REL 100: Remedial Religion

REL 100: Remedial Religion

So I celebrate Christmas, but I know not everybody does. And I’m really glad I do mostly because I don’t understand how Judaism works. Sure, Chanukah sounds cool when you’re a kid and you get jealous of your Jewish friends that get 8 presents when you only get that cardboard drum with the Quaker on it. But you’d have to convert to a whole other religion to do that. And that’s a lot of work. You’d have to learn how to read backwards and wear the part of a hat that they cut out to make visors. And lots of other stuff like that. But Judaism is more than just a religion. It’s a culture and it’s almost like a race. How can you be half Jewish? What’s the other half? If possible, I’d like to be half Jewish and half Christian to cover my ass, if that’s an option. But then you get people that convert to Judaism with no background in it at all. I think. I should put up a disclaimer now that all of my information about the Jewish heritage comes from “The Hanukkah Song” by Adam Sandler. And off topic, I think it would have been funnier if the song was by Chaka Khan (get it, Chanukkah by Chaka Khan?). I’m sure there’s a better joke in there somewhere, but I’m tired.

So anyway, these people that convert aren’t really Jewish at all to begin with. I still don’t quite get it. Can you decide to be part of the culture, but not the religion? Or vice versa? And can you just be Jewish when you need to get off for random holidays like Rosh Hashanikuh? But it’s not like Christmas is any better. It’s a religious holiday you don’t even need to be religious to celebrate. You think all those people that celebrate Christmas are Christians, well you musta just fell off the Gullible Wagon. It’s the default holiday. And somewhere along the line, they even took the Christ out of Christmas and replaced it with an X. Like you do in algebra. It’s the age old science vs religion debate playing out under our noses on one of the most sacred (or secular) days of the year and we never even knew it! Those secret society masons are clever. And like all Christian holidays, it has a completely unrelated figure to make it more fun for kids. As a kid, I actually questioned what the heck this fat bearded old man had to do with the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. And why is New Years a whole week later, if that’s supposed to be based on the birth of Christ (you know, BC and AD)? I’m sure somebody’s got an answer to that. And I don’t have time to get into Easter just now, but it took me a while to come to the realization that rabbits don’t even have eggs. Why are they both synonymous with Easter? But hey, it (Christmas) is still the greatest holiday, no matter where your personal Christmas (or Hannukah) comes from. So who am I to ruin it with all this speculation? I’ll ruin it in many other ways. 🙂 And who the hell came up with Quanza? Like we don’t have enough to try to figure out with these two wacky holidays. And I need to ask a favor of all of my friends. There’s nothing I hate more during the holiday season than getting stressed out over buying gifts and making sure I don’t offend anybody. So I’ve decided I’m not getting stressed out about it. I have also however, jam packed my calendar full with crap to do from now until the big day. And I haven’t really started my Christmas shopping yet. Which also means I haven’t finished it yet. It seems like this goes on almost every year, but this year is a lot worse. So I’ll need you good friends of mine to bite the bullet on this one. Here’s a conversation I could have had with Tony at his Christmas party this year:

Me: “Hey Tony. Sorry, but your present hasn’t come in the mail yet.”
Tony: “Don’t worry about it.”
Me: “Actually, I haven’t even ordered it yet.”
Tony: “…”
Me: “Well, to be honest, I haven’t even figured out what I’m gonna get you yet.”

I’m scheduling a special Dustin Christmas for sometime around Presidents Day. I don’t think we’ll all be getting together like we would on Christmas, but I think the deadline will help. And the extra added surprise will make it all the more special. Some of you may recognize this theory as the same one I use for Valentines Day. I’ve actually been applying this to all aspects of my life for years, I’ve just been playing along for the holidays for the last 11 years. Anyway, I’m out of time to be creative, so you may all get the same thing this year. And chances are it will be a UMBC day camp T-shirt, but that will really just be a proxy until the real holiday. President’s Day.

Coming back from a football game, a few of us were in the car and this squirrel jumped out in front of the car. He ran halfway across the street, and cut back really quick, then doubled back and I didn’t know what to do to help, so I just drove straight and somehow the little guy went underneath the car and came out the other side unscathed and running to the other side of the road…

Quote of the Day 12/20/04

“Did you see the moves on him? He’s like the Dante Hall of squirrels.”

-B Ferg

The Priest Holmes of squirrels was still sitting on the other curb in street clothes.

The Dante Hall of internet humor,

D Rec.

Still Standing Right Here…

Rating Christmas Decorations

Christmas Decorations

Trees – The more I think about it, this is the funniest part of Christmas. For a month out of the year (give or take) we cut down a perfectly healthy tree and bring it into our house and put lots of shit on it. I’ve been living with it for so long, I haven’t thought about the whole concept for a while. This isn’t a fern, it’s a whole freakin tree! And it’s right next to the TV. I’m surprised more people don’t just have trees in their houses year round. I think I might start that trend. But it might be a little cruel to keep it in the tree stand without the ability to grow roots and just watch it die slowly. Of course, it’s not like we plant them back in the ground when we’re done with them. If it weren’t for all the damn pine needles I need to vacuum, this would have gotten an A+. I mean, a tree right in the livingroom. Funny shit. A-

Lights – Lights are tricky. They can really bring out the magic in your Christmas scene or they can send you into an epileptic fit. And gone are the days of tacking them up to the gutter outside. They make it idiot proof now. Like sheets of lights all webbed together so you can just throw them onto trees and they’re all perfectly spaced and everything. I’m not a fan of this. I like to see people put a little effort into putting their lights up. But what the hell do I know? I want to grow trees inside my apartment. B

Wreaths – Gotta admit, this one is a little different too. Somehow, Christmas got associated with wreaths for some reason. A circular conglomeration of usually biodegradable twigs and leaves of assorted different plant life of all sorts. And it’s usually about head level and hung on front doors. Like a scarlet letter for pagans. But still pretty original. B+

Tinsel – Tinsel sucks. It’s even worse than the pine needles in the clean-up department because they instantly clog up the dustbuster. There has yet to be developed a good way to get rid of tinsel. It’s like dog hair but without the benefit of owning a dog. And if you don’t put it on one or two strands at a time, it looks like a toaster hanging up on the tree and it’s just not worth the sacrifice for me. But it is sparkly. D

I was talking with my printer guy about this speed skating thing he’s into. Every year, he goes up to Milwaukee for this national speed skating conference and races this brotherhood from all across the country. And probably Canada, but I don’t really consider that another country. Anyway, he was saying how there are several guys in his 55-60 age bracket that are awesome and he says that he’d never beat them. The only hope he has is to outlast them. There’s a guy in the 80+ category that wins every year because he’s the only one in his age range…

Quote of the Day 12/14/04

“And that’s the one that counts! All the other ones, you just get a stupid little medal.”

– The Dingle

Push comes to shove, life is really just a battle of attrition. First one to the finish line loses.

Merry Christmas,

Extend-a-Claus.

Still Standing Right Here…

Rico Gawky

Rico Gawky

I’m really exhausted, but this was too funny to let go another day. Of all the stupid things I’ve ever said to a girl I was interested in, this is probably in the top ten. Not quite the top five, let’s remember some of my other lines (“Who the fuck are you” comes to mind). But before I get into it, I need to go over a few of my theories.

Now I shouldn’t let some of you women behind the curtain, but you would also be a fool to let my theories of relationships make you consider things any more seriously than your average Quantum Leap episode. These theories have to do with exceptionally attractive women. See first of all, guys like myself and Tom have been raised to believe that all attractive women are snobs. All apologies, but that’s the shit you learn in high school when you run cross country and work in the video lab. So if they show any sort of interest in you, odds are that they are interested in you or at least want something from you. This is why it’s exceptionally difficult to accept that an overly attractive girl that comes up to talk to you just wants to be your friend. For the record, this sounds really idiotic now that I reread it, but I didn’t really expect too much out of it anyway.

Counteracting this theory is the “low self-esteem corollary.” If one of these subjects happens to actually be interested in myself (or Tom), it can be quite intimidating and odds are against any sort of cooperation on our end. At least, this is my reaction. So when a somewhat unmistakable pick-up line came out of her mouth, jokingly or not (something like “so, do you have any more room in your little black book?”), my reply was something to the effect of “I don’t do very well with extremely attractive women.” And I didn’t really recover either. Some people think that it was kinda cute. Maybe if I had thought of something to say after that other than “OK, I gotta go.” But most laugh in my face. Certainly not my worst work, but I think I’m putting it on the back burner until I can think of something to use it in tandem with. And I also think I’ve proved the statement correct unintentionally. This is why I’m sticking with the chicks that don’t think they’re pretty. Whether they’re right or not (that’s just wrong, dawg).

So Keith D (the non-roommate Keith, as I call him when I have the time), suggested that I photocopy a page from my little black book (which hasn’t had a new phone number put in it since I got my cell phone 3 years ago) and circle a blank spot in it and give it to her. This is certainly the funniest approach, but I don’t think funny is necessarily the direction I want to head. So he gave me some other ideas like handing her a note saying “do you like me?” with two boxes saying “yes” and “no…”

Quote of the Day 12/13/04

“It’s so old, it’s kind of original again.”

-Keith D

I think I’ll choose funny over stupid. But I’m afraid I’m doomed to stupid anyway.

Flailing my limbs in the ocean of predictability,

D Wreck.

Still Standing Right Here…

Rating Pranks I’ve Pulled

Pranks I’ve Pulled

“It’s A Very Weird Al Birthday” – There is a Weird Al song called appropriately and simply enough “Happy Birthday” in which the chorus screams “Happy birthday!… Happy birthday to you!” This part is annoying enough in the context of the song. I knew enough about computers at this point in time to cut out the part where they scream “Happy birthday!” and make Geoff’s computer play that clip anytime he opened a program, closed a program, minimized a window, maximized a window, or hit an inappropriate keystroke. And this wasn’t enough for me. I restructured his three icons for internet explorer, e-mail and word to play the entire song in a somewhat hidden program. I knew Geoff would not only be unable to fix it, but he’d know exactly who did it too. So he came to work, walked in his office, tried some stuff that lasted about 30 seconds and left, saying “Fix it. I’ll be back in 15 minutes.” Honestly, I don’t know why I expected any other reaction. B+

“Geoff Turns 30” – This was year two of the fuck-with-Geoff era. I was not discouraged by his reaction the first time. Although, I did kind of check with Gary before I actually approached him that day. Anyway, I closed the RAC Tuesday night and he opened it on Wednesday (his 30th birthday), so I didn’t just confine myself to his office this time. I hung up Happy Birthday and Over the Hill banners at the front desk and taped balloons to the wall leading up to his office. When he entered the main office, I had Tim McGraw’s “My Next Thirty Years” blaring at different points in the song from five different computers to make sure he’d hear the chorus at least once before he could get to all of them to turn them off (it was a bonus that he hates country music). Then when he got into his office, there were 100 “over the hill” helium balloons on his ceiling. A day or two later, he opened a drawer of his filing cabinet and two helium balloons came out and hit him in the face. The gift that keeps on giving. He seemed less upset about this one. I think he was really just plotting the revenge he’d get two and a half years later. A-

“The Third South Ultimate Prank” – This was from back in the old dorm days and it was thought out and executed with military precision. The day before we were scheduled to compete in these dorm wars that I had made up, six of us stayed up all night to pull this one off. Brigid and Courtney designed and cut out over 100 footprints in the shape of 3s and Ss. And they actually looked like footprints. Meanwhile, Suzanne, Billy, Kristen and I were cutting out premeasured pieces of fishing wire and filling up pink helium balloons (remember I wore a pink hat back in these days) and writing stuff like “Third South Rules” and “Your Floor Sucks” on them. After tying the fishing wire to the balloons, Suzanne dropped the end to Kristen and Billy, who were waiting outside now, and they’d walk over to me, who was climbing up each of the columns of windows, and I’d tape the wire to the wall just above the first floor window so that eventually all the balloons sat just outside everyone’s windows (which didn’t open far enough to remove them that way). This took until daylight to finish. And then the six of us, with a floor plan and three exits and feet taped all over our body, synchronized our watches and snuck onto third north’s floor to tape the footprints in a fashion as if they had walked all over the floor, up the wall, on the ceiling, and out the far entrance. We accomplished this in 3 minutes at 7am. And then they woke up and we kicked their ass in dorm wars. Man I miss college. Well, you know. A+

“The Icon Trick” – I can only take credit for maybe a tenth of this one because I have friends that are smarter than me. Mike had a computer with very literally 80 plus shortcuts on his desktop. What the hell were all these things? I don’t think I even have more than 4 programs I use. Anyway, when he was away, I made a whole lot of shortcuts named “Mike, you have too many shortcuts on your computer” and filled up the other half of his screen with them. This was all I was going to do. Then I got several other ideas from a few computer savvy guys. So I took a screenshot of his computer as it was with the icons on it. Then I set that as his background. So his new background was a picture of his background, but with all the icons on there. So when he deleted the actual shortcuts, the picture of the icons were still there. This is where the gag kinda fell apart. I knew he wouldn’t realize what was going on and how long did I want to pretend that I really fucked up his computer? Regardless, it’s a pretty easy and funny prank that I’m going to try on the very few people I know who aren’t on this list. B

Quote Of the Day 11/30/04

Sev: “We’ll be going on mostly class 3 rapids, but there are a couple class 4 rapids on the river.”
Me: “How do they determine the classes of rapids?”
Tony: “Number of fatalities.”

The lyrical prankster,

D Rec.

Still Standing Right Here…

Dustined

Dustined

I have been outdone. And it doesn’t happen often, but this was good. To give a little background, I was officially given celebrity status when I was profiled in the newspaper for basically doing my job. They took a picture of me to go alongside my article. When I got to work Monday morning, there was a picture about 3 feet wide by 4 feet tall of my head taped up to the door. And then I turned the corner. Somebody had plastered my entire wall with at least 200 copies of… well, me. It was the background on my computer, and they had given me a unibrow in one of the pictures. It was quite a sight. Like a very disturbing personal shrine. I half expected there to be a burning pink hat on a plaster model of Steve from Blues Clues in my drawer. So the way it happened apparently was that when I left work Tuesday, Geoff had Anna cut out a bunch of pictures from the newspaper and put them up all over my computer. Well, then Tim and Brian walked in. They didn’t stop until it became a fire hazard. It was like two children walking through the gates of Disneyland for the first time. They started copying, cutting, and taping to the wall. They were much more efficient. They enlarged the copy and made about a million of those. Then they e-mailed the newspaper and got them to send a copy of the picture. Then they revived this poster printer in our office, which no one has been able to get to work for 4 months. They wanted to do the whole ceiling too, but Geoff had to stop them and remind them that this was a place of business, however little business actually takes place in it. So props to Geoff, Anna and Matt, but mostly Tim and Brian who spent some long hours while not getting paid to build my shrine…

Quote of the Day 11/29/04

“Somebody pulled a Dustin on Dustin.”

-Gary, upon seeing the sight

Revenge is a dish best served naked (or was that cold?).

Check it out: http://www.umbc.edu/athletics/Recreation/Images/Drec/ (Ed note: I’m publishing this on 6/29/09 and that page is still up. That’s damn funny.)

I know where you live,

Mr. Popular.

Still Standing Right Here…