Thursday, December 31, 2009

Facebook A.I.

Facebook is beginning to scare me (and I don't mean the way it scares old people). I'm getting scared of its power. Gone are the days when you could say, "Wait, you know so-and-so? That's so weird! I went to school with so-and-so! Small world!" Because nowadays facebook will give you a notification that you and so-and-so have mutual friends (which sucks, because I really like the phrase "small world"). Also gone are the days when you had to ask someone what they did on their vacation. Now, they have a photo album called "What I Did on My Vacation!" and you can know about it six minutes after they get back.

But increased ability to anonymously stalk people aside, facebook is starting to worry me in how intuitive it is. I was writing a nasty email to a friend last week and decided to check my facebook page. And the status update bar asked me, "What are you doing?!" And I said, "You're right, facebook. I'll just let it go. It's better to spare our friendship than to be petty about something so trivial as cheating at Boggle." So facebook is my conscience now too? It was supposed to just be my interactive address book.

But let's face it... if any bit of technology is going to become self-aware, it's gonna be facebook. It knows our full names, who we're in a relationship with, where we live, what we do on vacation, our likes, dislikes, and now it's starting to guess things a little too accurately. Let me give you an example. Last night facebook suggested that I reconnect with my wife. It said I should send her a message. Now how does facebook know that we were arguing*? And how does facebook know that we haven't been out on a date, just the two of us, in a year?! I didn't post a photo album called "What My Wife Looks Like When She's Mad At Me," I haven't been SuperPoking anyone, and I certainly didn't update my status (it still says "RIP MJ"). So facebook is now beginning to detect things in my marital relationship that I'm barely aware of in real life. If that's not scary, I don't know what is.

*For the record, we weren't arguing. C'mon, people. It's just a joke.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Shameful Pride

I mentioned a while back that there are a lot of things I do that I'm simultaneously proud of and ashamed of. They're those things that you would love to brag about, but the only person who would be proud of you would be your clone. So you end up not sharing them. Well, it's time to share them anyway.

I have 74 of the 79 achievements available in Halo 3, the video game. It's taken me over a year to accumulate all of them, and the other five are within reach. I only know one person who has all of them (and he still lives with his parents' so I'm not gonna count him). So I'm maybe a month away from getting all of them done. And the one I did most recently was my Perfection medal on a Mythic map. I got a Running Riot just before the game ended (and maybe three people who read this will know what that means). I jumped up and fist-pumped in front of my recliner. But I had no one to call or brag to. It was sad. No one cares about that stuff except my online friends (and yes, I realize that the term "online friends" is one of the saddest things I've ever written). I wouldn't expect my wife to care. In fact, I would be sad if she cared. I purposely avoided marrying a girl gamer. I'd prefer people to say, "How did Taylor get such a pretty girl to marry him?" rather than "Why doesn't Taylor's wife wash her hair?" Plus, I try not to discuss my video game prowess with her as it tends to lead to marital regret (marital regret = 2 parts eye-rolling + 1 part panicked second-guessing of her proposal acceptance).

The other thing I recently felt the shame/pride combination for was using my empty toothpaste tube five extra times. I was proud because I didn't have to buy toothpaste for an extra two and a half days. But I was ashamed because I spent so much time squeezing and massaging and pounding that little tube just to get a pea-sized amount of Colgate. I saved about a nickel. Not really worth the effort. But I feel good that I got five more uses out of it.

Most of the other things I'm ashamed/proud of are bits of trivia that I remember. I hear a lot of people say, "It's sad that you know that." For example, did you know that the longest word you can type with your left hand on a QWERTY keyboard is "stewardesses"? Or that the longest word with your right hand is "lollipop". Go ahead, try it. It's a weird feeling to let one hand relax for so many consecutive letters. And for those of you (old people) who do the hunt-and-peck typing approach, today is the day you finally regret never learning. Because you're missing out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm So Sorry

I'd like to apologize for the things posted to my blog yesterday. Apparently someone hacked my blogger account and decided it would be funny to go on a hatred-charged rant about all different types of people. I assure you; those comments were not reflective of my own personal feelings. I have since taken down the horribly offensive post and changed the password on my blogger account. I don't want anyone out there to think that what you saw on my blog represented prejudices in my life. I have no ill will towards Inuits and one of my best friends has a club foot. Plus, I've worked with at least five different people from the Czech Republic and never found them to be "sneaky" nor to have "crazy malevolent eyes." And I would never call cat-lovers "lonely" or "future serial killers."

I think the thing that stung the most was the trail of comments. I'm disappointed in those of you who commented on the post. It's one thing to make your opinion known, it's another to applaud such horrible remarks and exchange email addresses to organize a rally against a specific group of people. Shame on you... all 46 of you. Trekkies are people too. I hope you each received my email that included a virus.

So to the 17 followers I lost, I apologize for not being more careful with my account information. In hindsight, it was unwise to use the word "password" as my password. I know now that it's better to use a zero, instead of an "o" so as to throw off the hackers. So in the future, just know that any post you see on my blog that includes six different ethnic slurs, two Senators' names, and seven curse words is not from me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The My Older Brothers blog will be closed for laziness construction until further notice. The holidays just happens to be the best time for me to eat too much, lay around, and not spend any time writing anything creative work out some issues with the site. So be assured, the blog will be back when I remember some more good stories to blog about better than ever!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It Didn't Have A Flux Capacitor

I feel kinda bad. I replaced my cell phone's wallpaper picture of my wife to the DeLorean I saw the other day. But really, I see her beautiful face everyday. I've only seen a DeLorean once.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tiffany Didn't Like Me Back

There are times in every man's life when they realize that life's not fair. Santa's not real, jean shorts and a flat top were never cool, and your team won't win the championship. And every one of these revelations hurt. Especially when there's a school picture of me with my shirt tucked into my "jorts" while sporting a flat top. And it makes it into every slideshow I’ve ever been in. So that one still stings.

Another one sticks out in my mind pretty harshly, too. I learned in fourth grade that "Secret Admirer" gifts and cards are not as cool as the movies make them out to be. Because I had a crush on Tiffany. And Tiffany didn't know me all that well. So I snuck over to her cubby (remember those?) and covertly slid a homemade Secret Admirer Valentine into it. But I wasn't as covert as I should have been. Because stupid idiot moronface Tim saw me do it. So he snatched the card as soon as I walked away and then read it in front of the class. And everyone laughed at me because he made sure they all knew that I'd been the one who delivered it. Tiffany never spoke to me again, fourth grade was ruined, I became terrified of girls, and Tim was mean to me the rest of the year. And that wouldn't have been so bad if Tim weren't the teacher.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For Goodness Sake

I'm a list person. I like listing stuff. I make grocery lists when my wife will let me. I make lists for the errands I need to run. I once made a list of all the lists I needed to make. It was wonderful. So, being a list person, I really like this time of year. I get to make a list of stuff I want for Christmas, a list of things I need to buy for others, a list for grocery items we need. And right now I'm considering making a list of things I want to consume during the Christmas holidays (eggnog, sugar cookies, white chocolate, an entire glazed ham). I don't really care if I ever cross stuff off the list. I just like making them.

Well, last week I was able to add an item to a list. And that can be just as fun. I was able to add something to the list I call "Things That Scare My Kids Even Though You'd Think They'd Like Them." Recent additions to this list have included vacuum cleaners, puppies, my Louis Armstrong impression, and drive-through car washes. But I now have photographic proof that my kids are morbidly terrified of Santa Claus.

Now, they like the idea of Santa Claus. He's a nice man that brings gifts to children for Christmas. So, in theory, they're on board with the whole process. But to see him in person is a different story. From the way they screamed, you'd think we were letting a crazy homeless man in blood-stained clothing take them forever. And I see now why they got that impression. Wildly uncontrolled white hair and beard, red suit, their parents handing them over and running away at top speed. It's scary stuff. And abandonment issues aside, Santa is not as jolly up close as he is in the cartoons and books (and he had a weird accent and surprisingly musty smell). But my wonderful wife obligingly gave up any hope for a lovely picture and abandoned her expectations for good behavior. So while the picture wasn't as nice as some, it was definitely worth the $18 we paid for it. I've never seen so many Facebook comments on one picture.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Does That Say Faylor?

My favorite blog is Cake Wrecks. For those not familiar with it, just click the link and enjoy the sarcastic goodness. Now it may be my favorite blog mostly because it's the only clean humor blog I know of. But still, it makes me laugh almost daily. And it never ceases to amaze me how bad professional cake decorators can be. Well, my younger sister's hobby is decorating cakes. So for my birthday this year (December 1st if you want to jot that on your calendar), she made me my very own cake... wreck.

She took all the best aspects of Cake Wrecks that hurt me most as an English major: misspelling, improper punctuation, poor penmanship, and taking people too literally. Then she fused them together in the awesomest cake I've gotten this year. So behold! My personal cake wreck:

The real shame is that I can't submit it to the Cake Wrecks blog. My younger sister is not a professional baker, so it doesn't qualify. If only I had my own blog! Then I could display it!

*Also, I should clarify that this was an intentional wreck. She's not an idiot. And if she was, I wouldn't make fun of her so blatantly. She reads this blog, after all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Name Game

I'm a nickname provider, not a nickname receiver. And I really wish I could get a nickname to stick with me. I don't have any outstanding skills that would garner a nickname. And my last name sucks (those who know me personally might catch the pun on that one). So I always try to say stuff or do stuff that will get me a nickname. My only unusual skill is the ability to balance a broom on my foot, then transfer it to my hand, then my chin (Enrique, send me that video). That's if you don't count my ability to breakstuffwhenIdance.

What's really frustrating is that during college, my older brother came to visit me for a weekend. And he joined our weekly game of Ultimate Frisbee. And he's tall and hairy and he played really well that night. So people started calling him "The Mammoth." So all my friends who'd known me for a year assigned him a nickname on his first night! I almost cried. At this point I'd even accept "Baby Mammoth" or something to that effect.

I guess I'm just not talented or crazy enough for a nickname. Because if you think about it, a lot of the people with cool/enviable nicknames are either very talented ("Air" Jordan, "Magic" Johnson) or very insane ("The Unabomber", "Boxcar Willy" from my neighborhood) or both ("Iron Mike" Tyson).

So I'm gonna start taking suggestions for talents I should try to develop. Also, I'll take suggestions for questionable behavior I should start displaying. Because the closest I've ever gotten to a nickname is my dad calling me "Tank" when I was a chunky two-year old.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nodding My Head Like Yeah

Everyday, I walk past the security guard on the way into my building. And in my last building, he sat behind a desk that was only in view when you walked through the door. But the guard at my new building stands in the middle of the foyer, so you see him while you walk from the garage to the doors. So I have to avoid eye contact until just the right moment, so I don't have to nod at him twice. And I keep screwing it up because I forget every morning.

So this morning, I looked up when I came around the corner and he was looking out towards me. So I gave him the customary nod and then lowered my head so I wouldn't have to look at him again. Then I forgot after about 10 steps and looked up again. And I made eye contact by mistake again so I gave him a second nod out of habit. So I dropped my gaze again and walked through the door. Then I had to give him my normal verbal greeting ("Whaaaaassssssuuuuuuuuup?!?!") and I accidentally nodded again! He probably thought I had some kind of nervous tic.

If I could pull off wearing sunglasses, I'd do that. That way he'd never know if I was looking at him. Unfortunately, I have tiny little eyes. So when I wear sunglasses, I look like a nervous tick (Get it? Look at the picture!).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tic Tac?

I got my haircut again recently. I was told that getting it cut more would keep me from losing so much of it (which I'm now convinced was just a marketing ploy). And I had a different lady cutting my hair this time. I told her what I wanted (pink mohawk, star-shaped sideburns) and she ignored me completely. She cut it the way she thought I should have it. Then she styled it with gel and basically just swirled my hair around my head. It looked like I'd been given a very intense swirlie. And it was during my lunch break, so I had to wet my hair in the car with a bottle of water and try to fix it.

But the worst part was when she washed my hair out. If it's free, I always ask for them to wash my hair because otherwise I get those little prickly, stabby hairs that stick to my neck and scalp. Well, I never know if I should open my eyes or close my eyes when the lady washes my hair. Because if I close them, it looks like I'm trying to pretend I'm falling asleep while someone messes with my head. And that's awkward. But if I open my eyes, it's creepy because I stare at the ceiling until her face pops up in front of mine. Then it's like a 2-second staring contest that she wins. And that's super awkward. So I usually split the difference and just close my eyes when they get in my face. But this lady was really short and had to lean over my face a lot, so I chose the perma-shut approach. And her breath was the worst-smelling breath I have ever smelled. Ever.

I don't know if she ate something that had expired in the 80s or if her tongue was decomposing in her mouth, but it smelled like hot garbage. And I had to pretend not to notice. So since I couldn't see when she was coming, I had no notice for when she would breathe on my face. It was horrible. And I couldn't hold my breath because she'd notice when I let it out. And I wasn't gonna be a mouth-breather. That's gross. So I sat there and endured the longest 5-minute hairwash I've ever had.

P.S. - I really wanted to use the phrase "weapon's grade halitosis" but I couldn't make it work. So I figured I'd just mention that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Top Ten Things That Are Cute For My Son, But Creepy For Me

10. Plumber's crack.

9. "I want a new baby brother for Christmas."

8. Asking for chocolate milk with a hamburger.

7. "Can I take a bath with you?"

6. Stomping on a puddle.

5. "You wanna dance with me, Daddy?"

4. Smiling at strangers.

3. "I wanna wear girl pants, too!"

2. Singing Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift songs.

1. "I gotta go poo-poo!" while running past without pants on.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's Back... Again!

I started my diet yesterday. I figure at the ripe old age of twenty-number, it's finally time to get in shape. And two things made me realize it was time. First, I was raising my hand during a question and answer session at a recent meeting, and I decided to give up on my question because I was too out of breath from holding up my hand. It was too much physical activity for me to put one hand above my head. And that's ridiculous. I should never be so out of shape that I can't put my arm up for 38 seconds. And the second recent event that motivated me was the guy in front of me at McDonald's last week. I was there to order my usual meal (number 3, ketchup only, Diet Coke - light ice), and the McDonald's employee left the previous order up on the fancy computer display. And it read as follows:

5 McRib sandwiches.................................................$12.45
Chocolate Sundae.....................................................$1.00

So naturally I looked at the occupants of the car in front of me... only to find that there were not occupants, but rather an occupant. The guy ordered 5 McRibs and a chocolate sundae... for himself! Either he's just a fatty or he's the only guy on the planet who thinks that this McRib Farewell Tour (number 5 by my count) is actually the last one.

So why is this the reason I'm motivated to lose weight? I wasn't really all that dismayed by the fact that he was ordering for one. In fact, the only thing I could think was how jealous I was of that order. I actually hesitated before I ordered and contemplated ordering the exact same thing (plus a Diet Coke - light ice).

So I started my diet yesterday. I will purposely be missing the McRib Farewell Tour. And all subsequent McRib Farewell Tours.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why Cute Babies Aren't Allowed To Drive

So I vowed a long time ago not to be the one to drive before or after a holiday weekend. Of my 11 speeding tickets, 4 of them came on the way home from or on the way to a holiday weekend. But I forgot my rule this weekend. It's been two years since my last ticket and I've been careful about my speed. But the "Construction Zone" didn't even have traffic cones in it. And everyone else was speeding. So it shouldn't have been a big deal to the cop that I was going 75 in a 55. But he thought it was a big deal.

So I came over the hill, saw him, sa
w my speed, and turned on my blinker for the inevitable pulling over I was about to get. And sure enough, he turned on his lights immediately and pulled me over. And 20-over is not something you charm your way out of. So he told me my speed and asked if there was an emergency. I fought off the urge to say something smart-alec, like "Yes, there's a sale at the Gap!" and just shook my head.

Then he asked, "Is that your beautiful baby girl back there?" And expecting some kind of lecture on protecting my family, I said yes. But he kept staring at her. It was then that I realized she'd woken up right as I pulled over. Then he asked her"Did you just wink at me?" Then he handed me my license and said, "She just saved you a ticket. Keep your speed down. Have a nice day." So we pulled away and got back on the road again. And she went right back to sleep. It was like she woke up specifically to save the day and then continued her nap.

So now I can add another thing to the list of unforeseen perks of being a parent. It's number 2 right after the tax write-off.

And be honest... could you write a ticket for someone when this face is winking at you from the backseat?