearest and dearest.

Never mind that the rest of his family is either terrified or crying, Kim Jong Un is beaming! At best, you could argue that a couple of his relations have neutral facial expressions, but the horror on the majority of their faces makes this the most epic Awkward Family Photo ever.

It would almost be funny if weren't clear that these people had guns pointed at them and are undoubtedly living a hellacious life. 


I'm Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

My body sure has taken a beating the past week and a half.

First, I got violent food poisoning from an undercooked sausage and spewed in my hallway. I was surrounded by people who were so drunk that they should have been upchucking themselves, but here I was - the sober guy - the only one who got to that point because I don't know how to barbecue properly.

Second, I got an unrelated stomach bug a few days later. With a fever and upset stomach, I consumed Saltines and Ginger Ale almost exclusively for the next few days until…

Third, I participated in an Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Bowl challenge. Some may say I had an advantage by starving myself for days before an eating competition, but I think I actually just managed to shrink my stomach before I needed to be larger. A lengthier post on the competition is forthcoming, but suffice it to say, I had a stomach ache afterwards. As if I 

Fourth, I developed a sore throat. As if I haven't been sick enough. I bought some medicine to try to shake it early, then a friend gave me a prescription mouth rinse that numbs the throat to ease the pain. "Is this for blow jobs?" I asked suspiciously. When I gargled it, I just managed to numb my mouth and tongue instead of my throat because I wasn't able to figure out how to gargle the solution deep enough without swallowing it. When I explained my predicament to my friend, she said, "You just have to… just kind of put it back there… you know, maybe this is a blow job thing."

The worst part of it all is that I want to blame my cruddy immune system, but I realize that half of these health issues were caused by my own stupidity. I want to blame intangibles, not myself!  


7 Little Known Facts About Neil Armstrong

1. Convinced Buzz Aldrin, who was originally slated to be the first man to walk on the moon, that hitting the first golfball on the moon would be "way more important."
2. Loved to pull down his pants anytime someone brought up "moon" in conversation.
3. Considered selling his trademark "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" quotation to StairMaster.
4. Became an astronaut just for the freeze dried ice cream.
5. Was a huge Pauly Shore fan.
6. While a lot of people believe the moon landing to be a hoax, it's actually Neil's wife who's been faking it all these years.
7. Has already been reincarnated as Snooki's baby.


The Bumper Stickers

For the sake of transporting myself to a job nearly a decade ago, I had to purchase a car, a fact I very much resented. In order to ease my resentment, I decided to purchase some bumper stickers to personalize my car and take ownership of it. I wanted them to be political in nature, but not too aggressive. I settled on three stickers, all in the same style:  

* Question Authority
* Question Yourself
* Question Everything

I liked these bumper stickers because, rather than telling people what to think, they merely encouraged people TO think. Call me crazy, but I feel like a lot of the world's problems would be solved if we actually put our brains to work and challenged some of our preconceived notions.

Alas, these stickers were not well received. 

First, one of my friends told me about these "dumb question stickers" on a car she saw in the school parking lot. She was unaware that they belonged to me, and, embarrassed, I didn't let on. The funny thing was that my car - and the stickers - were parked just outside of her house as she made fun of the mystery hippie.

Second, when I was a high school teacher, someone, presumably a coworker, left a note on my windshield that said "Question authority, then do what you're told." I could understand why a fellow teacher would object to this message because it seemed like 90% of our job was trying to keep our students in line. When you ARE the authority, it's not fun or easy to be questioned, but how were we going to teach these kids to be good citizens if we discouraged them from thinking critically? My lack of desire to constantly enforce arbitrary rules and tell them what to do at all moments was my biggest "failure" as a teacher, at least as far as my administration was concerned. This ethical conflict, which could be seen on my own vehicle, is a strong reason I jumped ship.

Third, I returned to my car after attending a bonfire one evening in Huntington Beach a minute or two past the time the parking lot was posted to close. A lone cop was in the still half-full lot issuing a ticket to just one car in the middle of the lot… mine. I sprinted toward him, shouting at him to please not write me a ticket as I was about to leave. I made a comment to my friend about it being "just my luck" that in a lot with hundreds of cars that mine would be the first he'd cite, and the cop said, "I noticed your sticker, 'Question Authority.'" Panicked, I pointed out that the stickers also said to question yourself and everything - the questioning wasn't solely directed at authority. He agreed to stop writing the ticket, but then warned me that the sticker would get me in trouble at some point.

I guess I should be appreciative that the police officer let me off, but that guy was a dick. This guy's ego was so inflated with his self-important status of authority that he took any challenge to his position, no matter how vague, to be something worth targeting. Guys like him are the reason we need to question authority. And ourselves. And everything, actually. Maybe I should just buy these bumper stickers again.


You Can't Have Things Both Ways

Slavery is responsible for some great things. No one likes slavery, but everyone loves the pyramids. You can’t have things both ways, Kevin.” 

- Jared, rebutting my anti-slavery stance


Time for New Sunglasses?

Alex: [wears oversized sunglasses]
Clare: [greets Alex] You look like a celebrity in those. Did you have cataract surgery?
Alex: [laughs] That just started as a compliment and then turned into something quite different.
Clare: Really, though, are you okay?
Alex: Yeah, this is just my style of sunglasses.
Dan: [Clare's boyfriend, joining thirty seconds later] Alex, did you have eye surgery?


Step by Step

In the late 80s/early 90s, nothing drove the girls crazier than New Kids on the Block. Being that I'd love a little of that magic for myself, I thought I'd seek advice from them. Thankfully, they have a song called "Step by Step" that details how they woo the ladies. While I'm familiar with the tune, I've never previously paid attention to the lyrics, but this time I focused on the New Kids's list of steps, which begins at the 2:45 mark of the song.

Okay, Kids, show me how it's done! 

"STEP ONE: We can have lots of fun."

Great, but that's not exactly a step. Naming an activity that would be fun would work, but this first step is too ambiguous to be helpful.

"STEP TWO: There's so much we can do."

This is also not a step. Granted, there's plenty of things you can do, but you need to get specific for this to be a step. 

"STEP THREE: It's just you for me."

Okay, sing it in falsetto all you want, Jordan, but this is definitely not a step.

"STEP FOUR: I can give you more."

More what? And suggesting that you hypothetically could do something is, yet again, not a step.

"STEP FIVE: Don't you know that the time has arrived?"

A rhetorical question is not a step… how new are you to this block, kids?

So basically, this boy band's five step program for pulling girls is utterly useless. If people are going to rail on Alanis Morissette for not including a single ironic lyric in her famous song, they should be equally as angry at NKOTB for not knowing what a step is. In the past, I've shared two of my students awful How-To essays - How to Make a Paper Airplane & How to Make and Spend Money - but at least they attempted to give some concrete directions. The New Kids, however, would definitely get an F. They're just lucky that some people considered them cute. 

<--- Um, why was that, anyway?


That's a Lot of Sweat

I'm about ready for this heatwave to be over. My neighborhood lost electricity four times this weekend due to excessive energy use, which has made life miserable. Look, I promise to cut down by not using the AC, but I at least need a fan blowing on my face in order to not melt in this weather. 

Last week, I sweat more than I ever have before. I participated in a dodgeball tournament on one of the hottest afternoons of the summer in an un-airconditioned gym. My team played about fifteen games in a row without a break and it was pretty disgusting. I couldn't keep my eyes open because they stung of sweat, the court was slippery thanks to all the perspiration, and, worst of all, I could no longer throw the ball. Check that, I could no longer even GRIP the ball. My hands and the balls were so wet that I kept dropping the balls involuntarily.

To add insult to sweat, my team lost big time. Following the games, I exited the sauna-like building and tried to make a call to take my mind off the experience. After leaving a brief voice message, I tried to end the call… unsuccessfully. I kept hitting the "END" button on my screen to no avail, finally realizing it was just too wet to work after resting against my cheek momentarily. I tried to rub the phone off on my shirt but there was not a dry spot to be found. Periodically, I'd apologize on the message, explaining that I was trying really hard to end the call, but it was too wet. This went on for probably a full minute before I was finally able to get the screen dry enough by rubbing it on a plant to actually hang up.

In summary, even the little things are overwhelmingly difficult to do in the heat. Yuck.  


Overheard at ArtWalk

  • College Gal #1: Have you ever seen that movie James and the Giant Peach?
  • College Gal #2: I don't think so. Does he eat the whole thing?


Party Fail in the USA

My pet project to turn "Party in the USA" into our country's new national anthem went up on Hello Giggles today. A lot of people liked it! But also, a lot of people hated it. Sigh. Here were some of my favorite Facebook comments:

Folks, I'm just being Miley! WHY are people so vehemently opposed to my 100% earnest suggestion that we make a Miley Cyrus tune the nation's theme song? It's like most of the people don't get it. And by "it", I mean the fantastic idea to make "Party in the USA" the song we put our hands over our hearts to… before rocking our hips like yeah, obviously. 

There's a culture war brewing, folks: Cyrus fans vs. hardcore patriots. Spoiler alert: both sides are silly. 

When you see me being accused of treason on Fox News, at least now you'll know why.


Track & Field Fatalities

While I enjoy Olympic sports of all ilk, the field portion of track and field has to be some of my most favorites. The javelin, discus, hammer throw, and shot put are all must-see TV… not because they are  bizarre feats of strength, but because of the danger factor. It's impossible to watch the judges who run towards the soaring heavy objects in order to track precisely where they land and not ask yourself how many people have died thanks to these sports.

I found myself Googling field event fatalities, and then Googling some more, and then some more. Here's some of what I found:

Who else is feeling blood thirsty now? I'm keeping tuned into the Olympics until I see at least one crushed skull. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!


Most Played List

The 25 songs I've listened to the most in the past 7 years. What are yours?


Classically Russian Face

"She has such a classically Russian face. She looks exactly like one of those tiny teen girls in the barely legal Russian porns. Not that I've seen those or anything. Except, wait, she's probably not even barely legal, right? Oh that's wrong. I better Google Russia's age of consent. Oh god, the FBI's going to show up any second now… Oh, okay, it's sixteen. Game on! And hey, until 2002, the age of consent was just fourteen. Quick, I need a passport and a time machine!"

- My not even remotely serious babbling monologue to my roommate during tonight's gymnastics.  

Really, though, 14?! Ick, ick, ick. In America, there are statutory rape laws. In Soviet Russia, law rape YOU!


Kevin Babbles Turns Seven

Kevin Babbles turns 7 today. Seven! I never would have guessed back in 2005 that an activity I set up to keep my creative juices flowing would still be an everyday part of my life. 

I apologize if I've been a bit neglectful of this blog as of late with fewer posts and seemingly less inspiration. Unlike when this blog started, so much of my time is now taken up by writing for work that it feels less like a "break" when I blog. That said, most of my employment has come either directly or indirectly from this blog, so I know I owe it a great deal of gratitude. I promise that I can't imagine kicking the blogging habit anytime soon, and I appreciate the readers who keep coming back to see what I'm babbling about... you help keep this fun.

Per blogiversary tradition, here are some of my favorite posts of the past year: