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Friday, February 20, 2009

How do I start conversations if I'm in a room of strangers

A stranger is just a person who hasn't gotten to know the real you yet. Then they become an acquaintance or that guy you'll see on the street who will say "Hello, how's it going" to you without actually stopping to hear your response. Keep in mind that the step between "stranger" and "'Hello, how's it going' guy" is still mighty big. You have to chat with this person for at least five minutes or so on a subject you are both knowledgeable about, and your conversation cannot end with someone offending the other person or someone cursing the other person's bloodline with a gypsy curse.

Cut the ice and have more wave-in-the-hallway-friends by using some of these gypsy-curse-proof icecutters.

"So how about this weather?"
This line will almost guarantee a response from the future-acquaintances around you. People are affected by the weather almost everyday, especially seasonal affect disorder people, or SAD people. But SAD people can be a wet blanket on the fun conversations you could be having, so stay away from them.

This icecutter only works if you and your strangers are operating above ground. If in the scenario that all of you have been living in a subterranean base for more than a few weeks, this will only illicit mass confusion, as many would have already forgoten what the sun looks like.

"So how about that local sports team recent win/lose?"
The plus side of the NFL's, NBA's, NHL's, ALB's, MLB's and MLS's popularity is that there is always a sport in season, and there is always a topic of conversation. Even if you think hockey is for fags, you can discuss how your hometown's team got their ass handed to them. This will cause great connections with those around you, and might even spur an impromptu game of fag hockey.

Luckily, most subterranean bases do have intermural sports to keep moral high. However, they must make due with the supplies they have which leaves for pick up games of paper clip ball, rocking chucking, and appeasing the overlord.

"Man, thank God these walls keep us in from The Outters"
Alright, so this one actually only applies to people who live within a subterranean community which looks down on the workings of our society. However, us Outters can use a similar line to talk about the people who live in subterranean communities. Not only does this start a conversation, but it's also how hate is born.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What do I tell my child when he asks where his pets go after they die?

For as long as there have been kids, there have been kids asking questions. Psychologists would argue that inquiries are a very fundamental part of child development. It serves as an informational gathering method and allows children to attempt to make sense of the world around them. Which is great, but you know what? Sometimes I don’t want to hear it. And don’t think for a second it’s because I don’t have an answer to any question a kid can throw at me. Unless that question is “Why do you drink so much?” That’s a tough one.

Drunken escapism aside, it’s very possible your son or daughter may want a pet. If that’s the case, and you grant their request, it’s inevitable that pet will, at some point, die. This may prompt the child to ask where animals go when they die. This question may lead to the child to ask where people go when they die. Then, finally, the child may ask where Grandma went. At this point, you tell him you have no idea what you’re talking about and demand he ignores the screams coming from the pantry. Tussle his hair a bit and send him on his way by telling him to take care of his daily chore: pushing a bucket of fish heads through the small hole at the bottom of the pantry door.

Anyway, parenting is an adventure filled with limitless possibilities. So choose one of the four following methods:

Deny the pet's existence.
Your daughter had a golden retriever but sadly, it died in its old age. Guess what? Your daughter never had a dog. Ever. Remove all evidence, this includes pictures of the dog, any toys, the puppy cage, everything. If she asks where the hardened dog feces in the backyard came from, just tell her that was your doing.

Tell them a lie
Tell them all pets go to a special place in heaven. This is obviously untrue because animals lack a comprehension of language and are forever doomed to pit fight in the ninth circle of hell in a blood sport to end all blood sports.

Tell them the truth
Or, you can tell the truth. Which could include hell and blood sport or you could just drop to one knee and put your hand on their shoulder, look them in eye and tell them the other truth: hotdogs.

Show them that dead animals float
Fill up a bathtub and let physics go to work. That’ll keep the little fuckers from asking questions ever again.

Monday, February 9, 2009

How do I write a personal statement?

The personal statement is something that is practically uniform when it comes time for the college application process. In fact, some jobs are have now started using them. Ironically, applying for the position of the guy who reads the personal statements at the admissions desk does not require a personal statement.

The personal statement any given application asks you to write vary in length and subject matter. One could ask you to talk about why you wanted to attend this particular college or perhaps it could ask you to describe a crucial event in your life when you had to make a difficult decision. More often that not, however, the personal statement is going to look like this:

So does your mom know you’re gay?

This is a hard question to answer. On one hand, admitting that your mom knows about your homosexuality implies that you are, in fact, a homosexual. But if you answer no, because most admissions offices are demons of rhetoric, your answer implies that you are, in fact, still, a homosexual.

This puts in you in a predicament. Maybe you’re not gay but you don’t want to lie. Any respectable university holds their students accountable for their actions, so it’s entirely possible that a dean might burst, application in hand, into your history lecture and point at you. “You!” he would yell, his demanding voice echoing off all the test tubes and Bunsen burners that have no business being in your history lecture. “Prove to us your gayness!”

To this, I offer some sage advice. College isn’t for everyone.

I think that about covers it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How do I make compelling last words?

I think that cats would make cute butlers. And if you died right after reading that sentence out loud, those would be your last words. Ever. Does that make you feel complete? The summation of your entire life could have been defined by an aside about cat butlers. Imagine if there was someone around you. What would they think of the life you lived?

The moment you think you are about to die, have a mantra prepared for those around you to say. You don't have to be famous to have famous last words. I mean, look at President Mallard Fillmore. He said "My only regret is that the Whig party dies with me," and that's common knowledge, even though know one actually knows who Mallard Fillmore was, outside of his post-mortem cartoon biographies.

In order to research this entry, Mr. Jones and I would get into compromising positions or act on ill-planned thoughts. Then, we would yell a new mantra every time we threw ourselves into possible death (i.e. fences, marriage, dune buggies, etc.) We documented what made compelling last words and taped a lot of stupid shit we did. What you are about to read is the less entertaining of the two.

A dash of mystery
In the start of the sci-fi film, Citizen Kane, a newspaper man dies with the last words of "Rosebud." The movie revolves around the mystery of his last words, in between sweeping space battles and allegories for the media. What you can take from is that your loved ones will be willing to unravel the mystery of your last words. If you and your surviving family are fans of scavenger hunts, then you should mull over some of our favorites like "Damn you, Tito," "Movie Phone was right," and "It all belongs to Jessica, now."

Powerfully dead
If your corpse does not leave a crater in the earth, you can at least hope that your words will resonate throughout centuries and hopefully cause some earthquakes*. Make some poignant observation about life and how fleeting it is. Starting by talking about the wind is always good, and maybe throw in something about laughter and friends. I saw that on a plaque at a Famous Dave's, and it's been with me ever since.

*"Hopefully?" You monster!

On second thought
Just describe things from the walls of Famous Dave's. It might be poignant observations on life or some kooky road sign that would not be street legal in a million years. I decided that it's all fair game and thought I'd throw that in.

Taking them with you
This is much darker than I wanted it to sound, but it is the best way to be a constant reminder to those who mourn you. Instead of having them reminisce over things you use to do, have your last words be something they say or hear everyday. This is what psychologists call classical condition crying. Instead of last words, sing "All-Star" by Smash Mouth. Then, whenever a loved one goes to a kids movie or turns on the radio, there is a good chance they will cry over their little dead All-Star. This is the best way, because it guarantees your manipulation of them from BEYOND THE GRAVE!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Camping Safety Tips

The Guide offices, as I like to explain, exist in a place outside of geography. We are located everywhere and nowhere but always are just close enough to a landfill and railroad tracks that makes the rent that much cheaper.

But if you held me at gunpoint and made me point where we were located on a map, I’d point to the Midwest. This point would be truthful, absolutely genuine, as I am not the kind of man to try to pull a fast one over someone that has a gun to my head. Leon used to be that kind of man before the tragedy and although I could divulge such a story, I’d like to remind you that there are stories and then there are stories, and, in the case of the tragedy that befell Leon, it most certainly was the latter, italicized kind of story.

As many are aware, the Midwest is center of the world when it comes to lots of things: white people, craft stores, that thing people do with strangers on accident where you’ll be walking towards each other, and, in an attempt to avoid conflict and not run into each other (and it’s always such a noble attempt) you try to move out of the other person’s way, but the other person, also noble, will have moved the same way you’ve just moved and perhaps most ironically, for the same reasons you moved yourself.

But it’s also the camping center of the world. We at the Guide, with February upon us, have been struck by an urge to camp. We are from the Midwest, after all. Like our chronic diabetes, it’s practically in our DNA.

As the saying goes, to be unsafe is to be sorry and to be sorry is to look like a prick in front of your bros. So here are your camping safety tips:

Make sure your campfire is under control before you go to sleep.
I’d like to point out the semantic difference between making sure a campfire is under control and just extinguishing it for the night. Extinguishing a campfire is to claim its superiority over you. It sends a clear message to your fellow campers that reads, “I am not a master over the element of fire.” But to control it! Controlling it is something so much more! If you were to use the fire to, say, chase squirrels from the trees, ignite humming birds so they look and sound like little exploding boat motors whizzing through the air, or to show a moose would it means to be afraid, if you managed something like that before retiring to your sleeping bag, you have successfully bent fire to your will. Then, and only then, can you sleep soundly.

Is your tent secure? It should be.
I don’t need to tell you how to make sure you’re tent is secure. What I will do, instead, is tell you what could happen to you if your tent isn’t secure because fear is a powerful agent for safety. For starters, a strong gust could collapse the tent all around you. This might be accompanied by screams of your fellow campers and as you attempt to find the zipper for the tent flap you will realize it is a task impossible because your canvas coffin is dark in a suffocating way that is both hot and cold at the same time. Operating on pure instinct you may stand up, staggering around completely covered in your temporary housing, calling out to someone, anyone. The screaming will continue. Something will brush your leg. Is it another leg? What happened? If it is another leg, was it attached to a body? You will jut your arms out in futile attempt to touch something, anything. This last ditch effort will throw your balance off and send you tumbling to the ground. The ground will be wet (so wet you can feel it through the tent that you’ve become entrapped in, which was a very thick material, the main reason you chose that particular model) and the screaming will not stop. You might not wake up.

Keep food in sealed containers.
This just keeps random critters out of your provisions. The main reason is that then your shit doesn’t get eaten, but let’s also consider that if you attract any kind of critter you then run a chance of attracting a rabid critter. Rabies is a terrible thing to contract on a camping trip, mainly because the only known cure is to have your best friend tie you up and shoot you. And yeah, that would suck for you, no doubt. But think about the friend that has to shoot you. The tears (and eventual snot) that will run down his face as he tries to work up the courage to pull the trigger. He won’t be able to hear your name without thinking of that last sound you made before the gunshot silenced you forever. And because your last sound would be like an Indian war whoop, he won’t be able to watch any old Western movies with Indians fighting cowboys without getting all weird, you selfish prick.