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There Was a Worm in Her Sucker! - February 12, 2016

A popular lollipop from my childhood.
I’m not a big fan of suckers or lollipops these days. There is something gross to me about the idea of putting something into my mouth, removing it from my mouth, and putting it back in, but when I was a kid I thought they were okay. The most popular sucker that was given out at my elementary school were these caramel apple things. I must have had a thousand of them. Kids were eating them all the time until one day I saw a girl eating a a different sucker. It was one with a worm in it.

Almost every sucker I had at school was one I got from school. So I assumed she also got this one from school too, and I was aghast that the school would give out such a thing. I mentioned it to her, I said, Hey there’s a thing in your sucker! And she said, I noticed that. I can just eat around it. I was blown away by the fact that she had no problem with this worm in her sucker. I didn’t see if she actually finished the sucker or not, but for years it has bothered me. I was convinced that this girl had no sense of sanitation (or sanity for that matter). I imagined all the worst things about her: She probably had lice and dandruff.

Related to that story I had an epiphany: One time someone was explaining to me why you shouldn’t watch a good movie with just a few bad scenes in it. They said to me, You could skip the bad parts, but imagine a bowl of ice-cream, delicious in all aspects, save one, there is a little chunk of poo in it. Would you eat the ice-cream? After all you could just skip the poo and eat around it. I hated that metaphor the moment I heard it, but I didn’t realize exactly why I hated it until now. Originally I merely thought that a bowl of ice-cream isn’t really comparable to a movie, but now after reflecting back on the lollipop I know that, indeed, you can just eat around something gross. That girl proved it to me.

Oh, by the way, I looked it up. Apparently suckers with worms in them are a thing, and that girl was playing a cruel joke on her classmates by eating it in front of us.

Categories: 1988-1995 K-6

A Long Read: Christmas is Murder - January 3, 2016

The longest book I ever took to read was Christmas is Murder by C.S. Challinor. I bought the book December 10, 2011, and figured I could read it on my yearly plane ride to Salt Lake. And so I did. I started reading it on the plane, and I only read it on plane rides. What I found amazing year after year was that as soon as I picked up a new chapter I kind of remembered what was going on. Two people got murdered and the main character’s name was Rex.

This last year I sort of had the feeling I was going to finish it, and I did. Of course there were points I did not remember but this was a very traditional murder mystery where at the end the main character, Rex, gathered all the characters together and summed up everything that had happened and solved the mystery. And thank goodness of the character did that because while I remembered there had been two murders I didn’t remember who they were or why they were important.

In conclusion, though, was the book any good? I should think not, being that the book wasn’t compelling enough for me to read it other than when I was on a plane and took me four years to finish. I give it two stars.

Categories: Reviews, Book Reviews

And Lo, It Flew! - November 15, 2015

Example of a soda bottle rocket.
I was once voted Most Likely to Become a Famous Rocket Scientist. I never became one. I wasn’t that interested in rockets. I was trained as a rocket scientist, though. It all began in elementary school when I was introduced to the soda bottle rocket. It’s a simple rocket built with a 2 liter soda bottle. The fuel is a combination of air and water. They work by using a special launch platform that allows you to pump air into the bottle. Upon launch the air and water is released in an explosion that propels the rocket into the air. In my elementary school most of our rockets had a major technical flaw where the fins would fall off upon launch.

In elementary school it was all fun and games, but in my middle school science class things got real, we had a competition. We were put into teams of two, our goal was to create a rocket that would not only fly the highest or longest, but that would also carry an astronaut. The astronaut was an egg, and it had to survive the flight to win the competition.

My partner was this guy Travis, and Travis wanted to be all technical and so he drew up so blueprints. Since he did most of the design work. I decided to chip in by building the thing. When I went home to build it I realized something that most middle school students wouldn’t realize: That luck, and not design or engineering, would determine the winner. Therefore my goal was not to build a winning rocket, rather it was to make the most noticeable rocket. I threw out Travis’ blueprints and set to work. I had this really cool telescoping sword that I’d gotten on a family vacation. It was a generic blue and white one that resembled a jousting lance more than a sword. The perfect fit for a rocket nose cone. I removed the hilt and put it on top of the soda bottle. This made my rocket approximately four feet tall. With a four foot tall rocket, I knew I’d need a wingspan to match, so I found a piece of cardboard and cut it into two triangles and put those on the sides of the soda bottle. I then had a three foot wingspan on my rocket. I also put some wings on the tip of the sword for stability.

Compare the standard student made rocket (left) with my rocket (right).
For some reason or other there were two rounds for the competition. I think all you had to do to pass the first round was have the egg survive. In any case I showed up on the first day of the competition with my rocket, and that’s when I realized I’d accomplished my goal: My rocket stood out more than any other rocket. There were a bunch of 1’ rockets and one 4’ rocket, mine.

I never counted on my rocket flying, it never even occurred to me that it would. Mine weighed significantly more than all the other rockets, but because it stood out so much everyone was watching intently as the launch countdown commenced. The first launch was a disappointment to say the least. The telescoping nose cone collapsed upon takeoff and it went maybe three feet into the air and spun to the ground. The egg survived though, so Travis and I were on to round two.

I had a whole two days to modify the rocket for round two. I didn’t do much with it. I just put some duct tape around the sections of the telescoping sword so that it wouldn’t collapse again, and figured that was good enough for round two.

A couple days later I loaded my rocket onto the launching platform for the second time and crossed my fingers as I waited in anticipation for the launch. Like every other rocket, there was an explosion of water and air and I looked up and lo! It was flying. It went straight up into the air, then tilted onto its side, and glided. It glided like a hawk. It glided above my head and I had to turn all the way around to continue to watch its flight. It glided through the air onto the top of the school. It was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. This thing that I built flew! Also keep in mind, we were launching these rockets from the parking lot next to the school, at least forty to fifty feet away from the school. So my rocket flew forty to fifty feet at least (possibly a lot further since it went out of sight). It was honestly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. Majestic, graceful, perfect, awe.

My rocket’s trajectory.

I didn’t win the competition. The school was only one story tall and there were plenty of rockets that went higher than that. Mine did fly for a long time, but they disqualified any that landed on the top of the school since it was impossible to tell if the egg had survived. I didn’t care. The beauty of that flight was more satisfying than any prize.

Categories: 1995-1998 Middle

The Guy Was Texting While Peeing - October 18, 2015

So this guy taking a pee next to me in a public bathroom the other day was texting while peeing. To go into a lot of detail I also want it to be known that he also switched the phone from his right to left hand during the pee. I guess my point is that society has reached a new low. All I can do is shake my head and say These darn kid’s these days. By the way this guy was in his 40s or 50s.

That Was a Dumb Movie: Jurassic World - September 12, 2015

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen the movie, and want to see it, then by all means see it before reading this post.

Okay, I lied in the title of this post. Jurassic World wasn’t actually a dumb movie. It was pretty good. In fact it was probably great for what it was, a movie about dinosaurs eating people. The reason I thought it was dumb was because of the death of Vincent D’Onofrio’s character Hoskins.

Hoskins. One look at this guy and you know he’s going to get eaten.
From the moment you see Hoskins you know that this guy is the equivalent of Wayne Knight’s character Nedry from Jurassic Park. He’s the antagonist, he’s a jerk, the handsome main character doesn’t like him, he’s going to get eaten. He actually has a tattoo on his arm that says Bite Me. I suppose there’s some backstory to that tattoo, he probably grew up in the 80’s when bite me was still a phrase, or maybe he was a fan of Twilight. Ironically it is his arm that is eaten first. Knowing that he would get eaten is what was so annoying. Here is this movie telling me, This guy is going to get eaten by a dinosaur, so let it be known that you want this guy to be eaten by a dinosaur.

Well I’m sorry to tell you, movie, I didn’t want that guy to be eaten by a dinosaur. I wanted him to live. I don’t know who you are, movie, that you think you can tell me what I want! You make me angry movie.

Well he gets eaten and the movie says to me, Hey! He got his comeuppance. Well... It was a lame comeuppance that made me even more angry.
Owen says, The raptors are my friends, but I’ll let them eat people I sort of don’t like.
To put things in perspective let me go a little earlier into the movie when a man falls into the raptor cage, at which point the protagonist, Owen, walks into the raptor cage, among four raptors, and saves the man. The same situation happens to Hoskins, he’s about to get eaten by a single raptor, and Owen watches it happen. Great hero there. He conveniently is too afraid to coax the raptor away. The movie told me to hate Hoskins, but honestly, I just hated Owen.

Basically what I’m saying is that I refuse to listen to a movie when it tells me who I’m supposed to hate. It’s got to do something more than just tell me. If it had actually demonstrated in some way that I should hate this guy, maybe I wouldn’t be so critical of it, but even then killing off villains with dinosaurs is a little too deus ex machina for me. Owen was probably the character I wanted to see get eaten the most, but he also had a tattoo, and it said, Too Cool to Die. So yeah, I think it would have been a much more interesting film had Hoskins started out as a jerk, then learned something about himself, then lived. And it might have even been an excellent film if Owen had been eaten, and even better if Owen’s death was meaningless. I guess it’s just not a very deep film. I guess it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be about people getting eaten by dinosaurs, and it is. Yeah, I guess it’s an okay movie. Oh, and yeah, I made up the tattoo thing.

Categories: Movie Reviews

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