Monday, July 9, 2012

Satire Again

For your reading pleasure, here's another satire news story I wrote. Again, I don't know why The Onion won't return my many calls, emails, tweets, letters, and ransom notes. (And I have to find some use for the skills I acquired on my high school newspaper staff.)

High School Student Defies Convention with Unusual Prom Date

Leeman, IN — Doing his own thing has never been difficult for Leeman High School student, Steven Vallas. So when the idea hit him to ask a rather unusual date to his high school prom, he never questioned it. He simply sent an email, explaining his situation and what he was hoping it would prove to the community. And when the invitee received the message, it was with more than a little trepidation.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'Is he serious?'" said the unconventional prom date. "But after talking to him and realizing his intent, I was totally on-board. And now I'm really excited about it! I've heard that prom is a big deal in Leeman."

To make sure there weren't any problems on the big night, Steven met with school officials. He assured Leeman Principal Peter Krenek that he wasn't just trying to be different. He thought it would be good to show the people of Leeman what it meant to do something for the right reasons.

"When I first spoke to Steven, I laughed. I actually thought he was making a joke," said Krenek. "But we talked at length and now that I see where he's coming from, it makes perfect sense. We're going to allow him to bend the rules on this one. We figured one exception couldn't hurt."

But an exception like that can cause quite a stir in a community like Leeman, as school officials found out the following week. Krenek states that no less than 15 students have come to him with similar requests. And he's had to deny each of them categorically.

"Explaining how Steven's request is different is a little hard for the students to take. Everyone wants to be the exception, and it just wouldn't work. I mean, can you imagine if there were 16 students with dates like that?" Krenek chuckled, shaking his head. "Utter chaos."

Most students have shown there support of the symbolic gesture. Senior Kimberley Molney is one of them.

"I think it's just great. It really shows the kind of person Steven is, to think outside the box and take a stand for something he believes in," said Molney. "And while I think the prom photo they take may be a little strange, I think it'll be great for Leeman to see something like that for a change."

For Vallas and his unusual date, this will likely be an unforgettable prom. And for the schoolmates and parents who haven't heard the news yet, it may be even more unforgettable. But Krenek assures everyone that it will be under control.

"We expect a bit of a backlash for the people who don't know yet," said Krenek. "But we'll have a specialized team of counselors and medics on hand to attend to anyone who succumbs to the initial shock in a more direct way. Still, we think it'll be a fun night."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mild-Mannered Alter Ego

Besides this blog, I have no outlet for the satire stories I've written. And writing fake news stories "just for the fun of it" is really sad if I'm the only one who ever reads them. So for a taste of something different today, here is a satire story that I would send to The Onion if they took outside submissions (but they don't). I hope you enjoy it (but you won't).

Newest Superman Movie Rebooted Mid-film

CHICAGO — Fans were given a sneak peak of the latest film in the Superman franchise last night at Uptown Theatre. And many were surprised to find that the Zack Snyder-directed Superman: Man of Steel not only rebooted the series, but rebooted itself midway through the film.

"In the middle of the first fight scene against General Zod, the movie just kinda skipped," said audience member, Daniel Franklin. "All of a sudden, some other guy was dressed as Superman and he was flying around the city like nothing was happening. We all thought the reel got spliced or something."

The remainder of the film ignores the unresolved plotlines from the beginning of the film, eliminates the villains, retells the superhero origin story, and recasts Superman from Henry Cavill to Jake Gyllenhaal.

In a controversial move last year, Warner Brothers greenlighted a series reboot of the franchise after the less-than-stellar box office numbers for its last reboot, 2006's Superman Returns. Warner Brothers followed that with a series reboot at the 78-minute mark of the film, an unprecedented move in modern cinema.

"We just felt that we should free the audience from the events of the first half of the film," said Warner Brothers executive Timothy Cameron. "The Superman series was really painted into a corner with that first act. And it's really nobody's fault. The people in charge at the beginning of the film didn't really know what they were doing."

The sneak peak has garnered mixed reviews. Many in attendance left before the conclusion of the film, citing "uncontrollable anger" when asked for their feelings on the film. Some were simply confused.

"I guess I understand the need to reboot if the plot has gotten to a point that it can't be salvaged. But I'll be honest… I was lost for a good 20 minutes," said attendee Jason Garner. "And while it was freeing to ignore that ridiculous part at the beginning where Superman cuts glass with his eyelashes, it was tough to follow the second half with all the booing."

Many in attendance at the sneak preview were very vocal about their hopes that the movie changes before it's released. The film's producers stressed the fact that this was just a sneak peak, citing that the film is not in its final form.

"You have to understand, this is essentially a rough-cut of the film," said executive producer Lloyd Phillips. "I hope they remember that they're just watching a sneak peak. The music may end up being totally different, and we're definitely going to have to tweak the color saturation on those sunset scenes. Those are hard to watch when they're not just right."

The film opens worldwide in June 2013.

"But don't worry!" Phillips added. "We're not touching the plot. It will be exactly like you saw it tonight."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You're So Vain... And So TRIM!

I've lost about 45 pounds this year (I can hear you clapping - thank you). And I'm extremely proud of myself for doing so. I weigh around 235 pounds, and I feel great about it. That's a total loss of 90 pounds since my highest weight six years ago. But I've made a few observations that I'd like to share with you today.

First of all, everyone wants to know how I've done it.  And invariably, they're upset at my answer. I think it's because they expect me to say, "Oh it was easy! All I did was switch to sugar-free gum and the weight just melted off!" And then they could either lament the fact that men lose weight easier, or they could say, "Oh, I can do that!" But my short answer is essentially "diet and exercise." And my long answer is, "Well, I work out 4 to 6 times a week, and I eat as little as humanly possible. I substitute meals with fruit smoothies, I don't drink soda, and I eat the majority of my calories earlier in the day." But people don't like hearing that. They want to hear how easy it is. And I think it's because they like feeling incredulous and/or motivated. An explanation of how difficult it is just bores them.

My second observation about weight loss is this; I'm an extremely vain person. And it took losing some weight to realize that. I have tried every possible way to bring up my new weight loss. I post on Facebook about it. I tell people I meet that they've missed out on my transformation. And I pretty much annoy everybody around me with unwanted updates about it. I'm even blogging about it right now. It's so bad that I even considered posting a picture of myself on this blog... something I vowed never to do. (If I ever become famous, I'll give you guys a before/after to ogle at.)

And lastly, I've observed that a lower number does not make for a muscular, in-shape Taylor. I always thought if I could get back down to around 230 that I'd be happy with the way I look. But part of the aging process is apparently the fact that a weight range doesn't equal a specific physique. The first time I hit 235 pounds (on the way up the chart), I wasn't nearly this flabby or bumpy. It doesn't quite come off the way it was added on. So my journey is not over. I'd like to get down to 200 pounds. I could look really good at that weight. And yes, I know that's incredibly vain.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wit Beyond Measure

I appreciate wit. I will count you as a friend immediately if you can make me say, "I see what you did there!" This explains why I appreciate clever vanity plates. And it explains my use of Facebook, blogging, and Twitter to spout off nerdy, ridiculous puns. And it also explains my obsession with Community on NBC (moving to Fridays this fall!). And I've noticed that graffiti, even though it's illegal and destructive, can be quite witty. And I almost feel excluded because I never get to publicly post things like that. So my compromise is to post funny non-destructive graffiti on signs and photos around the office.

There was a safety poster in our office a while back that included a picture of a truck, precariously propped up on blocks of wood with a person lying underneath it. I guess you're supposed to re-evaluate your behavior based on that photo, but it was of such poor quality that it was hard to tell what was going on in the picture. Anyway, the caption said, "What's wrong with this picture?" So being the hilariously witty person I am, I put a sticky note on it that said "It's blurry." And it got at least one laugh (from me) and possibly more. But somebody took it down the same day (because we take safety seriously or something like that).

So I was in a mood that day to find something else to comment on. And I got a great opportunity in the break room. There was another safety sign near the microwave; this time about microwave/fire safety. So behold my clever wittiness (or witty cleverness if you prefer that term):

Okay, embarrassing confession of the day: I hung out in the break room as much as I could that day to make sure I was around when someone "discovered" the sign. And it got a big laugh. So I felt confident in my witty sign abilities. I hope this isn't a slippery slope towards a life of graffiti crime.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Locked And Loaded

Every day at work, I have a miniature heart attack. It's all because I'm a forgetful person. And my wife would tell you that "forgetful person" is a drastic understatement. I forget 90% of the things I experience. And of the 10% that I do remember, much of it is mundane, arbitrary fluff. I hang onto ridiculous details and forget all the important stuff. Trying to get me to remember someone usually goes something like this:

Her: "Remember Stacy, and her husband, John?"
Me: "You'll have to be more specific."
Her: "She's tall with red hair. He's got brown hair and wears glasses. They have two little girls and they're friends of Tom and Annie."
Me: "Not ringing any bells. Anything else?"
Her: "They drive a Lexus. He works at a bank. She's allergic to shellfish. Their daughters are conjoined albino twins who wear matching eyepatches and have telepathic powers."
Me: "Nope. Still nothing. Wait... did she order the turkey burger last time we ate out?"
Her: "Yeah, that's them."
Me: "Okay, yeah.  I remember them."

I may have exaggerated, but you get the idea. It's like a horribly unfun game that we play to get me to recall information. And my terrible memory is one of my defining characteristics. So every day at work, when my coffee hits my digestive system, I use the individual bathroom. I'm not a big fan of stalls, the multi-use men's room stinks at all times, and the individual bathroom gives me the privacy I want. And every day, without fail, I think that I forgot to lock the bathroom door. And because I work with a bunch of idiotic mouth-breathing twits (who also like the individual bathroom), they don't just try to open the door. No, they assume that the bathroom is unoccupied and launch their entire body against it as if there's no possible way it could be locked. And in that split second of thunderous noise, I am wholly convinced that the door is going to fly open and scar both of us for life.

I've not yet forgotten to lock the door, but I'm really afraid I will at some point. And the simple fact that I refuse to use our disgusting men's room should tell you something about how bad it is. I'd rather risk being barged in on while using a clean bathroom than risk suffocation and disease by using the dirty men's room.

On a somewhat unrelated note: In my quest to make this blog more visually appealing, I was going to include a picture. But a picture of a bathroom would be weird. And it's extremely difficult to find a picture of conjoined albino twin girls who wear eyepatches. So here's a picture of my new baby girl, who is neither a conjoined twin nor an albino. (I'll try to update this picture when we finally find an eyepatch small enough for her.)