Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 50: College of Rock

          Firstly, apologies. I have been a wee bit lax in my writing of late, but I have a good excuse--I've been moving back to college!
          Now, remember when I said I was moving back on Saturday? Well, there was a bit of a mixup with the school seems FRESHMAN were moving in Saturday. Now, socially or academically, I don't qualify. So after a day of frantic phone calls, I arranged to move down on Monday and dug through my suitcases to find some clean clothes that I hadn't packed.
          And then I got up at 4:57am on Monday morning. Just so you know, if God had MEANT for us to get up that early, he would have made the sun rise THEN.
          Anyway, I got to college around noon and moved into my apartment. I'm living with three other guys, and I get my own room. Like, my very own personal room. There's no one else living in it. For someone who's been living with his brother all summer in a room the size of a standard broom closet, this was a pretty big deal for me. Still is. Also, we have a kitchen with a pantry. I'm pretty excited.
          So, as I'm running up and down the stairs with all my crap (a LOT of crap) and trying to unpack, I suddenly realized that I was missing a basic necessity: bed sheets. You'd think I would have packed them, but nooo....oh well, I needed to go to Walmart anyway.
          That was, again, on Monday. On Tuesday, I found out that the distance class I needed to take I was, in fact, not registered for. Took me all day to clean up that mess...never assume that no email from a college is a good thing. You should be getting spammed like it's going out of style, otherwise there's a problem. The problem in this case was that two of my transcripts got misplaced, a mistake that is not easily cleaned up...but I am all registered now. Whew.
          And today, classes started! I'm pretty psyched, even though I got an insane amount of homework for my first day of class. Actually, I think it's an insane amount for any day of class, but I got most of it done, which is why I'm taking a break now. And doing air guitar to "Footloose." Good thing I have my own room.
          I should enroll in the College of Rock. If there is one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 49: Randomness and Inanimate Objects

          I've gotta be more careful with what I watch before bedtime.
          Let me explain...once, I watched Star Wars Return of the Jedi and dreamed that I was in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader all night. Then, it was Pirates of the Caribbean. That was kinda cool--I captained the Black Pearl, although I wasn't Jack Sparrow...not sure why he let me take his ship for a spin, but hey, I wasn't going to argue. Half a year ago, I discovered The Matrix. This time I had Mr Smith beating up on me all night. I scored a few hits, but my alarm clock woke me up before I figured out who won. Some nice college friends invited me to check out Inception with them. I am not making this up: I had to wake up three times the next morning. And tonight...I watched The Adjustment Bureau. Ooh boy...
          I know for a fact I've been cursed with an over-active imagination. Re-reading some of the stories I've written over the years, I can definitely see that I'm...well, lacking in writing talent and any kind of style whatsoever...but also that I came up with some pretty interesting stuff. I especially love my faster-than-light travel idea; I thought it was pretty clever, if I do say so myself.
          I know there's a lot of stuff I could just kick myself for not having thought up first. Again, just about everything by Timothy Zahn comes to mind; he's my favorite science fiction writer. I wish I could write like he does--if I could, I would change my major, but that's not going to happen.
          My current major is Mechanical Engineering, mostly because I like building and creating stuff and I'm pretty good with the physics involved. I just like creating in general, which I guess is why I write. I know my parents are very happy with my building abilities; they have a new fix-it or create-it project for me every couple hours. I don't know if I like the fixing projects; see, if I can't get it right away, I get more and more invested in the project until I'm willing to buy the parts myself just so the inanimate object doesn't beat me. ("RADAR!! Let's just call the plumber!!" "Not yet! I almost got this..." *SNAP* "Dang. Be right back, gotta run to the store.") It's worse with computers; I would sell my house to fix a computer that's been through everything and should be sent to the dumpster. Probably why I don't own a house...I really don't like losing to inanimate objects. And yes, calling Tech Support is considered defeat. Actually, while on the phone with Tech Support the one time I called them, they didn't know what to do and I fixed it while on the line for three hours, so I told them how to do it and then hung up, so it wasn't a total defeat...but still...ugh.
          And now to conclude this, may I mention how random I am? Look, I started with movies and dreams and ended up talking about computers. Wow. I'm also a geek. My apologies.
          Well, I'm going to log off this thing before my computer decides to afre rif dksjf iifdnh dsf CURSE YOU, INANIMATE OBJECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**Captain's Note: I'm prepping to move back to college, so I probably won't have any more posts up until Saturday or Sunday. Hopefully by then I'll have some fresh material and a couple good moving stories--I mean stories about moving, not like emotionally moving....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 48: The Difficult Truth

          I was playing with my blog the other day and I came across this tab that says "Stats."
          Okay, I'll be honest; that wasn't the first thing I came across. I ran into a link that said "Edit HTML," and I'd just like to say (for all you bloggers out there), don't mess with that unless you know what you're doing. Curse my OCD. After I finished with the damage control, I clicked on the Stats tab.
          Here's an interesting bit of trivia for you; this thing can keep track of how many people visited my blog, what operating system and browser they used, and what the most-read blog posts were. (I'm happy to note that the most-used operating system is Windows. Keep being awesome!) What shocked me is how many hits I've had on my blog. As of this moment, I have had 702 hits in the past two-three months. 702!!! I didn't think I was that interesting. Still don't. Maybe it's like watching a car wreck--you can't look away!
          Or maybe what I suggested a while back is true: doctors prescribe this to insomniacs.
          Whatever the reason for this burst of readership, I'm determined to not let it go to my head. (My siblings will probably help with that.) I suppose I could turn this somehow into my goal of world conquest, but I'm too tired tonight. And actually, for once I kind of have an excuse; I've been moving furniture around.
          The reason for that is simple; certain parties believe that buying more furniture (dressers, cabinets, etc) will help reduce clutter in their house, and it's my job to move the furniture they want. I don't mind the chance for exercise, but what annoys me is the mindset of the people doing the buying. Apparently, more possessions will magically make clutter disappear.
          Let me illustrate this point. I share a room with my brother Nemesis. It's a pretty small room, and we're both pretty big guys. Also, we have a lot of junk, so our room is perpetually messy. We could go through our room and throw out half our junk, and it would still be messy. We could line the walls with shelves and cabinets and it would still look like a tornado hit it. Twice. The problem isn't with the room. It's with the occupants.
          I know we can keep it clean. The week after we moved in, the room was spotless. That was before we got lazy, of course. I know that it's not the fault of our surroundings, but sometimes it's just easier to blame the room we're in, instead of ourselves. I personally don't want the responsibility!
          There's the problem, though; and here's the thought I'm going to leave with today. Nothing will change until I change. That's really how it works; whether it be in America or in my messy little room. No  new bookcases or stimulus packages are going to fix our mess or hide the fact that we're a lazy race. Why is our debt so bad? Because we buy more than we earn. Why no earning? It's because we don't want to work!!!
          And there's my little rant for the night. Next time, I promise, I'll put up a more amusing story, assuming (of course) that I'm not too tired from cleaning my room.
          Or maybe I'll put the room-cleaning off. I pack for college in a few days anyway... ;)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 47: Wonder Why We Didn't Fall Off?

          I went out on the roof tonight with my siblings.
          This is usually an epically hilarious event, and tonight was no exception. Let me explain, first, why we would even do such a old room, which I used to share with Nemesis and is now Squirrel's room (which she painted PINK--she'll tell you it's "salmon" or "coral" or some such nonsense, but don't listen to her; it's freaking pink) has a gable, the windows of which open out over the porch roof. Back when we built the house, Mom and Dad made the horrible mistake of putting removable screens on all the windows. They then spent the next eight years trying to make us exit the house through the doors. In my opinion, the windows are more fun.
          Back to my story...we kids found out soon enough that if we were careful, we could open the window, remove the screen, step out onto the roof, put the screen back, and spend the next hour or so snickering as we listened to the parental unit fruitlessly trying to find us. It kinda sucks, being older; now the parents don't care as much now that we're considered older and somewhat mature. It's like taking snacks from the pantry; now that it's legal, it's not as fun. Lame.
          So tonight, we popped the screen and headed out onto the roof. Nemesis and I immediately scurried over to the pipe that rose out of the kitchen roof (it vented from the line that ran to the sewer) and began yodeling down it. When no screams arose from kitchen, Nemesis went down to see if Mom was in there. He came back to report that no, she wasn't and yes, my voice was indeed emanating from the kitchen sink.
          My two sisters then decided to perform the YMCA on the peak of the roof. I joined them, my brother content to just watch. Quill slipped at one point and ended up doing the splits on the peak. She wasn't hurt, but laughed so hard she almost rolled off the roof. I managed to sit down before I cracked up.
          We wanted to do some stargazing, but the sun wasn't quite down yet, so I scurried down the roof to wreak havoc with the TV satellite dish. Dad, fortunately or unfortunately, was not watching anything at the time, but Nemesis went inside and reported that I did, indeed, make the TV lose the signal but it was unable to pick it up fast enough for me to complete the SOS I was trying to signal out.
          After one last yodel down the kitchen sewer pipe, we were ordered inside by Mom and our night on the roof came to a close. I was sad--I never got to have the rematch spitting contest with Nemesis!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 46: In Which I Get Shot

          I got to visit with some of my friends from South Dakota today!
          After making a local burger joint millionaires (man, they had some good bacon cheeseburgers...), we decided to head to a lazer tag area for a showdown for the title of Most Deadly With Non-Lethal Weaponry. Jordan was very confident in his abilities. Jake was confident that Jordan was going to lose. I was ready to beat both of them.
          After the smack talk (which, for guys, is almost as much a part of sporting events as playing the National Anthem--which we forgot to do, by the way), we got our lazer gear and began trying to figure out how this was going to work. We were not the only people entering the arena; we'd met up with two other friends of mine (Maggie and Mariah) and three families were gearing up as well. They chose the teams Green, Blue and Yellow. The girls, Jake and I decided to play on one team, Team Red, with Jake and myself competing for number of kills. Jordan decided to join the Blue Team and compete for both the team championship and number of kills. I wished him good luck and then tried to shoot him. Unfortunately, the guns weren't activated yet.
          We filed into the arena, which was pretty much a two-story maze. I immediately headed for the second floor, figuring that I could shoot down at the first floor and that most people didn't notice what was going on above them 99 percent of the time anyway. Considering that I wasn't even tagged until I went downstairs midway through the game, I thought my strategy was highly effective.
          One of the girls, Mariah, and I teamed up for a few moments right away, but then she vanished. I turned around to check where she was and found someone backing down the corridor at me. I shot him in the back and dashed over to one of the side ramps, annihilating people as I went. I tried to shoot Jake when he popped out of nowhere, but since we were on the same team, nothing happened. Whew.
          Jordan was down on the first floor under the ramp, taking out innocent little kids, so I leaned over and alternated shooting him with shooting the "innocent little kids" who decided to take a few potshots at their savior. They missed. Jordan eventually figured out that I was the one shooting him, so he vanished into the depths of the first floor maze. I decided to pursue and walked right into Team Yellow, who were having a little family confab about strategy.
          Sixteen shots and a big ego boost later, I continued on my way with my no-hit record intact. I spotted Jordan charging down the hall at me and ducked around a wall into a corner. Also into Team Green, who were also having a family conference but were infinitely more ready and trigger-happy than Team Yellow. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and fled, but not fast enough to prevent them from shooting me. Several times. A brush with a vengeful Team Yellow later (knocked out all but one of their squad, who managed to shoot me), and I reverted to my earlier strategy of hiding on the second story. Unfortunately, Team Blue decided to hide up here as well. Maggie, Mariah and I made a few bad decisions that wound up with us getting pinned down in a room with only one exit, surrounded by the building wall on one side and two seven-foot-tall walls on the other two sides. I tried to sneak out. I ducked back in, vest buzzing like a beehive and a hail of lazer fire taking personal effect. Kind of annoyed now, I jumped, grabbed the edge of a wall with one hand, pulled myself up and raked Team Blue from above. We beat a hasty retreat as Jordan shot me in the back from wherever the heck he was hiding. Later in the game, Jordan and I teamed up to knock out two teams' worth of fighters hiding on one side of the arena. We each took our share, and then I returned the favor and shot him before I vanished.
          Anyway, Jordan did very well. He took second in both the team championship and kill score. I don't know what his official kill scores were, unfortunately. The Red Team (Mariah, Maggie, Jake and I) took first, Jake and the girls came in fairly respectably in the kill score, and I took first. To be fair, Jordan had a better accuracy rating than me. My standings were (I happen to have the sheet with me):

          Shots Fired: 724
          Accuracy: 21.82%
          Tagged Players: 158
          Tagged By Players: 17
          1st Place: Team Red - 37450
          2nd Place: Team Blue - 28750
          3rd Place: Team Yellow - 23300

          Apparently, I had an itchy trigger finger. Anyone want to challenge me? Maybe my brother?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 45: A Few *More* Comics...

          As I was working on a new post last night, I started reading some of Benjamin Sonnek's comics and found a few more that I really liked. So, I decided to put them up here, along with a new one he expressly made for this at my threat--*ahem* request ;) Actually, the new one reminds me of what we were--are--like...LET'S HEAR IT FOR MAD SCIENCE!!!!

Blueberry Picking 

Reentry (Mad Scientists) 


Mad Scientists (the new one) 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 44: Your Source for Funnies...

          I was browsing my computer today when I found some more of Benjamin Sonnek's comics. These are a bit older (like from way back in 2006) but I can see why I saved them. Any issues with quality are my fault--I had just learned to use a scanner back then and had yet to realize that I wasn't supposed to move the paper...
                                                                      Ice Skating




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 43: Fun at the Doc's

          My sister Quill is getting her wisdom teeth out today.
          I would suggest that those are the teeth she needs to leave in, but I'm guessing she would punch me, so no wisdom jokes today. It's sooo tempting, though....
          I remember when I got mine out. Believe it or not, I actually had a lot of fun with that whole procedure. And cracked up my doc. Let me explain...I was bored out of my mind after the twenty-minute wait (for some reason, we had to get to the doctor's office really super early), so by the time I got up to go to the surgery room or whatever it's called, I'd lost all of my initial apprehensiveness and was now really curious about the whole thing.
          The first thing that happened was getting me hooked up to the heart monitor. That was rather interesting, and helped stave off the boredom for the next ten minutes as I kept trying (and for the most part, succeeding) to mess with the monitor by changing my heart rate. After I decided that I'd made the nurses nervous enough, I looked around the room for the surgical instruments, but there weren't any drills in evidence. I was a little disappointed. I went back to playing with the heart monitor.
          Then the doc came in--so far, he's probably been my favorite. He checked out all the equipment, then came over to get the IV thing ready. I have these really huge veins down the inside of my arms, so I assumed (correctly) that he would stick the needle in there. The doc got my arm ready, but paused before he stuck the needle in. Very calmly and reassuringly, he said, "Okay, you're going to feel a little prick, but it should go away after a moment. Just relax."
          I looked him straight in the eye, gestured at the vein and replied, "If you miss that, I'm going to start laughing."
          He stared at me for a moment before he began laughing himself. "Well, you're not nervous at all, are you?"
          I grinned. "Nope. Go ahead and stick me with that thing."
          He did so, still chuckling. For the record, he lied--I didn't feel a thing. Then he started turned to the machine that I guessed (again correctly) would knock me out. "This might feel a little cold, but if you could just count backwards from thirty for me, we'll see how far you get before you go under, how does that sound?"
          I chuckled. "Doc, I can't count backwards from thirty even when I'm not being sedated. How about if I count forwards instead?"
          Doc started laughing again. I began counting. Right about when I hit ten, I forgot which number I was on, so I asked him. He chuckled. "It doesn't matter now. That means you're about to pass out, so we're about ready to start."
          Next thing I remember, I was on the couch at home, halfway through Batman Begins. That was painless enough...
          One other highlight of this whole episode, at home before the surgery:
          Mom: "...okay, now the only thing we have to decide is how we want to anesthetize Radar, local or general..."
          Dad: "How about for three weeks?"
          Yeah, very funny Dad.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 42: A Few Comics

          Benjamin Sonnek makes some really funny comics.
          These are excerpts from his shelf load of Silly Snake and Turtle comic strips. It's about a snake (named Snake) and a turtle (named Turtle--for all his genius, Benjamin is an "unimaginative lot when it comes to naming things"). Their "owner" (named Joe, but it's kind of debatable whether he owns them or they own him) is subjected to all their pranks. These are some of my personal favorites.

Mad Science


Cell Phone Apps

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 41: Battles, Scrabble, and a History of Weaponry

          I just got beat at Scrabble.
          It was awful. You'd think I'd have more sense than to play two budding English majors. I can claim a moral victory, though, because they bent the rules a few times. (They still would have beat me had they not, however.)
          Spelling has never been my strong point--for instance, I misspelled "spelling" just now. Thank goodness for spell check. I know you might be wondering why in the world I would even play Scrabble, but it's because I tend to have a bit of a competitive streak in me...I've accepted some of the weirdest challenges ever.
          Anyway, that's my digression on Scrabble. What I meant to write about today was the upcoming battle of good verses evil!! Much more exciting than Scrabble, right?
          Actually, this kinds falls into the line of weird challenges, except this time, I will be making it. My arch-nemesis, Dr. Lego (also known in some circles as my brother Nemesis) will face me in the ultimate battle of our century. Our weapons? Well, this is the funny part. Part of this challenge is about creativity, so we have to build them. Out of Legos. Kinda sucks, because I wanted to use my eggplant launcher, but it still has an annoying tendency to backfire, so this might be a good thing. Besides, Legos can be very destructive. I mean, look at the numerous dents on our walls...
          Actually, Nemesis and I have built numerous weapons of minimal destruction in the past. Our first construction project (if you don't count the mass of wood and nails that, with some imagination, could be construed as an airplane) was a rubber band gun. I gave the prototype to my brother and kept upgrading mine. Grasshoppers lived in fear of us--we could drill them from five feet away with ease. Eventually, I changed my medium from rubber bands to pencils. My first and only gun shot a pencil into sheet-rock and got some serious penetration. Dad was very displeased.
          The next foray was into cannons; I started with air guns, powered by my dad's air compressor. The charges were cans, rescued from the recycling bins. It worked so well, I decided to put a bunch of explosive inside and see if that would work. I was caught with the match inches from the fuse. Parents are no fun.
          Next, rockets were discovered. My treehouse saw some action that summer. Enough said.
          Now, my medium has changed once again; I modify Nerf guns. Much fun. The Army could probably use mine to stun people.
          So, how will the battle of good versus evil turn out? Well, Dr. Lego has the building skill, but I have a more...destructive...mindset, so it's kind of a toss-up as to who will win.
          Oh, and just to set the record straight, Dr. Lego is the good side. I'm the evil genius, remember?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 40: Is Sarcasm a Superpower?

          I got to see Captain America today!
          For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I highly advise you do, so I'll try not to spoil the movie for you. To sum it up, it's awesome. I would totally build a shield and try some of the moves C.A. pulled off, if all my metal resources weren't being used on my Ironman suit.
          I think I'd make a pretty good superhero. I've got no problem with dangerous situations (as evidenced), have decent reflexes (ask my brother!), and am completely hopeless with girls (so I'd never have to deal with messy relationship issues when I should be concentrating on tracking down criminals or evil overlords).
          The only thing I can't decide is what my trademark weapon should be. Ironman has the suit, Captain America has the shield, Thor has the hammer, Chuck Norris has The Roundkick...seems like all the good weapons are taken. I would probably go with dual katanas as my trademark, but I'm definitely carrying some handguns for longer-range work. My ideal arsenal would be eight guns, two katanas, and two knives. And maybe some kind of metal forearm/hand protector, so I don't hurt myself when I try to do something stupid, like block a knife with my hand.
          Believe it or not, I actually have a suit design made up in my mind. Unfortunately, I can't draw, so you can't see it. I would hire my sister, but I'm not that dedicated to being mocked. It's very ninja-like, though.
          I do have a weakness, though (besides my sarcasm, although I might argue that it might actually be a superpower)--I can't work in groups very well. I prefer to fight solo, on the rational that if something stupid happens, the only person I can blame is myself. Also, I don't want to accidentally take out teammates. That's typically frowned upon in superhero society. On the other hand, this is a better weakness than, say, kryptonite. Let me illustrate...

          Superman: "Surrender!"
          Evil guy: "Look, kryptonite!"
          Superman: "AAAAAAaaaakkk...."
          Me: "Surrender!"
          Evil guy: "Look! Here's a group you need to work with!"
          Me: "Whatever, I'll just blame them if you escape. Come on, hands up..."
          Evil guy: "Why can't you be allergic to kryptonite or cats or something?"
          Me: "I could fake a sneeze if it would make you feel better."
          Evil guy: "Could you let me escape, too?"

          Hmm, I appear to be a little overqualified, but that's a good thing, right? So where the heck is my letter from S.H.I.E.L.D.?????

Friday, August 5, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 39: Help, There's a Hog in My Kitchen!

          Foreign languages are my weakness.
          My adviser at college recently informed me that I am required to have two semesters of some foreign language. I asked him if he thought I should master ENGLISH before I moved on to other languages. Thank the Lord for spelling and grammar check.
          Perhaps you've heard me say this before...but forget the pyramids. The greatest achievements of mankind are spell check, Google, and WolframAlpha. If you don't know what WolframAlpha is, look it up. It's the best math/science program/website out there. It saved my butt during Calc 3, so you know it's gotta be good.
          Anyway, back to the subject of foreign languages. I am no stranger to other tongues, as it were; I just suck at them. I've taken Spanish, Italian, Latin, and possibly one other, but I can't remember squat from any of them. I also tried inventing my own language with the help of my siblings. We were most practical--we could insult each other in dozens of different ways, but unfortunately we never got some of the basic words down (such as pass, the, and salt). Interestingly enough, this was also around the same time we invented these really weird imaginary kingdoms. To this day, I am eternally grateful that we lived out in the middle of nowhere--if anyone had stumbled across us back then, say during one of our many battles with imaginary foes, he would have seen us swinging sticks at nothing and screaming unintelligible things. We probably looked like we were having some kind of insane fit. It still cracks me up, thinking about it.
          My brother Nemesis is pretty good with both Latin and Italian. He can read Latin fairly well, anyway, and he got the furthest of any of us in our Italian program. Mom thinks she can understand animals ("Look! The ducks are happy today!" "How do you know?" "They're smiling!" "MOM, their beaks are fixed in that shape!"), but it's anyone's guess as to what extent. My dad claims he knows dozens of languages, but when we question him, he usually evades us on a technicality. "Yeah, sure, I know Italian!" "Oh yeah? Prove it." "Okay...LASAGNA. SPAGHETTI. Wanna hear some Japanese? TOYOTA." (Also, when I was telling him about Taekwondo and how it was different from Karate, he told me "Hey, I know Karate. And Judo. And Kung Fu. And a whole lot of other Japanese words!" Thanks, Dad.)
          Actually, my favorite foreign language incident happened in Rome, Italy. We were at a resteraunt, and we'd just ordered our food outside. There was some loud talking from inside, and I asked my brother to translate. He shrugged. Dad listened for a second before announcing, "Hey, I know what he's saying!"
          Wary of a trap, we exchanged glances before giving in. "Okay, what?"
          "Help, there's a hog in my kitchen!"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 38: More From My Archives

          Two more things that I found buried on the hard drive of my computer: one, a poem by my brother, and two, an old book report from way back (in the fifth grade, I think?) that is so hilarious I'm surprised I got away with it. Maybe my teacher didn't like the book either...

                                               The Battle of Spelling

          The battle of spelling is always absurd,
          You give me a noun, I attack with a verb;
          Suddenly a notebook page is laid waste,
          From a war to spell “cheese” and “gourmet” and “taste,”
          And then—oh no—a horrible cry!
          A pull at the nose and a poke in the eye!
          A jab and a gouge and a—
          WILL YOU STOP THAT???????

                       Summary and Analysis of Antigone
                                                                                                By Radar Midway
The Greek story Antigone is a tragedy. A tragedy is a story where the main character, through a lapse of judgment, does something that normally is not a big deal but has tragic results because something turns up. In this case, a girl named Antigone decides to go bury her brother, who turned against his country and tried to raid her town. Her other brother fought him and they both died. The second brother was buried with honors, but they left the other guy to rot on the plain. They didn’t even give him burial rights. Anyway, the leader of this town, Creon, decrees that anyone who gives the guy the burial rights prescribed by the gods would die. Go figure, Antigone decides to bury him anyway. She’s caught of course, and to make things more interesting, she’s Creon’s son’s wife-to-be. Creon and his son have a discussion (in the interest of accuracy, it’s more like an argument) about what to do, in which this stupid chorus keeps popping up to agree with what everybody says. (Yes, the man should be left to rot and the girl killed. No, he and she shouldn’t. Your father’s right, he’s got more sense and experience. Your son’s right, he’s got more wisdom and sense, etc.) In the end, Creon decides not to kill the girl, but seal her up in a cave because he didn’t want the people to think that a girl triumphed over him. He’s still going to let the guy rot. (Chorus agrees.) He seals the girl up, posts a guard over the guy (P.U! I wonder what poor sucker got that assignment?) and goes back to the city. Of course, right when everything is solved to Creon’s and the chorus’ satisfaction (it’s not hard to satisfy the choruses), a prophet arrives and delivers a message, the usual “Doom, death and destruction” except without the destruction, about what is going to happen if the girl isn’t set free and the guy buried. (Chorus agrees.) Creon insults the prophet and says something to the effect of, “He’s wicked, so I shouldn’t give him the burial rights the gods said I should give.” (Chorus agrees.) The prophet said that death will strike his family, or something to that effect, and that he should listen to the gods. (Chorus agrees.) Creon reluctantly says OK, then sets out with a helper to bury the guy first. Big mistake. As he is digging the grave, he hears a cry from the direction of the cave. He dropped his tools and limped to the cave (he should have watched where he threw down that pickax). Upon arriving, he sees that Antigone has hung herself and that his son is there, very sad and angry.  When he spots Creon, he yanks out a sword. Creon jumps out of the way, but the son has no intention of killing him and instead kills himself. Creon sadly makes his way back to the city, where he finds that word of this has gotten back already (bad news was the only thing back then that traveled faster than the speed of sound) and that his wife has killed herself as well. When he hears this, Creon cries out and asks why he should still be living and if anyone will kill him too. (He abruptly changes his mind when the choruses agree and reach for some pickaxes. The choruses thought that extremely funny. Some of them laughed so hard they had to leave the scene to use the restrooms1.) That is about where everything stand when the story ends. Antigone is the main character (she’s the one with the judgment lapse, even though Creon is the one who insulted a prophet—that’s usually a bad idea) and Creon was the one who changed the most; unfortunately, a member and a member-to-be of his family died before he obeyed the gods and buried  his most hated enemy.

1.       This part actually isn’t in the book. It’s artistic license.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 37: Here There Be Pirates...

          Here's the "Pirate Code" that my siblings and I drew up a few years back, when we were positive that our life's destiny was to be pirates. We were...odd...children. Still are, in fact.
                                  Pirate Code
1.    No shooting other crewmembers. (That privilege is reserved for the Captain,  the First and Second Mate only. Just kidding…………maybe.)
2.    Anyone who is caught shirking in battle will be punished.
3.    Keelhauling is an acceptable punishment.
4.    Okay, seriously, the punishment for an offender will be being tied upside-down to the mast while having ice cold water poured down his pants.
5.    Happy hour is from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
6.    Define happy hour, please. (So this one isn't a rule, it's kind of a question. Do you have a problem with that??!!)
7.    Sharing is prohibited, if prohibited means highly encouraged.
8.    If, while doing target practice, you get shot by a person with lousy aim, it is perfectly acceptable to kill that person with (A) a stick or (B) by using the 16-inch guns so as to avoid a burial at sea (or on land, for that matter).
9.    Pillow fights are only allowed on Saturday nights. (Do not hit anyone holding a firearm or you will regret it.)
10.  Personal spaces must be kept tidy, or your possessions are at risk. (It's not stealin', it's salvaging!")
11.  If a subordinate or a person of equal rank asks you to swab the deck, it is highly encouraged for you to do it. Please bear in mind that this rule does not state what—or who—you have to use for this task. The Captain doesn't care.
12.  Do not—I repeat, do NOT—pull a plug out of anything other than the bathtub if you do not know what it leads to. (You're on a ship!! Duh!!)
13.  Attention and respect for your senior officers is required at all times.
14.  Foul language is NOT encouraged at any time. But, calling someone a hippopotamic land mass is okay. So is "pointy-haired buffoon."
15. Do not operate the guns unless you get specific permission from your senior officers. (It's just not a good idea. Trust me.) Same thing with all special equipment.
16.  Take what you can and give nothing back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 36: Back from Steubenville North!

          I'm back from the Steubenville North retreat!
          It was incredibly fun--got to see a lot of old friends and make a few new ones! I thought I'd share a few of my favorite speakers and conversations from the weekend....
          Over lunch...
          Sarah looks at my plate. "You got the chicken?"
          I poke it. "This is chicken? It looks like...I dunno...salmon."
          Sarah shakes her head as I try some. "Nope, I asked my friend, and she said the sign said chicken."
          I wince. "So it looks like salmon, is actually chicken and tastes like shoe leather?"
          Sarah looks at me. "How do you know?"
          I pointed at my plate. "I tried some!"
          Sarah frowns. "No, I meant how do you know what shoe leather tastes like?"
          I snicker. "Ohh, I brother threw a shoe at me once. It hit me in the mouth."

          One of the speakers, elaborating on eternity...
          "...and on the other hand, you might end up in HELL!!! Forever separated from God! And you'll be forced to listen to Justin Bieber songs for all eternity."
          Everyone laughs, except for the die-hard Bieber fans. The speaker thinks for a second.
          "I would have said Taylor Swift, but she's for Purgatory."
          All the girls yell at him. All the guys die laughing.

          One of the speakers, the woman from Franciscan University, admitted that she liked Justin Bieber (and actually sang part of "Never Say Never" as a joke). She was teased relentlessly by the other speakers. For instance, right after she gave her last speech:
          Jim: "Hold on a second, please. I'd like to inform everyone that a new scholarship has been established at Franciscan University--it's the Justin Bieber scholarship."
          John takes the microphone. "Thanks, Jim. And actually, it's the Justin Bieber scholarship for the Musically Impaired."
          Everyone laughs. John snickers. "It's just too easy sometimes. I have a daughter at home who also likes Justin Bieber. She's also 12."
          Half of the audience falls out of their chairs, laughing. John glances over at the Fran-U speaker. "Sorry. No, wait, I'm not."

          Sorry to all the Bieber fans who read this...kinda...